[Letterhead: Goupil Paris]

Paris, 6 Oct. 1875

My dear Theo,
Even though I wrote to you only recently, I want to do so again anyway, because I know how difficult life can sometimes be. Keep your chin up, old boy, after rain comes sunshine, just keep hoping for that.
Rain and sunshine alternate on ‘the road that goes uphill all the way, yes to the very end’, and from time to time one also rests on ‘the journey that takes the whole day long, from morn till night’.1 So think now and often after this, that ‘this also will pass away’.2
And especially, you too should ask: Create in me a new heart, O God;  1r:2 and renew a right spirit within me.3
Today I had the opportunity to send a package to Anna and Willemien. Among other things I sent her L’imitation de Jesus Christ4 and several books of the Bible, published separately, in the same edition as the Psalms I sent you.
Read them faithfully. Would you perhaps like the 4 Gospels and some of the epistles, printed separately?
I also sent Anna several prints – including Rembrandt, Reading the Bible and The supper at Emmaus (an old engraving, by De Frey, I believe),5 Philippe de Champaigne, Portrait of a lady,6 a large, beautiful etching after Chaigneau, Shepherdess and sheep,7 and then Dupré, Evening,8 Troyon, Morning,9 Bodmer, Fontainebleau,10 Français, Last fine days,11 Frère, Seamstresses, and A cooper,12 Daubigny, After sunset,13 &c. &c., as well as a couple of photos, namely of Delaroche, Gethsemane No. 424, Good Friday and Mater Dolorosa14 and Brion, The farewells.15
I hope so much that things will continue to go well for Anna there. She keeps up her courage, I know so well that she sometimes finds things so difficult.
And yet ‘one has one’s good days’ as Jules Dupré often said,16 let’s go on believing that.  1v:3
I’d very much like to have the Dutch hymns. When you get the opportunity, do you think you could manage to send the cheapest edition that can be found? I have the Psalms.
There are also some beautiful English hymns,b including this one:

Thy way not mine, o Lord
However dark it be,
Lead me by thine own hand
Choose out the path for me.

I dare not choose my lot;
I would not if I might;
Choose Thou for me, my God,
So shall I walk aright.

The kingdom that I seek,
Is thine; so let the way
That leads to it be thine
Else I must surely stray.

Choose Thou for me my friend
My sickness, or my health;
Choose Thou my cares for me,
My poverty my wealth.

Not mine, not mine, the choice
In things or great or small
Be Thou my Guide my strength
My wisdom and my all.17

and the following:

Nearer my God to Thee
Nearer to Thee!
E’en though it be a cross
That raiseth me;
Still all my song shall be
Nearer my God to Thee
Nearer to Thee.  1v:4

Though like a wanderer,
The sun gone down,
Darkness come over me
My rest a stone;
Yet in my dreams I’d be
Nearer, my God, to Thee
Nearer to Thee!

There let my way appear
Steps unto Heaven;
All that Thou sendest me
In mercy given
Angels to beckon me
Nearer, my God, to Thee
Nearer to Thee.18

Oft in sorrow and in woe
Onward, Christians, onward go;
Fight the fight, maintain the strife,
Strengthen’d with the bread of life.

Let your drooping hearts be glad;
March in heavenly armour clad:
Fight, nor think the battle long,
Soon shall vict’ry tune your song

Let not sorrow dim your eye,
Soon shall ev’ry tear be dry;
Let not fear your course impede,
Great your strength, if great your need!19

Give my regards to my acquaintances. How is Caroline van Stockum? Give my special regards to her, and believe me

Your most loving brother

Does the road go uphill then all the way?
‘Yes to the very end’.
And will the journey take all day long?
‘From morn till night, my friend’.20


Br. 1990: 053 | CL: 41
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: Paris, Wednesday, 6 October 1875

