(Redirected from Browning, Robert)
- Deeds let escape are never to be done.
- "Sordello" (1840), line 94.
- Any nose
May ravage with impunity a rose.
- "Sordello" (1840), Book 6.
They fought the dogs and killed the cats,
And bit the babies in the cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
And licked the soup from the cooks' own ladles,
Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
Made nests inside men's Sunday hats,
And even spoiled the women's chats
By drowning their speaking
With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats.
- The Pied Piper of Hamelin, line 10 (1842).
- Kiss me as if you made believe
You were not sure, this eve,
How my face, your flower, had pursed
It's petals up.
- "In a Gondola", line 49 (1842).
- The lie was dead
And damned, and truth stood up instead.
- Bells and Pomegranates No. III: Dramatic Lyrics: Count Gismond (1842), xiii.
- Over my head his arm he flung
Against the world.
- Bells and Pomegranates No. III: Dramatic Lyrics: Count Gismond (1842), xix.
- There's a woman like a dewdrop, she's so purer than the purest.
- Bells and Pomegranates No. V: A Blot in the 'Scutcheon (1843), Act i, scene iii.
- I trust in Nature for the stable laws
Of beauty and utility. Spring shall plant
And Autumn garner to the end of time.
I trust in God,—the right shall be the right
And other than the wrong, while he endures.
I trust in my own soul, that can perceive
The outward and the inward,—Nature's good
- A Soul's Tragedy (1846), Act. i.
- I judge people by what they might be,—not are, nor will be.
- A Soul's Tragedy (1846), Act ii.
- Sing, riding's a joy! For me I ride.
- Men and Women (1855), The last Ride together, vii.
- Fail I alone, in words and deeds?
Why, all men strive and who succeeds?
- "The Last Ride Together", line 67 (1859).
- We loved, sir — used to meet:
How sad and bad and mad it was —
But then, how it was sweet!
- "Confessions", line 34 (1864).
- Who hears music feels his solitude
Peopled at once.
- Balaustion's Adventure, line 323 (1871).
- Womanliness means only motherhood;
All love begins and ends there.
- The Inn Album (1875).
- Have you found your life distasteful?
My life did and does smack sweet.
Was your youth of pleasure wasteful?
Mine I save and hold complete.
Do your joys with age diminish?
When mine fail me, I'll complain.
Must in death your daylight finish?
My sun sets to rise again.
- "At the 'Mermaid'"(1876)
- I find earth not gray but rosy;
Heaven not grim but fair of hue.
Do I stoop? I pluck a posy; Do I stand and stare? All's blue.
- "At the 'Mermaid'"(1876).
- Never the time and the place
And the loved one all together!
- "Never the Time and the Place" (1883).
- What Youth deemed crystal,
Age finds out was dew.
- "Jochanan Hakkadosh" (1883).
- A minute's success pays the failure of years.
- "Apollo and the Fates", line 210 (1887).
- All the breath and the bloom of the year in the bag of one bee:
All the wonder and wealth of the mine in the heart of one gem:
In the core of one pearl all the shade and the shine of the sea:
Breath and bloom, shade and shine, — wonder, wealth, and — how far above them —
- Truth, that's brighter than gem,
- Trust, that's purer than pearl, —
- Brightest truth, purest trust in the universe, — all were for me
- In the kiss of one girl.
- "Summum Bonum" (1889).
- In the kiss of one girl.
- The moment eternal — just that and no more —
When ecstasy's utmost we clutch at the core
While cheeks burn, arms open, eyes shut and lips meet!
- "Now", line 12 (1889).
- One who never turned his back but marched breast forward,
Never doubted clouds would break,
Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would triumph,
Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better,
Sleep to wake.
- Asolando, "Epilogue" (1889).
Paracelsus (1835) 
- Autumn wins you best by this its mute
Appeal to sympathy for its decay.
- Part 1.
- That we devote ourselves to God, is seen
In living just as though no God there were.
