Friday, May 11, 2012

May 11

Miss Barrett has been out and about on May 11, 1846:

"Look inside this letter--look! I gathered it for you to-day when I was walking in Regent's Park. Are you surprised? Arabel & Flush & I were in the carriage--& the sun was shining with that green light through the trees, as if he carried down with him the very essence of the leaves, to the ground,..& I wished so much to walk through a half open gate along a shaded path, that we stopped the carriage and got out and walked, & I put both of my feet on the grass,..which was the strangest feeling!..& gathered this laburnum for you. It hung quite high up on the tree, the little blossom did, and Arabel said that certainly I could not reach it--but you see! It is too generous return for all your flowers: or to speak seriously, a proof that I thought of you & wished for you--which it was natural to do, for I never enjoyed any of my excursions as I did to-day's--the standing under the trees & on the grass, was so delightful. It was like a bit of that Dreamland which is your special dominion,--& felt joyful enough for the moment, to look round for you, as for the cause. It seemed illogical, not to see you close by. And you were not far after all, if thoughts count as bringers near. Dearest, we shall walk together under the trees some day.
And all those strange people moving about like phantoms of life,--How wonderful it looked to me!--& only you,..the idea of you..& myself seemed to be real there! And Flush a little, too!--"

I would say that she had entered some sort of romantic dream state in Regent's Park, but she was, after all, a poet. And as we all must know, all poets are quite mad.

" to nonsense, the first letter this morning! So you think that I meant to complain when we first met, of your 'loving me only for my poetry'! Which I did not, simply because I did not believe that you loved me! for any reason. For the rest, I am not over-particular, I fancy, about what I may be loved for. There is no good reason for loving me certainly & my earnest desire (as I have said again & again) is, that there should be by profession no reason at all. But if there is to be any sort of reason, why one is as welcome as may love me for my shoes, if you like it..except that they wear out. I thought if you did love me at all--you loved out into the air, I thought--a love  a priori, as the philosophers might say, & not by induction, any wise! Your only knowledge of me was by the poems (or most of it)--& what knowledge could that be, when I feel myself so far below my own aspirations, morally, spiritually? So I thought you did not love me at all--I did not believe in miracles then, nor in 'Divine Legations'--but my miracle is as good as Constantine's, you may tell your bishop on wednesday when he has delivered his charge."

This paragraph amuses me because poor Browning is constantly trying to put his feelings into words and struggling and dropping off in mid-sentence because he can't complete the thought. And she is essentially saying here, 'it doesn't matter why, just love me, that is enough, we neither one can understand it.' The danger with loving her for her shoe's of course, is not that they wear out, but that other women could wear the same shoe. So, her shoe analogy isn't very apt: there is only one Miss Barrett and there are many, many shoes.

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