Thursday, February 8

Browning & Ibn-Ezra

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be.

These words, from an 1864 poem by Robert Browning (1812-89), are among the most famous in English poetry -- but who knew they were inspired by R. Avraham Ibn-Ezra?!

The poem, pondering old age and the difficilties of the scholarly life, is written as if Ibn-Ezra is the speaker (see here for the full poem and here for some background).
Browning had a known interest in Hebrew language and literature (and probably knew of the Ibn-Ezra's grammatical work) -- does anyone know any other background to this? Let us know...

1 Comments:

At 10:00 AM, Blogger Uri Cohen said...

Well, the Jewish Encyclopedia's entry on Browning (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=1515&letter=B) says the poem presents "the life-philosophy of a Jewish sage, who may perhaps be identified with Abraham ibn Ezra." The Encyclopedia Judaica's entry (in both editions), by Cecil Roth, uses the same phrase: "a Jewish sage, who may perhaps be identified with Abraham Ibn Ezra."

 

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