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Best Famous Robert Browning Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Robert Browning poems. This is a select list of the best famous Robert Browning poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Robert Browning poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Robert Browning poems.

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by Jorge Luis Borges | |

Browning Decides To Be A Poet

 in these red labyrinths of London
I find that I have chosen
the strangest of all callings,
save that, in its way, any calling is strange.
Like the alchemist who sought the philosopher's stone in quicksilver, I shall make everyday words-- the gambler's marked cards, the common coin-- give off the magic that was their when Thor was both the god and the din, the thunderclap and the prayer.
In today's dialect I shall say, in my fashion, eternal things: I shall try to be worthy of the great echo of Byron.
This dust that I am will be invulnerable.
If a woman shares my love my verse will touch the tenth sphere of the concentric heavens; if a woman turns my love aside I will make of my sadness a music, a full river to resound through time.
I shall live by forgetting myself.
I shall be the face I glimpse and forget, I shall be Judas who takes on the divine mission of being a betrayer, I shall be Caliban in his bog, I shall be a mercenary who dies without fear and without faith, I shall be Polycrates, who looks in awe upon the seal returned by fate.
I will be the friend who hates me.
The persian will give me the nightingale, and Rome the sword.
Masks, agonies, resurrections will weave and unweave my life, and in time I shall be Robert Browning.


by Walter Savage Landor | |

To Robert Browning

 There is delight in singing, though none hear
Beside the singer; and there is delight
In praising, though the praiser sits alone
And see the praised far off him, far above.
Shakespeare is not our poet, but the world's, Therefore on him no speech! and brief for thee, Browning! Since Chaucer was alive and hale No man hath walked along our roads with step So active, so inquiring eye, or tongue So varied in discourse.
But warmer climes Give brighter plumage, stronger wing; the breeze Of Alpine heights thou playest with, borne on Beyond Sorrento and Amalfi, where The Siren waits thee, singing song for song.


by Algernon Charles Swinburne | |

On the Death of Robert Browning

 He held no dream worth waking; so he said,
He who stands now on death's triumphal steep,
Awakened out of life wherein we sleep
And dream of what he knows and sees, being dead.
But never death for him was dark or dread; "Look forth," he bade the soul, and fear not.
Weep, All ye that trust not in his truth, and keep Vain memory's vision of a vanished head As all that lives of all that once was he Save that which lightens from his word; but we, Who, seeing the sunset-colored waters roll, Yet know the sun subdued not of the sea, Nor weep nor doubt that still the spirit is whole, And life and death but shadows of the soul.


More great poems below...

by Henry Van Dyke | |

Robert Browning

 How blind the toil that burrows like the mole, 
In winding graveyard pathways underground,
For Browning's lineage! What if men have found
Poor footmen or rich merchants on the roll
Of his forbears? Did they beget his soul? 
Nay, for he came of ancestry renowned 
Through all the world, -- the poets laurel-crowned
With wreaths from which the autumn takes no toll.
The blazons on his coat-of-arms are these: The flaming sign of Shelley's heart on fire, The golden globe of Shakespeare's human stage, The staff and scrip of Chaucer's pilgrimage, The rose of Dante's deep, divine desire, The tragic mask of wise Euripides.


by William Butler Yeats | |

Are You Content?

 I call on those that call me son,
Grandson, or great-grandson,
On uncles, aunts, great-uncles or great-aunts,
To judge what I have done.
Have I, that put it into words, Spoilt what old loins have sent? Eyes spiritualised by death can judge, I cannot, but I am not content.
He that in Sligo at Drumcliff Set up the old stone Cross, That red-headed rector in County Down, A good man on a horse, Sandymount Corbets, that notable man Old William pollexfen, The smuggler Middleton, Butlers far back, Half legendary men.
Infirm and aged I might stay In some good company, I who have always hated work, Smiling at the sea, Or demonstrate in my own life What Robert Browning meant By an old hunter talking with Gods; But I am not content.


by Robert Browning | |

Another Way Of Love

 I.
June was not over Though past the fall, And the best of her roses Had yet to blow, When a man I know (But shall not discover, Since ears are dull, And time discloses) Turned him and said with a man's true air, Half sighing a smile in a yawn, as 'twere,--- ``If I tire of your June, will she greatly care?'' II.
Well, dear, in-doors with you! True! serene deadness Tries a man's temper.
What's in the blossom June wears on her bosom? Can it clear scores with you? Sweetness and redness.
_Eadem semper!_ Go, let me care for it greatly or slightly! If June mend her bower now, your hand left unsightly By plucking the roses,---my June will do rightly.
III.
And after, for pastime, If June be refulgent With flowers in completeness, All petals, no prickles, Delicious as trickles Of wine poured at mass-time,--- And choose One indulgent To redness and sweetness: Or if, with experience of man and of spider, June use my June-lightning, the strong insect-ridder, And stop the fresh film-work,---why, June will consider.


