[As usual, dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 3, 698.]
To Sidney Colvin [Colvin 1911, 1, pp. 335-336]
P.O. S.F. Cal. [East Oakland, mid-April 1880.]
My dear Colvin,
I received your letter and proof today, and was greatly delighted with the last. […] I am now out of danger; in but a short while (i.e. as soon as the weather is settled), F[anny] and I marry and go up to the hills to look for a place; ‘I to the hills will lift mine eyes, from whence doth come mine aid’: once the place found, […] the furniture will follow.
There, sir, in, I hope, a ranche among the pine-trees and hard by a running brook, we are to fish, hunt, sketch, study Spanish, French, Latin, Euclid, and History; and, if possible, not quarrel. Far from man, sir, in the virgin forest. Thence, as my strength returns, you may expect works of genius. I always feel as if I must write a work of genius some time or other; and when is it more likely to come off, than just after I have paid a visit to Styx and go thence to the eternal mountains?
Such a revolution in a man’s affairs, as I have somewhere written, would set anybody singing. When we get installed, Lloyd and I are going to print my poetical works; so all those who have been poetically addressed shall receive copies of their addresses. They are, I believe, pretty correct literary exercises, or will be, with a few filings; but they are not remarkable for white-hot vehemence of inspiration; tepid works! respectable versifications of very proper and even original sentiments: kind of Hayleyistic, I fear – but no, this is morbid self-depreciation.
[…] The family is all very shaky in health, but our motto is now Al Monte! in the words of Don Lope, in the play the sister and I are just beating through with two bad dictionaries and an insane grammar.I to the hills. – Yours ever,