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Robert Browning biography :

Noted English poet and playwright Robert Browning was born on 07 May 1812 in Camberwell, Surrey to Robert Browning Senior, an intellectual and financially well-to-do clerk of the Bank of England; and Sarah Anna Wiedemann, an equally intelligent lady of German-Scottish descent. Robert Browning had a younger and similarly gifted sister, who became his companion in his old age. Despite their relative wealth, they lived simply and their interest in literature and the arts were strongly encouraged. Young Robert Browning had, in his youth, access to a library of about 6,000 books.

At age 12, Robert Browning had written a book of poetry, which he subsequently destroyed when this was not published. A rapid learner, he was fluent in several foreign languages at the age of 14. He studied at London University at 16 but eventually dropped out. His parents supported his decision to withdraw and continued to support him.

“Pauline: A Fragment of A Confession”, one of his many pieces was published anonymously in 1833. Between 1835 and 1836, several of Browning’s poems saw print in the Monthly Repository, and from 1837 to 1846, Browning tried his hand at writing verse drama.

In 1846, Browning eloped and married fellow poet, Elizabeth Barrett and they subsequently lived in Florence, Italy. While living in Italy, Browning produced very little poetry. He started writing again after his wife passed away in 1861. He, together with his son, moved back to London where he composed “The Ring and the Book” (1869), a 10-verse narrative about a murder trial in Rome which has been hailed as his most ambitious and his best work.

Robert Browning passed away on 12 December 1889 at Ca’Rezzonico, the home of his only child, in Venice, Italy. He is buried at the Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey, England.


Poems by Robert Browning :

A Grammarian's Funeral

A Light Woman

A Lovers' Quarrel

A Pretty Woman

A Serenade At The Villa

A Toccata Of Galuppi's

Abt Vogler


Aix In Provence

Another Way Of Love

Any Wife To Any Husband


By The Fire-Side Part 1

By The Fire-Side Part 2

Cavalier Tunes

Childe Roland To The Dark Tower Came Part 1

Childe Roland To The Dark Tower Came Part 2



De Gustibus

Earth's Immortalities

Evelyn Hope

Garden Francies

Holy-Cross Day

Home-Thoughts, From Abroad Part 1

Home-Thoughts, From Abroad Part 2

Home-Thoughts, From The Sea

How They Brought The Good News From Ghent To Aix

In A Gondola

In A Year

In Three Days

Incident Of The French Camp

Instans Tyrannus

Life In A Love

Love Among The Ruins

Love In A Life

Master Hugues Of Saxe-Gotha

Meeting At Night



My Last Duchess

My Star

Nationality In Drinks

Old Pictures In Florence

Porphyria's Lover


Rabbi Ben Ezra


Saul Par1

Saul Part 2

Soliloquy Of The Spanish Cloister

The Bishop Orders His Tomb…

The Boy And the Angel

The Englishman In Italy Part 1

The Englishman In Italy Part 2

The Flight Of The Duchess Part 1

The Flight Of The Duchess Part 2

The Flight Of The Duchess Part 3

The Flight Of The Duchess Part 4

The Glove

The Guardian-Angel

The Heretic's Tragedy

The Laboratory

The Last Ride Together

The Patriot

The Pied Piper Of Hamelin

The Twins

Through The Metidja To Abd-El-Kadr

Time's Revenges

Two In The Campagna


Women And Roses


Parting At Morning


The Dtatue And The Bust

The Lost Leader

The Lost Mistress

<-- Previous     |     Next -->


Recommended Poetry Books :


