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A great event shall come to pass
Pippa is certainly a very singular young lady, and must be half sister to the lady described in Don Juan.
“Her favorite science was the metaphysical.” We will indulge in another snatch of Pippa's:
“Overhead the tree tops meet—
We have heard Mr. Browning frequently reply in answer to some of the critics who have accused him of an impracticable style, that he is as clear as any poet can be, who uses a new set of symbols; he declares that he is weary of phoenixes, roses, lilies, and the old stock in trade, which with the aid of ten fingers, has enabled mere versifiers to inundate the reading world with a deluge of “verse and water.”
For instance, if Mr. Browning wishes to make a simile, and illustrate redness, he will not take the rose, but select some out of the way flower equally red, but of whose name not one in a thousand has ever heard: this added to a style so condensed and clipt of all aids as to sometimes be unintelligible, has sealed Mr. Browning's works to the many. It is indeed the shorthand of poetry. It requires the author or some duly qualified admirer to interpret it to the world. We feel sure it is a great defect in an author when he requires “an explanator.” He should be able to converse with his reader without intermediate aid. He should sit face to face, flashing bright thoughts into the gazer's mind. We must not conclude our notice of Robert Browning without alluding to the exquisite spiritual grace and purity he has thrown around his female characters. We confess that they all seem to belong to one family, although brought up at different colleges, (for all his women are great metaphysicians,) still there is a purity and unselfishness about them which makes one wish that the world were peopled only with such divine creatures as Shakspere and Browning's heroines are. Lamb once told a friend that he would any day marry, old as he was, if he could only “find one of Shakspere's women.” The poet, logician, and metaphysician would, in like manner, look out for some Sordellian creature such as Mildred, Pippa, Anael, or one of her sister heroines. The purity of a poet's heart may frequently be tested by his ideal seraglio. We have only to refer to Byron, Shakspere and Browning, for strong cases in support of our opinion. It would be unjust to Mr. Browning to give any specimen from his larger works; they should be read by themselves; they do not abound in fine isolated passages, like most poets. All their beauties are so interwoven as to render extracts, to inform the reader, well nigh as absurd as to bring a brick as a specimen of the architecture of any particular building. In November, 1846, Mr. Browning married Miss Barrett, the celebrated poetess, and shortly after went to Florence, where he now remains. The conjugal union of the first poetess of the age with the author of Paracelsus is certainly an unparalleled event in the history of matrimony, and a singular illustration of Shakspere's sonnet.
“Let me not to the marriage of pure minds
We are happy to add, that the first social production of these highly favored children of Apollo is a fine boy, born in the sunny south. In person Browning is small, but well made and active; very dark, with a Jewish cast of countenance; has large black whiskers, which he cultivates under his chin; his eyes are dark; complexion almost approaching to sallow. However obscure in his writings, he is intelligible in his conversation; and his dislike to brusquerié often borders on affectation and punctiliousness unworthy so true a poet. His marriage with Miss Barrett was the result of a short courtship; their correspondence commenced in Greek, and doubtless in that language their love longings were expressed.
Mr. Browning is very susceptible of criticism, although pretending to a great contempt of it. He is a strong disbeliever in the genius of his contemporaries, and is as chary of his critical praise as Shakspere himself. The absurdity of some of his dedications is in striking contrast to this hesitation, as those to Talfourd, Barry Cornwell, &c. abundantly testify. This is a contradiction in his nature we cannot easily explain, and most probably proceeds from that false courtesy which is, perhaps, his solitary blemish; in other respects he is a gentleman and an undoubted poet. His political principles are republican. He is in his thirty-seventh year.
Mr. Browning's writings are numerous.
Pauline, . . . . . 1832. Dramatic Lyrics. -
The Soul's Tragedy.
He has lately collected these in a new edition, comprised in two volumes, and we understand are about to be reprinted in America.
Thomas Burbidge and Arthur A. Clough are the last twin stars that have made their appearance as English poets; and like those of the Elizabethan age, they write together in one volume, which presents a very modest appearance, and is called “Ambarvalia.” Mr. Clough's portion comes first under our notice; we do not know why he prints all his lyrics without a title: to be sure, it allows his readers to exercise their ingenuity, each after his own fashion; but at the same time, we think much of the force of what he has to say is lost on the public in general, who like to know by what name such and such a poem is called; the grown men and women who do read poetry in these days do not like to be treated as boys at school who are learning arithmetic, and whose problems are only solved in their tutor's key; none of the great poets left their poems unnamed, and we do not see why we should not have the author's own help in reading what he has written; we should like to see what Mr. Clough would have christened his first poem, being also the best, and which we think worth transcribing.
“The human spirits saw I on a day,
Sitting and looking each a different way;
Another spirit went around the ring
Dost thou not know that these things only seem?—
Thy duty do? rejoined the voice,
And taking up the word around, above, below,
Some querulously high, some softly, sadly low,