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time I amuse myself as well as I can, thrumming Here you will meet Mr. Rose, who comes on old Homer's lyre, and turning the premises upside the eighth, and brings with him Mr. Lawrence, down. Upside down indeed, for so it is literally the painter, you may guess for what purpose. that I have been dealing with the orchard, almost Lawrence returns when he has made his copy of ever since you went, digging and delving it around me, but Mr. Rose will remain perhaps as long as to make a new walk, which now begins to assume you will. Hayley on the contrary will come, I the shape of one, and to look as if some time or suspose, just in time not to see you. Him we exother it may serve in that capacity. Taking my pect on the twentieth. I trust however, that thou usual exercise there the other day with Mrs. Un-wilt so order thy pastoral matters, as to make thy win, a wide disagreement between your clock and stay here as long as possible. ours, occasioned me to complain much, as I have Lady Hesketh, in her last letter, inquires very often done, of the want of a dial. Guess my sur- kindly after you, asks me for your address, and prise, when at the close of my complaint I saw purposes soon to write to you. We hope to see one-saw one close at my side; a smart one, glit- her in November-so that after a summer without tering in the sun, and mounted on a pedestal of company, we are likely to have an autumn and a stone. I was astonished. "This," I exclaimed, winter sociable enough. "is absolute conjuration!" It was a most mysterious affair, but the mystery was at last explained.
TO WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ. 参
Weston, Oct. 5, 1793.
This scribble I presume will find you just ar rived at Bucklands. I would with all my heart that since dials can be thus suddenly conjured from one place to another, I could be so too, and My good intentions towards you, my dearest could start up before your eyes in the middle of brother, are continually frustrated; and which is some walk or lawn, where you and Lady Frog most provoking, not by such engagements and are wandering. avocations as have a right to my attention, such as While Pitcairne whistles for his family estate those to my Mary, and to the old bard of Greece, in Fifeshire, he will do well if he will sound a few but by mere impertinences, such as calls of civility notes for me. I am originally of the same shire, from persons not very interesting to me, and letand a family of my name is still there, to whom ters from a distance still less interesting, because perhaps he way whistle on my behalf, not alto the writers of them are strangers. A man sent gether in vain. So shall his fife excel all my po-me a long copy of verses, which I could do no etical efforts, which have not yet, and I dare say less than acknowledge. They were silly enough, never will, effectually charm one acre of ground and cost me eighteen pence, which was seventeen into my possession.
pence halfpenny farthing more than they were Remember me to Sir John, Lady Frog, and worth. Another sent me at the same time a plan, your husband-tell them I love them all. She requesting my opinion of it, and that I would lend told me once she was jealous, now indeed she him my name as editor; a request with which I scems to have some reasons, since to her I have shall not comply, but I am obliged to tell him so, not written, and have written twice to you. But and one letter is all that I have time to despatch bid her be of good courage, in due time I will give in a day, sometimes half a one, and sometimes I her proof of my constancy. am not able to write at all. Thus it is that my time perishes, and I can neither give so much of it as I would to you or to any other valuable purpose.
On Tuesday we expect company, Mr. Rose and Lawrence the painter. Yet once more is my MY DEAREST JOHNNY, patience to be exercised, and once more I am You have done well to leave off visiting, and made to wish that my face had been moveable, being visited. Visits are insatiable devourers of to put on and take off at pleasure, so as to be portime, and fit only for those who, if they did not table in a bandbox, and sent to the artist. These that, would do nothing. The worst consequence however will be gone, as I believe I told you, beof such departures from common practice is to be fore you arrive, at which time I know not that termed a singular sort of a fellow, or an odd fish; any body will be here, except my Johnny, whose a sort of reproach that a man might be wise presence will not at all interfere with our readenough to condemn, who had not half your un-ings-you will not, I believe, find me a very derstanding.
