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A Wish is a poem with excellent meaning hidden inside it. This poem is cleverly written by Matthew Arnold.

The poet is very much life oriented in this poem. He is asking God to give him that life which he is wishing for. Poet doesnt want anything else but he is simply wishing to get his hold on his dream life. That is why he is letting everything to flow out and he is ready to face whatever will come ahead. Thus, poet is looking somewhat nervous here. He is not happy with the usual life which is very busy. He is wishing to let time flow in its own way; he doesnt want to care for anything. Nothing is big in front of his wish. Wish has become everything for him and he is ready to pay anything to fulfill it. This life is so busy and no one is ready to waste even a single minute. In earlier times everyone paid a little attention to their wishes but now this Wish has lost its meaning. It is ignored and not counted important before other works and tasks. If this is life then why are people living? What are they going to achieve? Will they achieve their aim by doing this? If Wish doesnt exist then why is this life going on? What is the real meaning of life? All these questions get their answers in this poem. This poem is the mediator between the aim and wish. Anybody can not calculate their aim as wish. This is because wish is so much different than aim. Aim means living for something but wish means existing for something. Wish can give exact meaning to this life. Wish the thing which is beyond everything be it money or time. Poet doesnt want funeral for death. He wishes to see this beautiful world alone. Always surrounding yourself with people is also not good in his point of view. Therefore, you can not live always in crowd or can not provide your extra attention to others sayings. What you need to do is to see how beautiful this world is! In this way you can feel the true colors of life. This is the way to enjoy each season of the climate. To let yourself beyond this world you need to wish first. Thus you can not give useless excuses of time and business. Only then you can enjoy this life or else when your life comes to an end you will say that you didnt enjoy this life. Always remember there is only one life and you need to enjoy it in all possible ways. For the same poet asks to push yourself alone for your wish. No one is going to wait for you or make you happy. Only you and your wish are best friends of each other. Take a clear

picture of your present life. Dont count how much life is wasted but see how much remains still for you to live. Give a quick break to usual life and try to follow your wish. The Poem Andrea del Sarto is a meandering poem of 267 lines in blank verse, broken unevenly into three stanzas of 243, 23, and 1 line(s). The title identifies the subject of the poem, Andrea del Sarto, a distinguished artist of the Florentine School of painting. The poem is written in the first person, the speaker being Andrea, not Robert Browning. Andrea, conversing with his silent wife, Lucrezia, reflects on his life and art, thereby dramatically revealing his moral and aesthetic failure. The poem begins with Andreas placative request to Lucrezia to sit with him and not quarrel any more. The failure of the marriage quickly becomes evident as Andrea acknowledges that her physical presence affords no guarantee of intimacy or rapport. His wifes consent to sit is rewarded with a promise that he will accede to her wishes, permitting Lucrezias friends to dictate the circumference and price of his art. His most persuasive ploy for the pleasure of her companyeven for a few evening hoursis his pledge to shut the money from his work in her hand. As Andrea muses over the state of his life and his art, detailing his experiences and implying his dreams, he becomes an unconscious study in the complexity of failure: an artist possessing an uncommon aptitude for perfection in execution, but lacking the personal character traits to achieve success. Andrea views in all that he has touchedhis life, his marriage, and his paintingsa common greyness. He gropes desultorily for the cause of this diminution of his promise. He first speculates that his failure is attributable to determinism; an authoritative, controlling god predestines individual accomplishments. Such rationale, however, is too simplistic for the sensitive, intelligent artist. He reflects on his potential. Self-confident, he affirms his innate genius: Unlike others, he does not have to struggle for perfection in line and color; for him, process is facile. Michelangelo has even identified him as a serious Renaissance contenderthat is, he would be if he were as motivated and dedicated as the masters are.

Momentarily elated at his recollection and seeking to demonstrate this ability to his wife, Andrea almost presumes to correct a flawed line of a copy of a master painting; belatedly, however, withdrawing his brush from the surface of the painting, he surmises that technique is not the critical factor determining greatness. More significant is the soul of the artist. Andrea ponders over Lucrezias influence on his work: If she had a mind, if she were spiritual rather than carnal, he might have triumphed. He concludes, however, that incentive is not an external, but an internal phenomenon. Nostalgically, Andrea reflects on his year of prominence, basking in the favor of King Francis I and his royal court. Those golden years had ended abruptly at his decision to return to Italy and Lucrezia (at her request) and his embezzlement of money intrusted to him by the king for art purchases. Now, alienated from that glory, cuckoldedand aware of ithe prostitutes his art to delight Lucrezia and even to pay the debts of her lover. The dispassionate Andrea seems resigned to the diminished state of his life and art as the second stanza begins. Experiencing guilt over his neglect of his aged, impoverished parents and his betrayal of the king, he purports consolation at having Lucrezia. His sense of frustration, however, continues; in one last effort at consolation, he speculates on the afterlife. He will compete successfully with Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo in the New Jerusalem. His obsession with Lucrezia and his resignation, however, surface once more: Even in heavenat his choicehis wife will take precedence, negating any change in his performance. The extent of Andreas decadence is further emphasized in the concluding, one-line stanza: The effete husband, with seeming nonchalance, releases his wife to her lover at his casual whistle. Forms and Devices The dramatic monologue has become synonymous with Robert Brownings genius, and in Andrea del Sarto the poet probes the nature of one human failure. Form follows content, the language being informal as is natural in conversation. In harmony with the dwindling quality of Andreas life, the tone is subdued, reflecting the passive resignation that feeds Andreas impotence. In meter, also, the rhythm yields to the emotional tenor of the speakers reverie, moving from the placid acceptance of the present through a lively

