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ROBERT BROWNING was bom in London, May 7, 1812. His father was a clerk in the Bank of England, had a taste for literature, and encouraged it in his son, to whom he gave a liberal education by private tutors and the means of travel
. Robert's first published book, “ Pauline," a poem, appeared anonymously in 1833Years afterward Dante Rossetti found a copy in the British Museum, suspected it to be Browning's work, and wrote to ask him if it were not his. So strong 2 the poet's individuality even in his youth. His drama of “ Paracelsus" appeared in 1835; and in the same year Macready, the actor, made Browning's acquaintance, conceived a strong liking for him, and asked him for
a play. Accordingly
, “Strafford” was produced, and was put upon the stage at Covent Garden, May 1, 1837. Macready and Helen Faucit had the principal parts, and the piece was well received. Browning then wrote the plays“ King Victor and King Charles * and “The Return of the Druses,” but they were not acted, and the masque entitled “Pippa Passes.” The masterpiece among his dramas, “A Blot in the
Scutcheon," is said to have been written in five days. It was presented at Drury Lane in February, 1843, with Mr. Phelps and Helen Faucit in the principal parts, and was triumphantly successful, in spite of the fact that Macready, who had had a misunderstanding with Browning, appeared to be rather desirous to have it fail
. Lawrence Barrett produced it in Washington, in 1885, taking the part of Thorold. Browning's next play was “Colombe's Birthday," which was published in 1844, but was not put upon the stage in London till 1852. It was played at the Howard Athenæum, Boston, Mass., in 1854. “Luria” and “ A Soul's Tragedy” were published in 1846. In that year he married Elizabeth Barrett, and they took up their residence in Florence, where they spent most of their time until her death in 1861. He died in Venice, December 12, 1889, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
A BLOT IN THE 'SCUTCHEON
SCENE 1.- THE INTERIOR OF A LODGE IN LORD TRESHAM'S
PARK. MANY RETAINERS CROWDED AT THE WINDOW, SUP-
IRST RET. Ay, do ! push, friends, and then you'll push
down me ! —
What for? Does any hear a runner's foot
Ger. Save your courtesies, my friend.
Second Ret. Now, Gerard, out with it!
I'll wager he has let
Let Gerard be!
First Ret. Our retainers look as fine —
Fourth Ret. He's only bowing, fool !
First Ret. That's comfort. Here's a very cavalcade !
Third Ret. I don't see wherefore Richard, and his troop
Ay — Ay!
No? That's comfort.