ページの画像
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

absorbed in the passion for landscape drawing. It I am now reading, and have read three volumes it is a most amusing art, and like every other art, of Hume's History, one of which is engrossed enrequires much practice and attention.

tirely by that subject. There I see reason to alter Nil sine multo

my opinion, and the seeming resemblance has disVita labore dedit mortalibus.

appeared upon a more particular information. Excellence is providentially placed beyond the Charles succeeded to a long train of arbitrary prinreach of indolence, that success may be the reward ces, whose subjects had tamely acquiesced in the of industry, and that idleness may be punished despotism of their masters, till their privileges were with obscurity and disgrace. So long as I am all forgot. He did but tread in their steps, and pleased with an employment, I am capable of un- exemplify the principles in which he had been wearied application, because my feelings are all brought up, when he oppressed his people. But of the intense kind. I never received a little plea- just at that time, unhappily for the monarch, the sure from any thing in my life; if I am delighted, subject began to see, and to see that he had a right it is in the extreme. The unhappy consequence to property and freedom. This marks a sufficient of this temperature is, that my attachment to any difference between the disputes of that day and occupation seldom outlives the novelty of it. That the present. But there was another main cause nerve of my imagination, that feels the touch of of that rebellion, which at this time does not opeany particular amusement, twangs under the rate at all. The king was devoted to the hierarenergy of the pressure with so much vehemence, chy; his subjects were puritans, and would not that it soon becomes sensible of weariness and fa- bear it. Every circumstance of ecclesiastical ortigue. Hence I draw an unfavourable prognostic, der and discipline was an abomination to them, and expect that I shall shortly be constrained to and in his esteem an indispensable duty. And look out for something else. Then perhaps I may though at last he was obliged to give up many string the harp again, and be able to comply with things, he would not abolish episcopacy, and till your demand.

that were done his concessions could have no conNow for the visit you propose to pay us, and ciliating effect. These two concurring causes propose not to pay us; the hope of which plays were indeed sufficient to set three kingdoms in a upon your paper, like a jack-o-lantern upon the flame. But they subsist not now, nor any other, ceiling. This is no mean simile, for Virgil

, (you 1 hope, notwithstanding the bustle made by the
remember) uses it. 'Tis here, 'tis there, it vanishes, patriots, equal to the production of such terrible
it returns, it dazzles you, a cloud interposes, and it events. Yours, my dear friend, W.C.
is gone. However just the comparison, I hope
you will contrive to spoil it, and that your final
determination will be to come. As to the masons
you expect, bring them with you—bring brick,

TO MRS. COWPER.
bring mortar, bring every thing that would oppose
itself to your journey-all shall be welcome. I My dear cousin,

May 10, 1780.
have a greenhouse that is too small, come and en I do not write to comfort you: that office is not
large it; build me a pinery; repair the garden- likely to be well performed by one who has no
wall, that has great need of your assistance; da comfort for himself; nor to comply with an im-
any thing; you can not do too much; so far from pertinent ceremony, which in general might well
thinking you and your train troublesome, we shall be spared upon such occasions: but because I would
rejoice to see you, upon these or upon any other not seem indifferent to the concerns of those I
terms you can propose. But to be serious—you have so much reason to esteem and love. If I did
will do well to consider that a long summer is be- not sorrow for your brother's death, I should ex-
fore you—that the party will not have such ano- pect that nobody would for mine; when I knew
ther opportunity to meet this great while ; that him, he was much beloved, and I doubt not con-
you may finish your masonry long enough before tinued to be so. To live and die together is the
winter, though you should not begin this month, lot of a few happy families, who hardly know what
but that you can not always find your brother and a separation means, and one sepulchre serves them
sister Powley at Olncy. These, and some other all; but the ashes of our kindred are dispersed in-
considerations, such as the desire we have to see deed. Whether the American gulf has swallow-
you, and the pleasure we expect from seeing you ed up any other of my relations, I know not; it has
all together, may, and I think, ought to overcome made many mourners.
four scruples.