reflection on his Fontainebleau years to the wistful contemplation of eternity. His lowpulsed quietly, quietly the evening through is interrupted by brief spurts of broken rhythm and faster-paced patterns: Dream? strive to do, and agonize to do,/ And fail in doing. The diction is sometimes oblique and indirect, conveying the ambiguity of Andreas perception of truth. Browning also employs a rhetorical technique of questions and answers to advance the reader through time and provide details of the speakers past. The questions are not directly responded to, but answers emerge through roundabout discourse: Andreas you turn your face, but does it bring your heart arouses doubt concerning Lucrezias affection for her husband, but his subsequent bribean offer to prostitute his art for her greedturns the skepticism into a certainty that she is indifferent not only to Andrea but also to art in general. Browning relies heavily on irony in Andrea del Sarto. Overall there is a pervasive cosmic irony that Andrea, rarely gifted, lacks the ardor and capability to animate his paintings. Fate, too, seems to deny any personal or professional fulfillment; whatever the extent of his desire or the magnitude of his sacrifice, he falls short. Ironically, too, Andreas introspection and his matter-of-fact observations about Lucrezia convey truths to the reader that he cannot even surmise. Incongruously, his words are often denied by the reality of his reverie: An assertion of peace initiates a return to the inner turmoil attendant to failure. A common greyness silvers everything, muses Andrea, thereby opening the monologue to the juxtaposition of two color images, grey and golden, to symbolize mediocrity and transcendence, respectively. The concept of grey is expanded metaphorically in toned down, autumn in everything, a twilight piece, and a settled dusk now, becoming synonymous with Andrea himself. In marked contrast is golden. Andreas halcyon days in France were golden. There he basked in the golden looks and wore golden chains. Lucrezia, too, is included among these transcendent moments, Andrea making reference to her hairs gold.

Themes and Meanings Andrea del Sarto is a poem about success and failure in life and art, as expressed through the unconscious self-analysis of a sensitive, intelligent artist. Andreas mediocrity stresses the truth of a common Browning motif: A mans reach should exceed his grasp. Unfortunately, such a premise negates success for Andrea (known in history as the faultless painter), for he possesses an ability for technique that others agonize to reach. Significantly, this excellence comes facilely: I can do with my pencil what I know,/ What I see, . . ./ Do easily, tooperfectly. Yet, as Andrea theorizes, In this world, who can do a thing will not;/ And who would do it, cannot, I perceive. Therefore, since Andrea is one who can, he is ineffective. His plaintive observation that others whose works lack precision reach many a time a heaven denied him reveals frustration; however, his very expertise, according to Brownings credo, signifies baseness and superficiality. Andreas cognizance of his own ennui as, amoebalike, he is indifferent to criticism or praise, is indicative of a paralysis precluding an essential motivation, which would empower transcendence. Andrea should be reaching that heaven might so replenish him/ Above and through his art. Inextricably intertwined with the preceding theme is another, focusing on the balance between mind (art) and heart (love). For Andrea, love takes preeminence, and he evaluates all experience by the light in Lucrezias eyes. In his art, Andreas efforts are not determined by his own imagination, they are subjugated to the whims of his wife, as he commercializes his art to buy her a ruff or pay her lovers gambling debts. Even in France, his ultimate concern was not for self-realization or for meeting the kings expectations, it was for meriting Lucrezias approval. At Lucrezias request, he returned to Italy, forfeiting his promising career in France. Even Michelangelos generous words of recognition serve only to impress his wife rather than arouse joy in his soul. His obsession has corrupted his values and destroyed his reputation. For love he became an embezzler and failed his parents. Sacrificed, too, for love is Andreas dignity. Servile, Andrea begs to hold his wifes hand; humiliated, he condones his wifes infidelity. His moon has become everybodys. The epitomy of shamed manhood, he exercises an annoying forbearance as he releases his wife

temporarily to the arms of her lover. The extent of Andreas demoralization is infinitely destructive, as shown by his final sacrifice: He forgoes his final opportunity for excellence. Even in eternity, he will choose Lucrezia and, therefore, deny his soul again. Andreas unhealthy skewing of his life toward love has upset an essential balance between art and life, resulting in the betrayal of self and extinguishing the light of his soul. SUMMARY This dramatic monologue is narrated by Renaissance painter Andrea del Sarto to his wifeLucrezia. They live in Florence. Andrea begs Lucrezia that they end a quarrel over whether the painter should sell his paintings to a friend of his wife's. He acquiesces to her wish and promises he will give her the money if she will only hold his hand and sit with him by the window from which they can survey Florence. He admits to feeling a deep melancholy, in which "a common grayness silvers everything" (line 35), and hopes she can pull him from it. He tells her that if she were to smile for him, he would be able to pull himself from such sadness. Andrea considers himself a failure as an artist, both because she has lost her "first pride" (line 37) in him and because he has only one talent: the ability to create faultless paintings. Though many praise him for creating flawless reproductions, which he admits he does easily, with "no sketches first, no studies" (line 68), Andrea is aware that his work lacks the spirit and soul that bless his contemporaries Rafael and Michel Agnolo(Michelangelo). Considering himself only a "craftsman" (line 82), he knows they are able to glimpse heaven whereas he is stuck with earthly inspirations. He surveys a painting that has been sent to him, and notes how it has imperfections he could easily fix, but a "soul" (line 108) he could never capture. He begins to blame Lucrezia for denying him the soul that could have made him great, and while he forgives her for her beauty, accuses her of not having brought a "mind" (line 126) that could have inspired him. He wonders whether what makes his contemporaries great is their lack of a wife. Andrea then reminisces on their past. Long before, he had painted for a year in France for the royal court, producing work of which both he and Lucrezia were proud. But when she grew "restless" (line 165), they set off for Italy, where they bought a nice house with the money and he became a less inspired artist. However, he contemplates that it could have gone no other way, since fate intended him to be with Lucrezia, and hopes future generations will forgive him his choices. As evidence of his talent, he recalls how Michelangelo once complimented his talent to Rafael, but quickly loses that excitement as he focuses on the imperfections of the painting in front of him and his own failings. He begs Lucrezia to stay with him more often, sure that her love would inspire him to greater achievements, and he could thereby "earn more, give [her] more" (line 207).

