No introduction is necessary to explain the following correspondence,

It was never truer of any author than it is true of Browning, that `Le style c'est l'homme'; and Browning's style is an expression of the panther-restlessness and panther-spring of his impassioned intellect. The musing spirit of a Wordsworth or a Tennyson he partakes not of.

No introduction is necessary to explain the following correspondence,

Mr. Richard Holt Hutton's characterization of the poet's style, as a "crowded note-book style", is not a particularly happy one. In the passage, which he cites from Sordello, to illustrate the "crowded note-book style", occurs the following parenthesis: -- "(To be by him themselves made act, Not watch Sordello acting each of them.)"

No introduction is necessary to explain the following correspondence,

"What the parenthesis means," he says, "I have not the most distant notion. Mr. Browning might as well have said, `to be by him her himself herself themselves made act', etc., for any vestige of meaning I attach to this curious mob of pronouns and verbs. It is exactly like the short notes of a speech intended to be interpreted afterwards by one who had heard and understood it himself."

No introduction is necessary to explain the following correspondence,


-- * `Essays Theological and Literary'. Vol. II., 2d ed., rev. and enl., p. 175. --

At first glance, this parenthesis is obscure; but the obscurity is not due to its being "exactly like the short notes of a speech", etc. It is due to what the "obscurity" of Mr. Browning's language, as language, is, in nine cases out of ten, due, namely, to the COLLOCATION of the words, not to an excessive economy of words. He often exercises a liberty in the collocation of his words which is beyond what an uninflected language like the English admits of, without more or less obscurity. There are difficult passages in Browning which, if translated into Latin, would present no difficulty at all; for in Latin, the relations of words are more independent of their collocation, being indicated by their inflections.

The meaning of the parenthesis is, and, independently of the context, a second glance takes it in (the wonder is, Mr. Hutton didn't take it in), -- "To be themselves made by him [to] act, Not each of them watch Sordello acting."

There are two or three characteristics of the poet's diction which may be noticed here: --

1. The suppression of the relative, both nominative and accusative or dative, is not uncommon; and, until the reader becomes familiar with it, it often gives, especially if the suppression is that of a subject relative, a momentary, but only a momentary, check to the understanding of a passage.

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