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Adieu, very affectionately, W. C.*
to leave me. It is altogether of the nervous kind, | to write to you. The little taste that I have had and attended, now and then, with much dejection. of your company, and your kindness in finding me A young gentleman called here yesterday, who out, make me wish that we were nearer neighcame six miles out of his way to see me. He was bours, and that there were not so great a disparity on a journey to London from Glasgow, having in our years. That is to say, not that you were just left the university there. He came I suppose older, but that I were younger. Could we have partly to satisfy his own curiosity, but chiefly, as met in earlier life, I flatter myself that we might it seemed, to bring me the thanks of some of the have been more intimate than now we are likely Scotch professors for my two volumes. His name to be. But you shall not find me slow to cultivate is Rose, an Englishman. Your spirits being good, such a measure of your regard, as your friends of you will derive more pleasure from this incident your own age can spare me. When your route than I can at present, therefore I send it. shall lie through this country, I shall hope that the same kindness which has prompted you twice to call on me, will prompt you again, and I shall be happy if, on a future occasion, I may be able to give you a more cheerful reception than can be expected from an invalid. My health and spirits are considerably improved, and I once more associate with my neighbours. My head however has been the worst part of me, and still continues so; is subject to giddiness and pain, maladies very unfavourable to poetical employment; but a preparation of the bark, which I take regularly, has so far been of service to me in those respects, as to encourage in me a hope that by perseverance in the use of it, I may possibly find myself qualified to resume the translation of Homer
TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ.
When I can not walk, I read, and read perhaps more than is good for me. But I can not be idle. The only mercy that I show myself in this respect is, that I read nothing that requires much closeness of application. I lately finished the perusal
Weston, July 24, 1787. THIS is the first time I have written these six months, and nothing but the constraint of obligation could induce me to write now. I can not be so wanting to myself as not to endeavour at least to thank you both for the visits with which you have favoured me, and the poems that you sent me; in my present state of mind I taste nothing, nevertheless I read, partly from habit, and partly because it is the only thing that I am capable of. I have therefore read Burns's poems, and have read them twice; and though they be written in a language that is new to me, and many of them on subjects much inferior to the author's ability, I think them on the whole a very extraordinary production. He is I believe the only poet these king-of a book, which in former years I have more than doms have produced in the lower rank of life, since Shakspeare, (I should rather say since Prior) who need not be indebted for any part of his praise to a charitable consideration of his origin, and the if ever you allow yourself to read for mere amusedisadvantages under which he has laboured. It will be pity if he should not hereafter divest himself of barbarism, and content himself with writing pure English, in which he appears perfectly qualified to excel. He who can command admiration, dishonours himself if he aims no higher than to raise a laugh.
once attacked, but never till now conquered; some other book always interfered, before I could finish it. The work I mean is Barclay's Argenis: and,
ment, I can recommend it to you (provided you have not already, perused it) as the most amusing romance that ever was written. It is the only one indeed of an old date that I ever had the patience to go through with. It is interesting in a high degree; richer in incident than can be imagined, full of surprises, which the reader never
I am, dear sir, with my best wishes for your pros forestalls, and yet free from all entanglement and perity, and with Mrs. Unwin's respects,
Your obliged and affectionate humble servant,
TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ.
Weston, Aug. 27, 1787.
I HAVE not yet taken up the pen again, except
confusion. The style too appears to me to be such as would not dishonour Tacitus himself.
Poor Burns loses much of his deserved praise in this country, through our ignorance of his language. I despair of meeting with any Englishman who will take the pains that I have taken to understand him. His candle is bright, but shut up in a dark lantern. I lent him to a very sensible neighbour of mine: but his uncouth dialect spoiled all; and before he had half read him
*The illness mentioned in this letter interrupted the wri-through, he was quite ram-feezled.
ter's translation of Homer during eight months.
TO LADY HESKETH.
The Lodge, Aug. 30, 1787.
