Correspondence

3326.  Robert Bulwer Lytton to RB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 20, 79–80.

Florence

22d Jany [1854][1]

My dear Browning–

I send you a somewhat corrected and amplified copy of a Poem which you have already seen[2]—at best it is but crude rude incoherent sketch, but I cannot make more out of it: I think it however improved. I also send you 2 Nos of the Examiner which Forster has very kindly sent me.

I long for news of you—news, too, of our poor friends,[3] you will I know, give them my heart’s best love.

When they leave Rome, why not come to Florence? Come with you—when you come—when will that be? But perhaps this may be too near that scene of sudden sorrow—to allure them. I trust they will not think so. What month do you expect to have your new books out by? I think of them, every day, I assure you.

The Spirits say that these manifestations are the beginning of the Milen[n]ium—and the downfall of the Churches– A curious communication has I believe been recd from the founder of the Millerites,[4] who says that tho’ he was mistaken as to the sort of world-ending he predicted, and somewhat out in his calculations as to the date of it, yet the event is not very far off: but it is to be a spiritual and moral world-ending—that is a new state of things, in government & religion—new forms.

I have no news, but will write again very soon, and meanwhile I hope that you have red my former letter, and that I shall soon hear from you. With hearty love to all, and Master Pen all tenderest wishes, believe me my dear friend to be your faithfull & ever affect

R∙B∙Lytton

P.S. I have just heard that there has been a revolution in Sicily, & that ye Kg of Naples, has fled to Pisa–[5] I dont know yet, if there is the slightest truth in the report, and take it cum grano salis,[6] But I shall be heartily glad if prove true.

Address, on integral page: Franco distino / Monr / Monr Browning / Via Bocca di Leone. 43. 3o po / Roma.

Publication: BBIS-10, pp. 60–61.

Manuscript: Armstrong Browning Library.

1. Year provided by postmark.

2. Unidentified.

3. The Storys.

4. William Miller (1782–1849) had calculated that the second coming of Christ would occur in 1843. His followers, known as Millerites or Adventists, were greatly disappointed when the predicted year came and went. A new date for the event was subsequently announced: 22 October 1844, with identical results. The Millerites soon broke up into various sects, some of which died out. The largest that remains is the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

5. This rumor concerning Ferdinand II (1810–59), known for his brutal regime, proved to be untrue.

6. “With a grain of salt.”

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