Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the
South African National Gallery Manuscript text.
Not the least interesting element in this previously unrecorded verse letter by Holman Hunt is
that it seems to establish the date—late 1848 or January 1849—when DGR first read
, which has to be the book referred to in lines 4-17.
DGR had been reading Browning's poetry at least since mid-1847, but as his October letter to
Browning indicates, at that point he knew only
). Browning published nothing between 1846 and 1850.
DGR dates his sonnet
1849, but as we see here, he was eager, even frantic,
to get a copy in late 1848.
Like his verse letter of
August 1848 to William Smith Williams, this letter to Frederick Stephens
is composed in an amusing doggerel
line of syllabic couplets (with variations). Another doggerel letter by
Hunt survives, though it is badly water and fire damaged. Though lacking a named addressee, it
was almost certaintly written to Stephens and dates from either September or October 1848.
The manuscript poem has never been printed.