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LONDON : PRINTED BY VIRTUE AND CO.,

CITY ROAD.

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TT is now thirty years since the publication of the first poem that 1 bore Mr. Browning's name on its title-page, and, with the one exception of the Laureate, no reputation has during that period advanced so steadily. If his popularity does not as yet approach. that of Mr. Tennyson, if the readers of “Paracelsus ” or the “Dramatis Personæ ” are to be counted by thousands, and those of the “Idyls of the King” and “Enoch Arden” by tens of thousands, there are yet not wanting judges who, recognising the characteristic excellences of each, see in Mr. Browning, with all the drawbacks of obscurity, abruptness, and an indifference to beauty of form or subject amounting almost to scorn, some elements of a higher poetic greatness than they find even in the high thoughts and perfect melody of his great rival. If we may venture to forecast the history of English poetry during the coming quarter of a century, we are tempted to predict that, if the followers of the one are likely to be the more numerous, those of the other will take a higher place and exercise a more lasting influence. If echoes of Tennysonian melodies float through the groves of Parnassus and are caught up by the young aspirants who

VOL. IV.

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