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stitution may break in nine years, and sickness that opens into that orchard, through which, as I may disqualify him for improving what he enter- am sitting here, I shall see you often pass, and prised in the days of health. His inclination may which therefore I already prefer to all the orchards change, and he may find some other employment in the world. You do well to prepare me for all more agreeable, or another poet may enter upon possible delays, because in this life all sorts of disthe same work, and get the start of him. There- appointments are possible, and I shall do well, if fore, my friend Horace, though I acknowledge any such delay of your journey should happen, to your principle to be good, I must confess that I practise that lesson of patience which you inculthink the practice you would ground upon it car- cate. But it is a lesson which, even with you for ried to an extreme. The rigour that I exercised my teacher, I shall be slow to learn. Being sure upon the first book, I intend to exercise upon all however that you will not procrastinate without that follow, and have now actually advanced into cause, I will make myself as easy as I can about the middle of the seventh, no where admitting it, and hope for the best. To convince you how more than one line in fifty of the first translation. much I am under discipline, and good advice, I You must not imagine that I had been careless will day aside a favourite measure, influenced in and hasty in the first instance. In truth I had doing so by nothing but the good sense of your connot; but in rendering so excellent a poet as Homer trary opinion. I had set my heart on meeting you into our language, there are so many points to be at Newport. In my haste to see you once again, attended to both in respect to language and num-I was willing to overlook many awkwardnesses I hers, that a first attempt must be fortunate indeed could not but foresee would attend it. I put them if it does not call aloud for a second. You saw the specimen, and you saw (I am sure) one great fault in it; I mean the harshness of some of the elisions. I did not altogether take the blame of these to myself, for into some of them I was actually driven and hunted by a series of reiterated objections made by a critical friend, whose scruples and delicacies teazed me out of all my patience. But no such monsters will be found in the volume. Your brother Chester has furnished me with Last Monday in the evening we walked to Barnes's Homer, from whose notes I collect here Weston, according to our usual custom. It hapand there some useful information, and whose fair pened, owing to a mistake of time, that we set and legible type preserves me from the danger of out half an hour sooner than usual. This misbeing as blind as was my author. I saw a sister take we discovered while we were in the wilderof yours at Mr. Throckmorton's, but I am not goodness. So, finding that we had time before us, as at making myself heard across a large room, and they say, Mrs. Unwin proposed that we should go therefore nothing passed between us. I felt how-into the village, and take a view of the house that ever that she was my friend's sister, and I much I had just mentioned to you. We did so, and esteemed her for your sake. found it such a one as in most respects would suit Ever yours, W. C. you well. But Moses Brown, our vicar, who, as I told you, is in his eighty-sixth year, is not bound P. S. The swan is called argutus (I suppose) to die for that reason. He said himself, when he a non arguendo, and canorus a non canendo. was here last summer, that he should live ten But whether he be dumb or vocal, more poetical years longer, and for aught that appears so he than the eagle or less, it is no matter. A feather may. In which case, for the sake of its near of either, in token of your approbation and esteem, neighbourhood to us, the vicarage has charms for will never, you may rest assured; be an offence me, that no other place can rival. But this and a thousand things more, shall be talked over when you come.
TO LADY HESKETH.
Olney, May 25, 1786.
aside so long as I only foresaw them myself, but since I find that you foresee them too, I can no longer deal so slightly with them. It is therefore determined that we meet at Olney. Much I shall feel, but I will not die if I can help it, and I beg that you will take all possible care to outlive it likewise, for I know what it is to be balked in the moment of acquisition, and should be loath to know it again.