Lucrezia is called from outside, by her 'cousin,' and Andrea begs her to stay. He notes that the 'cousin' has "loans" (line 221) that need paying, and says he will pay those if she stays. She seems to decline the offer, and to insist she will leave. In the poem's final section, Andrea grows melancholy again, and insists he does "regret littlewould change still less" (line 245). He justifies having fled France and sold out his artistic integrity, and praises himself for his prolific faultless paintings. He notes again that his Lucrezia is a part of his failure, but insists that she was his choice. Finally, he gives her leave to go to her 'cousin.' ANALYSIS "Andrea del Sarto" is unique in Browning's dramatic monologue oeuvre particularly because of its incredibly melancholic tone and pessimistic view of art. The voice, as welldrawn as usual, falls into blank verse, unrhymed mostly-iambic lines, but lacks the charisma of most of Browning's speakers. It's a fitting choice, since the character's basic approach to his dilemma is a rational, dialectical one he follows several lines of thought in trying to find who or what is to blame for his unhappiness, reasoning through each option until he wears himself out. The piece veers between extreme moods and thoughts without any clear separations, suggesting the rhythm of depressive, desperate thought. Of course, the irony is that his ability to rationalize does not mean he gets anywhere closer to truth, or that he is free from severe psychological hang-ups. First, a bit of history is useful. As with this poem's companion piece, "Fra Lippo Lippi," Browning was inspired towards this subject by Vasari's Lives of the Artists, which tells of how Andrea was famous in his day for his ability to paint faultless work, though he was later eclipsed in greatness by his contemporaries for the vacuousness of the work. The other historical detail Browning draws upon is the painter's artistic life: he had painted for the French king for a while, until he and his wife Lucrezia took their bounty and went to Florence, where they used that money to buy a wonderful house. Andrea's basic dilemma can be boiled down to one that still resonates with artists today: should he pursue high art or commercial art? Obviously, the two are not mutually exclusive, but the pursuit of the former demands great ambition and a willingness to fail, whereas the former can be produced according to more easily-categorizable formula. Andrea acknowledges that an artist ought be drawn towards the demands of high art, which pushes him to reach for the heavens: "a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?" (lines 97-98). And yet he time and time again chooses to stay Earthbound, choosing to create paintings for money, to stay within his comfort realm (in which he can create faultless paintings without any difficulty) and thereby maintain a high standard of living. Of course, he spends the monologue seeking for the cause of his choice. The most common cause he returns to is his wife, so much so that he wonders whether his more acclaimed contemporaries have perhaps gained in ambition by lacking a wife. It's clear that he is under Lucrezia's thumb, both at the beginning in which he acquiesces to painting for the sake of her "friend's friend" (line 5) even as it bothers him and at the end, when he sends her off to a 'cousin' who is more than likely a lover, and whose debts Lucrezia forces her husband to work in order to pay. And yet, for all the ammunition he has to despise her,

Andrea consistently pulls his punches. He accuses her of infidelity, of lack of faith in his art, of not having a "mind," but each time retreats and forgives her everything. Time and time again, he comes back to himself, insisting that he chose her. One question that then emerges is: does his refusal to directly confront her reveal a kindness in him or a weakness, a fear of recognizing his own inability to confront her and by extension himself? His idea of ambition and great art seems well-founded, and falls into a philosophy Browning often espoused, the doctrine of the imperfect. Like many artists before and after him, Browning believed that great art had to be willing to fail, whereas an artist like Andrea, who refuses to compromise his ability for faultless work, can only produce pretty pictures that reveal no depths of humanity. Perhaps the most telling irony of the poem comes in the speaker's continual return to the painting that sits in the room; he constantly notes how its arm is imperfect and how he could fix it, even as he notes that it reveals great soul in its artistry. In other words, while Andrea endeavors to discover the cause of his unhappiness, he reveals to the reader that his inability to take risks lies deep within himself. It is here that the basic arc of the poem is revealed: ultimately, through his struggle to blame fate and Lucrezia for his unhappiness, Andrea constantly returns to himself as the villain. The dramatic irony is uncharacteristically light in this poem, because Andrea basically knows the answer to his query. Not only did he choose Lucrezia in the first place, but he also chose to escape France with her. Further, he chooses to let her go off to her lover, and he chooses to continue painting in a way he despises. The deep fear at the heart of the poem is a fear of having no inspired purpose, of having talent but no direction. The heart of such despair is so deep that Andrea will use his every rational facility to avoid looking into that question, and so he instead convinces himself that all will be okay. His greatest weakness is that he barely asks the hardest question: what if all of this means nothing? Perhaps were he to fully confront that question, he would create work that resonated in a deeper way than his current paintings. But he is unwilling or unable to do so, and convinces himself that he chooses the material over the heavenly world, hoping he will be forgiven for future generations for the choice, even as he is deep-down certain that will not be the case.

