128. 21 February 1998 [ES] (French words and mélodies)

previously unpublished; © the estate of eric sams and beatrice cazac (Mrs. Mathew’s letters)

My dear Hayat,

   Thanks for your card, from which I rather gather that I've failed to keep you au fait with the latest démarches (ci-jointes). Perhaps I'm into French, and hence (at not too far a remove) into Latinity, because of the need to rally my failing forces with all manner of Gallic utterances and watchwords such as 'il est haut, il est haut' (anglicé 'tally-ho'). All the expressions I now need as rallying, not to say tallying, cries seem to be words of French consonance or derivation, such as 'élan', 'esprit', etc.

   I've even been listening to mélodies (such a good bold direct dashing name for songs) with renewed delight, and perhaps a measure of delighted renewal, with traces of 'renaissance', 'jouissance' etc.; or, to re-invest your own bright coinage, 'retrouvailles'. Something to do with springtime, perhaps. Anyhow, it was kind of you as well as à propos (there I go again) to enquire about The Real Shakespeare Part II, of which, as it happens, I'm just about to provide Yale with a synopsis.

   Kindest thoughts (French again: there's pansies [=pensées], that's for thoughts) meanwhile.

   Yours as ever



P.S. I've been reading Prof. Helen Vendler on the Sonnets, with admiration and bewilderment in equal measure. How beautiful those poems are; wild music burthens every bough.