'Heap cassia, sandal-buds and stripes' by Robert Browning

A Grammarian's Funeral by Robert Browning

A Grammarians Funeral by Robert Browning

A Light Woman by Robert Browning

A Lovers' Quarrel by Robert Browning

A Lovers Quarrel by Robert Browning

A Pretty Woman by Robert Browning

A Serenade At The Villa by Robert Browning

A Toccata Of Galuppi's by Robert Browning

A Woman's Last Word by Robert Browning

Abt Vogler by Robert Browning

After by Robert Browning

Aix In Provence by Robert Browning

Among the Rocks by Robert Browning

An Epistle Containing the Strange Medical Experience of Kar by Robert Browning

Andrea del Sarto by Robert Browning

Another Way Of Love by Robert Browning

Any Wife To Any Husband by Robert Browning

Before by Robert Browning

Boot And Saddle by Robert Browning

By The Fire-Side by Robert Browning

By The Fire-Side Part 1 by Robert Browning

By The Fire-Side Part 2 by Robert Browning

Caliban upon Setebos or, Natural Theology in the Island by Robert Browning

Cavalier Tunes by Robert Browning

Cavalier Tunes: Boot and Saddle by Robert Browning

Cavalier Tunes: Give a Rouse by Robert Browning

Cavalier Tunes: Marching Along by Robert Browning

Childe Roland To The Dark Tower Came by Robert Browning

Childe Roland To The Dark Tower Came Part 1 by Robert Browning

Childe Roland To The Dark Tower Came Part 2 by Robert Browning

Cleon by Robert Browning

Confessions by Robert Browning

Cristina by Robert Browning

De Gustibus--- by Robert Browning

De Gustibus by Robert Browning

Dtatue And The Bust, The by Robert Browning

Earth's Immortalities by Robert Browning

Earths Immortalities by Robert Browning

Epilogue by Robert Browning

Epilogue To Asolando by Robert Browning

Evelyn Hope by Robert Browning

Fra Lippo Lippi by Robert Browning

From ‘Paracelsus’ by Robert Browning

From 'Pauline' by Robert Browning

Garden Francies by Robert Browning

Heretic's Tragedy, The by Robert Browning

Holy-Cross Day by Robert Browning

Home Thoughts, From Abroad by Robert Browning

Home Thoughts, From The Sea by Robert Browning

Home-Thoughts, From Abroad Part 1 by Robert Browning

Home-Thoughts, From Abroad Part 2 by Robert Browning

Home-Thoughts, From The Sea by Robert Browning

How They Brought The Good News From Ghent To Aix by Robert Browning

In A Gondola by Robert Browning

In A Year by Robert Browning

In Three Days by Robert Browning

Incident Of The French Camp by Robert Browning

Instans Tyrannus by Robert Browning

Life in a Bottle by Robert Browning

Life In A Love by Robert Browning

Love Among The Ruins by Robert Browning

Love In A Life by Robert Browning

Man I Am and Man Would Be, Love by Robert Browning

Master Hugues Of Saxe-Gotha by Robert Browning

Meeting At Night by Robert Browning

Memorabilia by Robert Browning

Mesmerism by Robert Browning

Misconceptions by Robert Browning

My Last Duchess by Robert Browning

My Star by Robert Browning

Nationality In Drinks by Robert Browning

Never The Time And The Place by Robert Browning

Now! by Robert Browning

Old Pictures In Florence by Robert Browning

One Way Of Love by Robert Browning

Over the Sea our Galleys Went by Robert Browning

Overhead The Tree-Tops Meet by Robert Browning

Pan and Luna by Robert Browning

Parting At Morning by Robert Browning

Pippa's Song by Robert Browning

Popularity by Robert Browning

Porphyria's Lover by Robert Browning

Porphyrias Lover by Robert Browning

Prospice by Robert Browning

Protus by Robert Browning

Rabbi Ben Ezra by Robert Browning

Respectability by Robert Browning

Saul by Robert Browning

Saul Par1 by Robert Browning

Saul Part 2 by Robert Browning

Soliloquy Of The Spanish Cloister by Robert Browning

Song by Robert Browning

Song from 'Paracelsus' by Robert Browning

Summum Bonum by Robert Browning

The Bishop Orders His Tomb At Saint Praxed's Church by Robert Browning

The Bishop Orders His Tomb… by Robert Browning

The Boy And the Angel by Robert Browning

The Confessional by Robert Browning

The Dtatue And The Bust by Robert Browning

The Englishman In Italy by Robert Browning

