2132.  RB to John Kenyon

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 11, 231.


Monday Mg [8 December 1845][1]

Dear Mr Kenyon,

Here are the books—& here is not what you expect perhaps, the “Essay on Mind”—which I excuse myself from returning now, on the score of the indifferent company the others would furnish; but I almost believe, at bottom of my heart, that I am waiting for a chance of your relenting and letting me keep, according to your first intention, what I should so very much value: surely it is a wonderful production for even its Author’s girlhood.

You will be warned that the novel is commended to you only as a curiosity, and a very unpleasant one: my father says it is the first of the religious novels—(not romances).[2] Let it figure among your books (at the house-top) as one sees from time to time in the shop of a Bondstreet Fishmongers some thorny queer lump-fish suspended as a show over all the good quiet ordinary turbots and salmon—not that such a prodigy is to be eaten by any means, but to show what the “vast sea’s entrál”[3] can produce on occasion.

Ever yours most faithfully,

Robt Browning.

Publication: None traced.

Manuscript: Armstrong Browning Library.

1. RB’s copy of An Essay on Mind (Reconstruction, A327) bears his own inscription: “J.K. to R.B. Dec. 10. 1845.” We conclude that Kenyon agreed to RB’s request to keep the volume, as set forth in this letter, which we conjecturally date the previous Monday, 8 December 1845.

2. We have been unable to identify this volume.

3. Cf. Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II, xii, 25, line 9.


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