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who, attracted by the effluvia of my genius, found that good advice shall reach you : but be it hot, or me out in my retirement last January twelvemonth. be it cold, to a man that travels as you travel, take I have not permitted him to be idle, but have made care of yourself, can never be an unseasonable him transcribe for me the twelfth book of the Iliad. caution. I am sometimes distressed on this acHe brings me the compliments of several of the count; for though you are young, and well made literati, with whom he is acquainted in town, and for such exploits, those very circumstances are tells me, that from Dr. Maclain, whom he saw more likely than any thing to betray you into danlately, he learns that my book is in the hands of ger. sixty different persons at the Hague, who are all
Consule quid valeant plante, quid ferre recusent. enchanted with it, not forgetting the said Dr. Maclain himself, who tells him that he reads it every
The Newtons left us on Friday. We frequentday, and is always the better for it. O rare we! ly talked about you after your departure, and every
I have been employed this morning in compos- thing that was spoken was to your advantage. I
I have not been idle since you went, having not I would that he lived not so remote, or that he had only laboured as usual at the Iliad, but composed more opportunity of traveling.
a spick and span new piece, called." The Dog There is not, so far as I know, a syllable of the and the Water-Lily," which you shall see when rhyming correspondence between me and my we meet again. I believe I related to you the inpoor brother left
, save and except the six lines of cident which is the subject of it. I have also read it quoted in yours. I had the whole of it, but most of Lavater's Aphorisms; they appear to me it perished in the wreck of a thousand other things, some of them wise, many of them whimsical, a when I left the Temple. Breakfast calls. Adieu! few of them false, and not a few of them extrava
W.C. gant. Nil illi medium. If he finds in a man the
feature or quality that he approves, he deifies him; if the contrary, he is a devil. His verdict is in
neither case, I suppose, a just one. W.C. TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ.
Weston, Aug. 18, 1788.
TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ.
, where it seenus I should have as you are, before you could reach Northampton. found another oak, much larger, and much more Perhaps you heard me whistle just after our sepa- respectable than the former, but once I was hinration ; it was to call back Beau, who was rup- dered by the rain, and once by the sultriness of ning after you with all speed, to intreat you to re- the day. This latter oak has been known by the turn with me. For my part, I took my own time name of Judith many ages, and is said to have to return, and did not reach home till after one ; been an oak at the time of the conquest. If I and then so weary, that I was glad of my great have not an opportunity to reach it before your archair, to the comforts of which I added a crust rival here, we will attempt that exploit together; and a glass of rúm and water, not without great and even if I should have been able to visit it ere occasion. Such a foot-traveller am I.
you come, I shall yet be glad to do so; for the I am writing on Monday, but whether I shall pleasure of extraordinary sights, like all other finish my letter this morning depends on Mrs. pleasures, is doubled by the participation of a Unwin's coming sooner or later down to breakfast. friend. Something tells me that you set ofl'to-day for Bir You wish for a copy of my little dog's eulo mingham; and though it be a sort of Iricism to gium, which I will therefore transcribe: but by say here, I beseech you take care of yourself, for so doing, I shall leave myself but scanty room for the day threatens great heat, I can not help it; the prose. weather may be cold enough at the time when I shall be sorry if our neighbours at the hall
MY DEAR FRIEND,
should have left it, when we have the pleasure of Weston has not been without its tragedies since seeing you. I want you to see them soon again, you left us; Mrs. Throckmorton's piping bull-finch that a little consuetudo may wear off restraint; has been eaten by a rat, and the villain left nothing and you may be able to improve the advantage you but poor Bully's beak behind him. It will be a have already gained in that quarter. I pitied you wonder if this event does not, at some convenient for the fears which deprived you of your uncle's com-time, employ my versifying passion. Did ever pany, and the more having suffered so much by fair lady, from the Lesbia of Catullus to the prethose fears myself. Fight against that vicious fear, sent day, lose her bird and find no poet to comfor such it is, as strenuously as you can. It is the memorate the loss ?
W.C. worst enemy that can attack a man destined to the forum-it ruined me. To associate as much as possible with the most respectable company, for
TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ. good sense and good breeding, is, I believe, the only, at least I am sure it is the best remedy. The MY DEAR FRIEND, Weston, Nov. 30, 1788. society of men of pleasure will not cure it, but Your letter, accompanying the books with which rather leaves us more exposed to its influence in you have favoured me, and for which I return company of better persons.
you a thousand thanks, did not arrive till yesterNow for the Dog and the Water-Lily.* day. I shall have great pleasure in taking now
W.C. and then a peep at my old friend Vincent Bourne;
the neatest of all men in his versification, though
when I was under his ushership, at Westminster, TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ.
the most slovenly in his person. He was so in
attentive to his boys, and so indifferent whether MY DEAR FRIEND, Weston, Sept. 25, 1787. they brought him good or bad exercises, or none
at all, that he seemed determined, as he was the Say what is the thing by my Riddle design’d
best, so to be the last Latin poet of the Westminster Which you carried to London, and yet left behind.
