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ever since. Mr. Gregson is gone, and the Hall is and a great instance of good fortune I account it
I took notice of the
and wish for your return.
Adieu, W. C.
TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ.
TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
If you have any book, that you think will make pleasant evening reading, bring it with you. I The Lodge, July 23, 1789. You do well, my dear sir, to improve your op- supper, and shall probably have finished them benow read Mrs. Piozzi's Travels to the ladies after portunity; to speak in the rural phrase, this is fore we shall have the pleasure of seeing you. It your sowing time, and the sheaves you look for can is the fashion, I understand, to condemn them. never be yours unless you make that use of it. But we who make books ourselves are more merThe colour of our whole life is generally such as ciful to book-makers. I would that every fastidithe three or four first years, in which we are ourous judge of authors were himself obliged to write; own masters, make it. Then it is that we may there goes more to the composition of a volume be said to shape our own destiny, and to treasure than many critics imagine. I have often wondered up for ourselves a series of future successes or dis-that the same poet who wrote the Dunciad should appointments. Had I employed my time as wise-have written these lines,
The mercy I to others show,
was the measure of the mercy he received! he was the less pardonable too, because experienced in all the difficulties of composition.
ly as you, in a situation very similar to yours, I had never been a poet perhaps, but I might by this time have acquired a character of more im- Alas! for Pope, if the mercy he showed to others portance in society; and a situation in which my friends would have been better pleased to see me. But three years misspent in an attorney's office were almost of course followed by several more equally misspent in the Temple, and the conse- when I can not write much without disordering I scratch this between dinner and tea; a time quence has been, as the Italian epitaph says, "Sto my noddle, and bringing a flush into my face. qui."-The only use I can make of myself now, You will excuse me therefore if, through respect at least the best, is to serve in terrorem to others, for the two important considerations of health and when occasion may happen to offer, that they may beauty, I conclude myself, escape (so far as my admonitions can have any weight with them) my folly and my fate. When you feel yourself tempted to relax a little of the strictness of your present discipline, and to indulge in amusement incompatible with your future interests, think on your friend at Weston.
Ever yours, W. C.
TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ.
Having said this, I shall next with my whole MY DEAR FRIEND, Weston, Sept, 24, 1789. heart invite you hither, and assure you that I look you staid till now, you would have had the pleaYou left us exactly at the wrong time. Had forward to approaching August with great pleasure of hearing even my cousin say—“I am cold.” sure, because it promises me your company. Af--And the still greater pleasure of being warm ter a little time (which we shall wish longer) spent yourself; for I have had a fire in the study ever with us, you will return invigorated to your studies, and pursue them with the more advantage. In the mean time you have lost little, in point of season, by being confined to London. Incessant rains, and meadows under water, have given to the summer the air of winter, and the country has been deprived of half its beauties.
since you went. It is the fault of our summers, that they are hardly ever warm or cold enough. Were they warmer, we should not want a fire; and were they colder, we should have one.
He is witty, intelligent, and agreeable beyond the I have twice seen and conversed with Mr. J It is time to tell you that we are well, and often the constant effect of a spirit of party to make common measure of men who are so. But it is make you our subject. This is the third meeting those hateful to each other, who are truly amiable that my cousin and we have had in this country; 'in themselves.
Beau sends his love; he was melancholy the the rebellion of the first pair, and as happy as it is whole day after your departure. possible they should be in the present life.
Most sincerely yours, W. C.
TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ.
TO THE REV. WALTER BAGOT.
MY DEAR WALTER,
MY DEAR FRIEND, Weston, Oct. 4, 1789. THE hamper is come, and come safe: and the I KNOW that you are too reasonable a man to contents I can affirm on my own knowledge are expect any thing like punctuality of correspondexcellent. It chanced that another hamper and a box came by the same conveyance, all which I un- who is a doer also of many other things at the same ence from a translator of Homer, especially from one packed and expounded in the hall; my cousin time; for I labour hard not only to acquire a little sitting, mean time, on the stairs, spectatress of the fame for myself, but to win it also for others, men business. We diverted ourselves with imagining of whom I know nothing, not even their names, the manner in which Homer would have described who send me their poetry, that by translating it the scene. Detailed in his circumstantial way, it out of prose into verse, would have furnished materials for a paragraph poetry than it was. Having heard all this, you I may make it more like of considerable length in an Odyssey. will feel yourself not only inclined to pardon my long silence, but to pity me also for the cause of it. You may if you please believe likewise, for it is true, that I have a faculty of remembering my friends even when I do not write to them, and of loving them not one jot the less, though I leave them to starve for want of a letter from me." And now I think you have an apology both as to style, matter, and manner, altogether unexceptionable.
The straw-stuff'd hamper with his ruthless steel
Of the fair mother of his friend-the Rose.
And so on. I should rejoice to be the hero of such a tale in the hands of Homer.
