Thursday, June 17, 2004

A Part of Western Literature's Final Project ~ The Analysis of TIME'S REVENGES

Robert Browning


I've a Friend, over the sea;
I like him, but he loves me.asserts identity
It all grew out of the books I write;
They find such favour in his sight
That he slaughters you with savage looks
Because you don't admire my books.
He does himself though,--and if some vein
Were to snap tonight in this heavy brain,
To-morrow month, if I lived to try,
Round should I just turn quietly, 10
Or out of the bedclothes stretch my hand
Till I found him, come from his foreign land
To be my nurse in this poor place,
And make my broth and wash my face
And light my fire and, all the while,
Bear with his old good-humoured smile
That I told him "Better have kept away
Than come and kill me, night and day,
With, worse than fever throbs and shoots,
The creaking of his clumsy boots." 20
I am as sure that this he would do,
As that Saint Paul's is striking two.
And I think I rather . . . woe is me!
--Yes, rather would see him than not see,
If lifting a hand could seat him there
Before me in the empty chair
To-night, when my head aches indeed,
And I can neither think nor read
Nor make these purple fingers hold
The pen; this garret's freezing cold! 30

And I've a Lady--there he wakes,
The laughing fiend and prince of snakes
Within me, at her name, to pray
Fate send some creature in the way
Of my love for her, to be down-torn,
Upthrust and outward-borne,
So I might prove myself that sea
Of passion which I needs must be!
Call my thoughts false and my fancies quaint
And my style infirm and its figures faint, 40
All the critics say, and more blame yet,
And not one angry word you get.
But, please you, wonder I would put
My cheek beneath that lady's foot
Rather than trample under mine
That laurels of the Florentine,
And you shall see how the devil spends
A fire God gave for other ends!
I tell you, I stride up and down
This garret, crowned with love's best crown, 50
And feasted with love's perfect feast,
To think I kill for her, at least,
Body and soul and peace and fame,
Alike youth's end and manhood's aim,
--So is my spirit, as flesh with sin,
Filled full, eaten out and in
With the face of her, the eyes of her,
The lips, the little chin, the stir
Of shadow round her mouth; and she
--I'll tell you,--calmly would decree 60
That I should roast at a slow fire,

If that would compass her desire
And make her one whom they invite
To the famous ball to-morrow night.

There may be heaven; there must be hell;
Meantime, there is our earth here--well!


Robert Browning

I have a friend who lives over the sea. I only like him, but he loves me to dead, because he is so in love with the books I write. If you tell him you don’t admire my books, he’ll kill you savagely with his crazy looks. (I’ll say so called “friend” here means the author’s inspiration.) Tonight, my head is suffering aches, I cannot think, read, nor write. And this poor garret is freezing cold that makes me difficult to hold the pen. I’m thinking if I don’t care about his coming, just lay on my bed and turning around or stretch my hand all over the bedclothes to try to see if I can come up something until next month of tomorrow. Perhaps I’ll found him come to me from his foreign land to nurse me, to take care of me, to cook for me, and to light a fire for me. And I am going to tell him “leave me alone.” You had better to kill me night and day or ill-treat me with the stupid creaking sound from your clumsy boots. Ah, I would like to invite him to sit in the empty chair in front of my desk, indeed.

I have loved a lady, but the devil inside my mind is waking up. It’s like the fate is trying to send some creatures to interrupt my love for her. And the mind is going wild. I decide to prove to my love the sea of passion I have for her. Though, I know my thoughts are false, my fancies are quaint, my style is infirm and its figure is faint. I don’t care, I’m going to sacrifice my soul, my body, my peace, and my fame to win her love and crown the love’s best crown. Even though, she could roast me on a slow fire just for some silly desires, because I am totally bewildered. I tell you, if the heaven existed, then there must be a hell.


In Time’s Revenges, the protagonist is the author himself. And his old friend who loves his books and the lady who he loves but cannot get together are supporting roles.

The protagonist has a friend who loves the books he writes to dead and would do anything in his power to serve him, but he doesn’t care the friend. On the other hand, the protagonist loves a woman and would sacrifice all of his property including his soul to win her love. However, the lady is not interested at him.

Theme and Moral

The narrator in Time’s Revenges is Unreliable Narrator: the first person narrator whom the reader cannot completely believe because he is biased, ignorant, or mentally impaired.
The theme of Time’s Revenges could be state as: the author is suffering by no inspiration for writing. And he starts to talk to himself in his garret. Imagine that he has a friend who loves him and would do anything for him, but he only likes him and don’t care of him. Meantime, he is in love with a lady and he thinks he may win her love by sacrifices such as body, soul, peace and fame. But end up in vain; to make matters worse, the woman has a purpose of trapping him for the invite from a famous ball…


Don’t offer people the thing that you don’t even want it.
In the story, the author’s indifference to his friend is at last avenged by the impassiveness the lady shows toward him.

"Time's Revenges." An author soliloquizes in his garret
over the fact that he possesses a friend who loves him and
would do anything in his power to serve him, but for
whom he cares almost nothing. At the same time he
himself loves a woman to such distraction that he counts
himself crowned with love's best crown while sacrificing
his soul, his body, his peace, and his fame in brooding on
his love, while she could calmly decree that he should
roast at a slow fire if it would compass her frivolously
ambitious designs Thus his indifference to his friend is
avenged by the indifference the lady shows toward him.

Line 46. The Florentine: Dante. Used here, seemingly, as
a symbol of the highest attainments in poesy, his (the
speaker's) reverence for which is so great that he would
rather put his cheek under his lady's foot than that poetry
should suffer any indignity at his hands; yet in spite of
all the possibilities open to him through his enthusiasm for
poetry, he prefers wasting his entire energies upon one
unworthy of him.


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