1859.  RB to John Kenyon

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 10, 114–115.

New Cross, Hatcham, Surrey.

March 6, 1845.

Dear Mr Kenyon,

Whenever I write anything about Miss Barrett’s Poems I shall do one thing, for certain,—put, that is, all myself, heart & soul, into the matter so as to render mistake as to the authorship impossible for my friends.

I write for no periodicals except Hood’s—who is fast dying, we fear, and whom I am proud to oblige if an occasional appearance in his pages will do it, as he says.

But I do protest as energetically as I can against anybody’s referring “kindly reviews” of those poems to “goodnatured” any-other-bodies—they need goodnature as little as they fear illnature.

Hood, poor fellow .. (I don’t know him, but at second hand) will be gratified, I am sure, with your Sonnet, and insert it next month.[1] I will care for all and correct the proof with due vigilance. You are so much my elder and better in our craft that I am shy at hinting beauty and hesitating pleasure: but I will just say, Hibernicè, that you might have had the friendliness to send me something not quite so able to take its own part and pick its own place among Gods, men, and a magazine’s columns,—and so have let me look a little proud & patronizing for a moment! As it is, I have to thank you—(for Hood as well—) which is against all precedent. My Sister is at Cambridge—the rest send their best regards.

Ever yours faithfully,

Robert Browning.

Publication: Browning Newsletter, 1 (October 1968), p. 15.

Manuscript: Armstrong Browning Library.

1. Kenyon’s “Sonnet On Reading A.F. Rio’s ‘Petite Chouannerie’” appeared in the April 1845 issue of Hood’s Magazine, p. 341.


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