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letters, or at least with a letter; when I mention that if the boy should be lost, together with his
TO LADY HESKETH. despatches, past all possibility of recovery, you may yet know that the Doctor stands acquitted of
Weston, June 3, 1790. not writing - That he is utterly lost (that is to You will wonder when I tell you that I, even I, say the boy, for the Doctor being the last antece- am considered by people, who live at a great dis dent, as the grammarians say, you might other- tance, as having interest and influence sufficient wise suppose he was intended) is the more proba- to procure a place at court for those who may ble, because he was never four miles from his home happen to want one. I have accordingly been before, having only traveled at the side of a plough- applied to within these few days by a Welshman, team; and when the Doctor gave him his direc- with a wife and many children, to get him made tion to Buckland's, he asked, very naturally, if poet-laureat as fast as possible. If thou wouldst that place was in England. So what has become wish to make the world merry twice a year, thou of him Heaven knows!
canst not do better than to procure the office for I do not know that any adventures have pre- him. I will promise thee, that he shall afford thee sented themselves since your departure worth men- a hearty laugh in return, every birth day, and tioning, except that the rabbit, that infested your every new year. He is an honest man. wilderness, has been shot for devouring your car
Adieu! W.C. nations; and that I myself have been in some danger of being devoured in like manner by a great dog, viz. Pearson's. But I wrote him a letter on
TO JOHN JOHNSON, ESQ. Friday (I mean a letter to Pearson, not to his dog, which I mention to prevent mistakes, for the said MY DEAR JOHN, Weston, June 7, 1790. last antecedent might occasion them in this place You know my engagements, and are consequentalso) informing him, that unless he tied up his ly able to account for my silence. I will not there. great mastiff in the day-time, I would send him a fore waste time and paper in mentioning them, worse thing, commonly called and known by the but will only say that added to those with which name of an attorney. When I go forth to ramble you are acquainted, I had other hindrances, such in the fields, I do not sally like Don Quixote, with as business, and a disorder of my spirits, to which a purpose of encountering monsters, if any such I have been all my life subject. At present I am, can be found; but am a peaceable poor gentleman, thank God! perfectly well both in mind and body. and a poet, who mean nobody any harm, the fox- of you I am always mindful, whether I write or hunters and the two universities of this land ex- not, and very desirous to see you. You will recepted.
member, I hope, that you are under engagements I can not learn from any creature whether the to us, and, as soon as your Norfolk friend can Turnpike bill is alive or dead. So ignorant am I, spare you, will fulfil them. Give us all the time and by such ignoramuses surrounded. But if I you can, and all that they can spare to us! know little else, this at least I know, that I love You never pleased me more than when you told you, and Mr. "Frog; that I long for your return, me you had abandoned your mathematical purand that I am, with Mrs. Unwin's best affections, suits. It grieved me to think that you were wast
Ever yours, W.C. ing your time merely to gain a little Cambridge
fame, not worth your having. I can not be con
tented that your renown should thrive nowhere TO LADY HESKETH.' but on the banks of the Cam. Conceive a nobler
| arnbition, and never let your honour be circumThe Lodge, May 28, 1790. scribed by the paltry dimensions of an university? MY DEAREST coz,
It is well that you have already, as you observe, I THANK thee for the offer of thy best services acquired sufficient information in that science, to on this occasion. But heaven guard my brows enable you to pass creditably such examinations as from the wreath you mention, whatever wreath I suppose you must hereafter undergo. Keep beside may hereafter adorn them! It would be a what you have gotten, and be content. More is leaden extinguisher clapped on all the fire of my needless. . genius, and I should never more produce a line You could not apply to a worse than I am to worth reading. To speak seriously, it would advise you' concerning your studies. I was never make me miserable, and therefore I am sure that a regular student myself, but lost the most valuathou of all my friends, wouldst least wish me to ble years of my life in an attorney's office, and in wear it.