The Englishman In Italy Part 1 by Robert Browning

The Englishman In Italy Part 2 by Robert Browning

The Fire-Side Part 1 by Robert Browning

The Fire-Side Part 2 by Robert Browning

The Flight Of The Duchess by Robert Browning

The Flight Of The Duchess Part 1 by Robert Browning

The Flight Of The Duchess Part 2 by Robert Browning

The Flight Of The Duchess Part 3 by Robert Browning

The Flight Of The Duchess Part 4 by Robert Browning

The Glove by Robert Browning

The Guardian-Angel by Robert Browning

The Heretic's Tragedy by Robert Browning

The Italian In England by Robert Browning

The Laboratory by Robert Browning

The Last Ride Together by Robert Browning

The Lost Leader by Robert Browning

The Lost Mistress by Robert Browning

The Patriot by Robert Browning

The Pied Piper Of Hamelin by Robert Browning

The Statue and the Bust by Robert Browning

The Twins by Robert Browning

The Wanderers by Robert Browning

The Year's At The Spring by Robert Browning

Through The Metidja To Abd-El-Kadr by Robert Browning

Through The Metodja To Abd-El-Kadr by Robert Browning

Thus the Mayne glideth by Robert Browning

Time's Revenges by Robert Browning

Times Revenges by Robert Browning

To Edward Fitzgerald by Robert Browning

Two In The Campagna by Robert Browning

Up At A Villa— Down In The City by Robert Browning

Verse-Making Was Least of My Virtues by Robert Browning

Waring by Robert Browning

Why I Am a Liberal by Robert Browning

Women And Roses by Robert Browning

You'll love me yet!—and I can tarry by Robert Browning

Youth and Art by Robert Browning


More Poems


The Pied Piper Of Hamelin by Robert Browning

A Child's Story

Hamelin Town's in Brunswick,
By famous Hanover city;
The river Weser, deep and wide,
Washes its wall on the southern side;
A pleasanter spot you never spied;
But, when begins my ditty,
Almost five hundred years ago,
To see the townsfolk suffer so
From vermin, was a pity.

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 cook's own ladles,
Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
Made nests inside men's Sunday hats,
And even spoiled the women's chats,
By drowning their speaking
With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats.

At last the people in a body
To the Town Hall came flocking:
''Tis clear,' cried they, 'our Mayor's a noddy;
And as for our Corporation—shocking
To think we buy gowns lined with ermine
For dolts that can't or won't determine
What's best to rid us of our vermin!
You hope, because you're old and obese,
To find in the furry civic robe ease?
Rouse up, Sirs! Give your brains a racking
To find the remedy we're lacking,
Or, sure as fate, we'll send you packing!'
At this the Mayor and Corporation
Quaked with a mighty consternation.

An hour they sate in council,
At length the Mayor broke silence:
'For a guilder I'd my ermine gown sell;
I wish I were a mile hence!
It's easy to bid one rack one's brain—
I'm sure my poor head aches again
I've scratched it so, and all in vain.
Oh for a trap, a trap, a trap!'
Just as he said this, what should hap
At the chamber door but a gentle tap?
'Bless us,' cried the Mayor, 'what's that?'
(With the Corporation as he sat,
Looking little though wondrous fat;
Nor brighter was his eye, nor moister
Than a too-long-opened oyster,
Save when at noon his paunch grew mutinous
For a plate of turtle green and glutinous)
'Only a scraping of shoes on the mat?
Anything like the sound of a rat
Makes my heart go pit-a-pat!'

'Come in!'—the Mayor cried, looking bigger:
And in did come the strangest figure!
His queer long coat from heel to head
Was half of yellow and half of red;
And he himself was tall and thin,
With sharp blue eyes, each like a pin,
And light loose hair, yet swarthy skin,
No tuft on cheek nor beard on chin,
But lips where smiles went out and in—
There was no guessing his kith and kin!
And nobody could enough admire
The tall man and his quaint attire:
Quoth one: 'It's as my great-grandsire,
Starting up at the Trump of Doom's tone,
Had walked this way from his painted tombstone!'

