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

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 381 pages of information about A Handbook to the Works of Browning (6th ed.).

[Footnote 136:  The “Relfe” spoken of in this connection was Mr. Browning’s music-master:  a learned contrapuntist.]

[Footnote 137:  In interpreting this passage I have somewhat exceeded the letter, but only to emphasize the spirit of Mr. Browning’s words.]

[Footnote 138:  From an MS. copy formerly in the possession of Mr. Browning’s father.]

[Footnote 139:  The wealth to which he alludes was justly imputed to him, as the real Fust was a goldsmith’s son.]

[Footnote 140:  The relation of John Fust to the popular legend is pleasantly set forth in Mr. Sutherland Edwards’ little book, “The Faust Legend:  Its Origin and Development.”]


The following note shows Mr. Browning in a more pronounced attitude towards the opponents of the new Greek spelling than does that which, by his desire, I inserted in my first edition; but the last mood was in this case only a natural development of the first:—­

“I have just noticed in this month’s ‘Nineteenth Century’ that it is inquired by a humorous objector to the practice of spelling (under exceptional conditions) Greek proper names as they are spelt in Greek literature, why the same principle should not be adopted by ’AEgyptologists, Hebraists, Sanscrittists, Accadians, Moabites, Hittites, and Cuneiformists?’ Adopt it, by all means, whenever the particular language enjoyed by any fortunate possessor of these shall, like Greek, have been for about three hundred years insisted upon in England as an acquisition of paramount importance, at school and college, for every aspirant to distinction in learning, even at the cost of six or seven years’ study—­a sacrifice considered well worth making for even an imperfect acquaintance with ‘the most perfect language in the world.’  Further, it will be adopted whenever the letters substituted for those in ordinary English use shall do no more than represent to the unscholarly what the scholar accepts without scruple when, for the hundredth time, he reads the word which, for once, he has occasion to write in English, and which he concludes must be as euphonic as the rest of a language renowned for euphony.  And, finally, the practice will be adopted whenever the substituted letters effect no sort of organic change so as to jostle the word from its pride of place in English verse or prose.  ‘Themistokles’ fits in quietly everywhere, with or without the k:  but in a certain poetical translation I remember, by a young friend, of the Anabasis, beginning thus felicitously, ’Cyrus the Great and Artaxerxes (Whose temper bloodier than a Turk’s is) Were children both of the mild, pious, And happy monarch, King Darius,’—­who fails to see that, although a correct ‘Kuraush’ may pass, yet ‘Darayavush’ disturbs the metre as well as the rhyme?  It seems, however, that ‘Themistokles’ may be winked at:  not so the ’harsh and subversive Kirke.’ 

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