the Temple. I will not therefore give myself airs, Adieu, ever thine-in Homer-hurry, W.C. and affect to know what I know not. The aflair
is of great importance to you, and you should be of raiment hy it, as Samson did by his, let me tell directed in it by a wiser than I. To speak how-you, they will be no contemptible acquisition to a ever in very general terins on the subject, it seems young beginner. to me that your chief concern is with history, na- You will not, I hope, forget your way to Westural philosophy, logic, and divinity. As to meta- ton, in consequence of your marriage, where you physics, I know little about them. But the very and yours will be always welcome. W.C. liule that I do know has not taught me to admire them. Life is too short to afford time even for serious tritics. Pursue what you know to be at
TO LADY HESKETH. tainable, make truth your object, and your studies will make you a wise man! Let your divinity,
The Lodge, June 17, 1790. if I may advise, be the divinity of the glorious Re- MY DEAREST COZ, formation: I mean in contradistinction to Armi- Here am I, at eight in the morning, in full nianism, and all the isms that were ever broached dress, going a visiting to Chicheley. We are a in this world of error and ignorance.
strong party, and fill two chaises; Mrs. F. the The divinity of the Reformation is called Cal- elder, and Mrs. G. in one; Mrs. F. the younger, vinism, but injuriously. It has been that of the and myself in another. Were it not that I shall find church of Christ in all ages. It is the divinity of Chesters at the end of my journey, I should be St. Paul, and of St. Paul's master, who met him inconsolable. That expectation alone supports in the way to Damascus.
my spirits; and even with this prospect before me, I have written in great haste, that I might finish when I saw this moment a poor old woman coming if possible before breakfast. Adieu! 'Let us see up the lane opposite my window, I could not help you soon; the sooner the better. Give my love sighing, and saying to myself—“Poor, but happy to the silent lady, the Rose, and all my friends old woman! thou art exempted by thy situation
W.C. in life from riding in chaises, and making thyself
fine in a morning, happier therefore in my account
than I, who am under the cruel necessity of doing TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ.
both. Neither dost thou write verses, neither hast
thou ever heard of the name of Homer, whom I am The Lodge, June 8, 1790. miserable to abandon for a whole morning!” This, MY DEAR FRIEND,
and more of the same sort, passed in my mind on AMONG the many who love and esteem you, seeing the old woman above said. there is none who rejoices more in your felicity The troublesome business, with which I filled than myself. Far from blaming, I commend you my last letter, is (I hope) by this time concluded, much for connecting yourself, young as you are, and Mr. Archdeacon satisfied. I can, to be sure, with a well-chosen companion for life. Entering but ill afford to pay fifty pounds for another man's on the state with uncontaminated morals, you have negligence, but would be happy to pay a hundred the best possible prospect of happiness, and will rather than be treated as if I were insolvent; be secure against a thousand and ten thousand threatened with attorneys and bums. One would temptations, to which, at an early period of life, think that, living where I live, I might be exin such a Babylon as you must necessarily inha- empted from trouble. But alas! as the philosobit, you would otherwise have been exposed. I phers often affirm, there is no nook under heaven see it too in the light you do, as likely to be ad- in which trouble can not enter; and perhaps had vantageous to you in your profession. Men of there never been one philosopher in the world, business have a better opinion of a candidate for this is a truth that would not have been always employment, who is married, because he has given altogether a secret. bond to the world, as you observe, and to himself, I have made two inscriptions lately at the refor diligence, industry, and attention. It is alto-quest of Thomas Gifford, Esq. who is sowing twengether therefore a subject of much congratulation : ty acres with acorns on one side of his house, and and mine, to which I add Mrs. Unwin's, is very twenty acres with ditto on the other. He erects sincere. Samson at his marriage proposed a rid-two meinorials of stone on the occasion, that when dle to the Philistines. I am no Samson, neither posterity shall be curious to know the age of the are you a Philistine. Yet expound to me the fol- oaks, their curiosity may be gratified.* lowing, if you can.
My works therefore will not all perish, or will What are they, which stand at a distance from not all perish soon, for he has ordered his lapidary each other, and meet without ever moring ? to cut the characters very deep, and in stone ex
Should you be so fortunate as to guess it, you tremely hard. It is not in vain then, that I have may propose it to the company, when you celebrate your nuptials; and if you can win thirty changes * The Inscriptions were inserted here. See Poems.
so long exercised the business of a poet. I shall
TO MRS. BODHAM. at least reap the reward of my labours, and be immortal probably for many years.
