26 April 1982

Dear Eliot,

      a word of extenuation, if I may. I'm in the trough of one of my periodic downswings: so I don't at the moment much relish the task of choosing music for the funeral service of a non-christian, or anyone else for that matter. I can however contribute an anecdote, which always cheers me up whenever I think of it. For the Golders Green cremation of a well-known (non-christian) music-critic the family's wish for a Bach Chorale was garbled on the telephone, with the result that the great man was wafted with eternity to the strains of the Barcarolle (from The Tales of Hoffmann). I don't know that it corresponds too closely with the stipulation "could properly be endowed with the spirit of worship and mystery", let alone "should have nobility and if possible sublimity" (who is it who writes like that?) but I have no doubt that it was well suited to the occasion.

      I trust you are well and cheerful. I made so bold as to give your address to Hugh Calvert, who may have some questions about your thesis: I was sure you'd help him if you could.

      I heard the other day from my mad friend Jack Leslau, who assures me that Tom (sic) Merriam has proved by computer that Shakespeare's Sonnets were written by Sir Thomas More to his daughter Margaret. It's a great consolation to me to know that there are worse lunatics than I am, still at large!

       Best regards, yours Eric