1872.  EBB to John Kenyon

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 10, 136–137.


Tuesday– [?25] [March 1845][1]

Dearest Mr Kenyon

With Mr Martineau’s book,[2] .. which I like in some lights, though a master-mind seems revealed in none of them,—I send you my m∙s. of the new translation of the Prometheus, which has been tried yet by no eye except my own. And now remember, that if I send it, it is only for you to glance at here & there & not read. The faults prevail still, I know—but the imbecility & frigidity are less dishonoring than in the first translation, & I feel a sort of doubtful satisfaction, as after the making of an apology. Look between the pages in one or two places,—& use your own time; for the m∙s. will lie as well (& perhaps with less chance of rumpling) in your drawer than in mine. And then, you shall advise me whether it would be worth while for me to write & ask Blackwood to take it in bodily. Or Hood might, perhaps——but there is full time enough to think of this.

The hyacinth is still alive, .. with thoughts of your kindness, which have yet more perfume in them. How kind of you, to think so of me! And the spring is coming, I do believe, after all .. just as we were beginning to make up our minds to an eternal winter, .. and it was delightful to me to hear & accept, this morning, a proposition about having one of my windows unpapered as to certain of its crevices, & letting in a little air. It is like living in a vinegar bottle, (as the fairy man in the tradition) & being unstoppered for the nonce![3] is’nt it?

Ever most affectionately yours


Publication: None traced.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Dated by letter 1871, in which EBB tells Kenyon that she “will keep the Martineau book a few days.”

2. We have been unable to identify the title of this book (see preceding letter).

3. Perhaps a reference to the fairy tale, common in Arabian and European cultures, that refers to invoking a spirit or imp which is confined in a container, such as a bottle.


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