by Robert Browning | |

Verse-Making Was Least of My Virtues

 Verse-making was least of my virtues: I viewed with despair 
Wealth that never yet was but might be--all that verse-making were 
If the life would but lengthen to wish, let the mind be laid bare.
So I said, "To do little is bad, to do nothing is worse"-- And made verse.
Love-making,--how simple a matter! No depths to explore, No heights in a life to ascend! No disheartening Before, No affrighting Hereafter,--love now will be love ever more.
So I felt "To keep silence were folly:"--all language above, I made love.


by Robert Browning | |

Song from Paracelsus

 HEAP cassia, sandal-buds and stripes 
 Of labdanum, and aloe-balls, 
Smear'd with dull nard an Indian wipes 
 From out her hair: such balsam falls 
 Down sea-side mountain pedestals, 
From tree-tops where tired winds are fain, 
Spent with the vast and howling main, 
To treasure half their island-gain.
And strew faint sweetness from some old Egyptian's fine worm-eaten shroud Which breaks to dust when once unroll'd; Or shredded perfume, like a cloud From closet long to quiet vow'd, With moth'd and dropping arras hung, Mouldering her lute and books among, As when a queen, long dead, was young.


by Robert Browning | |

To Edward Fitzgerald

 I chanced upon a new book yesterday;
I opened it, and, where my finger lay
'Twixt page and uncut page, these words I read -
Some six or seven at most - and learned thereby
That you, Fitzgerald, whom by ear and eye
She never knew, "thanked God my wife was dead.
" Aye, dead! and were yourself alive, good Fitz, How to return you thanks would task my wits.
Kicking you seems the common lot of curs - While more appropriate greeting lends you grace, Surely to spit there glorifies your face - Spitting from lips once sanctified by hers.


by Robert Browning | |

De Gustibus---

 I.
Your ghost will walk, you lover of trees, (If our loves remain) In an English lane, By a cornfield-side a-flutter with poppies.
Hark, those two in the hazel coppice--- A boy and a girl, if the good fates please, Making love, say,--- The happier they! Draw yourself up from the light of the moon, And let them pass, as they will too soon, With the bean-flowers' boon, And the blackbird's tune, And May, and June! II.
What I love best in all the world Is a castle, precipice-encurled, In a gash of the wind-grieved Apennine Or look for me, old fellow of mine, (If I get my head from out the mouth O' the grave, and loose my spirit's bands, And come again to the land of lands)--- In a sea-side house to the farther South, Where the baked cicala dies of drouth, And one sharp tree---'tis a cypress---stands, By the many hundred years red-rusted, Rough iron-spiked, ripe fruit-o'ercrusted, My sentinel to guard the sands To the water's edge.
For, what expands Before the house, but the great opaque Blue breadth of sea without a break? While, in the house, for ever crumbles Some fragment of the frescoed walls, From blisters where a scorpion sprawls.
A girl bare-footed brings, and tumbles Down on the pavement, green-flesh melons, And says there's news to-day---the king Was shot at, touched in the liver-wing, Goes with his Bourbon arm in a sling: ---She hopes they have not caught the felons.
Italy, my Italy! Queen Mary's saying serves for me--- (When fortune's malice Lost her---Calais)--- Open my heart and you will see Graved inside of it, ``Italy.
'' Such lovers old are I and she: So it always was, so shall ever be!


by Robert Browning | |

Cavalier Tunes: Marching Along

 Kentish Sir Byng stood for his King,
Bidding the crop-headed Parliament swing:
And, pressing a troop unable to stoop
And see the rogues flourish and honest folk droop,
Marched them along, fifty score strong,
Great-hearted gentlemen, singing this song.
God for King Charles! Pym and such carles To the Devil that prompts 'em their treasonous parles! Cavaliers, up! Lips from the cup, Hands from the pasty, nor bite take nor sup Till you're-- (Chorus) Marching along, fifty-score strong, Great-hearted gentlemen, singing this song.
Hampden to hell, and his obsequies' knell.
Serve Hazelrig, Fiennes, and young Harry as well! England, good cheer! Rupert is near! Kentish and loyalists, keep we not here (Chorus) Marching along, fifty-score strong, Great-hearted gentlemen, singing this song? Then, God for King Charles! Pym and his snarls To the Devil that pricks on such pestilent carles! Hold by the right, you double your might; So, onward to Nottingham, fresh for the fight, (Chorus) March we along, fifty-score strong, Great-hearted gentlemen, singing this song!


