Thursday, June 03, 2004

Why Browning is Unintelligible and Best

(This has to be read aloud to appreciate the effect.)

Much having been before to purpose spoken,
The opposite to say I shall not shamed be:
For how should one, to enemies, -- in semblance,
Friends, -- enmity proposing, -- sorrow's net-frame
Enclose, a height superior to outleaping?
To me, indeed, this struggle of old -- not mindless
Of an old victory -- came: with time, I grant you!
I stand where I have struck, things once accomplished:
And so have done, -- and this deny I shall not, --
As that his fate was nor to fly nor ward off.
A wrap-round with no outlet, as for fishes,
I fence about him -- the rich woe of the garment:
I strike him twice, and in a double "Ah-me!"
He let his limbs go -- there! And to him, fallen,
The third blow add I, giving -- of Below-ground
Zeus, guardian of the dead -- the votive favour.
Thus in the mind of him he rages, falling,
And blowing forth a brisk blood-spatter, strikes me
With the dark drop of slaughterous dew -- rejoicing
No less than, at the god-given dewy-comfort,
The sown-stuff in its birth-throes from the calyx.
Since so these things are, -- Argives, my revered here, --
Ye may rejoice -- if ye rejoice: but I -- boast!
If it were fit on corpse to pour libation,
That would be right -- right over and above, too!
The cup of evils in the house he, having
Filled with such curses, himself coming drinks of.

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