Robert Browning Biography | Poems
An English poet and playwright.. English poet and playwright prominent Victorian era poet.
Robert Browning (May 7, 1812 – December 12, 1889) was an English poet and playwright.
Robert Browning was born in Camberwell, England, on May 7, 1812, the first son of Robert and Sarah Wiedemann Browning. His father was a man of fine intellect and equally fine character, who worked as a well-paid clerk in the Bank of England and so managed to amass a library of around 6,000 books — many of them highly obscure and arcane. Thus Robert was raised in a household with good literary resources. His mother, to whom he was ardently attached, was a devout Nonconformist, the daughter of a German shipowner who had settled in Dundee, and was alike intellectually and morally worthy of his affection. The only other member of the family was a younger sister, also highly gifted, who was the sympathetic companion of his later years. They lived simply, but his father encouraged Robert's interest in literature and the arts.
In his childhood he was distinguished by his love of poetry and natural history. At twelve, he had written a book of poetry which he destroyed when he could not find a publisher. After being at one or two private schools, and showing an insuperable dislike to school life, he was educated by a tutor.
He was a rapid learner and by the age of fourteen was fluent in French, Greek, Italian, and Latin as well as his native English. He became a great admirer of the Romantic poets, especially Shelley. In imitation of the latter, he briefly became an atheist and a vegetarian, but in later life he looked back on this as a passing phase. At age sixteen, he attended University College, London, but dropped out after his first year.
Through his mother he inherited some musical talent, and composed settings, for various songs. His grandmother also was of Creole blood. Thomas Chase wrote of Browning's skin complexion as dark, and his hair as curly. The same went for his Jamaican English born wife, Elizabeth Barrett.