- Part 1.
- Be sure that God
Ne'er dooms to waste the strength he deigns impart.
- Part 1.
- I see my way as birds their trackless way.
I shall arrive,—what time, what circuit first,
I ask not; but unless God send his hail
Or blinding fire-balls, sleet or stifling snow,
In some time, his good time, I shall arrive:
He guides me and the bird. In his good time.
- Part 1.
- Truth is within ourselves.
- Part 1.
- Are there not, dear Michal,
Two points in the adventure of the diver,—
One, when a beggar he prepares to plunge;
One, when a prince he rises with his pearl?
Festus, I plunge.
- Part 1.
- Are there not, dear Michal,
- God is the perfect poet,
Who in his person acts his own creations.
- Part 2.
- Strange secrets are let out by Death
Who blabs so oft the follies of this world.
- Part 2, line 112.
- Error has no end.
- Part 3.
- The sad rhyme of the men who proudly clung
To their first fault, and withered in their pride.
- Part 4.
- Every joy is gain
And gain is gain, however small.
- Part 4.
- Jove strikes the Titans down
Not when they set about their mountain-piling
But when another rock would crown the work.
- Part 4.
- The peerless cup afloat
Of the lake-lily is an urn some nymph
Swims bearing high above her head.
- Part 4.
- I give the fight up: let there be an end,
A privacy, an obscure nook for me.
I want to be forgotten even by God.
- Part 5.
- Progress is
The law of life: man is not Man as yet.
- Part 5.
Pippa Passes (1841) 
- Say not "a small event!" Why "small"?
Costs it more pain that this ye call
A "great event" should come to pass
From that? Untwine me from the mass
Of deeds which make up life, one deed
Power shall fall short in or exceed!
- The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearl'd;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven—
All's right with the world!
- Part I, line 221.
- Some unsuspected isle in the far seas,—
Some unsuspected isle in far-off seas.
- Part II.
- In the morning of the world,
When earth was nigher heaven than now.
- Part III.
- All service ranks the same with God,—
With God, whose puppets, best and worst,
Are we: there is no last nor first.
- Part IV.
Colombe's Birthday (1844) 
- When is man strong until he feels alone?
- Act III.
- The heavens and earth stay as they were; my heart
Beats as it beat: the truth remains the truth.
- Valence, in Act IV.
- He gathers earth's whole good into his arms;
Standing, as man now, stately, strong and wise,
Marching to fortune, not surprised by her.
One great aim, like a guiding-star, above—
Which tasks strength, wisdom, stateliness, to lift
His manhood to the height that takes the prize;
A prize not near — lest overlooking earth
He rashly spring to seize it — nor remote,
So that he rest upon his path content:
But day by day, while shimmering grows shine,
And the faint circlet prophesies the orb,
He sees so much as, just evolving these,
The stateliness, the wisdom and the strength,
To due completion, will suffice this life,
And lead him at his grandest to the grave.
After this star, out of a night he springs;
A beggar's cradle for the throne of thrones
He quits; so, mounting, feels each step he mounts,
Nor, as from each to each exultingly
He passes, overleaps one grade of joy.
This, for his own good: — with the world, each gift
Of God and man, — reality, tradition,
Fancy and fact — so well environ him,
That as a mystic panoply they serve —
Of force, untenanted, to awe mankind,
And work his purpose out with half the world,
While he, their master, dexterously slipt
From such encumbrance, is meantime employed
With his own prowess on the other half.
Thus shall he prosper, every day's success
Adding, to what is he, a solid strength —
An aery might to what encircles him,
Till at the last, so life's routine lends help,
That as the Emperor only breathes and moves,
His shadow shall be watched, his step or stalk
Become a comfort or a portent, how
He trails his ermine take significance, —
Till even his power shall cease to be most power,
And men shall dread his weakness more, nor dare
Peril their earth its bravest, first and best,
Its typified invincibility.