Believe me, my dear cousin, though after a long From a general recollection of lord Clarendon's silence which perhaps nothing less than the preHistory of the Rebellion, I thought (and I remem- sent concern could have prevailed with me to inber I told you so) that there was a striking resem- terrupt, as much as ever, blance between that period and the present. But

Your affectionate kinsman, W.C.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

case.

praise dearly, especially from the judicious, and TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON.

those who have so much delicacy themselves as not MY DEAR FRIEND,

May 10, 1780. to offend mine in giving it. But then, I found If authors could have lived to adjust and authen- this consequence attending, or likely to attend the ticate their own text, a commentator would have eulogiumn you bestowed—if my friend thought me been an useless creature. For instance—if Dr. witty before, he shall think me ten times more witBentley had found, or opined that he had found, ty hereafter-where I joked once, I will joke five the word tube, where it seemed to present itself to times, and for one sensible remark, I will send him you, and had judged the subject worthy of his cri- a dozen. Now this foolish vanity would have tical acumen, he would either have justified the spoiled me quite, and would have made me as discorrupt reading, or have substituted some inven- gusting a letter-writer as Pope, who seems to have tion of his own, in defence of which he would thought that unless a sentence was well turned, have exerted all his polemical abilities, and have and every period pointed with some conceit, it was quarreled with half the literati in Europe. Then not worth the carriage. Accordingly, he is to me, suppose the writer himself, as in the present case, except in very few instances, the most disagreeato interpose with a gentle whisper, thus—–'If ble maker of epistles that ever I met with. I was you look again, doctor, you will perceive that what willing, therefore, to wait till the impression your appears to you to be tube, is neither more nor less commendation had made upon the foolish part of than the simple monosyllable ink, but I wrote it in me was worn off, that I might scribble away as great haste, and the want of sufficient precision usual, and write my uppermost thoughts, and those in the character has occasioned your mistake: you only. will be especially satisfied, when you see the sense You are better skilled in ecclesiastical law than elucidated by the explanation.'-But I question I am. Mrs. P. desires me to inform her, whether whether the doctor would quit his ground, or allow a parson can be obliged to take an apprentice. For any author to be a competent judge in his own some of her husband's opposers at D, threat

The world, however, would acquiesce im- en to clap one upon him. Now I think it would mediately, and vote the critic useless.

be rather hard, if clergymen, who are not allowed James Andrews, who is my Michael Angelo, to exercise any handicraft whatever, should be pays me many compliments on my success in the subject to such an imposition. If Mr. P. was a art of drawing, but I have not yet the vanity to cordwainer, or a breeches-maker, all the week, and think myself qualified to furnish your apartment. a preacher only on Sundays, it would seem reaIf I should ever attain to the degree of self-opinion sonable enough, in that case, that he should take requisite to such an undertaking, I shall labour at an apprentice if he chose it. But even then, in it with pleasure. I can only say, though I hope my poor judgment, he ought to be left to his opnot with the affected modesty of the above-men- tion. If they mean by an apprentice, a pupil

, tioned Dr. Bentley, who said the same thing, whom they will oblige him to hew into a parson, Me quoque dicunt

and after chipping away the block that hides the Vatem pastores. Sed non Ego credulus illis.

minister within, to qualify him to stand erect in a A crow, rook, or raven, has built a nest in one pulpit—that indeed is another consideration-But of the young elm-trees, at the side of Mrs. Aspray's still we live in a free country, and I can not bring orchard. In the violent storm that blew yesterday myself even to suspect that an English divine can morning, I saw it agitated to a degree that seem- possibly be liable to such compulsion. Ask your ed to threaten its immediate destruction, and ver- uncle, however, for he is wiser in these things than sified the following thoughts upon the occasion.* either of us.

W.C. I thank you for your two inscriptions, and like

the last the best; the thought is just and finem

but the two last lines are sadly damaged by the TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.

monkish jingle of peperit and reperit

. I have

not yet translated them, nor do I promise to do it, MY DEAR FRIEND,

June 8, 1780. though at some idle hour perhaps I may. In reIt is possible I might have indulged myself in turn, I send you a translation of a simile in the the pleasure of writing to you, without waiting for Paradise Lost. Not having that poem at hand, a letter from you, but for a reason which you will I can not refer you to the book and page, but you not easily guess. Your mother communicated to may hunt for it, if you think it worth your while. me the satisfaction you expressed in my corres--It begins pondence, that you thought me entertaining and

'So when, from mountain tops, the dusky clouds clever, and so forth: now you must know, I love

Ascending, &c.""

