January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO JOHN FORSTER ; January 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420100-TC-JF-01; CL 14: 3-4


[January? 1842]

Dear Forster,

I dare not promise anything as to the F. Quarterly at present:1 if I get fairly into that Cromwell, I shall have to go on, incessant, as a shot projectile, as a kindled fire, and not stop,—under penalty of going out altogether! On the other hand if I do not begin it, if I never get it begun? All that I have written hitherto has gone straight to the fire!— I begin to approach the verge of de[s]peration about this Cromwell enterprise: one way or other a decision must be got at before long, were it only to save my life and sanity.2 We shall then see.

I have had nothing to do with foreign Literature for a number of years past. Zelter's correspondence with Goethe, an excellent Book now in hand, is the only one I have meddled with lately.3 German Literature in these new days seems all to have run to threads and thrums. The French Literature of G. Sand and Co, which many people told me was a new-birth, I found to be a detestable putrefaction,—new-life of nothing but maggots and blue-bottles.

Many thanks for your Cary, which I wanted to see.4 I am at Cromwell again (sub rosâ) this day: but, alas, it too will go to the fire!

Speed to you in the thing you work on. It has been a real pleasure to see you visibly growing in all kinds of strength and clearness of late years. “By working late and early,”5 as the old Song says, there is much possible. Nothing at all is possible any other way. Go ahead, therefore!

Yours ever truly /

T. Carlyle