Robert Browning‘s famous poem The Last Ride Together mainly describes how a rejected lover gets consolation even in the face of dejection. The poem begins with a lover who is rejected by his ladylove. His long-cherished dream of winning her is shattered all on a sudden. But he does not give way to despair. He rather accepts his failure in a spirit of resignation. He does not blame the lady or his own fate. He only wishes to retain the memory of his love and prays for the last ride with her.
In course of his last ride, the lover analyses his own conduct. He justifies his own failure, too. He admits that he might have won the girl by behaving with her in a different manner. But, at the same time, he might have lost her absolutely. So far as his present condition is concerned, there is nothing depressing for him. The girl does not love him certainly. But she does not hate him, too. And so she is riding with him just now.
The lover next defends his failure by referring to the failure of the world. He has, no doubt, failed. But so has failed the world. Failure, in fact, is inevitable in the world. Execution does not equal conception here. The rewards of life are never adequate to the labour involved.
The lover refers to some concrete cases of failure to defend his own failure. Statesmen, soldiers, poets, sculptors, and musicians have all got much less than what they desired and deserved. The statesman does much for his country. But his ultimate reward is a few lines of appreciation after his death. The soldier lays down his life for the sake of his country. A few lines are only inscribed on his tombstone in his honor. The poet deals with truth and beauty. But he passes his life in dirt, poverty, and illness. The work of art of a sculptor can never be as lively as a living person. The musician devotes his long years and energy to his art. But fashions in music change soon. And he becomes a laughing stock in no time.
The rejected lover next goes one further step to justify his failure. He claims that his failure is not only inevitable but also indispensable to his moral progress. It is always good that man should die with a hope for some better reward in his next life. If the lover had got the lady on this earth, he would have nothing more to expect in the world next. He is now quite confident of his success in heaven after his earthly failure.