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wish I was intimate with her, for, whatever may be her faults, so many virtues can be told of few.'
"These are the expressions of a woman who has seen and lived among whatever is best and most brilliant, and whose judgment is as sound as her heart, and she does not speak of introduction merely, but of intimacy; it is neither her curiosity nor her pride that seeks the gratification. W. S. L."
"I am inclined to hope and believe that the 'Repealers' may do good. Pardon me smiling at your expression, the only one, perhaps, not original in the book, going to the root of the evil. This is always said about the management of Ireland. Alas! the root of the evil lies deeper than the centre of the earth.
"Two things must be done, and done soon. It must be enacted that any attempt to separate one part of the United Kingdom from the other is treason. Secondly, no Churchman, excepting the two archbishops and the bishop of London, shall enjoy more than twelve hundred pounds yearly from the Church, the remainder being vested in government for the support of the poor. Formerly the clergy and the poor were joint tenants-nay, the clergy distributed among the poor more than half. Even in the territories of the Pope himself, the bishoprics, one with another, do not exceed eight hundred a year, and certainly a fifth, at least, is distributed among the needy. What a scandal! that an admiral who has served fifty years, and endangered his life in fifty actions, should receive but a twentieth part of what is thrown into the surplice of some cringing college tutor, whose services two hundred a year would overpay! I am afraid that Sir Robert Peel's quick eye may overlook this. Statesmen, like goats, live the most gayly among inequalities."
"Bath, April, 1836.
'To-day I finished a second reading of Barry Cornwall's poems. Scarcely any tether can bring my nose down to that rank herbage which is springing up about us in our walk of poetry. But how fresh and sweet is Barry Cornwall's; he unites the best qualities of the richest moderns and the purest ancients.
W. S. L."
"I wish our friend Robinson would show you my defense, for I never make any note of what I write, be the subject what it may.
Wordsworth, no doubt, has a thousand good reasons why there is not a poet upon earth; but as there are many who have given me pleasure, I love them for it; some of them, perhaps, a little more than they deserve. All men are liable to error. I particularly, who believe that there may be criticism without sarcasm, and Christianity without deans and chapters.
"The surface of Wordsworth's mind-the poetry-has a good deal of sta
ple about it, and will bear handling; but the inner-the conversational and private has many coarse, intractable, dangling threads, fit only for the flockbed equipage of grooms. I praised him before I knew more of him, else I never should; and I might have been unjust to the better part had I remarked the worse sooner. This is a great fault, to which we are all liable from an erroneous idea of consistency.
Besides, there is a little malice, I fear, at the bottom of our hearts (men's, I mean, of course).
"What a fool I must be to have written as I have just been writing, if my own could rise up against me on this occasion! Alas! it has done on too many.
"Do not be angry with me for my sincerity in regard to Byron. He deserves it. Of this I find evident proofs in abundance, although I never read his dramas, nor any thing besides 'Don Juan' and some short pieces. One is admirable; I mean,
'A change came o'er the spirit of my dream.'
"This is not the beginning, as you will recollect. The bosom of Byron never could hold the urn in which the muse of tragedy embalms the dead. There have been four magic poets in the world. We await the fifth monarchy, and, like the Jews with the Messiah, we shall not be aware of it when it
"Poets are called improvident in all affairs outlying from poetry; but it appears to me that in their poetry they are the most so, forgetful as they are while they are writing that they must transcribe it afterward. Then comes the hoe-husbandry, the weeding, &c.-enough to break the back. Infinite pains it has always cost me, not to bring together the materials, not to weave the tissue, but to make the folds of my draperies hang becomingly. When I think of writing on any subject, I abstain a long while from every kind of reading, lest the theme should haunt me, and some of the ideas take the liberty of playing with mine. I do not wish the children of my brain to imitate the gait or learn any tricks of others.
"By living at Clifton I am grown as rich as Rothschild; and if Count D'Orsay could see me in my new coat, he would not write me so pressingly to come up to London. It would breed ill blood between us-half plague, half cholera. He would say, 'I wish that fellow had his red forehead again -the deuce might powder it for me.' However, as I go out very little, I shall not divide the world with him. How glad I am that you are become acquainted with Forster! W. S. L."
"Bristol, October 23d, 1836.
“I am grieved at the continuance of your imperfect health, which I hoped had been over and forgotten. All the way down the Rhine, wherever there was a more beautiful view than the rest, I fancied how it would have charmed you with its scenery and its recollections. Yet the Rhine, exclusive of
its castles and legends, will bear no comparison with the Lake of Como. wants majestic trees, it wants Italian skies, it wants idleness and reposethe two most heavenly of heavenly things, the most illusory of illusions. 66 W. S. L."
"November 30th, 1836.
"B has declared that I read his publication. If, as Byron thought, and Byron was not over nice, a gentleman could not write in it, how can a gentleman be supposed to read it?
"I never ran over a single number in my whole existence, though something was once shown to me as very clever; and it was so. I should have thought it criminal to give half a crown to a of Keats, to say nothing of scurrilities. By-the-by, there is (in propriety) no such word as scurrilous; the word is scurrile: we might as well say sterilous, and facilous, and flexilous. This remark is of no consequence to you, who are unlikely to see the word, and sure never to use it. Did you remark a logical defect in Lord L- -'s speech! Read over again the first three lines.
"I am anxious to call' means I am very desirous to call: this is self-evident; now he who feels very desirous to do a thing can not rise with extreme reluctance to do it.
