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.).

Mr. Browning has also given us an original fragment in the classic manner:—­

“ARTEMIS PROLOGIZES.” ("Men and Women,"[30] published in “Dramatic Lyrics,” in 1842.) This was suggested by the “Hippolytos” of Euripides; and destined to become part of a larger poem, which should continue its story.  For, according to the legend, Hippolytos having perished through the anger of Aphrodite (Venus), was revived by Artemis (Diana), though only to disappoint her affection by falling in love with one of her nymphs, Aricia.  Mr. Browning imagines that she has removed him in secret to her own forest retreat, and is nursing him back to life by the help of Asclepios; and the poem is a monologue in which she describes what has passed, from Phaedra’s self-betrayal to the present time.  Hippolytos still lies unconscious; but the power of the great healer has been brought to bear upon him, and the unconsciousness seems only that of sleep.  Artemis is awaiting the event.

The ensuing chorus of nymphs, the awakening of Hippolytos, and with it the stir of the new passion within him, had already taken shape in Mr. Browning’s mind.  Unfortunately, something put the inspiration to flight, and it did not return.[31]


[Footnote 21:  The song professedly refers to Catherine Cornaro, the Venetian Queen of Cyprus, and is the only one in the poem that is based on any fact at all.]

[Footnote 22:  This pamphlet has supplied Mr. Browning with some of his most curious facts.  It fell into his hands in London.]

[Footnote 23:  The first hour after sunset.]

[Footnote 24:  “Villa” is often called “vineyard” or “vigna,” on account of the vineyard attached to it.]

[Footnote 25:  It is difficult to reconcile this explicit denial of Pompilia’s statements with the belief in her implied in her merely nominal punishment:  unless we look on it as part of the formal condemnation which circumstances seemed to exact.]

[Footnote 26:  A letter written in this strain was also produced on the trial; and Pompilia owned to having written it, but only in the sense of writing over in ink what her husband had traced in pencil—­being totally ignorant of its contents.]

[Footnote 27:  Count Guido thought, or affected to think, that these had been thrown by Caponsacchi.]

[Footnote 28:  The disciple of Michael de Molinos, not to be confounded with Louis Molina, who is especially known by his attempt to reconcile the theory of grace with that of free will.  Molinos was the founder of an exaggerated Quietism.  He held that the soul could detach itself from the body so as to become indifferent to its action, and therefore non-responsible for it; and it was natural that all who defied the received laws of conduct, or were suspected of doing so, should be stigmatized as his followers.  Molinism was a favourite bugbear among the orthodox Romanists of Innocent the Twelfth’s day.]

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