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2306.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 12, 238–240.

[London]

Sunday– [12 April 1846] [1]

Dearest,—unspeakably dear Ba,—would I were with you! But my heart stays with you: I write this, tired somewhat and out of spirits—for I have been writing notes this morning,—getting rid of the arrears which turn out more considerable than I thought. And the moment I have done, I look to the chair and the picture and desire to be at rest, with you,—the perfect rest and happiness here on earth. But do think, my own Ba, in the direction I indicated yesterday—any obstacle now, would be more than I could bear. I feel I must live with you,—if but for a year, a month—to express the love which words cannot express, nor these letters, nor aught else.

See one thing! Thro’ your adorable generosity, my beloved,—at the beginning you pleased to tell me my love was returned,—that I had gained your love: without your assurance, I should never have believed that possible, whatever you may think,—but you, what you say, I believe,—would in other matters, believe, rather than my own senses,—and here I believed—in humbleness, God knows,—but so it was– Then, is there not this one poor fruit of that generosity, <—one reassuring consideration, if you will accept it,> [2] —that, nearly a year ago, I was in possession of all I aspired to?—so that if I had been too weak for my accorded happiness,—likely to be in due time satiated with it, and less and less impressed by it, and so on, till at last, “I changed,”—would not this have happened inevitably before now? I had gained your love,—one could not go on gaining it—but some other love might be gained! Indeed, I don’t see how, in certain instances (where there is what is called “a pursuit,” and all the excitement of suspense, and alternating hope & fear, all ending in the marriage day, after the fashion, of a Congreve comedy—) how with the certainty of that kind of success, all the interest of the matter can avoid terminating– But it does seem to me, that the love I have gained is as nothing to the love I trust to gain. I want the love at our lifes’ end, the love after trial, the love of my love, when mine shall have had time and occasion to prove itself! I have already, from the beginning indeed, had quite enough magnanimity to avoid wishing for op[p]ortunities of doing so at your expense. I pray you may never be in dangers from which I rescue you, nor meet sorrows from which I divert you: but in the ordinary chances of life .. I shall be there, and ready, and your own, heart and soul– Why do I say this to you?

All words are so weak,—so weak!

Here,—(no, I shall have to send it to-morrow, I believe—well, here in the course of the day)—comes Luria & the other [3] —and I lay it at my dear Lady’s feet, wishing it were worthier of them, and only comforted, thro’ all the conviction of the offering’s unworthiness, by knowing that she will know,—the dear, peerless, all precious Ba I adore, will know—that I would give her my life gladlier at a word. See what I have written on the outside—“to Miss Barrett”!—because I thought even leaving out the name might look suspiciously!– But where no eye can see,—save your dear eye .. there is written a dedication.

Kiss me, dear Ba. May God bless you. Care for everything—if you should have taken cold last night, for instance! Talk of a sword suspended by a hair! [4] —what is the feeling of one whose priceless jewel hangs over a gulf by a hair? Tell me all. I love you wholly and am wholly yours.

See the strangely dirty paper—it comes from my desk where, every now & then, a candle gets over set,—or the snuffers remain open, aghast at what I write!

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50. Wimpole St

Postmark: PD 10FN AP13 1846 D.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 157.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 617–619.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark.

2. Passage in angle brackets is interpolated above the line.

3. The eighth and last number of the Bells and Pomegranates series, which was published the following day.

4. See letter 2385, in which RB tells EBB that if his “jewel must be taken from me, let some eagle stoop down for it suddenly.”

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