De Gustibus

Robert Browning is one of the greatest poets of English Literature who is belonging in the age of Victoria. He is a dazzling star of the English Literature who haven given his fantastic works to us, the readers. In this article, you will find de Gustibus summary, analysis, meaning.

Most of the works are done between 1840 to 1860 by the grand poet, Browning. “De Gustibus” is one of his famous poems that takes the mind of the readers. The whole scenario of the poem is artistically made mold with sentiments.

Robert Browing
Robert Browning

Background of the Poem De Gustibus

In this poem, Robert Browning is talking about the love of himself. Maybe here he addresses his wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning. They both spend some years after their marriage in Italy and even Browning died in Venice, Italy. Robert Browning was born in England though in this poem he is talking about his love for Italy. As he himself says in the poem,

“Italy, My Italy!”

Here Browning has taken historical reference by exclaiming of queen Mary, who lost her Calais. Maybe like the queen the poet also feels the same for Italy.

Analysis of De Gustibus

What is de gustibus poem meaning?

The title of poem “De Gustibus” means,
“In the matter of taste, there can be no dispute.”

In this poem, the title plays a very significant role. Maybe here poet is trying to talk about his where can be no dispute.

When the poem starts poet is saying addressing his beloved that her ghost will be walking after her death because she is a lover of trees. The beloved of Browning has a love for trees. Then suddenly poet changes the set of the poem and taking several references of Cornfield sides, hazel coppice which is kind of trees.

Here her beloved must be seen after death. One thing that comes out is poet is missing his youth so that he is thinking further what can be seen when they will die. And then poet is looking at a boy and girl and saying,

“Making love, say-
The happier they!”

At times it opens a ‘Nostalgia’ to the poet because in his youth he also spends a day with his beloved. Then poet may be thinking of his past days they got” beanflouwer’s boon”. And further making an imagery where Blackbird is singing and tune made the poet so loved.

The next line is very beautiful where poet states about May and June. May and June are the months of summer which are special days in England. So from this line we, the readers can get to know that the poet is talking about the days when he was living in England.

Suddenly in the next paragraph poet himself changes his thoughts and now explains that in the whole world poet loves a castle very much that have precipice. Perhaps the castle is beside Appenine, a range of Italy. Poet looks old because this is the time when he is getting old with time. In the next lines, the poet is looking at the future after his body felt cold.

“If I get my head from out the mouth
O’ the grave and loose my spirit’s lands,
And come again to the land of lands…”

So, the hard scenario that Browning has been created is full of deep emotion. And poet’s love for the country is coming out for times and times. The phrase “land of lands” provokes the readers to feel the emotion where he want to get the country, Italy back even after the death.

After that poet is creating an imagery of an insect, Cicala that has been dead. And shape cypress trees are standing from many years. In the next segment poet claims that his sentinel is standing on the sands in the corner of the water.

This line expressing that he is living in a palace which is beside the sea. The waves of the sea are coming and breaking on the beach.

In the wall a scorpion sprawling. A girl bare footed is tumbling down. She is making her words that,
“…to-day- the king,
Was shot at touch’d in the liver wing,”

This part is written in a segmented pattern where once poet is saying of a Scorpion, girl sprawling and king was shooting on a green melon. The girl is thinking that she must be fought by the arms. Then suddenly poet speaking,
“Italy, my Italy!”

Poet again here using an imagery which is taken from the history. Queen Mary once lost her Calais and for that she becomes sad. Here poet is also feeling the same for his loving Italy. He is saying to open his heart where the readers will see the gravel of Rovery Browning in Italy. Then he is coming back to his love with his beloved,

“Such lovers old are I and she:
So it always was, so shall ever be.”

This line is very relevant to the poem. Here Browning’s words are mold with emotions. And poet loved his beloved that shall remain the same in future.

De Gustibus castle
De Gustibus castle

Rhetorical Device that Has Been Used

Here the readers can found various rhetorical devices like Syncope, Anaphora, Personification, Allusion, etc.
Anaphora is a repeatation of word or phrase in a single line or in two lines one after another like,

“And the blackbird’s tune,
And May and June!”
Personifications are Death, Love, History, etc.
Alliteration also can be found in this poem. It means repeatation of words one after another, like,
“Italy my Italy!”
“Quenn Mary’s saying serves for me-“

Then comes Syncope, it is a style of writing words using apostrophe like, “bak’d”, “encurl’d”, “griev’d”, etc.
These are the important rhetorical devices that Browning uses to increase the value of the poem.

This is a poem that speaks of love and here Robert Browning is also making his statement like Shakespeare’s sonnet no.18 that the love of the poet will remain unchanged even after their death.