‘Conversation … as remarkably good as his books’
1843. I still believe as devoutly as ever in Paracelsus, and find more wealth of thought and poetry in it than [in] any book except Shakespeare. The more one reads the more miraculous does that book seem as the work of a man of five-and-twenty. Browning’s conversation is as remarkably good as his books, though so different: in conversation anecdotal, vigorous, showing great thought and reading, but in the language most simple, energetic, and accurate. From the habit of good and extensive society he has improved in this respect wonderfully. We remember him as hardly doing justice to himself in society; now it is quite the reverse — no one could converse with him without being struck by his great conversational power — he relates admirably; in fact, altogether I look upon him as to be our foremost literary man.