AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF A SONG FROM 'PIPPA PASSES: A DRAMA', signed ('Robert Browning'), being Pippa's Song in Section II of the work, 17 lines, 1 page, octavo, laid down on cream card, 8 November 1887
Give her but a least excuse to love me!
When -- where --
How -- can this arm establish her above me,
If fortune fixed her as my lady there,
There already, to eternally reprove me?...
The poem 'Pippa Passes', which includes the famous lines 'God's in his heaven --/ All's right with the world!' (not present here), about a silk winder's wanderings in Italy, was a dramatic piece published in 1841 as the first volume in his Bells and Pomegranates series.
The present song is a complete poem in itself within the larger work. It corresponds to lines 253-270.
No manuscripts of this song on its own were known to Rosenbaum and White, although others are mentioned in Browning Collections (according to which a facsimile of the present manuscript was reproduced in The New York Times on 12 October 1980). Many of the original manuscripts of drafts by Browning seem to have been destroyed and the manuscripts that are available to collectors are often fair copies.
PROVENANCE: Altman, October 1980; Robert Batchelder.
REFERENCES: Index of English Literary Manuscripts, Volume IV, 1800-1900, Part I, 1990, compiled by Barbara Rosenbaum and Pamela White, BrR 317--332; The Browning Collections: A Reconstruction With Other Memorabilia, compiled by Philip Kelley and Betty Coley, 1984.