Correspondence

2021.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 11, 61–62.

[London]

Friday Afternoon. [Postmark: 5 September 1845]

What you tell me of Dr Chambers’, “all the good of you” he said, and all I venture to infer,—this makes me most happy and thankful: do you use to attach our old τυφλας ελπιδας[1] (and the practice of instilling them) to that medical science in which Prometheus boasted himself a proficient? I had thought the “faculty” dealt in fears, on the contrary, and scared you into obedience: but I know most about the doctors in Molière.[2] However the joyous truth is .. must be, that you are better .. and if one could transport you quietly to Pisa,—save you all worry,—what might one not expect!

When I know your own intentions,—measures, I should say, respecting your journey—mine will of course be submitted to you—it will just be “which day next—month”?—not week, alas.

I can thank you now for this edition of your poems—I have not yet taken to read it, though—for it does not, each volume of it, open obediently to a thought, here, and here, and here, like my green books .. no, my Sister’s they are,[3]—so these you give me are really mine. And America, with its ten per cent, shall have my better word henceforth and forever .. for when you calculate, there must have been a really extraordinary circulation,—and in a few months: it is what newspapers call “a great fact”: have they reprinted the ‘Seraphim’? quietly, perhaps!

I shall see you on Monday, then.

And my all-important headaches are tolerably kept under—headaches-proper they are not—but the noise & slight turning are less troublesome—will soon go altogether.

Bless you ever—ever dearest friend

RB

Oh, oh, oh! As many thanks for that precious card-box and jewel of a flower-holder as are consistent with my dismay at finding you only return them .. and not the costly brown paper wrappages also .. to say nothing of the inestimable pins with which my sister uses to fasten the same!

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50 Wimpole St

Postmark: 8NT8 SP5 1845 B.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 50 [altered from “49”].

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 182–183.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. “Blind hopes” (Æschylus, Prometheus Bound, line 252, trans. Herbert Weir Smyth; also line 296 in EBB’s revised translation published in Poems, 1850). See letter 1854.

2. A recurring theme in Molière’s plays is the satirical treatment of doctors, who are represented as charlatans intent on duping susceptible patients.

3. i.e., the English edition of EBB’s Poems (1844); see letter 1811, note 1.

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