April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


TC TO AUBREY DE VERE; 6 June 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18490606-TC-ADV-01; CL 24: 60-61


Chelsea, 6 june, 1849—

Dear A. de Vere,

Accompanying this, is a terribly learned collection of Dilettantisms, on the thing they call “Ancient Art,”1—not by any means the most interesting of things to me,—which collection of canonized Dilettantisms, worthy of a glance from one in your course, let me beg you to accept from me,—were it only to take the Book out of my way, for there is another Copy here!

We missed you last time; and it is now many days ago. Pray do not neglect my Irish Expedition; which I really believe is ripening fast towards some fulfilment. I depend on you for light as to the Munster part of the affair: Traitor Duffy (one of the best Irishmen now living,—probably the very best, present company alive excepted, that ever came across my orbit) furnished me with useful hints for the rest;2 and will perhaps, if we can so shape it, go with me in person where he could be most available. I have likewise got a very fair Map (Railway Commissioners'), the only tolerable map I ever saw of Ireland;3 have got varieties of Books (Sir J. Ware the only good one), and am painfully delving my way thro' mountains of nonsense to here and there a [two or three words missing]-y of cobweb, that overlie the history (if they have any history) of all modern Nations whatsoever,—is one of the frightfullest symptoms of them to me. Old Greeks, Old Hebrews—alas, they understood that there actually were “gods,” that this tremendous Universe actually was Divine: they had what one calls an open sense, knew what to speak of, what to be forever silent of; which we, poor devils, with shut sense, shut these 2 or 3 hundred years under mountains of adscititious cobwebs, Heathen and Jew, are total[ly ignoran]t of, or almost totally!—Except Friday, I do not recollect that I am to be out any evening. All morning till about 3, I am here; after which dinner about 5, tea between 7 and 8.