"I should rather have expected this from Pitt or Canning than from Lord I—, who has fifty times their knowledge, scholarship, and discernment. He quarrels with some officer of the crown' for calling the House of Lords a dormitory. The officer of the crown acted the part of Blood in stealing this crown jewel, which the crown never paid for, however it may have worn it.
"The jewel, such as it is, is mine: you will find it tale quale, as we used to say in Florence, in my Imaginary Conversations.' If the officers of the crown kidnap from me, my friends the Liberals are quite as liberal in their handfuls. A letter was sent me full of expressions as well as thoughts taken from my Letters, by a Conservative, and spoken in the House of Commons. People think they have just as much right to use me as the alphabet, and that they can as little write without me. W. S. L."
"November 24th, 1836.
I never If C
"It grieves me to hear that you are still unwell. I think, I know, and may I say it with impunity? you give up too much time to the world. All your evenings, all your days . . . . My satire will be out in ten days. will write to please the public, but always to instruct and mend it. would give me twenty thousand pounds to write a taking thing, I would not accept it. What a delight I should have in being able to refuse twenty thousand pounds by a fortnight's easy occupation!
"My satire cost me five evenings, besides the morning (before breakfast) in which I wrote as much as you have about Wordsworth. W. S. L."
"Are you quite sure that your studies do not occupy too much of your at(No date.) tention? It may be an amusing thing to let the imagination take its flightsparticularly to one who can regulate it as you can-but the thread that guides it may cut the finger. I am reading, for the third time, Charles Elton's elegy on the loss of his sons. It is published in a volume he calls 'Boyhood.' Few things ever gave my heart such movements. W. S. L."
"January 21st, 1837.
"While I was in the act of opening my paper-case in order to write to you, a letter was brought me, signed S. C. H., asking me for some memoranda, out of which to form a brief page of biography, to accompany specimens of modern poets.'
"My ignorance of every thing that passes in the literary world is such that I am utterly at a loss whether this is Mrs. Hdistinguished for letters. or some one else of a name Another thing puzzles me no less. Is it possible that any one, excepting Southey, Forster, and James, can believe that I myself am a poet? Now, if I knew who was the writer of the letter, I could not, in common decency, take such a thing for granted. If, however, it should really be the case, and your acquaintance, Mrs. H, should be the writer, I will send you a few notices of my life-as much may be omitted as suits the editor. I have mentioned all the good nearly I can remember of myself. It need not be recorded. I would only insist on the evil.
"W. S. L."
"May 21st, 1837.
"The Tories were formerly more gentlemanly than the Whigs, but what a revolution are they bringing about in their own body! Would they claim for themselves the right of asylum for their culprits, instead of consigning them to the most lenient as well as the most able hands for reprehension and chastisement?
"There is nothing in this world but contrariety and falsehood. The best men of all parties are only what David says all men were of old.
"Did you never see a child throw a piece of bread before a parcel of dogs, and enjoy the scuffle? The dogs would rather eat than snarl, though they do both; our wranglers, less wisely, set about growling, and forget how much they stand in need of sustenance. with in the Victims of Society' is the compte rendu of so many deaths. The only thing I could pick a quarrel Would it not (you know best) have been easy to leave the end of some of them to uncertainty and conjecture? I also, in 'Pericles,' have killed off largely, but remember, I had a plague gratis. I did not make the most of it. I never do of any thing. If I had all your management, I should be in danger of writing such a book as would get me torn to pieces. At present, the curs only smell at me, and trot on.
"Your censurers, not having before their eyes the fear of a future state in another literary world, commit injustice without compunction. If they can give no lesson, they may cause one reflection.
"I hear they have been reviewing me in the Quarterly. I wonder where they found their telescope. By the account I receive of it, it wants nothing but the glasses. How perilous it is to tread upon the heels of truth! "With best compliments to the party at Gore House,
W. S. L."
"I have subjoined to the Pentameron' five dramatic pieces, which I call 'Pentalogia'—the title given to five Greek plays. Mine are only single scenes. Few people will like them, and those who like them most will speak worst of them, excepting Southey, Fonblanque, and Forster. It is quite enough if, among all our critics, these three are satisfied.
"I have been at Plymouth, where I met Colonel Hamilton Smith, a man who has collected a greater variety of knowledge than any other I ever conversed with. His drawings of different races of men in different ages, of animals, and works illustrative of history, are most wonderful.
"I hope you will be delighted with the review by the Duke of Wellington and Lord Hill, at which our little queen will be present. If I had any chance of getting a fair sight of it and of her, I do verily think I should mount a coach, and defy the risk of another such mulberry fage as I brought to you last year.
"I must have been very like him whom the Athenians called a mulberry covered with meal. He killed them for their fun. I do not imagine I shall kill any body.
W. S. L."
"Bath, January 19th, 1838.
"When my letter makes its way between you and Julia Alpinula, you will wish me frozen up, as long and as soundly as the Siberian mammoth. Let me confess to you, I never stared more than at this sweet Alpinula. I had no recollection of the name. Indeed, both names and faces leave an extremely weak impression on my memory. Evidently it was a Gaulish family. Nearly all the Roman inscriptions were collected as early as the time of Scaliger, and no great quantity of others has been added to those of G and Montfaucon. The Latin of this is very barbarous. Indeed, the lapidary skill, even of better and earlier times, is wonderfully so, on most occasions.
"It would be difficult to select five-and-twenty which do not seem to have been left to the learning and taste of the stone-cutter. The best, however, that ever was written, either in Latin or any other language, is attributed to Shenstone. Vale (I forget who). Heu quanto minus est cum reliquis versari, quam tui meminisse!
"When will any man write any thing worth this again? It never comes Name illegible.-R. R. M.