BROWNING, ELIZABETH BARRETT. 1806-1861.
Autograph Manuscript, being transcripts from early English poets Geoffrey Chaucer, Edmund Spencer, John Fletcher and popular balladry as appropriate subjects for watercolors, 12 pp, 8vo rectos and versos, n.p., [c.1839]; WITH: Autograph Letter Signed ("Elizabeth B. Barrett"), 4 pp, 16mo, Torquay, 11 June 1839, to Mr. Weale, with manuscript title page with tipped-in engraved portrait frontispiece, bound to 4to size, in gilt-lettered full deep brown levant morocco, g.e., by Sangorski & Sutcliffe.
Provenance: Maggs, Catalogue 333, Spring 1915, item 44; Anderson Galleries, Library of John L. Clawson, November 29, 1920, item 29; W. T. H. Howe; Edith Barbara Tranter (bookplates); the present owner.
In the letter, Miss Barrett, while convalescing in Torquay, writes to Mr. Weale:
"The watercolour drawing is extremely beautiful & suggestive. The moonlight in it cannot be said to have "no business there" for it comes like a spirit upon the ruin..the place for spirits and reconciles us to desolation. You have done what is said to be impossible 'painted a thought'..And I am satisfied to hear in the silence of your picture, Spencer's very own voice...
"O mulla mine, I whilome taught to weep," looking , with that moonlight on it, as if it wept still!
Thank you again and again!--
I have written out some suggestions for paintings--as you asked me to do. Should you like any of them & wish for more, I shall be very glad to purvey for you again. These passages are all from old poets--& you will not I think on that account, care less for them..."
The present manuscript is composed of the following:
1. From Canterbury Tales, "Chaucer's walk for the 'good luck' of hearing the nightingale sing before the cuckoo" ("And anon as I the day espied..."). 1 1/2 pp.
2. "The Nutbrowne Maid (undiluted by Prior)." 1 p.
3. From Spencer's Faerie Queene: "Fairy Queen 4th Canto--towards the end" ("Till towards night they came onto a plain..."). 1 p.
4. Again from Faerie Queene: "Fairy Queen/X Canto--near Beginning/Mount Acidale" ("It was a hill placed in an open plain...") with the poet's notation ("But I am afraid the table land spoils Mount Acidale for a picture"). 1 p.
5. From "Browne's Pastorals" ("He took his way unto the nearest wood..."). 1 p.
6. From "Browne's Pastorals/Another Scene" ("Between two hills, he highest Phebus sees..."). 2 pp.
7. From "Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess--The Grave of Clorin's L:ove" ("Clorin has buried her love in an arbour..."). 2 pp.
8. Again from Fletcher's "Faithful Shepherdess/The fairy well" ("to that holy wood is consecrate/A virtuous well..."). 2 pp.
The Browning/Weale collaboration was never published and possibly never completed. See Kelley and Hudson, The Brownings' Correspondence, Vol 4, p 162.
- Not found in Kelley and Coley The Browning Collections (1984).