[ocr errors]

Cowper's Fable of the Raven concluded this letter,

* For the translation of this simile, soe Cowper's Pocuk

[ocr errors]

DEAR SIR,

1. Poi apparently, within the reach of so much danger. existence a burden not to be endured-an evil we

If you spy any fault in my Latin, tell me, for I bring an odium on the profession they make, that am sometimes in doubt; but, as I told you when will not soon be forgotten. Neither is it possible you was here, I have not a Latin book in the for a quiet, inoffensive man, to discover, on a sudworld to consult, or correct a mistake by; and den, that his zeal has carried him into such comsome years have passed since I was a school-boy. pany, without being to the last degree shocked at

his imprudence. Their religion was an honourAn English Versification of a Thought that popped into able mantle, like that of Elijah; but the majority my Head tro Months since.

wore cloaks of Guy Fawkes's time, and meant Sweet stream!' &c.

nothing so little as what they pretended. Now this is not so exclusively applicable to a

W. C. maiden, as to be the sole property of your sister Shuttleworth. If you look at Mrs. Unwin, you will see that she has not lost her right to this just praise by marrying you.

TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN. Your mother sends her love to all and mine

June 18, 1780. comes jogging along by the side of it.

REVEREND AND DEAR WILLIAM,
Yours,

W. C.

The affairs of kingdoms, and the concerns of individuals, are variegated alike with the checker

work of joy and sorrow. The news of a great TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON. acquisition in America has succeeded to terrible

tumults in London; and the beams of prosperity June 12, 1780.

are now playing upon the smoke of that conflaWe accept it as an effort of your friendship,

gration which so lately terrified the whole land. that you could prevail with yourself

, in a time of

These sudden changes, which are matter of every such terror and distress, to send us repeated ac

man's observation, and may therefore always be counts of yours and Mrs. Newton's welfare; you reasonably expected, serve to hold up the chin of supposed, with reason enough, that we should be

despondency above water, and preserve mankind apprehensive for your safety, situated as you were, in general from the sin and misery of accounting We rejoice that you have escaped at all, and that, should be sure to encounter, if we were not warexcept the anxiety which you must have felt, both ranted to look for a bright reverse of our most affor yourselves and others, you have suffered no

flictive experiences. The Spaniards were sick of thing upon this dreadful occasion. A metropolis in fames, and a nation in ruins, are subjects of con

the war' at the very commencement of it; and I templation for such a mind as yours as will leave a

hope that, by this time, the French themselves lasting impression behind them. It is well that begin to find themselves a little indisposed, if not

desirous of peace, which that restless and medthe design died in the execution, and will be bunied, I hope never to rise again, in the ashes of aling temper of theirs is incapable of desiring for its own combustion. There is a melancholy plea

its own sake. But is it true, that this detestable

plot was an egg laid in France, and hatched in sure in looking back upon such a scene, arising from a comparison of possibilities with facts; the London, under the influence of French corrupenormous bulk of the intended mischief with the tion ?-Nam te scire, deos quoniam propius conabortive and partial accomplishment of it; much tingis, oportet. The offspring has the features was done, more indeed than could have been sup

of such a parent, and yet, without the clearest posed practicable in a well-regulated city, not un- proof of the fact, I would not willingly charge furnished with a military force for its protection. upon a civilized nation what perhaps the most But surprise and astonishment seem at first to

barbarous would abhor the thought of. I no sooner have struck every nerve of the police with a palsy;

saw the surmise however in the paper, than I imand to have disarmed government of all its mediately began to write Latin verses upon the powers.

occasion. 'An odd effect, you will say, 'of such I congratulate you upon the wisdom that with a circumstance:'—but an effect, nevertheless, that held

you from entering yourself a member of the whatever has, at any time, moved my passions, Protestant association. Your friends who did so

whether pleasantly or otherwise, has always had have reason enough to regret their doing it, even upon me: were I to express what I feel upon such though they should never be called upon. Inno- occasions in prose, it would be verbose, inflated, cent as they are, and they who know them can

and disgusting. I therefore have recourse not doubt of their being perfectly so, it is likely to verse, as a suitable vehicle for the most vehement

expressions my thoughts suggest to me. What I have written, I did not write so much for the comfort of the English, as for the mortification of the

