Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28

We start May 28, 1846 with a letter from Miss Barrett. Browning had paid his visit the day before and the conversation continues in the letters:

"What I meant to say yesterday was simply, that, I, knowing that, should be ‘bad’ if I could fail practically to myself & you. I have known from the beginning the whole painful side of what is before me, also .. I should have no excuse therefore for any weakness in any fear. Should I not be ‘bad’ then, & more unworthy of you than even according to my own account, if the obstacle came from me? It never can. Remember to be sure of it. A change of feeling indeed would be a different thing, & we think exactly alike on the fit consequences of it. Which change is however absolutely impossible in my position & to me, ‘for reasons .. for reasons’ .... you guess at some of them, some are spoken, & others cannot be. In one word for all, life seems to come to me only through you .. I am your very own Ba"

Browning responds:

There is a long four-days more of waiting– I feel more and more and ever more how, wanting you, my life wants all it can have. Dear Ba, never wonder that I fancy at times such an event’s occurrence as you tell me I need not fear. I shall always fear,—never can I hold you sufficiently fast, I shall think. So, if my jewel must be taken from me, let some eagle stoop down for it suddenly, baffling all human precaution, as I look on my treasure on a tower’s top miles and miles inland,—don’t let me have to remember, tho’ but in a minute of life afterwards, that I let it drop into the sea thro’ foolishly balancing it in my open hand over the water.There is one of Ba’s “myths,” excepting all Ba’s felicitousness of application and glory of invention,—but then it has all my own love and worship of Ba’s self, all I care to be distinguished by.

They seemed to have settled into a bit of a recitative, between crises, just enjoying their love, contriving to assure each other. Their only worries seem to be when their letters and visits will occur.

"Dearest dearest, I thought I had lost my letter tonight, for not a sound came like a postman’s knock .. I thought I had lost my letter, talking of losing jewels. I waited & waited, & at last broke silence to Arabel with, ‘when will the post come?’ ‘Not tonight,’ said she—“it is nearly ten”. On which I exclaimed so pitifully & with such a desperate sense of loss, ‘You mean to say that I shall have no letter tonight'?.. that after she had laughed a very little, she went downstairs to search the letterbox & brought me what I wanted.
And you think it possible that I should give up my letters & their golden fountain?—I!,—while I live & have understanding!– I cant fancy what manner of eagles you believe in. If in real live eagles, .. why it is as probable as any other thing of the sort, that I (or you) should be snatched away by an eagle … the eagle who used to live, for instance, at the Colis├Žum of Regent’s Park. And when I ride away upon an eagle, I may take a wrong counsel perhaps that hour from other birds of the air: … but till then, I am yours to have & to hold, .. unless, as you say, you open your hand wide & cry with a distinct voice, ‘Go’. It shall be your doing & not mine, if we two are to part—or God’s own doing, through illness & death. And the way to avert danger is to avoid observation & discussion, as much as we can—& we have not been frightened much yet, .. now have we?– As for wednesday, there is time to think. But how can you leave your sister? You cannot. So unless you derange your ‘myth’ altogether, & find a trysting place for us, .. each mounted on an eagle, .. in Nephelococcygia [cloud cuckoo land], we had better be satisfied, it seems to me, with monday & saturday....
Do you not see that I am bound to you hand & foot? Why do you not see what God sees?–
But it is late, & the rest must be for tomorrow. The sender of the rosetree, sent today a great heliotrope—so, presently, you will have to seek me in a wood.

A pleasant trio of letters after all the pain and stultification of May 1845.





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