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Memoirs and correspondence of Coventry Patmore (Volume 2) online

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with the background painted from the Dead Sea at Sodom,
if the name of Oosdoom, to the further end of the sea,
identifies the place. There are a thousand things here in
which you might feel great interest, but I could not choose
any one spot — out of the many beautiful places — even if I
felt that I could convey any idea of it by words. One im-
portant event occurred here on April 7th. The Duke of
Brabante was here with a firman to enter the Mosque built
in the Temple grounds. Since the taking of the city by
the Moslems under Omar, no Christian had been in but by
stealth or deceit, and only about half a dozen by such means.

* See vol. i., p. 132. - "The Betrothal.



On this occasion however all the other Franks in the city
demanded a similar sight, and I amongst others — altogether
there were perhaps fifty — men, women, and children a few.
I was extremely charmed with the beauty of the situation
and the great care in which all is preserved. The buildings
were originally built by the Greeks about the time of
Constantine, as churches, and these have only been con-
verted into mosques by external alterations. Inside the
Moslems have not dared to lift a tool against the work of
such superior architects as their predecessors. I find
stronger reasons every day to deny the hackneyed assertion
that the Arabs taught the Christians architecture. One
thing I am compelled to say, that they in principle are much
better Christians than either the Greeks or Latins. In the
morning I had been in the Holy Sepulchre, viewing the
distribution of the miraculous fire from heaven by the
Greeks, and truly the contrast between the two places as
houses of God did not tell in favour of the Primitive
Apostolic Christians ; the Holy Sepulchre being a chamber
of imagery crammed full of trumpery pictures of old saints,
and decorated throughout in that bad taste which Roman
Catholics have all to themselves in Europe, but which here
the modern Greeks share with them — while the mosques
were so free from any offensive feature that they might
serve at once for the purest Christian form of worship. I
left the grounds reluctantly, but better satisfied that the
place was in such good hands, until it could be made over
to the care of better Christians — a future act which that
day's humiliation to the Moslems in our privilege seemed
to have prepared them for — if one could judge from the
expression of displeasure on the faces of those Moslems who
had been kept out by force, in fear that they would have
made a disturbance, as they threatened to do. . . .

I am yours ever truly,

W. HoLMAN Hunt.

2, Warwick Gardens, Kensington,

April 27, 1880.
My Dear Patmore,

Since I have been back from the East a succession
of difficulties have made me feel that I should do nothing
to divert my attention and strength from my work as the


one way of getting into a state of use again. I had in mind
the intention of repairing my omissions when I had achieved
this right to peace, and I looked forward to finding you out
again as a real satisfaction. It was a great pain to me a
few days since to learn, while I was working and waiting,
the great sorrow ^ had come upon you which could not allow
the pleasure of meeting you again to be anything but a
cruel one. I cannot attempt to find any source of comfort
that you do not yourself fully feel the value of, but I should
be sorry not to appear with your other old friends who
take the occasion to assure you of their lasting affection. I
wish to add my strong expression of esteem for your late
wife, and to say that, with the pain you bear in her loss, I
pray that you may escape that kind of bitterness which
takes away the hope of the full ripeness of later days.

Yours affectionately,

W. HoLMAN Hunt.

The following letter from Woolner seems to refer
to the Illustration in the " Children's Garland."
Patmore may have spoken of it as his wife's book,
as she took considerable part in the selection. He
also speaks of it as his daughter Emily's. (See
vol. I., pp. 200-201.) The second letter refers to the
same subject.

27, Rutland Street,

Hampstead Road, N.W.

Oct. 6, '61.
Dear Patmore,

I saw Macmillan, who wants me to do an idea for
Mrs. Patmore's book, which I confess will not be easy. I
told it him merely as a thing I should like to do if space on
page permitted, etc. : but both he and Masson were so
tickled with the notion that they scorned to admit any
other could be more appropriate as regards Art : the conse-
quence is that I shall have as much study of composition
for this trifling thing as I should have in designing a group
for marble — but we must take the world as it groes.

Ever yours,

Tiios. Woolner.

Mary Patmore's death.



