Friday, May 4, 2007

Love Letter from Robert Browning

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 your, 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 form 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.



I do, as I say, love these Books with all my heart - and I love you too; do you know I was once not very far from seeing - really seeing you? Mr. Kenyon said to me one morning "would you like to see Miss Barrett?" - then he went to announce me, - then he returned ... you were too unwell - and now it is years ago - and I feel as at some untoward passage in my travels - as if I had been close, so close, to some world's-wonder in chapel or crypt, ... only a screen to push and I might have entered - but there was some slight... so it now seems... slight and just-sufficient bar to admission, and the half-opened door shut, and I went home my thousands of miles, and the sight was never to be!



Well, these Poems were to be - and this true thankful joy and pride with which I feel myself.



Yours ever faithfully

Robert Browning