I look forward with pleasure to October the eleventh, the day which I expect will be Albo notandus lapillo, on account of your arrival here.
slashing critic-I hardly indeed expect to find any thing in your life of Milton that I shall sentence to amputation. How should it be too long? A well written work, sensible and spirited, such as
yours was, when I saw it, is never so. But how-| Your hint concerning the subject for this year's ever we shall see. I promise to spare nothing that copy is a very good one, and shall not be neI think may be lopped off with advantage.
I SELDOM rejoice in a day of soaking rain like this; but in this, my dearest Catharina, I do rejoice sincerely, because it affords me an opportunity of writing to you, which if fair weather had invited us into the orchard walk at the usual hour, I should not easily have found. I am a most busy man, busy to a degree that sometimes half distracts me; but if complete distraction be occasioned by having the thoughts too much and too. long attached to a single point, I am in no danger of it, with such a perpetual whirl are mine whisked about from one subject to another. When two poets meet there are fine doings I can assure you. My Homer finds work for Hayley, and his Life of Milton work for me, so that we are neither of us one moment idle. Poor Mrs. Unwin in the mean time sits quiet in her corner, occasionally laughing at us both, and not seldom interrupting us with some question or remark, for which she is constantly rewarded by me with a Hush-hold your peace." Bless yourself, my, dear Catharina, that you are not connected with a poet, especially that you have not two to deal with; ladies who have, may be bidden, indeed, to hold their peace, but very little peace have they. How should they in fact have any, continually enjoined as they are to be silent?
studies I should never accomplish my labours.
Ever yours, W. C.
TO JOSEPH HILL, ESQ.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
¡laurel, and so much the more for the credit of those who have favoured him with their suffrages. I am entirely of your mind respecting this conWeston, Nov. 5, 1793. flagration by which all Europe suffers at present, In a letter from Lady Hesketh, which I received and is likely to suffer for a long time to come. not long since, she informed me how very pleasant- The same mistake seems to have prevailed as in ly she had spent some time at Wargrave. We the American business. We then flattered ournow begin to expect her here, where our charms selves that the colonies would prove an easy conof situation are perhaps not equal to yours, yet by quest: and when all the neighbour nations armed no means contemptible. She told me she had themselves against France, we imagined I believe spoken to you in very handsome terms of the that she too would be presently vanquished. But country round about us, but not so of our house, we begin already to be undeceived, and God only and the view before. The house itself however knows to what a degree we may find we have is not unworthy some commendation; small as it erred, at the conclusion. Such however is the is, it is neat, and neater than she is aware of; for state of things all around us, as reminds me conmy study and the room over it have been repaired tinually of the Psalmist's expression-" He shall and beautified this summer, and little more was break them in pieces like a potter's vessel."-And wanting to make it an abode sufficiently commo- I rather wish than hope in some of my melancho dious for a man of my moderate desires. As ly moods that England herself may escape a frac to the prospect from it, that she misrepresented ture. I remain truly yours, W. C. strangely, as I hope soon to have an opportunity to convince her by ocular demonstration. She told you, I know, of certain cottages opposite to TO THE REV. MR. HURDIS. us, or rather she described them as poor houses and hovels that effectually blind our windows. MY DEAR SIR, Weston, Nov. 24, 1793. But none such exist. On the contrary, the oppo- THOUGH my congratulations have been delayed, site object, and the only one, is an orchard, so well you have no friend, numerous as your friends are, planted, and with trees of such growth, that we who has more sincerely rejoiced in your success seem to look into a wood, or rather to be sur-than I! It was no small mortification to me to rounded by one. Thus, placed as we are in the find that three out of the six, whom I had enmidst of a village, we have none of the disagreea- gaged, were not qualified to vote. You have prebles that belong to such a position, and the village vailed, however, and by a considerable majority; itself is one of the prettiest I know; terminated at there is therefore no room left for regret. When one end by the church tower, seen through trees, your short note arrived, which gave me the agree and at the other, by a very handsome gateway, able news of your victory, our friend of Eartham opening into a fine grove of elms, belonging to was with me, and shared largely in the joy that I our neighbour Courtenay. How happy should felt on the occasion. He left me but a few days be to show it instead of describing it to you! since, having spent somewhat more than a fortAdieu, my dear friend, W. C. night here; during which time we employed all our leisure hours in the revisal of his Life of Milton. It is now finished, and a very finished work it is; and one that will do great honour, I am persuaded, to the biographer, and the excellent man, of injured memory, who is the subject of it. As to my own