SWINBURNE AND MALLARMÉ
LETTER FROM MR. GEORGE MOORE
121 EBURY STREET, S. W. 2nd December, 1912.
MY DEAR GOSSE -- You say you have been waiting a whole week for the Mallarmé-Swinburne note, and that you want it instantly. Well, my dear friend, you can have it instantly, but I am afraid you will be disappointed. Anecdotes of the kind are well enough in conversation, but when we take up the pen to transcribe them, they seem slightly too slight for transcription. But since you must have it, here goes!
One night at Mallarmé's -- he received on Tuesday night, but in the 'seventies he was not a celebrity and very few came to his receptions; I think we generally spent Tuesday night together, tête-á-tête. One night the conversation turned on Swinburne, and he showed me a long correspondence, written on sheets of blue foolscap paper, in a shaky handwriting, about the poem which Swinburne was asked to contribute, and which he did contribute to La Republique des Lettres, "Une Nocturne", a sestina written in French. Swinburne had asked Mallarmé to alter anything that seemed to him to need alteration, and Mallarmé consequently altered the second line of the poem, and the alteration drew from Swinburne at least three voluminous epistles. Other alterations were made by Swinburne at Mallarmé's suggestion; these I do not remember,