A Handbook to the Works of Browning (6th ed.) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 488 pages of information about A Handbook to the Works of Browning (6th ed.).

“ANOTHER WAY OF LOVE” is the complement to “One Way of Love,” and displays the opposite mood.  The one lover patiently gathers June roses in case they may catch his lady’s eye.  The other grows tired of such patience even when devoted to himself; he tires of June roses, which are always red and sweet.  His lady-love is bantering him on this frame of mind.  It is true, she says, that such monotony is trying to a man’s temper:  there is no comfort in anything that can’t be quarrelled with; and the person she addresses is free to “go.”  She reminds him, however, that June may repair her bower which his hand has rifled, and the next time “consider” which of two courses she prefers:  to bestow her flowers on one who will accept their sweetness, or use her lightnings to kill the spider who is weaving his films about them.

“SIBRANDUS SCHAFNABURGENSIS” is apparently the name of an old pedant who has written a tiresome book; and the adventures of this book form the subject of the poem.  Some wag relates how he read it a month ago, having come into the garden for that purpose; and then revenged himself by dropping it through a crevice in a tree, and enjoying a picnic lunch and a chapter of “Rabelais” on the grass close by.  To-day, in a fit of compunction, he has raked the “treatise” out; but meanwhile it has blistered in the sun, and run all colours in the rain.  Toadstools have grown in it; and all the creatures that creep have towzed it and browsed on it, and devoted bits of it to their different domestic use.  It is altogether a melancholy sight.  So the wag thinks his victim has sufficiently suffered, and carries it back to his book-shelf, to “dry-rot” there in all the comfort it deserves.


Mr. Browning’s poems abound in descriptive passages, and his power of word-painting is very vivid, as well as frequently employed.  But we have here another instance of a quality diffused throughout his work, yet scarcely ever asserting itself in a distinct form.  The reason is, that he deals with men and women first—­with nature afterwards; and that the details of a landscape have little meaning for him, except in reference to the mental or dramatic situation of which they form a part.  This is very apparent in such lyrics or romances as:  “By the Fire-side,” “In a Gondola,” and “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came.”  We find three poems only which might have been written for the sake of the picturesque impressions which they convey: 

     “De Gustibus—­” ("Dramatic Lyrics.”  Published in “Men and
     Women.” 1855.)

     “Home-Thoughts, from Abroad.” ("Dramatic Lyrics.”  Published in
     “Dramatic Romances and Lyrics.” 1845.)

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A Handbook to the Works of Browning (6th ed.) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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