Andrea del Sarto Complete Text But do not let us quarrel any more, No, my Lucrezia; bear with me for once: Sit down and all shall happen as you wish. You turn your face, but does it bring your heart? Ill work then for your friends friend, never fear, Treat his own subject after his own way, Fix his own time, accept too his own price, And shut the money into this small hand When next it takes mine. Will it? tenderly? Oh, Ill content him,but to-morrow, Love! I often am much wearier than you think, This evening more than usual, and it seems As ifforgive nowshould you let me sit Here by the window with your hand in mine And look a half-hour forth on Fiesole, Both of one mind, as married people use, Quietly, quietly the evening through, I might get up to-morrow to my work Cheerful and fresh as ever. Let us try. To-morrow, how you shall be glad for this! Your soft hand is a woman of itself, And mine the mans bared breast she curls inside. Dont count the time lost, neither; you must serve For each of the five pictures we require: It saves a model. So! keep looking so My serpentining beauty, rounds on rounds! How could you ever prick those perfect ears, Even to put the pearl there! oh, so sweet My face, my moon, my everybodys moon, Which everybody looks on and calls his, And, I suppose, is looked on by in turn, While she looksno ones: very dear, no less. You smile? why, theres my picture ready made, Theres what we painters call our harmony! A common greyness silvers everything, All in a twilight, you and I alike You, at the point of your first pride in me (Thats gone you know),but I, at every point; My youth, my hope, my art, being all toned down To yonder sober pleasant Fiesole. Theres the bell clinking from the chapel-top; That length of convent-wall across the way Holds the trees safer, huddled more inside;

The last monk leaves the garden; days decrease, And autumn grows, autumn in everything. Eh? the whole seems to fall into a shape As if I saw alike my work and self And all that I was born to be and do, A twilight-piece. Love, we are in Gods hand. How strange now, looks the life he makes us lead; So free we seem, so fettered fast we are! I feel he laid the fetter: let it lie! This chamber for exampleturn your head All thats behind us! You dont understand Nor care to understand about my art, But you can hear at least when people speak: And that cartoon, the second from the door It is the thing, Love! so such things should be Behold Madonna!I am bold to say. I can do with my pencil what I know, What I see, what at bottom of my heart I wish for, if I ever wish so deep Do easily, toowhen I say, perfectly, I do not boast, perhaps: yourself are judge, Who listened to the Legates talk last week, And just as much they used to say in France. At any rate tis easy, all of it! No sketches first, no studies, thats long past: I do what many dream of, all their lives, Dream? strive to do, and agonize to do, And fail in doing. I could count twenty such On twice your fingers, and not leave this town, Who striveyou dont know how the others strive To paint a little thing like that you smeared Carelessly passing with your robes afloat, Yet do much less, so much less, Someone says, (I know his name, no matter)so much less! Well, less is more, Lucrezia: I am judged. There burns a truer light of God in them, In their vexed beating stuffed and stopped-up brain, Heart, or whateer else, than goes on to prompt This low-pulsed forthright craftsmans hand of mine. Their works drop groundward, but themselves, I know, Reach many a time a heaven thats shut to me, Enter and take their place there sure enough, Though they come back and cannot tell the world. My works are nearer heaven, but I sit here. The sudden blood of these men! at a word Praise them, it boils, or blame them, it boils too.

I, painting from myself and to myself, Know what I do, am unmoved by mens blame Or their praise either. Somebody remarks Morellos outline there is wrongly traced, His hue mistaken; what of that? or else, Rightly traced and well ordered; what of that? Speak as they please, what does the mountain care? Ah, but a mans reach should exceed his grasp, Or whats a heaven for? All is silver-grey, Placid and perfect with my art: the worse! I know both what I want and what might gain, And yet how profitless to know, to sigh Had I been two, another and myself, Our head would have oerlooked the world! No doubt. Yonders a work now, of that famous youth The Urbinate who died five years ago. (Tis copied, George Vasari sent it me.) Well, I can fancy how he did it all, Pouring his soul, with kings and popes to see, Reaching, that heaven might so replenish him, Above and through his artfor it gives way; That arm is wrongly putand there again A fault to pardon in the drawings lines, Its body, so to speak: its soul is right, He means rightthat, a child may understand. Still, what an arm! and I could alter it: But all the play, the insight and the stretch (Out of me, out of me! And wherefore out? Had you enjoined them on me, given me soul, We might have risen to Rafael, I and you! Nay, Love, you did give all I asked, I think More than I merit, yes, by many times. But had youoh, with the same perfect brow, And perfect eyes, and more than perfect mouth, And the low voice my soul hears, as a bird The fowlers pipe, and follows to the snare Had you, with these the same, but brought a mind! Some women do so. Had the mouth there urged God and the glory! never care for gain. The present by the future, what is that? Live for fame, side by side with Agnolo! Rafael is waiting: up to God, all three! I might have done it for you. So it seems: Perhaps not. All is as God over-rules. Beside, incentives come from the souls self; The rest avail not. Why do I need you?

