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to a designer, and in short I have a desire not to same promise I have hastily made to visit Sir lose them. John and Lady Throckmorton, at Bucklands. I am at this moment, with all the imprudence How to reconcile such clashing promises, and give natural to poets, expending nobody knows what, satisfaction to all, would puzzle me, had I nothing in embellishing my premises, or rather the pre-else to do; and therefore, as I say, the result will mises of my neighbour Courtenay, which is more probably be, that we shall find ourselves obliged poetical still. I have built one summer-house al- to go no where, since we can not every where. ready, with the boards of my old study, and am building another spick and span as they say. I have also a stone-cutter now at work, setting a bust of my dear old Grecian on a pedestal; and besides all this, I meditate still more that is to be done in the autumn. Your project therefore is most opportune, as any project must needs be that has so direct a tendency to put money into the pocket of one so likely to want it.
TO THE REV. MR. GREATHEED.
Wishing you both safe at home again, and to see you, as soon as may be, here,
I remain, affectionately yours, W.C.
TO WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ.
Weston, July 24, 1793.
I HAVE been vexed with myself, my dearest brother, and with every thing about me, not excepting even Homer himself, that I have been obliged so long to delay an answer to your lust kind letter. If I listen any longer to calls another
way, I shall hardly be able to tell you how happy
we are in the hope of seeing you in the autumn, before the autumn will have arrived. Thrice welcome will you and your dear boy be to us, and the longer you will afford us your company, the more welcome. I have set up the head of Homer on a famous fine pedestal, and very majestic appearance he makes. I am now puzzled about a motto, and wish you to decide for me between two, one of which I have composed myself, a Greek
Εικονα τις ταυτην; κλυτον αγέρας όνομ' ελάλη
Ουνάμα δ στις ανηρ αφθιτον και εν έχει
The other is my own translation of a passage in the Odyssey, the original of which I have seen used as a motto to an engraved head of Homer many a time.
The present edition of the lines stands thus:
Him partially the mu
I was not without some expectation of a line from you, my dear sir, though you did not pro-one as follows: mise me one at your departure; and am happy not to have been disappointed; still happier to learn that you and Mrs. Greatheed are well, and so delightfully situated. Your kind offer to us of sharing with you the house which you at present inhabit, added to the short but lively description of the scenery that surrounds it, wants nothing to win our acceptance, should it please God to give Mrs. Unwin, a little more strength, and should I ever be master of my time so as to be able to gratify myself with what would please me most. And dearly loved, yet gave him good and ill: She quench'd his sight, but gave him strains divine. But many have claims upon us, and some who can not absolutely be said to have any, would yet Tell me by the way (if you ever had any specu complain, and think themselves slighted, should Iations on the subject) what is it you suppose Howe prefer rocks and caves to them. In short we mer to have meant in particular, when he ascribed are called so many ways, that these numerous de- his blindness to the muse; for that he speaks of mands are likely to operate as a remora, and to himself under the name Demodocus in the eighth keep us fixt at home. Here we can occasionally book, I believe is by all admitted. How could the have the pleasure of yours and Mrs. Greatheed's old bard study himself blind, when books are eicompany, and to have it here must I believe con- ther few, or none at all? And did he write his tent us. Hayley in his last letter gives me reason poems? If neither were the cause, as seems reato expect the pleasure of seeing him and his dear sonable to imagine, how could he incur his blindboy Tom, in the autumn. He will use all his ness by such means as could be justly imputable eloquence to draw us to Eartham again. My to the muse? Would mere thinking blind him? cousin Johnny of Norfolk holds me under a pro- I want to know:
mise to make my first trip thither, and the very
"Call up some spirit from the vasty deep!"
I said to my Sam*—“Sam, build me a shed in charming sonnets, and my two most agreeable old the garden, with any thing that you can find, and friends, Monimia and Orlando.
make it rude and rough, like one of those at Eartham."-" Yes, sir," says Sam, and straightway laying his own noddle, and the carpenter's noddle together, has built me a thing fit for Stow Gardens. Is not this vexatious?—I threaten to inscribe it thus;
Beware of building! I intended
Rough logs and thatch, and thus it ended.
But my Mary says I shall break Sam's heart, and the carpenter's too, and will not consent to it. Poor Mary sleeps but ill. How have you lived who can not bear a sunbeam?
Adieu! my dearest Hayley.
TO MRS. CHARLOTTE SMITH.
