10 votes
Accepted

In "Love Among the Ruins", what is 'a carpet'?

This sentence is quite difficult, but we can untangle it by putting the subclause into a parenthesis instead of setting it off with a comma as Browning did: Such a carpet (as, this summer-time, o'...
  • 44.2k
7 votes

In "Love Among the Ruins", what is 'a carpet'?

I am not familiar with the poem, but the sentence is clear: Such a carpet ... spreads ... And embeds ... Stock or stone ... So the carpet goes over the city, over stock and over stones. I guess that ...
  • 466
5 votes
Accepted

What does Browning's patriot mean by "Paid by the world, what dost thou owe"?

These lines need to be interpreted in the context of the complete stanza: Thus I entered, and thus I go!       In triumphs, people have dropped down dead. "Paid by the world, what dost thou owe  ...
  • 44.2k
4 votes
Accepted

Why does Caponsacchi count his fingers in "The Ring and the Book"?

He was probably counting on his fingers, trying to ensure that there were exactly 11 syllables in each line. In the 19th century, counting one's fingers seems to have often meant counting on one's ...
  • 9,167
3 votes

What does Browning's patriot mean by "Paid by the world, what dost thou owe"?

There are many discussions and analyses of "The Patriot" online. The tenor of these is that a patriot or a political leader who was acclaimed for great deeds talks about his downfall and how ...
  • 40.6k
3 votes

What is a ‘tongue-leaved eye-figured Eden tree’?

Tree of vices This is an example of the kind of ‘allegorical woodcut’ that Cook’s friend may have had in mind: From Boccaccio, De Claris Mulieribus, published by Aegidius van der Heerstraten, Louvain,...
  • 44.2k
2 votes

What does “Hoti’s business” refer to, in Browning’s ‘A Grammarian’s Funeral’?

Enclitic De For this allusion we have an explanation from Browning himself: The following letter by Browning appeared in the London Daily News of Nov. 21, 1874: “To the Editor of The Daily News. Sir,—...
  • 44.2k
2 votes

In "Sordello", how do we know the rejected spirit is Shelley?

Browning gives us two, or maybe three, clues: “The Athenian” is the Greek playwright Aeschylus, who fought the Persians at the battle of Marathon in 490 BCE. Shelley’s verse drama Prometheus Unbound (...
  • 44.2k
2 votes

What does Browning's cloistered soliloquist mean by ‘Hy, Zy, Hine’?

TL;DR: No convincing explanation has yet been put forward. Perhaps nowhere else in Browning scholarship has more critical ink been expended on fewer words than the three of “Hy, Zy, Hine”. ...
  • 44.2k
1 vote

Evidence for the identity of Browning’s “lyric Love”?

The words ‘Lyric Love’ reappear in the third-to-last line of the poem, at the end of book XII: If the rough ore be rounded to a ring, Render all duty which good ring should do, And, failing ...
  • 44.2k
1 vote

Why does Browning need to be ‘manned by Manning’?

Cook summarizes these lines as follows: The Roman authorities, before allowing Browning to ‘rove and rummage’ among their records, required, he says, that he should ‘mend his ways’, that he should be ...
  • 44.2k

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