"Robert Browning" is the third song in Dominick Argento's song cycle Casa Guidi, which sets excerpts of letters by Elizabeth Barrett Browning in Florence to her sister Henrietta in England between 1846 and 1859.
Excerpted from a letter of Elizabeth Barrett Browning in Florence to her sister Henrietta in England (between 1846 and 1859)
And now I begin to wonder naturally whether I may not be
Some sort of a real angel after all.
It is not so bad a thing, be sure, for a woman
To be loved by a man of imagination. He loves her through a lustrous atmosphere
Which not only keeps back the faults but produces
Continual novelty through its own changes.
If ever a being of a higher order lived among us
Without a glory round his head...he is such a being.
I feel to have the power of making him happy...
I feel to have it in my hands.
It is strange that anyone so brilliant should love me.
But true and strange it is...it is impossible for me to
doubt it anymore.
Here am I, in the seventh year of marriage,
Happier than on the seventh day!
The love not only stays, but grows.
He rises on me hour by hour and I am
Bound to him indeed with all the cords of my heart.
And Papa thinks I have sold my soul --
For genius...mere genius!