impulse of admiration for her beauty; the same impulse prompts the description of her, so far as it deals generously with the necessity of her life, and her past degradation. As sudden an impulse causes him to run after her at the end. But the thoughts to which he gives expression throughout the poem cause him for the moment a pleasure as acute (though different in kind) as the sight of Fifine, his love for his wife, or his bath in the sea. And perhaps the sting of the satire which runs through the whole lies in the simple fact that the noble vindication of Fifine's life, and the yet nobler truths which, directly or indirectly, the sight of her prompts him to utter, would have remained unspoken had she been ugly instead of beautiful.



BROWNING has implied or avowed (in his Essay on Shelley, in the dedication to Sordello, in the Epilogue to Pucchiarotto and elsewhere) his belief that study of the soul of man,-his true essence which is to live or die, develop or dwindle, according as opportunities are used or wasted, is the poet's highest aim. The Dramas apart, I have therefore thought this leading idea should be first dealt with in classifying. So I have begun by grouping together under three heads, all poems whose avowed or obvious primary subject is either the whole life or some ruling incident in the life of a man or men, as tending directly to the development or degradation of souls, through this life and succeeding lives. From these main groups the transition seems easy to a group of poems dealing primarily with some form of emotion, where feeling at particular moments or periods, though not necessarily a ruling incident in the life, has its influence for good or ill—thence we come to Art, where the perceptive qualities come in aid of character and feeling to elevate man's nature; and thence to national and political feeling, which give a like aid, but by the more localized motive of race and historical tradition. The few poems classed as stories and myths, hero poems and Greek Poems, are so separated because such seems their primary character.

In this classification the word “soul" must be taken to mean a man's physical, mental, and spiritual attributes, developing inter-dependently throughout life on earth, and culminating or sinking into an identity which may or may not be immortal.

The subject under each heading is to be understood as the primary subject or purpose of each poem, 1. Dramas. Strafford (1837)

Vol. 1 Ed. 1868
Victor and Charles (1842)
* Return of Druses (1843)

Blot in the 'Scutcheon (1843)

1 Colombe (1844)


Soul's Tragedy (1845)
Luria (1845)

In a Balcony (1855)


p. 207


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II. A. Poems not strictly dramatic in form, but which deal with the history, or some incident in the history, of the souls of two or more individuals, mutually acting on each other towards (1) progress, or (2) arrest, in development.

1. Progress in development, from right action at a critical moment, and right disregard of social or religious surroundings. Pippa Passes (1841), Vol. 2. Ed. '68 Halbert and Hob (1879) Ivan Ivanovitch (1879)

Ned Bratts (1879) 2. Arrest in development, from failure or mistake in action, and wrong regard for social or religious surroundings. Statue and Bust (1855) Le Byron de nos Jours (1864) Youth and Art (1864)

3. Progress and arrest in two or more souls, from their influence on each other, and as governed by social, domestic or religious surroundings. The Glove (1845)

Ring and Book (1868-9) James Lee (1864)

Red Cotton Night-Cap Country (1873) The Worst of it (1864)

Inn Album (1875) II. B. The like history or incident as regards (1) progress, (2) arrest, in development of the soul of one individual.

1. Progress in development caused by (a) the individual acting on or using circumstances; (b) his or her being acted on by them.

Clive (1880)
Pauline (1833)
Paracelsus (1835)

b. Waring (1842)

Sordello (1840) A Grammarian's Funeral (1855) Flight of the Duchess (1845). (IV. 5.) At the Mermaid (1876)

Hohenstiel-Schwangau (1871) 2. Arrest in development caused by (a) like action on, or (6) being acted on by circumstances.

b. Lost Leader (1845)

Protus (1855)

Sludge (1864) Gold Hair (1864)

Martin Relph (1879) III. The spiritual element in man, and the attributes of his soul; these subjects being treated (1) historically, or in narrative; (2) philosophically, or by way of speculation ; (3) in connection with the idea of, or faith in, God as a radical element in man's nature; (4) in reference to that quality in man's nature which demands and believes in a continuity of life before and after physical death.

