Correspondence

2409.  RB to John Purchas

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 41.

New Cross, Hatcham,

June 11. [1846][1]

My dear Sir,[2]

Very many thanks for your Poems and the kind note that accompanies them: I have been long used to look with great interest to the Cambridge Paper for your contributions—and there are some very delightful pieces in this collection, whatever your modesty may be pleased to say. I shall look with impatience for the new work[3] I observe announced on the cover of the present.

Ever, my dear Sir, yours much obliged & sincerely,

R Browning.

Address: John Purchas Esqre / Gonville House, / Cambridge.

Publication: None traced.

Manuscript: Armstrong Browning Library and Manuscripts Division, New York Public Library.

1. Year provided by postmark.

2. John Purchas (1823–72), English divine and author, and a regular contributor to The Cambridge Advertiser, had recently published Poems and Ballads, for which RB is thanking him. In this small collection is a three-stanza poem entitled “What Art Thou Dreaming of, Maiden Fair?,” which has an epigraph from A Blot in the ’Scutcheon. A review in Douglas Jerrold’s Shilling Magazine for September 1846 (vol. 4, no. 21, pp. 283–284) called Poems and Ballads “pleasing and carefully executed,” and noted that “the writings of Tennyson and Browning have evidently moulded, probably unconsciously, the form and tone of his compositions. There is a similarity of style and manner to these true poets, without anything like servile imitation, and also, happily for the reader, without any of that decadence into folly which too often characterises the followers of this class of poetry.” Purchas had used lines from EBB’s “Lady Geraldine’s Courtship” as an epigraph to his “Rhymes for the Present Christmas Season” (see letter 2148, note 1).

3. An advertisement in Poems and Ballads announced that Purchas was “preparing for publication” a work called “The Greek Theatre, being a series of translations from Æschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes; Each Drama divided into Scenes, with Stage Directions, Exits, and Entrances.” Apparently the work was never published.

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