New York Nov. 11, 1833.
My dear Sir.
I am much obliged to you certainly for giving yourself so much pains about my verses. Since you think so ill of "the Robber" as to place it below any thing I have written, it shall not go into my book, and I formally authorize you to take the proper measures for excluding it. 1
The phrase in the Past "wisdom disappeared" I am not quite certain is a defect. I have sometimes thought it was a boldness. Disappeared is used nearly in the sense of vanished, departed, passed away, but with more propriety than vanished, since that relates to a sudden disappearance. At all events I do not find it easy to alter the stanza without spoiling it. 2
It was the Edinburgh Review which remarked on the rhyme boughs and bows in the Evening Wind. The grammar of the three last lines in that stanza is probably not clear for the critic blundered in copying it, and made nonsense of the passage. Suppose the rhyme and the construction to be amended in this manner
Go, play beneath the linden that o'erbrows
The darkling glen where dashing waters pass,
And stir in all the fields, the fragrant grass.
And let the second line in the same stanza read thus
Curl the still fountain bright with stars and rouse, &c. 3
As to the passage in the Forest Hymn, remarked upon by Wilson I see that in attempting to mend it I have marred the unity and effect of the passage. The truth is that an alteration ought never to be made without the mind being filled with the subject. In mending a faulty passage in cold blood we often do more mischief by attending to particulars and neglecting the entire construction and sequence of ideas, than we do good. 4 I think a better alteration than I made would be this
Communion with his Maker. These dim vaults,
These winding aisles of human pomp or pride
Report not. No fantastic carvings show &c &c. 5
As to the other passage in the same poem, about "Life" and "blooms and smiles," I remember very well when I wrote the word "blooms" that I had a vague idea of its impropriety, but did not know why, until you showed me. I have rung half a dozen changes on the faulty lines--you shall choose--
--yea, seats himself
Upon the tyrant's throne--the sepulchre--