[ocr errors]



1881. “The Cambridge Review,' Dec. 7, vol. ij. No. 58, p. 146-7. “Robert Brown.

ing's Poems.” A good review of Rabbi ben Ezra and Abt Vogler, by A. W., who also writes some thoughtful verses, “Unfulfilled Ideals,” in the next column. On p. 119, are letters from R. Somervell of Kings, and E. M. Sympson of Caius, ridiculing a note of some feeble ‘B. H. H.” against the Cambr.

Browning Society in a former number of the 'Review.' 1881. ' Academy, Dec. 10, p. 437, col. 2. Letter from me in answer to Mr. Gosse's

objection to Paracelsus, as "a drama” (which Browning expressly warnd his

readers it wasn't) containing 2 speeches of over 300 lines each. 1881, Dec. Expressions of hope that Mrs. Kendal will play the Queen in In

Balcony, by Mr. Joseph Knight in ‘Athenæum,’ Dec. 10, Mr. Moy Thomas in

‘Daily News,’ Dec. 12, Mr. F. Wedmore in ' Academy,' Dec. 17. 1881. “The Home Journal,' Dec. 15, p. 104-5. Garbled report of my Lecture on

Br. to the Ascham Society on Dec. 7. 1881., ' Academy, Dec. 17. Miss E. Dickinson West's Sonnet . To Robert Brown.

ing, on re-reading some Poems long unread.' 1881. Pall Mall Gazette,' Dec. 22, p. 11. Article on "The Browning Society.'

My answer to it, meeting its objections full butt, is-with an editorial paragraph-in the ‘P. M. G.' of Jan. 2, 1882. (I did not see the article till Dec.

30, 1881.) 1881. “Daily News,' Dec. 31. Leader on the Literature of the year, mentioning

Br. and the Browning Society. My answer is in the 'D. N.' of Jan. 2, 1882,

p. 2, col. 7, at foot. 1881. 'Academy,' Dec. 31. My letter on Mr. Browning's Thunderstorms,'

Ottima's in Pippa Passes, and the Pope's in Ring and Book, vol. iv, p. 91-2,asking whether they can be matcht in English Literature.

I have not enterd the smaller Browning paragraphs or earlier letters of mine

that have appeard weekly in the 'Academy' for some time. 1882. Prof. S. R. Gardiner. "Fall of the Monarchy of Charles I,' vol. ii, p. 180.

“Strafford turns proudly away. Noy wishes to know where he will choose his residence. 'In any place,' is the reply, so that I may have that which I come for-rest.' Such was the utmost for which a contemporary could dare to hope. A great poet of our own day, clothing the reconciling spirit of the 19th century in words which never could have been spoken in the 17th, has breathed a higher wish. On his page an imaginary Pym, recalling an imaginary friend. ship, looks forward hopefully to a re-union in a better and brighter world, ‘Even thus,' Pym is made to say—and we may well wish that it had been possible for him to say it

• Even thus, I love him now,
And look for my chief portion in that world
Where great hearts led astray are turn’d again ...

in my inmost heart,
Believe, I think of stealing quite away,
To walk once more with Wentworth, my youth's friend,
Purged from all errors, gloriously renew'd ;
And Eliot shall not blame us.'

Browning's Strafford, Act V. sc. ii. Works, 1868, i. 308." 1882. 'Literary Gazette' (Boston, U.S.A.), Jan. 14. Notice of Browning's growing

popularity 1882. P. G. Hamerton. Dedication of his book, 'The Graphic Arts,' to R. B. 1882. • Boston (U. S. A.) Evening Transcript,' Wednesday, Jan. 18, p. 4, col. 4-5.

An article headed “Mr. Thaxter's readings--A new Interpreter of Browning, very strongly praising the readings and the poet : “The mind which easily overtakes Shakspeare will find Browning still many strides in advance. Those who honestly wish to ascend the heights and breathe the same fine air with this noblest poetic mind of our century, will hardly find a more careful and gentle leader than Mr. Thaxter.' ib., col. 5. Letter protesting against Mr. Home being the original of Sludge, the Medium.


