April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


TC TO B. W. PROCTER ; 25 April 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440425-TC-BWP-01; CL 18: 26


Chelsea, 25 April, 1844—

Dear Procter,

Thanks for your pretty little volume,1 and your kind Note; both of which are right welcome to me. I am already far on with the Songs; several of them have been long known to me: Our Neighbour's Health, for example, came to hand thro' the Examiner last winter,2 and has stuck, with a curious fascination, ever since. A just thought, which is itself a bit of Harmony, does deserve and demand to be wedded to its due tune, its due “verse,” and to make itself and that “immortal.” I wish I too had been trained to sing: it would have been a mighty solacement to me now and then!

Fulfil your good purposes as to the Drama. The Writer of Mirandola,3 tho' he now sniffs at that composition, cannot be without dramatic talent. Nay a man to whom a thing does look musical and glorious will not fail to bring it out in something of Music and Glory (that is, of Poetry, as I understand it), thro' the Drama, or whatever way he try it. There is a Grecian Beauty traceable, we are told, in the shape of the Walls of Tiryns,4 which are built of mere dry boulders, without the aid even of a hammer. What I object to in our damnable Dramatists is, that they have in them no thing, no Event or Character, that looks musical and glo[r]ious to them,—properly no Thing at all, but an empty pruriency and desire to have a Thing: how can that escape damnation!— Persist, Persist. You know what Place is paved with “good resolutions”!5 The labour is great, but is not the reward also something? Persist, persist!

With many thanks, kind regards, and good wishes in this as in all things

Yours ever truly /

T. Carlyle