Selections from the Poems and Plays of Robert Browning
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Mr. Gosse gives an account of the impression made by this poem upon men so diverse as the Rev. William Johnson Fox, John Stuart Mill, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, to all of whom, in spite of its crudities and very evident immaturity, it seemed a production of exceptional promise.
After an interval of two years Browning published, this time under his own name, a second long poem. The subject, Paracelsus, had been suggested by the friend, Amédeé de Ripert-Monclar, to whom the poem is dedicated. In pursuance of his purposed rehabilitation of a vanished age Browning made extensive researches in the British Museum into the history of Paracelsus, the great leader in sixteenth century medical science; but in the poem the facts are subordinated to a minute analysis of the spiritual history of Paracelsus. The poem was too abstruse in subject and style to bring Browning popularity, but his genius was recognized by important critics.