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LET. 182, 183.
pline that obtains in almost all schools universally, | sion following. In my last I recommended it to but especially in the largest, which are so negli- you to procure franks for the conveyance of Tirogent in the article of morals, that boys are de- cinium, dated on a day therein mentioned, and the bauched in general the moment they are capable earliest which at that time I could venture to apof being so. It recommends the office of tutor to point. It has happened however that the poem is the father, where there is no real impediment; the finished a month sooner than I expected, and twoexpedient of a domestic tutor, where there is; and thirds of it are at this time fairly transcribed; an the disposal of boys into the hands of a respectable accident to which the riders of a Parnassian steed country clergyman, who limits his attention to two, are liable, who never know, before they mount in all cases where they can not be conveniently him, at what rate he will choose to travel. If he educated at home. Mr. Unwin happily affording be indisposed to despatch, it is impossible to acceme an instance in point, the poem is inscribed to lerate his pace; if otherwise, equally impossible to him. You will now I hope command your hun-stop him. Therefore my errand to you at this ger to be patient, and be satisfied with the luncheon time is to cancel the former assignation, and to That piecemeal inform you that by whatever means you please, that I send, till dinner comes. perusal of the work, sheet by sheet, would be so and as soon as you please, the piece in question disadvantageous to the work itself, and therefore will be ready to attend you; for without exerting so uncomfortable to me, that (I dare say) you will any extraordinary diligence, I shall have completed A poem, thus disjointed, the transcript in a week. wave your desire of it. can not possibly be fit for any body's inspection but the author's.
The critics will never know that four lines of it were composed while I had a dose of ipecacuanha Tully's rule- Nulla dies sine lineâ'-will make on my stomach; in short, that I was delivered of Ithe emetic and the verses in the same moment. a volume in less time than one would suppose. adhered to it so rigidly, that though more than once Knew they this, they would at least allow me to I found three lines as many as I had time to com- be a poet of singular industry, and confess that I pass, still I wrote; and finding occasionally, and lose no time. I have heard of poets who have as it might happen, a more fluent vein, the abun- found catharties of sovereign use, when they had dance of one day made me amends for the barren-occasion to be particularly brilliant. Dryden alness of the other. But I do not mean to write ways used them, and in commemoration of it, blank verse again. Not having the music of rhyme, Bayes in the Rehearsal is made to inform the auit requires so close an attention to the pause, and dience that in a poetical emergency he always had the cadence, and such a peculiar mode of expres- recourse to stewed prunes. But I am the only sion, as to render it, to me at least, the most diffi- poet who has dared to reverse the prescription, and cult species of poetry that I have ever meddled with. whose enterprise, having succeeded to admiration, I am obliged to you, and to Mr. Bacon, for your warrants him to recommend an emetic to all future kind remembrance of me when you meet. No ar- bards, as the most infallible means of producing a tist can excel as he does, without the finest feelings; fluent and easy versification,
and every man that has the finest feelings is, and
must be, amiable. Adieu, my dear friend! Affectionately yours, W. C.
TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.
MY DEAR WILLIAM,
My love to all your family.
Adieu, W. C.
TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN. Nov. 29, 1784. MY DEAR FRIEND, 1784. I AM happy that you are pleased, and accept it THE slice which (you observe) has been taken as an earnest that I shall not at least disgust the from the top of the sheet, it lost before I began to public. For though I know your partiality to me, write: but being a part of the paper which is sel- I know at the same time with what laudable tendom used, I thought it would be pity to discard or derness you feel for your own reputation, and that to degrade to meaner purposes, the fair and ample for the sake of that most delicate part of your proremnant, on account of so immaterial a defect. Iperty, though you would not criticise me with an therefore have destined it to be the vehicle of a let-unfriendly and undue severity, you would however I called you the ter, which you will accept as entire, though a law- beware of being satisfied too hastily, and with no yer perhaps would, without much difficulty, prove warrantable cause of being so. it to be but a fragment. The best recompense I tutor of your two sons, in contemplation of the can make you for writing without a frank is, to certainty of that event-it is a fact in suspense, propose it to you to take your revenge by return- not in fiction. ing an answer under the same predicament; and
My principal errand to you now is to give you the best reason I can give for doing it is the occa-information on the following subject: The moment
Mr. Newton knew (and I took care that he should was peculiar. So is Thomson's. He that should learn it first from me) that I had communicated to write like either of them, would in my judgment you what I had concealed from him, and that you deserve the name of a copyist, but not a poet. A were my authorship's go-between with Johnson judicious and sensible reader therefore, like youron this occasion, he sent me a most friendly letter self, will not say that my manner is not good, beindeed, but one in every line of which I could hear cause it does not resemble theirs, but will rather the soft murmur of something like mortification, consider what it is in itself. Blank verse is susthat could not be entirely suppressed. It contained ceptible of a much greater diversification of mannothing however that you yourself would have ner, than verse in rhyme: and why the modern blamed, or that I had not every reason to consider writers of it have all thought proper to cast their as evidence of his regard to me. He concluded numbers alike, I know not. Certainly it was not the subject with desiring to know something of necessity that compelled them to it. I flatter mymy plan, to be favoured with an extract, by way self however that I have avoided that sameness of specimen, or (which he should like better still) with others which would entitle me to nothing but with wishing me to order Johnson to send him a a share in one common oblivion with them all. It proof as fast as they were printed off. Determin- is possible that, as a reviewer of my former volume ing not to accede to this last request for many rea- found cause to say that he knew not to what class sons (but especially because I would no more show of writers to refer me, the reviewer of this, whoever my poem piecemeal, than I would my house if I he shall be, may see occasion to remark the same had one; the merits of the structure, in either case, singularity. At any rate, though as little apt to being equally liable to suffer by such a partial be sanguine as most men, and more prone to fear view of it), I have endeavoured to compromise the and despond, than to overrate my own producdifference between us, and to satisfy him without tions, I am persuaded that I shall not forfeit any disgracing myself. The proof sheets I have abso- thing by this volume that I gained by the last. As lutely though civilly refused. But I have sent him to the title, I take it to be the best that is to be a copy of the arguments of each book, more di- had. It is not possible that a book, including such lated and circumstantial than those inserted in the a variety of subjects, and in which no particular work; and to these I have added an extract as he one is predominant, should find a title adapted to desired; selecting, as most suited to his taste them all. In such a case, it seemed almost necesThe view of the restoration of all things-which sary to accommodate the name to the incident that you recollect to have seen near the end of the last gave birth to the poem; nor does it appear to me, book. I hold it necessary to tell you this, lest, if that because I performed more than my task, thereyou should call upon him, he should startle you fore the Task is not a suitable title. A house by discovering a degree of information upon the would still be a house, though the builder of it subject, which you could not otherwise know how should make it ten times as big as he at first into reconcile, or to account for. tended. I might indeed, following the example
I should do myself wrong: for though it have much variety, it has I trust no confusion.
You have executed your commissions à mer- of the Sunday newsmonger, call it the Olio. But veille. We not only approve, but admire. No apology was wanting for the balance struck at the bottom, which we accounted rather a beauty than a deformity. Pardon a poor poet, who can not speak even of pounds, shillings, and pence, but in his own way.
For the same reason none of the interior titles apply themselves to the contents at large of that book to which they belong. They are, every one of them, taken, either from the leading (I should I have read Lunardi with pleasure. He is a say the introductory) passage of that particular lively, sensible young fellow, and I suppose a very book, or from that which makes the most conspifavourable sample of the Italians. When I look cuous figure in it. Had I set off with a design to at his picture, I can fancy that I see in him that good sense and courage that no doubt were legible in the face of a young Roman, two thousand years
write upon a gridiron, and had I actually written near two hundred lines upon that utensil, as I have upon the Sofa, the gridiron should have been my title. But the Sofa being, as I may say, the Your affectionate W. C. starting post from which I addressed myself to the long race that I soon conceived a design to run, it acquired a just pre-eminence in my account, and was very worthily advanced to the titular honours it enjoys, its right being at least so far a good one, that no word in the language could pretend a bet
TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON.