The Lodge, June 29, 1790. Ever thine, W.C. MY DEAREST COUSIN,
It is true that I did sometimes complain to Mrs.
Unwin of your long silence. But it is likewise TO THE REV. WALTER BAGOT.
true, that I made many excuses for you in my own
mind, and did not feel myself at all inclined to be MY DEAR FRIEND, Weston, June 22, 1790.
angry, nor even "much to wonder. There is an * awkwardness, and a difficulty in writing to those * whom distance and length of time have made in
a manner new to us, that naturally gives us a Villoison makes no mention of the serpent, check, when we would otherwise be glad to adwhose skin, or bowels, or perhaps both, were ho- dress them. But a time, I hope, is near at hand, noured with the Iliad and Odyssey inscribed upon when you and I shall be effectually delivered froin them. But I have conversed with a living eye- all such constraints, and correspond as fluently as witness of an African serpent long enough to have if our intercourse had suffered much less interrupafforded skin and guts for the purpose. In Africa tion. there are ants also, which frequently destroy those You must not suppose, my dear, that though I monsters. They are not much larger than ours, may be said to have lived many years with a pen but they travel in a column of immense length, in my hand, I am myself altogether at my ease on and eat through every thing that opposes them. this tremendous occasion. Imagine rather, and Their bite is like-a spark of fire. When these you will come nearer to the truth, that when I serpents have killed their prey, lion or tiger or any placed this sheet before me I asked myself more other large animal, before they swallow him, they than once, “how shall I fill it?". One subject intake a considerable circuit round about the car- deed presents itself, the pleasant prospect that case, to see if the ants are coming, because when opens upon me of our coming once more together, they have gorged their prey, they are unable to but that once exhausted, with what shall I proescape them. They are nevertheless sometimes ceed? Thus I questioned myself; but finding surprised by them in their unwieldy state, and the neither end nor profit of such questions, I bravely ants make a passage through them. Now if you resolved to dismiss them all at once, and to engage thought your own story of Homer, bound in snake in the great enterprise of a letter to my quondam skin, worthy of three notes of admiration, you can Rose at a venture- - There is great truth in a not do less than add six to mine, confessing at the rant of Nat. Lee's, or of Dryden's, I know not same time, that if I put you to the expense of a which, who makes an enamoured youth say to his letter, I do not make you pay your money for no- mistress, thing. But this account I had from a person of most unimpeached veracity.
And nonsense shall be eloquence in love. I rejoice with you in the good Bishop's removal For certain it is, that they who truly love one anto St. Asaph, and especially because the Norfolk other are not very nice examiners of each other's parsons much more resemble the ants above-men- style or matter; if an epistle comes, it is always tioned, than he the serpent. He is neither of vast welcome, though it be perhaps neither so wise nor size, nor unwieldy, nor voracious; neither, I dare so witty as one might have wished to make it. say, does he sleep after dinner, according to the And now, my cousin, let me tell thee how much practice of the said serpent. But, harmless as he I feel myself obliged to Mr. Bodham, for the readiis, I am mistaken if his mutinous clergy did notness he expresses to accept my invitation. Assure sometimes disturb his rest, and if he did not find him that, stranger as he is to me at present, and their bite, though they could not actually eat natural as the dread of strangers has ever been to through him, in a degree resembling fire. Good me, I shall yet receive him with open arms, be men like him, and peaceable, should have good cause he is your husband, and loves you dearly. and peaceable folks to deal with, and I heartily That consideration alone will endear him to me, wish him such in his new diocese. But if he will and 1 dare say that I shall not find it his only rekeep the clergy to their business, he shall have commendation to my best affections. May the trouble, let him go where he may; and this is health of his relation (his mother, I suppose) be boldly spoken, considering that I speak it to one soon restored, and long continued, and may nothing of that reverend body. But ye are like Jeremiah’s melancholy, of what kind soever, interfere to prebasket of figs. Some of you could not be better, vent our joyful meeting. Between the present and some of you are stark naught. Ask the bishop moment and September our house is clear for your himself, if this be not true!