We have been industriously cultivating our acquaintance with our Weston neighbours since I wrote last, and they on their part have been equally diligent in the same cause. I have a notion that we shall all suit well. I see much in them both that I admire. You know perhaps that they are
I HAVE at length, my cousin, found my way into my summer abode. I believe that I described it to you some time since, and will therefore now leave catholics. it undescribed. I will only say that I am writing It is a delightful bundle of praise, my cousin, in a bandbox, situated, at least in my account, de- that you have sent me. All jasmine and lavenlightfully, because it has a window in one side der. Whoever the lady is, she has evidently an
admirable pen, and a cultivated mind. If a per- may glow in us to our last hour, and be renewed son reads, it is no matter in what language, and if in a better world, there to be perpetuated for ever. the mind be informed, it is no matter whether For you must know, that I should not love you that mind belongs to a man or a woman. The half so well, if I did not believe you would be my taste and the judgment will receive the benefit friend to eternity. There is not room enough for alike in both. Long before the Task was published friendship to unfold itself in full bloom, in such a I made an experiment one day, being in a frolick-nook of life as this. Therefore I am, and must, some mood, upon my friend. We were walking and will be, Yours for ever, W. C. in the garden, and conversing on a subject similar to these lines
The few that pray at all, pray oft amiss,
And seeking grace t' improve the present good,
TO LADY HESKETH.
Olney, May 29, 1784.
THOU dear, comfortable cousin, whose letters,
I repeated them, and said to him with an air of among all that I receive, have this property pecunonchalance, Do you collect those lines? Iliarly their own, that I expect them without have seen them somewhere, where are they?" He trembling, and never find any thing that does not put on a considering face, and after some deliber-give me pleasure; for which therefore I would ation replied—“O, I will tell you where they must take nothing in exchange that the world could be-in the Night Thoughts." I was glad my give me, save and except that for which I must trial turned out so well, and did not undeceive exchange them soon (and happy shall I be to do him. I mention this occurrence only in confirmation of the letter-writer's opinion, but at the same time I do assure you, on the faith of an honest man, that I never in my life designed an imitation of Young, or of any other writer; for mimicry is my abhorrence, at least in poetry.
so), your own company. That, indeed, is delayed
Assure yourself, my dearest cousin, that both for your sake, since you make a point of it, and for my own, I will be as philosophically careful as possible, that these fine nerves of mine shall not be beyond measure agitated when you arrive. In truth, there is much greater probability that they will be benefited, and greatly too. Joy of heart, from whatever occasion it may arise, is the best of all nervous medicines; and I should not wonder if such a turn given to my spirits should have even a lasting effect, of the most advantageous kind, upon them. You must not imagine neither, that I am on the whole in any, great degree subject Every day I think of you, and almost all the to nervous affections; occasionally I am, and have day long; I will venture to say, that even you been these many years, much liable to dejection. were never so expected in your life. I called last But at intervals, and sometimes for an interval of week at the Quaker's to see the furniture of your weeks, no creature would suspect it. For I have bed, the fame of which had reached me. It is, I not that which commonly is a symptom of such a assure you, superb, of printed cotton, and the subcase belonging to me: I mean extraordinary ele-ject classical. Every morning you will open your vation in the absence of Mr. Bluedevil. When eyes on Phaton kneeling to Apollo, and implorI am in the best health, my tide of animal sprightli- ing his father to grant him the conduct of his ness flows with great equality, so that I am never, May your sleep be as sound as at any time, exalted in proportion as I am somesumptuous, and your nights at times depressed. My depression has a cause, and if that cause were to cease, I should be as cheerful thenceforth, and perhaps for ever, as any man need be. But, as I have often said, Mrs. Unwin shall be my expositor.
chariot for a day.