Dec. 13, 1784.
MY DEAR FRIEND, HAVING imitated no man, I may reasonably ter. hope that I shall not incur the disadvantage of a The Time-piece appears to me (though by comparison with my betters. Milton's manner some accident the import of the title has escaped
you) to have a degree of propriety beyond most his two sons only"-by way of insinuating, that of them. The book to which it belongs is in-you are perfectly satisfied with your present tended to strike the hour that gives notice of ap-charge, and that you do not wish for more; thus proaching judgment, and dealing pretty largely in meaning to obviate an illiberal construction, which the signs of the times, seems to be denominated, we are both of us incapable of deserving. But as it is, with a sufficient degree of accommodation the same caution not having appeared to you to be to the subject. necessary, I am very willing and ready to suppose that it is not so.
Yours affectionately, W. C.
As to the word worm, it is the very appellation which Milton himself, in a certain passage of the I intended in my last to have given you my reaParadise Lost, gives to the serpent. Not having sons for the compliment I have paid Bishop Bagot, the book at hand, I can not now refer to it, but I lest, knowing that I have no connexion with him, am sure of the fact. I am mistaken, too, if Shak-you should suspect me of having done it rather speare's Cleopatra do not call the asp, by which too much at a venture. In the first place then, I she thought fit to destroy herself, by the same wished the world to know that I have no objecBut not having read the play these five- tion to a bishop, quià bishop. In the second and-twenty years, I will not affirm it. They are, place, the brothers were all five my schoolfellows, however, without all doubt convertible terms. A and very amiable and valuable boys they were. worm is a small serpent, and a serpent is a large Thirdly, Lewis, the bishop, had been rudely and And when an epithet significant of the coarsely treated in the Monthly Review, on acmost terrible species of those creatures is adjoined, count of a sermon, which appeared to me, when I the idea is surely sufficiently ascertained. No ani- read their extract from it, to deserve the highest mal of the vermicular or serpentine kind is crested, commendations, as exhibiting explicit proof both but the most formidable of all. of his good sense, and his unfeigned piety. For these causes me thereunto moving, I felt myself happy in an opportunity to do public honour to a worthy man, who had been publicly traduced; and indeed the Reviewers themselves have since repented of their aspersions, and have traveled not a little out of their way in order to retract them, I CONDOLE with you, that you had the trouble having taken occasion by the sermon preached at to ascend St. Paul's in vain, but at the same time the bishop's visitation at Norwich, to say every congratulate you, that you escaped an ague. I thing handsome of his lordship, who, whatever should be very well pleased to have a fair pros- might be the merit of the discourse, in that inpect of a balloon under sail, with a philosopher or stance at least could himself lay claim to no other two on board, but at the same time should be very than that of being a hearer. sorry to expose myself, for any length of time, to Since I wrote, I have had a letter from Mr. the rigour of the upper regions, at this season, for Newton, that did not please me, and returned an the sake of it. The travellers themselves I sup- answer to it, that possibly may not have pleased pose are secured from all injuries of the weather him. We shall come together again soon (I supby that fervency of spirit and agitation of mind, pose) upon as amicable terms as usual. But at which must needs accompany them in their flight; present he is in a state of mortification. He advantages which the more composed and phleg-would have been pleased, had the book passed out matic spectator is not equally possessed of. of his hand into yours, or even out of yours into
TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
Dec. 18, 1784.
The inscription of the poem is more your own his, so that he had previously had opportunity affair than any other person's. You have, there- to advise a measure which I pursued without his fore, an undoubted right to fashion it to your recommendation, and had seen the poems in manumind, nor have I the least objection to the slight script. But my design was to pay you a whole alteration that you have made in it. I inserted compliment, and I have done it. If he says more what you have erased for a reason that was per- on the subject, I shall speak freely, and perhaps haps rather chimerical than solid. I feared, how- please him less than I have done already.
