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Robert Browning’s The Last Ride Together: A soulful encounter

the last ride together by robert browning

With only a couple of days left for the end of our 15 days of fabulous poetry, we feel doleful yet thrilled. We are thrilled with excitement that our exploration escapades are giving our readers the utmost pleasure.  But we feel gloomy that we will have to wrap up another theme that is very close to our hearts. Today we feel intoxicated with joy while presenting you this impassioned poem The last ride together by Robert Browning.

The poem is packed with the punch of animated emotions,  sizzled with the melancholy of the last encounter of two lovers. Well, Robert Browning’s The Last Ride Together captivated us and is summoning, but it is essential to trace the poet who has created such a commendable piece of work. It falls under the category of a dramatic monologue.

A brief biography of Robert Browning:

Robert Browning

Browning cried for the first time on 7 May 1812 in London. Since childhood, he showed curiosity towards literature. The encouragement from his father uplifted his tries to write more. Before Robert Browning even stepped into teenage, he composed his first book of poems. His spirits were sky high but his joy did not last long. No publisher was willing to publish his book and bring it to the limelight.

He was crestfallen by the rejection and thus burnt his hard work to ashes. Schools did not fascinate him. After trial and error of changing two private schools, he was taught at home. His father’s huge collection of books became the source of his education.

Languages seemed to be his best friend. He was well versed in Greek, French, Italian, and Latin by the age of 14 years. Robert Browning was a die-hard romantic by heart. This was somewhere reflected in his choices. He without a doubt adored the romantic poets. He had some musical talent too. Thus, he tried his hand at composing some songs. Poems were always close to his heart and they motivated him to become a poet.

Robert Browning’s life was not a path of roses. It was more of a roller coaster. There were both ups and downs. Life taught him to rise again after a brutal fall. Some of his earlier works were like a cakewalk and they became popular very shortly. His works of Pauline and Paracelsus earned him great fame. But nothing is constant. In 1940, his work Sordello marked the beginning of his downfall. It took him nearly a decade to recover from the fall and earn the lost reputation again. It is inspiring that he did not give up on his efforts to rise again.

He made a conscious move of staying away from poetries and developed his own style of writing. Robert Browning married a poetess and moved to Italy to settle there. His work Men and Women followed by some other works made him the leading British poet.

men and women- the last ride together

He took the trip to heavenly abode on 12 December 1889. The Last Ride Together is a fragment from his work Men and Women. We now give in to our own temptation of flaunting the poem to you all without a second thought.



I said—Then, dearest, since ’tis so,

Since now at length my fate I know,

Since nothing all my love avails,

Since all, my life seemed meant for, fails,

Since this was written and needs must be—

My whole heart rises up to bless

Your name in pride and thankfulness!

Take back the hope you gave,—I claim

—Only a memory of the same,

—And this beside, if you will not blame,

Your leave for one more last ride with me.

My mistress bent that brow of hers;

Those deep dark eyes where pride demurs

When pity would be softening through,

Fixed me, a breathing-while or two,

With life or death in the balance: right!

The blood replenished me again;

My last thought was at least not vain:

I and my mistress, side by side

Shall be together, breathe and ride,

So, one day more am I deified.

Who knows but the world may end tonight?

Hush! if you saw some western cloud

All billowy-bosomed, over-bowed

By many benedictions—sun’s

And moon’s and evening-star’s at once—

And so, you, looking and loving best,

Conscious grew, your passion drew

Cloud, sunset, moonrise, star-shine too,

Down on you, near and yet more near,

Till flesh must fade for heaven was here!—

Thus leant she and lingered—joy and fear!

Thus lay she a moment on my breast.

the last ride together


Then we began to ride. My soul

Smoothed itself out, a long-cramped scroll

Freshening and fluttering in the wind.

Past hopes already lay behind.

What need to strive with a life awry?

Had I said that, had I done this,

So might I gain, so might I miss.

Might she have loved me? just as well

She might have hated, who can tell!

Where had I been now if the worst befell?

And here we are riding, she and I.

Fail I alone, in words and deeds?

Why, all men strive and who succeeds?

We rode; it seemed my spirit flew,

Saw other regions, cities new,

As the world rushed by on either side.

I thought,—All labour, yet no less

Bear up beneath their unsuccess.

Look at the end of work, contrast

The petty done, the undone vast,

This present of theirs with the hopeful past!