a. ‘Drooge einden’: to be understood as difficult periods in one’s life.
1. Taken from the first stanza of the poem ‘Up-hill’ by Christina Georgina Rossetti, which was very popular at the time. See The complete poems of Christina Rossetti. Ed. R.W. Crump. 3 vols. Baton Rouge and London 1979-1990, vol. 1, pp. 65-66, 256, 317-320.
2. Saying: ‘This, too, will pass away’ (Nathaniel Hawthorne, The marble faun 1860); ‘And this, too, shall pass away’ (Abraham Lincoln in 1859, attributing it to an Eastern monarch). See John Bartlett, Familiar quotations. London 1968, pp. 615a, 636b.
5. For Reading the Bible, see letter 37, n. 4. The etching Les pélerins d’Emmaüs after Rembrandt’s Pilgrims at Emmaus [1724] is indeed by Johannes Pieter de Frey and is dated 1802. De Frey made two versions, one of which appeared in a series of prints published by the Louvre called ‘La Chalcographie Nationale’ (Amsterdam, Rijksprentenkabinet). Ill. 1740 [1740].
[1724] [1740]
7. Jean Ferdinand Chaigneau made many animal paintings and was even called ‘the painter of sheep’ and ‘the Raphael of sheep’. The edition Eaux-fortes modernes, publiées par la Société des Aquafortistes contains three etchings of shepherdesses with sheep; Moutons en plaine (Sheep in the plain) (30.5 x 20 cm); Le petit troupeau (The little flock) (23.3 x 18 cm) and Femme gardant des moutons (Woman guarding sheep) (20 x 27.1 cm) (Paris, BNF, Cabinet des Estampes). Ill. 1741 [1741]. The last is reproduced here. See Bailly-Herzberg 1972, vol. 1, p. 67, no. 49; p. 98, no. 91 and p. 101, no. 104; vol. 2, pp. 36-37.
8. This print of Evening by Jules Dupré is most likely the lithograph mentioned in letter 37. Other prints Van Gogh could have been referring to are an engraving by Louvry, and the etching by E. Daumont after the canvas Evening (Nantes, Musée des Beaux-Arts, dépôt du Louvre), published in L’Art. See Aubrun 1974, p. 143, cat. no. 321. Louis Journot also made an etching called Le soir (Evening) after Dupré. See Chalcographie 1954, p. 171, no. 6729.
9. Possibly the reproduction mentioned in letter 37.
12. Regarding Frère’s ‘Cooper’, see letter 37, n. 21.
13. This could be either of two etchings by Daubigny: one after Soleil couché (Setting sun) by J. Veyrassat (Salon 1857, no. 690), published in L’Artiste (27 June 1858); and the other after Soleil couchant (Sunset) (Salon 1859, no. 768), reproduced in Gazette des Beaux-Arts 1-2 (1859), facing p. 294. Ill. 1742 [1742]. See Henriet 1875, p. 170, no. 690 and pp. 132-133, nos. 84 and 172.
[71] [72] [1742]
14. The comma Van Gogh placed after the number 424 indicates that the photographs of the works by Delaroche were included in the ‘Musée Goupil’ series: no. 424, Ghetsémané (Gethsemane); no. 239, Vendredi Saint (Good Friday); no. 989, Mater Dolorosa. The photograph of the Brion (see n. 15) was also part of this series. These reproductions were also included in Goupil’s ‘Carte-album’ series (produced from the same negatives but in a smaller format): no. 424, Good Friday; no. 679, Gethsemane; no. 422, Mater Dolorosa (Bordeaux, Musée Goupil). Ill. 1743 [1743], ill. 1744 [1744] and ill. 1745 [1745].
[1743] [1744] [1745]
15. The photograph of Gustave Brion, Les adieux (The farewells), was included in the ‘Musée Goupil’ series (Bordeaux, Musée Goupil). Ill. 1746 [1746].
16. Although the exact source has not been traced, the remark will stem from the following dictum of ‘un excellent paysagiste’ (an excellent landscapist), recorded in Charles Blanc’s Grammaire des arts du dessin (1870), p. 681: ‘Les peintres font de la peinture dans leurs bons et leurs mauvais jours; mais ils ne font de l’eau-forte que dans leurs bons jours’ (Painters make paintings on their good and bad days; but they make etchings only on their good days). That this utterance stems from Jules Dupré emerges from Karl Eugen Schmidt, Künstlerworte. Leipzig 1906, p. 296.
b. Van Gogh wrote the Dutch word ‘gezangen’ and then added ‘hymns’.
17. Hymn no. 265. By Horatius Bonar, Hymns of faith and hope (1857). Van Gogh leaves out the second and fifth verses. See The cyber hymnal (www.cyberhymnal.org).
18. Hymn no. 277. By Sarah F. Adams. Van Gogh leaves out the last two verses.
19. Hymn no. 291. By Henry K. White and Frances S. Fuller-Maitland. Van Gogh leaves out the second, third and sixth verses. See The cyber hymnal (www.cyberhymnal.org).
20. On Rossetti, see n. 1 above.