Daniel Walters at Iolo Morganwg, 27 Mehefin 1782

(NLW 21283E, rhif. 512)

Letter 512

Daniel Walters to Iolo Morganwg

27 June 1782

Address: none. Postmark: none
Source: NLW 21283E, no. 512

Norwich, 27 June 1782
Dear Sir,

Though I have been for this half-year or more in constan[t] expectation of an answer to the letter I wrote you and have not yet received one, I know you too well and respect you too much to be angry or affronted at your long silence. I am myself very dilatory and indolent in many respects but yet, you see, I do not suffer my laziness to prevent me from writing to a friend even two letters before I receive an answer. I hope it will not be long after you receive this ere you let me hear from you and be assured that any thing which comes from you will give me the greatest pleasure.

I think if we could establish a little literary correspondence between yourself, my brother and me it might be productive of mutual gratification, if not improvement. We might impose on each other the innocent and sometimes, perhaps, agreeable task of reading such books as we should be able, from perusal, to recommend and ask opinions concerning them. If any difficulties or obscure passages should occur in our several studies, by consulting each other we might be able, perhaps, to clear them up.

In the course of this correspondence, should it take place, there will arise little disputes and controversies in which our gravest and most solid arguments will be introduced with pleasantry and good humour and which will tend solely to the discovery of the truth in those points which are the subjects of them. I, being the weakest, must, I suppose, generally go to the wall, but I will hold out as long as I can and nothing but conviction shall make me quit my ground.

We may, in this literary intercourse, privately review and give our opinions on publications, either old or new. It will be a thing of considerable advantage to accustom ourselves to read with a critical eye, for many books of real merit are hurried over and laid aside from a habit of superficial and slovenly reading, while the flimsy jargon of others gratifies a false taste and the verbose and sounding period pleases more than the solid argument and the sensible remark.

If this scheme meets your approbation I shall be heartily glad, but, I must confess, I am here acting a selfish part as I am conscious that though I shall be foremost in zeal I shall be last in ability and that I expect to reap more advantage and to receive more information than my poor capacity will enable me to communicate.

Have you ever read Rowley's (or Chatterton's) Poems? If you have not, I will send my father and you some extracts. Be sure to say something about this in your letter that I may not tell you what you already know. It is my way when I read a book, to mark every beautiful, remarkable, or instructive passage and when this is done I transcribe them into a kind of Common-place-book. I have done thus by Rowley's poems and am now about Shakespeare. I have likewise collected anecdotes and made extracts from various other books. Whatever occurs in the literary way that deserves particular notice is treasured up in this repository. At the end I have an index.

My good friend, be communicative. Write to me (as I do to you) in an unreserved and friendly manner. Tell me how you are employed and send me some little piece of poetry. But let me hear from you soon for I shall be very impatient and believe me to be,
your very sincere friend,
Daniel Walters

Pray give my Compliments to Mrs Williams, who I hope is well.