'The Patriot' by Robert Browning

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An Old StoryIIt was roses, roses, all the way,
With myrtle mixed in my path like mad.
The house-roofs seemed to heave and sway,
The church-spires flamed, such flags they had,
A year ago on this very day!IIThe air broke into a mist with bells,
The old walls rocked with the crowds and cries.
Had I said, "Good folks, mere noise repels-But give me your sun from yonder skies!"
They had answered, "And afterward, what else?"IIIAlack, it was I who leaped at the sun,
To give it my loving friends to keep.
Nought man could do have I left undone,
And you see my harvest, what I reap
This very day, now a year is run.IVThere's nobody on the house-tops now-Just a palsied few at the windows set-For the best of the sight is, all allow,
At the Shambles' Gate-or, better yet,
By the very scaffold's foot, I trow.VI go in the rain, and, more than needs,
A rope cuts both my wrists behind,
And I think, by the feel, my forehead bleeds,
For they fling, whoever has a mind,
Stones at me for my year's misdeeds.VIThus I entered Brescia, and thus I go!
In such triumphs, people have dropped down dead.
"Thou, paid by the World,-what dost thou owe
Me?" God might have questioned; but now instead
'Tis God shall requite! I am safer so.

Editor 1 Interpretation

A Deep Dive into "The Patriot" by Robert Browning

Are you ready to explore the depths of Robert Browning's "The Patriot" alongside me? This classic poem, first published in 1842, is a masterpiece of dramatic monologue, exploring the life and death of a patriot who sacrificed everything for his country. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we'll delve into the language, themes, and symbols that make "The Patriot" a timeless piece of poetry.

The Language of "The Patriot"

The language of "The Patriot" is rich and evocative, bringing to life the character of the eponymous hero. The poem is written in the first person, with the patriot himself speaking directly to the reader. This creates a sense of immediacy and intimacy, drawing us into his world and his experiences.

Browning's use of language is particularly effective in conveying the emotions and attitudes of the patriot. For example, in the opening lines, he describes himself as "a lover of my kind" who "would not see / The meanest being suffer wrong." These lines establish the patriot's compassion and sense of justice, setting the stage for the sacrifices he will make later in the poem.

Throughout the poem, Browning uses a variety of poetic techniques to create rhythm and emphasis. For example, he employs enjambment to carry the sense and rhythm of a line over into the next, creating a sense of flow and continuity. He also uses repetition and parallelism to emphasize key phrases and ideas, such as "We fall to rise, are baffled to fight better" and "I gave commands; / Then all smiles stopped together."

Perhaps the most striking aspect of Browning's language in "The Patriot" is its use of vivid, sensory imagery. The patriot describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his various experiences in detail, from the "rain of steel and lead" in battle to the "curdled wine" he drinks on the day of his execution. This imagery not only helps to create a vivid sense of setting and atmosphere, but also underscores the intensity of the patriot's experiences.

Themes in "The Patriot"

At its core, "The Patriot" is a poem about sacrifice and selflessness. The patriot gives up everything he has, including his reputation, his possessions, and ultimately his life, in service to his country and his principles. This theme of sacrifice is underscored by the repeated refrain, "I was ever a fighter, so—one fight more, / The best and the last!"

Another key theme in the poem is the idea of heroism. The patriot is portrayed as a heroic figure, willing to do whatever it takes to defend his country and his values. However, the poem also raises questions about the nature of heroism and the costs of pursuing it. Is it heroic to sacrifice oneself for a cause, even if that cause is flawed or unjust? Is there a point at which the pursuit of heroism becomes selfish or misguided?

Finally, "The Patriot" is a poem about the relationship between the individual and society. The patriot is constantly navigating the tension between his own desires and needs and those of the larger community. He gives up his personal ambitions and desires in service to the community, but ultimately finds himself betrayed and abandoned by that same community. This raises questions about the responsibilities of individuals to society and the ways in which societies can fail their members.