I shall send up the sixth and seventh books of the Iliad shortly, and shall address them to you. You will forward them to the General. I long to show you my workshop, and to see you sitting on Adieu, my beloved cousin. God grant that our the opposite side of my table. We shall be as friendship which, while we could see each other, close packed as two wax figures in an old fashnever suffered a moment's interruption, and which ioned picture frame. I am writing in it now. It so long a separation has not in the least abated, is the place in which I fabricate all my verse in
summer time. I rose an hour sooner than usual, | minster.) If these things are so, and I am sure this morning, that I might finish my sheet before that you can not gainsay a syllable of them all, breakfast, for I must write this day to the General. then this consequence follows; that I do not proThe grass under my windows is all bespangled mise -myself more pleasure from your company with dewdrops, and the birds are singing in the than I shall be sure to find. Then you are my apple trees, among the blossoms. Never poet had cousin, in whom I always delighted, and in whom a more commodious oratory in which to invoke I doubt not that I shall delight even to my latest his muse. hour. But this wicked coach-maker has sunk
. I have made your heart ache too often, my my spirits. What a miserable thing it is to depoor dear cousin, with talking about my fits of de- pend, in any degree, for the accomplishment of a jection. Something has happened that has led wish, and that wish so fervent, on the punctuality .me to the subject, or I would have mentioned of a creature who I suppose was never punctual them more sparingly. Do not suppose, or suspect in his life! Do tell him, my dear, in order to that I treat you with reserve; there is nothing in quicken him, that if he performs his promise, he which I am concerned that you shall not be made shall make my coach, when I want one, and that acquainted with. But the tale is too long for a if he performs it not will most assuredly emletter. I will only add for your present satisfac-ploy some other man.
tion, that the cause is not exterior, that it is not The Throckmortons sent a note to invite us to within the reach of human aid, and that yet I dinner—we went, and a very agreeable day we have a hope myself, and Mrs. Unwin a strong had. They made no fuss with us, which I was persuasion of its removal. I am indeed even now, heartily glad to see, for where I give trouble I am and have been for a considerable time, sensible of sure that I can not be welcome. Themselves, a change for the better, and expect, with good and their chaplain, and we, were all the party. reason, a comfortable lift from you. Guess then, After dinner we had much cheerful and pleasant my beloved cousin, with what wishes I look for- talk, the particulars of which might not perhaps ward to the time of your arrival, from whose com- be so entertaining upon paper, therefore all but ing I promise myself not only pleasure, but peace one I will omit, and that I will mention only beof mind, at least an additional share of it. At cause it will of itself be sufficient to give you an present it is an uncertain and transient guest insight into their opinion on a very important subwith me, but the joy with which I shall see and ject-their own religion. I happened to say that converse with you at Olney, may perhaps make in all professions and trades mankind affected an it an abiding one.
TO LADY HESKETH.
air of mystery. Physicians, I observed, in particular, were objects of that remark, who persist in prescribing in Latin, many times no doubt to the hazard of a patient's life, through the ignorance of an apothecary. Mr. Throckmorton asOlney, June 4 and 5, 1786. sented to what I said, and turning to his chaplain, AH! my cousin, you begin already to fear and to my infinite surprise observed to him, “ That is quake. What a hero am I, compared with you. just as absurd as our praying in Latin." I could I have no fears of you. On the contrary am as have hugged him for his liberality, and freedom bold as a lion. I wish that your carriage were from bigotry, but thought it rather more decent to even now at the door. You should soon see with let the matter pass without any visible notice. I how much courage I would face you. But what therefore heard it with pleasure, and kept my cause have you for fear? Am I not your cousin, pleasure to myself. The two ladies in the mean with whom you have wandered in the fields of time were tête-à-tête in the drawing-room. Their Freemantle, and at Bevis's Mount? who used to conversation turned principally (as I afterwards read to you, laugh with you, till our sides have learned from Mrs. Unwin) on a most delightful ached, at any thing, or nothing? And am I in topic, viz. myself. In the first place, Mrs. Throckthese respects at all altered? You will not find morton admired my book, from which she quoted me so; but just as ready to laugh, and to wander, by heart more than I could repeat, though I so as you ever knew me. A cloud perhaps may lately wrote it.
