Robert Browning: Poems

Love and Its Corruption: Never the Time and the Place, Porphyria's Lover and Andrea del Sarto 12th Grade

In both Porphyria’s Lover and Andrea del Sarto, Robert Browning explores the notions of love and its capacity to corrupt an individual’s character and potential through his signature diegetic form; the dramatic monologue. While the form of these two poems is based around an implied audience, the primary agent and core subject matter is the narrator, rather than the subjects they speak on. The form itself requires that the reader complete the dramatic scene from within, through the use of inference and imagination, using the clues provided by Browning’s narrators in regard to their obsessions and preoccupations. In a differing manner, Never the Time and the Place varies in metrical poetic structure, and consists of both iambs and anapaests, combined by Browning with the varying indentations and use of enjambment to create a sense of the environment present as being a space of alterity.

Along with the aforementioned alterity, Never the Time and the Place establishes the concept of the intransient nature of love and its spacio-temporal limitations upon the narrator, doing so within the title (and first line of the poem) itself. The negative adverb of time “never”, when used as the first word in the poem, highlights the frustration...

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