"The second Canto of Don Juan was sent, on Saturday last, by post,
in four packets, two of four, and two of three sheets each,
containing in all two hundred and seventeen stanzas, octave
measure. But I will permit no curtailments, except those mentioned
about Castlereagh and the two Bobs in the introduction. You sha'n't make _canticles_ of my
cantos. The poem will please, if it is lively; if it is stupid, it
will fail: but I will have none of your damned cutting and
slashing. If you please, you may publish _anonymously_; it will
perhaps be better; but I will battle my way against them all, like
"So you and Mr. Foscolo, &c. want me to undertake what you call a
'great work?' an Epic Poem, I suppose, or some such pyramid. I'll
try no such thing; I hate tasks. And then 'seven or eight years!'
God send us all well this day three months, let alone years. If
one's years can't be better employed than in sweating poesy, a man
had better be a ditcher. And works, too!--is Childe Harold
nothing? You have so many 'divine poems,' is it nothing to have
written a _human_ one? without any of your worn-out machinery. Why,
man, I could have spun the thoughts of the four Cantos of that poem
into twenty, had I wanted to book-make, and its passion into as
many modern tragedies. Since you want _length_, you shall have
enough of _Juan_, for I'll make fifty Cantos.
"And Foscolo, too! Why does _he_ not do something more than the
Letters of Ortis, and a tragedy, and pamphlets? He has good fifteen
years more at his command than I have: what has he done all that
time?--proved his genius, doubtless, but not fixed its fame, nor
done his utmost.
"Besides, I mean to write my best work in _Italian_, and it will
take me nine years more thoroughly to master the language; and then
if my fancy exist, and I exist too, I will try what I _can_ do
_really_. As to the estimation of the English which you talk of,
let them calculate what it is worth, before they insult me with
their insolent condescension.
"I have not written for their pleasure. If they are pleased, it is
that they chose to be so; I have never flattered their opinions,
nor their pride; nor will I. Neither will I make 'Ladies' books 'al
dilettar le femine e la plebe.' I have written from the fulness of
my mind, from passion, from impulse, from many motives, but not for
their 'sweet voices.'
"I know the precise worth of popular applause, for few scribblers
have had more of it; and if I chose to swerve into their paths, I
could retain it, or resume it. But I neither love ye, nor fear ye;
and though I buy with ye and sell with ye, I will neither eat with
ye, drink with ye, nor pray with ye. They made me, without any
search, a species of popular idol; they, without reason or
judgment, beyond the caprice of their good pleasure, threw down the
image from its pedestal; it was not broken with the fall, and they
would, it seems, again replace it,--but they shall not.
"You ask about my health: about the beginning of the year I was in
a state of great exhaustion, attended by such debility of stomach
that nothing remained upon it; and I was obliged to reform my 'way
of life,' which was conducting me from the 'yellow leaf' to the
ground, with all deliberate speed. I am better in health and
morals, and very much yours, &c.
"P.S. I have read Hodgson's 'Friends.' He is right in defending
Pope against the bastard pelicans of the poetical winter day, who
add insult to their parricide, by sucking the blood of the parent
of English _real_ poetry,--poetry without fault,--and then spurning
the bosom which fed them."
Questa risposta è stata cambiata da simone.fungardi (29-12-08 15:26, 8 anni 20 giorni )