You will remember, I trust, that when the state of your health or spirits calls for rural walks and fresh air, you have always a retreat at Weston.
Why is the winter like a backbiter? Because Solomon says that a backbiter separates between chief friends, and so does the winter; to this dirty season it is owing, that I see nothing of the valuable Chesters, whom indeed I see less at all times We are all well, all love you, down to the very than serves at all to content me. I hear of them dog; and shall be glad to hear that you have ex- indeed occasionally from my neighbours at the changed langour for alacrity, and the debility that Hall, but even of that comfort I have lately enyou mentioned for indefatigable vigour. joyed less than usual, Mr. Throckmorton having Mr. Throckmorton has made me a handsome been hindered by his first fit of the gout from his present; Villoison's edition of the Iliad, elegantly usual visits to Chichely. The gout however bound by Edwards. If I live long enough, by has not prevented his making me a handsome the contributions of my friends I shall once more present of a folio edition of the Iliad, published be possessed of a library. Adieu, W. C. about a year since at Venice, by a literato, who calls himself Villoison. It is possible that you have seen it, and that if you have it not yourself, it has at least found its way into Lord Bagot's library. If neither should be the case, when I write next (for sooner or later I shall certainly write to you again if I live) I will send you some pretty stories out of his Prolegomena, which will make your hair stand on end, as mine has stood on end already, they so horribly affect, in point of authenticity, the credit of the works of the immortal Homer.
TO JOSEPH HILL, ESQ.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
Weston, Dec. 18, 1789. THE present appears to me a wonderful period in the history of mankind. That nations so long contentedly slaves should on a sudden become enamoured of liberty, and understand, as suddenly, their own natural right to it, feeling themselves at the same time inspired with resolution to assert it, seems difficult to account for from natural causes. Wishing you and Mrs. Bagot all the happiness With respect to the final issue of all this, I can that a new year can possibly bring with it, I reonly say, that if, having discovered the value of main with Mrs. Unwin's best respects, yours, my liberty, they should next discover the value of dear friend, with all sincerity, W. C. peace, and lastly the value of the word of God, My paper mourns for the death of Lord Cow
they will be happier than they ever were since per, my valuable cousin and much my benefactor.
TO THE REV. WALTER BAGOT.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
can believe; but that a learned Athenian could be so imposed upon, with sufficient means of detection at hand, I can not. Would he not be on
I AM a terrible creature for not writing soon-his guard? Would not a difference of style and but the old excuse must serve, at least I will manner have occurred? Would not that differnot occupy paper with the addition of others un-ence have excited a suspicion? Would not that less you should insist on it, in which case I can suspicion have led to inquiry, and would not that assure you that I have them ready. Now to bu- inquiry have issued in detection? For how easy was it in the multitude of Homer-conners to find two,
Faithfully yours, W. C.
From Villoison I learn that it was the avowed ten, twenty, possessed of the questionable pasopinion and persuasion of Callimachus (whose sage, and by confronting them with the impudent hymns we both studied at Westminster) that Ho-impostor, to convict him? Abeas ergo in malam mer was very imperfectly understood even in his rem cum istis tuis hallucinationibus, Villoisone! day: that his admirers, deceived by the perspicuity of his style, fancied themselves masters of his meaning, when in truth they knew little about it. Now we know that Callimachus, as I have hinted, was himself a poet, and a good one; he was also esteemed a good critic; he almost, if not actually, adored Homer, and imitated him as nearly as he could.
TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ.
MY DEAR SIR, The Lodge, Jan. 3, 1790. I HAVE been long silent, but you have had the charity, I hope and believe, not to ascribe my silence to a wrong cause. The truth is, I have been What shall we say to this? I will tell you what too busy to write to any body, having been obliged I say to it. Callimachus meant, and he could to give my mornings to the revisal and correction mean nothing more by this assertion, than that of a little volume of Hymns for children written the poems of Homer were in fact an allegory; by I know not whom. This task I finished but that under the obvious import of his stories lay yesterday, and while it was in hand wrote only concealed a mystic sense, sometimes philosophical, to my cousin, and to her rarely. From her howsometimes religious, sometimes moral, and that ever I knew that you would hear of my well bethe generality either wanted penetration or indus-ing, which made me less anxious about my debts try, or had not been properly qualified by their to you, than I could have been otherwise. studies, to discover it. This I can readily believe, I am almost the only person at Weston, known for I am myself an ignoramus in these points, and to you, who have enjoyed tolerable health this winexcept here and there, discern nothing more than ter. In your next letter give us some account of the letter. But if Callimachus will tell me that even of that I am ignorant, I hope soon by two great volumes to convince him of the contrary.
