1349.  EBB to Richard Hengist Horne

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 7, 274–275.


Monday. August 7. 1843.

I did guess a little that when you were talking mysteriously, you were talking psychologically [1] —& also from the silence afterwards, I inferred, before you stated the fact to me, that the intention failed again by the fatality. Be sure that the Fates are sworn against us—be as sure of it as I am! For the immediate failure I am not sorry; having one or two poems of different sizes (none very large) on my hands; & being rather bent on preparations for that volume of my own, which, in its undevelopped state, has already served to illustrate its author’s self-will. If you ever look into Blackwood, condescend this month to look at me—because my “Cry of the Children” owes its utterance to your exciting causations– [2] Today I shall see your “Old problem,” of which the critics do prophecy good things. [3] I salute Orion in the fifth edition.

At four oclock tomorrow you will be at Three Mile Cross—and at four oclock today I shall be peradventure in my chair for the second time.

When I write to tell Miss Mitford vaingloriously that the ivy planted in a box in my window-sill has taken root, flourished, & spread itself in green boughs & tendrills over the window, until I sit in the green light of the woods,—she answers (oh! hard of heart!) that she has roses round her window! There is the like analogy in our fates, yours & mine—and we think to write Psyches together!!

I heard of Orion the other day being admired at the first glance, & carried away to be admired at leisure, by Mrs Jameson– You admire Mrs Jameson I am sure .. as I do; & will be sensitive to her admiration. She has a fine, aspiring spirit—noble instincts for greatness; & she can write very eloquently. To Orion in the fiftieth edition!!

Do tell me how you are pleased, & exactly how you are impressed by the visit to Three Mile Cross. I will be secret beyond womanity, .. if you are frank beyond discretion. Barter your impressions with me, my dear Mr Horne.

Ever truly yours

Elizabeth B Barrett.

Address: R H Horne Esqr / 36. New Broad Street / City. Redirected, in unidentified hand: Care of Dr Southwood Smith.

Publication: EBB-RHH, I, 79–81.

Manuscript: British Library.

1. A play on “Psyche Apocalypté,” revealed in letter 1346 to have been the subject of his cryptic remarks in letter 1312.

2. Published in the August issue of Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, the poem was inspired by his work with a Royal Commission investigating child labour in mines and factories, and the Commission’s subsequent report.

3. “The Old Problem. Discussed by the Poet, the Stoic, and the Fool,” by Horne, was printed in the August number of The Illuminated Magazine (pp. 216–222).


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