come over me now and then, for a few hours, but In short, my dear, I can not proceed to relate from clouds I was never exempted. And are not what she said of the book, and the book's author, you the identical cousin with whom I have per- for that abominable modesty that I can not even formed all these feats? The very Harriet whom yet get rid of. Let it suffice to say that you, who I saw, for the first time, at De Grey's, in Norfolk- are disposed to love every body who speaks kindly street? (It was on a Sunday, when you came of your cousin, will certainly love Mrs. Throckwith my uncle and aunt to drink tea there, and I morton, when you shall be told what she said of had dined there, and was just going back to West- him, and that you will be told is equally certain,
because it depends on Mrs. Unwin, who will tell | There never was any thing more truly Grecian you many a good long story for me, that I am than that triple epithet, and were it possible to not able to tell for myself. I am however not at introduce it into either Iliad or Odyssey, I should all in arrear to our neighbours in the matter of certainly steal it. I am now flushed with expecadmiration and esteem, but the more I know tation of Lady Hesketh, who spends the summer them, the more I like them, and have nearly an with us. We hope to see her next week. We affection for them both. I am delighted that the have found admirable lodgings both for her and Task has so large a share of the approbation of suite, and a Quaker in this town, still more adyour sensible Suffolk friend. mirable than they, who, as if he loved her as
I received yesterday from the General another much as I do, furnishes them for her, with real letter of T. S. An unknown auxiliary having elegance. started up in my behalf, I believe I shall leave the business of answering to him, having no leisure myself for controversy. He lies very open to a very effectual reply.
My dearest cousin adieu! I hope to write to you but once more before we meet. But oh! this coachmaker, and oh! this holyday week!
Yours, with impatient desire to see you,
TO JOSEPH HILL, ESQ. ·
TO JOSEPH HILL, ESQ.
Olney, June 19, 1786. My dear cousin's arrival has, as it could not fail to do, made us happier than we ever were at Olney. Her great kindness in giving us her company is a cordial that I shall feel the effect of, not only while she is here but while I live.
Olney will not be much longer the place of our habitation. At a village two miles distant we MY DEAR FRIEND, Olney, June 9, 1784. have hired a house of Mr. Throckmorton, a much THE little time that I can devote to any other better than we occupy at present, and yet not purpose than that of poetry is, as you may sup- more expensive. It is situated very near to our pose, stolen. Homer is urgent. Much is done, most agreeable landlord, and his agreeable pleabut much remains undone, and no schoolboy is sure grounds. In him, and in his wife, we shall more attentive to the performance of his daily task find such companions as will always make the than I am. You will therefore excuse me if at time pass pleasantly while they are in the counpresent I am both unfrequent and short. try, and his grounds will afford us good air, and The paper tells me that the Chancellor has good walking room in the winter; two advantages elapsed, and I am truly sorry to hear it. The which we have not enjoyed at Olney, where I first attack was dangerous, but a second must be have no neighbour with whom I can converse, more formidable still. It is not probable that I and where, seven months in the year, I have been should ever hear from him again if he survive; imprisoned by dirty and impassable ways, till yet of the much that I should have felt for him, both my health and Mrs. Unwin's have suffered had our connexion never been interrupted, I still materially. feel much. Every body will feel the loss of a man whose abilities have made him of such general importance.
I correspond again with Colman, and upon the most friendly footing, and find in his instance, and in some others, that an intimate intercourse, which had been only casually suspended, not forfeited on either side by outrage, is capable not only of revival, but of improvement.
Homer is ever importunate, and will not suffer me to spend half the time with my distant friends that I would gladly give them. W. C.
TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN. MY DEAR WILLIAM, Olney, July 3, 1784. AFTER a long silence I begin again. A day I had a letter some time since from your sister given to my friends, is a day taken from Homer, Fanny, that gave me great pleasure. Such no- but to such an interruption, now and then occurtices from old friends are always pleasant, and of ring, I have no objection. Lady Hesketh is, as such pleasures I had received many lately. They you observe, arrived, and has been with us near a refresh the remembrance of early days, and make fortnight. She pleases every body, and is pleased me young again. The noble institution of the in her turn with every thing she finds at Olney; is Nonsense Club will be forgotten, when we are always cheerful and sweet-tempered, and knows gone who composed it; but I often think of your no pleasure equal to that of communicating pleamost heroic line, written at one of our meetings, sure to us and to all around her. This disposiand especially think of it when I am translating tion in her is the more comfortable, because it is Homer
"To whom replied the Devil yard-long-tailed."
