Fear death?—to feel the fog in my throat,
The mist in my face,
When the snows begin, and the blasts denote
I am nearing the place,
The power of the night, the press of the storm,
The post of the foe;
Where he stands, the Arch Fear in a visible form,
Yet the strong man must go:
For the journey is done and the summit attained,
And the barriers fall,
Though a battle’s to fight ere the guerdon be gained,
The reward of it all.
I was ever a fighter, so—one fight more,
The best and the last!
I would hate that death bandaged my eyes and forbore,
And bade me creep past.
No! let me taste the whole of it, fare like my peers
The heroes of old,
Bear the brunt, in a minute pay glad life’s arrears
Of pain, darkness and cold.
For sudden the worst turns the best to the brave,
The black minute’s at end,
And the elements’ rage, the fiend-voices that rave,
Shall dwindle, shall blend,
Shall change, shall become first a peace out of pain,
Then a light, then thy breast,
O thou soul of my soul! I shall clasp thee again,
And with God be the rest!
Prospice is a famous poem written by Robert Browning. Prospice is a Latin word that means looking ahead. Robert Browning’s father was very unhappy with their marriage. He did not want the poet to marry Elizabeth and Robert Browning married secretly and settled in Italy. In 1861 his wife died. He loved his wife very much. After her death, he started feeling very sad. But he hoped that after his death he would meet his wife again. Prospice is based on this. It was written in 1861 and first published in Dramatic Personae 1864.
About Robert Browning
Robert browning is a prolific Victorian-era playwright. He is widely recognized as the master of Dramatic monologue. A dramatic monologue is a dialogue by one character in which he expresses his mind without being interfered with by any other character. It means a dialogue with self. Browning’s monologues present a different aspect of love and its intensity. He was much inspired by Percy Bysshe Shelly.
He was fluent in five languages at the age of fourteen. His first major work Pauline is published in 1833. When he reads some poem by Elizabeth Barret, he falls in love with her without seeing her. In 1846 he married Elizabeth. Among his world-famous work included- Man and Women, Dramatic Persone, The Ring and The Book, and Asolando: Fancies and Facts.
The theme of the poem
The main theme of the Prospice is death. The poet is not in the least afraid of death. He would like to experience all the pain and suffering of death. However, it also deals with the themes of courage and optimistic the face of death.
About the title
The title of the poem is Prospice which means to look forward. It is an apt title for the poem. In the poem, the poet is confident that he will conquer death.
Form and Structure of the poem
Prospice is a 28 lines poem divided into seven four-line stanzas or quatrains. The first and third lines are long whereas the second and fourth lines are short. Every four lines have a rhyme scheme of ABAB.
Prospice Poem Analysis
In this poem, the poet looks forward to meeting his loving wife after death. Because this poem is composed after the death of his wife. He composes this poem in memory of his beloved wife. Poet thinks that if he dies, he will meet his wife. His death will be a great opportunity for him to meet his dear wife. Thus the poet is very much optimistic in his thought even though of death.
According to him, death is a gateway to heaven where he can meet his dear wife. In this poem, the poet compares his experience of meeting death with the experience of climbing up a high mountain. Just as a person who climbs a high mountain has to face, fog, mist, snow, and storms during his ascent that a dying man also has to face pains like physical and mental.
According to the poet when a person comes to meet death, he feels fog and mist in his throat. He feels difficulty in breathing. These are the symptoms of a dying man. He feels cold all over his body and many storms arise inside. Thus the poet says that he is never afraid of death. The poet declares that he knows that death is the greatest fear for all human beings but I do not fear death. I am a strong person. So I will face death with courage. The poet advises all that strong persons should not fear death and face it with courage.
He further says that he sees death in a visible form standing before him. But he will not afraid of death. This is the liveliest description of a dying man in this poem. This poem is also very popular for its study of human behaviors at the time of death. Now the poet imagines that the trip of his life is going to end. He has finished all his duties in life. Now he has no more work to finish. So he has no will to live.
The poet further says that all the problems and hurdles of his life have ended. There are no obstacles standing in his way. But the poet does not want to die like a coward. He wants to fight like a fighter. The poet says that he always has been a fighter. So now he also wants one fight more with death. It will be the last fight in his life. Meeting his wife after death definitely will be a great gift for him. So he does not afraid of death.
The poet believes that he would certainly meet with his wife in another world. Now poet expresses his firm resolution to fight death in order to end all the sufferings of his personal life.
The poet further says that death does not show any mercy to him. Death is so strong thing of fear for human beings but he is not afraid of her. He would not like to die in a condition of coma or insensibility like other persons. He wants to face death in full awareness so that he can taste all the pain and misery that death brings with it. In other words, the poet wants to tolerate any type of suffering and pain while dying.
Now the poet declares that he is a bold man. He need not fear death. Death will open the gate of heaven. And It will be a great chance to meet his wife after death. Therefore everything happens with a special cause. And the poet further thinks that all his pains and sufferings of life will end with death.
Thus, the poet is very optimistic about his attitude. He says that It is a thing of only a few minutes but after It, he will get peace and joy and be reunited with his beloved who is waiting for him in heaven.
Thus in Prospice, Robert Browning talks about facing death without fear because his soulmates await him on the other side. It has been regarded as one of the most inspiring poems on the subject of death. It inspires all human beings in the world to be optimistic in every situation of their life.