Letter from Robert Browning to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Jan 31, 1846

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Letter from Robert Browning to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Jan 31, 1846


Robert Browning tells Elizabeth Barrett about seeing Cushman and her sister on stage, performing Romeo & Juliet: "I went last night, out of pure shame at a broken promise,-to hear Miss Cushman & her sister in "Romeo and Juliet"-the whole play goes .. horribly . . . Romeo goes whining about Verona by broad daylight."


Armstrong Browning Library - The Browning Letters


Browning, Robert, 1812-1889


Armstrong Browning Library, The Browning Letters, Digital Collection





Letter Item Type Metadata


[page 1] Saturday-
It is a relief to me this time to obey your wish, and reserve further remark on that subject till by and bye .. and, whereas some people, I suppose, have to lash themselves up to the due point of passion, and choose the happy minutes to be as loving in as they possibly can .. (that is, in expression,-the just correspondency of word to fact & feeling,-for it,-the love,-may be very truly there, at the bottom, when it is got at, and spoken out)-quite otherwise, I do really have to guard my tongue and set a watch on my pen .. that so I may say as little as can well be likely to be excepted to by your generosity: dearest, love means love, certainly, and adoration carries its sense with it-and so, you may have received my feeling in that shape-but when I begin to hint at the merest putting into practice one or the other profession, you "fly out"-instead of keeping your throne- So let this letter lie awhile, till my heart

[page 2] is more used to it, and after some days or weeks I will find as cold and quiet a moment as I can, and-by standing as far off you as I shall be able,-see more-"si minus propè stes, te capiet magis"- Meanwhile, silent or speaking, I am yours to dispose of as that glove-not that hand. I must think that Mr Kenyon sees, and knows, and .. in his goodness .. hardly disapproves-he knows I could not avoid,-escape you-for he knows, in a manner, what you are .. like your American; and, early in our intercourse, he asked me (-did I tell you?-) "what I thought of his young relative"-and I considered half a second-to this effect-"if he asked me what I thought of the Queen-diamond they showed me in the crown of the Czar,-and I answered truly-he would not return,-‘then of course you mean to try and get 

[page 3] it to keep’"- So I did tell the truth in a very few words- Well, it is no matter. ___________________________________________________________ I am sorry to hear of poor Tennyson’s condition-the projected book,-title, scheme, all of it,-that is astounding:-and fairies!-if "Thropès [sic, for Thorpès] and barnes, sheep-pens and dairies-this maketh that there ben no fairies"-locomotives, and the broad or narrow guage must keep the very ghosts of them away- But how the fashion of this world passes,-the forms its beauty & truth take,-if we have the making of such! I went last night, out of pure shame at a broken promise,-to hear Miss Cushman & her sister in "Romeo and Juliet"-the whole play goes .. horribly,-"speak" bids the Poet, and so M. Walladmir moves his tongue and dispenses with his jaws: whatever is slightly touched in, indicated, to give relief to something actually insisted upon and drawn boldly 

[page 4] .. here, you have it gone over with an unremitting burnt-stick,-till it stares black forever! Romeo goes whining about Verona by broad daylight: yet when a schoolfellow of mine, I remember, began translating in class Virgil after this mode, "sic fatur-so said Æneas,-lachrymans-a-crying" .. our pedagogue turned on him furiously-"D’ye think Æneas made such a noise-as you shall, presently?"- How easy to conceive a boyish half-melancholy, smiling at itself- Then Tuesday, and not Monday .. and Saturday will be the nearer afterward. I am singularly well to-day-head quite quiet-and yesterday your penholder began its influence and I wrote about half my last act. Writing is nothing nor praise, nor blame, nor living nor dying, but you are all my true life; May God bless you ever- RB.

[page 5]


Browning, Robert, 1812-1889


Browning, Elizabeth Barrett, 1806-1861

Location (Recipient)

50 Wimpole St, London, UK

Geocode Recipient (Latitude)


Geocode Recipient (Longitude)


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Browning, Robert, 1812-1889, “Letter from Robert Browning to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Jan 31, 1846,” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed May 28, 2023, https://www.archivalgossip.com/collection/items/show/605.

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