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Letter from W.J. Courthorpe to John Ruskin.


Page 1:
The Croft
W. Wickham
11 Nov. / 83

Dear Mr Ruskin
It is impossible for me to thank you sufficiently for 'Love's Meinie' which reached me yesterday. Your own instinct can alone tell you what gratification it gave me. It was delightful to me to find from your letter written years ago that the 'Paradise of Birds' had given you such pleasure but to have a living proof of your pleasure in such beautiful and delicate detail is better still. Your humourous and exquisite commentary on the chorus is the finest compliment that could possibly have been paid to it, though I feel that most of what you say about it comes from an inexhaustible charity of an imagination clothing the needy out of its own boundless stores. It is not the life welcome because of the wholesome drop or two of gale in the honey. I recognise fully the justice of your strictures, and particularly of the one about the Rooks. Once more let me give you all the thanks at my disposal for such a delightful tribute of sympathy: if the commentary had extended over the whole of the poem my readers would have been 'legion': as it is [underlined] non omnis monias. I ought not to thank you either out of mere egotism. 'Love's Meinie' charms me infinitely in itself: it only makes me more desirous than ever to meet with what I spoke of in my last letter, an expression of your thoughts about the Feudal ideal. [?]Tho one point on which I venture to dissent from your general view of our time is that, in my opinion, there is [underlined] still in the English people a nobility and greatness, smothered under their love of money-getting, for which you will not give them credit. [?] Violent meliora; and if you would show them what time Feudalism ought to imply in our day. I believe that they would recognise the ideal to be a noble one.But I know, from what you say, and from the announcements of your publisher that you have no leisure at present for any enterprise of the kind.

You were so kind as to say in your last letter that you would like to see me. My wife and I hope to be in Oxford next Saturday on a visit to the Willerts. If you would let me nothing would give me greater pleasure than to bring her to return such thanks as she can for the pleause you gave both of us when we were in Florence two years ago by your 'Golden Gate'. It caused us to spend a delightful morning in S. Maria [?].
Yours very truly
WJ Courthorpe

I hesitate a little in offering an exchange of a brazen commentary for a golden one: indeed I should not think of making the suggestion at all if I did not know that you were an admirer of Pope - I am at present engaged in completing an edition of his works and have done the Satires and the Dunciad; my investigations have led me to make many curious discoveries about the meaning of his personal allusion, some of which I think might interest you. If you would let me it would give me great pleasure to send you the said two volumes, and it might console poor Mr Murray a little for what you say in your commentary about him and Lucca. Unfortunately as I have taken the edition up in the middle I cannot send you the whole of it, and as I can well believe that you would not care to have an imperfect one Ibeg that you will not hesitate to say 'no' if you would rather not have them.


Alan Cole
William John Courthope (1842-1917), was an English writer and historian of poetry,

Copyright MOWRC & Alan Cole 2014



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John Ruskin (Recipient)

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Ruskin Papers



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