MY DEAREST COUSIN,
I write but little, because writing is become new to me; but I shall come on by degrees. Mrs. Unwin begs to be affectionately remembered to you. She is in tolerable health, which is the chief comfort here that I have to boast of.
Yours, my dearest cousin, as ever, W. C.
THOUGH it cost me something to write, it would cost me more to be silent. My intercourse with my neighbours being renewed, I can no longer seem to forget how many reasons there are, why you especially should not be neglected; no neighbour indeed, but the kindness of my friends, and MY DEAREST COZ, ere long, I hope, an inmate.
TO LADY HESKETH.
The Lodge, Sept. 4, 1787. My health and spirits seem to be mending daily. COME when thou canst come, secure of being To what end I know not, neither will conjecture, always welcome! All that is here is thine, tobut endeavour, as far as I can, to be content that gether with the hearts of those who dwell here. I they do so. I use exercise, and take the air in am only sorry, that your journey hither is necessathe park and wilderness. I read much, but as yet rily postponed beyond the time when I did hope write not. Our friends at the Hall make them- to have seen you; sorry too that my uncle's inselves more and more amiable in our account, firmities are the occasion of it. But years will by treating us rather as old friends, than as friends have their course, and their effect: they are hapnewly acquired. There are few days in which piest, so far as this life is concerned, who like him we do not meet, and I am now almost as much escape those effects the longest, and who do not at home in their house as in our own. Mr. grow old before their time. Trouble and anguish Throckmorton, having long since put me in pos- do that for some, which only longevity does for session of all his ground, has now given me posses- others. A few months since I was older than sion of his library; an acquisition of great value your father is now, and though I have lately reto me, who never have been able to live without covered, as Falstaff says, some smatch of my books, since I first knew my letters, and who have youth, I have but little confidence, in truth none, no books of my own. By his means I have been in so flattering a change, but expect, when I least so well supplied that I have not yet even looked expect it, to wither again. The past is a pledge at the Lounger, for which however I do not for- for the future. get that I am obliged to you. His turn comes next, and I shall probably begin him to-morrow.
Mr. G. is here, Mrs. Throckmorton's uncle. He is lately arrived from Italy, where he has reMr. George Throckmorton is at the Hall. I sided several years, and is so much the gentleman, thought I had known these brothers long enough that it is impossible to be more so. Sensible, poto have found out all their talents and accomplish- lite, obliging; slender in his figure, and in manments. But I was mistaken. The day before ners most engaging-every way worthy to be reyesterday, after having walked with us, they car-lated to the Throckmortons.
ried us up to the library (a more accurate writer I have read Savary's travels into Egypt; Mewould have said conducted us) and then they moirs du Baron de Tott; Fenn's original letters; showed me the contents of an immense port-folio, the letters of Frederick of Bohemia, and am now the work of their own hands. It was furnished reading Memoirs d' Henri de Lorraine, Duc de with drawings of the architectural kind, executed Guise. I have also read Barclay's Argenis, a in a most masterly manner, and among others, con- Latin Romance, and the best Romance that ever tained outside and inside views of the Pantheon, was written. All these, together with Madan's I mean the Roman one. They were all, I believe, letters to Priestley, and several pamphlets, within made at Rome. Some men may be estimated at these two months. So I am a great reader. a first interview, but the Throckmortons must be seen often, and known long, before one can understand all their value.
They often inquire after you, and ask me whether you visit Weston this autumn. I answer yes, and I charge you, my dearest cousin, to
TO LADY HESKETH.