by Robert Browning | |

Cavalier Tunes: Give a Rouse

 King Charles, and who'll do him right now? 
King Charles, and who's ripe for fight now? 
Give a rouse: here's, in Hell's despite now, 
King Charles! 

Who gave me the goods that went since? 
Who raised me the house that sank once? 
Who helped me to gold I spent since? 
Who found me in wine you drank once? 
(Chorus) 
King Charles, and who'll do him right now? 
King Charles, and who's ripe for fight now? 
Give a rouse: here's, in Hell's despite now, 
King Charles! 
To whom used my boy George quaff else, 
By the old fool's side that begot him? 
For whom did he cheer and laugh else, 
While Noll's damned troopers shot him? 
(Chorus) 
King Charles, and who'll do him right now? 
King Charles, and who's ripe for fight now? 
Give a rouse: here's, in Hell's despite now, 
King Charles!


by Robert Browning | |

Heap cassia sandal-buds and stripes

 Heap cassia, sandal-buds and stripes 
Of labdanum, and aloe-balls, 
Smeared with dull nard an Indian wipes 
From out her hair: such balsam falls 
Down sea-side mountain pedestals, 
From tree-tops where tired winds are fain, 
Spent with the vast and howling main, 
To treasure half their island-gain.
And strew faint sweetness from some old Egyptian's fine worm-eaten shroud Which breaks to dust when once unrolled; Or shredded perfume, like a cloud From closet long to quiet vowed, With mothed and dropping arras hung, Mouldering her lute and books among, As when a queen, long dead, was young.


by Robert Browning | |

Thus the Mayne glideth

 THUS the Mayne glideth 
Where my Love abideth; 
Sleep 's no softer: it proceeds 
On through lawns, on through meads, 
On and on, whate'er befall, 
Meandering and musical, 
Though the niggard pasturage 
Bears not on its shaven ledge 
Aught but weeds and waving grasses 
To view the river as it passes, 
Save here and there a scanty patch 
Of primroses too faint to catch 
A weary bee.
.
.
.
And scarce it pushes Its gentle way through strangling rushes Where the glossy kingfisher Flutters when noon-heats are near, Glad the shelving banks to shun, Red and steaming in the sun, Where the shrew-mouse with pale throat Burrows, and the speckled stoat; Where the quick sandpipers flit In and out the marl and grit That seems to breed them, brown as they: Naught disturbs its quiet way, Save some lazy stork that springs, Trailing it with legs and wings, Whom the shy fox from the hill Rouses, creep he ne'er so still.


by Robert Browning | |

Nationality In Drinks

 I.
My heart sank with our Claret-flask, Just now, beneath the heavy sedges That serve this Pond's black face for mask And still at yonder broken edges O' the hole, where up the bubbles glisten, After my heart I look and listen.
II.
Our laughing little flask, compelled Thro' depth to depth more bleak and shady; As when, both arms beside her held, Feet straightened out, some gay French lady Is caught up from life's light and motion, And dropped into death's silent ocean! --- Up jumped Tokay on our table, Like a pygmy castle-warder, Dwarfish to see, but stout and able, Arms and accoutrements all in order; And fierce he looked North, then, wheeling South, Blew with his bugle a challenge to Drouth, Cocked his flap-hat with the tosspot-feather, Twisted his thumb in his red moustache, Jingled his huge brass spurs together, Tightened his waist with its Buda sash, And then, with an impudence nought could abash, Shrugged his hump-shoulder, to tell the beholder, For twenty such knaves he should laugh but the bolder: And so, with his sword-hilt gallantly jutting, And dexter-hand on his haunch abutting, Went the little man, Sir Ausbruch, strutting! --- Here's to Nelson's memory! 'Tis the second time that I, at sea, Right off Cape Trafalgar here, Have drunk it deep in British Beer.
Nelson for ever---any time Am I his to command in prose or rhyme! Give me of Nelson only a touch, And I save it, be it little or much: Here's one our Captain gives, and so Down at the word, by George, shall it go! He says that at Greenwich they point the beholder To Nelson's coat, ``still with tar on the shoulder: ``For he used to lean with one shoulder digging, ``Jigging, as it were, and zig-zag-zigging ``Up against the mizen-rigging!''


