2369. RB to EBB
As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 12, 338–339.
Tuesday. [Postmark: 19 May 1846]
With this day expires the first year since you have been yourself to me—putting aside the anticipations, and prognostications, and even assurances from all reasons short of absolute sight and hearing,—excluding the five or six months of these, there remains a year of this intimacy: you accuse me of talking extravagantly sometimes. I will be quiet here,—is the tone too subdued if I say, such a life—made up of such years—I would deliberately take rather than any other imaginable one in which fame and worldly prosperity and the love of the whole human race should combine, excluding “that of yours—to which I hearken”—only wishing the rest were there for a moment that you might see and know that I did turn from them to you– My dearest, inexpressibly dearest. How can I thank you? I feel sure you need not have been so kind to me, so perfectly kind and good,—I should have remained your own, gratefully, entirely your own, thro’ the bare permission to love you, or even without it,—seeing that I never dreamed of stipulating at the beginning for “a return,” and “reward”;—but I also believe, joyfully, that no course but the course you have taken could have raised me above my very self, as I feel on looking back,—I began by loving you in comparison with all the world,—now, I love you, my Ba, in the face of your past self, as I remember it– <and the>
.. All words are foolish—but I kiss your feet and offer you my heart and soul, dearest, dearest Ba–
I left you last Evening without the usual privilege .. you did not rise, Ba! But,—I don’t know why,—I got nervous of a sudden,—it seemed late,—and I remembered the Drawing-room & its occupants.
Address: Miss Barrett, / 50. Wimpole St
Postmark: [?] [MY]19 1846.
Docket, in EBB’s hand: 186.
Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 712–713.
Manuscript: Wellesley College.
1. Cf. EBB, “Catarina to Camoëns,” lines 11–12.
2. RB has lightly crossed through the words in angle brackets.