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Letter from Thomas MacGreevy to George Yeats. 11 December 1931.

[p.1 recto]

Ecole Normale
11th December 1931

My dear George,

I'm sorry about the delay in the W.H.B. but the copy Steve Passeur had is introuvable and the only other spare one I found I had was the first typing which has to be gone over again. But I'll send it shortly. I have been very busy at my own book and trying to make a little in francs now that pounds are so hopeless. And the French friend who is revising it with me has been ill. I'm afraid Peyron let me down over detail, like tutoyage etc. Everyone says that in the main it's good but these small thoughtlessnesses give most trouble and the correction of them ruins the script.

I sent a word to the Lennoxes for Xmas, thinking over what you said. But I had forgotten about them and it brought back the kind of upset that the whole business has been. However they're out of my imagination again so it's all right. I had of course sent my good wishes etc. for both of them to Lennox who told me in about a dozen words. Dolly made no sign which was wise of her. I also sent my second Dolphin to them jointly but got no acknowledgement. I'm not at all sure that failing a present which [p.1 verso]I couldn't afford I was called upon to do any more in the circumstances. And God knows my feeling that I don't ever want to see Dolly again hasn't modified. Which isn't at all to say that I'm resentful. Every possible blessing to her as long as she lives. I don't know whether I'm capable of getting at my real feeling. It was as if she had annihilated me and I don't feel that I exist, or that I'm of any importance to myself or anyone else, since I heard it. It has paralysed me somewhere. I got it out of my imagination after a fortnight and from then until I wrote the other day I felt no more and now again I'm perfectly all right, only inexistent. But I daresay one comes to life again. And perhaps I may find another faith. She was my faith in not letting oneself be run away with by one's instincts, in sticking to what was sensible and good, in refusing to become a flamboyant figure of the kind who has so often stirred W.B. to his own kind of great poetry. However enough about it. Only you mustn't think I was being "a pig". On the contrary the least piggish thing I could do was to say nothing at all. Perhaps if Dolche had written me I'd have found something honest and sympathetic to say but without that stimulus nothing I wrote would have escaped either flagrant hypocrisy or discordance. Lennox's way of letting me know was of a deliberate casualness that would have shocked me if, knowing him so well, I hadn't realized that it came from his own inadequateness. And he's neither here nor there in the matter. He has never been a human being in the full sense though he is a dear phenomenon enough. Dolche is a human being and responsible for what she does. He is not. And I'm terrified to think of her in that beastly country of speakeasies and [p.1 recto]general disgustingness for anyone who like her loves peace and sympathy and only reasonable not unreasonable excitement. To hell with that anyhow. It's only fit for Americans, primitives and cretins.

The script will come along as soon as ever I can get it through. I was glad to see about The Dreaming of the Bones in the Independent. If you have any copies of The Irish Press to throw away maybe you'd send them to me. I wonder would they take an occasional literary article.

May you and W.B. and Michael and our lady Anne be happy this Xmas and in 1932 and always.


I saw Ezra's new book. Fancy a creature who pretends to admire the author of The Resurrection discussing the author of Polyeucte in a scornful parentheses. God help the poor idiot. And Eliot sent his last poem to Joyce inscribed "Domine non sum dignus." More cretinism.

Voyage vers Byzance..
— I Ce pays d'ou je viens ?? n'est point fait pour des vièllards; les jeunes gens dans les brus l'un de l'autre, les oìseaux dans les arbres,
Ces gèneràtions mourantes, à leur chanson,
les barrages à saumon, la mer grouillante de magnereaux,
poisson, chair on gìbier vent celebrant, au long de l'Eté
tout ce quì s'engendre, nait ou meurt
prisonniers de cette musique des sens tous nègligent
les monuments à jamais jeunes de l'Esprit.

II Un vieil home n'est plus qu'une piêtre chose,
une difrogne en lambeaux au bout d'un baton, à moins que
Son âme ne batte des mains et ne chante, ne chante toujours plus haut chaque fois,
Pour chaque lambeau de sa vêture mortelle;
et il n'est point d'autre école pour le chant que l'étude
des monuments de sa proper splendeur,
c'st pourquoi j'aì franchi les mers et suis renu
vers la Sainte ville de Byzance.

III O Sages qui vous dressez dans le flames sacreés du feu Divin,
Comme sur la mosaïque d'or d'une muraille,
Quittez le feu Divin et tournez la meule dans un cercle mystique,
Qye votre maîtrise guide mon âme dans ses chants,
Consumez parfaitement mon coeur, malade du Dèsir
et attaché à une bête mourante;
il ne sait par ce qu'il est; recueillez mor
dans le grand oeuvresein de l'artifice de l'èternité!

IV Une fois sorti de la Nature, je n'emprunterai Jamais
ma forme materielle à des objets de sa façon,
mais choìsirai Des formes telles qu'en forgent les erfèvres Hellènes
pour tenir éveillé quelque?? Empereur somnolent
ou pour chanter, percheè sur quel un Rameau d'or.
aux seìgneurs et nobles dames de Byzance
Les choses qui ont passé, passent et survièndront —