JWC TO JANE STIRLING ; 10 July 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480710-JWC-JWS-01; CL 23: 68-70
JWC TO JANE STIRLING
Monday [10? July 1848]
My dear Miss Sterling
Mr Chopin cannot speak English, nor understand it spoken—alas no!—but can he understand it written I wonder? Here are some verses to his honour and glory, by Capt Sterling the brother of John—who attended me to the concert the other day1—and as it strikes me they come less under the category of prose run mad than the generality of his poetical effusions, it might be worth while to give them to Mr Chopin with my inarticulate blessing; provided only that he can make head or tail of them— Perhaps like all of the name you can rhyme prettily yourself—in that case you might translate them into french verses for his convenience—
I never liked any music so well—because it feels to me not so much a sample of the man's art offered “on approbation” (the effect of most music for me) but a portion of his soul and life given away by him—spent on those who have ears to hear and hearts to understand. I cannot fancy but that every piece he composes must leave him with many fewer days to live. I wish he could speak English, for I should be able to speak a little English to him—with my heart in it—for even in my capability to speak English I am as my Husband said the other night “intermittent.”
I have sprained one of my great toes! and it is all black the poor toe and as large as two natural ones.