Thursday, June 14, 2012

June 14

A letter from Browning, June 14, 1846:

"May I venture to speak to dearest Ba as if I had seen her or heard from her since I wrote yesterday,—and that seeing or that hearing had brought the usual comfort and assurance,—& forgiveness when needed, but delight at all times? Do you forgive me indeed, Ba?....

As it is, I have been sufficiently punished for that foolish letter, which has lost me the last two or three days of your life and deeds, my Ba. You went to Mr Kenyon’s—may have gone elsewhere (and gathered roses I did not deserve to receive)—but I do not know, and shall not recover my loss—not ever .. because if you tell me now, you exclude something new you would say otherwise .. if you write it on Tuesday, what becomes of Tuesday’s own stock of matter for chronicling?
Well, the proper word in my mouth is—I am sorry to the heart, and will try never to offend so again: how you wrote to me, also! How you rise above yourself while I get no nearer where you were first of all,—no nearer than ever! But so it should be!—so may it ever be!"

All this grovelling kind of freaks me out, to be honest. If some guy tried this out on me I would think he was being sarcastic. Even Miss Barrett points out that he is over the top sometimes, but he is so sweet and playful, how could you not love this man?

Now a recurring theme with Browning:

I believe the fault comes from a too-sweet sense of the freedom of being true with you, telling you all, hiding nothing: Carlyle was saying in his fine way, he understood why the Romans confined acting to their slaves .. it was no employment for a free man to amuse people .. be bound to do that, and if other faculties interposed, tending to other results on an audience than amusement, be bidden suppress them accordingly .. and so, he thought, it would be one day with our amusers, writers of fun, concocters of comic pieces: I feel it delicious to be free when most bound to you, Ba,—to be able to love on in all the liberty of the implied subjection .. so I am angry to you, desponding sometimes to you, as well as joyous and hopeful—well, well, I love, at any rate,—do love you with heart and soul, my Ba,—ever shall love you, dearest above all dearness: God bless you!"

If you totally love someone you are totally free with them, which calls for total honesty. A free man, must be totally honest and true. And so, only a slave could be an actor or write amusements because he is 'free' to be less than his true self. Pretty deep. No wonder he was called the Philosopher Poet and the Metaphysical Poet. Later, after they were married, EBB wrote to her sister Arabel describing how Browning told her everything, that he could not stop himself from it, which apparently lead to some argumentation. However, who would not prefer a totally honest spouse who trusts you, loves you, enough to tell you all?

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