Thus shall he go on, greatening, till he ends—
The man of men, the spirit of all flesh,
The fiery centre of an earthly world!
- Valence of Prince Berthold, in Act IV.
Dramatic Romances and Lyrics (1845) 
- What's a man's age? He must hurry more, that's all;
Cram in a day, what his youth took a year to hold:
- "The Flight of the Duchess", line 881.
- Oh, to be in England
Now that April's there.
- "Home-Thoughts, from Abroad", line 1.
- That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
- "Home-Thoughts, from Abroad", line 14.
- How good is man's life, the mere living!
How fit to employ
All the heart and the soul and the senses
Forever in joy!
- 'Tis not what man Does which exalts him, but what man Would do!
Men and Women (1855) 
- I do what many dream of, all their lives,
— Dream? strive to do, and agonize to do,
And fail in doing. I could count twenty such
On twice your fingers, and not leave this town,
Who strive — you don't know how the others strive
To paint a little thing like that you smeared
Carelessly passing with your robes afloat —
Yet do much less, so much less, Someone says,
(I know his name, no matter) — so much less!
Well, less is more, Lucrezia: I am judged.
There burns a truer light of God in them,
In their vexed beating stuffed and stopped-up brain,
Heart, or whate'er else, than goes on to prompt
This low-pulsed forthright craftsman's hand of mine.
- Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for?
- "Andrea del Sarto", line 98.
- Take away love, and our earth is a tomb!
- "Fra Lippo Lippi, line 54.
- If you get simple beauty and naught else,
You get about the best thing God invents.
- "Fra Lippo Lippi", line 217.
- You should not take a fellow eight years old
And make him swear to never kiss the girls.
- "Fra Lippo Lippi", line 224.
- I count life just a stuff
To try the soul's strength on.
- "In a Balcony", line 651.
- What of soul was left, I wonder, when the kissing had to stop?
- "A Toccata of Galuppi's", line 42.
- Progress, man’s distinctive mark alone,
Not God’s, and not the beasts’: God is, they are,
Man partly is and wholly hopes to be.
- "De Gustibus", line 586.
- When the fight begins within himself,
A man 's worth something.
- "Bishop Blougram's Apology".
- Our interest's on the dangerous edge of things.
The honest thief, the tender murderer,
The superstitious atheist.
- "Bishop Blougram’s Apology", line 395; cited by Graham Greene as the epigraph he would choose for his novels.
- That low man seeks a little thing to do,
Sees it and does it.
This high man, with a great thing to pursue,
Dies ere he knows it.
That low man goes on adding one to one,—
His hundred's soon hit;
This high man, aiming at a million,
Misses an unit.
That has the world here—should he need the next,
Let the world mind him!
This throws himself on God, and unperplexed
Seeking shall find him.
- "A Grammarian's Funeral", line 115.
- Lofty designs must close in like effects.
- "A Grammarian's Funeral".
One Word More (1855) 
- Rafael made a century of sonnets.
- Stanza ii.
- Other heights in other lives, God willing.
- Stanza xii.
- God be thanked, the meanest of his creatures
Boasts two soul-sides,—one to face the world with,
One to show a woman when he loves her!
- Stanza xvii.
- Oh their Rafael of the dear Madonnas,
Oh their Dante of the dread Inferno,
Wrote one song—and in my brain I sing it;
Drew one angel—borne, see, on my bosom!
- Stanza xix.
A Death in the Desert (1864) 
- Stung by the splendour of a sudden thought.
- Line 59.
- For life, with all it yields of joy and woe,
And hope and fear (believe the aged friend),
Is just our chance o' the prize of learning love,—
How love might be, hath been indeed, and is.
- The body sprang
At once to the height, and stayed; but the soul,—no!
- What? Was man made a wheel-work to wind up,
And be discharged, and straight wound up anew?
No! grown, his growth lasts; taught, he ne'er forgets:
May learn a thousand things, not twice the same.
