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Here the aggre.

looks exclusively to the erratic course of the tion administered by a weekly journal reeccentric hero, but finds force in the multi- viewing the perturbations of the world from tude, and law in the uniform flow of average a region of sweetness, and light. These can. society, obtains in journalism its proper liter- tos resemble leading articles done into verse, ary expression. When it is commonly re- in that they are the lyrical expressions of a cognised that the hero and statesman is no chorus of public opinion, exercising itself original creator, no imposer of his own pri- on the deeds which move its interest, deliv. vate dreams upon mankind, but one who re. cring its judgments on their evidence and presents their average opinions, and enforces motives, and recording its sentiments about them with extraordinary ability, the hero of them. They do not dramatize public opinliterature must become not the eccentric but ion; to do so, it would be necessary to ex. the sample man. The vagaries of sensational hibit a common wish and will using its own isin seem to herald its dissolution. A mori- instruments, performing its own functions, bund school, whether of theology or philoso- and controlling events, with multitudes inphy or art, is always most rabid in its ana stead of persons as actors. themas, most uncompromising in its logic, gates of men simply record their sentiments most extravagant in its one-sided consisten- through the mouth of an average member. cy.

There is an autumnal and painted gor- Although Mr. Browning makes use of geousness, which is the precursor not of life these expositors of opinion, he does not cease but of death. Sensationalism may be the last to accompany their utterances with a runfitful glare of the novel of exceptional charac- ning commentary of his own, sometimes ex ter and situatiou, and journalism the first pressed, sometimes understood, forming, a twilight and the model of a school about to perpetual gloss on the text, and ever making arise. Mr. Browning's poem is cousin-ger- us alive to the relationship in which the senman to a series of newspaper articles. His timents dramatically expressed stand to those “horrid murder" is not led up to, hidden, of the poet himself. He writes with a diand discovered as in a novel, but bursts dactic purpose. He claims to have a mission; upon us like an announcement in a journal. and the most direct way of accomplishing it Its interest lies not in its sensational atro- would be to look his brethren in the face, city or pathos, but in its ambiguous charac- and tell them that they have eyes

and see ter,—the various interpretations which may not, ears and hear not, and that what they be given to the acts and motives of the mur- count faith is foolishness. But besides the derer, his wife, her parents, and her friend. peril of making one's-self a common enemy And these are just the qualities which would by calling all things by their right names, make it fit material for the journalist. A such a way of delivering his message would cruel murder, stupidly conceived and clum- be obnoxious to the common charge against sily executed, where justice has no trouble all human testimony and human speech. He in tracing the evidence, and where the mo- must therefore deliver his message in the tives are apparent and the provocation imag- way of art, which "nowise speaks to men, inary, does not become a celebrated cause. only to mankind," which tells truth oblique It is only when it involves terrible uncer- ly by painting the picture that shall breed tainties of inferential evidence, or when the the thought, and thus both satisfy the immotives urged in justification are capable of agination and save the soul. It is not to various explanations, that the case becomes be forgotten, in considering the complex meat and drink for journalists. Then socie- form of Mr. Browning's poem, that it is in ty is moved. Then all classes contribute some sense a sermon. their comments, and improve the occasion to

With regard to the materials of the poem, enforce their various social theories, their the first thing that strikes one is that it is, belief in the corruption of the aristocracy, both in the plot and in the characters, a retheir distrust of trial by jury, their con newal of old productions. tempt for the English law of evidence, their conviction of the connection between the in- “For out of the old fieldes, as men saytb,

Cometh all this newe corn from year to crease of crime and the advance of demo.

year, cracy. It is just such a series of comments

And out of olde bookis, in good fayth, which three out of twelve of Mr. Brown

Cometh all this new science that men ing's cantos furnish. " Half Rome” might

lere." a summary of the articles and correspond. ence of the daily Liberal journal on the sub. A comparison of it with the poet's earlier ject, the other half Rome” a similar digest writings will show that it stands to them in of the opinions of the Tory paper, while the that relation of finished picture to previods “ Tertium quid ” would be the acrid and im- studies on which Bottini enlarges in the bepartial distribution of universal condemna-Iginning of his monologue. Up to the publi

