Correspondence

1937.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 10, 255–256.

[London]

Saturday Mg [Postmark: 7 June 1845]

I ventured to hope this morning might bring me news of you. First Eastwinds on you, then myself, then those criticisms!– I do assure you I am properly apprehensive. How are you? May I go on Wednesday without too much ἀυθαδια?[1]

Pray remember what I said & wrote, to the effect that my exceptions were, in almost every case, to the “reading”—not to your version of it: but I have not specified the particular ones—not written down the Greek, of my suggested translations—have I? And if you do not find them in the margin of your copy, how you must wonder! Thus, in the last speech but one, of Hermes, I prefer Porson & Blomfield’s εἰ μηδ’ἀτυχων τι χαλᾳ μανιων;[2]—to the old combinations that include εὐτυχη[3]—tho’ there is no m.s authority for the emendation, it seems. But in what respect does Prom. “fare well,” or “better” even, since the beginning? And is it not the old argument over again, that when a man fails he should repent of his ways?– And while thinking of Hermes, let me say that “μηδε μοι διπλας ὁδους προσβαλῃς”—is surely—“Don’t subject me to the trouble of a second journey .. by paying no attention to the first.”[4] So says Scholiast A,[5] and so backs him Scholiast B,[5] especially created, it should appear, to show there could be in rerum naturâ[6] such another as his predecessor. A few other remarks occur to me—which I will tell you if you please—now, I really want to know how you are,—and write for that.

Ever yours

RB.

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50 Wimpole St

Postmark: 8NT8 JU7 1845 B.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 20.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 89–90.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. “Arrogance.”

2. “If something did not release him from the unfortunate madness” (cf. EBB’s revised translation: “And if Fate, who hath bound him, just loosens the / links,— / Yet he’s nigh to be mad” Prometheus Bound, 1850, lines 1251–1252). Doubtless the reference is to Prometheus Vinctus (Cambridge, 1810) ed. Charles James Blomfield (1786–1857) who was influenced by Richard Porson (1759–1808).

3. “Good fortune.”

4. Cf. “Do not cast / Ambiguous paths, Prometheus, for my feet—” in EBB’s revised translation in Poems (1850), lines 1129–1130.

5. Emphasized in a large, bold hand.

6. “In the nature of things” (Cicero, Academica, I, vii, 27, trans. H. Rackham).

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