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Edward Burne-Jones (Edward Burne Jones) (1833-1898)  Love Among the Ruins  Oil on canvas, 1894  160 x 96.5 cm (5' 2.99
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Title: Love Among the Ruins
Edward Burne-Jones (Edward Burne Jones) (1833-1898)
Love Among the Ruins
Oil on canvas, 1894
160 x 96.5 cm (5' 2.99" x 3' 1.99")
Wightwick Manor, The National Trust, United Kingdom

Love Among the Ruins is an 1855 poem by Robert Browning. It was included in his collection Men and Women, published that year. It is the first poem in the book.

Below is the first stanza:

the quiet-coloured end of evening smiles,
Miles and miles
On the solitary pastures our sheep
Tinkle homeward thro' the twilight, stray or stop
As they crop---
Was the site once of a city great and gay,
(So they say)
Of our country's very capital, its prince
Ages since
Held his court in, gathered councils, wielding far
Peace or war.

Browning here employs an unusual structure of rhyming couplets in which long trochaic lines are paired with short lines of three syllables. This may be related to the theme of the poem, a comparison between love and material glory. The speaker, overlooking a pasture sheep graze, recalls that once a great ancient city, his country's capital, stood there. After spending four stanzas describing the beauty and grandeur of the ancient city, the speaker says that "a girl with eager eyes and yellow hair/Waits me there", and that "she looks now, breathless, dumb/Till I come." The speaker, after musing further on the glory of the city and thinking of how he will greet his lover, closes by rejecting the majesty of the old capital and preferring instead his love:

Oh heart! oh blood that freezes, blood that burns!
Earth's returns
For whole centuries of folly, noise and sin!
Shut them in,
With their triumphs and their glories and the rest!
Love is best.
In culture

Browning's poem inspired or gave its title to many subsequent works, including a painting by Edward Burne-Jones, a 1975 TV-movie with Katharine Hepburn and Laurence Olivier, an episode of the American TV series Mad Men, and an album and song by the band 10,000 Maniacs.

The poem is quoted by the character Rupert Birkin in Women in Love, a novel by D. H. Lawrence.

The title of the poem is also made the title of a novella by the British satirist Evelyn Waugh.
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Edward Burne-Jones (Edward Burne Jones) (1833-1898)  The Three Graces  Charcoal and pastel on brown encil, c1890-c1896  69.5 x 139 cm (27.36Edward Burne-Jones (Edward Burne Jones) (1833-1898)  Love Among the Ruins  Oil on canvas, 1894  160 x 96.5 cm (5' 2.99Edward Burne-Jones (Edward Burne Jones) (1833-1898)  Sidonia von Bork  Gouache, 1860  43 x 84 cm (16.93
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