What wife had Rafael, or has Agnolo? In this world, who can do a thing, will not; And who would do it, cannot, I perceive: Yet the wills somewhatsomewhat, too, the power And thus we half-men struggle. At the end, God, I conclude, compensates, punishes. Tis safer for me, if the award be strict, That I am something underrated here, Poor this long while, despised, to speak the truth. I dared not, do you know, leave home all day, For fear of chancing on the Paris lords. The best is when they pass and look aside; But they speak sometimes; I must bear it all. Well may they speak! That Francis, that first time, And that long festal year at Fontainebleau! I surely then could sometimes leave the ground, Put on the glory, Rafaels daily wear, In that humane great monarchs golden look, One finger in his beard or twisted curl Over his mouths good mark that made the smile, One arm about my shoulder, round my neck, The jingle of his gold chain in my ear, I painting proudly with his breath on me, All his court round him, seeing with his eyes, Such frank French eyes, and such a fire of souls Profuse, my hand kept plying by those hearts, And, best of all, this, this, this face beyond, This in the background, waiting on my work, To crown the issue with a last reward! A good time, was it not, my kingly days? And had you not grown restless... but I know Tis done and past: twas right, my instinct said: Too live the life grew, golden and not grey, And Im the weak-eyed bat no sun should tempt Out of the grange whose four walls make his world. How could it end in any other way? You called me, and I came home to your heart. The triumph wasto reach and stay there; since I reached it ere the triumph, what is lost? Let my hands frame your face in your hairs gold, You beautiful Lucrezia that are mine! Rafael did this, Andrea painted that; The Romans is the better when you pray, But still the others Virgin was his wife Men will excuse me. I am glad to judge Both pictures in your presence; clearer grows

My better fortune, I resolve to think. For, do you know, Lucrezia, as God lives, Said one day Agnolo, his very self, To Rafael . . . I have known it all these years . . . (When the young man was flaming out his thoughts Upon a palace-wall for Rome to see, Too lifted up in heart because of it) Friend, theres a certain sorry little scrub Goes up and down our Florence, none cares how, Who, were he set to plan and execute As you are, pricked on by your popes and kings, Would bring the sweat into that brow of yours! To Rafaels!And indeed the arm is wrong. I hardly dare . . . yet, only you to see, Give the chalk herequick, thus, the line should go! Ay, but the soul! hes Rafael! rub it out! Still, all I care for, if he spoke the truth, (What he? why, who but Michel Agnolo? Do you forget already words like those?) If really there was such a chance, so lost, Is, whether yourenot gratefulbut more pleased. Well, let me think so. And you smile indeed! This hour has been an hour! Another smile? If you would sit thus by me every night I should work better, do you comprehend? I mean that I should earn more, give you more. See, it is settled dusk now; theres a star; Morellos gone, the watch-lights show the wall, The cue-owls speak the name we call them by. Come from the window, love,come in, at last, Inside the melancholy little house We built to be so gay with. God is just. King Francis may forgive me: oft at nights When I look up from painting, eyes tired out, The walls become illumined, brick from brick Distinct, instead of mortar, fierce bright gold, That gold of his I did cement them with! Let us but love each other. Must you go? That Cousin here again? he waits outside? Must see youyou, and not with me? Those loans? More gaming debts to pay? you smiled for that? Well, let smiles buy me! have you more to spend? While hand and eye and something of a heart Are left me, works my ware, and whats it worth? Ill pay my fancy. Only let me sit The grey remainder of the evening out,

Idle, you call it, and muse perfectly How I could paint, were I but back in France, One picture, just one morethe Virgins face, Not yours this time! I want you at my side To hear themthat is, Michel Agnolo Judge all I do and tell you of its worth. Will you? To-morrow, satisfy your friend. I take the subjects for his corridor, Finish the portrait out of handthere, there, And throw him in another thing or two If he demurs; the whole should prove enough To pay for this same Cousins freak. Beside, Whats better and whats all I care about, Get you the thirteen scudi for the ruff! Love, does that please you? Ah, but what does he, The Cousin! what does he to please you more? I am grown peaceful as old age to-night. I regret little, I would change still less. Since there my past life lies, why alter it? The very wrong to Francis!it is true I took his coin, was tempted and complied, And built this house and sinned, and all is said. My father and my mother died of want. Well, had I riches of my own? you see How one gets rich! Let each one bear his lot. They were born poor, lived poor, and poor they died: And I have laboured somewhat in my time And not been paid profusely. Some good son Paint my two hundred pictureslet him try! No doubt, theres something strikes a balance. Yes, You loved me quite enough. it seems to-night. This must suffice me here. What would one have? In heaven, perhaps, new chances, one more chance Four great walls in the New Jerusalem, Meted on each side by the angels reed, For Leonard, Rafael, Agnolo and me To coverthe three first without a wife, While I have mine! Sostill they overcome Because theres still Lucrezia,as I choose. Again the Cousins whistle! Go, my Love.