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cation of the poem, it was generally thought I connected with it, brooded over it for four
that “The Flight of the Duchess" was Mr. years, and told its story over again, with
Browning's most considerable work. But the additions of his own fancy, using it as a
as the individual characters of that piece are mould for recasting all his favourite charac-
mostly only developments of previous iso- ters, in the composition of whose metal al-
lated studies-studies of neglected wives and most his whole life had been spent. While
of heartless husbands—so the whole com- be designed moulds for himself, he had gen-
plex play of characters, their mutual action erally remained perilously near the edge of
and reaction, in The Ring and the Book, is the impossible or the grotesque.
very much a reproduction and improved

" Amphora capit
version of the play of moral forces exhibited Institui; currente rotâu cur urceus exit?”
in " The Flight of the Duchess." In both
there is the child-wife, great in moral pature Now he has found a mould, or rather a col-
and in possibilities of development, but lection of moulds, which admits of a varie-
ignorant, innocent, and unformed; in both gated display of his potter's craft, and re-
the icy, formal, heartless husband; in both quires a large collection of vessels, some to
the “gaunt grey nightmare" of the mother-honour, some to dishonour. All that he
in-law; in both a deliverer whose presence could not do he found ready to hand; all
is like a flash of light to the pining wife, that he could do best, he saw room for. His
transfiguring her to a daring heroine. In characters were ready; he had only to adapt
one poem this character is borne by the them, and make them act over again in poetry
gipsy, in the other by the canon Caponsacchi. a drama which had once been really acted by
In both there is a censor who relates the persons more or less resembling his masks.
story, and delivers his judgment upon the The story had perhaps another attraction
motives and acts of the persons. 'In one, for Mr. Browning in its being Italian. Dutch
this office is borne by the old huntsman; in as he is in his realism, in his distance from
the other it is divided between the three re- the abstract ideal, and in a complexity which
presentative speakers who utter the opinions buries a fire under the abundance of fuel

, he of Roman society, and the Pope who sums yet shares the Dutch artist's love for the up the case, and makes the final award, Cer

6 Woman country, never wed, tain types have long dwelt in the poet's

Loved all the more by earth's male lands." mind; on them he has persistently brought to bear his powers of analysis and construc- But if he goes to Italy and studies there, he tion; he has often exhibited them singly paints Italian subjects in the Dutch manner, and in different combinations, in studies of and is most attracted by the deposits of the various degrees of extent and intensiveness. Teuton admixture in the strata of the Ital. In his more extensive studies, where the re- ian mind. He may decorously display on action of the characters on each other had his table the masterpieces of Latin art, to be exhibited, he has always shown a de. but under them we find the open volumes of ficiency in the power of inventing plots. Rabelais, Montaigne, Annibale Caro, PieThe greatest masters of characterization tro Aretino, or the burlesques of Ariosto and have often confessed a sheer inability to de- Tassoni. To adduce but one example, the vise personages or incidents. Even Shake- grotesque onomatopæia of the Italians exerspeare, by his practice of using ready-made cises quite a magnetic attraction over him. plots, indirectly owns to the difficulty or irk- A nation which delights in giving its most someness of the labour. It is therefore no renowned families such names as Head-inviolent detraction from Mr. Browning's a-bag, Beggar-my-neighbour, Wish-you-well, merits to say that his plots are often ridi- and Rags, has a certain underground fibre of culous, bis incidents absurd, and his person- sympathy with a poet who delights in inventages bizarre. Nothing can well exceed the ing such noises as Blougram, Gigadibs, or unreal, unnatural effect of the introduction Bluphocks. " Uncouth, unkissed,” says of the gipsy in “ The Flight of the Duchess." Chaucer ; but an uncouth name has so great If the writer in the exercise of his self-criti- an attraction for Mr. Browning that he not cism ever felt this weakness, the discovery of only kisses it, but absolutely chews it, and his Florentine book, with an interesting story licks it into shape with the affection of a ready made, supplying not merely a likely she-bear for her cubs. The fatted calf, Dobut å true plot, furnished with the best pos- minus Hyacinthus de Archangelis, who in sible machinery and incidents for a new dis- one of the cantos is exhibited alternating beplay of his favourite types of character, must tween the pains of composing a defence of have appeared even whimsically providen- the murderer, and the pathos of intercalary tial, He seized on his treasure, gloated benedictions of his little boy Hyacinth, whose over it, talked of it, investigated the records birthday it is, ransacks the whole armoury

