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LET. 441, 442.
Yours sincerely, W. C.
TO MR. THOMAS HAYLEY.
MY DEAR LITTLE CRITIC,
lower end of the room from the upper end of it, I race, and I have a horror both of them and their descried a figure which I immediately knew to be principles. Tacitus is certainly living now, and Milton's. He was very gravely, but very neatly the quotations you sent me can be nothing but exattired in the fashion of his day, and had a coun- tracts from some letter of his to yourself. tenance which filled me with those feelings that an affectionate child has for a beloved father, such, for instance, as Tom has for you. My first thought was wonder, where he could have been concealed so many years; my second, a transport of joy to find him still alive; my third, another transport to find myself in his company; and my fourth, a reI THANK you heartily for your observations, on solution to accost him. I did so, and he received me with a complacence, in which I saw equal which I set an higher value, because they have sweetness and dignity. I spoke of his Paradise instructed me as much, and have entertained me Lost, as every man must, who is worthy to speak more than all the other strictures of our public of it at all, and told him a long story of the man- judges in these matters. Perhaps I am not much ner in which it affected me, when I first discovered more pleased with shameless wolf, &c. than you. it, being at that time a schoolboy. He answered But what is to be done, my little man? Coarse as me by a smile, and a gentle inclination of his head. the expressions are, they are no more than equivaHe then grasped my hand affectionately, and with lent to those of Homer. The invective of the ana smile that charmed me, said, "Well, you for cients was never tempered with good manners, as your part will do well also;" at last recollecting your papa can tell you: and my business, you his great age (for I understood him to be two hun- know, is, not to be more polite than my author, but red years old) I feared that I might fatigue him by to represent him as closely as I can. much talking, I took my leave, and he took his, with an air of the most perfect good-breeding. His person, his features, his manner, were all so perfectly characteristic, that I am persuaded an apparition of him could not represent him more completely. This may be said to have been one not? of the dreams of Pindus, may
Dishonour'd foul I have wiped away for the reason you give, which is a very just one, and the present reading is this,
Who had dar'd dishonour thus
The life itself, &c.
Your objection to kindler of the fires of Heaven How truly I rejoice that you have recovered I had the good fortune to anticipate, and expunged the dirty ambiguity some time since, wondering Guy; that man won my heart the moment I him; give my love to him, and tell him I am truly not a little that I had ever admitted it. glad he is alive again.
There is much sweetness in those lines from the sonneteer of Avon, and not a little in dear Tom's, an earnest, I trust, of good things to come. With Mary's kind love, I must now conclude myself,
My dear brother, ever yours, LIPPUS.
TO THE REV. WALTER BAGOT.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
Weston, March 4, 1793. SINCE I received your last I have been much indisposed, very blind, and very busy. But I have
The fault you find with the two first verses of Nestor's speech discovers such a degree of just discernment, that but for your papa's assurance to the contrary, I must have suspected him as the author of that remark: much as I should have respected it, if it had been so, I value it, I assure you, my little friend, still more as yours. In the new edition the passage will be found thus altered:
Alas! great sorrow falls on Greece to-day,
Where the word reel suggests to you the idea
not suffered all these evils at one and the same of a drunken mountain, it performs the service to time. While the winter lasted I was miserable which I destined it. It is a bold metaphor; but with a fever on my spirits; when the spring began justified by one of the sublimest passages in scripto approach I was seized with an inflammation in ture, compared with the sublimity of which even my eyes; and ever since I have been able to use that of Homer suffers humiliation. them, have been employed in giving more last touches to Homer, who is on the point of going to the press again.
It is God himself, who, speaking, I think, by the prophet Isaiah, says,
"The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkThough you are Tory, I believe, and I am ard." With equal boldness, in the same scripture, Whig, our sentiments concerning the madcaps of the poetry of which was never equalled, mountains France are much the same. They are a terrible are said to skip, to break out into singing, and the
fields to clap their hands. I intend, therefore, that | business. Adieu! The clock strikes eight; and my Olympus shall be still tipsy. now for Homer.
