To Florence Earle Coates (Stedman)
To Florence Earle Coates.
December 29, 1904.
My generous Woman-friend, my Poet rare and fine: Your book with such distinction throughout, and with its felicitous title, has just reached me, and it is impossible for me to put into words my emotion as I see that you have given me more title than even your warmest votaries to inclusion within the golden "liberties" of "Mine and Thine."
My dear lyrist, you,—than whom no woman of selecter station, no singer of more noble aim,—have conferred upon me what I recognize, and what all will pronounce, to be the richest tribute I ever have received.
That you should say to the world that even the smallest portion of the love and comprehension which you gave to Arnold you are willing to extend to me—this, I say, puts me out of language for humble thanks and wonderment. But my deepest feelings certainly go to you in return. None, save your husband, knows so well as I what a largesse of sympathy, admiration, remembrance, the genius of Arnold and the heart of Arnold have obtained from you. That I, who—if only for my waste of the last few years—am not worthy to kneel by his grave, should have you strive to lift me has unsealed the fountains of my aging eyes.
Then, too, the beautiful sonnet, which—in spite of the unworthiness of him who at least has lived to give it cause—has become a classic, consecrates this volume of your perfected song, for me and mine, beyond other books in which I have had a personal association.
I can say no more to-day, except that I tried to visit you in the summer and could not. Afterwards I could not even write you. Your letters have been always with me. I shall write you soon. The Sharps (Mrs. Sharp you would love at sight—a womanly woman) were at Bronxville with us on Thanksgiving Day, and regretted they must sail from Boston without visiting Philadelphia. The next morning I came to New York, and "Mine and Thine" must have reached Casa Laura after I left, as it comes to-day in a parcel with other books. Your dedication moves me greatly, as you see by my wild and wandering words. May I dwell in your starlight to the end!