After that we spoke about poetry. He does not think anyone but a great poet, who gives up his life to it, should attempt to write any. He says there is always a good deal of vanity in it; and it spoils one's ear for good poetry to compose bad. Mama had been speaking of our poetry; Ruskin asked Andy to repeat some, saying it would be very pretty of her to do so, after all he had been saying against it. She did so, and I think he was pleased with it, and the more so when he heard it had taken a long time to write. He said that he could not judge of it by hearing it in that way, and he should like a copy.
Ockey is drawing at Marlboro' House, and Ruskin is at work in another room; so he comes up once or twice to look at her work.
January 5th, 1858.
Ruskin to Octavia.
My dear Octavia,
I am very glad you and your sisters and friend enjoyed the pictures, and that you see how beautiful they are. They are quite infinite. I cannot understand how any human work can possess so much of the inexhaustibleness of nature.
Do not be sorry that you cannot see beautiful places at present. The first sensation is a thing to look forward to with hope. It cannot be had twice—it does not not much matter whether it comes sooner or later.
My lecture is at Kensington on the 13th of this month. If you find difficulties in getting admission, write to me, and I will get you a ticket or two.
I send you a new etching, and the print finished.