1811 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe

Lady Charlotte Bury to Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, 17 March 1811; Letters from and to Charles Kirkpatrick Sharp (1888) 1:443-45.



No. 2 LOWER CADOGAN PLACE,

Sunday, 17th March 1811.

Your letter, dear Mr. Sharpe, has but one fault — it is too short. and a fair damsel to whom I read it, exclaimed, "I wish it had been a mile longer! "A mile! pray think of the force of the expression. I would not exchange it for any other, however it might be more appropriate, because it could not be half so flattering.

As to the "beastliness" of your drawing, I really cannot discover it. It is true there are beasties in it, but your beasties are all beauties, and I would not barter them for Venus's. Then your beauties, tho' I confess them to be more terrestrial than celestial goddess's, are still goddess's; and so how can I excuse a fault I cannot discover?

Without further words, I admire your drawing, and value it, and am much obliged to you for the trouble you have taken in executing it for me.

The extracts, also, about my ancestors, not to mention the compliment "par bricole" to myself, are all safely received, duely valued, and, I hope, properly acknowledged.

I am glad you are at last, after all your comical distresses, settled in a lodging you like, and that allows you time, space, and inclination to employ your talents so much to the satisfaction of your friends and acquaintance. Pray go on and prosper, but do not grow so fond of your Accademick shades as to forget entirely the sunshine of dissipation, and the d—ble delights of London.

I go about like other fools in quest of pleasure, and I generally find ennui. When by any accident I stay at home, I am sometimes agreeably surprised by a visit from pleasure. One assembly is so like another, everybody so dress'd out in their company face, so tired of themselves and of their pursuits, so dully gay and so gaily dull, it would really require somewhat of your genius to make any attempt at describing them the least entertaining.

Your description of the rising generation does not hold out any fairer prospect for some time to come. However, after all this grumbling against men, women, and children, I think there are a few elect who make the world very endurable, and I have no wish to try another, tho' I have indulged my spleen against the present one. You will gather from my wise comments that I have not been much amused lately, and will reasonably refer it to my want of being amusing, of which THIS SAME, as we say, is no feeble proof.

As to your Satanic genius, vulgarly yclept Mr. Shelley, as all my sex, since the days of Eve, have had something to do with the Evil Spirit, I confess your account of him inclines me to accept your offer, and I shall like to have a peep into the infernal regions of his imagination. In short, this letter means to say: "Thank ye for my dinner, dawty; what'll ye gie me to my supper?"

After this confession, I have nothing more to say than that I am, with regard, your obliged and diverted

CHARLOTTE MARIA CAMPBELL.

RAMSGATE, 19th Aug. 1817.