Summary This poem represents yet another of Brownings dramatic monologues spoken in the voice of an historical Renaissance painter. Andrea del Sarto, like Fra Lippo Lippi, lived and worked in Florence, albeit a little later than Lippo, and was later appointed court painter by Francis, the King of France. Under the nagging influence of his wife Lucrezia, to whom he speaks in this poem, he left the French court for Italy but promised to return; he took with him some money that Francis had given him to purchase Italian artworks for the court, and also the money advanced to him for his own commissioned paintings. However, he spent all of the money on a house for himself and his wife in Italy and never returned to France. This poem finds Andrea in the house he has bought with the stolen money, as he thinks back on his career and laments that his worldly concerns have kept him from fulfilling his promise as an artist. As he and Lucrezia sit at their window, he talks to her of his relative successes and failures: although Michelangelo (here, Michel Agnolo) and Raphael (Rafael) enjoyed higher inspiration and better patronageand lacked nagging wiveshe is the better craftsman, and he points out to her the problems with the Great Masters work. But while Andrea succeeds technically where they do not (thus his title The Faultless Painter), their work ultimately triumphs for its emotional and spiritual power. Andrea now finds himself in the twilight of his career and his marriage: Lucrezias Cousinprobably her loverkeeps whistling for her to come; she apparently either owes the man gambling debts or has promised to cover his own. The fond, weary Andrea gives her some money, promises to sell paintings to pay off her debts, and sends her away to her Cousin, while he remains to sit quietly and dream of painting in Heaven. Form Andrea del Sarto unrolls in pentameter blank verse, mostly iambic. It is a quiet poem, the musings of a defeated man. Both in language and in form it is modest and calm. Yet it also manages to mimic natural speech quite effectively, with little interjections and asides. Commentary This poem has a most compelling premisean artists comparison of his own work to that of the Great Masters. Andrea blames his disappointing career on his inability to match his unparalleled technical skills with appropriate subject matter: all the Virgins he paints look like his wife, and he has never had the time at court to allow his work to blossom. While Raphael and Michelangelo often err in their representations (while he speaks Andrea mentally fixes a figures arm in a scene by Raphael), the intentions and the spirit behind their work shine through so strongly that their work nonetheless surpasses his. This seems to contradict what Browning asserts in other poems about the unconnectedness of art on the one hand and morality or intention on the other. But perhaps we can explain this seeming contradiction by interpreting the Great Masters motivation as not so much any specific spiritual or moral purpose, but rather an all-consuming passion for their art. As Andrea notes, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo did not have wives: they lived for their work. For Andrea, painting is reduced to a means to make money; he has the avaricious Lucrezia to support. Between trying to pay her debts, buying her the things she wants, and keeping her attention, Andrea cannot afford to focus solely on his art. Is the creation of art incompatible with a normal life, a life of mundane duties and obligations?

It may be worth considering why Browning chooses to write about painters rather than poets in his discussions on art and the artist-figure. During the Renaissance era where Browning sets his verses, poetry would have had a somewhat limited audience: it would have been enjoyed by those who had both the extra money and time to spend on books, not to mention the necessary literacy (although much poetry would have been read aloud). Painting, on the other hand, wasand still isa more public art form. Whether a painting hangs in a museum or on the wall of a church, it remains constantly accessible and on display to anyone who passes, regardless of his or her education. Moreover, particularly since most Renaissance art portrayed religious themes, painting had a specific didactic purpose and thus an explicit connection to moral and spiritual issues. This connection between art and morals is precisely what most interests Browning in much of his work indeed, it much preoccupied Victorian society in general. Browning and his contemporaries asked, What can be forgiven morally in the name of aesthetic greatness? Does art have a moral responsibility? Because Renaissance painting was public and fairly representational, it highlights many of these issues; poetry is always indirect and symbolic, and usually private, and thus makes a harder test case than painting. Indeed, Andreas paintings in particular, which often depict religious scenes, get right at the heart of the art-morality question, especially given his works imbalance between technical skill and lofty intentions. Andrea presents us with a different kind of character than we are used to seeing in Brownings work. Unlike the Duke of My Last Duchess, Fra Lippo Lippi, or Porphyrias Lover, Andrea expresses a resigned, melancholy outlook; his wife keeps him completely under her thumb. He lacks the hubris of these other characters, and thus to some extent seems to represent Brownings insecurities. The reader should keep in mind that Browning did not enjoy public success until the late in his career, and at the time that Men and Women was published critics considered Brownings wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the far greater poet. While by every indication their relationship thrived on mutual respect and support, it is nevertheless possible that Browning may have felt, as Andrea does, that domestic life and his wifes presence weakened his art. Like My Last Duchess and Porphyrias Lover this poem takes place (is spoken) after the fact: Andrea has long since left Franciss court, and the money he stole has long since disappeared into the house and Lucrezias wardrobe. While this monologue comes across as dramatic in nature, it does not dramatize anyones actions. Rather, it seeks to capture a mood and an attitude. In this way it has more in common with Tennysons dramatic monologues (such as Ulysses) than it does with other poems of Brownings. This dramatic monologue is narrated by Renaissance painter Andrea del Sarto to his wifeLucrezia. They live in Florence. Andrea begs Lucrezia that they end a quarrel over whether the painter should sell his paintings to a friend of his wife's. He acquiesces to her wish and promises he will give her the money if she will only hold his hand and sit with him by the window from which they can survey Florence. He admits to feeling a deep melancholy, in which "a common grayness silvers everything" (line 35), and hopes she can pull him from it. He tells her that if she were to smile for him, he would be able to pull himself from such sadness. Andrea considers himself a failure as