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looks exclusively to the erratic course of the tion administered by a weekly journal reeccentric hero, but finds force in the multi- viewing the perturbations of the world from tude, and law in the uniform flow of average a region of sweetness and light. These cansociety, obtains in journalism its proper liter- tos resemble leading articles done into verse, ary expression. When it is commonly re- in that they are the lyrical expressions of a cognised that the hero and statesman is no chorus of public opinion, exercising itself original creator, no imposer of his own pri- on the deeds which move its interest, deliv. vate dreams upon mankind, but one who re-ering its judgments on their cvidence and presents their average opinions, and enforces motives, and recording its sentiments about them with extraordinary ability, the hero of them. They do not dramatize public opinliterature must become not the eccentric but ion; to do so, it would be necessary to ex. the sample man. The vagaries of sensational hibit a common wish and will using its own ism seem to herald its dissolution. A mori- instruments, performing its own functions, bund school, whether of theology or philoso- and controlling events, with multitudes inphy or art, is always most rabid in its ana- stead of persons as actors. Here the aggre. themas, most uncompromising in its logic, gates of men simply record their sentiments most extravagant in its one-sided consisten through the mouth of an average member. cy. There is an autumnal and painted gor- Although Mr. Browning makes use of geousness, which is the precursor not of life these expositors of opinion, he does not cease but of death. Sensationalism may be the last to accompany their utterances with a runfitful glare of the novel of exceptional charac- ning commentary of his own, sometimes ex ter and situatiou, and journalism the first pressed, sometimes understood, forming a twilight and the model of a school about to perpetual gloss on the text, and ever making arise. Mr. Browning's poem is cousin-ger- us alive to the relationship in which the senman to a series of newspaper articles. His timents dramatically expressed stand to those “horrid murder" is not led up to, hidden, of the poet himself. He writes with a diand discovered as in a novel, but bursts dactic purpose. He claims to have a mission; upon us like an announcement in a journal. and the most direct way of accomplishing it Its interest lies not in its sensational atro- would be to look his brethren in the face, city or pathos, but in its ambiguous charac- and tell them that they have eyes and see ter,—the various interpretations which may not, ears and hear not, and that what they be given to the acts and motives of the mur- count faith is foolishness. But besides the derer, his wife, her parents, and her friend. peril of making one's-self a common enemy And these are just the qualities which would by calling all things by their right names, make it fit material for the journalist. A such a way of delivering his message

would cruel murder, stupidly conceived and clum- be obnoxious to the common charge against sily cxecuted, where justice has no trouble all human testimony and human speech. He in tracing the evidence, and where the mo- must therefore deliver his message in the tives are apparent and the provocation imag- way of art, which “nowise speaks to men, inary, does not become a celebrated cause. only to mankind," which tells truth oblique It is only when it involves terrible uncer- ly by painting the picture that shall breed tainties of inferential evidence, or when the the thought, and thus both satisfy the immotives urged in justification are capable of agination and save the soul. It is not to various explanations, that the case becomes be forgotten, in considering the complex meat and drink for journalists. Then socie. form of Mr. Browning's poem, that it is in ty is moved. Then all classes contribute some sense a sermon. their comments, and improve the occasion to

With regard to the materials of the poem, enforce their various social theories, their the first thing that strikes one is that it is, belief in the corruption of the aristocracy, both in the plot and in the characters, a retheir distrust of trial by jury, their con newal of old productions. tempt for the English law of evidence, their conviction of the connection between the in. “For out of the old fieldes, as men sayth, crease of crime and the advance of demo.

Conreth all this newe corn from year to

year, cracy. It is just such a series of comments

And out of olde bookis, in good fayth, which three out of twelve of Mr. Brown

Cometh all this new science that men ing's cantos furnish. “Half Rome” might

lere." a summary of the articles and correspondence of the daily Liberal journal on the sub- A comparison of it with the poet's earlier ject," the other half Rome” a similar digest writings will show that it stands to them in of the opinions of the Tory paper, while the that relation of finished picture to previods “ Tertium quid” would be the acrid and im- studies on which Bottini enlarges in the bepartial distribution of universal condemna-Iginning of his monologue. Up to the publi

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was Mr.

