Robert Browning poems

A brief summary of the Robert Browning poems

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A Toccata of Galuppi's

  • Published 1855 in 'Men and Women'
  • Famous for its form
  • Written in octameter- sixteen syllable lines
  • A trochaic pattern- stressed followed by unstressed verbs
  • A toccata is a difficult performance and therefore Browning is showing off his skill as a poet. The toccata can allow a musician to show off their skill
  • The poem's language attains a musical effect
  • The poem gives reflections of a man who is either playing or listening to a piece by the 18th century composer Baldassare Galuppi
  • The music inspires the speaker with visions of Venice even though he is in England
  • The speaker invents a conversation of two lovers at a masked ball
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Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister

  • Published 1842 in 'Dramatic Lyrics'
  • Speaker reveals his true thoughts about another (seemingly harmless) Monk named Brother Lawrence
  • There are signs of moral hypocrisy as the reader if left to question the nature of a supposedly religious monk (swears alliegence to the devil, destroys flowers and owns a pornographic novel)
  • Religious corruption
  • AB rhyme scheme
  • Poem written in stanzas
  • Dramatic irony throughout as the speaker is revealing inner thoughts to a wide audience
  • The structure turns from a random rant to a list of complaints
  • Written in iambic tetrameter
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A Grammarian's Funeral

  • Published 1855 in 'Men and Women'
  • Dramatic monologue with an ABAB rhyme scheme
  • Member of a funeral procession talking about a grammarian who has just died
  • The grammarian devoted his whole life to learning and understanding
  • The grammarian has earned a lot of respect amongst the members of the procession
  • The speaker feels that the grammarian is worthy of a funeral
  • They want to bury him in an isolated place away from people, just like he had locked himself away from the rest of society and others in order to learn
  • Browning is grappling with understanding and the meaning of life. When life ends, what have they achieved?
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