Page:Cartoon portraits and biographical sketches of men of the day.djvu/40

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16
Robert Browning.

derer. She tells it to herself with love-soft heart: one can see her eyes swollen with the tears of happiness, tears that do not drop while she tells it:

Our eldest boy has got the clear
   Great brow: though when his brother's black
Full eye shows scorn, it— Gismond here?
   And have you brought my tercel back?
I just was telling Adela
How many birds it struck since May.

Is he dramatic? Head the 'Soliloquy in the Spanish Cloister,' when the monk who has nourished a foolish hatred, born of idleness and seclusion, gives vent to his thoughts, watching his enemy at his gardening:

There's a great text in Galatians,
   Once you trip on it, entails
Twenty-nine distinct damnations—
   One sure if another fails.
If I trip him just a-dying,
   Sure of heaven as sure can be,
Spin him round, and send him flying 
   Off to hell—a Manichee.

Can he stir the heart? Read the 'Good News from Ghent,' and the Cavalier songs. Can he stoop to simple love? Read these lines:

Nay, but you, who do not love her,
   Is she not pure gold, my mistress?
Holds earth aught—speak truth—above her?
   Aught like this tress—see, and this tress;
And this fairest tress of all,
   So fair, see, ere I let it fall?

Because, you spend your lives in praising;
   To praise, you search the wide world over:
So why not witness, calmly gazing,
   If earth holds aught—speak truth—above her?
Above this tress, and this I touch,
   But cannot praise—I love so much.

Is he simple? Read 'Pippa Passes.' Is he strong, and rough, and sinewy? Read every line which he has written.