My last duchess
He married fellow poet Elizabeth Barrett but they had to run away and marry in secret because of her over-protective father
The characters mentioned in this poem are based on real life, historical figures. The narrator is Duke Alfonso II who ruled a place in northern Italy called Ferrara
The Duchess of whom he speaks was his first wife, Lucrezia de' Medici who died in 1561 aged 17, only two years after he married her. In real life, Lucrezia died in suspicious circumstances and might have been poisoned.
The poem is set in 1564, three years after the death of the Duchess.
An emissary (messenger or representative) has been sent to see the Duke from the Count of Tyrol. The Count is the father of the Duke's next wife (he married three times in all). The Duke shows the emissary a picture of his late wife and remarks on her character, suggesting that she was unfaithful to him - and hinting that he might have killed her because of it.
There is lots of stopping and starting and it is hard to read it without sounding full of yourself
he might have a wonderful house, terrace, orchard, paintings and statues but his paranoia about his late wife comes across and reflects his insecurity. In real life, Duke Alfonso II married three times and didn't produce an heir to his fortune - money can't buy you everything.
controlled by certain forces
The Duchess’s genial nature was enough to throw the Duke into a jealous, psychopathic rage
"gave commands" that meant "all smiles stopped together" . guessing this means he had her killed