an artist, both because she has lost her "first pride" (line 37) in him and because he has only one talent: the ability to create faultless paintings. Though many praise him for creating flawless reproductions, which he admits he does easily, with "no sketches first, no studies" (line 68), Andrea is aware that his work lacks the spirit and soul that bless his contemporaries Rafael and Michel Agnolo(Michelangelo). Considering himself only a "craftsman" (line 82), he knows they are able to glimpse heaven whereas he is stuck with earthly inspirations. He surveys a painting that has been sent to him, and notes how it has imperfections he could easily fix, but a "soul" (line 108) he could never capture. He begins to blame Lucrezia for denying him the soul that could have made him great, and while he forgives her for her beauty, accuses her of not having brought a "mind" (line 126) that could have inspired him. He wonders whether what makes his contemporaries great is their lack of a wife. Andrea then reminisces on their past. Long before, he had painted for a year in France for the royal court, producing work of which both he and Lucrezia were proud. But when she grew "restless" (line 165), they set off for Italy, where they bought a nice house with the money and he became a less inspired artist. However, he contemplates that it could have gone no other way, since fate intended him to be with Lucrezia, and hopes future generations will forgive him his choices. As evidence of his talent, he recalls how Michelangelo once complimented his talent to Rafael, but quickly loses that excitement as he focuses on the imperfections of the painting in front of him and his own failings. He begs Lucrezia to stay with him more often, sure that her love would inspire him to greater achievements, and he could thereby "earn more, give [her] more" (line 207). Lucrezia is called from outside, by her 'cousin,' and Andrea begs her to stay. He notes that the 'cousin' has "loans" (line 221) that need paying, and says he will pay those if she stays. She seems to decline the offer, and to insist she will leave. In the poem's final section, Andrea grows melancholy again, and insists he does "regret littlewould change still less" (line 245). He justifies having fled France and sold out his artistic integrity, and praises himself for his prolific faultless paintings. He notes again that his Lucrezia is a part of his failure, but insists that she was his choice. Finally, he gives her leave to go to her 'cousin.' ANALYSIS "Andrea del Sarto" is unique in Browning's dramatic monologue oeuvre particularly because of its incredibly melancholic tone and pessimistic view of art. The voice, as welldrawn as usual, falls into blank verse, unrhymed mostly-iambic lines, but lacks the charisma of most of Browning's speakers. It's a fitting choice, since the character's basic approach to his dilemma is a rational, dialectical one he follows several lines of thought in trying to find who or what is to blame for his unhappiness, reasoning through each option until he wears himself out. The piece veers between extreme moods and thoughts without any clear separations, suggesting the rhythm of depressive, desperate thought. Of course, the irony is that his ability to rationalize does not mean he gets anywhere closer to truth, or that he is free from severe psychological hang-ups. First, a bit of history is

useful. As with this poem's companion piece, "Fra Lippo Lippi," Browning was inspired towards this subject by Vasari's Lives of the Artists, which tells of how Andrea was famous in his day for his ability to paint faultless work, though he was later eclipsed in greatness by his contemporaries for the vacuousness of the work. The other historical detail Browning draws upon is the painter's artistic life: he had painted for the French king for a while, until he and his wife Lucrezia took their bounty and went to Florence, where they used that money to buy a wonderful house. Andrea's basic dilemma can be boiled down to one that still resonates with artists today: should he pursue high art or commercial art? Obviously, the two are not mutually exclusive, but the pursuit of the former demands great ambition and a willingness to fail, whereas the former can be produced according to more easily-categorizable formula. Andrea acknowledges that an artist ought be drawn towards the demands of high art, which pushes him to reach for the heavens: "a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?" (lines 97-98). And yet he time and time again chooses to stay Earthbound, choosing to create paintings for money, to stay within his comfort realm (in which he can create faultless paintings without any difficulty) and thereby maintain a high standard of living. Of course, he spends the monologue seeking for the cause of his choice. The most common cause he returns to is his wife, so much so that he wonders whether his more acclaimed contemporaries have perhaps gained in ambition by lacking a wife. It's clear that he is under Lucrezia's thumb, both at the beginning in which he acquiesces to painting for the sake of her "friend's friend" (line 5) even as it bothers him and at the end, when he sends her off to a 'cousin' who is more than likely a lover, and whose debts Lucrezia forces her husband to work in order to pay. And yet, for all the ammunition he has to despise her, Andrea consistently pulls his punches. He accuses her of infidelity, of lack of faith in his art, of not having a "mind," but each time retreats and forgives her everything. Time and time again, he comes back to himself, insisting that he chose her. One question that then emerges is: does his refusal to directly confront her reveal a kindness in him or a weakness, a fear of recognizing his own inability to confront her and by extension himself? His idea of ambition and great art seems well-founded, and falls into a philosophy Browning often espoused, the doctrine of the imperfect. Like many artists before and after him, Browning believed that great art had to be willing to fail, whereas an artist like Andrea, who refuses to compromise his ability for faultless work, can only produce pretty pictures that reveal no depths of humanity. Perhaps the most telling irony of the poem comes in the speaker's continual return to the painting that sits in the room; he constantly notes how its arm is imperfect and how he could fix it, even as he notes that it reveals great soul in its artistry. In other words, while Andrea endeavors to discover the cause of his unhappiness, he reveals to the reader that his inability to take risks lies deep within himself. It is here that the basic arc of the poem is revealed: ultimately, through his struggle to blame fate and Lucrezia for his unhappiness, Andrea constantly returns to himself as the villain. The dramatic irony is uncharacteristically light in this poem, because Andrea basically knows the answer to his query. Not only did he choose Lucrezia in the first place, but he also chose to escape France with her. Further, he chooses to let her go off to her

