To DAVID VEDDER, 15th January.
Very many thanks for The Pictorial Gift-Book, and the kind note by which it was accompanied. It is a very beautiful volume, both in pictorial embellishment and poetical illustration, and I have derived much pleasure from it. Your own case I understand to be one very similar to my own. In early youth I had many aspiring feelings to dedicate my life to literature, and to literature alone; but I thank God — seeing what I have seen in Galt, in Hogg, in Hood, and other friends — that I had resolution to resolve on a profession, and to make poetry my crutch, and not my staff. I have, in consequence, lost the name which, probably, with due exertion, I might have acquired; but I have gained many domestic blessings which more than counterbalance it, and I can yet turn to my pen, in my short intervals of occasional relaxation, with as much zest as in my days of romantic adolescence. I am delighted to see that a similar frame of mind is your own; and that, from the roughnesses and the prose of life, you have also an elysium, "by Fancy's fingers drest," into which you can on occasions retire. That this may ever remain to you, and that everything good may attend you and yours, is my very sincere wish.