Yours, with our love to all, W. C.
ever, that the Reviewers, or some of my sagacious readers, not more merciful, than they, might suspect that there was a secret design in the wind; and that author and friend had consulted in what manner author might introduce friend to public notice, as a clergyman every way qualified to en- MY DEAR FRIEND, tertain a pupil or two, if peradventure any gen- I AM neither Mede nor Persian, neither am I tleman of fortune were in want of a tutor for his the son of any such, but was born at Great Berkchildren. I therefore added the words-" And of hamsted, in Hertfordshire, and yet I can neither
TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON.
find a new title for my book, nor please myself |scribed poem was not inscribed to himself. But with any addition to the old one. I am however we shall jumble together again, as people that willing to hope that, when the volume shall cast have an affection for each other at bottom, notitself at your feet, you will be in some measure withstanding now and then a slight disagreement, reconciled to the name it bears, especially when always do.
you shall find it justified both by the exordium of I know not whether Mr.
the poem, and by the conclusion. But enough, in consequence of your hint, or whether, not as you say with great truth, of a subject very un-needing one, he transmitted to us his bounty, beworthy of so much consideration. fore he had received it. He has however sent us Had I heard any anecdotes of poor dying a note for twenty pounds; with which we have that would have bid fair to deserve your attention, performed wonders, in behalf of the ragged and the I should have sent them. The little that he is re-starved. He is a most extraordinary young man, ported to have uttered of a spiritual import, was and, though I shall probably never see him, will not very striking. That little however I can give always have a niche in the museum of my reveyou upon good authority. His brother asking rential remembrance.
him how he found himself, he replied, "I am very The death of Dr. Johnson has set a thousand composed, and think that I may safely believe my-scribblers to work, and me among the rest. While self entitled to a portion." The world has had I lay in bed, waiting till I could reasonably hope much to say in his praise, and both prose and that the parlour might be ready for me, I invoked verse have been employed to celebrate him in the the muse, and composed the following Epitaph.* Northampton Mercury. But Christians (I sup- It is destined (I believe) to the Gentleman's pose) have judged it best to be silent. If he ever Magazine, which I consider as a respectable repodrank of the fountain of life, he certainly drank sitory for small matters, which, when intrusted to also, and often too freely, of certain other streams, a newspaper, can expect but the duration of a day. which are not to be bought without money and But Nichols having at present a small piece of without price. He had virtues that dazzled the mine in his hands, not yet printed, (it is called the natural eye, and failings that shocked the spirit-Poplar Field, and I suppose you have it) I wait ual one.
But iste dies indicabit.
TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.
till his obstetrical aid has brought that to light, before I send him a new one. In his last he published my epitaph upon Tiney; which (I likewise imagine) has been long in your collection."
Not a word yet from Johnson. I am easy however upon the subject, being assured that so long as his own interest is at stake, he will not want a monitor to remind him of the proper time to pub
MY DEAR WILLIAM, Olney, Jan. 15, 1785.
You and your family have our sincere love. Forget not to present my respectful compliments to Miss Unwin, and, if you have not done it already, thank her on my part for the very agreeable narrative of Lunardi. He is a young man (I presume) of great good sense and spint, (his letters at least, and his enterprising turn, bespeak him such) a man qualified to shine not only among the stars, but in the more useful, though humbler
I can hardly tell you with any certainty of in-sphere of terrestrial occupation. formation, upon what terms Mr. Newton and I I have been crossing the channel in a balloon, may be supposed to stand at present. A month ever since I read of that achievement by Blanch(I believe) has passed, since I heard from him. ard. I have an insatiable thirst to know the phiBut my friseur, having been in London in the losophical reason, why his vehicle had like to have course of this week, whence he returned last fallen into the sea, when for aught that appears night, and having called at Hoxton, brought me the gas was not at all exhausted. Did not the his love, and an excuse for his silence, which (he extreme cold condense the inflammable air, and said) had been occasioned by the frequency of his cause the globe to collapse? Tell me, and be my preachings at this season. He was not pleased Apollo for ever! that my manuscript was not first transmitted to him, and I have cause to suspect that he was even
mortified at being informed, that a certain in
'See Cowper's Poems.
TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
Feb. 7, 1785.
usual, was not long since discoursing with that eloquence which is so peculiar to himself, on the many providential interpositions that had taken place in his favour. "He had wished for many We live in a state of such uninterrupted retire- things (he said) which, at the time when he formed ment, in which incidents worthy to be recorded those wishes, seemed distant and improbable, some occur so seldom, that I always sit down to write of them indeed impossible. Among other wishes with a discouraging conviction that I have nothing that he had indulged, one was, that he might be to say. The event commonly justifies the presage. connected with men of genius and ability--and in For when I have filled my sheet, I find that I have my connexion with this worthy gentleman (said said nothing. Be it known to you, however, that he, turning to me,) that wish, I am sure, is amply I may now at least communicate a piece of intelli- gratified." You may suppose that I felt the sweat gence to which you will not be altogether indif- gush out upon my forehead, when I heard this ferent, that I have received, and returned to John- speech; and if you do, you will not be at all misson, the two first proof sheets of my new publica- taken. So much was I delighted with the delication. The business was despatched indeed a cy of that incense. fortnight ago, since when I have heard from him Thus far I proceeded easily enough; and here no further. From such a beginning however II laid down my pen, and spent some minutes in venture to prognosticate the progress, and in due recollection, endeavouring to find some subject, time the conclusion, of the matter. with which I might fill the little blank that remains. But none presents itself. Farewell, therefore, and remember those who are mindful of you!
In the last Gentleman's Magazine my Poplar Field appears. I have accordingly sent up two pieces more, a Latin translation of it, which you have never seen, and another on a Rose-bud, the neck of which I inadvertently broke, which, whether you have seen or not, I know not. As fast as Nichols prints off the poems I send him, I send
Present our love to all your comfortable fireside, and believe me ever most affectionately yours,
They that read Greek with the accents would him new ones. My remittance usually consists pronounce the inx as an . But I do not of two; and he publishes one of them at a time. hold with that practice, though educated in it. I I may indeed furnish him at this rate, without should therefore utter it just as I do the Latin putting myself to any great inconvenience. For word filio, taking the quantity for my guide. my last supply was transmitted to him in August, and is but now exhausted.
TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.
MY DEAR WILLIAM,
I communicate the following anecdote at your mother's instance, who will suffer no part of my praise to be sunk in oblivion. A certain Lord has hired a house at Clifton, in our neighbourhood, I THANK you for your letter. It made me laugh, for a hunting seat. There he lives at present and there are not many things capable of being with his wife and daughter. They are an exem- contained within the dimensions of a letter, for plary family in some respects, and (I believe) an which I see cause to be more thankful. I was amiable one in all. The Reverend Mr. Jones, pleased too to see my opinion of his Lordship's the curate of that parish, who often dines with nonchalance upon a subject that you had so much them by invitation on a Sunday, recommended my at heart, completely verified. I do not know that volume to their reading; and his Lordship, after the eye of a nobleman was ever dissected. I can having perused a part of it, expressed to the said not help supposing however that, were that organ, Mr. Jones an ardent desire to be acquainted with as it exists in the head of such a personage, to be the author, from motives which my great modesty accurately examined, it would be found to differ will not suffer me to particularize. Mr. Jones, materially in its construction from the eye of a however, like a wise man, informed his Lordship, commoner; so very different is the view that men that for certain special reasons and causes I had in an elevated, and in an humble station, have of declined going into company for many years, and the same object. What appears great, sublime, that therefore he must not hope for my acquaint-beautiful, and important, to you and to me, when His Lordship most civilly subjoined, that submitted to the notice of my lord, or his grace, he was sorry for it. "And is that all?" say you. and submitted too with the utmost humility, is Now were I to hear you say so, I should look either too minute to be visible at all, or if seen, foolish and say "Yes.”—But having you at a seems trivial, and of no account. My supposition distance, I snap my fingers at you, and say,-"No, therefore seems not altogether chimerical. who favours us now In two months I have corrected proof sheets to and then with his company in an evening, as the amount of ninety-three pages, and no more.
that is not all."-Mr.