2245. EBB to RB
As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 12, 139–140.
Tuesday morning [Postmark: 10 March 1846]
Now I shall know what to believe when you talk of very bad & very indifferent doings of yours– Dearest, I read your ‘Soul’s tragedy’ last night & was quite possessed with it, & fell finally into a mute wonder how you could for a moment doubt about publishing it. It is very vivid, I think, & vital, & impressed me more than the first act of “Luria” did .. though I do not mean to compare such dissimilar things, .. & for pure nobleness ‘Luria’ is unapproachable .. will prove so, it seems to me … But this “Tragedy” shows more heat from the first .. & then, the words beat down more closely .. well! I am struck by it all as you see. If you keep it up to this passion .. if you justify this high key-note, .. it is a great work, & worthy of a place next Luria. Also do observe how excellently balanced the two will be, & how the tongue of this next silver Bell will swing from side to side. And you to frighten me about it!– Yes!—and the worst is (because it was stupid in me) the worst is that I half believed you & took the manuscript to be something inferior .. for you .. & the adviseableness of its publication, a doubtful case. And yet, after all, the really worst is, that you should prove yourself such an adept at deceiving!– For can it be possible that the same
who (I heard the other day) said once that he could “wait three hundred years” .. should not feel the life of centuries in this work too— .. can it be? Why all the pulses of the life of it are beating in even my ears!–
Tell me, beloved, how you are—I shall hear it tonight––shall I not? To think of your being unwell, & forced to go here & go there to visit people to whom your being unwell falls in at best among the secondary evils .. makes me discontented .. which is one shade more to the uneasiness I feel. Will you take care, & not give away your life to these people? Because I have a better claim than they .. & shall put it in, if provoked .. shall. Then you will not use the showerbath again——you promise? I dare say Mr Kenyon observed yesterday how unwell you were looking .. tell me if he did’nt! Now do not work .. dearest! Do not think of Chiappino .. leave him behind. He has a good strong life of his own, & can wait for you. Oh—but let me remember to say of him, that he & the other personnages appear to me to articulate with perfect distinctness & clearness .. you need not be afraid of having been obscure in this first part– It is all as lucid as noon.
Shall I go down stairs today? “No” say the privy-councillors .. “because it is cold,”—but I shall go peradventure, because the sun brightens & brightens, & the wind has gone round to the west.
George had come home yesterday before you left me, but the stars were favorable to us & kept him out of this room .. now he is at Worcester—went this morning .. on those never ending ‘rounds,’ poor fellow, which weary him I am sure.
And why should music & the philosophy of it make you “melancholy”, ever dearest, more than the other arts, which each has the seal of the age, modifying itself after a fashion & to one? Because it changes more, perhaps. Yet all the Arts are mediators between the soul & the Infinite, .. shifting always like a mist, between the Breath on this side, & the Light on that side .. shifting & coloured;—mediators, messengers, projected from the Soul, to go & feel, for Her, out there!
You dont call me “kind” I confess—but then you call me “too kind” which is nearly as bad, you must allow on your part. Only you were not in earnest when you said that, as it appeared afterward. Were you, yesterday, .. in pretending to think that I owed you nothing .. I?
May God bless you. He knows that to give myself to you, is not to pay you– Such debts are not so paid. Yet I am your
“People’s Journal” for March 7th
Address: Robert Browning Esqre / New Cross / Hatcham / Surrey.
Postmark: 8NT8 MR10 1846.
Docket, in RB’s hand: 128.
Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 525–527.
Manuscript: Wellesley College.
1. See Letter 2223, note 4.