After having included in his book ‘Sonnets of the Century’ two poems of RLS’s (The Touch of Life and The Arabesque), William Sharp received this reply (see previous post).
[For correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 5, 1547.]
To William Sharp [E. Sharp, W. Sharp: A Memory, 1910 p. 118]
[Skerryvore, ? Mid-February 1886]
Dear Mr. Sharp,
It is very good of you, and I should like to be in one of your pleasant and just notes; but the impulse was one of pure imitation and is not like to return, or if it did, to be much blessed.
I have done so many things, and cultivated so many fields in literature, that I think I shall let the “scanty plot” lie fallow.
I forgot to say how much taken I was with Beaconsfield’s lines (scarce a sonnet indeed) on Wellington. I am engaged with the Duke, and I believe I shall use them.
I think the “Touch of Life” is the best of my snapshots;
but the other was the best idea.
The fun of the sonnet to me is to find a subject; the workmanship rebuts me.
Thank you for your kind expressions, and believe me,
Robert Louis Stevenson