[ocr errors]

to

• Vide Poems

French. You will immediately perceive there-| doubt but I shall like it. I am pretty much in the fore that I have been labouring in vain, and that garden at this season of the year, so read but litthis bouncing explosion is likely to spend itself in tle. In summer-time I am as giddy-headed as a the air. For I have no means of circulating what boy, and can settle to nothing. Winter condenses follows, through all the French territories: and me, and makes me lumpish, and sober; and then unless that, or something like it, can be done, my I can read all day long. indignation will be entirely fruitless. Tell me For the same reasons, I have no need of the how I can convey it into Sartine's pocket, or who landscapes at present; when I want them I will will lay it upon his desk for me. But read it first, renew my application, and repeat the description, and unless you think it pointed enough to sting but it will hardly be before October. the Gaul to the quick, burn it.

Before I rose this morning, I composed the three

following stanzas; I send them because I like In seditionem horrendam, corruptelis Gallicis, ut fertur, them pretty well myself; and if you should not, Londini nuper exortam.

you must accept this handsome compliment as an Perfida, crudelis, victa et lymphata furore,

amends for their deficiencies. You may print the Non armis, laurum Gallia fraude petit.

lines, if you judge them worth it.* Venalem pretio plebem condusit, et urit Undique privatas patriciasque domos.

I have only time to add love, &c., and my two Nequicquam conata sua, fædissima sperat

initials.

W.C. Posse tamen nostra nos superare manu. Gallia, vana struis! Precibus nunc utere! Vinces, Nam mites timidis, supplicibusque sumus.

TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON. I have lately exercised my ingenuity in con

MY DEAR FRIEND,

June 23, 1780. triving an exercise for yours, and have composed a

Your reflections upon the state of London, the riddle, which, if it does not make you laugh before sins and enormities of that great city, while you you have solved it, will probably do it afterwards. had a distant view of it from Greenwich, seem to I would transcribe it now, but am really so fatigued have been prophetic of the heavy stroke that fell with writing, that unless I knew you had a quinsy, upon it just after. Man often prophesies without and that a fit of laughter might possibly save your knowing it; a spirit speaks by him which is not life, I could not prevail with myself to do it.

his own, though he does not at that time suspect What could you possibly mean, slender as you that he is under the influence of any other. Did are, by sallying out upon your two walking sticks he foresee what is always foreseen by him who at two in the morning, into the midst of such a dictates what he supposes to be his own, he would tumult? We admire your prowess, but can not suffer by anticipation, as well as by consequence; commend your prudence.

and wish perhaps as ardently for the happy ignoOur love attends you all, collectively and indi

rance, to which he is at present so much indebted, vidually.

as some have foolishly and inconsiderately done Yours,

W. C.

for a knowledge that would be but another name for misery.

And why have I said all this? especially to you, TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN. who have hitherto said it to me--not because I

had the least desire of informing a wiser man than MY DEAR FRIEND,

June 22, 1780.
A word or two in answer to two or three myself

, but because the observation was naturally questions of yours, which I have hitherto taken suggested by the recollection of your letter, and

that letter, though not the last, happened to be no notice of. I am not in a scribbling mood, and shall therefore make no excursions to amuse either uppermost in my mind. I can compare this mind

of mine to nothing that resembles it more, than to myself or you. The needful will be as much as

a board that is under the carpenter's plane (I mean I can manage at present—the playful must wait

while I am writing to you,) the shavings are my for another opportunity. I thank you for your offer of Robertson; but I uppermost thoughts; after a few strokes of the

tool, it acquires a new surface; this again, upon a have more reading upon my hands at this present repetition of his task, he takes off, and a new surwriting than I shall get rid of in a twelve-month;

face still succeeds—whether the shavings of the and this moment recollect that I have seen it already. He is an author that I admire much; with present day will be worth your acceptance, I know one exception, that I think his style is too laboured, not, I am unfortunately made neither of cedar

nor of mahogany; but Truncus ficulnus, inutile Hume, as an historian, pleases me more.

I have just read enough of the Biogrophia Britannica to say, that I have tasted it, and have no • Verses on the burning of Lord Mansfield's Library, &c

lignum-consequently, though I should be planed
till I am as thin as a wafer, it will be but rubbish TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.
to the last.

