#5 All that I am.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning to Robert Browning
Sunday [postmark, 14 September 1846]

My Own Beloved, if ever you should have reason to complain of me in things voluntary and possible, all other women would have a right to tread me underfoot, I should be so vile and utterly unworthy. There is my answer to what you wrote yesterday of wishing to be better to me… you! What could be better than lifting me from the ground and carrying me into life and the sunshine? I was yours rather by right than by gift (yet by gift also, my beloved!); for what you have saved and renewed is surely yours. All that I am, I owe you – if I enjoy anything now and henceforth, it is through you. You know this well. Even as I, from the beginning, knew that I had no power against you… or that, if I had it was for your sake.
Dearest, in the emotion and confusion of yesterday morning, there was yet room in me for one thought which was not a feeling – for I thought that, of the many, many women who have stood where I stood, and to the same end, not one of them all perhaps, not one perhaps, since that building was a church, has had reasons strong as mine, for an absolute trust and devotion towards the man she married, – not one! And then I both thought and felt, that it was only just, for them… those women who were less happy… to have that affectionate sympathy and support and presence of their nearest relations, parent or sister… which failed to me, … needing it less through being happier!


Looking for Something?