1835—1843. MACREADY'S JOURNAL, NOTES ON BROWNING. 1835. November 27th. Went from chambers to dine with Rev. William Fox,

Bayswater . . . Mr. Robert Browning, the author of Paracelsus came in after dinner: I was very much pleased to meet bim. His face is full of intelligence. My time passed most agreeably .. I took Mr. Browning on, and requested to be allowed to improve my acquaintance with him. He expressed himself warmly, as gratified by the proposal, wished to send me his book; we exchanged

carols and parted. 1875. Macready’s ‘Reminiscences,' ed. Pollock, i. 474. December 7th. Read Paracelsus, a work of great daring, starred with poetry of

thought, feeling, and diction, but occasionally obscure : the writer can scarcely

fail to be a leading spirit of his time. i. 474-5. December 31st. Frederick Reynolds arrived a little after 4 o'clock. Our other

guests were Messrs Kenney, Forster, Cattermole, Browning, and Mr. Munro. Mr. Browning was very popular with the whole party; his simple and enthusiastic manner engaged attention, and won opinions from all present; he

looks and speaks more like a youthful poet than any man I ever saw. We poured out a libation as a farewell to the old year and a welcome to the new.

i. 476. 1836. February 16th. Forster and Browning called, and talked over the plot of a

tragedy, which Browning had begun to think of : the subject Narses. He said that I had bit him by my performance of Othello,' and I told him 'I hoped I should make the blood come.' It would indeed be some recompense for the miseries, the humiliations, the heart-sickening disgusts which I have endured in my profession if, by its exercise, I had awakened a spirit of poetry whose influence would elevate, ennoble, and adorn our degraded drama. May it be!

ii. 8. (See Gosse's article in Scribner's Century, Dec. 1881, p. 194-5.) May 26th.

[After first acting of Talfourd’s ‘Ion.'] 'Smith, Dow, Browning, Forster. came into my room. [M. went to supper at Talfourd's : See Bibliography, p. 109.] At Talfourd's I met Wordsworth, who pinned me, Walter Savage Landor ... Stanfield, Browning, Price, Miss Mitford - I cannot remember all. [M. proposed Talfourd's health.] It became then a succession of personal toasts, Miss E. Tree, Miss Mitford, Mr. Stanfield, Mr. Price, Mr. Poole, Browning, and who else I do not know. I was very happily placed between Wordsworth and Landor, with Browning opposite, and Mr. Talfourd

next but one.' . . ii. 33. London, August 1st. Came up to town [from Elstree, Herts.] by Billing's, in

company with Mr. and Miss Lane, Browning, Forster, and Mr. Ainsworth.

Parted with my guests apparently well-pleased with their excursion. . ii. 42. London, August 3rd. Forster told me that Browning had fixed on Strafford for the

subject of a tragedy; he could not have hit upon one that I could have more

readily concurred to. ii. 43-4. Elstree, Sunday, October 30th. We talked in the drawing-room with Browning and

Dow, till the arrival of Talfourd and Mr. R. T. Price and White. Introduced

all to Forrest. i. 53. November 10th. Browning came with Dow to bring me his tragedy of Strafford ;

the fourth act was incomplete. I requested him to write-in the plot of what was deficient. Dow drove me (p. 54) to the Garrick Club, while Browning wrote out the story of the omitted parts. [M. stayd with the remainers after the dinner given to Forrest.] Browning and Dow soon summoned me, and

I received the MS, started in a cab to Kilburn. . . ii. 54. 1837. January 4th. Acted Bragelone well in L. Bulwer's 'La Vallière'). Dow,

Fitzgerald, Browning, Talfourd came into my room ; they all seemed to

think much of my performance. ii. 57. January 7th. Browning called, and we talked about 'La Vallière,' &c. ; he gave

me an interesting lithographic print of Richard from some old tapestry. ii. 57.


