Correspondence

2427.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 69–70.

[London]

Sunday. [21 June 1846][1]

What I told you yesterday is very often in my thoughts, my own Ba—that with respect to the love for you “I see what I know and testify what I have seen,”[2]—I know what is, and why it is—so far as my faculties of perception allow, of course– I rest on you just as I sate on the grass in the garden this morning with the very earth’s immensity beneath: that is very different from trusting to this chair which is firm enough now, but might break down from a thousand causes. How entirely I believe in you, Ba! When you praise me, I believe that you are in error, yet believe it none– —I know I am not so truthful to you—not so invariably, in the least as in the greatest matters—in the greatest, in the ordinary even, I speak pure truth,—but the old conventional habits cling, as I find out on reflection sometimes—but I aspire no less to become altogether open to your sight as you are to me,—I in my degree,—like a smallest of lake’s face under the sky’s: and for this also I shall have to bless you, my only Ba,—my only Ba!

I ought never .. I think I will not again .. attempt to write down why I love you .. (not, not that it is done here, but alluded-to, touched upon ..) The elements of the love .. (I say “the” love, mine, because I will not know, nor hear, nor be taught anything by anybody else about “love,” the one love everybody knows, it seems, and lives and dies by)—my love’s elements are so many that the attempt to describe them is sure to bring about this failure .. the first that comes is taken up and treated of at length .. as that element of “trust” just now .. and then, in the feeling of incompetence which makes the pen sink away and turns the mind off, the others are let pass by unnamed, much less described, or at least acknowledged for the undeniable elements they are– —What were all the trust without .. and thus I could begin again!

Let me say no more now—and forgive all the foolishness .. it is not for my wisdom you are to love me, Ba! Except that if you agreed too heartily with me on that point, I should very likely be found turning round on you with “not wise, when I adore you so?” Wise or unwise, I do adore you, my Ba! And more and ever more! But see how I need your letters to train mine, to lead them into something more like the true way .. and to-morrow the letter will come—will it not? And mine shall be less about myself and more about you—whom may God bless, prays your own

RB

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50. Wimpole Street.

Postmark: PD 10FN JU22 1846 B.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 211.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 802–803.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark.

2. Cf. John 3:11.

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