Date of this Version
As one grows older one becomes sadly conscious that there are problems in one's life and in society for which there is no solution in the poetry of Robert Browning. A very great deal has happened since Robert Browning wrote; and what he tells us to do is not the thing we want to do, and his presentation of the situation in which we stand is not one that commends itself as entirely adequate. Part of the great outcry for the practical with its too wholesale rejection of the idealistic teachings of the last century, is a definite feeling that we do not know what to do or how to do it. There is even in some quarters a well-founded distrust of pure literature, because it is thought to have so little to say about life. All centuries speak disparagingly of their predecessors and we are no exception. The coat that our fathers left us is out of style: we are tired of being told what is the matter with it; we want to know how to make it over or get a new one.