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date: 25 January 2022

Robert Browning 1812–89
English poet 

  1. Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
    Or what's a heaven for?
    ‘Andrea del Sarto’ (1855) l. 97
  2. One who never turned his back but marched breast forward,
    Never doubted clouds would break.
    Asolando (1889) ‘Epilogue’
  3. Greet the unseen with a cheer!
    Asolando (1889) ‘Epilogue’
  4. Just when we are safest, there's a sunset-touch,
    A fancy from a flower-bell, some one's death,
    A chorus-ending from Euripides,—
    And that's enough for fifty hopes and fears
    As old and new at once as nature's self…
    The grand Perhaps!
    ‘Bishop Blougram's Apology’ (1855) l. 182
  5. Our interest's on the dangerous edge of things.
    The honest thief, the tender murderer.
    ‘Bishop Blougram's Apology’ (1855) l. 395
  6. No, when the fight begins within himself,
    A man's worth something.
    ‘Bishop Blougram's Apology’ (1855) l. 693
  7. When earth breaks up and heaven expands,
    How will the change strike me and you
    In the house not made with hands?
    ‘By the Fireside’ (1855) st. 27; see Bible
  8. Oh, the little more, and how much it is!
    And the little less, and what worlds away!
    ‘By the Fireside’ (1855) st. 39
  9. Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set,
    And blew. ‘Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came.
    ‘Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came’ (1855) st. 34; see Shakespeare
  10. Stung by the splendour of a sudden thought.
    ‘A Death in the Desert’ (1864) l. 59
  11. …Progress, man's distinctive mark alone,
    Not God's, and not the beasts': God is, they are,
    Man partly is and wholly hopes to be.
    ‘A Death in the Desert’ (1864) l. 586
  12. Open my heart and you will see
    Graved inside of it, ‘Italy’.
    ‘De Gustibus’ (1855) pt. 2, l. 43
  13. If you get simple beauty and naught else,
    You get about the best thing God invents.
    ‘Fra Lippo Lippi’ (1855) l. 217
  14. He said, ‘What's time? Leave Now for dogs and apes!
    Man has Forever.’
    ‘A Grammarian's Funeral’ (1855)
  15. That low man seeks a little thing to do,
    Sees it and does it:
    This high man, with a great thing to pursue,
    Dies ere he knows it.
    That low man goes on adding one to one,
    His hundred's soon hit:
    This high man, aiming at a million,
    Misses an unit.
    ‘A Grammarian's Funeral’ (1855) l. 113
  16. Oh, to be in England
    Now that April's there,
    And whoever wakes in England
    Sees, some morning, unaware,
    That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
    Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
    While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
    In England—now!
    ‘Home-Thoughts, from Abroad’ (1845)
  17. That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
    Lest you should think he never could recapture
    The first fine careless rapture!
    ‘Home-Thoughts, from Abroad’ (1845)
  18. ‘With this same key
    Shakespeare unlocked his heart,’ once more!
    Did Shakespeare? If so, the less Shakespeare he!
    ‘House’ (1876); see Wordsworth
  19. How they brought the good news from Ghent to Aix.
    title of poem (1845)
  20. I sprang to the stirrup, and Joris, and he;
    I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three.
    ‘How they brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix’ (1845) l. 1
  21. Ignorance is not innocence but sin.
    The Inn Album (1875) canto 5
  22. Just for a handful of silver he left us,
    Just for a riband to stick in his coat.
    of Wordsworth's apparent betrayal of his radical principles by accepting the position of poet laureate
    ‘The Lost Leader’ (1845)
  23. Never glad confident morning again!
    ‘The Lost Leader’ (1845)
  24. A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
    And blue spurt of a lighted match,
    And a voice less loud, through its joys and fears,
    Than the two hearts beating each to each!
    ‘Meeting at Night’ (1845)
  25. Ah, did you once see Shelley plain.
    ‘Memorabilia’ (1855)
  26. She had
    A heart—how shall I say?—too soon made glad,
    Too easily impressed; she liked whate'er
    She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.
    ‘My Last Duchess’ (1842) l. 21
  27. Never the time and the place
    And the loved one all together!
    ‘Never the Time and the Place’ (1883)
  28. I give the fight up: let there be an end,
    A privacy, an obscure nook for me.
    I want to be forgotten even by God.
    Paracelsus (1835) pt. 5, l. 363
  29. It was roses, roses, all the way.
    ‘The Patriot’ (1855)
  30. Rats!
    They fought the dogs and killed the cats,
    And bit the babies in the cradles,
    And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
    And licked the soup from the cooks' own ladles.
    ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin’ (1842) st. 2
  31. With shrieking and squeaking
    In fifty different sharps and flats.
    ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin’ (1842) st. 2
  32. The year's at the spring
    And day's at the morn;
    Morning's at seven;
    The hill-side's dew-pearled;
    The lark's on the wing;
    The snail's on the thorn:
    God's in his heaven—
    All's right with the world!
    Pippa Passes (1841) pt. 1, l. 221
  33. All service ranks the same with God.
    Pippa Passes (1841) epilogue
  34. That moment she was mine, mine, fair,
    Perfectly pure and good.
    ‘Porphyria's Lover’ (1842) l. 36
  35. All her hair
    In one long yellow string I wound
    Three times her little throat around,
    And strangled her. No pain felt she;
    I am quite sure she felt no pain.
    ‘Porphyria's Lover’ (1842) l. 38
  36. Fear death?—to feel the fog in my throat,
    The mist in my face.
    ‘Prospice’ (1864)
  37. I was ever a fighter, so—one fight more,
    The best and the last!
    I would hate that death bandaged my eyes, and forbore,
    And bade me creep past.
    ‘Prospice’ (1864)
  38. Grow old along with me!
    The best is yet to be,
    The last of life, for which the first was made.
    ‘Rabbi Ben Ezra’ (1864) st. 1
  39. O lyric Love, half-angel and half-bird.
    The Ring and the Book (1868–9) bk. 1, l. 1391
  40. Faultless to a fault.
    The Ring and the Book (1868–9) bk. 9, l. 1175
  41. White shall not neutralize the black, nor good
    Compensate bad in man, absolve him so:
    Life's business being just the terrible choice.
    The Ring and the Book (1868–9) bk. 19, l. 1235
  42. There's a great text in Galatians,
    Once you trip on it, entails
    Twenty-nine distinct damnations,
    One sure, if another fails.
    ‘Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister’ (1842) st. 7
  43. Any nose
    May ravage with impunity a rose.
    Sordello (1840) bk. 6, l. 881
  44. What of soul was left, I wonder, when the kissing had to stop?
    ‘A Toccata of Galuppi's’ (1855) st. 14
  45. When it was written, God and Robert Browning knew what it meant; now only God knows.
    on Sordello
    attributed; see Klopstock