Elstree, March 18th. Received a note from Forster, appointing Monday for the

visit of himself and Browning about Strafford. I answered him, assenting to his proposal. ii. 63. Read before dinner a few pages of Paracelsus, which

raises my wonder the more I read it. ii. 64. March 30th. I went to the theatre . . . and read to Mr. Osbaldiston the play

of Strafford ; he caught at it with avidity, agreed to produce it without delay on his part, and to give the author £12 per night for twenty-five nights, and £10 per night for ten nights beyond. He also promised to offer Mr. Elton an engagement to strengthen the play. ii. 66. April 4th. Browning called in with alterations, &c., sat and talked whilst I dined. A young gentleman came in ... to request my autograph in his album. I introduced Browning to him as a great tragic poet, and he added his

ii. 66. April 27th. Gave the evening to the perusal and study of Strafford. April 28th. Thought over some scenes of Strafford, before I rose, and went out very soon to the rehearsal of it. There is no chance, in my opinion, for the play, but in the acting, which by possibility might carry it to the end without disapprobation ; but that the curtain can fall without considerable opposition, I cannot venture to anticipate under the most advantageous circumstances. In all the historical plays of Shakspere, the great poet has only introduced such events as act on the individuals concerned, and of which they are themselves a part ; the persons are all in direct relation to each other, and the facts are present to the audience. But in Browning's play, we have a long scene of passion-upon what? A plan destroyed, by whom or for what we know not, and a parliament dissolved, which merely seems to inconvenience Strafford in

his arrangements. April 29th. Brewster called with my wig for Strafford. May 1st. Called at the box-office about the boxes and places for which I had

been applied to. Rehearsed Strafford. Was gratified with the extreme delight Browning testified at the rehearsal of my part, which he said was to him a full recompense for having written the play, inasmuch as he had seen his utmost

hopes of character perfectly embodied. Read Strafford in bed, and acted it as well as I could under the nervous sensations

that I experienced. Ellward (the novelist) and Henry (the diplomatist) Bulwer, Fitzgerald, Talfourd, Forster, Dow, Browning (who brought his father to shake hands with me), and Jerdan came into my room. ii. 67. (See further, p. 71, 106, 133, 137, 145, 148, 183, Browning goes into Macready's room, &c., after divers 'first nights'; p. 98 (Jan. 20, 1838), p. 141 (March 27, 1839), p. 181 (Aug. 4, 1841), p. 196 (at Kenyon's, March 26, 1842), p. 199 ; dines with or calls on him ; p. 104, meets B. at Miss Martineau's party, March 14, '38 ; B.

comes to his reading of Bulwer’s ‘Richelieu' (Dec. 16, '38, p. 131). 1840. May 8th. Attended Carlyle's lecture 'The Hero as a Prophet : Mahomet’:

on which he descanted with a fervour and eloquence that only a conviction of

truth could give. I was charmed, carried away by him. Met Browning there. 1843. February 4th. Rehearsed Browning's play, The Blot on the 'Scutcheon.

6th. Mr. Phelps was too ill to play tonight. I decided on under-studying his part in Browning's play. (See Scribner's Century, Dec. 1881, p. 198-9.) February 11th. Production of the play of The Blot on the 'Scutcheon. 1842-1851. R. H. Stoddard and BAYARD TAYLOR on Browning and his Wife. Mrs.

Browning on her boy. From 'Letters of Eliz. B. Browning to R. H. Horne. With a Preface and Memoir by Richard Henry Stoddard.' New York : Miller, 1877. Vol. i. p. xix. Among other modern poets mentioned by her (Miss Barrett] in ‘Lady Geraldine's Courtship’ was Mr. Robert Browning, whose series of poems and plays Bells and Pomegranates, was then in publication. The lines in which she referred to him and his works were as follows : “Or from Browning some 'Pomegranate' which, if cut deep down the middle,

Shows a heart within blood-tinctured, of a veined humanity." [Here follows a wrong account of Browning's introduction to Miss Barrett. This

was in fact made by her cousin Mr. Kenyon, her father's schoolfellow, after the poet and poetess had corresponded for some months.]


[ocr errors]

p. xx.