The Lodge, Sept. 15, 1787.
authenticate my information. Write to me, and MY DEAREST COUSIN, tell us when we may expect to see you. We ON Monday last I was invited to meet your were disappointed that we had no letter from you friend Miss J- at the Hall, and there we found this morning. You will find me coated and but- her. Her good nature, her humorous manner, toned according to your recommendation. and her good sense, are charming; insomuch that
even I, who was never much addicted to speech- there never been a throne so execrably tyrannical making, and who at present find myself particu-as theirs. The heads of the innocent that have larly indisposed to it, could not help saying at part-been cut off to gratify the humour or caprice of ing, I am glad that I have seen you, and sorry their tyrants, could they be all collected and disthat I have seen so little of you. We were some-charged against the walls of their city, would not times many in company; on Thursday we were leave one stone on another. fifteen, but we had not altogether so much vivacity. and cleverness as Miss J
O that you were here this beautiful day! It is whose talent at too fine by half to be spent in London. I have a mirth-making has this rare property to recommend perpetual din in my head, and though I am not it, that nobody suffers by it. deaf, hear nothing aright, neither my own voice,
I am making a gravel walk for winter use, un-nor that of others. I am under a tub, from which der a warm hedge in the orchard. It shall be fur- tub accept my best love.
nished with a low seat for your accommodation, and if you do but like it I shall be satisfied. In wet weather, or rather after wet weather, when the street is dirty, it will suit you well, for laying on an easy declivity through its whole length, it must of course be immediately dry.
You are very much wished for by our friends at the Hall-how much by me I will not tell you till the second week in October
Yours, W. C.
TO LADY HESKETH.
MY DEAR COZ,
The Lodge, Sept. 29, 1787.
Yours, W. C.
TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ.
Air and exercise are necessary to all men, but particularly so to the man whose mind labours; I THANK you for your political intelligence; re-and to him who has been all his life accustomed to tired as we are, and seemingly excluded from the much of both, they are necessary in the extreme. world, we are not indifferent to what passes in it; My time since we parted has been devoted entirely on the contrary, the arrival of a newspaper, at the to the recovery of health and strength for this serpresent juncture, never fails to furnish us with a theme for discussion, short indeed, but satisfactory, for we seldom differ in opinion.
vice, and I am willing to hope with good effect. Ten months have passed since I discontinued my poetical efforts; I do not expect to find the same I have received such an impression of the Turks readiness as before, till exercise of the neglected from the memoirs of Baron de Tott, which I read faculty, such as it is, shall have restored it to me. lately, that I can hardly help presaging the con- You find yourself, I hope, by this time as comquest of that empire by the Russians. The disci-fortably situated in your new abode as in a new ples of Mahomet are such babies in modern tac-abode one can be. I enter perfectly into all your tics, and so enervated by the use of their favourite feelings on occasion of the change. A sensible drug; so fatally secure in their predestinarian mind can not do violence even to a local attachdream, and so prone to a spirit of mutiny against ment without much pain. When my father died their leaders, that nothing less can be expected. I was young, too young to have reflected much. In fact, they had not been their own masters at He was Rector of Berkhamstead, and there I was this day, had but the Russians known the weak- born. It had never occurred to me that a parson ness of their enemies half so well as they un- has no fee-simple in the house and glebe he occudoubtedly know it now. Add to this, that there pies. There was neither tree, nor gate, nor stile, is a popular prophecy current in both countries, in all that country, to which I did not feel a relathat Turkey is one day to fall under the Russian tion, and the house itself I preferred to a palace. sceptre. A prophecy which, from whatever au- I was sent for from London to attend him in his thority it be derived, as it will naturally encourage last illness, and he died just before I arrived. Then, the Russians, and dispirit the Turks in exact pro-and not till then, I felt for the first time that I and portion to the degree of credit it has obtained on my native place were disunited for ever. I sighed both sides, has a direct tendency to effect its own a long adieu to fields and woods, from which I accomplishment. In the mean time, if I wish once thought I should never be parted, and was at them conquered, it is only because I think it will no time so sensible of their beauties, as just when be a blessing to them to be governed by any other I left them all behind me, to return no more. hand than their own. For under Heaven has W. C.