I hoped she would love me; here we ride.

What hand and brain went ever paired?

What heart alike conceived and dared?

What act proved all its thought had been?

What will but felt the fleshly screen?

We ride and I see her bosom heave.

There’s many a crown for who can reach,

Ten lines, a statesman’s life in each!

The flag stuck on a heap of bones,

A soldier’s doing! what atones?

They scratch his name on the Abbey-stones.

My riding is better, by their leave.

What does it all mean, poet? Well,

Your brains beat into rhythm, you tell

What we felt only; you expressed

You hold things beautiful the best,

And pace them in rhyme so, side by side.

‘Tis something, nay ’tis much: but then,

Have you yourself what’s best for men?

Are you—poor, sick, old ere your time—

Nearer one whit your own sublime

Than we who never have turned a rhyme?

Sing, riding’s a joy! For me, I ride.

the last ride together


And you, great sculptor—so, you gave

A score of years to Art, her slave,

And that’s your Venus, whence we turn

To yonder girl that fords the burn!

You acquiesce, and shall I repine?

What, man of music, you grown grey

With notes and nothing else to say,

Is this your sole praise from a friend,

“Greatly his opera’s strains intend,

“Put in music we know how fashions end!”

I gave my youth; but we ride, in fine.

Who knows what’s fit for us? Had fate

Proposed bliss here should sublimate

My being—had I signed the bond—

Still one must lead some life beyond,

Have a bliss to die with, dim-descried.

This foot once planted on the goal,

This glory-garland round my soul,

Could I descry such? Try and test!

I sink back shuddering from the quest.

Earth being so good, would heaven seem best?

Now, heaven and she are beyond this ride.

And yet—she has not spoke so long!

What if heaven be that, fair and strong

At life’s best, with our eyes upturned

Whither life’s flower is first discerned,

We, fixed so, ever should so abide?

What if we still ride on, we two

With life for ever old yet new,

Changed not in kind but in degree,

The instant made eternity,—

And heaven just prove that I and she

Ride, ride together, for ever ride?

The Last Ride Together Theme

The poem is a sizzling last encounter of two lovers of the past. The central theme of the poem is rejection. It is the journey of the poet how he deals with rejection by parting ways on an amicable note. Robert Browning, in his poem, The Last Ride Together describes that the lover wants to absorb the beauty of the last ride together. He wants to capture her in his eyes so that he can live with the hurt and rejection for the rest of his life.

The man loved her with all his might, but she did not reciprocate to his feelings. His heart wishes nothing but a closure, yet, it is ironic that he wishes to cherish her memories. He hopes that she will accept the proposal of their last ride together.

the last ride together

The lover is drunk in the sorrow of the earlier rejection but his already fragile heart cannot bear the gloom and pain again. When she agrees to take the last ride together, the man feels euphoric. She is in his embrace and he feels every single cell of his body on fire, his heart thumping louder than ever and his soul was glistening with joy. But his ecstasy in the poem The Last Ride Together is short-lived as it was their last moment of intimacy.

In the poem The Last Ride Together by Robert Browning, the lover blames himself as the reason for their drift. He feels a gaping void in himself with each passing moment. The void can be only filled by her. She is his pain yet she is his medicine. He wishes to go back to time and live their moments again. It is worth it for him, even if he has to experience the heart tearing pain again. The lover is still hoping that there are some chances for their reconciliation.

With their time coming to an end, he fights the demons present inside urging him to do something wrong. He only has one last wish- to be granted her company in their afterlife. The reality is not unknown to him. He is aware that their union is not possible on this earth and thus he wishes to follow her after her death and live their afterlife together. Every moment spent with her was an eternity and he wishes to live in this eternity for the rest of his life.

the last ride together

Some poems speak for themselves. This is one such poem. We felt our eyes tearing by the end. The Last Ride Together by Robert Browning makes us want to laugh and sob at the same time. That feeling is rare. We are jubilant that we were granted an opportunity to experience such a wonderful feeling. Our words might not do enough justice to the beauty of this poem. Thus, we would like to put our pens down and appreciate the poem from the bottom of our hearts.

With these last lines, we come to an end of Robert Browning’s The last ride together: A soulful encounter. Show us your support and love by tapping on the cute stars down below. We hope that you enjoyed this post. Let us know your thoughts in the comments. Subscribe to and become a part of our journey to spread love and happiness.


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