“The Opinion of a Southerner,” given below, appeared

time:2023-12-03 02:17:04source:Military Suburb Networkauthor:science

I have not observed anything in need of correction in the notes. The "little Tablet" was a famous "Last Supper", mentioned by Vasari, (page. 232), and gone astray long ago from the Church of S. Spirito: it turned up, according to report, in some obscure corner, while I was in Florence, and was at once acquired by a stranger. I saw it, genuine or no, a work of great beauty. (Page 156.) "A canon", in music, is a piece wherein the subject is repeated -- in various keys: and being strictly obeyed in the repetition, becomes the "Canon" -- the imperative law -- to what follows. Fifty of such parts would be indeed a notable peal: to manage three is enough of an achievement for a good musician.

“The Opinion of a Southerner,” given below, appeared

And now, -- here is Christmas: all my best wishes go to you and Mrs Corson. Those of my sister also. She was indeed suffering from grave indisposition in the summer, but is happily recovered. I could not venture, under the circumstances, to expose her convalescence to the accidents of foreign travel: hence our contenting ourselves with Wales rather than Italy. Shall you be again induced to visit us? Present or absent, you will remember me always, I trust, as

“The Opinion of a Southerner,” given below, appeared

Yours most affectionately Robert Browning.

“The Opinion of a Southerner,” given below, appeared

"Quanta subtilitate ipsa corda hominum reserat, intimos mentis recessus explorat, varios animi motus perscrutatur. Quod ad tragoediam antiquiorem attinet, interpretatus est, uti nostis omnes, non modo Aeschylum quo nemo sublimior, sed etiam Euripidem quo nemo humanior; quo fit ut etiam illos qui Graece nesciunt, misericordia tangat Alcestis, terrore tangat Hercules. Recentiora argumenta tragica cum lyrico quodam scribendi genere coniunxit, duas Musas et Melpomenen et Euterpen simul veneratus. Musicae miracula quis dignius cecinit? Pictoris Florentini sine fraude vitam quasi inter crepuscula vesperascentem coloribus quam vividis depinxit. Vesperi quotiens, dum foco adsidemus, hoc iubente resurgit Italia. Vesperi nuper, dum huius idyllia forte meditabar, Cami inter arundines mihi videbar vocem magnam audire clamantis, Pa\n o` me/gas ou' te/qnhken. Vivit adhuc Pan ipse, cum Marathonis memoria et Pheidippidis velocitate immortali consociatus." -- Eulogium pronounced by Mr. J. E. Sandys, Public Orator at the University of Cambridge, on presenting Mr. Browning for the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws, June 10, 1879.

The purpose of the present volume is to afford some aid and guidance in the study of Robert Browning's Poetry, which, being the most complexly subjective of all English poetry, is, for that reason alone, the most difficult. And then the poet's favorite art-form, the dramatic, or, rather, psychologic, monologue, which is quite original with himself, and peculiarly adapted to the constitution of his genius and to the revelation of themselves by the several "dramatis personae", presents certain structural difficulties, but difficulties which, with an increased familiarity, grow less and less. The exposition presented in the Introduction, of its constitution and skilful management, and the Arguments given of the several poems included in the volume, will, it is hoped, reduce, if not altogether remove, the difficulties of this kind. In the same section of the Introduction, certain peculiarities of the poet's diction, which sometimes give a check to the reader's understanding of a passage, are presented and illustrated.

I think it not necessary to offer any apology for my going all the way back to Chaucer, and noting the Ebb and Flow in English Poetry down to the present time, of the spirituality which constitutes the real life of poetry, and which should, as far as possible, be brought to the consciousness and appreciation of students. What I mean by spirituality is explained in my treatment of the subject. The degree to which poetry is quickened with it should always enter into an estimate of its absolute worth. It is that, indeed, which constitutes its absolute worth. The weight of thought conveyed, whatever that be, will not compensate for the absence of it.

The study of poetry, in our institutions of learning, so far as I have taken note of it, and the education induced thereby, are almost purely intellectual. The student's spiritual nature is left to take care of itself; and the consequence is that he becomes, at best, only a thinking and analyzing machine.

The spiritual claims of the study of poetry are especially demanded in the case of Browning's poetry. Browning is generally and truly regarded as the most intellectual of poets. No poetry in English literature, or in any literature, is more charged with discursive thought than his. But he is, at the same time, the most spiritual and transcendental of poets, the "subtlest assertor of the Soul in Song". His thought is never an end to itself, but is always subservient to an ulterior spiritual end -- always directed towards "a presentment of the correspondency of the universe to Deity, of the natural to the spiritual, and of the actual to the ideal"; and it is all-important that students should be awakened, and made, as far as possible, responsive to this spiritual end.

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