I AM glad that my poor and hasty attempts to express some little civility to Miss Fanshaw, and the amiable Count, have your and her approbation. The lines addressed to her were not what I would have them; but lack of time, a lack which always presses me, would not suffer me to improve them. Many thanks for her letter, which, were my merits less the subject of it, I should without scruple say is an excellent one. She writes with the force and accuracy of a person skilled in more languages than are spoken in the present day, as Weston, July 25, 1793. I doubt not that she is. I perfectly approve the MANY reasons concurred to make me impatient theme she recommends to me, but am at present for the arrival of your most acceptable present, so totally absorbed in Homer, that all I do beside and among them was the fear lest you should perhaps suspect me of tardiness in acknowledging so great a favour; a fear that, as often as it prevailed; distressed me exceedingly. At length I have received it, and my little bookseller assures me that he sent it the very day he got it; by some mistake however the wagon brought it instead of the coach, which occasioned a delay that I could ill afford.
MY DEAR MADAM,
It came this morning about an hour ago; consequently I have not had time to peruse the poem, though you may be sure I have found enough for the perusal of the Dedication I have in fact given it three readings, and in each have found increasing pleasure.
I am a whimsical creature; when I write for the public I write of course with a desire to please, in other words to acquire fame, and I labour accordingly; but when I find that I have succeeded, feel myself alarmed, and ready to shrink from the acquisition.
is ill done, being hurried over; and I would not execute ill a subject of her recommending.
I shall watch the walnuts with more attention than those who eat them, which I do in some hope, though you do not expressly say so, that when their threshing time arrives, we shall see you here. I am now going to paper my new study, and in a short time it will be fit to inhabit.
Lady Spencer has sent me a present from Rome, by the hands of Sir John Throckmorton, engravings of Odyssey subjects, after figures by Flaxman, a statuary at present resident there, of high repute, and much a friend of Hayley's.
Thou livest, my dear, I acknowledge, in a very
TO WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ.
This I have felt more than once, and when I Instead of a pound or two, spending a mint saw my name at the head of your Dedication, I Must serve me at least, I believe, with a hint, felt it again; but the consummate delicacy of your That building, and building, a man may be driven praise soon convinced me that I might spare my At last out of doors, and have no house to live in. blushes, and that the demand was less upon my BESIDES, my dearest brother, they have not only modesty than my gratitude. Of that be assured, built for me what I did not want, but have ruined dear madam, and of the truest esteem and respect a notable tetrastic by doing so. I had written one of your most obliged and affectionate humble ser- which I designed for a hermitage, and it will by vant, no means suit the fine and pompous affair which they have made instead of one. So that as a poet I am every way afflicted; made poorer than I need have been, and robbed of my verses; what case can be more deplorable?
P. S. I should have been much grieved to have let slip this opportunity of thanking you for your
that I am not actually in possession of it, at least you are not gone for ever, as once I supposed you of the engravings which you mention. In fact, I were, and said that we should probably meet no have had them more than a fortnight. Lady more. Some news, however, we have; but then Dowager Spencer, to whom I inscribed my Odys- I conclude that you have already received it from sey, and who was at Rome when Sir John the Doctor, and that thought almost deprives me Throckmorton was there, charged him with them of all courage to relate it. On the evening of the as a present to me, and arriving here lately he feast, Bob Archer's house affording I suppose the executed his commission. Romney I doubt not is best room for the purpose, all the lads and lasses, right in his judgment of them; he is an artist him- who felt themselves disposed to dance, assembled self, and can not easily be mistaken; and I take there. Long time they danced, at least long time his opinion as an oracle, the rather because it they did something a little like it; when at last coincides exactly with my own. The figures are the company having retired, the fiddler asked Bob highly classical, antique, and elegant: especially for a lodging. Bob replied "that his beds were that of Penelope, who whether she wakes or sleeps all full of his own family, but if he chose it he must necessarily charm all beholders. would show him a haycock, where he might sleep Your scheme of embellishing my Odyssey with as sound as in any bed whatever."-So forth they these plates is a kind one, and the fruit of your went together, and when they reached the place, benevolence to me; but Johnson, I fear, will hardly the fiddler knocked down Bob, and demanded his stake so much money as the cost would amount money. But happily for Bob, though he might be to on a work, the fate of which is at present un- knocked down, and actually was so, yet he could certain. Nor could we adorn the Odyssey in this not possibly be robbed, having nothing. The fidsplendid manner, unless we had similar ornaments dler therefore having amused himself with kicking to bestow on the Iliad.. Such I presume are not him and beating him as he lay, as long as he saw ready, and much time must elapse, even if Flax-good, left him, and has never been heard of since, man should accede to the plan, before he could nor inquired after indeed, being no doubt the last possibly prepare them. Happy indeed should I man in the world whom Bob wishes to see again. be to see a work of mine so nobly accompanied, By a letter from Hayley to-day I learn that but should that good fortune ever attend me, it Flaxman, to whom we are indebted for those can not take place till the third or fourth edition Odyssey figures which Lady Frog brought over, shall afford the occasion. This I regret, and I re- has almost finished a set for the Iliad also. ĺ gret too that you shall have seen them before I can should be glad to embellish my Homer with them, have an opportunity to show them to you. Here but neither my bookseller nor I shall probably is sixpence for you if you will abstain from the choose to risk so expensive an ornament on a sight of them while you are in London. work, whose reception with the public is at present doubtful.