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cation of the poem, it was generally thought connected with it, brooded over it for four that “The Flight of the Duchess

years, and told its story over again, with Browning's most considerable work. But the additions of his own fancy, using it as a as the individual characters of that piece are mould for recasting all his favourite characmostly only developments of previous iso- ters, in the composition of whose metal allated studies--studies of neglected wives and most his whole life had been spent. While of heartless husbands—so the whole com- he designed moulds for himself, he had genplex play of characters, their mutual action erally remained perilously near the edge of and reaction, in The Ring and the Book, is the impossible or the grotesque. very much a reproduction and improved

"Amphora cepit version of the play of moral forces exhibited Institui; currente rotâ cur urceus exit?” in “ The Flight of the Duchess." In both there is the child-wife, great in moral nature Now he has found a mould, or rather a coland in possibilities of development, but lection of moulds, which admits of a varieignorant, innocent, and unformed; in both gated display of his potter's craft, and rethe icy, formal, heartless husband, in both quires a large collection of vessels, some to the "gaunt grey nightmare" of the mother-honour, some to dishonour. All that he in-law; in both a deliverer whose presence could not do he found ready to hand; all is like a flash of light to the pining wife, that he could do best, he saw room for. His transfiguring her to a daring heroine. In characters were ready; he had only to adapt one poem this character is borne by the them, and make them act over again in poetry gipsy, in the other by the canon Caponsacchi. a drama which had once been really acted by In both there is a censor who relates the persons more or less resembling his inasks. story, and delivers his judgment upon the The story had perhaps another attraction motives and acts of the persons. In one, for Mr. Browning in its being Italian. Dutch this office is borne by the old huntsman; in as he is in his realism, in his distance from the other it is divided between the three re- the abstract ideal, and in a complexity which presentative speakers who utter the opinions buries a fire under the abundance of fuel, he of Roman society, and the Pope who sums yet shares the Dutch artist's love for the up the case, and makes the final award. Cer

“ Woman country, never wed, tain types have long dwelt in the poet's

Loved all the more by earth's male lands." mind; on them he has persistently brought to bear his powers of analysis and construc- But if he goes to Italy and studies there, he tion; he has often exhibited them singly paints Italian subjects in the Dutch manner, and in different combinations, in studies of and is most attracted by the deposits of the various degrees of extent and intensiveness. Teuton admixture in the strata of the Ital. In his more extensive studies, where the re- iau miud. He may decorously display on action of the characters on each other had his table the masterpieces of Latin art, to be exhibited, he has always shown a de- but under them we find the open volumes of ficiency in the power of inventing plots. Rabelais, Montaigne, Annibale Caro, PieThe greatest masters of characterization tro Aretino, or the burlesques of Ariosto and have often confessed a sheer inability to de- Tassoni. To adduce but one example, the vise personages or incidents. Even Sbake- grotesque onomatopoeia of the Italians exerspeare, by his practice of using ready-made cises quite a magnetic attraction over him. plots, indirectly owns to the difficulty or irk- A nation which delights in giving its most someness of the labour. It is therefore no renowned families such names as Head-inviolent detraction from Mr. Brownings a-bag, Beggar-my-neighbour, Wisk-you-well, merits to say that his plots are often ridi- and Rags, has a certain underground fibre of culous, his incidents absurd, and his person- sympathy with a poet who delights in inventages

bizarre. Nothing can well exceed the ing such noises as Blougram, Gigadibs, or unreal, unnatural effect of the introduction Bluphocks. "Uncoutb, unkissed," says of the gipsy in “ The Flight of the Duchess." Chaucer; but an uncouth name has so great If the writer in the exercise of his self-criti- an attraction for Mr. Browning that he not cism ever felt this weakness, the discovery of only kisses it, but absolutely chews it, and his Florentine book, with an interesting story licks it into shape with the affection of a ready made, supplying not merely a likely she-bear for her cubs. The fatted calf, Dobut a true plot, furnished with the best pos- minus Hyacinthus de Archangelis, who in sible machinery and incidents for a new dis- one of the cantos is exhibited alternating beplay of his favourite types of character, must tween the pains of composing a defence of have appeared even whimsically providen- the murderer, and the pathos of intercalary tial. He seized on his treasure, gloated benedictions of his little boy Hyacinth, whose over it, talked of it, investigated the records birthday it is, ransacks the whole armoury

