2453.  EBB to Hugh Stuart Boyd

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 105–106.


[early July 1846][1]

Believe of me, my very & ever dear friend, that I am deeply touched & moved by the kindness & affectionateness of your letter, & that I thank you for it heart to heart. From my heart I may say to you, that, looking back to that early time, the hours spent with you, appear to me some of the happiest of my life .. a life in which the “happiest part has not prevailed,”[2] as in the chorus of Agamemnon. A prophet said to me (by the way) a week since, that God intended me compensation, even in the world, & that the latter time would be better for me than the beginning.[3] And if this oracle were fulfilled, I should still look back, from the new happiness, as from the accustomed sorrow, to the hours spent with you, & call them, gratefully, very happy hours, just as I call you my very dear friend. May God bless you, dearest Mr Boyd!– Pray do not talk of dying, when I am returning to life. You look as well as ever, I am delighted to have seen with my own eyes, .. & I will hope that we shall spend together still, many hours out of many years .. the winter not killing me, nor any other cause, you .. & your goodness continuing to forgive me my various sins, whether in or out of bad verses.

In the meanwhile I intend to go to see you during this summer as long as I can & as often. You will have me near you in a day or two again.

Here is an epitaph written by a wit on a great talker––Hic tacet.[4]

With which, appropriately, I end—

Your ever affectionate & grateful


Publication: EBB-HSB, pp. 279–280.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Conjectural date suggested by EBB’s reference to having seen Boyd, whom she visited on 30 June 1846 (see letter 2446).

2. Cf. Æschylus, Agamemnon, 121.

3. From this and subsequent comments similar to it, Boyd soon educed from EBB the true extent of her relationship with RB.

4. “Here is silent.” A play on the usual “hic jacet” (“here lies”).


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