- For I say this is death and the sole death,—
When a man's loss comes to him from his gain,
Darkness from light, from knowledge ignorance,
And lack of love from love made manifest.
- Progress, man's distinctive mark alone,
Not God's, and not the beasts': God is, they are;
Man partly is, and wholly hopes to be.
- The ultimate, angels' law,
Indulging every instinct of the soul
There where law, life, joy, impulse are one thing!
Dramatis Personae (1864) 
- Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in his hand
Who saith, "A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!"
- Line 1.
- Mine be some figured flame which blends, transcends them all!
Not for such hopes and fears
Annulling youth's brief years,
Do I remonstrate: folly wide the mark!
Rather I prize the doubt
Low kinds exist without,
Finished and finite clods, untroubled by a spark.
Poor vaunt of life indeed,
Were man but formed to feed
On joy, to solely seek and find and feast;
Such feasting ended, then
As sure an end to men.
- Line 12.
- Let us cry, "All good things
Are ours, nor soul helps flesh more, now, than flesh helps soul!"
- Line 70.
- Be there, for once and all,
Severed great minds from small,
Announced to each his station in the Past!
Was I, the world arraigned,
Were they, my soul disdained,
Right? Let age speak the truth and give us peace at last!
Now, who shall arbitrate?
Ten men love what I hate,
Shun what I follow, slight what I receive;
Ten, who in ears and eyes
Match me: we all surmise,
They this thing, I that: whom shall my soul believe?
- Line 121.
- All instincts immature,
All purposes unsure,
That weighed not as his work, yet swelled the man's amount:
Thoughts hardly to be packed
Into a narrow act,
Fancies that broke through language and escaped;
All I could never be,
All, men ignored in me,
This, I was worth to God, whose wheel the pitcher shaped.
- Line 142.
- Fool! All that is, at all,
Lasts ever, past recall;
Earth changes, but thy soul and God stand sure:
What entered into thee,
That was, is, and shall be:
Time's wheel runs back or stops: Potter and clay endure.
- Line 157.
- Look not thou down but up!
To uses of a cup.
- Line 175.
- Thou, heaven's consummate cup, what needst thou with earth's wheel?
But I need, now as then,
Thee, God, who mouldest men.
- Line 180.
- So, take, and use thy work:
Amend what flaws may lurk,
What strain o' the stuff, what warpings past the aim!
My times be in thy hand!
Perfect the cup as planned!
Let age approve of youth, and death complete the same!
- Line 187.
The Ring and the Book (1868-69) 
- Gold as it was, is, shall be evermore:
Prime nature with an added artistry —
No carat lost, and you have gained a ring.
What of it? 'T is a figure, a symbol, say;
A thing's sign: now for the thing signified.
- A book in shape but, really, pure crude fact
Secreted from man's life when hearts beat hard,
And brains, high-blooded, ticked two centuries since.
Give it me back! The thing's restorative
I'the touch and sight.
- Book I : The Ring and the Book.
- A ring without a posy, and that ring mine?
- Book I : The Ring and the Book.
- O lyric Love, half angel and half bird
And all a wonder and a wild desire, —
Boldest of hearts that ever braved the sun,
Took sanctuary within the holier blue,
And sang a kindred soul out to his face, —
Yet human at the red-ripe of the heart—
When the first summons from the darkling earth
Reached thee amid thy chambers, blanched their blue,
And bared them of the glory — to drop down,
To toil for man, to suffer or to die, —
This is the same voice: can thy soul know change?
Hail then, and hearken from the realms of help!
- Book I : The Ring and the Book .
- Go practise if you please
With men and women: leave a child alone
For Christ's particular love's sake!
- Book III : The Other Half-Rome, line 88.
- In the great right of an excessive wrong.
- Book III : The Other Half-Rome, line 1055.
- Was never evening yet
But seemed far beautifuller than its day.
