'Guardian -Angel, The' by Robert Browning

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Dear and great Angel, wouldst thou only leave
That child, when thou hast done with him, for me!
Let me sit all the day here, that when eve
Shall find performed thy special ministry,
And time come for departure, thou, suspending
Thy flight, mayst see another child for tending,
Another still, to quiet and retrieve.


Then I shall feel thee step one step, no more,
From where thou standest now, to where I gaze,
---And suddenly my head is covered o'er
With those wings, white above the child who prays
Now on that tomb---and I shall feel thee guarding
Me, out of all the world; for me, discarding
Yon heaven thy home, that waits and opes its door.


I would not look up thither past thy head
Because the door opes, like that child, I know,
For I should have thy gracious face instead,
Thou bird of God! And wilt thou bend me low
Like him, and lay, like his, my hands together,
And lift them up to pray, and gently tether
Me, as thy lamb there, with thy garment's spread?


If this was ever granted, I would rest
My bead beneath thine, while thy healing hands
Close-covered both my eyes beside thy breast,
Pressing the brain, which too much thought expands,
Back to its proper size again, and smoothing
Distortion down till every nerve had soothing,
And all lay quiet, happy and suppressed.


How soon all worldly wrong would be repaired!
I think how I should view the earth and skies
And sea, when once again my brow was bared
After thy healing, with such different eyes.
O world, as God has made it! All is beauty:
And knowing this, is love, and love is duty.
What further may be sought for or declared?


Guercino drew this angel I saw teach
(Alfred, dear friend!)---that little child to pray,
Holding the little hands up, each to each
Pressed gently,---with his own head turned away
Over the earth where so much lay before him
Of work to do, though heaven was opening o'er him,
And he was left at Fano by the beach.


We were at Fano, and three times we went
To sit and see him in his chapel there,
And drink his beauty to our soul's content
---My angel with me too: and since I care
For dear Guercino's fame (to which in power
And glory comes this picture for a dower,
Fraught with a pathos so magnificent)---


And since he did not work thus earnestly
At all times, and has else endured some wrong---
I took one thought his picture struck from me,
And spread it out, translating it to song.
My love is here. Where are you, dear old friend?
How rolls the Wairoa at your world's far end?
This is Ancona, yonder is the sea.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Robert Browning's Guardian-Angel: A Critical Analysis

When it comes to poetry, Robert Browning is a name that needs no introduction. Known for his complex and intricate works, Browning's poetry has managed to capture the hearts of readers for generations. One such work is his poem, "Guardian-Angel." In this critical analysis, we will examine the themes, structure, and literary devices used in the poem to gain a deeper understanding of its meaning.


The poem "Guardian-Angel" explores the theme of the afterlife and the concept of guardian angels. The speaker of the poem is a woman who has recently passed away and is now in the afterlife. She is greeted by her guardian angel, who proceeds to guide her through the afterlife.

Throughout the poem, Browning explores the idea of what happens to us after we die. The speaker is not afraid of death, but instead is curious about what is to come. She is not sure if she is in heaven or hell, but her guardian angel assures her that she is in a place of peace and love.

Another theme that is present in the poem is the idea of redemption. The speaker is shown the consequences of her actions in life and is given the opportunity to make amends. She is able to ask for forgiveness and is shown that her actions have consequences, both good and bad.


The poem is written in iambic pentameter, giving it a steady and rhythmic flow. The rhyme scheme is ABAB, which adds to the poem's musicality. Browning also uses enjambment throughout the poem, which creates a sense of movement and fluidity.

The poem is divided into three sections. The first section introduces the speaker and her guardian angel. The second section explores the speaker's past actions and their consequences. The third section concludes the poem with the speaker's acceptance of her past and her newfound peace in the afterlife.

Literary Devices

Browning employs several literary devices throughout the poem to enhance its meaning and impact. One such device is repetition. The phrase "Guardian-Angel" is repeated throughout the poem, emphasizing the importance of the angel's presence in the speaker's life.

Browning also uses imagery to create vivid descriptions of the afterlife. The speaker describes the beauty of the landscape around her and the peace she feels in the afterlife. This imagery helps to create a sense of tranquility and calmness in the reader.

Another literary device used in the poem is symbolism. The guardian angel represents redemption and forgiveness. The speaker is able to find peace in the afterlife because she is able to make amends for her past actions. The angel is a symbol of the speaker's ability to find redemption and forgiveness.


The poem "Guardian-Angel" is a reflection on the afterlife and the idea of redemption. Browning uses vivid imagery and literary devices to create a sense of tranquility and calmness in the reader. The poem's message is that redemption and forgiveness are always possible, even after death.

The speaker's acceptance of her past actions and her newfound peace in the afterlife is a powerful message that encourages the reader to reflect on their own lives. The poem asks the reader to consider the consequences of their actions and to strive for redemption and forgiveness in their own lives.

Overall, "Guardian-Angel" is a beautiful and powerful poem that explores complex themes with grace and elegance. Browning's use of literary devices and imagery creates a sense of tranquility and calmness that lingers long after the poem has ended. It is a testament to Browning's skill as a poet and his ability to create works that are both beautiful and thought-provoking.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

The Guardian-Angel is a classic poem written by Robert Browning, a renowned English poet of the Victorian era. This poem is a beautiful representation of Browning's unique style of writing, which is characterized by his use of dramatic monologues and his exploration of the human psyche. The Guardian-Angel is a poem that explores the themes of love, faith, and redemption, and it is a masterpiece that has stood the test of time.

The poem tells the story of a man who is lost and alone, wandering through the streets of a city. He is in a state of despair, and he feels as though he has lost all hope. However, he is suddenly visited by a guardian-angel, who appears to him in a vision. The angel tells him that he is not alone, and that he is loved by God. The man is filled with hope and joy, and he is able to find his way back to the path of righteousness.

The poem is written in the form of a dramatic monologue, which is a style that Browning was famous for. The speaker in the poem is the man who is lost and alone, and he is speaking directly to the reader. The use of the dramatic monologue allows the reader to get inside the mind of the speaker, and to understand his thoughts and feelings.

One of the most striking aspects of the poem is the use of imagery. Browning uses vivid and powerful imagery to create a sense of atmosphere and mood. For example, he describes the city as "a maze of streets and alleys", which creates a sense of confusion and disorientation. He also describes the angel as having "wings of gold", which creates a sense of beauty and majesty.

Another important aspect of the poem is the theme of love. The angel tells the man that he is loved by God, and this message fills him with hope and joy. This theme of love is central to Browning's poetry, and it is a reflection of his own deep faith and spirituality.

The poem also explores the theme of faith. The man in the poem has lost his faith, and he feels as though he is alone in the world. However, the angel tells him that he is not alone, and that he is loved by God. This message of faith is a powerful one, and it is a reminder that even in our darkest moments, we are never truly alone.

The Guardian-Angel is a poem that is full of hope and redemption. The man in the poem is lost and alone, but he is able to find his way back to the path of righteousness thanks to the angel's message of love and faith. This message is a powerful one, and it is a reminder that even in our darkest moments, there is always hope.

In conclusion, The Guardian-Angel is a masterpiece of Victorian poetry. It is a poem that explores the themes of love, faith, and redemption, and it is a reflection of Browning's own deep faith and spirituality. The use of the dramatic monologue and vivid imagery creates a powerful sense of atmosphere and mood, and the message of hope and redemption is a powerful one that resonates with readers to this day.

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