In the face of this awareness of human decline and despair the protagonist pledges love to his partner. This love is described as “true,” which implies a love that is faithful and enduring and which can transcend the loss of faith in the world.
This vision or poetic image of loss of faith in human nature can be seen, albeit in a different light, in the work of Browning. An example would be the poem “Fra Lippon Lippi.” In this poem the poet questions the nature of art and whether it should be true-to — life or idealistic. The question is related to the way that art can best serve religious purposes and also refers to the gap between ordinary life and religious faith. The argument that runs throughout the poem is that the religious authorities are more concerned with appearances than expressing deep religious convictions.
Many of Brownings poems were concerned with what many Victorians saw as the moral decay and the loss of faith. This was also linked to the advance of scientific theories which undermined religious conviction. Browning often critiques human nature. This is evident in one of his most popular poem, “My Last Duchess.” In this poem we encounter a world where love and faith have become perverted by status and power.
This loss of faith in human nature is also clear in “Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister.” Here the loss of faith can be seen in the exposure of moral hypocrisy.
Through the utterances of a monk we become aware of the base feelings and the self-righteousness that exists behind the appearance of righteousness. While the monk accuses others of greed and lechery, it becomes evident that the monk is just as guilty of the failings of those whom he accuses. Brownings exposure of hypocrisy in this and other poems reveals a loss of faith in human nature. The remedy for this loss of faith it would seem to lie in the very power of art and writing to reveal the truth. In conclusion, the works of the Victorian poets discussed above reveals the dilemma of a loss of faith of various aspects of society and human nature. This decline in moral and spiritual faith is countered to a certain extent by the emphasis on the value of true love and the power of art to expose the truth about reality. Works Cited Arnold M. Dover Beach. 12 August, 2010.