Summary and Analysis of Love Among The Ruins by Browning: 2023


Born in Camberwell, London, on the 7th of May of the year 1812, Robert Browning is known as one of the major English poets of the Victorian era. Browning was a playwright and poet; he was majorly famous for his poetry filled with dark humour, irony, unconventional characterization, and representation of society.


“Love Among The Ruins” was the first poem published in the volume ‘Men and Women’ by Robert Browning. The poet, in this poem, is visiting a city with a glorious past; this city which was once a very majestic place, has come to ruins. But love exists as a major part of the now ruined city, hence the title, Love Among The Ruins.


The poem is set in a single city, portraying both the past and the present situation of that city, viewed through the eyes of the speaker.



“Where the domed and daring palace shot its spires”
“Held his court in, gathered councils, wielding far”
“On the solitary pastures where our sheep”


The poet uses the imagery of the present ruined city to portray the majestic past of the same city.


“Where the quiet-coloured end of evening smiles,  (A)
Miles and miles  (A)
On the solitary pastures where our sheep  (B)
Half-asleep   (B)
Tinkle homeward thro’ the twilight, stray or stop (C)
As they crop—  (C)
Was the site once of a city great and gay,  (D)
(So they say)   (D)
Of our country’s very capital, its prince  (E)
Ages since   (E)
Held his court in, gathered councils, wielding far  (F)
Peace or war. ”  (F)


The speaker starts by providing a pleasant description of a landscape where sheep can be seen grazing, a pastoral land filled with the sound of bells jingling around the necks of sheep. The same sight, the same place was once a great city led by a prince who used to hold court, councils and meetings in the palace that existed there. This ruined city was the country’s capital, and this very city went through the days of peace and war with the same vigour and strength. The speaker says that now this city does not even have a tree standing tall and proud. This city once had a palace with huge walls, a beautiful palace with soldiers and armed men marching past it day and night. The speaker admires the remains of the city; he realizes that there was never such greenery in the city before, with grass spread everywhere. The city in the past was made of men who were joyous, lusty for glory, and were traders at heart, money makers who bought and sold gold all day long. Now, a single turret is left of the once great city where the monarchs, with their fellow soldiers, used to enjoy the entertainment sports of the ancient times like chariot races. The speaker says that now, in this ruined turret, standing under the evening sky, in the peaceful atmosphere, a girl with yellow hair and eager eyes is awaiting him.  The girl is waiting for the speaker, standing at the very same place where the king used to acknowledge the winning chariot, and just like the king, the girl waits for the speaker in breathless anticipation. But the king used to look at millions of men surrounding him, the hills and valleys of his vast kingdom, and the mountains topped with temples while the girl’s eyes will only look at the speaker. When the speaker arrives, the girl will quietly look at him, embracing his shoulders with her eyes and his face; in the quiet evening, they both will embrace just each other. The speaker then tells about the war the city went through; millions of men with their golden chariots were sent to the battle, they constructed mile-high pillars for their gods, the men were filled with pride, and the city was filled with sin and noise. Now, the ruins of the city remain in peace, and the glories and the pride of the once majestic city have been triumphed by love.


The poem is a beautiful composition built on vivid imagery and provides a contrast between past and present, pride and love, war and peace. The poem is also a gentle reminder of the universal truth of peace winning over noise and sin while love triumphs over pride.


The tone of the poem is calm and quiet. The musical pattern of the poem is the major highlight which is accompanied by a calm, pleasant and soothing tone running throughout the composition.  


The poem is a beautiful masterpiece, written brilliantly with skilful use of imagery. The poet is successful in reminding the readers that love triumphs all, and even ruins can be more beautiful and meaningful when accompanied by love and peace.

Contributor: Radhika Goel

Updated by Anjali Roongta on 14th April, 2023.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The poem is filled with beautiful imagery and talks of a glorious city filled with sin and pride. The city's pride has been replaced by love, as in the ruins of the city, the poet's beloved is waiting for him, while the city is a thing of the past. Peace reigns where once war did.

The poem is a dramatic monologue on the topic of love. In "Love Among the Ruins," Browning describes a grand city where men went to war and lived lives full of pride and sin. However, all that remains of them are ruins. In those ruins waits the poet's beloved. Love and peace have replaced pride and war, respectively.
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