He advanced to the council-table:
And, 'Please your honours,' said he, 'I'm able,
By means of a secret charm, to draw
All creatures living beneath the sun,
That creep or swim or fly or run,
After me so as you never saw!
And I chiefly use my charm
On creatures that do people harm,
The mole and toad and newt and viper;
And people call me the Pied Piper.'
(And here they noticed round his neck
A scarf of red and yellow stripe,
To match with his coat of the selfsame cheque;
And at the scarf's end hung a pipe;
And his fingers, they noticed, were ever straying
As if impatient to be playing
Upon this pipe, as low it dangled
Over his vesture so old-fangled.)
'Yet,' said he, 'poor piper as I am,
In Tartary I freed the Cham,
Last June, from his huge swarms of gnats;
I eased in Asia the Nizam
Of a monstrous brood of vampire-bats;
And, as for what your brain bewilders,
If I can rid your town of rats
Will you give me a thousand guilders?'
'One? fifty thousand!'—was the exclamation
Of the astonished Mayor and Corporation.

Into the street the Piper stepped,
Smiling first a little smile,
As if he knew what magic slept
In his quiet pipe the while;
Then, like a musical adept,
To blow the pipe his lips he wrinkled,
And green and blue his sharp eyes twinkled
Like a candle flame where salt is sprinkled;
And ere three shrill notes the pipe uttered,
You heard as if an army muttered;
And the muttering grew to a grumbling;
And the grumbling grew to a mighty rumbling;
And out of the houses the rats came tumbling.
Great rats, small rats, lean rats, brawny rats,
Brown rats, black rats, grey rats, tawny rats,
Grave old plodders, gay young friskers,
Fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins,
Cocking tails and pricking whiskers,
Families by tens and dozens,
Brothers, sisters, husbands, wives—
Followed the Piper for their lives.
From street to street he piped advancing,
And step for step they followed dancing,
Until they came to the river Weser,
Wherein all plunged and perished!
- Save one who, stout a Julius Caesar,
Swam across and lived to carry
(As he, the manuscript he cherished)
To Rat-land home his commentary:
Which was, 'At the first shrill notes of the pipe
I heard a sound as of scraping tripe,
And putting apples, wondrous ripe,
Into a cider-press's gripe:
And a moving away of pickle-tub-boards,
And a leaving ajar of conserve-cupboards,
And a drawing the corks of train-oil-flasks,
And a breaking the hoops of butter-casks;
And it seemed as if a voice
(Sweeter far than by harp or by psaltery
Is breathed) called out 'Oh, rats, rejoice!
The world is grown to one vast drysaltery!
So munch on, crunch on, take your nuncheon,
Breakfast, supper, dinner, luncheon!'
And just as a bulky sugar-puncheon,
All ready staved, like a great sun shone
Glorious scarce and inch before me,
Just as methought it said 'Come, bore me!'
- I found the Weser rolling o'er me.'

You should have heard the Hamelin people
Ringing the bells till they rocked the steeple.
'Go,' cried the Mayor, 'and get long poles!
Poke out the nests and block up the holes!
Consult with carpenters and builders,
And leave in our town not even a trace
Of the rats!'—when suddenly, up the face
Of the Piper perked in the market-place,
With a, 'First, if you please, my thousand guilders!'

A thousand guilders! The Mayor looked blue;
So did the Corporation too.
For council dinners made rare havoc
With Claret, Moselle, Vin-de-Grave, Hock;
And half the money would replenish
Their cellar's biggest butt with Rhenish.
To pay this sum to a wandering fellow
With a gypsy coat of red and yellow!
'Beside,' quoth the Mayor with a knowing wink,
'Our business was done at the river's brink;
We saw with our eyes the vermin sink,
And what's dead can't come to life, I think.
So, friend, we're not the folks to shrink
From the duty of giving you something for drink,
And a matter of money to put in your poke;
But, as for the guilders, what we spoke
Of them, as you very well know, was in joke.
Beside, our losses have made us thrifty.
A thousand guilders! Come, take fifty!'

The Piper's face fell, and he cried
'No trifling! I can't wait, beside!
I've promised to visit by dinner-time
Bagdat, and accept the prime
Of the Head Cook's pottage, all he's rich in,
For having left, in the Calip's kitchen,
Of a nest of scorpions no survivor—
With him I proved no bargain-driver,
With you, don't think I'll bate a stiver!
And folks who put me in a passion
May find me pipe to another fashion.'