Jan. 17, 1862.
Dear Patmore,

Kindest thanks, but I shall not be back in London
till some time next week and I only came here last evening.
I was glad to find A. T. much better than I expected, for
he had been very ill again : Mrs. Tennyson is fairly well
and the children as well as possible, and wonderfully grown
since I saw them last.

I did not think it of sufficient importance to indicate a
roof or projection above the swallow's nest, but thought, as
it was at the edge of the vignette, it might be taken for
granted, if demanded by the spectators ; and, had I thought
it necessary to put the roof, I should have left out the nest
altogether, as it would have destroyed the balance of colour
by making the nest far too important.

I hope Mrs. Patmore is going on well : please give her my
kindest remembrances : the Tennysons desire me to say
kind things for them.

Ever truly yours,

Thos. Woolner.

It is horrible cold here — a fierce north wind. A. T. has
written a dedication to the late P. Albert, which has
delighted and soothed the Queen and Princess Alice.

The following letter from Woolner shows his
anxiety that Patmore should take steps to get his
poems favourably noticed, as an antidote to the
attack by "A. K. H. B." on the "Children's
Garland." (See vol. i., pp. 201-205.)

29, Welbeck St. W.

Feb. 19, '6^.
My Dear Patmore,

. . . Altho' a good thing will inevitably make its own
way, yet a good husbandman takes care to stir the soil, that
his young crop may flourish more readily and abundantly ;
and the reason why great men usually succeed during their
lives is because they omit no possible contingency of
ensuring their triumph. The great Sir Chas. Napier
remarked in his journal, when he was compassing the



conquest of Scinde, that he had taken every precaution that
forethought could suggest to conquer, '* for " said he, " when
everything has been done, there will always arise on the
battlefield new difficulties enough to give ample work to
the most fertile genius." I am anxious this poem of yours
should be handsomely received by the public, for, now that
you have lost the highest joy of life, I want to see your
name grow great and splendid, that you may get some kind
of interest in the growth among your countrymen of that
which was consecrated to her who was your happiness.

I do not know if you are acquainted with Thompson the
Greek Professor?^ He is well worth knowing, for he has
the loftiest kind of mind, and his word carries great weight.
He comes to spend to-morrow evening (Friday) with me
and would feel pleased, I am sure, to meet you, for I have
heard him, at Spedding's rooms, speak very highly of your
writings ; therefore if you can so soon spend another
evening pray come. I asked him to take a chop at 6.30 p.m.
but do not know if he comes so soon yet ; but, if you can,
come at that time, for there will sure to be enough to eat.

Ever truly yours,

Thos. VVoolner.

The correspondence does not explain to what
proposal of Patmore's the following letter alludes.
Probably he desired that Woolner should execute
a full lenofth fiorure of Cardinal Newman.

Rapkins, Broadbridge Heath,

Nov. I, '90.
My Dear Patmore,

If your friendly interest is officiousness I can only
say that I like officiousness. I am very much obliged to
you for taking the trouble for me, and especially as I
cannot do so for myself; for the truth is, I never could
tout, for myself I mean. Tho' I regard Newman as only a
little lower than the angels I cannot ; and indeed I could
not, to be commissioned to do the Archangel Michael in
pure gold and priceless gems.

^ William Hepworth Thompson ; afterwards Master of Trinity
College, Cambridge.



I should like very much to present a copy of my bust to
the Duke of Norfolk, could I do so with propriety, for I
know it is a good likeness which would accordingly speak
for itself

I shall never forget how beautiful the dear old man
looked, once when I went down to Birmingham to see him,
in a rich silk gown that fell in the most graceful folds over
his thin elegant figure ; and he wore a magnificent gold
chain richly ornamented to hold a cross. I quite longed to
do him as he sat, and on my return to town I consulted

with Sir as to whether he thought I should

obtain support in the event of my trying to carry out my
idea. He did not encourage me, so that I kept my desires
to myself. Now I wish I had done so, as I am sure such a
work would have interested not only Catholics but all the
good and wise who knew and admired his unselfish soul.

I am down here planting, or rather getting the ground
ready for doing so, and have not a spare moment scarcely ;
but when I have used the season up I will use your kind
invitation and run down to Hastings for a chat.

Truly yours,

Thomas Woolner.

Millais painted the portrait of Emily Augusta
Patmore in 1851 (see vol. i., p. 85), and exhibited
it at the Royal Academy in 1852.