The accuracy of your last remark, in which you convicted me of a bull, delights me. A fig for all critics but you! The blockheads could not find it. It shall stand thus,
First spake Polydamas
TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ.
Homer was more upon his guard than to commit event of your transaction with Johnson, since you such a blunder, for he says,
And now, my dear little censor, once more accept my thanks. I only regret that your strictures are so few, being just and sensible as they are.
I know partake with me in the pleasure I receive from it. Few of my concerns have been so happily concluded. I am now satisfied with my bookseller, as I have substantial cause to be, and account myself in good hands; a circumstance as pleasant to me as any other part of my business; Tell your papa that he shall hear from me soon; for I love dearly to be able to confide with all my accept mine, and my dear invalid's affectionate re-heart in those with whom I am connected, of what Ever yours. W. C. kind soever the connexion may be.
TO WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ.
MY DEAR HAYLEY,
The question of printing or not printing the alterations, seems difficult to decide. If they are not printed, I shall perhaps disoblige some purchasers of the first edition; and if they are, many others Weston, March 19, 1793. of them, perhaps a great majority, will never care I AM SO busy every morning before breakfast about them. As far as I have gone I have made (my only opportunity), strutting and stalking in a fair copy, and when I have finished the whole, Homeric stilts, that you ought to account it an in- will send them to Johnson, together with the instance of marvellous grace and favour, that I con- terleaved volumes. He will see in a few minutes descend to write even to you. Sometimes I am what it will be best to do, and by his judgment I seriously almost crazed with the multiplicity of the shall be determined. The opinion to which I most matters before me, and the little or no time that I incline is, that they ought to be printed separately, have for them; and sometimes I repose myself for they are many of them rather long, here and after the fatigue of that distraction on the pillow there a whole speech, or a whole simile, and the of despair; a pillow which has often served me in verbal and lineal variations are so numerous, that time of need, and is become, by frequent use, if not altogether, I apprehend, they will give a new air very comfortable, at least convenient! So reposed, to the work, and I hope a much improved one. i I laugh at the world, and say, "Yes, you may gape and expect both Homer and Milton from me, but I'll be hanged if ever you get them."
I forgot to say in the proper place that some notes, although but very few, I have added already, and may perhaps see here and there opportunity In Homer you must know I am advanced as far for a few more. But notes being little wanted, esas the fifteenth book of the Iliad, leaving nothing pecially by people at all conversant with classical behind me that can reasonably offend the most literature, as most readers of Homer are, I am perfastidious: and I design him for public appearance suaded that, were they numerous, they would be in his new dress as soon as possible, for a reason deemed an incumbrance. I shall write to Johnson which any poet may guess, if he will but thrust soon, perhaps to-morrow, and then shall say the his hand into his pocket. same thing to him.
In point of health we continue much the same. Our united love, and many thanks for your prosperous negotiations, attend yourself and whole
You forbid me to tantalize you with an invitation to Weston, and yet invite me to Eartham! No! no! there is no such happiness in store for me at present. Had I rambled at all, I was under family, and especially my little namesake. Adieu. promise to all my dear mother's kindred to go to Norfolk, and they are dying to see me; but I have told them, that die they must, for I can not go; and ergo, as you will perceive, can go nowhere else.
TO JOHN JOHNSON, ESQ.
The Lodge, April 11, 1793.
Thanks for Mazarine's epitaph! it is full of witty parodox, and is written with a force and severity which sufficiently bespeak the author. I account MY DEAREST JOHNNY, it an inestimable curiosity, and shall be happy THE long muster-roll of my great and small anwhen time shall serve, with your aid, to make a cestors I signed, and dated, and sent up to Mr. good translation of it. But that will be a stubborn Blue-mantle, on Monday, according to your desire.
