“The South has a great moral conflict to wage; and it

The speaker imagines the head of a beautiful girl he knows, "painted upon a background of pale gold, such as the Tuscan's early art prefers", and details the picture as he would have it.

“The South has a great moral conflict to wage; and it

The Bishop orders his Tomb. The Bishop orders his Tomb at St. Praxed's Church. * [Rome, 15--.]

“The South has a great moral conflict to wage; and it

-- * First published in `Hood's Magazine', March, 1845, No. III., vol. iii., pp. 237-239, under the title `The Tomb at St. Praxed's (Rome, 15--)'.

“The South has a great moral conflict to wage; and it

"This poem and `The Flight of the Duchess' were sent by Browning to help make up the numbers of the magazine while Hood lay dying." -- Furnivall's `Bibliography of Robert Browning', p. 48. --

The dying Bishop pleads with his natural sons that they give him the sumptuous tomb they stand pledged to, -- such a tomb as will excite the envy of his old enemy Gandolf, who cheated him out of a favorite niche in St. Praxed's Church, by dying before him, and securing it for his tomb.

It is not necessary to suppose that the natural sons are present. His, perhaps, delirious mind is occupied with the precious marbles and stones and other luxuries he has loved to much, and with his old rival and enemy, Gandolf.

John Ruskin, in his `Modern Painters' (Vol. IV., chap. XX., Section 32), remarks: --

"Robert Browning is unerring in every sentence he writes of the Middle Ages; always vital, right, and profound; so that in the matter of art, . . .there is hardly a principle connected with the mediaeval temper, that he has not struck upon in those seemingly careless and too rugged rhymes of his. There is a curious instance, by the way, in a short poem *1* referring to this very subject of tomb and image sculpture; all illustrating just one of those phases of local human character which, though belonging to Shakespeare's own age, he [Shakespeare] never noticed, because it was specially Italian and un-English; connected also closely with the influence of mountains on the heart, and therefore with our immediate inquiries.*2* I mean the kind of admiration with which a southern artist regarded the STONE he worked in; and the pride which populace or priest took in the possession of precious mountain substance, worked into the pavements of their cathedrals, and the shafts of their tombs.

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