Saturday, March 15, 2008

Bells and Pomegranates

Robert Browning to Elizabeth Barrett Barrett

Saturday.[Post-mark, October 18, 1845.]

I must not go on tearing these poor sheets one after the other,—the proper phrases will not come,—so let them stay, while you care for my best interests in their best, only way, and say for me what I would say if I could—dearest,—say it, as I feel it!

I am thankful to hear of the continued improvement of your brother. So may it continue with him! Pulses I know very little about—I go by your own impressions which are evidently favourable.

I will make a note as you suggest*—or, perhaps, keep it for the closing number (the next), when it will come fitly in with two or three parting words I shall have to say. The Rabbis make Bells and Pomegranates symbolical of Pleasure and Profit, the gay and the grave, the Poetry and the Prose, Singing and Sermonizing—such a mixture of effects as in the original hour (that is quarter of an hour) of confidence and creation. I meant the whole should prove at last. Well, it has succeeded beyond my most adventurous wishes in one respect—'Blessed eyes mine eyes have been, if—' if there was any sweetness in the tongue or flavour in the seeds to her. But I shall do quite other and better things, or shame on me! The proof has not yet come.... I should go, I suppose, and enquire this afternoon—and probably I will.

I weigh all the words in your permission to come on Monday ... do not think I have not seen that contingency from the first! Let it be Tuesday—no sooner! Meanwhile you are never away—never from your place here.

God bless my dearest.
Ever yours


*In a prior letter to Robert Browning, Elizabeth inquired as to the meaning of the title of his volumes of poetry, Bells and Pomegranates, and suggested he place a note for future readers.

-from The Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Barrett and Robert Browning 1845-1846 (London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1900) vol. 1.

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