Such a pompous affair, drawn out for my sake, Jhaviour to me has been so liberal, that I can refuse reminds me of the old fable of the mountain in par- him nothing. Poking into the old Greek comturition, and a mouse the produce. Rest undis- mentators blinds me. But it is no matter. I am turbed, sav I, their lordly, ducal, and royal dust! the more like Homer.
ha respected them more.
But perhaps they did not know that such a one as I should have the honour to be numbered among their descendants. Well! I have a little bookseller that makes me some amends for their deficiency. He has made me a present; an act of liberality which I take every opportunity to blazon, as it well deserves. But you I suppose have learned it already from Mr. Rose.
Ever yours, my dearest Hayley, W. C.
TO THE REV. WALTER BAGOT. MY DEAR FRIEND,
Weston, May 4, 1793. WHILE your sorrow for our common loss was fresh in your mind, I would not write, lest a letter on so distressing a subject should be too painful both to you and me; and now that I seem to have Fear not, my man. You will acquit yourself reached a proper time for doing it, the multiplicity very well I dare say, both in standing for your de-of my literary business will hardly afford me leisure, gree, and when you have gained it. A little tre-Both you and I have this comfort when deprived mor, and a little shamefacedness in a stripling, like of those we love at our time of life we have every you, are recommendations rather than otherwise; reason to believe that the deprivation can not be and so they ought to be, being symptoms of an in- long. Our sun is setting too; and when the hour genuous mind rather unfrequent in this age of of rest arrives we shall rejoin your brother, and brass. many whom we have tenderly loved, our forerun[ners into a better country...
What you say of your determined purpose, with God's help, to take up the cross, and despise the shame, gives us both real pleasure. In our pedigree is found one at least who did it before you. Do you the like: and you will meet him in Heaven, as sure as the Scripture is the word of God, The quarrel that the world has with evangelic men and doctrines, they would have with a host of angels in the human form. For it is the quarre' of owls with sunshine; of ignorance with divine illumination.
I will say no more on a theme which it will be better perhaps to treat with brevity; and because the introduction of any other might seem a transition too violent, I will only add that Mrs. Unwin and I are about as well as we at any time have been within the last year. Truly yours. W. C.
TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ.
Adieu, my dear Johnny! We shall expect you MY DEAR FRIEND, with earnest desire of your coming, and receive you with much delight.
TO WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ.
Weston, April 23, 1793.
May 5, 1793. My delay to answer your last kind letter, to which likewise you desired a speedy reply, must have seemed rather difficult to explain on any other supposition than that of illness; but illness has not been the cause, although to say the truth I can not boast of having been lately very well. Yet has not this been the cause of my silence, but your MY DEAR FRIEND AND BROTHER, own advice, very proper and earnestly given to BETTER late than never, and better a little than me, to proceed in the revisal of Homer. To this none at all! Had I been at liberty to consult my it is owing that instead of giving an hour or two inclinations, I would have answered your truly before breakfast to my correspondence, I allot that kind and affectionate letter immediately. But I time entirely to my studies. I have nearly given am the busiest man alive; and when this epistle is the last touches to the poetry, and am now busied despatched, you will be the only one of my corres- far more laboriously in writing notes at the request pondents to whom I shall not be indebted. While of my honest bookseller, transmitted to me in the I write this, my poor Mary sits mute; which I can first instance by you, and afterwards repeated by not well bear, and which, together with want of himself. I am therefore deep in the old Scholia, time to write much, will have a curtailing effect on my epistle.
and have advanced to the latter part of Iliad nine, explaining, as I go, such passages as may be diffiMy only studying time is still given to Homer, cult to unlearned readers, and such only; for notes not to correction and amendment of him (for that of that kind are the notes that Johnson desired. I is all over) but to writing notes. Johnson has ex- find it a more laborious task than the translation pressed a wish for some, that the unlearned may was, and shall be heartily glad when it is over. In be a little illuminated concerning classical story the mean time all the letters I receive remain unand the mythology of the ancients; and his be answered, or if they receive an answer, it is al
ways a short one. Such this must be. Johnny | is here, having flown over London.