concern, with the works of this first of poets, which has been long a matter of burthensome contemplation, I have the happiness to find at last that I am at liberty to postpone my labours. While I expected that my commentary would be called for in the ensuing spring, I looked forward to the undertaking with dismay, not seeing a shadow of probability that I should be ready to answer the demand. For this ultimate revisal of my I have to thank you much for your benevolent Homer, together with the notes, occupies comaid in the affair of my friend Hurdis. You have pletely at present (and will for some time longer) doubtless learned ere now, that he has succeeded, all the little leisure that I have for study: leisure and carried the prize by a majority of twenty. He which I gain at this season of the year by rising is well qualified for the post he has gained. So long before day-light.... much the better for the honour of the Oxonian
TO THE REV. WALTER BAGOT. MY DEAR FRIEND,
Weston, Nor, 10, 1793. You are very kind to consider my literary engagements, and to make them a reason for not interrupting me more frequently with a letter; but though I am indeed as busy as an author or an editor can well be, and am not apt to be overjoyed at the arrival of letters from uninteresting quar ters, I shall always I hope have leisure both to peruse and to answer those of my real friends, and to do both with pleasure.
You are now become a nearer neighbour, and,
as your professorship, I hope, will not engross side out for the inspection of all who choose to inyou wholly, will find an opportunity to give me spect it, to make a secret of his face seems but lityour company at Weston: Let me hear from tle better than a self contradiction. At the same you soon, tell me how you like your new office, time, however, I shall be best pleased if it be kept, and whether you perform the duties of it with according to your intentions, as a rarity. pleasure to yourself. With much pleasure to others you will, I doubt not, and with equal advantage.
I have lost Hayley, and begin to be uneasy at not hearing from him: tell me about him when you write.
I should be happy to have a work of mine embellished by Lawrence, and made a companion for a work of Hayley's. It is an event to which I look forward with the utmost complacence. I can not tell you what a relief I feel it, not to be pressed for Milton. W. C.
MY DEAR FRIEND, Weston, Nov. 29, 1793 I HAVE risen while the owls are still hooting, to pursue my accustomed labours in the mine of Homer; but before I enter upon them, shall give the first moment of daylight to the purpose of thanking you for your last letter, containing many pleasant articles of intelligence, with nothing to abate the MY DEAR FRIEND, pleasantness of them, except the single circum- In my last I forgot to thank you for the box stance that we are not likely to see you here so of books, containing also the pamphlets. We have soon as I expected. My hope was, that the first read, that is to say, my cousin has, who reads to frost would bring you, and the amiable painter us in an evening, the history of Jonathan Wild, with you. If however you are prevented by the and found it highly entertaining. The satire on business of your respective professions, you are great men is witty, and I believe perfectly just: well prevented, and I will endeavour to be patient. we have no censure to pass on it, unless that we When the latter was here, he mentioned one day think the character of Mrs. Heartfree not well the subject of Diomede's horses, driven under the sustained; not quite delicate in the latter part of it; axle of his chariot by the thunderbolt which fell at and that the constant effect of her charms upon their feet, as a subject for his pencil. It is certainly every man who sees her has a sameness in it that a noble one, and therefore worthy of his study and is tiresome, and betrays either much carelessness, attention. It occurred to me at the moment, but or idleness, or lack of invention. It is possible inI know not what it was that made me forget it deed that the author might intend by this circumagain the next moment, that the horses of Achilles stance a satirical glance at novelists, whose heflying over the foss, with Patroclus and Automedon roines are generally all bewitching; but it is a fault in the chariot, would be a good companion for it. that he had better have noticed in another manner, Should you happen to recollect this, when you and not have exemplified in his own. next see him, you may submit it, if you please, to The first volume of Man as he is, has lain unhis consideration. I stumbled yesterday on ano-read in my study window this twelvemonth, and ther subject, which reminded me of said excellent would have been returned unread to its owner, had artist, as likely to afford a fine opportunity to the not my cousin come in good time to save it from expression that he could give it. It is found in that disgrace. We are now reading it, and find the shooting match in the twenty-third book of the it excellent: abounding with wit, and just sentiIliad, between Meriones and Teucer. The former ment, and knowledge both of books and men. cuts the string with which the dove is tied to the Adieu. W.C. mast-head, and sets her at liberty; the latter standing at his side, in all the eagerness of emulation, points an arrow at the mark with his right hand, while with his left he snatches the bow from his competitor. He is a fine poetical figure, but Mr. Lawrence himself must judge whether or not he promises as well for the canvass.
