[Verses to Robert Browning]

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1850 April
Genre: verse letter


Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the The Armstrong Browning Library pencil draft.

Scholarly Commentary


The poem is a skillful parody of both the religious ideas and doggerel style of Browning's Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day . Given that Browning was one of the poets DGR most admired, the satire is good-humored. Nonethless, DGR is clearly arguing that Browning's new book—these verses are copied into the first edition—represents a distinct falling off from his earlier work, especially Sordello and the poems in the Bells and Pomegranates series.

The verses should be compared with WMR's review of Browning's volume (written at approximately the same time). The two treatments, verse by DGR and prose by WMR, take a critical view of Browning's poem. DGR's comical argument is much closer to the spirit of Browning's own poem, especially to its first part (which DGR is directly parodying). In addition, DGR uses Browning's satire on religious orthodoxy as a vehicle to promote the new aesthetic ideas being promoted by the PRB—ideas that DGR directly linked to Browning's new ideas about poetic expression.

Textual History: Composition

The only copy of the poem that survives is DGR's pencil draft written into his copy of Robert Browning's Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day , which was published on 1 April 1850. The verses were almost certainly written shortly after that date, and thus in the same month that WMR wrote his review of Browning's volume (pubished on 2 May in the final issue of The Germ, 187 ).

Printing History

The poem has never been published.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 31-1850.raw.xml