Kingston, Friday.

My Dear Mrs. Patmore,

I am now painting the background for the Ophelia,
so shall be detained from letting you have your portrait : the
frame has returned, but there are a few touches to be given
before you can have it.

Hunt is staying here with me, also painting a back-
ground . . .

The first thing when I return to town will be to complete
the likeness and send it to you.

With kind regards to Mr. Patmore in which Hunt joins,
believe me.

Very faithfully yours,

John Everett Millais.


Worcester Park Farm,

Cuddington Nr. Cheam,
October 22nd., 185 1.

P.S. I was delighted to hear of your full satisfaction at
Mrs. Patmore's portrait. I am very anxious that Tennyson
should see it, that he may give me leave to paint his wife's.

C. Patmore, Esq.

The date of the following letter is conjectural.
Rossetti's "The Early Italian Poets, from Ciullo
d' Alcamo to Dante Alighieri," was published in 1 86 1 .

Wednesday night.
[1856 or 1857 ?].
Dear Patmore,

Before sending you the translations, I looked again
over Allingham's notes, and want to apprise you that all in-
stances of varying metre, missing rhymes, etc. are close
adherence to the originals, and not carelessnesses. He
suggests rightly in one place that titles are wanted to the
different poems — should any strike you in reading, I wish
you'd jot them in the margin. I consider myself that de-
scriptive headings — brief arguments — to the poems, would
perhaps be best, but leave all classification till the end. I
can't say I always agree with A. in his preferences. For
instance, there is one poem at page 39 which he has not
marked at all, and which seems to me almost the loveliest
of the lot. I name this as occurring to me — but there are
others. By the bye, at page 156 is one copied out since I
saw you, and which I think you'll agree with me in liking.
It is by Cino da Pistoia (though generally attributed to
Guido Guinicelli), and I believe it myself to be addressed to
Dante on the occasion of the death of Beatrice. This is
rather strengthened by Dante quoting it (though only in an
argument on language), in his treatise de Vulgari eloquio ;
and there are various undoubted pieces of correspondence
in rhyme (some I have translated though not yet copied)
between Cino and Dante. Pray remember that all notes or
suggested alteratiotis of any kind ivJiatever from you, will be
most thankfully received in tJie margin ; especially sugges-
tions as to any of the poems — if any — which you think the
ones to be left out.


With thanks beforehand for the trouble I'm thus saddHng
you with, and with a request for 07ie line to tell of safe delivery
of MSS., when they reach you — believe me, yours very


P.S. There are a good many more not yet copied, which
you shall have in due course, if you care.

The Mr. Woodward mentioned in the follov^ing
letter is, no doubt, the architect of the Oxford M useum.
He was probably introduced to the Prae-Raphaelite
circle by Ruskin, who greatly admired his work.
The letter seems to indicate that Patmore's leaning
towards Roman Catholicism was known to Rossetti.

Friday [1857?].
My Dear Patmore,

I met last night at Woodward's a Mr. Pollen, who,
talking of poetry, asked if I knew you at all, and is most
anxious to know you himself. I thought you would be glad
to know him too, as he is a man of the highest power — the
only man who has yet done good mural painting in England.
It is possible you may have seen his interior paintings at
Merton Chapel, Oxford, or have heard of him in connection
with them. Since then, he has become a seceder to Roman
Catholicism, and is (of course) in consequence a furious
admirer of yours. He lives in Dublin, but will be in London
again for three days at beginning of next week. I told him
I would ask your leave to bring him to the Grove on Tuesday
evening next. Monday is my College night. If you would
like him to come, and Tuesday does not suit, perhaps
Wednesday night might be managed, if you could let me
know at once. Should it be inconvenient to you at your
house, we might make it here if you liked.

Yours sincerely,

D. G. Rossetti.

Patmore had, through his Prse-Raphaelite friends,
made the acquaintance of Mr., afterwards Sir Edward
Burne-Jones. At a later date he thought he dis-
cerned in the painter's work some similarity of


thought to that which was the inspiration of his own
work, and hoped that the sympathy thus intimated
might be developed by personal intercourse. About
1883 or 1884 visits were exchanged between them.
Patmore presented to Sir E. Burne-Jones a char-
acteristic drawing of Rossetti's, in return for which
he was to receive an original drawing from the
painter. This was long in coming, and this delay
explains the second letter.

