Asolando - Dedication

A poem by Robert Browning


To whom but you, dear Friend, should I dedicate verses—some few written, all of them supervised, in the comfort of your presence, and with yet another experience of the gracious hospitality now bestowed on me since so many a year,—adding a charm even to my residences at Venice, and leaving me little regret for the surprise and delight at my visits to Asolo in bygone days?

I unite, you will see, the disconnected poems by a title-name popularly ascribed to the inventiveness of the ancient secretary of Queen Cornaro whose palace-tower still over-looks us: Asolare—“to disport in the open air, amuse one’s self at random.” The objection that such a word nowhere occurs in the works of the Cardinal is hardly important—Bembo was too thorough a purist to conserve in print a term which in talk he might possibly toy with: but the word is more likely derived from a Spanish source. I use it for love of the place, and in reqital of your pleasant assurance that an early poem of mine first attracted you thither—where and elsewhere, at Mura as Cà Alvisi, may all happiness attend you!

Gratefully and affectionately yours,

R. B.

Asolo: October 15,1889

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