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Edward Fitzgerald
Letters of Edward FitzGerald in Two Volumes


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Transcribed from the 1901 Macmillan and Co. edition by David Price, email





All rights reserved

First Edition 1894. Reprinted 1901

{The "Little Grange," Woodbridge: p0.jpg}


<p>To E. B. Cowell.</p><br />

88 GT. PORTLAND ST., LONDON, Jan. 13/59.


I have been here some five weeks: but before my Letter reaches you shall probably have slid back into the Country somewhere. This is my old Lodging, but new numbered. I have been almost alone here: having seen even Spedding and Donne but two or three times. They are well and go on as before. Spedding has got out the seventh volume of Bacon, I believe: with Capital Prefaces to Henry VII., etc. But I have not yet seen it. After vol. viii. (I think) there is to be a Pause: till Spedding has set the Letters to his Mind. Then we shall see what he can make of his Blackamoor. . . .

I am almost ashamed to write to you, so much have I forsaken Persian, and even all good Books of late. There is no one now to 'prick the Sides of my Intent'; Vaulting Ambition having long failed to do so! I took my Omar from Fraser [? Parker], as I saw he didn't care for it; and also I want to enlarge it to near as much again, of such Matter as he would not dare to put in Fraser. If I print it, I shall do the impudence of quoting your Account of Omar, and your Apology for his Freethinking: it is not wholly my Apology, but you introduced him to me, and your excuse extends to that which you have not ventured to quote, and I do. I like your Apology extremely also, allowing its Point of View. I doubt you will repent of ever having showed me the Book. I should like well to have the Lithograph Copy of Omar which you tell of in your Note. My Translation has its merit: but it misses a main one in Omar, which I will leave you to find out. The Latin Versions, if they were corrected into decent Latin, would be very much better. . . . I have forgotten to write out for you a little Quatrain which Binning found written in Persepolis; the Persian Tourists having the same propensity as English to write their Names and Sentiments on their national Monuments. {2}

* * * * *

In the early part of 1859 his friend William Browne was terribly injured by his horse falling upon him and lingered in great agony for several weeks.

<p>To W. B. Donne.</p><br />

GOLDINGTON, BEDFORD. March 26 [1859].


Your folks told you on what Errand I left your house so abruptly. I was not allowed to see W. B. the day I came: nor yesterday till 3 p.m.; when, poor fellow, he tried to write a line to me, like a child's! and I went, and saw, no longer the gay Lad, nor the healthy Man, I had known: but a wreck of all that: a Face like Charles I. (after decapitation almost) above the Clothes: and the poor shattered Body underneath lying as it had lain eight weeks; such a case as the Doctor says he had never known. Instead of the light utterance of other days too, came the slow painful syllables in a far lower Key: and when the old familiar words, 'Old Fellow-Fitz'-etc., came forth, so spoken, I broke down too in spite of foregone Resolution.

They thought he'd die last Night: but this Morning he is a little better: but no hope. He has spoken of me in the Night, and (if he wishes) I shall go again, provided his Wife and Doctor approve. But it agitates him: and Tears he could not wipe away came to his Eyes. The poor Wife bears up wonderfully.

<p>To E. B. Cowell.</p><br />



Above is the Address you had better direct to in future. I have had a great Loss. W. Browne was fallen upon and half crushed by his horse near three months ago: and though the Doctors kept giving hopes while he lay patiently for two months in a condition no one else could have borne for a Fortnight, at last they could do no more, nor Nature neither: and he sunk. I went to see him before he died-the comely spirited Boy I had known first seven and twenty years ago lying all shattered and Death in his Face and Voice. . . .

Well, this is so: and there is no more to be said about it. It is one of the things that reconcile me to my own stupid Decline of Life-to the crazy state of the world-Well-no more about it.

I sent you poor old Omar who has his kind of Consolation for all these Things. I doubt you will regret you ever introduced him to me. And yet you would have me print the original, with many worse things than I have translated. The Bird Epic might be finished at once: but 'cui bono?' No one cares for such things: and there are doubtless so many better things to care about. I hardly know why I print any of these things, which nobody buys; and I scarce now see the few I give them to. But when one has done one's best, and is sure that that best is better than so many will take pains to do, though far from the best that might be done, one likes to make an end of the matter by Print. I suppose very few People have ever taken such Pains in Translation as I have: though certainly not to be literal. But at all Cost, a Thing must live: with a transfusion of one's own worse Life if one can't retain the Original's better. Better a live Sparrow than a stuffed Eagle. I shall be very well pleased to see the new MS. of Omar. I shall one day (if I live) print the 'Birds,' and a strange experiment on old Calderon's two great Plays; and then shut up Shop in the Poetic Line. Adieu: Give my love to the Lady: and believe me yours very truly E. F. G.

You see where those Persepolitan Verses {5} come from. I wonder you were not startled with the metre, though maimed a bit.

<p>To T. Carlyle.</p><br />



Very soon after I called and saw Mrs. Carlyle I got a violent cold, which (being neglected) flew to my Ears, and settled into such a Deafness I couldn't hear the Postman knock nor the Omnibus roll. When I began (after more than a Month) to begin recovering of this (though still so deaf as to determine not to be a Bore to any one else) I heard from Bedford that my poor W. Browne (who got you a Horse some fifteen years ago) had been fallen on and crushed all through the middle Body by one of his own: and I then kept expecting every Postman's knock was to announce his Death. He kept on however in a shattered Condition which the Doctors told me scarce any one else would have borne a Week; kept on for near two Months, and then gave up his honest Ghost. I went to bid him Farewell: and then came here (an Address you remember), only going to Lowestoft (on the Sea) to entertain my old George Crabbe's two Daughters, who, now living inland, are glad of a sight of the old German Sea, and also perhaps of poor Me. I return to Lowestoft (for a few days only) to-morrow, and shall perhaps see the Steam of your Ship passing the Shore. I have always been wanting to sail to Scotland: but my old Fellow- traveller is gone! His Accident was the more vexatious as quite unnecessary-so to say-returning quietly from Hunting. But there's no use talking of it. Your Destinies and Silences have settled it.

I really had wished to go and see Mrs. Carlyle again: I won't say you, because I don't think in your heart you care to be disturbed; and I am glad to believe that, with all your Pains, you are better than any of us, I do think. You don't care what one thinks of your Books: you know I love so many: I don't care so much for Frederick so far as he's gone: I suppose you don't neither. I was thinking of you the other Day reading in Aubrey's Wiltshire how he heard Cromwell one Day at Dinner (I think) at Hampton Court say that Devonshire showed the best Farming of any Part of England he had been in. Did you know all the Dawson Turner Letters?

I see Spedding directs your Letter: which is nearly all I see of his MS.: though he would let me see enough of it if there were a good Turn to be done.

Please to give my best Remembrances to Mrs. Carlyle, and believe me yours sincerely,



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