W.C. reception, and you have nothing to do but to give
us a day or two's notice of your coming. In September we expect Lady Hesketh, and I only re
TO JOHN JOHNSON, ESQ. gret that our house is not large enough to hold all together, for were it possible that you could meet, MY DEAR JOHNNY, Weston, July 8, 1790. you would love each other.
You do wello to perfect yourself on the violin. Mrs. Unwin bids me offer you her best love. Only beware, that an amusement so very bewitchShe is never well, but always patient, and always ing as music, especially when we produce it ourcheerful, and feels beforehand that she shall be loth selves, do not steal from you all those hours, that to part with you.
should be given to study. I can be well content, My love to all the dear Donnes of every name!- that it should serve you as a refreshment after write soon, no matter about what. W. C. severer exercises, but not that it should engross
you wholly. Your own good sense will most pro
bably dictate to you this precaution, and I might TO LADY HESKETH.
have spared you the trouble of it; but I have a
degree of zeal for your proficiency in more im
July 7, 1790. portant pursuits, that would not suffer me to supINSTEAD of beginning with the saffron-vested press it. morning, to which Homer invites me, on a morn
Having delivered my conscience by giving you ing that has no saffron vest to boast, I shall begin this sage admonition, I will convince you that I with you.
am a censor not over and above severe, by acIt is irksome to us both to wait so long as we knowledging in the next place that I have known must for you, but we are willing to hope that by very good performers on the violin very learned a longer stay you will make us amends for all this also; and my cousin, Dr. Spencer. Madan, is an tedious procrastination.
instance. Mrs. Unwin has made known her whole case I am delighted that you have engaged your sisto Mr. Gregson, whose opinion of it has been very ter to visit us; for I say to myself, if John be consolatory to me: he says indeed it is a case per-amiable, what must Catharine be? For we males, fectly out of the reach of all physical aid, but at be we angelic as we may, are always surpassed the same time not at all dangerous. Constant by the ladies. But know this, that I shall not be pain is a sad grievance, whatever part is affected, in love with either of you, if you stay with us only and she is hardly ever free from an aching head, a few days, for you talk of a week or so. Correct as well as an uneasy side, but patience is an ano- this erratum, I beseech you, and convince us by dyne of God's own preparation, and of that he a much longer continuance here, that it was one. gives her largely.
W.C. The French, who like all lively folks are extreme in every thing, are such in their zeal for Mrs. Unwin has never been well since you saw freedom; and if it were possible to make so noble her. You are not passionately fond of lettera cause ridiculous, their manner of promoting it writing, I perceive, who have dropped a lady; could not fail to do so. Princes and peers reduced but you will be a loser by the bargain; for one to plain gentlemanship, and gentles reduced to a letter of hers in point of real utility, and sterling level with their own lackeys, are excesses of which value, is worth twenty of mine, and you will never they will repent hereafter. Difference of rank have another from her, till you have earned it. and subordination are, I believe, of God's appoint
W. C. ment, and consequently essential to the well-being of society: but what we mean by fanaticism in religion is exactly that which animates their po
TO JOHN JOHNSON, ESQ. litics; and unless time should sober them, they will, after all, be an unhappy people. Perhaps it
Weston, July 31, 1790, deserves not much to be wondered at, that at their You have by this time, I presume, answered first escape from tyrannic shackles they should act Lady Hesketh's letter? If not, answer it without extravagantly, and treat their kings as they have delay; and this injunction I give you, judging that sometimes treated their idols. To these however it may not be entirely unnecessary; for though they are reconciled in due time again, but their I have seen you but once, and only for two or respect for monarchy is at an end. They want no- three days, I have found out that you are a scatthing now but a little English sobriety, and that ter-brain. I made the discovery perhaps the sooner, they want extremely: I heartily wish them some because in this you very much resemble myself, wit in their anger, for it were great pity that so who in the course of my life have, through mere many millions should be miserable for want of it. carclessness and inattention, lost many advan
tages: and insuperable shyness has also deprived frine's unseasonable indisposition has also cost us me of many. And here again there is a resem- a disappointment, which we much regret; and blance between us. You will do well to guard were it not that Johnny has made shift to reach against both, for of both, I believe, you have a us, we should think ourselves completely unfortuconsiderable share as well as myself.
