Whingate, Peaslake. - Likes Bob's style in his "Epistles" 'increasingly, and thinks the form good; it manages to 'introduce argumentation, which is generally... a mistake in poetry'; Bob's [translation of] Lucretius had the 'same tone'. It is 'pleasant to read', though he expects it cost Bob 'toil of craftsmanship perhaps travail of soul'. Sees Bob in the epistles as 'a wise, & mature, elder brother' who sympathises with the reader's 'infirmities' since he 'feels his own'; he does not seek to force agreement on the reader (Buxton quotes Browning, "One Word More"), but is 'gently persuasive' and allows the reader to doubt when he '(perhaps)' doubts himself. Bob is no 'more sceptical' with age, nor 'less sweet and gentle and inclined to reconciliation', which Buxton appreciates as 'a (would-be) Quaker'.
All this applies to a certain extent to the two new poems as well, though they are different to the epistles and have 'vast & terrifying' subjects. Has been discussing the same question, about civilisation and books, with V. [his sister Victoria?], [his wife] Dorothy and [daughter] Eglantyne: he has been claiming that no great harm would be done if historic buildings and old master paintings were 'bombed out of existence', but that ideas must be cultivated and books kept, so the people living in Bob's 'little green settlements would not be civilised men'. Knows that he is taking Bob too seriously. The '"Piers Plowman" vision' poem is a more serious piece; remembers the theme of Bob's earlier poem; thinks he remembers Goethe saying that even the devil 'could be (or did he say would be?) redeemed in the end'; does not know what to think himself, but Bob seems to him to present the theme correctly. Would like to learn why Bob wants to '"deflate" the rhetoric of an earlier handling'; this might illuminate Milton, Goethe and Meredith's practice in their own later years; sympathises with the feeling though does not know why, as he has never succeeded in finding 'any essential difference between "Youth" and "Age", though everyone says there is'.Values Bob's 'assertion that there is [underlined] a sprig of Justice and Lovingkindness among common men, which will somehow assert itself'; doubt about this is 'the most terrible scepticism of all'. Thinks this 'declaration of faith' is the modern equivalent of the creeds of Athanasius and others.
Returns Bob's two poems with thanks [no longer present]; also includes a few chapters of his "Essay" ["Prophets of Heaven & Hell: Virgil, Dante, Milton, Goethe : an introductory essay" ?", with an outline, to show what he 'dream[s] of' writing; Bob should not trouble too much about it, but any comment from him would be 'highly valued', and there is no great rush.