by Robert Browning | |

Among the Rocks

 Oh, good gigantic smile o' the brown old earth, 
This autumn morning! How he sets his bones 
To bask i' the sun, and thrusts out knees and feet 
For the ripple to run over in its mirth; 
Listening the while, where on the heap of stones 
The white breast of the sea-lark twitters sweet.
That is the doctrine, simple, ancient, true; Such is life's trial, as old earth smiles and knows.
If you loved only what were worth your love, Love were clear gain, and wholly well for you: Make the low nature better by your throes! Give earth yourself, go up for gain above!


by Robert Browning | |

In A Year

 Never any more,
While I live,
Need I hope to see his face
As before.
Once his love grown chill, Mine may strive: Bitterly we re-embrace, Single still.
II.
Was it something said, Something done, Vexed him? was it touch of hand, Turn of head? Strange! that very way Love begun: I as little understand Love's decay.
III.
When I sewed or drew, I recall How he looked as if I sung, ---Sweetly too.
If I spoke a word, First of all Up his cheek the colour sprang, Then he heard.
IV.
Sitting by my side, At my feet, So he breathed but air I breathed, Satisfied! I, too, at love's brim Touched the sweet: I would die if death bequeathed Sweet to him.
V.
``Speak, I love thee best!'' He exclaimed: ``Let thy love my own foretell!'' I confessed: ``Clasp my heart on thine ``Now unblamed, ``Since upon thy soul as well ``Hangeth mine!'' VI.
Was it wrong to own, Being truth? Why should all the giving prove His alone? I had wealth and ease, Beauty, youth: Since my lover gave me love, I gave these.
VII.
That was all I meant, ---To be just, And the passion I had raised, To content.
Since he chose to change Gold for dust, If I gave him what he praised Was it strange? VIII.
Would he loved me yet, On and on, While I found some way undreamed ---Paid my debt! Gave more life and more, Till, all gone, He should smile ``She never seemed ``Mine before.
IX.
``What, she felt the while, ``Must I think? ``Love's so different with us men!'' He should smile: ``Dying for my sake--- ``White and pink! ``Can't we touch these bubbles then ``But they break?'' X.
Dear, the pang is brief, Do thy part, Have thy pleasure! How perplexed Grows belief! Well, this cold clay clod Was man's heart: Crumble it, and what comes next? Is it God?


by Robert Browning | |

Incident Of The French Camp

 I.
You know, we French stormed Ratisbon: A mile or so away, On a little mound, Napoleon Stood on our storming-day; With neck out-thrust, you fancy how, Legs wide, arms locked behind, As if to balance the prone brow Oppressive with its mind.
II.
Just as perhaps he mused ``My plans ``That soar, to earth may fall, ``Let once my army-leader Lannes ``Waver at yonder wall,''--- Out 'twixt the battery-smokes there flew A rider, bound on bound Full-galloping; nor bridle drew Until he reached the mound.
III.
Then off there flung in smiling joy, And held himself erect By just his horse's mane, a boy: You hardly could suspect--- (So tight he kept his lips compressed, Scarce any blood came through) You looked twice ere you saw his breast Was all but shot in two.
IV.
``Well,'' cried he, ``Emperor, by God's grace ``We've got you Ratisbon! ``The Marshal's in the market-place, ``And you'll be there anon ``To see your flag-bird flap his vans ``Where I, to heart's desire, ``Perched him!'' The chief's eye flashed; his plans Soared up again like fire.
V.
The chief's eye flashed; but presently Softened itself, as sheathes A film the mother-eagle's eye When her bruised eaglet breathes; ``You're wounded!'' ``Nay,'' the soldier's pride Touched to the quick, he said: ``I'm killed, Sire!'' And his chief beside Smiling the boy fell dead.


by Robert Browning | |

Cavalier Tunes: Boot and Saddle

 Boot, saddle, to horse and away!
Rescue my Castle, before the hot day
Brightens to blue from its silvery gray,
(Chorus)
Boot, saddle, to horse, and away!
Ride past the suburbs, asleep as you'd say;
Many's the friend there, will listen and pray
"God's luck to gallants that strike up the lay--
(Chorus)
Boot, saddle, to horse, and away!"
Forty miles off, like a roebuck at bay,
Flouts Castle Brancepeth the Roundheads' array:
Who laughs, "Good fellows ere this, by my fay,
(Chorus)
Boot, saddle, to horse, and away!"