Soon there were two poets of that name, Mr. Robert Browning, author of Bells and Pomegranates, and Mrs. Elizabeth Barrett Browning, author of 'Lady Geraldine's Courtship,' which proved a poetic prefiguration of her own. [Their] marriage ... followed in the autumn of 1846 . . . [and they went] away to Italy. They settled at Florence in Casa Guidi, fit dwelling for poets. It has often' been described, especially the room in which Mrs. Browning received her friends. Cosy, comfortable, elegant, it was a kind of ideal chamber, neither a library, nor a parlor, but a happy blending of both. There were old pictures on the walls in old frames : easy-chairs and lounges were scattered about, and along the walls (p. xxi.) were larg carved book-cases crammed with books in many languages, Greek, be sure, being among them. Dispose these as picturesquely as possible, and add to them innumerable little trifles, objects of art, bric-a-brac, &c., and you may have a dim idea of the room in which Mrs. Browning wrote her poems. The contrast between it and her old sick-chamber in Wimpole Street was as great as the contrast between

her life as a maiden, and her life as a wife. ... p. xxiii. The Brownings spent their summers in Florence, and their winters in

Rome, and occasionally visited England. Mr. Bayard Taylor, who was in London at this time [1851], met the mated poets, aš he has told us in ‘At Home and Abroad' [I. Series, 1859 : II. 1862, neither in Brit. Mus. Oct. 27, 1881], a collection of pleasant sketches of life, scenery, and men. Calling one afternoon in September, at their residence in Devonshire Street,” he writes, “I was fortunate enough to find both at home, though on the eve of their return to Florence. In a small drawing-room on the first floor I met Browning, who received me with great cordiality. In his lively, cheerful manner, quick voice, and perfect self-possession, he made the impression of an American rather than an Englishman. He was then, I should judge, about 37 [39] years of age, but his dark hair was already streaked with gray about the temples. His complexion was fair, with perhaps the faintest olive tinge, eyes large, clear, and

[ocr errors]


I As one instance, take this from W. W. Storey's "touching and appreciative letter” in the Atlantic Monthly,' Sept. 1861, dated Florence, July 5, 1861, and partly reprinted in the very interesting Memoir of E. B. B., prefixt to the American edition of her Poetical Works, 2 vols. in 1, Jas. Miller, 779 Broadway, New York, p. 13-14 :—“Those who have known Casa Guidi as it was, could hardly enter the loved rooms now, and speak above a whisper. They who have been so favored, can never forget the square anteroom, with its great picture and piano-forte, at which the boy Browning passed many an hour—the little dining-room covered with tapestry, and where hung medallions of Tennyson, Carlyle, and Robert Browning the long room filled with plaster casts and studies, which was Mr. Browning's retreat, -and, dearest of all, the large drawing-room where she always sat. It opens upon a balcony filled with plants, and looks out upon the iron gray church of Santa Felice. There was something about this room that seemed to make it a proper and especial haunt for poets. The dark shadows and subdued light gave it a dreary look, which was enhanced by the tapestry-covered walls and the old pictures of saints that looked out sadly from their carved frames of black wood. Large book-cases, constructed of specimens of Florentine carving selected by Mr. Browning, were brimming over with wise-looking books. Tables were covered with more gayly bound volumes, the gifts of brother authors. Dante's grave profile, a cast of Keats's face and brow taken after death, a pen-and-ink sketch of Tennyson, the genial face of John Kenyon, Mrs. Browning's good friend and relative, little paintings of the boy Browning, all attracted the eye in turn, and gave rise to a thousand musings. A quaint mirror, easy-chairs and sofas, and a hundred nothings that always add an indescribable charm, were all massed in this room. But the glory of all, and that which sanctified all, was seated in a low arm-chair near the door. A small table, strewn with writing-materials, books, and newspapers, was always by her side. After her death, her husband had a careful water-colour drawing made of this room, which has been engrav'd more than once. It still hangs in his drawing-room, where the mirror and one of the quaint chairs abovenamed still are. The low arm-chair and small table are in Browning's study-with, his father's desk, on which he has written all his poems.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


