Combining these words witin those in the Foretalk to the revisd text of Sordello in 1863,—“ my stress lay on the incidents in the development of a soul : little else is worth study. I, at least, always thought so,' sees why Browning haš, in alınost all his works, cald souls up before him for judgment?, askt them : “Why did you do that deed? What are you in your inmost thought.? By what process did you reach your present state of sin, or doubt; or bliss ?”—and has, in such words as he could, given their answers to his demands.

Onę. understands too why men repulsive to us,—Ned Bratts, Flalbert, Hob, and thė like,-attract him. Nothing human is alien to him. Pompilia's mean. ljusband may rightly have twice the space in the Ring and Book that tlie pure wife and mother has herself: his nature is more complex.

And if critics bring against Browning the charge that others have 'brought against Beethoven and Wagner, that he has stretcht his art to -express subjects beyond its range, and in such stretching has made his art cease to be art2, we can only answer that we don't think so, and that their sons or grandsons had better wait for the judgment of posterity on the point. Let it be enough for us to follow Browning in getting to the heart and root of every man and thing with whom and which we deal.

F. J. FURNIVALL. Castell Farm, Beddgelert, North Wales, Aug. 2, 1881.

P.S. The cause of Browning's writing this Essay was (I believe) as follows. In or before 1851, a forger clever enough to take in two publishers, wrote some Letters of Shelley and Byron. Moxon bought the forgd Shelley Letters, and John Murray the Byron ones. Before they were provd spurious, Moxon printed the Shelley Letters, and got Browning to write an Introductory Essay to them. Murray was slower, and by the discovery of the forgery was saved the expense and annoyance that Moxon incurrd in publishing, and then having to suppress, his book.

The spurious Shelley Letters were, as might have been expected, nugatory, barren of any new revelations of Shelley's character. Browning could naturally make nothing out of them, and therefore wrote his Essay, not on the Letters, but on the two classes of Poets, objective and subjective, and on Shelley. He wanted a chance of writing on the Poet he admired ; the Letters gave himn the chance; and being told that they were genuine, he accepted them as such without enquiry. Moreover, being in Paris at the time, he had no opportunity of consulting English experts, had even any suspicion of forgery crost his mind, The worth of his Essay is in no way weakend by its having been set before spurious letters.

The headlines to this Reprint are mine.
Perhaps 'investigation' is the better word:

“ Take the least man of all mankind, as I;
Look at his head and heart, find how and why

He differs from his fellows utterly :”
Third Speaker in the Epilogue to Dramatis Persona (1864), 2nd triplet.
come of his auswers, does not Browning play the part of Sophist, or at least

Dramatically he makes the defence a culprit would make himself. Chopin say this of Beethoven, comparing his art with Mozart's ompare p. 11, 1, 12-13, below




[DEC. 1851.]

An opportunity having presented itself for the acquisition of a series of unedited letters by Shelley, all more or less directly supplementary to and illustrative of the collection already published by Mr. Moxon, that gentleman has decided on securing them. They will provo an acceptable addition to a body of correspondence, the value of which towards a right understanding of its author's purpose and work, may be said to exceed that of any similar contribution exhibiting the worldly relations of a poet whose genius has operated by a different law.

Doubtless we accept gladly the biography of an objective poet, as the phrase now goes; one whose endeavour has been to reproduce things external (whether the phenomena of the scenic universe, or the manifested action of the human heart and brain) with an immediate reference, in every case, to the common eye and apprehension of his fellow men, assumed capable of receiving and profiting by this reproduction. It has been obtained through the poet's double faculty of seeing external objects more clearly, widely, and deeply, than is possible to the average mind, at the same time that he is so acqnainted and in sympathy with its narrow comprehension as to be careful to supply it with no other materials than it can combine into an intelligible whole. The auditory of such a poet will include, not only the intelligences which, save for such assistance, would have missed the deeper meaning and enjoyment of the original objects, but also the spirits of a like endowment with his own, who, by means of his abstract, can forthwith pass to the reality it was made from, and either corroborate their impressions of things known already, or supply themselves with new, from whatever shows in the inexhaustible variety of existence may have hitherto escaped their knowledge. Such a poet is properly the toinenc, the fashioner; and the thing fashioned, his poetry, will of necessity be substantive, projected from himself and distinct, We are ignorant what the inventor “Othello” conceived of that fact as he beheld it in completenes: he accounted for it, under what known law he registered its na to what unknown law he traced its coincidence. We learn 01

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President : RÓBERT BROWNING, Esq.
Director : F. J. FURNIVALL, Esq., 3, St. George's Square, London, N.W.
Hon. Sec. : K. GRAHAME, Esq., 24, Bloomsbury St., Bedford Sq., W.C.

Bankers : The Alliance Bank, Bartholomew Lane, London, E.C. Founded by Mr. Furnivall in 1873 to further the study of Shakspere's works chronologically and as a whole, and to print Parallel and other Texts of the Quartos and Folio of Shakspere's Plays, as well as works illustrating Shakspere's time and the History of the Drama. Subscription, which constitutes membership, One Guinea, to be paid to the Hon. Sec.

The Society has already issued 33 important publications in 4to and 8vo.

The following Publications of the New Shakspere Society are in the Press :Series II. Plays. 12. Cymbeline : d. A Reprint of the Folio of 1623 ; b. a revisd

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ed S L Lee BA

Part I









MOXON. 1852.)



The Browning Society

LONDON, 1881.

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