I HAVE waited, and waited impatiently, for a line from you, and am at last determined to send you one, to inquire what is become of you, and why you are silent so much longer than usual.
He does great honour to my physiognomy by his intention to get it engraved; and though I think I foresee that this private publication will grow in I want to know many things which only you time into a publication of absolute publicity, I find can tell me, but especially I want to know what it impossible to be dissatisfied with any thing that has been the issue of your conference with Nichol. seems eligible both to him and you. To say the Has he seen your work? I am impatient for the truth, when a man has once turned his mind in- appearance of it, because impatient to have the
LET. 477, 478.
spotless credit of the great poet's character, as a tious!" A superstitious fidelity loses the spirit,
It is a great relief to me that my Miltonie la-
TO WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ.
Grant Jove, and ye Gods, that this my son
And let him bring back gory trophies, suipt
I ROSE this morning, at six o'clock, on purpose to translate this prayer again, and to write to my dear brother. Here you have it, such as it is, not perfectly according to my own liking, but as well as I could make it, and I think better than either yours, or Lord Thurlow's. You with your six lines have made yourself stiff and ungraceful, and he with his seven has produced as good prose as heart can wish, but no poetry at all. A scrupulous attention to the letter has spoiled you both, you have neither the spirit nor the manner of Ho mer. A portion of both may be found I believe in my version, but not so much as I wish it is better however than the printed one. His lordship's two first lines I can not very well understand; he seems to me to give a sense to the ori ginal that does not belong to it. Hector, I appre, Imlac, in Rasselas, says I forget to whom, hend, does not say, "Grant that he may prove "You have convinced me that it is impossible to himself my son, and be eminent, &c. but grant be a poet." In like manner, I might say to his that this my son may prove eminent which is a lordship, you have convinced me that it is imposmaterial difference. In the latter sense I find the sible to be a translator; to be a translator, on his simplicity of an ancient; in the former, that is to terms, at least, is I am sure impossible. On his say, in the notion of a man proving himself his terms I would defy Homer himself, were he father's son by similar merit, the finesse and dex-alive, to translate the Paradise Lost into Greek. terity of a modern. His lordship too makes the Yet Milton had Homer much in his eye when he man, who gives the young hero his commenda- composed that poem. Whereas Homer never tion, the person who returns from battle; whereas thought of me or my translation. There are miHomer makes the young hero himself that person, nutise in every language, which transfused into at least if Clarke is a just interpreter, which I suppose is hardly to be disputed.
another will spoil the version. Such extreme fidelity is in fact unfaithful. Such close resem If my old friend would look into my preface, he blance takes away all likeness. The original is would find a principle laid down there, which per- elegant, easy, natural; the copy is clumsy, conhaps it would not be easy to invalidate, and which strained, unnatural: To what is this owing? To properly attended to would equally secure a trans- the adoption of terms not congenial to your purlation from stiffness and from wildness. The pose, and of a context, such as no man writing an principle I mean is this "Close, but not so close original work would make use of. Homer is every as to be servile! free, but not so free as to be licen- thing that a poet should be. A translation of Ho