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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Extracts of Letters to Cronwright-Schreiner MSC 26/2.16/306
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeExtract
Letter Date5 December 1906
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToS.C. (‘Cron’) Cronwright-Schreiner
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 258
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Extracts of Letters to Cronwright-Schreiner were produced by Cronwright-Schreiner in preparing The Life and The Letters of Olive Schreiner. They appear on slips of paper in his writing, taken from letters that were then destroyed; many of these extracts have also been edited by him. They are artefacts of his editorial practices and their relationship to original Schreiner letters cannot now be gauged. They should be read with considerable caution for the reasons given. Cronwright-Schreiner has written the date and where it was sent from onto this extract. There are some differences between this transcription and the version that appears in The Letters….
1 …It’s a curious day with a thick scotch mist over the mountains.
2I’d like to go out & play golf. It’s the first time I’ve had a
3wish to since you left. ‘Oh call my chummie back to me, I cannot
4play alone.’ Yes, I think Tennyson was a poet & a true poet, but not
5a very great one. A one carat diamond is a diamond & a true diamond,
6but not a large one, & doesn’t equal one of the same water which is
750 carats. I think some of his little lyrics will live as long as the
8English language lasts, “Tears, idle tears”, for instance, is
9immortal. He was not a man with a great intellect, & then the range of
10matter over which he could be a poet & seer was small. He was a poet
11of pensive sweetness, moods of human life & expression like all others,
12 by the poet who supremely feels them, but there is no new note of
13intensity, of reckless force, of passions, in all his works. “Come
14into the garden Maude” is infinitely sweet & tender, but it has no
15breath of fierce passion. Browning, who had felt ^what^ the hunger for
16truth & knowledge was, could write the “Grammarian’s Funeral”,
17pouring into human speech for all time the pure deep saying longing of
18the noblest human intellects for truth & knowledge; Tennyson
19couldn’t, because he hadn’t the intellect to hunger for them, but
20he could write a poem, a true poem, about the old uneducated
21grandmother thinking over the days of her youth. That’s what I