July 2, 1780. It is not strange that you should be the subject

CARISSIME, I am glad of your confidence, and of a false report; for the sword of slander, like have reason to hope I shall never abuse it. If you that of war, devours one as well as another; and a trust me with a secret

, I am hermetically sealed; blameless character is particularly delicious to its and if you call for the exercise of my judgment, unsparing appetite. But that you should be the such as it is, I am never freakish or wanton in the object of such a report, you who meddle less with use of it, much less mischievous and malignant. the designs of government than almost any man Critics, I believe, do not often stand so clear of that lives under it, this is strange indeed. It is these vices as I do. I like your epitaph, except well, however, when they who account it good that I doubt the propriety of the word immaturus ; sport to traduce the reputation of another, invent which, I think, is rather applicable to fruits than a story that refutes itself. I wonder they do not flowers; and except the last pentameter, the asseralways endeavour to accommodate their fiction to tion it contains being rather too obvious a thought the real character of the person; their tale would to finish with; not that I think an epitaph should be then at least have an air of probability, and it might pointed like an epigram. But still there is a closecost a peaceable good man much more trouble to ness of thought and expression necessary in the disprove it. But perhaps it would not be easy to conclusion of all these little things, that they may discern what part of your conduct lies more open leave an agreeable flavour upon the palate. Whatto such an attempt than another; or what it is ever is short, should be nervous, masculine, and that you either say or do, at any time, that pre- compact. Little men are so; and little poems sents a fair opportunity to the most ingenious should be so; because, where the work is short, slanderer, to slip in a falschood between your the author has no right to the plea of weariness; words, or actions, that shall seem to be of a piece and laziness is never admitted as an available exwith either. You hate compliment, I know; but cuse in any thing. Now you know my opinion, by your leave this is not one—it is a truth-worse you will very likely improve upon my improvement, and worse-now I have praised you indeed-well

, and alter my alterations for the better. To touch you must thank yourself for it; it was absolutely and retouch is, though some writers boast of neglidone without the least intention on my part, and gence, and others would be ashamed to show their proceeded from a pen that, as far as I can remem- foul copies, the secret of almost all good writing, ber, was never guilty of Nattery since I knew how especially in verse. I am never weary of it myto hold it. He that slanders me, paints me blacker self; and if you would take as much pains as I than I am, and he that flatters me, whiter—they do, you would have no need to ask for my correcboth daub me; and when I look in the glass of tions. conscience, I see myself disguised by both—I had

Hic sepultus est as lief my tailor should sew gingerbread nuts on

Inter suorum lacrymas my coat instead of buttons, as that any man should

GULIELMUS NORTHCOT, call my Bristol stone a diamond. The tailor's

Gulielmi et Mariæ filius trick would not at all embellish my suit, nor the

Unicus, unice dilectus, flatterer's make me at all the richer. I never

Qui floris ritu succisus est semihiantis, make a present to my friend of what I dislike my

Aprilis die septimo, self. Ergo (I have reached the conclusion at last,)

1780. Æt. 10. I did not mean to flatter you. We have sent a petition to lord Dartmouth, by

Care vale! Sed non mternum, care, valeto! this post, praying him to interfere in parliament in

Namque iterum tecum, sim modo dignus ero: behalf of the poor lace-makers. I say we, because I

Tum nihil amplexus poterit divellere nostros, have signed it; Mr. G. drew it up, Mr.

Nec tu marcesces, nee lacrymabor ego, did not think it grammatical, therefore he would

Ilaving an English translation of it by me, I not sign it. Yet I think Priscian himself would have pardoned the manner for the sake of the send it, though it may be of no uso. matter. I dare say if his lordship does not com Farewell! "but not forever,” Hope replies, ply with the prayer of it, it will not be because he "Trace but his steps, and meet him in the skies!" thinks it of more consequence to write grammati

There nothing shall renew our parting pain,

Thou shalt not wither, nor I weep again! cally, than that the poor should eat, but for some better reason.

The stanzas that I sent you are maiden ones, My love to all under your roof.

having never been seen by any eye but your Yours, W. C. mother's and your own.

« 前へ次へ »