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The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, Vol. 1 (of 2) 1845-1846   By: (1812-1889)

Book cover

First Page:

THE LETTERS

OF

ROBERT BROWNING

AND

ELIZABETH BARRETT BARRETT

1845 1846

WITH PORTRAITS AND FACSIMILES

IN TWO VOLUMES

VOL. I.

FOURTH IMPRESSION

LONDON

SMITH, ELDER, & CO., 15 WATERLOO PLACE

1900

[Illustration: Robert Browning

from an oil painting by Gordigiani]

NOTE

In considering the question of publishing these letters, which are all that ever passed between my father and mother, for after their marriage they were never separated, it seemed to me that my only alternatives were to allow them to be published or to destroy them. I might, indeed, have left the matter to the decision of others after my death, but that would be evading a responsibility which I feel that I ought to accept.

Ever since my mother's death these letters were kept by my father in a certain inlaid box, into which they exactly fitted, and where they have always rested, letter beside letter, each in its consecutive order and numbered on the envelope by his own hand.

My father destroyed all the rest of his correspondence, and not long before his death he said, referring to these letters: 'There they are, do with them as you please when I am dead and gone!'

A few of the letters are of little or no interest, but their omission would have saved only a few pages, and I think it well that the correspondence should be given in its entirety.

I wish to express my gratitude to my father's friend and mine, Mrs. Miller Morison, for her unfailing sympathy and assistance in deciphering some words which had become scarcely legible owing to faded ink.

R.B.B.

1898.

ADVERTISEMENT

The correspondence contained in these volumes is printed exactly as it appears in the original letters, without alteration, except in respect of obvious slips of the pen. Even the punctuation, with its characteristic dots and dashes, has for the most part been preserved. The notes in square brackets [] have been added mainly in order to translate the Greek phrases, and to give the references to Greek poets. For these, thanks are due to Mr. F.G. Kenyon, who has revised the proofs with the assistance of Mr. Roger Ingpen, the latter being responsible for the Index.

ILLUSTRATIONS

PORTRAIT OF ROBERT BROWNING Frontispiece After the picture by Gordigiani

FACSIMILE OF LETTER OF ROBERT BROWNING To face p. 578

THE LETTERS OF

ROBERT BROWNING

AND

ELIZABETH BARRETT BARRETT

1845 1846

R.B. to E.B.B.

New Cross, Hatcham, Surrey. [Post mark, January 10, 1845.]

I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett, and this is no off hand complimentary letter that I shall write, whatever else, no prompt matter of course recognition of your genius, and there a graceful and natural end of the thing. Since the day last week when I first read your poems, I quite laugh to remember how I have been turning and turning again in my mind what I should be able to tell you of their effect upon me, for in the first flush of delight I thought I would this once get out of my habit of purely passive enjoyment, when I do really enjoy, and thoroughly justify my admiration perhaps even, as a loyal fellow craftsman should, try and find fault and do you some little good to be proud of hereafter! but nothing comes of it all so into me has it gone, and part of me has it become, this great living poetry of yours, not a flower of which but took root and grew Oh, how different that is from lying to be dried and pressed flat, and prized highly, and put in a book with a proper account at top and bottom, and shut up and put away ... and the book called a 'Flora,' besides! After all, I need not give up the thought of doing that, too, in time; because even now, talking with whoever is worthy, I can give a reason for my faith in one and another excellence, the fresh strange music, the affluent language, the exquisite pathos and true new brave thought; but in this addressing myself to you your own self, and for the first time, my feeling rises altogether... Continue reading book >>




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