Paracelsus (Browning)

Paracelsus robert browning faust illustration poem

Acrylic on board, 21 x 14.8 cm. 2020. SOLD

 

This painting was inspired by Robert Browning's poetic biography of the medieval alchemist Paracelsus. Browning’s Paracelsus is a titanic Faustian character who strives for knowledge at all costs, but is continually frustrated by his own human limitations. The painting is accompanied by the following text from Browning's poem, in which Paracelsus despairs, but refuses to humble himself in defeat, and is unwilling to renounce his lofty ideals:

 

  God! Thou art mind! Unto the master-mind

  Mind should be precious. Spare my mind alone!

  All else I will endure; if, as I stand

  Here, with my gains, thy thunder smite me down,

  I bow me; 'tis thy will, thy righteous will;

  I o'erpass life's restrictions, and I die;

  And if no trace of my career remain

  Save a thin corpse at pleasure of the wind

  In these bright chambers level with the air,

  See thou to it! But if my spirit fail,

  My once proud spirit forsake me at the last,

  Hast thou done well by me? So do not thou!

  Crush not my mind, dear God, though I be crushed!