Summary and Analysis of The Last Ride Together by Robert Browning

“The Last Ride Together” by Robert Browning is a monologue of a rejected lover exploring the end of a love affair. The title suggests the last ride that the lover has spent with his love. However, the poet wants to convey through the narrator that rather than feeling sad about the end, he should be happy for the love that he underwent and which remains in his memory.

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The first stanza presents a self-consolation. It’s based on the underlying theory of ‘blame it all on fate’. Of course the poem talks about love and its attendant failures. The speaker thinks that failure is inevitable as he himself has failed. He is attempting to reduce his pain by trying to curtail his desires. Words are so chosen to convey the feeling of polite resignation and acceptance of defeat. The word ‘since’ is used five times in the same paragraph which in one hand may indicate to the fact that Browning  got involved in an emotional flow and lost control over  his poetic polish of words. Moreover, the diction is superficial, and of superhuman psychology because a man who has been ditched can’t have too many good things to say about the former flame unless of course he is ironical about it. Generally, browning though a Dramatic Monologist is one of the profoundest lyricists which can be determined by the rhyme scheme – aa, bb, caa, bb, c and the predominant rhythm i.e. iambic pentameter. In fact the whole paragraph is rhetorical.

The second stanza deals with the anticipation of a response by the speaker from the mistress. It is this dilemma and wait for the answer that contributes to the dramatic effect of the poem. The stanza progresses thus – from spine chilling excitement and anticipation to joy to relief and finally to ecstasy. The images of the mistress bending her brow, her “deep dark eyes”, her breathing and consequent heaving of the bosom and her blush conveys an almost erotic charm to the poem. In a superb metaphor – “With life or death in the balance”. The speaker compares yes with life and no with death. Rhythm and rhyme adds a lyrical charm to the dramatic poem. The diction provides a picture of the action in the man with which Browning was more concerned. It clearly brings out the anxiety and the emotional turmoil in the speaker’s brain. Words like – ‘bent that brow’ refers to the brooding of the lady over the proposal.  ‘Fixed’ and ‘breathing’ clearly brings out the anxiety of the speaker. The condition of ‘yes and ‘no’ has been beautifully painted as ‘life’ and ‘death’ respectively. The stanza could also be memorable for the line – “Who knows but the world may end tonight”. This line affirms the stupid optimism of the speaker who becomes as a much a butt of ridicule as the people he satirizes for their failures.

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  1. Praful Mani

    December 6, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Can u provode notes for ISC collection of essays.

  2. Rahul Sahani

    December 6, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    I liked it but you must update as ISC syllabus for poems has been changed.

    • Nitin

      January 3, 2016 at 2:45 am

      What kind of change rahul… Plz send me a reply 😓😓

  3. Jayanthi S Rao

    January 11, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    I liked the notes and analysis of the poem the last ride together thank you

  4. subhrajeet sutar

    February 5, 2015 at 12:07 am

    this is good fr ISC syllabus but u should update new ideas

  5. Subhan ansari

    February 28, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Plzz provide a detailed information of poem mending wall

  6. nishnat

    June 1, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    the summary is faulty.
    the use of word ‘since’ so many times is show the internal turmoil and hopelessness which the speaker is having after being rejected. how can someone say that browning is carried away and got careless?
    in the later part of the poem, he tries to prove that many people who are considered successful are in reality not so successful if their conditions are scrutinized. in fact he proves it. the poet, sculptor and musicians may be great in art, but when art meets life, life wins. similarly, in most cases, one line is really enough to describe the life of a statesman as they are forgotten within a month of their resignation from public eye. similarly, the soldiers are forgotten by the state for which they fight and sacrifice. they really dont gain anything.
    when we are describing the work of a great poet, we dont prove our smartness by criticizing the person. we only show our mental blockage and lack of understanding power.

    • yatan

      February 28, 2016 at 12:48 pm

      Nice one my friend. I am taking your point for my exam. I believe in what youve said.

  7. sreemoyee paul

    June 18, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    wow i really liked it –

  8. diya

    September 6, 2015 at 6:00 am

    what is robert browning’s philosophy of love expressed in this poem

    • yatan

      February 28, 2016 at 1:13 pm

      I see this one as a very chivalrous kind of love. In a sence he lets her go…does not force her to stay with him. In fact he dies not even show his frustration. He is a true lover.

      Robert browing presents this man in the poem to help us understand the notion of love. He wants to convey that we come across many relationships in life…some last and some dont. But we should be brave enough to confrunt it and cherish those memories without any hard feelings.

  9. Tanushreechopra

    December 6, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    Refreshing…. And very interesting…

  10. Umesh Mahanan

    December 9, 2015 at 4:24 am

    Plzz..Always provide me some information ..Thanks

  11. Ashley Gaudoin

    December 30, 2015 at 6:18 am

    These notes are really very helpful for an instant glance also for teachers. It should be a little more detailed.
    thanx !!!

  12. rustum

    February 2, 2016 at 4:26 am

    nishnit ji so nice comment………

  13. anonymous

    February 27, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    Your notes on all the poems are awesome….but in the case of ‘Last Ride Together’ ….they are not at all helpful for exams…. 🙁

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