The Grange,

West Kensington, W.
My Dear Coventry Patmore,

Will this ever reach you ?
Your letter is headed Hastings only — and to that vague
and large address I must send this — for lack of better in-

Yes : do come on Tuesday morning — and all I have I
will show you.

Do you know what an uncivilized brute I am — and that
I can't — can't write letters?

Weeks ago came two lovely volumes sent from Mac-
millan, and I could have written to you there at least, but
did not — for which no reviling is bad enough for me ; but
come and be welcomed on Tuesday, and glad I shall be to
see you.

Yours very trul}',


The Grange,

49, North End Road,

West Kensington, W.
My Dear Sir,

. . . There is a drawing I put by for you long ago —
but it needed a little work upon it — and, in the press of
things that had to be done, I delayed it and forgot it, and,
if I remembered, it was always at some impossible hour
for me to redeem my promise in ; but I will send it to
you, and shall be very glad if you will accept it as a sign
of admiration and friendship.


As to the D. G. R. drawing I had no idea it was one you
set special store by for its association sake — only for its
artistic interest — so I shall be uncomfortable if I keep it
any more, and will return it to you. Our friend Stephens,
I think, wishes to have it photographed for some work, and
I promised that he should have it for this purpose. When
he has done with it, I will take care it is safely sent to you

Believe me,

Always yours sincerely,




I HAVE put together in this chapter the letters
of the friends who were Patmore's principal
advisers in the revision of his poems (see vol. i.,

P- 175)-

Patmore's connection with Mr. Aubrey de Vere

has been frequently mentioned in vol. i. On page
142 will be found extracts from Patmore's diary re-
ferring to Mr. de Vere's efforts to convert Patmore
and his first wife to the Roman Catholic faith ; on
page 175 I have recorded his criticisms on the
"Angel ;" on page 206, Patmore's work of editing a
selection from Mr. de Vere's poems ; and on page
209, his connection with Patmore's visit to Rome
which resulted in his conversion. On page 317 I
have alluded to Mr. de Vere's views on three of
Patmore's odes, which subject is also touched on
in Patmore's letters to Mrs. Bishop. The following
letters appear to call for no further comment.

Curragh Chase,

Adare, Ireland,

Nov. 30, 1S55.

Mv Dear Mr. Patmore,

... A thousand thanks for your volume. I had
already read it more than once ; and, now that I possess
a copy, shall read it many times again : — for I do not flatter
you in saying that it is (so far as I may venture to judge)
one of the most beautiful of modern poems. It has four
qualities which especially distinguish it, I think ; its sound-


ness and geniality, as well as elevation of sentiment ; its
descriptive power. Its power of reasoning (}. do not mean
argjiing) in verse, and its singular beauty both of diction
and of metre. But after, the praise of such a man as
Tennyson, nothing that I can say is of much importance.
I should be anxious to know what kind of sale it has found ;
though the sale is no index of the success, much less of the
merit. I hope you will be able also to say that you have
made good progress with the rest of the work, and that
we shall see it soon. . . .

Believe me, yours faithfully,

Aubrey de Vere.

50, Piazza di Spagna, Rome.

Feb. 14, 1857.

My Dear Patmore,

Yesterday evening I was at a party of Americans,
all of them very much devoted to Literature and especially
to Poetry. They spoke with enthusiasm of yours in
particular, saying that there was " quite a rage for it in
America," and that its success there was something quite
remarkable. They remarked also, on my mentioning
that you thought of continuing your Poem in two more
books, that, if you chose, when bringing them out, to apply
to some American publishing House (Story and Field, or
perhaps Ticknor and Field, I forget which, Boston, were
especially named), you would probably be given a hand-
some sum down for the edition and could also make an
arrangement by which a considerable annual profit would
come to you from the future sale of the book. I resolved
to lose no time in informing you of this, as such an
arrangement might enable you at once to proceed with the
third and fourth parts of your Poem, the composition of
which you told me depended on the success of the portion
of the work already published. An arrangement might
probably be made at once, prospectively, which would
enable you to see your way. Another effect of such an
arrangement might be that the American Publisher might
give you also a share of the profits on the American re-
publication of your Poem so far as already written and at
present in circulation in the United States. Mrs. Browning


told me that the American who is re-publishing " Aurora
Leigh " volunteered to give her ;^ioo for it.

