The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters

CCXIII. To Gustave Flaubert Nohant, 28 January, 1872

Your preface is splendid and the book [Footnote: Dernieres Chansons, by Louis Bouilhet.] is divine! Mercy! I have made a line of poetry without realizing it, God forgive me. Yes, you are right, he was not second rank, and ranks are not given by decree, above all in an age when criticism undoes everything and does nothing. All your heart is in this simple and discreet tale of his life. I see very well now, why he died so young; he died from having lived too extensively in the mind. I beg of you not to absorb yourself so much in literature and learning. Change your home, move about, have mistresses or wives, whichever you like, and during these phases, must change the end that one lights. At my advanced age I throw myself into torrents of far niente; the most infantile amusements, the silliest, are enough for me and I return more lucid from my attacks of imbecility.

It was a great loss to art, that premature death. In ten years there will not be one single poet. Your preface is beautiful and well done. Some pages are models, and it is very true that the bourgeois will read that and find nothing remarkable in it. Ah! if one did not have the little sanctuary, the interior little shrine, where, without saying anything to anyone, one takes refuge to contemplate and to dream the beautiful and the true, one would have to say: “What is the use?”

I embrace you warmly.

Your old troubadour.

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