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Love LETTER XXV
My Own Beloved: And I never thanked you yesterday for your dear words
about the resurrection pie; that comes of quarreling! Well, you must prove
them and come quickly that I may see this restoration of health and
spirits that you assure me of. You avoid saying that they sent you to
sleep; but I suppose that is what you mean.

Fate meant me only to light upon gay things this morning: listen to this
and guess where it comes from:

    "When March with variant winds was past,
     And April had with her silver showers
     Ta'en leif at life with an orient blast;
     And lusty May, that mother of flowers,
     Had made the birds to begin their hours,
     Among the odours ruddy and white,
     Whose harmony was the ear's delight:

    "In bed at morrow I sleeping lay;
     Methought Aurora, with crystal een,
     In at the window looked by day,
     And gave me her visage pale and green;
     And on her hand sang a lark from the splene,
     'Awake ye lovers from slumbering!
     See how the lusty morrow doth spring!'"

Ah, but you are no scholar of the things in your own tongue! That is
Dunbar, a Scots poet contemporary of Henry VII., just a little bit
altered by me to make him soundable to your ears. If I had not had to
leave an archaic word here and there, would you ever have guessed he lay
outside this century? That shows the permanent element in all good
poetry, and in all good joy in things also. In the four centuries since
that was written we have only succeeded in worsening the meaning of
certain words, as for instance "spleen," which now means irritation and
vexation, but stood then for quite the opposite--what we should call, I
suppose, "a full heart." It is what I am always saying--a good digestion
is the root of nearly all the good living and high thinking we are
capable of: and the spleen was then the root of the happy emotions as it
is now of the miserable ones. Your pre-Reformation lark sang from "a
full stomach," and thanked God it had a constitution to carry it off
without affectation: and your nineteenth century lark applying the same
code of life, his plain-song is mere happy everyday prose, and not
poetry at all as we try to make it out to be.

I have no news for you at all of anyone: all inside the house is a
simmer of peace and quiet, with blinds drawn down against the heat the
whole day long. No callers; and as for me, I never call elsewhere. The
gossips about here eke out a precarious existence by washing each
other's dirty linen in public: and the process never seems to result in
any satisfactory cleansing.

I avoid saying what news I trust to-morrow's post-bag may contain for
me. Every wish I send you comes "from the spleen," which means I am very
healthy, and, conditionally, as happy as is good for me. Pray God bless
my dear Share of the world, and make him get well for his own and my
sake! Amen.

This catches the noon post, an event which always shows I am jubilant,
with a lot of the opposite to a "little death" feeling running over my
nerves. I feel the grass growing _under_ me: the reverse of poor Keats'
complaint. Good-by, Beloved, till I find my way into the provender of
to-morrow's post-bag.
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