Correspondence

2091.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 11, 158–160.

[London]

Sunday Evening. [9 November 1845][1]

When I come back from seeing you, and think over it all, there never is a least word of yours I could not occupy myself with, and wish to return to you with some .. not to say, all .. the thoughts & fancies it is sure to call out of me:—there is nothing in you that does not draw out all of me:—you possess me, dearest .. and there is no help for the expressing it all, no voice nor hand, but these of mine which shrink and turn away from the attempt: So you must go on, patiently, knowing me, more and more, and your entire power on me, and I will console myself, to the full extent, with your knowledge,—penetration,—intuition .. somehow I must believe you can get to what is here, in me—without the pretence of my telling or writing it. But, because I give up the great achievements, there is no reason I should not secure any occasion of making clear one of the less important points that arise in our intercourse .. if I fancy I can do it with the least success: for instance, it is on my mind to explain what I meant yesterday by trusting that the entire happiness I feel in the letters, and the help in the criticising might not be hurt by the surmise, even, that those labours to which you were born, might be suspended, in any degree, thro’ such generosity to me: dearest, I believed in your glorious genius and knew it for a true star from the moment I saw it,—long before I had the blessing of knowing it was my star, with my fortune and futurity in it—and, when I draw back from myself, and look better and more clearly, then I do feel, with you, that the writing a few letters more or less, reading many or few rhymes of any other person, would not interfere in any material degree with that power of yours—that you might easily make one so happy and yet go on writing “Geraldines” and “Berthas”—but—how can I, dearest, leave my heart’s treasures long, even to look at your genius? .. and when I come back and find all safe, find the comfort of you, the traces of you .. will it do,—tell me—to treat all that as a light effort, an easy matter?

Yet, if you can lift me with one hand, while the other suffices to crown you—there is queenliness in that, too!

Well, I have spoken. As I told you, your turn comes now: how have you determined respecting the American Edition?[2]—you tell me nothing of yourself! It is all me you help, me you do good to .. and I take it all! Now see if this goes on! I have not had every love-luxury, I now find out .. where is the proper, rationally-to-be-expected, “lovers’ quarrel?” Here, as you will find! “Iræ amantium” .. I am no more “at a loss with my Naso,” than Peter Ronsard.[3] Ah .. but then they are to be “reintegratio amoris”[4]—and to get back into a thing, one must needs get for a moment first out of it .. trust me, no! And now, the natural inference from all this? The consistent inference .. the “self-denying ordinance”? Why,—do you doubt?—even this,—you must just put aside the Romance, and tell the Americans to wait,[5] and make my heart start up when the letter is laid to it,—the letter full of your news, telling me you are well and walking, and working for my sake towards the time I—informing me, moreover, if Thursday or Friday is to be my day–

May God bless you, my own love–

I will certainly bring you an Act of the Play[6] .. for this serpent’s reason, in addition to the others .. that– No, I will tell you that. I can tell you now more than even lately!

Ever your own RB

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50 Wimpole St

Postmark: 10FN10 NO10 1845 A.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 73.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 261–262.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark.

2. As EBB indicated in a letter to her brother George (see the final paragraph of letter 2019), she did not want to republish her prose works unless she was given time to rewrite them. This was her eventual response to Mathews in letter 2128.

3. “The Glove,” line 12.

4. Cf. “Amantium iræ amoris integratio est” (“lovers’ quarrels are love’s renewals,” Terence, Andria, III, 2, 555, trans. John Sargeaunt).

5. EBB had mentioned her plan to write a “novel-poem” as early as February 1845 (see letter 1852), and in letter 1993, she again referred to a “romance-poem which is to be some day.”

6. i.e., Luria. In letter 2086 EBB had asked to see the first act, and again in letter 2093 she reminded RB about the play when mentioning their meeting for Thursday.

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