Sunday, April 1, 2012

April 1

On April 1, 1849 EBB writes from Florence to Browning's sister, Sarianna, regarding the death of Browning's mother. Her death occurred within days of the birth of Browning's only child.

"I do indeed from the bottom of my heart pity you and grieve with you, my dearest Sarianna. I may grieve with you as well as for you; for I too have lost. Believe that, though I never saw her face; I loved that pure and tender spirit (tender to me even at this distance), and that she will be dear and sacred to me to the end of my own life.
Dearest Sarianna, I thank you for your consideration and admirable self-control in writing those letters. I do thank and bless you. If the news had come unbroken by such precaution to my poor darling Robert, it would have nearly killed him, I think. As it is, he has been able to cry from the first, and I am able to tell you that though dreadfully affected, of course, for you know his passionate love for her, he is better and calmer now—much better. He and I dwell on the hope that you and your dear father will come to us at once. Come—dear, dear Sarianna—I will at least love you as you deserve—you and him—if I can do no more. If you would comfort Robert, come.
No day has passed since our marriage that he has not fondly talked of her. I know how deep in his dear heart her memory lies. God comfort you, my dearest Sarianna. The blessing of blessed duties heroically fulfilled must be With you. May the blessing of the Blessed in heaven be added to the rest!
Robert stops me. My dear love to your father.
Your ever attached sister, BA."

EBB was in a difficult position. She had insisted that she not meet Browning's family prior to their marriage in 1846 and due to her health and their finances they had not yet returned to England. Browning could not now return to England due to the new baby. Browning himself went into a funk that took him months to emerge from. According to some versions of the myth EBB gave Browning the sonnets, which became known as 'Sonnets from the Portuguese', in an attempt to shake him out of his depression some months from this date.

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