New York June 1. 1827.
My dear Sir
There was no occasion for so much spirit in your last letter--the one previous had moved my bowels, and I would have done what you desired immediately if I could. I am now quite well and the first moment I was able I finished the examination of your work. 1 I should however apologize. I have a good deal of work to do. I drudge for the Evening Post, and labour for the Review, and thus have a pretty busy life of it. I would give up one of these if I could earn my bread by the other, but that I cannot do. I have delayed attending to your manuscript, from time to time just as I often delay writing poetry, until I should feel able to do it better justice. I have delayed it too long, but it was not from mere laziness.
You are mistaken in supposing the poem did not take well with me. I think very highly of it. It has passages of great power and great beauty, and the general effect to my apprehension is very fine. Did you tell me not to show it? I cannot find the letter which accompanied the manuscript and I may have sinned, for I have shown it to Verplanck who thinks highly of it, and we have agreed that it should be printed.
As for the mode of publication, I would get the booksellers interested if possible in the sale. But these gentry pay nothing for manuscript works, at least they do not in New York unless the previous reputation of the author makes the sale sure. Generally booksellers here are not willing to undertake any risk. The old race of booksellers who did these things, such as Wiley & Eastburn2 have passed away and their successors are careful men who do what is called safe business. There is now a great deal more bookselling enterprize in either Boston or Philadelphia than here. If you could get a bookseller to publish at his own risk and allow you a certain portion of the profits I should think it the best way. But you must not expect to make a great deal of money by a first poetical publication, and then if you should you will be agreeably disappointed.
It is difficult to judge in what manner the public will receive your work. I believe the reception will be respectful. I hope it will be cordial, but fashion has a great deal to do with these things, and though there is a better taste for poetry in this country than there was ten years ago, there are yet a great many who count the syllables on their fingers e. g. Mr. [Robert] Walsh and all that class of men. But we will try what we can do for it.
I have not marked quite all the passages which I thought required amendment, because I was not certain where the fault lay. There is occasionally a startling abruptness in the style, and Matt is treated by the poet who relates the story with a sort of fierce familiarity which is sometimes carried too far. If I have thus, both here and in the notes I have made, dwelt upon the blemishes it is not because they are more numerous