January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO JOHN STERLING ; 12 January 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420112-TC-JOST-01; CL 14: 10-11


[12 January 1842]

Dear Sterling,

Your Strafford1 has arrived: I announce this fact, because both the Packets had given way at the end, the too weak paper having burst; and your Ms. ran a great risk of being scattered out into the general mailbag, and tragically lost!— I will send it so soon as I can command the smallest leisure for the purpose. My vote too you shall have taliter qualiter [one way or the other]; vote of the greatest enemy “the legitimate drama” now has.

Poor Calvert's death, which I had not heard of before, is heavy news to me:2 An innocent sincere soul, macerated in sore sufferings, we hope purified in them, is gone to its long rest.

My studies in the Civil War threaten to be bottomless. The character of O. Crl comes before me clearer and clearer, as of a great man, almost of a kind of god: but the means of representing it? There is the rub. It lies buried under two centuries of quackeries, scepticisms, owleries,—not resuscitable; unless you could tear up the roots of the actual British world along with it! Besides I am in very poor health of body: how can I take such a thing in my arms, and rend the secret out of it? I have an unhappy talent for fixing on the impossible!

In the last Quarterly you will read a very wholesome sermon by Hy Taylor, with Wordsworth's sonnets for text.3 The Sermon is good; a real Sermon: but the inspired volume of Sonnets—ach Gott!— I have also read Richd Milnes's One Tract More.4 We do live in bewildered, benighted, ghost-ridden times.

Adieu. The iron pen is still sore on me; but I am making efforts to get real rag-paper (not imaginary ass-skin) and a goose-quill again.

Yours ever /