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An Introduction to the Study of Robert Browning's Poetry   By: (1828-1911)

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by Hiram Corson

[This etext was prepared from a 1910 printing. This third edition was originally published in 1886.]

Hiram Corson, LL.D., Professor of English Literature in the Cornell University; Author of "An Introduction to the Study of Shakespeare", "A Primer of English Verse, chiefly in its Aesthetic and Organic Character", "The Aims of Literary Study", etc.

"Subtlest Assertor of the Soul in song."

{There are several Greek phrases in this book. ASCII cannot represent the Greek characters, so if you are interested in these phrases, use the following map. Hopefully these phrases will not be mistaken for another language. . . .

ASCII to Greek

A,a alpha B,b beta G,g gamma D,d delta E,e epsilon Z,z zeta H,h eta Q,q theta I,i iota K,k kappa L,l lambda M,m mi/mu N,n ni/nu J,j ksi/xi O,o omikron/omicron P,p pi R,r rho S,s,c sigma T,t tau U,u ypsilon/upsilon F,f phi X,x chi/khi Y,y psi W,w omega

',`,/,\,^ Accents, follow the vowel. You figure them out.}

{The following is transcribed from a letter (from Browning to Corson) which Corson chose to use in facsimile form to begin his text. Unfortunately (or fortunately), it will be regular text here.}

19. Warwick Crescent. W.

Dec. 28. '86

My dear Dr. Corson,

I waited some days after the arrival of your Book and Letter, thinking I might be able to say more of my sense of your goodness: but I can do no more now than a week ago. You "hope I shall not find too much to disapprove of": what I ought to protest against, is "a load to sink a navy too much honor": how can I put aside your generosity, as if cold justice however befitting myself would be in better agreement with your nature? Let it remain as an assurance to younger poets that, after fifty years' work unattended by any conspicuous recognition, an over payment may be made, if there be such another munificent appreciator as I have been privileged to find, in which case let them, even if more deserving, be equally grateful.

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.

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

Yours most affectionately,

Robert Browning.

"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... Continue reading book >>

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