lover, and he chooses to continue painting in a way he despises. The deep fear at the heart of the poem is a fear of having no inspired purpose, of having talent but no direction. The heart of such despair is so deep that Andrea will use his every rational facility to avoid looking into that question, and so he instead convinces himself that all will be okay. His greatest weakness is that he barely asks the hardest question: what if all of this means nothing? Perhaps were he to fully confront that question, he would create work that resonated in a deeper way than his current paintings. But he is unwilling or unable to do so, and convinces himself that he chooses the material over the heavenly world, hoping he will be forgiven for future generations for the choice, even as he is deep-down certain that will not be the case. Browning and the dramatic monologue Robert Browning is most famous for his dramatic monologues, which place the poet, reader, and speaker at a certain distance from one another, so the reader has to distinguish that which is straightforward from that which is ironic. Browning was not the only Victorian writer of dramatic monologuesin fact it was a popular form at the time. But many feel Browning perfected the form. As M.H. Abrams defines it, the dramatic monologue is a type of lyric poem containing these three features: 1. A single person, who is not the poet, utters a speech that makes up the entire poem, in a specific situation at a critical moment. 2. This person addresses and interacts with other people, but we only know of their presence (and guess at their speech and actions) from clues in the speech of the single narrator. 3. The main principle controlling the poets formulation of what the speaker says is to reveal to the reader the speakers character and temperament. (In Abrams view, the second feature is not absolutely necessary to the dramatic monologue, but the first and third are.) In the view of Lee Erickson, Brownings poems begin with a speaker who seeks form and a

sense of self in the world (Erickson 17). Drama of self-development, not the expression of an assured perspective, is the subject for his poetry. This process requires the active participation of others, for the speaker gains self-consciousness by being recognized by their audiences (Erickson 18).Brownings poetry and interpretation of art It may be interesting to look at the ways in which Brownings dramatic monologues demand active reader participation to bring the character of the speaker to life. As indicated above, Brownings dramatic monologues draw verbal pictures of speaking characters whose utterances are the only words in the poem. This makes for an interesting relationship between reader and text, since the speech that is the poem explicitly invokes a dramatized listener, while the poem as a whole implicitly invokes a different listener in the form of an active reader. Browning is neither speaking to a reader directly through his monologists, nor speaking over the speakers head to the reader. Rather, it is in the recognized distance between what the reader hears and what the implied listener hears that we can get a glimpse of Brownings understanding of his own creative endeavour. Many of the subjects of Brownings poems are artists or art collectors (for example, the Duke in My Last Duchess and the artist in Andrea del Sarto). One possible approach is to examine the differences between these speakers attitudes toward art and the attitude toward art of the poet (or, more precisely, the attitude implied by each of these poems as a whole). How do the characters value works of art, and how do they regard the role of art in society? In what respects

may we infer that Browning himself shares or rejects those views? Brownings diction and syntax In his dramatic monologues Browning makes use of natural speech rhythms; there are pauses and interruptions, and the conversation flows between loosely associated topics. In large part as a result of this fidelity to normal patterns of conversation, the verse often features inverted syntax, awkward diction, surprising line breaks, and sometimes jarring phrasing. Critics and poets since the late nineteenth century have tended to admire these formal elements, whereas many of Brownings earliest readers found such elements disconcerting. A good question to explore with students is how these formal elements affect readers experience of the poemsand how they help to suggest elements of the speakers characters. Browning and morality Another interesting question to explore with students is what we may infer from the poems as to Brownings moral stance toward the characters he describes (who seem always to be seriously flawed). What does the way in which the characters are presented indicate about Brownings view of his society in general? Brownings work has been seen by some as a moral tonic, since he implies that imperfections of this world will be remedied by the dispensations of an all-loving God and by the perfections of the next world. It has even been said that his chief accomplishment is the vindication of the intellectual and religious adequacy of Victorian life (Erickson 17). Whereas novels of social

protest decry elements of Victorian life, do Brownings poems tend overall to redeem Victorian values? If you take this line of approach with students, you may wish to look in particular at Childe Roland. Andrea del Sarto Form: Dramatic monologue in pentameter blank verse. Background/Approaches: In Andrea del Sarto, the speaker is an artist; we are confronted with a speakers perception of his own artistry and we can infer where he is flawed in his aesthetic notions. In this dramatic monologue, the speaker asks his wife to stay with him and model for his paintings, instead of going off with the cousin who awaits her. While the Duke of My Last Duchess commissions art as a means of capturing the values he demands in life, Andrea del Sarto creates art that is in harmony with his stilted understanding of life. The subtitle of Andrea del Sarto(Called The Faultless Painter)is a pointer; the poem shows the results, both aesthetically and morally, of aiming to eliminate all faults. If art, in Brownings production of it, anticipates multiple reactions that regenerate the life that is already a part of it, then faultless art would be seen as a less valuable form in its implied self-sufficiency. Through the poems multi-layered discourse and also through its story, Andrea del Sarto undercuts the idea that faultlessness is a positive characteristic; the artists failed attempt to elicit affectionfrom his wife may be seen as analogous to perfect arts failure to elicit lively interaction with an audience. Andrea assesses his own art throughout the poem as part of a plea to his wife for her affection,

but he is equally unable to bring life to either. As we read the poem, we realize that Lucrezias smile is indeed similar to a picture ready made; it is the aesthetically appealing image, but nothing more. The words ready made mean something different to Andrea than they do to the reader and to Lucrezia. You may wish to ask students to compare Andreas perception of his wife and her aesthetically pleasing qualities with the Dukes perception of his wife and his appreciation for her as an art object. Does Andrea similarly see his wife as an aesthetic object rather than a living being? It may also be helpful to examine the poems syntax. The un-rhyming poetic meter often leaves us as readers uncertain as to where we should pause, and the dashes (appearing irregularly at the end, beginning, and middle of lines) ask us to pause when we do not expect to, or when the grammar has already led us to pause, and so the pausing becomes redundant. What effect does this destabilizing punctuation have on our perception of the speaker? Does it serve to make us more sympathetic with the impatient Lucrezia?