2209. RB to EBB
As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 12, 69–70.
Friday Mg [Postmark: 13 February 1846]
Two nights ago I read the “Soul’s Tragedy” once more—and tho’ there were not a few points which still struck me as successful, in design & execution yet on the whole I came to a decided opinion—that it will be better to postpone the publication of it for the present: it is not a good ending,—an auspicious wind-up of this series,—subject-matter & style are alike unpopular even for the literary grex that stands aloof from the purer plebs, and uses that privelege to display & parade an ignorance which the other is altogether inconscious of– So that, if Luria is clearish, the Tragedy would be an unnecessary troubling the waters: whereas, if I printed it first in order, my readers, according to custom, would make the (comparatively) little they did not see into, a full excuse for shutting their eyes at the rest—and we may as well part friends, so as not to meet enemies: but, at bottom, I believe the proper objection is to the immediate, first effect of the whole,—its moral effect,—which is dependent on the contrary supposition of its being really understood, in the main drift of it—yet I don’t know,—for I wrote it with the intention of producing the best of all effects—perhaps the truth is, that I am tired, rather, and desirous of getting done, and Luria will answer my purpose so far: will not the best way be to reserve this unlucky play and, in the event of a second edition,—as Moxon seems to think such an apparition possible,—might not this be quietly inserted?—in its place, too, for it was written two or three years ago. I have lost, of late, interest in dramatic writing, as you know—and, perhaps occasion– And, dearest, I mean to take your advice and be quiet awhile and let my mind get used to its new medium of sight, seeing all things, as it does, thro’ you: and then, let all I have done be the prelude and the real work begin– I felt it would be so before, and told you at the very beginning—do you remember? And you spoke of Io “in the proem”. How much more should follow now!
And if nothing follows, I have you–
I shall see you to-morrow and be happy: to-day—is it the weather or what?—something depresses me a little—to-morrow brings the remedy for it all. I don’t know why I mention such a matter,—except that I tell you everything without a notion of after-consequence,—and because your dearest, dearest presence seems under any circumstances as if created just to help me there,—if my spirits rise they fly to you,—if they fall, they hold by you and cease falling—as now. Bless you, Ba,—my own best blessing that you are! But a few hours and I am with you, beloved!
Address: Miss Barrett, / 50. Wimpole St
Postmark: 8NT8 FE13 1846 H.
Docket, in EBB’s hand: 115.
Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 455–456.
Manuscript: Wellesley College.
3. See letter 1829, note 9.