1950.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 10, 274–275.


Sunday Afternoon. [22 June 1845] [1]

And if I am “suspicious of your suspiciousness” who gives cause, pray? The matter was long ago settled, I thought, when you first took exception to what I said about higher & lower—and I consented to this much—that you should help seeing, if you could, our true intellectual & moral relation each to the other, so long as you would allow me to see what is there, fronting me– “Is my eye evil because yours is not good?” My own friend, if I wished to “make you vain”; if having “found the Bower” [2] I did really address myself to the wise business of spoiling its rose-roof,—I think that at least where there was such a will, there would be also something not unlike a way,—that I should find a proper hooked stick to tear down flowers with, and write you other letters than these—quite, quite others. I feel—tho’ I am far from going to imagine, even for a moment, what might be the precise prodigy—like the notable son of Zeus, that was to have been, & done the wonders, only he did not, because &c &[c.] [3]

But I have a restless head to-day and so let you off easily– Well, you ask me about it, that head, and I am not justified in being positive when my Doctor is dubious– As for the causes, they are neither superfluity of study, nor fancy, nor care, nor any special naughtiness that I know how to amend. So if I bring you “nothing to signify” on Wednesday .. tho’ I hope to do more than that .. you will know exactly why it happens– I will finish & transcribe the “Flight of the Duchess” since you spoke of that first.

I am truly happy to hear that your health improves still.

For me, going out does me good—reading, writing, &,—what is odd,—infinitely most of all, sleeping do me the harm,—never any very great harm. And all the while I am yours ever


Address: Miss Barrett, / 50 Wimpole Street.

Postmark: 12NN12 JU23 1845 B.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 24.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 100–101.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark.

2. Cf. EBB, “The Lost Bower,” line 237, in Poems (1844).

3. Doubtless RB refers to Zeus learning from Prometheus that Thetis was to have a son who would be greater than his father, thus squelching Zeus’s romantic interest in Thetis.


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