By: Francis Bickford Hornbrooke (1849-1903)
Francis Bickford Hornbrooke was an American Unitarian minister who in later years was recognized as an expert commentator on literature, in particular the works of Robert Browning. Of all Browning's output, it was his monumental epic, the Ring and the Book, which most attracted Hornbrooke's attention, and he said that " I have read the poem throughout at least thirty times, and every time with increased pleasure. The more I read it, the more I love it, and the less I find in it to censure." His interpretation of the poem is distinguished not only by the great expository and rhetorical skills of a celebrated preacher, but also by a deep and appreciative understanding of the passion and expressive mastery of the poet.