candlestick

April-December 1844


The Collected Letters, Volume 18


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TC TO GEORGE PEACOCK ; 24 April 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440424-TC-GP-01; CL 18: 23-24


TC TO GEORGE PEACOCK

Chelsea. 24th April, 1844.

Dear Sir,

I have read your letter with sympathy and interest, as the letter of a sincere seeker, one of those enquirers of whom it is written that they “shall find.”1 Believe in this issue: for it is true, far true than you at present think. We are led by strange ways in this world, the harshest disappointments often proving to be furtherances in disguise; generally too the goal we, in our young ignorance, have in view is not exactly the one we were appointed for, not the true goal. The true goal shows itself by and by, if we do faithfully struggle towards what truest-working goal there is. You must persist, with courage, with patience, with humility and openness of mind, with whatever of strength in any kind is in you! Persist, and know beforehand that no honest labour is or can be in vain.

Neither must health altogether discourage you. All men have their limits on the side of physical strength, as on other sides; thinking souls, which are first of all keen-feeling sensitive souls, are very apt to wear the clay they lodge in into holes! But great work has been done, and has still to be done, with but a slender outfit of health. This palpitating heart,—you had better ask a Doctor concerning it; perhaps it is nothing but indigestion,—a fierce enemy to intellectual men, but one that can be understood, that can be dealt with. Above all things, try to ascertain gradually for yourself where the limits of your strength do lie, and to work wisely within these, not unwisely struggle to surpass them: you will find that there is still good room for work if a man can be wise! And, in fine, be of hope. It is a wild battle this life of ours: but there is an Eternal Captain over it, unless we are all mistaken!

“Work, and despair not,” says one. Not a soldier of us but has his name in the Army Office, not a ball but has its billet.2

I am kept in extreme hurry here, but cannot forbear to write you this word. With sincere wishes and good expectations so far as I discern,

Yours,

T. CARLYLE.