Robert Browning attempting to recite ‘How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix’ (1889)

The voice of great English poet, Robert Browning (1812 – 1889) recorded while at a dinner party given by Browning’s friend the artist Rudolf Lehmann, on April 7th, 1889. The sales manager of Edison Talking machine, Colonel Gouraud, had brought with him a phonograph to show the guests and to record their voices. Browning, though reluctant at first, eventually gives in and begins to recite his poem ‘How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix’. Unfortunately, he “cannot remember me own verses” and gives up going on to expressing how he certainly won’t forget though this “wonderful invention”. He was to die just under 8 months later. When the recording was played in 1890 on the anniversary of his death, at a gathering of his admirers, it was said to be the first time anyone’s voice “had been heard from beyond the grave.”


I sprang to the saddle, and Joris, and he;
I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three;
‘Speed’ echoed the wall to us galloping through…
‘Speed’ echoed the…
Then the gate shut behind us, the lights sank to rest…


I’m terribly sorry but I can’t remember me own verses,
but one thing that I shall remember all me life is the astonishing [inaudible] by your wonderful invention.

Robert Browning!

[other voices]
Bravo, bravo, bravo.
Hip, hip, hooray.
Hip, hip, hooray.
Hip, hip, hooray.
Bravo.
Housed at: Internet Archive
Underlying Work: PD 70 years | Digital Copy: No Additional Rights
Download: MP3





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