TO WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ.
Homer I believe will make a much more respectable appearance than before. Johnson now MY DEAR BROTHER, Weston, May 21, 1793. thinks it will be right to make a separate impression of the amendments.
I breakfast every morning on seven or eight pages of the Greek commentators. For so much I am obliged to read, in order to select perhaps three or four short notes for the readers of my translation.
You must either think me extremely idle, or extremely busy, that I have made your last very kind letter wait so very long for an answer. The truth however is, that I am neither; but have had time enough to have scribbled to you, had I been able to scribble at all. To explain this riddle I must give you a short account of my proceedings. I rise at six every morning, and fag till near eleven, when I breakfast. The consequence is, Homer is indeed a tie upon me that must not that I am so exhausted as not to be able to write on any account be broken, till all his demands are when the opportunity offers. You will say satisfied; though I have fancied while the revisal breakfast before you work, and then your work of the Odyssey was at a distance, that it would ask will not fatigue you." I answer-"perhaps I less labour in in the finishing, it is not unlikely that, might, and your counsel would probably prove when I take it actually in hand, I may find my-beneficial; but I can not spare a moment for eatself mistaken. Of this at least I am am sure, that ing in the early part of the morning, having no uneven verse abounds much more in it than it other time for study." This uneasiness of which once did in the Iliad, yet to the latter the critics I complain is a proof that I am somewhat stricken hat Tam objected on that account, though to the former in years; and there is no other cause by which I never; perhaps because they had not read it. can account for it, since I go early to bed, always Hereafter they shall not quarrel with me on that between ten and eleven, and seldom fail to sleep score. The Iliad is now all smooth turnpike, and I will take equal care that there shall be no jolts in the Odyssey.
well. Certain it is, ten years ago I could have
You have thought me long silent, and so have many others. In fact I have not for many months written punctually to any but yourself, and Hay-tled, Man as he is. I have heard a high characley. My time, the little I have, is so engrossed ter of it, as admirably written, and am informed by Homer, that I have at this moment a bundle that for that reason, and because it inculcates of unanswered letters by me, and letters likely to Whig principles, it is by many imputed to you. Thou knowest, I dare say, what it is to I contradicted this report, assuring my informant have a head weary with thinking. Mine is so that had it been yours, I must have known it, for fatigued by breakfast time, three days out of four, that you have bound yourself to make me your I am utterly incapable of sitting down to my desk father confessor on all such wicked occasions, and again for any purpose whatever. not to conceal from me even a murder, should you happen to commit one.
on who is
I am glad I have convinced thec at least, that thou art a Tory. Your friend's definition of I will not trouble you, at present, to send me Whig and Tory may be just for aught I know, any more books with a view to my notes on as far as the latter are concerned; but respecting Homer. I am not without hopes that Sir John the former, I think him mistaken. There is no Throckmorton, who is expected here from Venice true Whig who wishes all power in the hands of in a short time, may bring me Villoison's edition his own party. The division of it which the of the Odyssey. He certainly will, if he found it lawyers call tripartite, is exactly what he desires; published, and that alone will be instar omnium. and he would have neither kings, lords, nor commons unequally trusted, or in the smallest degree predominant. Such a Whig am I, and such Whigs are the true friends of the constitution.
Adieu! my dear, I am dead with weariness.
Adieu, my dearest brother! Give my love to Tom, and thank him for his book, of which I believe I need not have deprived him, intending that my readers shall detect the occult instruction contained in Homer's stories for themselves.
TO LADY HESKETH.
