[Dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 5, 1729.]
To Sidney Colvin [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 356-357]
Skerryvore, Dec. 14, 1886
My dear Colvin,
This is first-rate of you, the Lord love you for it! I am truly much obliged. He – my father – is very changeable; […] at times, he seems only a slow quiet edition of himself; again, he will be very heavy and blank; but never so violent as last spring; and therefore, to my mind, better on the whole.
Fanny is pretty peepy; I am splendid. I have been writing much verse – quite the bard, in fact; and also a dam tale to order, which will be what it will be: I don’t love it, but some of it is passable in its mouldy way, The Misadventures of John Nicholson […].
All my bardly exercises are in Scotch; I have struck my somewhat ponderous guitar in that tongue to no small extent: with what success, I know not, but I think it’s better than my English verse; more marrow and fatness, and more ruggedness.
How goes Keats?
Pray remark, if he (Keats) hung back from Shelley, it was not to be wondered at, when so many of his friends were Shelley’s pensioners.
I forget if you have made this point; it has been borne in upon me reading Dowden and the Shelley Papers;
and it will do no harm if you have made it. I finished a poem today, and writ 3,000 words of a story, tant bien que mal; and have a right to be sleepy, and (what is far nobler and rarer) am so. – My dear Colvin, ever yours,
The Real Mackay