Who? My wife Gertrude; that, honest and gay,
Laughs when you talk of surrendering, "Nay!
I've better counsellors; what counsel they?
(Chorus)
Boot, saddle, to horse, and away!"


by Robert Browning | |

In Three Days

 I.
So, I shall see her in three days And just one night, but nights are short, Then two long hours, and that is morn.
See how I come, unchanged, unworn! Feel, where my life broke off from thine, How fresh the splinters keep and fine,--- Only a touch and we combine! II.
Too long, this time of year, the days! But nights, at least the nights are short.
As night shows where ger one moon is, A hand's-breadth of pure light and bliss, So life's night gives my lady birth And my eyes hold her! What is worth The rest of heaven, the rest of earth? III.
O loaded curls, release your store Of warmth and scent, as once before The tingling hair did, lights and darks Outbreaking into fairy sparks, When under curl and curl I pried After the warmth and scent inside, Thro' lights and darks how manifold--- The dark inspired, the light controlled As early Art embrowns the gold.
IV.
What great fear, should one say, ``Three days ``That change the world might change as well ``Your fortune; and if joy delays, ``Be happy that no worse befell!'' What small fear, if another says, ``Three days and one short night beside ``May throw no shadow on your ways; ``But years must teem with change untried, ``With chance not easily defied, ``With an end somewhere undescried.
'' No fear!---or if a fear be born This minute, it dies out in scorn.
Fear? I shall see her in three days And one night, now the nights are short, Then just two hours, and that is morn.


by Robert Browning | |

Pippas Song

 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!


by Robert Browning | |

Respectability

 I.
Dear, had the world in its caprice Deigned to proclaim ``I know you both, ``Have recognized your plighted troth, Am sponsor for you: live in peace!''--- How many precious months and years Of youth had passed, that speed so fast, Before we found it out at last, The world, and what it fears? II.
How much of priceless life were spent With men that every virtue decks, And women models of their sex, Society's true ornament,--- Ere we dared wander, nights like this, Thro' wind and rain, and watch the Seine, And feel the Boulevart break again To warmth and light and bliss? III.
I know! the world proscribes not love; Allows my finger to caress Your lips' contour and downiness, Provided it supply a glove.
The world's good word!---the Institute! Guizot receives Montalembert! Eh? Down the court three lampions flare: Put forward your best foot!


by Robert Browning | |

Overhead The Tree-Tops Meet

 Overhead the tree-tops meet,
Flowers and grass spring 'neath one's feet;
There was nought above me, and nought below,
My childhood had not learned to know:
For what are the voices of birds
—Ay, and of beasts,—but words—our words,
Only so much more sweet?
The knowledge of that with my life begun!
But I had so near made out the sun,
And counted your stars, the Seven and One,
Like the fingers of my hand:
Nay, I could all but understand
Wherefore through heaven the white moon ranges,
And just when out of her soft fifty changes
No unfamiliar face might overlook me— 
Suddenly God took me!


by Robert Browning | |

Confessions

 What is he buzzing in my ears?
"Now that I come to die,
Do I view the world as a vale of tears?"
Ah, reverend sir, not I!

What I viewed there once, what I view again
Where the physic bottles stand
On the table's edge,—is a suburb lane,
With a wall to my bedside hand.
That lane sloped, much as the bottles do, From a house you could descry O'er the garden-wall: is the curtain blue Or green to a healthy eye? To mine, it serves for the old June weather Blue above lane and wall; And that farthest bottle labelled "Ether" Is the house o'ertopping all.
At a terrace, somewhere near the stopper, There watched for me, one June, A girl; I know, sir, it's improper, My poor mind's out of tune.
Only, there was a way.
.
.
you crept Close by the side, to dodge Eyes in the house, two eyes except: They styled their house "The Lodge".
What right had a lounger up their lane? But, by creeping very close, With the good wall's help,—their eyes might strain And stretch themselves to Oes, Yet never catch her and me together, As she left the attic, there, By the rim of the bottle labelled "Ether", And stole from stair to stair, And stood by the rose-wreathed gate.
Alas, We loved, sir—used to meet: How sad and bad and mad it was— But then, how it was sweet!


by Robert Browning | |

Summum Bonum

 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