The sculptor? Nameless, though once dear to fame;
Adieu, my dearest Catharina. Give my best So I purpose it shall stand; and on the pedes-love to your husband. Come home as soon as tal, when you come, in that form you will find it. you can, and accept our united very best wishes. The added line from the Odyssey is charming, but the assumption of sonship to Homer seems too daring; suppose it stood thus,
Ως δε παις ο πατρι, και εποτε λησομαί αυτό. I am not sure that this would be clear of the same objection, and it departs from the text still more. With my poor Mary's best love and our united wishes to see you here, I remain,
My dearest brother, ever yours, W.C.
TO MRS. COURTENAY. Weston, Aug. 20, 1793. My dearest Catharina is too reasonable, I know, to expect news from me, who live on the outside of the world, and know nothing that passes within it. The best news is, that though you are gone,
A translation of Cowper's Greck verses on his bust of Homer.
TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ.
MY DEAREST FRIEND, Weston, Aug. 22, 1793.
IREJOICE that you have had so pleasant an excursion, and have beheld so many beautiful scenes. Except the delightful Upway I have seen them all. I have lived much at Southampton, have slept and caught a sore throat at Lyndhurst, and have swum in the bay of Weymouth. It will give us great pleasure to see you here, should your business give you an opportunity to Weston. finish your excursions of this season with one to
As for my going on, it is much as usual. I rise from which I have never swerved since March. at six; an industrious and wholesome practice, I breakfast generally about eleven-have given all the intermediate time to my old delightful bard. Vil
loison no longer keeps me company. I therefore days give you a hint to lose no time unnecessarily. now jog along with Clarke and Barnes at my el- Lately we had the whole family at the Hall, and bow, and from the excellent annotations of the now we have nobody. The Throckmortons are former select such as I think likely to be useful, or gone into Berkshire, and the Courtenays into that recommend themselves by the amusement Yorkshire. They are so pleasant a family, that I they may afford, of which sorts there are not a heartily wish you to see them; and at the same few. Barnes also affords me some of both kinds, time wish to see you before they return, which but not so many, his notes being chiefly para- will not be sooner than October. How shall I rephrastical or grammatical. My only fear is lest concile these wishes seemingly opposite? Why, between them both I should make my work too by wishing that you may come soon and stay long. voluminous. W. C. I know no other way of doing it.
TO WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ.
Weston Lodge, Aug. 27, 1793.
I THANK you, my dear brother, for consulting
My poor Mary is much as usual. I have set up Homer's head, and inscribed the pedestal; my. own Greek at the 'top, with your translation under it,, and
Ως δε παις ω πατρι, &c.
TO LADY HESKETH.
W. C. k
the Gibbonian oracle on the question concerning It makes altogether a very smart and learned apHomer's muse, and his blindness. I proposed it pearance. likewise to my little neighbour Buchanan, who gave me precisely the same answer. I felt an insatiable thirst to learn something new concerning him, and despairing of information from others, was willing to hope that I had stumbled on matAug. 29, 1793. ter unnoticed by the commentators, and might per- YOUR question, at what time your coming to us haps acquire a little intelligence from himself. But will be most agreeable, is a knotty one, and such the great and the little oracle together have extin-as, had I the wisdom of Solomon, I should be puzguished that hope, and I despair now of making zled to answer. I will therefore leave it still any curious discoveries about him. question, and refer the time of your journey WesSince Flaxman (which I did not know till your tonward entirely to your own election: adding letter told me so) has been at work for the Iliad, this one limitation however, that I do not wish to as well as the Odyssey, it seems a great pity, that see you exactly at present, on account of the unthe engravings should not be bound up with some finished state of my study, the wainscot of which Homer or other; and, as I said before, I should still smells of paint, and which is not yet papered. have been too proud to have bound them up in But to return: as I have insinuated, thy pleasant mine. But there is an objection, at least such it company is the thing which I always wish, and as seems to me, that threatens to disqualify them for much at one time as at another. I believe, if I such a use, namely, the shape and size of them, examine myself minutely, since I despair of ever which are such, that no book of the usual form having it in the Height of summer, which for your could possibly receive them, save in a folded state, which I apprehend would be to murder them.
from my first purpose, and am answering a question
sake I should desire most, the depth of the winter is the season which would be most eligible to me. The monument of Lord Mansfield, for which For then it is that, in general, I have most need of a you say he is engaged, will (I dare say) prove a cordial, and particularly in the month of January. noble effort of genius. Statuaries, as I have heard 1 am sorry however that I have departed so far an eminent one say, do not much trouble themselves about a likeness: else I would give much to be able to communicate to Flaxman the perfect idea that I have of the subject, such as he was forty years ago. He was at that time wonderfully handsome, and would expound the most mysterious intricacies of the law, or recapitulate both matter and evidence of a cause, as long as from hence to Eartham, with an intelligent smile on his features, that bespoke plainly the perfect ease with which he did it. The most abstruse studies (I be. lieve) never cost him any labour.