not the humour of the day, a sudden flash of benevolence and good spirits, occasioned merely by
a change of scene, but it is her natural turn, and most impassable dirt to get at them. Both your has governed all her conduct ever since I knew mother's constitution and mine have suffered maher first. We are consequently happy in her socie- terially by such close and long confinement, and ty, and shall be happier still to have you to partake it is high time, unless we intend to retreat into with us in our joy. I am fond of the sound of the grave, that we should seek out a more wholebells, but was never more pleased with those of some residence. So far is well, the rest is left to Olney than when they rang her into her new ha- Heaven. bitation. It is a compliment that our performers I have hardly left myself room for an answer to upon those instruments have never paid to any your queries concerning my friend John, and his other personage (Lord Dartmouth excepted) since studies. I should recommend the civil war of we knew the town. In short, she is, as she ever Cæsar, because he wrote it, who ranks I believe was, my pride and my joy, and I am delighted as the best writer, as well as soldier, of his day with every thing that means to do her honour. There are books (I know not what they are, but Her first appearance was too much for me; my you do, and can easily find them) that will inform spirits, instead of being gently raised, as I had in-him clearly of both the civil and military manageadvertently supposed they would be, broke downment of the Romans, the several officers, I mean, with me under the pressure of too much joy, and in both departments; and what was the peculiar left me flat, or rather melancholy, throughout the province of each. The study of some such book day, to a degree that was mortifying to myself, would I should think prove a good introduction and alarming to her. But I have made amends to that of Livy, unless you have a Livy with for this failure since, and in point of cheerfulness have far exceeded her expectations, for she knew that sable had been my suit for many years.
notes to that effect. A want of intelligence in
TO THE REV. WALTER BAGOT.
Olney, July 4, 1786.
And now I shall communicate news that will give you pleasure. When you first contemplated the front of our abode, you were shocked. In your eyes it had the appearance of a prison, and you sighed at the thought that your mother lived in it. Your view of it was not only just, but prophetic. It had not only the aspect of a place I REJOICE, my dear friend, that you have at built for the purposes of incarceration, but has ac- last received my proposals, and most cordially tually served that purpose through a long, long thank you for all your labours, in my service. I period, and we have been the prisoners. But a have friends in the world who, knowing that I gaol-delivery is at hand. The bolts and bars are am apt to be careless when left to myself, are deto be loosed, and we shall escape. A very differ-termined to watch over me with a jealous eye ent mansion, both in point of appearance and ac- upon this occasion. The consequence will be, commodation, expects us, and the expense of liv- that the work will be better executed, but more ing in it not greater than we are subjected to in tardy in the production. To them I owe it, that this. It is situated at Weston, one of the pret my translation, as fast as it proceeds, passes under tiest villages in England, and belongs to Mr. a revisal of a most accurate discerner of all bleThrockmorton. We all three dine with him to- mishes. I know not whether I told you before, or day by invitation, and shall survey it in the after- now tell you for the first time, that I am in the noon, point out the necessary repairs, and finally hands of a very extraordinary person. He is inadjust the treaty. I have my cousin's promise timate with my bookseller, and voluntarily offered that she will never let another year pass without his service. I was at first doubtful whether to a visit to us; and the house is large enough to accept it or not; but finding that my friends take us, and her suite, and her also, with as many abovesaid were not to be satisfied on any other of hers as she shall choose to bring. The change terms, though myself a perfect stranger to the will I hope prove advantageous both to your mo- man and his qualifications, except as he was rether and me in all respects. Here we have no commended by Johnson, I at length consented, neighbourhood, there we shall have most agreea- and since found great reason to rejoice that I did. ble neighbours in the Throckmortons. Here we I called him an extraordinary person, and such he have a bad air in winter, impregnated with the is. For he is not only versed in Homer, and accufishy smelling fumes of the marsh miasma; there rate in his knowledge of the Greek to a degree that we shall breathe in an atmosphere untainted. entitles him to that appellation, but, though a foHere we are confined from September to March, reigner, is a perfect master of our language, and and sometimes longer; there we shall be upon the has exquisite taste in English poetry. By his very verge of pleasure-grounds in which we can assistance I have improved many passages, supalways ramble, and shall not wade through al- plied many oversights, and corrected many mis