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We fall upon our faces. trying to go :
Through tie coal-dark, underground-
In the factories, round and round.
Their wind comes in our faces-
And the walls turn in their places.
And sometimes we could pray,
“Stop! be silent for 10-day !")
For a moment, mouth to month !
of their tender human youth!
Grinding life dov:n froin its mark;
Spin on blindly in the dark. The 'Sonnets from the Portuguese' are as passionate as Shakspeare's Sonnets, and we suspect the title, ‘from the Portuguese,' has no better authority than Sir Walter Scott's 'Old Play' at the head of the chapters of his novels. The first of these so-called translations is eminently beautiful-quite equal to Wordsworth, or to Wordspor .!! Jodel, Milton:
The silver answer rang: Not Death, but Love.' An interval of some years elapsed ere Miss Barrett came forward with another volume, though she was occasionally seen as a contributor to literary journals. She hersme in 1846 the wife of a kindred spirit, Robert Browning, the poet, and removed with him to Italy. In Florence she witnessed the revolutionary outbreak of 1848, and this furnished the theme of her next important work, Casa Guidi Windows,' a poem containing the impressions of the writer upon events in Tuscany of which sne was a witness’ from the win. dows of her house, the Casa Guidi in Florence. The poem is a spirited semi-political narrative of actual events and genuine feelings. Fart might pass for the work of Byron-so free is its versification, and so warn the affection of Mrs. Browning for Italy and the Italians—but there are also passages that would have served better for a prose pamphlet. The genius of the poetess had become practical and energetic-inspirited by what she saw around her, and by the new tie which, as we learn from this pleasing poem, now brightened her visions of the future:
The san strikes, through the windows, up the floor :
Stand out in ii, my young Florentine,
And itx thy bruve blue English eyes on mine,
With unabashed and unabated gaze,
When they smile clear as thou dost. In 1856 appeared • Aurora Leigh,' an elaborate poem or novel in blank verse, which Mrs. Browning characterises as the 'most mature' of her works, and one into which her ‘highest convictions upon life and art are entered.' It presents us, like Wordsworth's Prelude,' with the history of a poetical mind-an autobiography of the heart and intellect; but Wordsworth, with all his contempt for literary 'conventionalities.' would never have ventured on such a sweeping departure from established critical rules and poetical diction as Mrs. Browning has here carried out. There is a prodigality of genius in the work, many just and fine remarks, ethical and critical, and passages evincing a keen insight into the human heart as well as into the working of our social institutions and artificial restraints. A noble hatred of falsehood, hypocrisy, and oppression breathes through the whole. But the materials of the poem are so strangely mingled and so discordant-prose and poetry so mixed up together-scenes of splendid passion and tears followed by dry metaphysical and polemi. cal disquisitions, or rambling common-place conversation, that the effect of the peem as a whole, though splendid in parts, is unsatisfactory. An English Landscape.— From ' Aurora Leigh.'
The thrushen sang,
While breaking into volnble ecstacy,
And clapped my hand, and called all very fair. In 1860, Poems Before Congress' evinced Mrs. Browning's unabated interest in Italy and its people. This was her last publication. She died on the 29th of June, 1861, at the Casa Guidi, Florence ; and in front of the house, a marble tablet records that in it wrote and died Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who, by her song, created a golden link between Italy and England, and that in gratitude Florence had erected that memorial. In 1862 the literary remains of Mrs. Browning were published under the title of 'Last Poems.'
We subjoin a piece written in the early, and we think the purest style of the poetess :
And wrought within his shattered brain such quick poetic senses
ROBERT BROWNING. The head of what has been termed the psychological school of poetry is MR. ROBERT BROWNING, who for more than thirty years has been recognised as one of our most original and intellectual poets. Latterly, the public—to use his own words
The British Public, ye who like me not
(God love you !), whom I yet have laboured for, have been more indulgent to the poet, and more ready to acknowledge his real merits. Mr. Browning first attracted attention in 1836, when he published his poem of Paracelsus.' He had previously published anonymously a poem entitled 'Pauline, a Fragment of a Confession.'
Paracelsus evinced that love of psychological analysis and that subtle imagination more fully displayed in the author's later works. It is the history of a soul struggling and aspiring after hidden know. ledge, power, and happiness
All ambitious, upwards tending:
Like plants in mines, which never saw the sunbut is thwarted and baffled in the visionary pursuit. For an author of twenty-four years of age this was a remarkable poem. Mr. Browning next tried the historical drama. In 1837, his tragedy of . Strafford was brought on the stage, the hero being personated by Macready, a favourite actor. It was played several nights, but cannot be said to have been successful.' Mir. "Horne, in his New Spirit of the Age,' characterises it as a 'piece of passionate action with the bones of poetry.' Van Dyck's portrait of Stratford, so well known from copies and engravings, will always, we suspeci, eclipse or supersede any pen-and-ink delineation of the splendiu apostate. The poet now went to Italy, where he resided several years, and in 1841 he sent forth another psychological poem--the richest puzzle to all lovers of poetry which was ever given to the world -a thin volume entitled Sordello.'
Mr. Browning's subsequent works were in a dramatic form and spirit, the most popular being 'Pippi I asses,' forming part of a series called • Bells and Pomegranates' (1841-44), of which a second collection was published containing some exquisite sketches and monologues. Pippa is a girl from a silk-factory, who passes the vari. ous persons of the play at certain critical moments, in the course of her holiday, and becomes unconsciously to herself a determining influence on the fortune of each.' In 1843 the poet produced another regular drama, a tragedy entitled 'A Blot in the Scutcheon,' which was acted at Drury Lane with moderate success, and is the best of the author's plays. Next to it is King Victor and King Charles,' a tragedy in four acts, in which the characters are well drawn and well contrasted. Altogether Mr. Browning has written eight plays and two short dramatic sketches, ' A Soul's Tragedy' and . In a Balcony.' Some of the others— The Return of the Druses,'Colombe's Birthday,' and `Luria'—are superior productions both in conception and execution. Two narrative poems, Christmas Eve' and 'Easter Day,' present the author's marked peculiarities--grotesque imagery, insight into the human heart, vivid painting, and careless, faulty versification. In principle, the poet is thoroughly orthodox, and treats the two great Christian festivals in a Christian spirit. Of the lighter pieces of the author, the most popular is · The Pied Piper of Hamelin, a Child's Story,' told with inimitable liveliness and spirit, and with a flow of rattling rhymes and quaint fancies rivalling Southey's
Cataract of Lodore.' This amusing production is as unlike the usual style of its author as ‘John Gilpin' is unlike the usual style of Cowper.
In 1855 the reputation of Mr. Browning was greatly enhanced by the publication of a collection of poems, fifty in number, bearing the comprehensive title of 'Men and Women.' In 1864 another volume of character sketches appeared, entitled . Dramatis Personæ;' and in