2166.  RB to Richard Hengist Horne

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 11, 300.


Jan. 8. ’46

My dear Horne,

I very sincerely congratulate you on the fine things in this new volume–[1] The Swinestead[2] Monk is admirable, and the Camelott adventure, sylvan, “to the height”—perfect! Bedd Gelert is most beautiful too– These I only particularize because the Reviews will be sure to compliment you especially on The Bohemian Story[3]—tho’ its greatest value to me, by the side of the others, is in the proof it gives to those same Reviewers that, as Carlyle has it, Pegasus can furl wing and ride post if it please him <at an approved pace, in an accepted and allowed path>–[4] There is good sailor-logic and sailor-language in Ben’s adventure, and a funny tingling pelt of ferns, woodriff, lichens and such like forest-wrack in the Elf legend—and if I rather wish the children away, Grandmama Grey and all, it is because all good stories, Fairy or otherwise are meant for grown-up men, and children only like them in their childish degree—children should know their place and look between our knees at such work—not make us look over their heads thro’ the halfopened door, as if stealing a fearful joy! Delora remains Delora!

For the whole, thanks and admiration, now and ever, my dear Horne, from

your RB

Shall I never be satisfied and see reprinted that capital “Merrie Devil of Edmonton” which first gave me a taste of your quality? It would have gone well between any two in this collection. And remember that the suppression of the notes to Delora is only the printer’s affair–[5]

Shall I be so ungrateful as to leave out the famous Bear History?[6] It is furry—warm and genial.

Address: R.H. Horne Esq.

Docket, in RHH’s hand: From Browning on recg a copy of “Ballad Romances.”

Publication: LRB, pp. 11–12.

Manuscript: Armstrong Browning Library.

1. i.e., Ballad Romances, just published.

2. A slip of the pen for “Swineshead.”

3. “The Noble Heart: a Bohemian Legend” was the first of the seven ballads in the volume.

4. Bracketed passage is squeezed in as an afterthought.

5. “The Ballad of Delora” was first published in The Monthly Repository for December 1836 (pp. 717–732) with side notes; these did not appear in Horne’s Ballad Romances.

6. The Good-Natured Bear was published anonymously in 1846, but it had been issued the previous month. It was advertised in the 6 and 13 December 1845 issues of The Athenæum (no. 945, p. 1173, and no. 946, p. 1205).


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