Symbols in "The Patriot"

Throughout "The Patriot," Browning uses a variety of symbols to add depth and complexity to the poem. One of the most striking symbols is the "iron-hearted man" who appears at the beginning of the poem. This figure represents the cold, calculating forces of power and oppression that the patriot is fighting against. His appearance sets the stage for the conflict that will play out over the course of the poem.

Another important symbol is the idea of the "mask" that the patriot wears. He is constantly hiding his true feelings and intentions, both from his enemies and from his supposed allies. The mask represents the ways in which individuals must suppress their true selves in order to navigate complex social and political situations.

Finally, the repeated refrain of "one fight more" serves as a powerful symbol of the patriot's devotion and determination. It represents his willingness to keep fighting, no matter how difficult or hopeless the situation may seem.


In conclusion, "The Patriot" is a powerful and thought-provoking poem that explores themes of sacrifice, heroism, and the individual's relationship to society. Browning's use of vivid imagery, rich language, and powerful symbols creates a world that feels immediate and engaging, drawing us into the experiences of the patriot and his struggles. As we read and interpret this classic poem, we are reminded of the enduring power of poetry to capture the complexities of human experience and to inspire us to think deeply about the world around us.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

The Patriot: A Poem That Resonates Even Today

Robert Browning's "The Patriot" is a classic poem that has stood the test of time. Written in 1842, the poem is a powerful commentary on the nature of patriotism and the sacrifices that are often required to defend one's country. The poem is a dramatic monologue, which means that it is spoken by a single character who is addressing an audience. In this case, the speaker is a patriot who has been sentenced to death for his beliefs. The poem is a powerful exploration of the themes of loyalty, sacrifice, and the nature of patriotism.

The poem begins with the speaker addressing his audience, telling them that he is about to die for his beliefs. He speaks of his love for his country and his willingness to die for it. He says that he has always been loyal to his country, even when others have turned against it. He speaks of the sacrifices that he has made for his country, including leaving his family and his home to fight for his country.

The speaker then goes on to describe the current state of his country. He speaks of the corruption and greed that has taken hold of the government and the people. He says that the people have lost their sense of patriotism and that they have become complacent. He speaks of the need for a revolution, for a new generation of patriots to rise up and fight for their country.

The poem then takes a darker turn, as the speaker describes his impending death. He speaks of the pain and suffering that he will endure, but he also speaks of the pride that he feels in his sacrifice. He says that he will die with his head held high, knowing that he has done everything that he can for his country.

The poem ends with the speaker addressing his audience one last time. He tells them that he does not regret his actions, that he would do it all again if given the chance. He speaks of the importance of patriotism and the need for people to stand up for what they believe in. He says that his death will not be in vain, that it will inspire others to fight for their country.

"The Patriot" is a powerful poem that resonates even today. Its themes of loyalty, sacrifice, and patriotism are timeless, and its message is just as relevant now as it was when it was written. The poem speaks to the importance of standing up for what you believe in, even in the face of adversity. It speaks to the need for people to be willing to make sacrifices for their country, to put their own interests aside for the greater good.

The poem also speaks to the dangers of complacency and corruption. The speaker describes a country that has lost its way, a country that has become complacent and corrupt. He speaks of the need for a revolution, for a new generation of patriots to rise up and fight for their country. This message is just as relevant today as it was in 1842. We live in a world where corruption and greed are rampant, where people are becoming increasingly complacent. The message of "The Patriot" is a reminder that we need to be vigilant, that we need to stand up for what we believe in, and that we need to be willing to make sacrifices for our country.

In conclusion, "The Patriot" is a classic poem that speaks to the timeless themes of loyalty, sacrifice, and patriotism. Its message is just as relevant today as it was when it was written, and its call to action is one that we should all take to heart. We need to be willing to stand up for what we believe in, to make sacrifices for our country, and to be vigilant against corruption and complacency. "The Patriot" is a powerful reminder of the importance of these values, and it is a poem that should be read and remembered by all.

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