Robert Browning's Treatment of Love in Its Myriad Moods and Manifestations

Topics: Love, Poetry, Marriage Pages: 22 (7972 words) Published: February 6, 2011
Robert Browning’s Treatment of Love in its Myriad Moods and Manifestations

By- Dr. Santosh Shrivastava

When we attempt a general assessment of Robert Browning’s poetic caliber and overall achievement, his multi-faceted genius and his rarer treatment of love and its myriad moods and manifestations, all this strike our mind and heart intensely. The most characteristic of Browning’s poetry is his love-lyrics which remains the first and foremost of his total bulk of creative-production. After having a glance over the greater portion of the poetry written by him, one can easily constitute the idea that his lyrics haunt the mind of the reader, his poems seem to be the beautiful gallery of men and women, and these men and women are as simple, or as complex as life has to offer or can offer. The sphere of his poetic creation is a world of specific men and women, that too the lovers of all temperaments, faithful, criminal, jealous, cheaters, rogues, and the true lovers of their beloved, the ardent lovers, who, want to accompany their beloveds in the other world of souls, the lovers who are thirsty of flesh of their beloved and the lovers who just want a place in the heart of their beloved in lieu of the whole they possess. “Here’s God’s Plenty” as Dryden said of Chaucer, which is also applicable to Browning. His love poems are the real pictures of life drawn on the canvass of all human impossible limits.

Robert Browning was born in the comparatively rural perish of Camberwell in London on May 7, 1812. His father was a clerk in the Bank of England. In his Inner heart, he was an interesting combination of the scholar and the artist, possessing an skilled touch in both. His mother was the daughter of a German Ship-owner, who had settled at Scotland. She, Browning’s mother, was a women of sentiments, lover of music and full of artistic tastes. Her elevated personality exercised a great influence on him, and for his riped maturity in childhood. In his childhood he did not join any school, his real education was done at home. His father would recite from the Greek epics and other literatures, thus he picked up the origin of Greek poetry.

The first literary influence on Browning was that of Byron, but it did not live-longer. From latter, his guiding interest turned to Shelley whose excellent creation Queen Mab influenced him to a great extent. Keats was also a source of lasting influence and inspiration for him. In Pauline the influence of these two poets is clearly perceptible. He wrote Pauline at the early age of twenty. Next, he visited Russia and met a French who formed the subject of his next poetic-creation Paracelsus.

Browning visited Italy in 1838 and fell under the charm of Venice. The wonderful moments that he had spent here, were on his mind and heart all through his life. He read the poems of Elizabeth Barrett, a renowned contemporary poetess, and came to know that she knew his poems and even him and she liked his poems full of robust optimism and manliness. Gradually all these developed a friendship between them which ultimately assumed the form of love. Elizabeth’s father was a callous-hearted person, thus, he refused the permission of marriage, as a result, the lovers decided to marry despite paternal opposition. On September 12, 1846, they were secretly married at Marylebone Church and at once left for Italy, where they lived happily for many years. This span of time may be appreciated as the life’s golden phase of the Brownings. At this place their only child Robert Wiedman Barrett Browning was born in 1849. He found deep emotional satisfaction in his marriage with Elizabeth Barrett, as has been reflected in some of his personal love lyrics like By the Fireside, One Word More, and Prospice, in which Browning pours out his true sentiments for his wife.

After the death of his wife in 1861, He returned to England to edit her unpublished poems. At this period of his life, he...
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