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.).

And this is not all.  “Of course Rome must have its joke at the advocate with the case that proved itself:  but here is a piece of impertinence he was not prepared for.  The barefoot Augustinian, whose report of Pompilia’s dying words took all the freshness out of the best points of his defence, has been preaching on the subject; and the sermon is flying about Rome in print.”  Next follows an extract from it.  The friar warns his hearers not to trust to human powers of discovering the truth.  “It is not the long trial which has revealed Pompilia’s innocence; God from time to time puts forth His hand, and He has done so here.  But earth is not heaven, nor all truth intended to prevail.  One dove returned to the ark.  How many were lost in the wave?  One woman’s purity has been rescued from the world.  ‘How many chaste and noble sister-fames’ have lacked ‘the extricating hand?’ And we must wait God’s time for such truth as is destined to appear.  When Christians worshipped in the Catacomb, one man, no worse than the rest, though no less foolish, will have pointed to its mouth, and said, ’Obscene rites are practised in that darkness.  The devotees of an execrable creed skulk there out of sight.’  Not till the time was ripe, did lightning split the face of the rock, and lay bare a nook—­

“Narrow and short, a corpse’s length, no more:  And by it, in the due receptacle, The little rude brown lamp of earthenware, The cruse, was meant for flowers, but held the blood, The rough-scratched palm-branch, and the legend left Pro Christo.” (vol. x. p. 265)

“And how does human law, in its ‘inadequacy’ and ‘ineptitude’ defend the just?  How has it attempted to clear Pompilia’s fame?  By submitting, as its best resource, that wickedness was bred in her flesh and bone.  For himself he cannot judge, unless by the assurance of Christ, if he have not lost much by renouncing the world:  for he has lost love, and knowledge, and perhaps the means of bringing goodness from its ideal conception into the actual life of man.  But the bubble, fame—­worldly praise and appreciation—­he has done well to set these aside.”

“And what is all this preaching,” resumes Bottinius, “but a way of courting fame?  The inflation of it! and the spite! and the Molinism!  As its first pleasant consequence, Gomez, who had intended to appeal from the absurd decision of the Court, declines to ask the lawyers for farther help.[29] There is an end of that job and its fee.  Nevertheless, his ‘blatant brother’ shall soon see if law is as inadequate, and advocacy as impotent, as he fancies.  Providence is this time in their favour.  Pompilia was consigned to the ‘Convertite’ (converted ones).  She was therefore a sinner.  Guido has been judged guilty:  but there was no word as to the innocence of his wife.  The sisterhood claims, therefore, the property which accrued to her through her parents’ death, and which she has left in trust for her son.  Who but himself—­the Fisc—­shall support the claim, and show the foul-mouthed friar that his dove was a raven after all.” (He too can drive left and right horses on occasion.)

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