Robert Browning was born on May 7, 1812, in Camberwell, which is
now a part of London. He had no real formal education so he was largely
self educated. His father was a smart man with an extensive library. His
mother was kindly, religious minded woman, who loved music and her
brilliant son. He lived at his parents house almost until the time of his
marriage. He attended a boarding school near Camberwell and spent a little
bit of his time traveling to places like Russia and Italy. But he preferred to
have his education at home, where he was tutored in foreign languages,
boxing, music, and horsemanship, and where he read 'omnivorously.' At the
age of 14 he first discovered Percy Shelly works and was strongly influenced
by it. After reading Shelly, He made the decision to be an atheist and a
liberal. But in a few years he grew away from atheism and the extreme
phases of his liberalism.
The things he learned from the books he read would
largely influence his poems later in his life.
His earlier poetry was regarded with indifference and largely
misunderstood. It was not until the 1860's that he would at last gain publicity
and would even be compared with Alfred Lord Tennyson, another very
famous poet of the time. Some of his early poetry was influenced by his
unusual education. The poet also had an anxious desire to avoid exposing
himself explicitly to his readers. The first poem he wrote called Pauline, was
written in 1883 at the age of twenty-one, but he did not sign it because of his
fear of exposing himself to the public too much.
Since Browning did not want to expose himself too personally, he
decided to try his hand at writing plays. He...