in turpitude as the mischief is greater and the provocation

Though this is said in the person of the beautiful shepherd-boy, David, whoever has lived any time with Browning, through his poetry, must be assured that it is also an expression of the poet's own experience of the glory of flesh. He has himself been an expression of the fullest physical life: and now, in his five and seventieth year, since the 7th of last May, he preserves both mind and body in a magnificent vigor. If his soul had been lodged in a sickly, rickety body, he could hardly have written these lines from `Saul'. Nor could he have written `Caliban upon Setebos', especially the opening lines: "Will sprawl, now that the heat of day is best, flat on his belly in the pit's much mire, with elbows wide, fists clenched to prop his chin. And, while he kicks both feet in the cool slush, and feels about his spine small eft-things course, run in and out each arm, and make him laugh: and while above his head a pompion-plant, coating the cave-top as a brow its eye, creeps down to touch and tickle hair and beard, and now a flower drops with a bee inside, and now a fruit to snap at, catch and crunch, -- he looks out o'er yon sea which sunbeams cross and recross till they weave a spider-web (meshes of fire, some great fish breaks at times), and talks to his own self, howe'er he please, touching that other, whom his dam called God."

in turpitude as the mischief is greater and the provocation

There's a grand passage in `Balaustion's Adventure: including a transcript from Euripides', descriptive of Herakles as he returns, after his conflict with Death, leading back Alkestis, which shows the poet's sympathy with the physical. The passage is more valuable as revealing that sympathy, from the fact that it's one of his additions to Euripides: -- "there stood the strength, Happy as always; something grave, perhaps; The great vein-cordage on the fret-worked brow, Black-swollen, beaded yet with battle-drops The yellow hair o' the hero! -- his big frame A-quiver with each muscle sinking back Into the sleepy smooth it leaped from late. Under the great guard of one arm, there leant A shrouded something, live and woman-like, Propped by the heart-beats 'neath the lion-coat. When he had finished his survey, it seemed, The heavings of the heart began subside, The helping breath returned, and last the smile Shone out, all Herakles was back again, As the words followed the saluting hand."

in turpitude as the mischief is greater and the provocation

It is not so much the glory of flesh which Euripides represents in Herakles, as the indulgence of appetite, at a time, too, when that indulgence is made to appear the more culpable and gross.

in turpitude as the mischief is greater and the provocation

This idea of "the value and significance of flesh", it is important to note, along with the predominant spiritual bearing of Browning's poetry. It articulates everywhere the spiritual, so to speak -- makes it healthy and robust, and protects it against volatility and from running into mysticism.

2. The Idea of Personality as embodied in Browning's Poetry.

A cardinal idea in Browning's poetry is the regeneration of men through a personality who brings fresh stuff for them to mould, interpret, and prove right, -- new feeling fresh from God -- whose life re-teaches them what life should be, what faith is, loyalty and simpleness, all once revealed, but taught them so long since that they have but mere tradition of the fact, -- truth copied falteringly from copies faint, the early traits all dropped away. (`Luria'.) The intellect plays a secondary part. Its place is behind the instinctive, spiritual antennae which conduct along their trembling lines, fresh stuff for the intellect to stamp and keep -- fresh instinct for it to translate into law.

"A people is but the attempt of many to rise to the completer life of one." (`A Soul's Tragedy'.)

Only the man who supplies new feeling fresh from God, quickens and regenerates the race, and sets it on the King's highway from which it has wandered into by-ways -- not the man of mere intellect, of unkindled soul, that supplies only stark-naked thought. Through the former, "God stooping shows sufficient of His light for those i' the dark to rise by." (`R. and B., Pompilia'.) In him men discern "the dawn of the next nature, the new man whose will they venture in the place of theirs, and whom they trust to find them out new ways to the new heights which yet he only sees." (`Luria'.) It is by reaching towards, and doing fealty to, the greater spirit which attracts and absorbs their own, that, "trace by trace old memories reappear, old truth returns, their slow thought does its work, and all's re-known." (`Luria'.)

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