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Patriot , The Analysis

Author: Poetry of Robert Browning Type: Poetry Views: 739

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It was roses, roses, all the way,

With myrtle mixed in my path like mad:

The house-roofs seemed to heave and sway,

The church-spires flamed, such flags they had,

A year ago on this very day.


The air broke into a mist with bells,

The old walls rocked with the crowd and cries.

Had I said, ``Good folk, mere noise repels---

But give me your sun from yonder skies!''

They had answered, ``And afterward, what else?''


Alack, it was I who leaped at the sun

To give it my loving friends to keep!

Nought man could do, have I left undone:

And you see my harvest, what I reap

This very day, now a year is run.


There's nobody on the house-tops now---

Just a palsied few at the windows set;

For the best of the sight is, all allow,

At the Shambles' Gate---or, better yet,

By the very scaffold's foot, I trow.


I go in the rain, and, more than needs,

A rope cuts both my wrists behind;

And I think, by the feel, my forehead bleeds,

For they fling, whoever has a mind,

Stones at me for my year's misdeeds.


Thus I entered, and thus I go!

In triumphs, people have dropped down dead.


``Me?''---God might question; now instead,

'Tis God shall repay: I am saferso.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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The patriot - An Old Story is typical of Browning in the sense that it reflects his obscurity, deep religiosity and robust optimism. The loose phrses like "all allow", the deliberate use of archaic words like alack, trow etc., beside rendering a taste of oldness, are perfect examples of Browning's obscurity wihich has baffled readers throughout the world. The fact that despite the treacherous fickleness shown by the mob, the Patriot has still optimistic belief that he would be safer in heaven, shows the poet's optimism and religiosity. The biblical taste in the lines "For they fling, whoever has a mind, stones at me..." is truly Brownian signature.
The Patriot - An Old Story has a kaleidoscope of visual and auditory images. The roses and myrtle flowers mixed like mad, the old walls rocking, the church spires flaming, the air breaking into mist with bells are images par excellence. The tone of the poem is thus celebration and enjoyment.
It then shifts to a promise made by the crowd. When the patriot asked them to fetch the Sun from the yonder skies, which is surely an impossible task, the crowd replied in a frenzy - what next to be done. It shows the immense faith and belief he could nurture in the masses those days.
Along with the narrative, the tone shifts to the palsied few, shambles' gate, scaffold's foot, bleeding forehead. The shift in the tone imparts the gravity of the catastrophe in store for the hero, a year after! The ironical balancing of the events and tonality is perhaps the reason why this poem became one of the most anthologized - not to mention the universal appeal it has!
The patriot is a representation of the fickle nature of public opinion. Browning represents the idea of naivity and the influenced morals of society. He represents the idea of politics influencing opinion and how perseption is irrelevent as it is misguided. The patriot is not hesitating his fate and doesnt seem to fight it, this mirrors the idea of Brownings era, people new they could not opose the state of society and accepted the ever changing view of morality.
The patriot, shows the fragile state of moral and public opinion. It represents the fickle nature of Brownings era and how judgements are naive. The patriot has accepted his fate and doesnt show any fight against his punishment. This mirrors the idea of this era and the submission to power and its opinion.

| Posted on 2010-07-19 | by a guest

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