your own state of health, for I have had many anxieties about you. The winter has been mild; but our winters are in general such that when a I learn also from the same Villoison, that Pisis- friend leaves us in the beginning of that season, I tratus, who was a sort of Mecenas in Athens, always feel in my heart a perhaps importing that where he gave great encouragement to literature, probably we have met for the last time, and that and built and furnished a public library, regretting the robins may whistle on the grave of one of us that there was no complete copy of Homer's works before the return of summer. in the world, resolved to make one. For this purI am still thrumming Homer's lyre; that is to pose he advertised rewards in all the newspapers say, I am still employed in my last revisal; and to those, who, being possessed memoriter of any to give you some idea of the intenseness of my part or parcels of the poems of that bard, would toils, I will inform you that it cost me all the mornresort to his house, and repeat them to his secre- ing yesterday, and all the evening, to translate a taries, that they might write them. Now it hap-single simile to my mind. The transitions from pened that more were desirous of the reward, than one member of the subject to another, though easy qualified to deserve it. The consequence was that and natural in the Greek, turn out often so intolthe nonqualified persons having, many of them, erably awkward in an English version, that almost a pretty knack at versification, imposed on the endless labour, and no little address, are requisite generous Athenian most egregiously, giving him, to give them grace and elegance. I forget if I told instead of Homer's verses, which they had not to you that your German Clavis has been of considgive, verses of their own invention. He, good erable use to me. I am indebted to it for a right creature, suspecting no such fraud, took them all understanding of the manner in which Achilles for gospel, and entered them into his volume ac- prepared pork, mutton, and goat's flesh for the cordingly. entertainment of his friends, in the night when Now let him believe the story who can. That they came deputed by Agamemnon to negotiate a Homer's works were in this manner corrected I reconciliation. A passage of which nobody in
the world is perfectly master, myself only and| Schaufelbergerus excepted, nor ever was, except when Greek was a live language.
Yours, W. C.
TO LADY HESKETH.
MY DEAR COZ,
TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ.
I do not know whether my cousin has told you MY DEAR FRIEND, The Lodge, Feb. 2, 1790. or not how I brag in my letters to her concerning SHOULD Heyne's Homer appear before mine, my translation; perhaps her modesty feels more which I hope is not probable, and should he adopt for me than mine for myself, and she would blush in it the opinion of Bentley, that the whole last to let even you know the degree of my self-conceit Odyssey is spurious, I will dare to contradict both on that subject. I will tell you, however, express-him and the Doctor. I am only in part of Benting myself as decently as vanity will permit, that ley's mind (if indeed his mind were such) in this it has undergone such a change for the better in matter, and giant as he was in learning, and eaglethis last revisal, that I have much warmer hopes eyed in criticism, am persuaded, convinced, and of success than formerly. sure (can I be more positive?) that except from the moment when the Ithacans begin to meditate an attack on the cottage of Laertes, and thence to the end, that book is the work of Homer. From the moment aforesaid, I yield the point, or rather The Lodge, Jan. 23, 1790. have never, since I had any skill in Homer, felt I HAD a letter yesterday from the wild boy John- myself at all inclined to dispute it.. But I believe son, for whom I have conceived a great affection. perfectly at the same time that, Homer himself It was just such a letter as I like, of the true helter-alone excepted, the Greek poet never existed who skelter kind; and though he writes a remarkably could have written the speeches made by the shade good hand, scribbled with such rapidity, that it was of Agamemnon, in which there is more insight barely legible. He gave me a droll account of the into the human heart discovered than I ever saw adventures of Lord Howard's note, and of his own in any other work, unless in Shakspeare's. I am in pursuit of it. The poem he brought me came equally disposed to fight for the whole passage that as from Lord Howard, with his lordship's request describes Laertes, and the interview between him that I would revise it. It is in the form of a pas- and Ulysses. Let Bentley grant these to Homer, toral, and is entitled "The Tale of the Lute; or and I will shake hands with him as to all the rest. the Beauties of Audley End." I read it atten- The battle with which the book concludes is, I tively; was much pleased with part of it, and part think, a paltry battle, and there is a huddle in the of it I equally disliked. I told him so, and in such management of it altogether unworthy of my faterms as one naturally uses when there seems to vourite, and the favourite of all ages. be no occasion to qualify or to alleviate censure. I If you should happen to fall into company with observed him afterwards somewhat more thought- Dr. Warton again, you will not, I dare say, forget ful and silent, but occasionally as pleasant as usual; to make him my respectful compliments, and to and in Kilwick wood, where we walked next day, assure him that I felt myself not a little flattered the truth came out; that he was himself the au- by the favourable mention he was pleased to make thor; and that Lord Howard not approving it altogether, and several friends of his own age, to whom he had shown it, differing from his lordship in opinion, and being highly pleased with it, he had come at last to a resolution to abide by my judgment; a measure to which Lord Howard by all means advised him. He accordingly brought it, and will bring it again in the summer, when we shall lay our heads together and try to mend it.