Mr. Burns has not yet found an opportunity of sending
the copy of your book you so kindly left with him. Many
thanks for your letter. I earnestly trust that nothing will in-
duce you to remit or postpone the great duty of Religious
Enquiry. It is almost self-evident that, supposing God to
have given Man a Revelation at all, the first of Man's duties
must be to ascertain, at any cost, what is the AutJientic
Version of that Revelation as distinguished from the
spurious. Not less evident is it that this is an Enquiry
which all conscientious Protestants are on their own Prin-
ciples bound to pursue by every law of Religion, Morality
and Interest ; and that since it is especially " to the Poor "
that the Gospel is preached, no educated man, however
modest, can account the enquiry beyond him. But these
things are Truisms ; and our realizing the simple fact that
Truisms are true depends not on argument but on Divine
Grace, and our co-operation with that Grace. . . .

Believe me,

Yours very sincerely,

Aubrey de Vere.

Monk Coniston, Ambleside,

Oct. 10, 1862.

My Dear Patmore,

Your note has a very sad sound ; but I ought to be
all the more obliged to you for having, notwithstanding,
remembered your promise of writing : for it is when we are
most out of spirits that we find it most troublesome to
write in general. I am not at all surprised at your return
to your home having a very depressing effect on you. It
is most sadly natural that this should be the case ; and,
alas, the more so when a house already left empty is made
more empty still by your children being away from it,
though fortunately not far away. I believe that, when we
begin to lift up our heads again after any great bereave-
ment, the progress we make, even under the most favourable
circumstances, is far from being an even or equable pro-
gress. There must needs be occasional checks, and occa-
sional apparent retrogressions, accompanied by a feeling


that perhaps we are going back rather than forward.
Such aggravations of our distress would have no place if
the erring wishes of an earthly friend could shape our
Destiny : but it is far better for us that that remains in the
hand of a Heavenly Friend Who alone knows what is best
for us, and Who loves us so much better than our earthly
friends do that, comparatively, nothing weighs with Him
but our Spiritual Well-being. The more He has in store
for any Soul the more He makes it acquainted with the
great Realities both of Sorrow and of Joy. There are
many who seem to elude both of these, and especially
Sorrow. They just graze along its surface for one moment,
and the next they are afloat again in the brimming stream.
They learn nothing except superficially : the arc of exist-
ence through which they swing is so narrow a one that
they are never swept into those regions in which they see
the wonders of God. It is to those from whom God ex-
pects much that He gives much ; and among His Gifts are
the Afflictions which He sends us, and especially those
depressions which are among our heaviest afflictions. I
believe therefore that it was in the spirit of a rather un-
worthy friend that I was at first disposed to regret so much
the sadness indicated in your note. We must try to bear
in mind that we are not, relatively to God, each of us half
lost in a crowd. In His eyes each of us exists as the
whole universe exists, or as He would do if the universe
contained no creature but Himself. W^e cannot see our
way, for not even the Angels can fathom the wonderful
process by which God fits each Soul for the glories reserved
for His own. We have often to learn God by feeling His
mighty arms beneath us, just because we cannot yet learn
Him by the way of LigJU ; and we feel the uplifting of those
arms the more in proportion to the depth of those gulfs of
gloom from which They lift us up at the appointed season.
There are times when He seems to deny us all spiritual
fruitions, leaving us but Faith. These are the very times
in which Faith is rendered capable of gaining ten-fold the
strength which it could gain at other times. We must
remember however that Courage, as well as spiritual dis-
cernment, is an attribute of Faith. To exercise Faith in
the midst of spiritual or earthly fruitions never removed is
like swimming in water so shallow that our foot is always
touching the bottom or tangling itself in the weeds. It is


when the soul is carried far out into the great Deep and
taught that there remains to it nothing but God that it
learns to realize the great truth that God is all, and that

Online LibraryBasil ChampneysMemoirs and correspondence of Coventry Patmore (Volume 2) → online text (page 25 of 36)