Robert Browning’s poetry is regarded as the finest love poetry. His poems deal with the emotions of love. His philosophy of love is an important part of his philosophy of life.
The Last Ride Together” by Robert Browning begins with a lover getting finally rejected by his lady-love after he waited for her for a long time. As the lover is sincere in his love, he does not have any ill-will for his lady-love. On the contrary, he tells his beloved that the uncertainty is no longer present as he knows that he would not get her love. The speaker says, his beloved’s love was the most meaningful thing in his life and after he has lost her love, his life has lost all its meaning and significance. In fact, he feels proud that he had the opportunity to love her and enjoy her company for a long time. He is grateful towards her for the beautiful and blissful moments they had together. For this he asks God to bless her.
Though he has no hopes of ever getting her love back in his life, he requests her for two wishes. First, he should be allowed to cherish the memories of his love and the memories of the happiness during the courting period. Secondly, if she considers nothing indecent in this request, he wants to go on a last ride with her. The lady is in a dilemma, not able to decide whether she should accept the request or reject it.
Finally, the lady accepts his request. The lover is extremely happy, it seemed like the circulation of blood in his body has been regenerated. The lover is at peace as he is going to enjoy bliss and his lover’s company for another day. He hopes for the world to end that very night so that his moment of bliss becomes eternal. In that way, he would be with her always and there would be no need of despair at being rejected by his lad-love.
The third stanza is about the description of the heavenly bliss which the lover experiences when his beloved lies on his bosom.
The last ride begins. This blissful experience gives the lover soul a terrific experience. The poet compares the lover’s soul to that of a crumpled paper which has been kept like that for a long time. When exposed to wind, this paper opens up, the wrinkles get smoothened and it starts fluttering in the wind like a bird. In the same way, the lover’s soul has grown wrinkled due to the grief of his failure in love. But after encountering the last ride with his beloved, his soul experiences tremendous joy and feels rejuvenated.
The lover as he rides with his beloved continues to think about the world. He says that brain and hand cannot go together hand in hand. Conception and execution can never be paired together. Man is not able to make pace with his actions to match with his ambitions. He plans a lot but achieves a little. The lover feels that he has at least achieved a little success by being able to ride with his beloved. He compares himself with a statesman and a soldier. A statesman works hard all his life but all his efforts are merely published in a book or as an obituary in newspapers. Similarly a soldier dies fighting for his country and is buried in the
Westminster Abbey, which is his only reward after death. Sometimes an epitaph is raised in his memory but that is all. The lover then compares his lot with that of a poet. He believes that a poet’s reward is too small compared with his skills. He composed sweet lyrics, thoughts of emotions of others, views that men should achieve beautiful things in life. But the reward he gets in return is very little and he dies in poverty in the prime of his life. Ordinary men cannot compose such poems. Compared to the poet, the lover considers himself luckier as he has at least achieved the consolation of riding with his lover for the last time.During the ride, the lover was lost in his own thoughts while his beloved did not speak a single word. But it did not make any difference to him as her company is a heavenly bliss for him.The lover thinks that it would be a heaven on earth for him if he continues to ride with his beloved forever. He wishes that the moment should become everlasting so that they could continue to ride together forever and ever. That would indeed be heavenly bliss for him.
The poem is full of romantic overtones. It describes the romantic feelings of the lover towards his lady love. Therefore, ‘The Last Ride Together’ can be aptly described as a love poem.