TO LADY HESKETH.
that though to a bystander it may seem an occupation surpassing the powers of a constitution never very athletic, and, at present, not a little the The Lodge, Nov. 10, 1787. worse for wear, I can invent for myself no employTHE Parliament, my dearest Cousin, prorogued ment that does not exhaust my spirits more. I continually, is a meteor dancing before my eyes, will not pretend to account for this; I will only say promising me my wish only to disappoint me, and that it is not the language of predilection for a fanone but the king and his ministers can tell when vourite amusement, but that the fact is really so. you and I shall come together. I hope however I have even found that those plaything avocations that the period, though so often postponed, is not far distant, and that once more I shall behold you, and experience your power to make winter gay and sprightly.
which one may execute almost without any atten-
TO LADY HESKETH.
The Lodge, Nov. 27, 1787.
I have a kitten, my dear, the drollest of all creatures that ever wore a cat's skin. Her gambols are not to be described, and would be incredible if they could. In point of size she is likely to be a kitten always, being extremely small of her age, but time I suppose, that spoils every thing, will make her also a cat. You will see her I hope be- sit down contented under the demands of necesfore that melancholy period shall arrive, for no wisdom that she may gain by experience and reflection hereafter, will compensate the loss of her present hilarity. She is dressed in a tortoise-shell suit, and I know that you will delight in her.
sity, because they are such. I am sensible that you can not, in my uncle's present infirm state, and of which it is not possible to expect any considerable amendment, indulge either us, or yourself, with a journey to Weston. Yourself I say, both Mrs. Throckmorton carries us to-morrow in her because I know it will give you pleasure to see chaise to Chicheley. The event however must be Causidice mi* once more, especially in the comsupposed to depend on elements, at least on the fortable abode where you have placed him, and state of the atmosphere, which is turbulent beyond because, after so long an imprisonment in London, measure. Yesterday it thundered, last night it you, who love the country, and have a taste for lightened, and at three this morning I saw the sky it, would of course be glad to return to it. For my as red as a city in flames could have made it. I own part, to me it is ever new, and though I have have a leech in a bottle that foretels all these pro- now been an inhabitant of this village a twelvedigies and convulsions of nature. No, not as you month, and have during the half of that time been will naturally conjecture by articulate utterance at liberty to expatiate, and to make discoveries, I of oracular notices, but by a variety of gesticula- am daily finding out fresh scenes and walks, which tions, which here I have not room to give an ac- you would never be satisfied with enjoying: some count of. Suffice it to say, that no change of of them are unapproachable by you either on foot weather surprises him, and that in point of the or in your carriage. Had you twenty toes (whereearliest and most accurate intelligence, he is worth as I suppose you have but ten) you could not reach all the barometers in the world. None of them them; and coach wheels have never been seen there all indeed can make the least pretence to foretell since the flood. Before it indeed, (as Burnet says thunder-a species of capacity of which he has that the earth was then perfectly free from all inegiven the most unequivocal evidence. I gave but qualities in its surface) they might have been seen sixpence for him, which is a groat more than the there every day. We have other walks both upon market price, though he is in fact, or rather would hill tops, and in valleys beneath, some of which by be if leeches were not found in every ditch, an in- the help of your carriage, and many of them withvaluable acquisition. out its help, would be always at your command.
TO JOSEPH HILL, ESQ.
Nov. 16, 1787.
On Monday morning last, Sam brought me word that there was a man in the kitchen who desired to speak with me. I ordered him in. A plain, decent, elderly figure made its appearance, and being desired to sit, spoke as follows: "Sir, I am I THANK you for the solicitude that you express clerk of the parish of All-saints in Northampton; on the subject of my present studies. The work brother of Mr. C. the upholsterer. It is customary is undoubtedly long and laborious, but it has an for the person in my office to annex to a bill of end, and, proceeding leisurely, with a due attention
to the use of air and exercise, it is possible that I • The appellation which Sir Thomas Hesketh used to give may live to finish it. Assure yourself of one thing, him in jest, when he was of the Temple.
