The Collected Letters, Volume 10


TC TO RICHARD HENRY HORNE ; 26 February 1838; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18380226-TC-RHH-01; CL 10: 32-33


5. Cheyne Row, Chelsea, / 26th Feby, 1838.

Thanks, dear Sir, for your present of Delora,1 which I am glad to possess in a separate revised shape. I well remember reading it in the Monthly Repository with attention and glad surprise; and saying to myself, Here is a man with hot fierce matter in him; may the gods grant him strength and patience to work it into pure metal, and cast it into a shape that shall be perennial!

I believe, those bitter experiences you allude to are more or less, especially in these times, the lot of all men whatsoever that have any true talent to get unfolded. They are hard to bear; but useful, nay perhaps merciful and indispensable. The infernal pride that is in all of us needs to be tamed into a celestial, into a silent, patient, blessed one,—like what Christian people call humility, the beginning of all good, as I take it, in Art and elsewhere for us Sons of Adam. Let us consider it as schooling; let us learn our lesson! For a true man, to whom his talent is the great and sacred object, not the mere reputation of his talent, there can ultimately be no evil in these things. For such a man, considering what Criticism is in our time, Criticism can perhaps do nothing so kind as misconstrue him, abuse him, neglect him. Let her treat him, in short, according to her own sweet will. For one such man whom she has succeeded in finally suppressing, or even putting down under his due place, she has blown up hundreds into a windy triviality, pretension, futility, which one supposes to be the completest wretchedness appointed for man. Forward, therefore, and fear nothing! The ways will be smooth or be rough; but the step being stout the progress is not doubtful. A German friend of mine, whom I like much, has written down the following motto in rugged hexameters:

As journeys this Earth, her eye on a Sun, thro' the heavenly spaces; And radiant in azure, or sunless swallowed in tempests, Falters not, alters not; journeying equal, sunlit or stormgirt: So thou Man of Earth2———

I heartily bid you good-speed; and, were it after never such toiling, a happy issue.3

Believe me always, / truly yours

T. Carlyle—