nate. But him we have, and him we will hold as We long to see you again, and are only con- long as we can, so expect not very soon to see him cerned at the short stay you propose to make with in Norfolk. He is so harmless, cheerful, gentle,
If time should seem as short to you at Wes- and good-tempered, and I am so entirely at my ton, as it seems to us, your visit here will be gone case with him, that I can not surrender him with“as a dream when one awaketh, or as a watch in out a needs must, even to those who have a suthe night."
perior claim upon him.- He left us yesterday It is a life of dreams, but the pleasantest one morning, and whither do you think he is gone, naturally wishes longest.
and on what errand? Gone, as sure as you are I shall find employment for you, having made alive, to London, and to convey my Homer to the already some part of the fair copy of the Odyssey bookseller's. But he will return the day after toa foul one. I am revising it for the last time, and morrow, and I mean to part with him no more, spare nothing that I can mend.* The Iliad is till necessity shall force us asunder. Suspect me finished.
| not, my cousin, of being such a monster as to If you have Donne's poems, bring them with have imposed this task myself on your kind neyou, for I have not seen them many years, and phew, or even to have thought of doing it. It should like to look them over.
happened that one day, as we chatted by the fireYou may treat us too, if you please, with a lit- side, I expressed a wish, that I could hear of some tle of your music, for I seldom hear any, and de- trusty body going to London, to whose care I light much in it. You need not fear a rival, for might consign my voluminous labours, the work we have but two fiddles in the neighbourhood of five years. For I purpose never to visit that one a gardener's, the other a tailor's: terrible per- city again myself, and should have been uneasy to formers both!
W. C. have left a charge, of so much importance to me,
altogether to the care of a stage-coachman. Johnny
had no sooner heard my wish, than offering him[TO MR. JOHNSON.]
self to the service, he fulfilled it, and his offer was
made in such terms, and accompanied with a coun
Sept. 7, 1790. tenance and manner expressive of so much alacriIr grieves me that after all I am obliged to go ty, that unreasonable as I thought it at first, to into public without the whole advantage of Mr. give him so much trouble, I soon found that I Fuseli's judicious strictures. My only considera- should mortify him by a refusal. He is gone tion is, that I have not forfeited them by my own therefore with a box full of poetry, of which I impatience. Five years are no small portion of a think nobody will plunder him. He has only to man's life, especially at the latter end of it; and in say what it is, and there is no commodity I think a those five years, being a man of aliñost no en- freebooter would covet less.
W. C. gagements, I have done more in the way of hard work, than most could have done in twice the number. I beg you to present my compliments TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ. to Mr. Fuseli, with many and sincere thanks for the services that his own more important occupa
The Lodge, Sept. 13, 1790. tions would allow him to render me.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
Your letter was particularly welcome to me,
not only because it came after a long silence, but TO MRS. BODHAM.
because it brought me good news news of your
marriage, and consequently, I trust, of your hapMY DEAREST COUSIN, Weston, Sept. 9, 1790. piness. May that happiness be durable as your
I am truly sorry to be forced after all to resign lives, and may you be the Felices ter et amplius the hope of seeing you and Mr. Bodham at Wes- of whom Horace sings so sweetly! This is my ton this year; the next may possibly be more pro- sincere wish, and, though expressed in prose, shall pitious, and I heartily wish it may. Poor Catha- serve as your epithalamium. You comfort me
when you say that your marriage will not deprive us • The revisal was completed on the 25th of August follow. that I should regret your union, you must make
of the sight of you hereafter. If you do not wish ing; five years and one month (exclusive of the period of illness before-mentioned) from the writer's entering on the that assurance good as often as you have opportranslation of Homer.