The Poet’s History

  • Robert Browning


I cannot remember the time when I did not make verses and think verse-making the finest thing in the world: my father still keeps some very early attempts — laughable enough, I dare say. This itch for rhyming had not the least connection with the development of a poetic nature, but was the mere result of the notion that ‘a poet’ was the grandest of God’s creatures; and all poets rhymed. When subsequently real and strong feeling called for utterance, either Drawing or Music seemed a much fitter vehicle than ‘verses’: and for a long time I resorted to them, chiefly to music. I never, however, ceased holding a Poet’s calling in pre-eminent reverence, and in my thirteenth year collected a batch of performances of all sorts and sizes for publication, under the judicious title ‘Incondita’. These were submitted by a friend1 of mine to the Rev. W. J. Fox, then unknown to me.2 He praised some of them, prophesied great things of the future, and advised me to consign the present work to the fire. You may suppose how grateful I have been since. Upon this I betook myself to music again and to general study, particularly of Greek Literature for which I have always had a passion: as for music, even now I frequently detect or express feelings in harmonic combinations or melodic amplifications rather than in language.

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Browning

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