Attempt a critical appreciation of Robert Browning's 'The Last Ride Together'.

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The dramatic situation of Robert Browning's The Last Ride Together appears to be one in which the lover, upon being rejected by his mistress, asks for, and is granted, one last horseback ride with her across a mysterious landscape. The ride, however, seems to stretch out to eternity; there is no sense of time demarcation, but a continuous unfurling of landscape.

At the end of the poem. the narrator's focus shifts from the external circumstances of the ride to what various types of artist (visual, musician) have achieved as they grow old. The final artistic type mentioned is the poet, the narrator himself, who suggests that the ride will stretch into eternity, for as long aspeople read the poem. This theme, originally found in Horace, is captured famously in Shakespeare's Sonnet LV:

Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;

As in the case of the Shakespeare's sonnet, the poet has the upper hand, because the relationship as he portrays it is the version that shall continue through its posterity.