'How?' cried the Mayor, 'd'ye think I'll brook
Being worse treated than a Cook?
Insulted by a lazy ribald
With idle pipe and vesture piebald?
You threaten us, fellow? Do your worst,
Blow your pipe there till you burst!'

Once more he stepped into the street;
And to his lips again
Laid his long pipe of smooth straight cane;
And ere he blew three notes (such sweet
Soft notes as yet musician's cunning
Never gave the enraptured air)
There was a rustling, that seemed like a bustling
Of merry crowds justling at pitching and hustling,
Small feet were pattering, wooden shoes clattering,
Little hands clapping and little tongues chattering,
And, like fowls in a farmyard when barley is scattering,
Out came the children running.
All the little boys and girls,
With rosy cheeks and flaxen curls,
And sparkling eyes and teeth like pearls,
Tripping and skipping, ran merrily after
The wonderful music with shouting and laughter.

The Mayor was dumb, and the Council stood
As if they were changed into blocks of wood,
Unable to move a step, or cry
To the children merrily skipping by—
And could only follow with the eye
That joyous crowd at the Piper's back.
But how the Mayor was on the rack,
And the wretched Council's bosoms beat,
As the Piper turned from the High Street
To where the Weser rolled its waters
Right in the way of their sons and daughters!
However he turned from South to West,
And to Koppelberg Hill his steps addressed,
And after him the children pressed;
Great was the joy in every breast.
'He never can cross that mighty top!
He's forced to let the piping drop,
And we shall see our children stop!'
When, lo, as they reached the mountain's side,
A wondrous portal opened wide,
As if a cavern was suddenly hollowed;
And the Piper advanced and the children followed,
And when all were in to the very last,
The door in the mountain-side shut fast.
Did I say, all? No! One was lame,
And could not dance the whole of the way;
And in after years, if you would blame
His sadness, he was used to say,—
'It's dull in our town since my playmates left!
I can't forget that I'm bereft
Of all the pleasant sights they see,
Which the Piper also promised me:
For he led us, he said, to a joyous land,
Joining the town and just at hand,
Where waters gushed and fruit-trees grew,
And flowers put forth a fairer hue,
And everything was strange and new;
The sparrows were brighter than peacocks here,
And their dogs outran our fallow deer,
And honey-bees had lost their stings,
And horses were born with eagles' wings:
And just as I became assured
My lame foot would be speedily cured,
The music stopped and I stood still,
And found myself outside the Hill,
Left alone against my will,
To go now limping as before,
And never hear of that country more!'

Alas, alas for Hamelin!
There came into many a burgher's pate
A text which says, that Heaven's Gate
Opes to the Rich at as easy rate
As the needle's eye takes a camel in!
The Mayor sent East, West, North, and South,
To offer the Piper, by word of mouth,
Wherever it was men's lot to find him,
Silver and gold to his heart's content,
If he'd only return the way he went,
And bring the children behind him.
But when they saw 'twas a lost endeavour,
And Piper and dancers were gone for ever,
They made a decree that lawyers never
Should think their records dated duly
If, after the day of the month and year,
These words did not as well appear,
'And so long after what happened here
On the Twenty-second of July,
Thirteen hundred and seventy-six':
And the better in memory to fix
The place of the children's last retreat,
They called it, the Pied Piper's Street—
Where any one playing on pipe or tabor
Was sure for the future to lose his labour.
Nor suffered they hostelry or tavern
To shock with mirth a street so solemn;
But opposite the place of the cavern
They wrote the story on a column,
And on the great Church-Window painted
The same, to make the world acquainted
How their children were stolen away;
And there it stands to this very day.
And I must not omit to say
That in Transylvania there's a tribe
Of alien people that ascribe
The outlandish ways and dress
On which their neighbours lay such stress,
To their fathers and mothers having risen
Out of some subterraneous prison
Into which they were trepanned
Long time ago in a mighty band
Out of Hamelin town in Brunswick land,
But how or why, they don't understand.

So, Willy, let you and me be wipers
Of scores out with all men—especially pipers:
And, whether they pipe us free, from rats or from mice,
If we've promised them aught, let us keep our promise.