1. Historically, or in narrative. 2. Philosophically, or by way of Ben Karshook (1856)

speculation. Pacchiarotto (1876)

Cleon (1855) House (1876)

Fifine at the Fair (1872)
Shop (1876)

Pisgah-Sights I & II (1876)
Filippo Baldinucci on the Privilege of Bifurcation (1876)
Burial (1876)

Lines preluding 2d Series of Dramatic Pietro of Abano (1880)

Idylls (1880)




3. In connection with the idea of, or faith in, God. Saul (1845-55)

Karshish (1855) The Patriot (1855) (? VI)

Johannes Agricola (1836) Boy and Angel (1844)

Blougram (1855) The Twins (1854)

Death in the Desert (1864) Heretic's Tragedy (1855) (? IV. 5) Caliban (1864) Holy-Cross-Day (1855) (? IV.5) Epilogue to Dramatis Personæ (1864) Christmas Ere (1850)

Fears and Scruples (1876) Easter Day (1850) 4. In reference to that quality in man's nature which demands and believes in a

continuity of life before and after physical death.
Evelyn Hope (1855)

Vol. 3, Works, Ed. 1868, p. 110
Rabbi Ben Ezra (1864)


99 Prospice (1864)


153 Apparent Failure (1864)

La Saisiaz, and lines preceding it (1878) IV. Poems dealing with some play of human emotion, caused by,— 1. Love; 2. Hate; 3. Love and Hate ; 4. Love of Animals ; 5. Humour. 1. Love.

Magical Nature (1876) a. Husband and wife.

Poem following two Poets of Croisic By the Fireside (1855)

e. One sided or incomplete love. Any Wife to any Husband (1855) Cristina (1842) Count Gismond (1842)

Two in the Campagna (1855) One Word More (1855)

A Serenade at the Villa (1855) b. Mutual love.

Another way of Love (1855) Meeting at Night (1845)

In a Year (1845) Parting at Morning (1845)

Time's Revenges (1845) A Woman's Last Word (1855)

A Light Woman (1855) Love among the Ruins (1855)

Porphyria's Lover (1836) A Lover's Quarrel (1855)

Too Late (1864) Respectability (1855)

A Face (1864) In 3 Days (1855)

A Likeness (1864) Mesmerism (1855)

Numpholeptos (1876) In a Gondola (1842)

Appearances (1876) Confessions (1864)

St. Martin's Summer (1876) May and Death (1867)

f. Ephemeral love.

Earth’s Immortalities. (1) Love (1845) c. Self-Renunciation, The Lost Mistress (1845)

A Pretty Woman (51) (1855) One Way of Love (1855)

2. Hate. The Last Ride Together (1855)

Soliloquy of Spanish Cloister (5?) (1842) d. Worship or endeavour—ennobling

Instans Tyrannus (1855) influence of Love,

3. Love and Hate acting on each other. Garden fancies. (1) The Flowers Name (a) From man to woman. (6) From (1844)

woman to man. (c) Between men. Song (1845) My Star (1855)

My Last Duchess (1842) Misconceptions (1855)

A Forgiveness (1876) Love in a Life (1855)

b. Life in a Love (1855)

The Laboratory (1844) Women and Roses (1855)

The Confessional (1845) Rudel to the Lady of Tripoli (1842)

0. Prologue to Pacchiarotto (1876)

Before (1855) Natural Magic (1876)

After (1855)


4. Lore for or in animals.

5. Humour or Satire. How they brought the Good News from Sibrandus Schafnaburgensis (1844) Ghent to Aix (1845)

Up at a Villa— Down in the City (1855) Tray (1879)

Doctor (1880) Muléykeh (1880)

V. Art, Plastic and otherwise. 1. Poetry ; 2. Music; 3. Painting ; 4. Sculpture, and Architecture. 1. Poetry and Poets.

Abt Vogler (1864) Popularity (1855)

3. Painting and Painters. Memorabilia (1855)

Old Pictures in Florence (1855) Transcendentalism (1855)

Pictor Ignotus (1845) How it Strikes a Contemporary (1855) Fra Lippo Lippi (1855) Two Poets of Croisic (1878)

Guardian Angel (1855) Epilogue to Pacchiarotto (1876)

Andrea del Sarto (1855) • Touch him ne'er so lightly,' 2nd Dram. Eurydice (1864) Idylls (1880)

4. Sculpture, and Architecture. 2. Music and Musicians.

The Bishop orders his Tomb at St. A Toccata of Galuppi's (1855)

Praxed's (1845)
Master Hugues of Saxe-Gotha (1855) Deaf and Dumb (1868)
VI. The expression of some (1) national or (2) political feeling.

Through the Metidja to Abd-el-Kadr Cavalier Tunes (1842)

(1842) Nationality in Drinks (1844-5)

Incident of the French Camp (1842) De Gustibus (1855)

Home Thoughts from Abroad (1845) Italian in England (1845)
Home Thoughts from the Sea (1845) Englishman in Italy (1845)
VII. Hero Poems.

Hervé Riel (1871) Pheidippides (1879) Echetlos (1880)
VIII. (1) Stories, or (2) Myths.

2. Pied Piper of Hamelin (IV. 5 ?) (1842) Artemis Prologizes (1842) Childe Roland (1855)

Pan and Luna (1880)
Cenciaja (1864)

IX. Greek Poems.
Balaustion's Adventure (1871)

Aristophanes' Apology (1875)
Agamemnon (1877)

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