The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO RICHARD MONCKTON MILNES ; 29 February 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18400200-TC-RMM-01; CL 12: 66-67


[late February-early March 1840]

You have, indeed, my friend, written a very beautiful article.1 There is a tint of poesy, humane insight, a soft graceful coherence, an undertone of pervading melody, which I like and call good. You will write a book one day which we shall all like. In prose it shall be if I may vote. A novel, an emblematic picture of English society as it is? Done in prose with the spirit of a poet, what a book were that!

Emerson may object that he knew of your objections beforehand, that one needs in this world of antagonisms to smite only one side of a thing, while so many millions are everywhere assiduously smiting the other. To which you can answer, “You knew the objections would come. Well, here they do come!”

Another objection, that of setting up one Carlyle in the good Emerson's daylight there in that unwarrantable manner, seems to me still graver. How are you to answer that? Emerson will naturally see the article by-and-by, but a copy sent from you would undoubtedly be welcome to him; if with a small epistle from your own hand, of course, doubly so.2