1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO WILLIAM BELL SCOTT; 26 October 1854; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18541026-TC-WBS-01; CL 29: 179-180


Chelsea, 26 Octr 1854—

Dear Sir,

I have, with many thanks for your goodness to me, received your pretty little volume.1 Everywhere in it, I find proof of your assiduity, your ingenuity,—in short, of your talent for doing something much more useful in the world than writing rhymes never so well. If you will take any advice of mine in this matter (which I hardly expect you will), then know that, according to my notion, a man's speech is next to nothing in comparison with the man's deed: what he can do, and practically perform; not at all what he can speak or sing, is the first question we ask of every man;—to which I only add that if the man has anything to say, he had better say it instead of singing it, at this time of day.

Silence, with pious thought and strenuous practical exertion superadded, will do much more for a man of worth and parts than any “speech” can or could.— You may depend on it, I have nothing but goodwill towards you, tho' I say these unwelcome things. I am

Yours very truly /

T. Carlyle