Correspondence

1932.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 10, 246–247.

[London]

[Postmark: 28 May 1845]

Saturday, Monday, as you shall appoint: no need to say that, or my thanks—but this note troubles you, out of my bounden duty to help you, or Miss Mitford, to make the Painter run violently down a steep place into the sea, if that will amuse you, by further informing him, what I know on the best authority, that Wordsworth’s “bag-wig,”—or at least, the more important of his court-habiliments, were considerately furnished for the nonce by Mr Rogers from his own wardrobe, to the manifest advantage of the Laureate’s pocket, but more problematic improvement of his person, when one thinks on the astounding difference of “build” in the two Poets:—the fact should be put on record, if only as serving to render less chimerical a promise sometimes figuring in the columns of provincial newspapers—that the two apprentices, some grocer or other advertises for, will be “boarded and clothed like one of the family”– May not your unfinished (really good) head of the great man[1] have been happily kept waiting for the body which can now be added on, with all this picturesqueness of circumstances? Precept on precept .. but then, line upon line,[2] is allowed by as good authority, and may I not draw my confirming black line after yours, yet not break pledge? I am most grateful to you for doing me justice—doing yourself, your own judgment, justice, since even the play-wright of Theseus & the Amazon found it one of his hardest devices to “write me a speech, lest the lady be frightened, wherein it shall be said that I, Pyramus, am not Pyramus, but &c &c”[3] God bless you—one thing more, but one—you could never have misunderstood the asking for the letter again– I feared you might refer to it “pour constater le fait”–[4]

And now I am yours—

RB

My head is all but well now,—thank you.

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50 Wimpole St

Postmark: PD 3AN MY28 1845 A.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 19.

Publication: RB-EBB, p. 83.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. The allusion is to EBB’s sonnet “On Haydon’s Portrait of Mr. Wordsworth” (in Poems, 1844).

2. Isaiah 28:10.

3. Cf. A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, III, 1, 17–20.

4. “To note the fact.”

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