85. 1 March 1996 [ES] (Nashe; Brahms)

previously unpublished; © the estate of eric sams and beatrice cazac (Mrs.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

Dear Hayat,

   I'm dining out on your Bacon hits. Thanks for the latest helping.

   I've just discovered a work I should have read years ago, namely Charles Nicholl's A Cup of News 1984, all about Nashe; againmarvellously well researched, like the Marlowe book that you and I both admired. You don't by any chance have Nicholl's address? I seem to recall that you also saw his quest for Rimbaud on TV; a worthy successor to Verlaine, who was also always chasing Rimbauds, as the song goes.

   A propos, Brahms calls, and I must seek to conjure and placate his shade. Steig auf, geliebter Schatten, as one of his songs is called. When he felt particularly cheerful, he sang 'Das Grab ist meine Freude'. His is the muse of melancholy, even in the major and even at pitch. Transpose him downwards and the last forlorn hope dies, the last lingering ray of the setting sun finally fades, and the left hand disappears down the keyboard and falls off the end.

   Farewell for now; take care,

   Best, as ever,

   Yours Eric