The Journey to Italy

  • Anna Brownell Jameson


Paris, 22 September. Robert Browning, my poet, is here — and with a wife he has run off with — and who, think you is this wife? — no other than Elizabeth Barrett — my poetess — a pretty pair to go thro this prosaic world together! — but there was nothing else to be done apparently — her life depended on her leaving England this winter (at least all hope of health); — her father would not hear of it — and Browning, in desperation — for he has long loved her, asserted the only right that could supersede that of a father — married her a week ago — and has brought her so far safely — but she has suffered much — she is nervous — frightened ashamed agitated happy, miserable—I have sympathized, scolded[,] rallied, cried and helped — and now they want me to join them on the road to the South. …


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  1. 4.
    Gerardine Macpherson, Memoirs of the Life of Anna Jameson (London, 1878), pp. 231–2, supplies details of this ‘poetical pilgrimage’ to Fontaine de Vaucluse where ‘at the very source of the “chiare, fresche e dolci acque”, Mr Browning took his wife up in his arms, and, carrying her across through the shallow curling waters, seated her on a rock that rose throne-like in the middle of the stream. Thus love and poetry took a new possession of the spot immortalized by Petrarch’s loving fancy’. (See Petrarch, Canzoniere, 126; and for Barrett Browning’s own account. Correspondence, 14.23–4.)Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000

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  • Anna Brownell Jameson

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