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of Italian increments for variations on the bringing out of their treasures things new child's name-Giacinto, Giacintino, Cinino, and old. Ciniccino, Cincicello, Cinone, Cinoncino, The chief value of the story of Mr. Cinoncello, Cinotto, Cinozzo, Cinuzzo, Cina- Browning's poem is to form the framework rello, Cinuccio, Cinucciatolo, Cineruggiolo, for the display of the characters. These —where affection prompts a homeliness of are, first, Count Guido Franceschini, the sound analogous to the homeliness of mean- murderer, a poor nobleman who, having fished ing in the mother who calls a child by the all his life in the antechambers of a cardinal endearing terms of pig or duck. There is a at Rome, and caught nothing, in the wane great deal of expression in names, whether of his years baits his hook with his nobility articulate or only musical in their utterance and catches the wife, and through her the We see strong character in Shakespeare's supposed daughter, of a wealthy Roman Sir Toby and in his Goodman Puff, in many burgess. Guido is Mr. Browning's Iago; of the names of Ben Jonson's plays and in him we have his ideal of wickedness. epigrams, and in those prefixed to Robert Guido is not a man of strong passions urged Herrick's criminosi iambi, where the words by his nature to vice. He is, on the conare generally as expressive in meaning as trary, an artificial man, one whose hinges in sound. It requires, perhaps, a greater re turn not on the pivot of passion but on that finement of musical ear to comprehend a of reason. He is a walking example of meaning in the insignificant sounds of a name, Rousseau's aphorism, “ L'homme qui raiand with Victor Hugo to sum up the saint- sonne est un animal dépravé.” His master ly qualities of a prelate in such a sound as passion is a made-up one, the love of money, Myriel. Mr. Browning's ear is keenly ap- which, in common with mediæval moralists, prehensive of these latent affinities; but his Mr. Browning considers the least human taste leads him rather to the farcical than and most diabolical of all, because it is sim. the beautiful. He does not attempt to make ply artificial. Whoever stands in the way up for other wants by the queerness of his of this passion is simply vermin to Guido nomenclature, as Old Shandy would have first to be provoked to suicide, and in de compensated for his son's loss of nose by fault of that to be led into some crime which christening him Trismegistus; but he gladly may excuse deadly vengeance, and in default lays hold of its accessory aid. It must have of that to be poisoned or stabbed. Add to delighted him to find that the story would him pride, not the natural pride of his far fill his lines with Pompilia and Caponsacchi, reaching intelligence, or any other natural and would give him occasion to lug into gift, but the pride of station, another artihis verse such agglomerations of syllables ficial passion, and we have a reason for the as Panciatichi and Acciaiuoli.

cruel vengeance, the “lust and letch of Italians would probably condemn Mr. hate ” which he exhibits. After his coldBrowning's Latinizing as a corrupt follow- blooded indifference to his wife and her pa. ing of his apostles, and repeat their old pro- rents has provoked them to confess that she verb, Inglese italianizzato diarolo incarnato. is not their child, and therefore not entitled If the intricate and rapid rhymes, of which to their fortune, she becomes the object of he has heretofore shown such management, all his schemes of vengeance, which he conhave an Italian example in Leporeo, Lepo- ducts in so astute a manner as to throw the rco is but a corrupt follower of the rhyming greatest doubt on his own guilt and her inLatin of the mediæval monks. Mr. Brown- nocence. Like Iago, he is a man of logical ing is Saxon, and not Latin, when he hunts and powerful mind, knowing the world, wary the letter with clash and clatter like Holo. in observation, prophetic in political forephernes, and ambles along with the artificial cast, looking quite through the deeds of aid of alliteration. If he affects crabbed men. This cold, satanic intellect, with the and club-fisted words like Marston, it was artificial heat organized out of gold and just for this that the more classical taste of rank, Mr. Browning incarnates in a body Ben Jonson made him so indignant with that almost like a tragic Hudibras--short, thickpoet. But all these things are probably shouldered, book-nosed, dark, with a bushy connected with the retrospective attitude of red beard, capable of enduring pain like a the poet. As he draws his story and char. brute, but deficient in physical courage. The acters from old books, so he draws up what- man is one whose language has a relation to ever he can find in the well of old English, bis own interests, but not the slightest relaand transfers to his own pages whatever he tion to truth, except at the last moment, finds most characteristic. This proceeding when the terror of death compels bim to has been common to our poets, of all ages invoke his murdered wife as a saint, and and of all calibres. They have all been who, again like Iago, permits himself on all news-gleaners from old archives, wise scribes occasions the utmost license in talk. In

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