Weston, June 1, 1793.
you; for I have both in a degree that has not been exceeded in the experience of any friend you have, or ever had. But I am so made up;-I MY DEAREST COUSIN, will not enter into a metaphysical analysis of my You will not, (you say) come to us now; and strange composition, in order to detect the true you tell us not when you will. These assigna- cause of this evil; but on a general view of the tions sine die are such shadowy things, that I matter, I suspect that it proceeds from that shycan neither grasp nor get any comfort from them. ness, which has been my effectual and almost fatal Know you not, that hope is the next best thing hindrance on many other important occasions; and to enjoyment? Give us then a hope, and a de- which I should feel, I well know, on this, to a terminate time for that hope to fix on, and we will degree that would perfectly cripple me. No! I endeavour to be satisfied. shall neither do, nor attempt any thing of conse
Johnny is gone to Cambridge, called thither to quence more, unless my poor Mary get better; take his degree, and is much missed by me. He nor even then, unless it should please God to is such an active little fellow in my service, that give me another nature, in concert with any man he can not be otherwise. In three weeks how-I could not even with my own father or broever I shall hope to have him again for a fortnight.ther, were they now alive. Small game must I have had a letter from him containing an inci- serve me at present, and till I have done with dent which has given birth to the following.* Homer and Milton, a sonnet or some such matter These are spick and span. Johnny himself has must content me. The utmost that I aspire to, not yet seen them. By the way, he has filled and Heaven knows with how feeble a hope, is to your book completely; and I will give thee a write at some better opportunity, and when my guinea if thou wilt search thy old book for a cou-hands are free, The Four Ages. ple of songs, and two or three other pieces of opened my heart unto thee. which I know thou madest copies at the vicarage, and which I have lost. The songs I know are pretty good, and I would fain recover them.
Thus I have
TO WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ. MY DEAREST HAYLEY, Weston, July 7, 1793.
IF the excessive heat of this day, which forbids TO WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ.t me to do any thing else, will permit me to scribble to you, I shall rejoice. To do this is a pleasure Weston, June 29, 1793. to me at all times, but to do it now, a double one; WHAT remains for me to say on this subject, because I am in haste to tell you how much I am my dear brother bard, I will say in prose. There delighted with your projected quadruple alliance, are other impediments which I could not comprise and to assure you that if it please God to afford within the bounds of a sonnet. me health, spirits, ability and leisure, I will not My poor Mary's infirm condition makes it im-fail to devote them all to the production of my possible for me, at present, to engage in a work quota, The Four Ages. such as you propose. My thoughts are not suffi- You are very kind to humour me as you do, ciently free, nor have I, nor can I, by any means, and had need be a little touched yourself with all find opportunity; added to which, comes a diffi- my oddities, that you may know how to administer culty, which, though you are not at all aware of to mine. All whom I love do so, and I believe it it, presents itself to me under a most forbidding to be impossible to love heartily those who do not. appearance: Can you guess it? No, not you: People must not do me good in their way, but in neither perhaps will you be able to imagine that my own, and then they do me good indeed. My such a difficulty can possibly subsist. If your hair pride, my ambition, and my friendship, for you, begins to bristle, stroke it down again, for there and the interest I take in my own dear self, will is no need why it should erect itself. It concerns all be consulted and gratified by an arm-in-arm me, not you. I know myself too well not to appearance with you in public: and I shall work know that I am nobody in verse, unless in a cor-with more zeal and assiduity at Homer, and, ner, and alone, and unconnected in my operations. when Homer is finished, at Milton, with the prosThis is not owing to want of love for you, my pect of such a coalition before me. But what brother, or the most consummate confidence in shall I do with a multitude of small pieces, from which I intended to select the best, and adding them to The Four Ages, to have made a volume?
Verses to a Young Friend, &c. See Poems.
+ This Letter commenced with the Lines to William Will there be room for them upon your plan? I Hayley, Esq. beginning, "Dear architect of fine chateaux in have retouched them, and will retouch them air." See Poems. Tagain. Some of them will suggest pretty devices