⚫ Her pen drops eloquence as sweet⚫
And now, my dear, adieu! I have done more than I expected, and begin to feel myself exhaustYou say nothing lately of your intended journey ed with so much scribbling at the end of four hours' our way: yet the year is waning, and the shorter close application to study.
TO THE REV. JOHN JOHNSON.
MY DEAREST JOHNNY,
that, after all, the transcript of alterations, which
TO WILLIAM HALEY, ESQ.
both hands. I am charmed with Flaxman's Penelope, and though you don't deserve that I should, will send you a few lines, such as they are, with which she inspired me the other day, while I was taking my noon day walk
Weston, Sept. 6, 1793. To do a kind thing, and in a kind manner, is a double kindness, and no man is more addicted to both than you, or more skilful in contriving them. Your plan to surprise me agreeably succeeded to admiration. It was only the day before yesterday that, while we walked after dinner in the orchard, Mrs. Unwin between Sam and me, hearing the hall clock, I observed a great difference between that and ours, and began immediately to lament as I had often done, that there was not a sun-dial in Non sum quod simulo, my dearest brother! I all Weston to ascertain the true time for us. My seem cheerful upon paper sometimes, when I am complaint was long, and lasted till having turned absolutely the most dejected of all creatures. Deinto the grass walk, we reached the new building sirous however to gain something myself by my at the end of it; where we sat awhile and reposed own letters, unprofitable as they may and must be ourselves. In a few minutes we returned by the to my friends, I keep melancholy out of them as way we came, when what think you was my as much as I can, that I may, if possible, by assuming tonishment to see what I had not seen before, a less gloomy air, deceive myself, and, by feigning though I had passed close by it, a smart sun-dial with a continuance, improve the fiction into reality. mounted on a smart stone pedestal! Lassure you So you have seen Flaxman's figures, which I it seemed the effect of conjuration. I stopped intended you should not have seen till I had spread short, and exclaimed,-" Why, here is a sun-dial, them before you. How did you dare to look at and upon our ground! How is this? Tell me them? You should have covered your eyes with Sam, how came it here? Do you know any thing about it?" At first I really thought (that is to say, as soon as I could think at all) that this factotum of mine, Sam Roberts, having often heard me deplore the want of one, had given orders for the supply of that want himself, without my know- I know not that you will meet any body here, ledge, and was half pleased and half offended. But when we see you in October, unless perhaps my he soon exculpated himself by imputing the fact Johnny should happen to be with us. If Tom is to you. It was brought up to Weston (it seems) charmed with the thoughts of coming to Weston, about noon but Andrews stopped the cart at the we are equally so with the thoughts of seeing him blacksmith's, whence he sent to inquire if I was here. At his years, I should hardly hope to make gone for my walk. As it happened, I walked not his visit agreeable to him, did I not know that he till two o'clock. So there it stood waiting till I is of a temper and disposition that must make him should go forth, and was introduced before my happy every where. Give our love to him. If return. Fortunately too I went out at the church Romney can come with you, we have both room end of the village, and consequently saw nothing to receive him, and hearts to make him most welof it. How I could possibly pass it without seeing come." it, when it stood in the walk, I know not, but it is certain that I did. And where I shall fix it now, I know as little. It cannot stand between the two gates, the place of your choice, as I understand from Samuel, because the hay-cart must pass that Sept. 15, 1793. way in the season. But we are now busy in wind- A THOUSAND thanks, my dearest Catharina, for ing the walk all round the orchard, and in doing your pleasant letter; one of the pleasantest that I so shall doubtless stumble at last upon some open have received since your departure. You are very spot that will suit it. good to apologize for your delay, but I had not There it shall stand, while I live, a constant flattered myself with the hopes of a speedier anmonument of your kindness. swer. Knowing full well your talents for entertaining your friends who are present, I was sure you would with difficulty find half an hour that you could devote to an absent one.
I have this moment finished the twelfth book of the Odyssey; and I read the Iliad to Mrs. Unwin every evening.
The effect of this reading is, that I still spy blemishes, something at least that I can mend, so
TO MRS. COURTENAY.
I am glad that you think of your return. Poor Weston is a desolation without you. In the mean