Saturday, March 31, 2012

March 31

As good as his word Browning sends a short note on March 31, 1846 which he dedicates to telling Miss Barrett that:

"...somehow you, you my dearest, my Ba, look out of all imaginable nooks and crevices in the materiality--I see you thro' your goodness,--I cannot distinguish between your acts now,--the greater, indeed and the lesser! Which is the 'lesser'?"

And he will finish the correcting of the proofs:

" tonight all shall be corrected, I hope, and got rid of fairly. And tomorrow, I will have you to myself, my best one, and will write till you cry out against me."

Miss Barrett is having none of his praise:

"The actual good you get out of me, may be stated at about two commas & a semi-colon--do I overstate it I wonder?--You, on the other side, never over state anything..never enlarge..never exaggerate!--In fact, the immense 'worldly' advantages which fall to you from me, are plain to behold. Dearest what nonsense you talk sometimes, for a man so wise! nonsense as wonderful in its ways for 'Robert Browning' as the dancing of polkas!--The worst is that it sets me wishing impotently, to do some really good helpful thing for you--and I cannot, cannot. The good comes to me from you, & will not go back again. Even the loving you..which is all I can,..have I not had to question of it again & again...'Is that good?' Now see."

She talks a good deal about her translation of Hector and Andromache which she has sent to Mr. Kenyon but which she says Browning will never see:

"Old Homer laughs his translators to very scorn..& he does not spare me, for being a woman. Surpassingly & profoundly beautiful that scene is. I have tried it in blank verse. About a year ago, when I has a sudden fit of translating, I made an experiment on the first fifty lines of the Iliad in a rhymed measure which seemed to me rather nearer to the Greek cadence than out common heroic verse..."

She loves Browning perhaps as much as poetry. Can that be right?

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