I have lately had a letter also from Mrs. King, to whom I had written to inquire whether she were living or dead. She tells me the critics expect from my Homer every thing in some parts, and that in others I shall fall short. These are the Cambridge critics; and she has her intelligence from the botanical professor, Martyn. That gen
of me and my labours. The poet who pleases a
TO LADY HESKETH.
The Lodge, Feb. 9, 1790. I HAVE sent you lately scraps instead of letters, having had occasion to answer immediately on the tleman in reply answers them, that I shall fall receipt, which always happens while I am deep short in nothing, but shall disappoint them all. It in Homer. shall be my endeavour to do so, and I am not without hope of succeeding. W. C.
I knew when I recommended Johnson to you that you would find some way to serve him, and
so it has happened, for notwithstanding your own I feel myself well enough inclined to the meaapprehensions to the contrary, you have already sure you propose, and will show to your new acprocured him a chaplainship. This is pretty well, quaintance with all my heart a sample of my considering that it is an early day, and that you translation, but it shall not, if you please, be taken have but just begun to know that there is such a from the Odyssey. It is a poem of a gentler chaman under Heaven. I had rather myself be pa-racter than the Iliad, and as I propose to carry her tronised by a person of small interest, with a heart by a coup de main, I shall employ Achilles, Agalike yours, than by the Chancellor himself, if he memnon, and the two armies of Greece and Troy did not care a farthing for me. in my service. I will accordingly send you in the
If I did not desire you to make my acknowledg. box that I received from you last night, the two ments to Anonymous, as I believe I did not, it was first books of the Iliad, for that lady's perusal; to because I am not aware that I am warranted to do those I have given a third revisal; for them thereso. But the omission is of less consequence, before I will be answerable, and am not afraid to cause whoever he is, though he has no objection to doing the kindest things, he seems to have an aversion to the thanks they merit.
stake the credit of my work upon them with her, or with any living wight, especially one who understands the original. I do not mean that even You must know that two odes composed by they are finished, for I shall examine and crossHorace have lately been discovered at Rome; I examine them yet again, and so you may tell her," wanted them transcribed into the blank leaves of a but I know that they will not disgrace me; whereas little Horace of mine, and Mrs. Throckmorton it is so long since I have looked at the Odyssey performed that service for me; in a blank leaf therefore of the same book I wrote the following.*
[TO MR. JOHNSON.]
Weston, Feb. 11, 1790.
that I know nothing at all about it. They shall set sail from Olney on Monday morning in the Diligence, and will reach you I hope in the evening. As soon as she has done with them, I shall be glad to have them again, for the time draws near when I shall want to give them the last touch.
I am delighted with Mrs. Bodham's kindness, in giving me the only picture of my own mother I AM very sensibly obliged by the remarks of that is to be found I suppose in all the world. I Mr. Fuseli, and beg that you will tell him so: had rather possess it than the richest jewel in the they afford me opportunities of improvement, which British crown, for I loved her with an affection I shall not neglect. When he shall see the press-that her death, fifty-two years since, has not in copy, he will be convinced of this; and will be the least abated. I remember her too, young as convinced likewise that smart as he sometimes is, I was when she died, well enough to know that it he spares me often when I have no mercy on my- is a very exact resemblance of her, and as such it self. He will see almost a new translation. *** is to me invaluable. Every body loved her, and I assure you faithfully, that whatever my faults with an amiable character so impressed upon all may be, to be easily or hastily satisfied with what her features, every body was sure to do so. I have written is not one of them.
TO LADY HESKETH.
The Lodge, Feb. 26, 1790.
You have set my heart at ease, my cousin, so far as you were yourself the object of its anxieties, What other troubles it feels can be cured by God alone. But you are never silent a week longer than usual, without giving an opportunity to my imagination (ever fruitful in flowers of a sable hue) to tease me with them day and night. London is indeed a pestilent place, as you call it, and I would, with all my heart, that thou hadst less to do with it; were you under the same roof with me, I should know you to be safe, and should never distress you with melancholy letters.
I have a very affectionate and a very clever letter from Johnson, who promises me the transcript of the books entrusted to him in a few days. I have a great love for that young man; he has some drops of the same stream in his veins that once animated the original of that dear picture.
TO MRS. BODHAM.
MY DEAREST ROSE, Weston, Feb. 27, 1790. WHOM I thought withered, and fallen from the stalk, but whom I find still alive: nothing could give me greater pleasure than to know it, and to learn it from yourself. I loved you dearly when you were a child, and love you not a jot the less for having ceased to be so. Every creature that bears any affinity to my own mother is dear to me,
The verses to Mrs Throckmorton on her beautiful trans. and you, the daughter of her brother, are but one cript of Horace's Ode concluded this Letter. remove distant from her; I love you therefore, and