mortality, which he publishes at Christmas, a You say well, my dear, that in Mr. Throckcopy of verses. You would do me a great favour, morton we have a peerless neighbour; we have so. sir, if you would furnish me with one." To this In point of information upon all important subjects, I replied, "Mr. C. you have several men of genius in respect too of expression and address, and in in your town, why have you not applied to some short, every thing that enters into the idea of a genof them? There is a namesake of yours in parti- tleman, I have not found his equal, not often, any cular, C, the statuary, who, every body knows, where. Were I asked who in my judgment apis a first-rate maker of verses. He surely is the proaches nearest to him, in all his amiable quali man of all the world for your purpose."-"Alas! ties, and qualifications, I should certainly answer Sir, I have heretofore borrowed help from him, his brother George, who if he be not his exact but he is a gentleman of so much reading, that counterpart, endued with precisely the same meathe people of our town can not understand him." sure of the same accomplishments, is nevertheless I confess to you, my dear, I felt all the force of the deficient in none of them, and is of a character compliment implied in this speech, and was al- singularly agreeable, in respect of a certain manly, most ready to answer, Perhaps, my good friend, I had almost said, heroic frankness, with which they may find me unintelligible too for the same his air strikes one almost immediately. So far as reason. But on asking him whether he had walked his opportunities have gone, he has ever been as over to Weston on purpose to implore the assist-friendly and obliging to us, as we could wish him, ance of my muse, and on his replying in the af- and were he lord of the Hall to-morrow, would I firmative, I felt my mortified vanity a little con- dare say conduct himself toward us in such a mansoled, and pitying the poor man's distress, which ner, as to leave us as little sensible as possible appeared to be considerable, promised to supply of the removal of its present owners. But all this him. The wagon has accordingly gone this day I say, my dear, merely for the sake of stating the to Northampton loaded in part with my effusions matter as it is; not in order to obviate, or to prove in the mortuary style. A fig for poets who write the inexpedience of any future plans of yours, epitaphs upon individuals! I have written one concerning the place of our residence. Providence that serves, two hundred persons. and time shape every thing; I should rather say Providence alone, for time has often no hand in the wonderful changes that we experience; they take place in a moment. It is not therefore worth while perhaps to consider much what we will, or will not do in years to come, concerning which all that I can say with certainty at present is, that those years will be to me the most welcome, in which I can see the most of you. W. C.
A few days since I received a second very obliging letter from Mr. M. He tells me that his own papers, which are by far, he is sorry to say it, the most numerous, are marked V.I.Z. Accordingly, my dear, I am happy to find that I am engaged in a correspondence with Mr. Viz, a gentleman for whom I have always entertained the profoundest veneration. But the serious fact is, that the papers distinguished by those signatures have ever pleased me most, and struck me as the work of a sensible man, who knows the world well, and has more of Addison's delicate humour than any body.
TO THE REV. WALTER BAGOT. MY DEAR FRIEND, Weston, Dec. 6, 1787. A poor man begged food at the Hall lately. A SHORT time since, by the help of Mrs. ThrockThe cook gave him some vermicelli soup. He morton's chaise, Mrs. Unwin and I reached fadled it about some time with the spoon, and then Chicheley. 'Now," said I to Mrs. Chester, "I returned it to her saying, "I am a poor man it is shall write boldly to your brother Walter, and true, and I am very hungry, but yet I can not çat will do it immediately. I have passed the gulf broth with maggots in it." Once more, my dear, that parted us, and he will be glad to hear it." a thousand thanks for your box full of good things, But let not the man who translates Homer be so useful things, and beautiful things. presumptuous as to have a will of his own, or to promise any thing. A fortnight, I suppose, has elapsed since I paid this visit, and I am only now beginning to fulfil what I then undertook to accomplish without delay. The old Grecian must answer for it.
Yours ever, W. C.
TO LADY HESKETH.
The Lodge, Dec. 4, 1787. I AM glad, my dearest coz, that my last letter proved so diverting. You may assure yourself of the literal truth of the whole narration, and that however droll, it was not in the least indebted to any embellishments of mine.
I spent my morning there so agreeably, that I have ever since regretted more sensibly, that there are five miles of a dirty country interposed between us. For the increase of my pleasure, I had the good fortune to find your brother the bishop there. We had much talk about many things, but most,