- Book VII : Pompilia, line 357.
- Forgive me this digression — that I stand
Entranced awhile at Law's first beam, outbreak
O' the business, when the Count's good angel bade
"Put up thy sword, born enemy to the ear,
"And let Law listen to thy difference!"
And Law does listen and compose the strife,
Settle the suit, how wisely and how well!
On our Pompilia, faultless to a fault,
Law bends a brow maternally severe,
Implies the worth of perfect chastity,
By fancying the flaw she cannot find.
- Oh child that didst despise thy life so much
When it seemed only thine to keep or lose,
How the fine ear felt fall the first low word
"Value life, and preserve life for My sake!"
- What wonder if the novel claim had clashed
With old requirement, seemed to supersede
Too much the customary law? But, brave,
Thou at first prompting of what I call God,
And fools call Nature, didst hear, comprehend,
Accept the obligation laid on thee,
Mother elect, to save the unborn child,
As brute and bird do, reptile and the fly,
Ay and, I nothing doubt, even tree, shrub, plant
And flower o' the field, all in a common pact
To worthily defend the trust of trusts,
Life from the Ever Living: — didst resist —
Anticipate the office that is mine —
And with his own sword stay the upraised arm,
The endeavour of the wicked, and defend
Him who, — again in my default, — was there
For visible providence: one less true than thou
To touch, i' the past, less practised in the right,
Approved less far in all docility
To all instruction, — how had such an one
Made scruple "Is this motion a decree?"
- Book X : The Pope.
- The curious crime, the fine
Felicity and flower of wickedness.
- Book X : The Pope, line 590.
- Why comes temptation, but for man to meet
And master and make crouch beneath his foot,
And so be pedestaled in triumph?
- Book X : The Pope, line 1185.
- White shall not neutralize the black, nor good
Compensate bad in man, absolve him so:
Life’s business being just the terrible choice.
- Book X : The Pope.
- Inscribe all human effort with one word,
Artistry's haunting curse, the Incomplete!
- Book XI, line 1560.
- It is the glory and good of Art
That Art remains the one way possible
Of speaking truth,—to mouths like mine, at least.
- Book XII : The Book and the Ring, line 842.
- Thy rare gold ring of verse (the poet praised)
Linking our England to his Italy.
- Book XII : The Book and the Ring, line 873.
Quotes about Browning 
- He concentrated on the special souls of men; seeking God in a series of personal interviews.
- G. K. Chesterton, The Victorian Age in Literature (1913) [University of Notre Dame Press, 1963], Ch. I: The Victorian Compromise and Its Enemies (p. 19).
- He is called an optimist; but the word suggests a calculated contentment which was not in the least one of his vices. What he really was was a romantic. He offered the cosmos as an adventure rather than a scheme. He did not explain evil, far less explain it away: he enjoyed defying it. He was a troubadour even in theology and metaphysics: like the Jongleurs de Dieu of St. Francis. He may be said to have serenaded heaven with a guitar, and even, so to speak, tried to climb there with a rope ladder.
- G. K. Chesterton, The Victorian Age in Literature (1913), Ch. III: The Great Victorian Poets (p. 89).
- Profile in Cartoon Portraits and Biographical Sketches of Men of the Day (1873)
- Works by Robert Browning at Project Gutenberg
- Works by Robert Browning at the Internet Archive
- Grave of Robert Browning
- Poems by Robert Browning
- Poems by Robert Browning at PoetryFoundation.org
- Robert Browning biography and select bibliography
- The Brownings: A Research Guide (Baylor University)
- The Browning Society
- Short Biography and Poems
- Works by or about Robert Browning in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Poetry Archive: 135 poems of Robert Browning
- A recording of Browning reciting five lines from "How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix"
- Works by Robert Browning
- An analysis of "Home Thoughts, From Abroad"
- Browning Family Collection in the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin
- The Barretts of Wimpole Street quotes at the Internet Movie Database