gray, nose strong and well cut, mouth full and rather broad, and chin pointed though not prominent. His forehead broadened rapidly upwards from the outer angle of the eyes, slightly retreating. The strong individuality which marks his poetry was expressed, not only in his face and head, but in his whole demeanor. He was about the medium height, strong in the shoulders, but slender at the waist, and his movements expressed a combination of vigor and elasticity.” [Mr. Kenyon the poet cald, and when he went, B. cald him “Kenyon the Magnificent.”] B.'s (p. xxv.) eulogy was interrupted by the entrance of Mrs. Browning, whom he ran to meet with a boyish liveliness. She was slight and fragile in appearance, with a pale, wasted face, shaded by masses of soft chestnut curls which fell on her cheeks, and serious eyes of bluish-gray. Her frame seemed to be altogether disproportionate to her soul. This at least was the first impression : (p. xxvi.) her personality, frail as it appeared, soon exercised its power, and it seemed a natural thing that she should have written the Cry of the Children,' or the Lady Geraldine's Courtship. I also understood how these two poets, so different both intellectually and physically, should have found their complements in each other. “The fortunate balance of their reciprocal qualities makes them an exception to the

rule that the inter-marriage of authors is unadvisable, and they appear to beand are-perfectly happy in their wedded life.” [Stoddard. The Brownings expressed great satisfaction with their American reputation, and the conversation taking a turn that led to American Art, Mrs. Browning expressed the belief that a Republican form of government was unfavourable to the Fine Arts. Mr. Taylor dissented to (from) this opinion, and a general historical discussion ensued, which was carried on for some time with the greatest spirit, husband and wife taking directly opposite views. When the good-humoured discussion ended, the third Browning mentioned by Miss Mitford appeared.] " Their child, a blue-eyed, golden-haired boy of two years old, was brought into the

He stammered Italian sentences only ; he knew nothing, as yet, of his native tongue. He has since exhibited a remarkable genius for music and drawing—a fortunate circumstance, for inherited genius is always fresher and more vigorous when it seeks a new form of expression.” [Mr. Taylor pursued his journey to the East, and the Brownings returned to Florence, which they made their permanent home, though they visited England from time to

time.] Then Stoddard prints the letters (1st from R. B., 2nd from E. B. B. about her

boy's illness) to Leigh Hunt, on Oct. 6, 1857 from Bagni di Lucca, from

L. H.'s Correspondence 1862. 1858. N. HAWTHORNE on Browning, and his wife and Boy. Passages from

the French and Italian Note-Books of NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE. Strahan & Co., London, 1871. Vol. i. end, p. 371. “Mr. Powers [the sculptor] took his leave about 8 o'clock, being to make a call on Mrs. Browning at Casa Guidi” Vol. ii. p. 9. "As we were at dinner to-day [June 8th, 1858] at half-past three, there was a ring at the door, and a minute after our [p. 10] servant brought a card. It was Mr. Robert Browning's, and on it was written in pencil an invitation for us to go to see them this evening.

He had left the card, and gone away ; but very soon the bell rang again, and he had come back, having forgotten to give his address. This time he came in ; and he shook hands with all of us, children and grown people, and was very vivacious and agreeable. He looked younger and even handsomer than when I saw him in London, two years ago, and his grey hairs seemed fewer than those that had then strayed into his youthful head. He talked a wonderful quantity in a little time, and told us-among other things that we should never have dreamed of—that Italian people will not cheat you, if you construe them gener

ously and put them upon their honour. “Mr. Browning was very kind and warm in his expressions of pleasure at seeing

us; and, on our part, we were all very glad to meet him. He must be an exceedingly likeable man. They are to leave Florence very soon, and are

going to Normandy, I think he said, for the rest of the summer. Juine 9th. We went last evening, at 8 o'clock, to see the Brownings; and, after

some search and [p. 11] inquiry, we found the Casa Guidi, which is a palace

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


« ͹˹Թõ