line; a plot which, I believe, he executed very sucI expect your answer and without a fec.—The cessfully; for I have not heard of any who has at half hour next before breakfast I devote to you. all deserved to be compared with him. TI moment Mrs. Unwin arrives in the study, We have had hardly any rain or şnow since be what I have written much or little, I shall make you left us; the roads are accordingly as dry as in my bow, and take leave. If you live to be a judge, the middle of summer, and the opportunity of as if I augur right you will, I shall expect to hear walking much more favourable. We have no of a' walking circuit.
season in my mind so pleasant as such a winter: I was shocked at what you tell me of and I account it particularly fortunate that such Superior talents, it seems, give no security for pro- it proves, my cousin being with us. She is in priety of conduct; on the contrary, having a nat- good health, and cheerful, so are we all; and this ural tendeney to nourish pride, they often betray I say, knowing you will be glad to hear it, for you the possessor into such mistakes, as men more have seen the time when this could not be said of moderately gifted never commit. Ability there- all your friends at Weston. We shall rejoice to fore is not wisdom, and an olmce of grace is a bet- see you here at Christmas; but I recollected when ter guard against gross absurdity than the bright- I hinted such an excursion by word of mouth, you est talents in the world.
gave me no great encouragement to expect you. I rejoice that you are.
e prepared for transcript Minds alter, and yours may be of the number of work: here will be plenty for you. The day on those that do so; and if it should, you will be enwhich you shall receive this, I beg you will re- tirely welcome to us all. Were there no other member to drink one glass at least to the success reason for your coming than merely the pleasure of the Iliad, which I finished the day before yes- it will afford to us, that reason alone would be terday, and yesterday began the Odyssey. - It will sufficient; but after so many toils, and with so be some time before I shall perceive myself travel- many more in prospect, it seems essential to your ing in another road; the objects around me are well-being that you should allow yourself a respite, at present so much the same; Olympus, and a which perhaps you can take as comfortably (I am council of gods, meet me at my first entrance. To sure as quietly) here as any where. tell you the truth, I am weary of heroes and dei The ladies beg to be remembered to you with ties, and, with reverence be it spoken, shall be glad all possible esteem and regard; they are just come for variety's sake, to exchange their company for down to breakfast, and being at this moment exthat of a Cyclops.
tremely talkative, oblige me to put an end to my letter. Adicu.
W. C. Cowper's Poenus.
TO JOSEPH HILL, ESQ.
TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ.
Weston-Underwood, Dec. 2, 1788. MY DEAR SIR,
The Lodge, Jan. 19, 1789. MY DEAR FRIEND,
I have taken, since you went away, many of I told you lately that I had an ambition to in the walks which we have taken together; and troduce to your acquaintance my valuable friend, none of them, I believe, without thoughts of you. Mr. Rose. He is now before you. You will find I have, though not a good memory, in general, him a person of genteel manners and agreeable yet a good local memory, and can recollect, by conversation. As to his other virtues and good the help of a tree or a stile, what you said on that qualities, which are many, and not often found in particular spot. For this reason I purpose, when men of his years, I consign them over to your own the summer is come, to walk with a book in my discernment, perfectly sure that none will escape pocket; what I read at my fireside I forget, but you. I give you joy of each other, and remain, what I read under a hedge, or at the side of a my dear old friend, most truly yours, W. C. pond, that pond and that hedge will always bring
to my remembrance; and this is a sort of memoria technica, which I would recommend to you if I did not know that you have no occasion for it.
I am reading Sir John Hawkins, and still hold TO ROBERT SMITH, ESQ.
the same opinion of his book, as when you were Weston-Underwood, Dec. 20, 1788.
here. There are in it, undoubtedly, some awk
warınesses of phrase, and, which is worse, here MY DEAR SIR,
Mrs. Unwin is in tolerable health, and adds and there some unequivocal indications of a vanity her warınest thanks to mine for your favour, and not easily pardonable in a man of his years; but for your obliging inquiries. My own health is
on the whole I find it amusing, and to me at least, better than it has been for many years. Long
to whom every thing that has passed in the litetime I had a stomach that would digest nothing, rary world within these five-and-twenty years is and noty nothing disagrees with it; an amend- new, sufficiently replete with information. Mr. ment for which I am, under God, indebted to the that it was lately recommended to him by a sen
Throckmorton told me about three days since, daily use of soluble tartar, which I have never omitted these two years.
am still, as you may
sible man, as a book that would give him great suppose, occupied in my long labour. The Iliad insight into the history of modern literature, and has nearly received its last polish. And I have modern men of letters, a commendation which I advanced in a rough copy as far as to the ninth really think it merits. Fifty years hence, perbook of the Odyssey. My friends are some of haps, the world will feel itself obliged to hin.
W.C. them in haste to see the work printed, and my answer to them is——“I do nothing else, and this I do day and night-it must in time be finished."
TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ. My thoughts, however, are not engaged to Homer only. I can not be so much a poet as not MY DEAR SIR, The Lodge, Jan. 24, 1789. to feel greatly for the King, the Queen, and the We have heard from my cousin in Norfolkcountry. My speculations on these subjects are street; sthe reached home safely, and in good time. indeed melancholy, for no such tragedy has be- An observation surgests itself, which, though I fallen in my day. We are forbidden to trust in have but little time for observation making, I man; I will not therefore say I trust in Mr. Pitt: 'must allow myself time to mention. Accidents, —but in his counsels, under the blessing of Provi- as we call them, generally occur when there seems dence, the remedy is, I believe, to be found, if a least reason to expect them; if a friend of ours traremedy there be. His integrity, firnuness, and vebs far in different roads, and at an unfavourable sagacity, are the only human means that seem season, we are reasonably alarmed for the safety adequate to the great emergence.
of one in whom we take so much interest; yet You say nothing of your own health, of which how seldom do we hear a tragical account of such I should have been happy to have heard favoura- a journey! It is, on the contrary, at home, in our bly. May you long enjoy the best. Neither Mrs. yard or garden, perhaps in our parlour, that disUnwin nor myself have a sincerer, or a warmer aster finds us; in any place, in short, where we wish, than for your felicity.
seem perfectly out of the reach of danger. The I am, my dear sir,
lesson inculcated by such a procedure on the part Your most obliged and affectionate
of Providence towards us seeins to be that of perW. C. petual dependence.
Having preached this sermon, I must hasten to know not: but imagine that any time after the always i a close; you know that I am not idle, nor can 1 month of June you will be sure to find her with afford to be so. I would gladly spend more time us, which I mention, knowing that to meet your lockey Fox with you, but by some means or other this day will add a relish to all the pleasures she can find just a has hitherto proved a day of hindrance and con- at Weston. fusion.
W. C. When I wrote those lines on the Queen's visit, I am
I thought I had performed well; but it belongs to
me, as I have told you before, to dislike whatever TO THE REV. WALTER BAGOT.
I write when it has been written a month. The
performance was therefore sinking in my esteem, MY DEAR FRIEND, Weston, Jan. 29, 1789. when your approbation of it, arriving in good time,
I Shall be a better, at least a more frequent buoyed it up again. It will now keep possession correspondent, when I have done with Homer. I of the place it holds in my good opinion, because am not forgetful of any letters that I owe, and it has been favoured with yours; and a copy wil least of all forgetful of my debts in that way to certainly be at your service whenever you choose you; on the contrary, I live in a continual state to have one. of self-reproach for not writing more punctually; Nothing is more certain than that when I wrote but the old Grecian, whom I charge myself never the line, to neglect, lest I should never finish him, has at
God made the country, and man made the town, present a voice that seems to drown all other demands, and many to which I could listen with I had not the least recollection of that very si more pleasure than even to his Os rotundum. Imilar one, which you quote from Hawkins Brown. am now in the eleventh book of the Odyssey, con- It convinces me that critics (and none more than versing with the dead. Invoke the Muse in my Warton, in his notes on Milton's minor poems)
, behalf, that I may roll the stone of Sisyphus with have often charged authors with borrowing what
To do it as Homer has done it is, they drew from their own fund. Brown was an I suppose, in our yerse and language, impossible; entertaining companion when he had drunk his but I will hope not to labour altogether to as little bottle, but not before; this proved a sare to him, purpose as Sisyphus himself did.
and he would sometimes drink too much; but I
TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ.
The Lodge, June 5, 1989.
I am going to give you a deal of trouble, but
London folks must be content to be troubled by The Lodge, May 20, 1789. country folks; for in London only can our strange Finding myself, between twelve and one, at the necessities be supplied. You must buy for me, end of the seventeenth book of the Odyssey, I give if you please, a cuckoo clock; and now I will tell the interval between the present moment and the you where they are sold, which, Londoner as you time of walking, to you. If I write letters before are, it is possible you may not know. They are I sit down to Homer, I feel my spirits too flat for sold, I am informed, at more houses than one, in poetry; and too flat for letter writing if I address that narrow part of Holborn which leads into myself to Homer first; but the last I choose as the Broad St. Giles. It seems they are well going least evil, because my friends will pardon my dul- clocks, and cheap, which are the two best recomness, but the public will not.
mendations of any clock. They are made in GerI had been some days uneasy on your account, many, and such numbers of them are annually when yours arrived. We should have rejoiced to imported, that they are become even a considerable have seen you, would your engagements have per- article of commerce. mitted: but in the autumn I hope, if not before, we
I return you many thanks for Boswell's Tour. shall have the pleasure to receive you. At what I read it to Mrs. Unwin after supper, and we find time we may expect Lady Hesketh, at present i'it amusing. There is much trash in it, as there
MY DEAR SIR,
MY DEAR FRIEND,
must always be in every narrative that relates in-
TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ. the Doctor speaks like an oracle, and that makes AMICO MIO, The Lodge, June 20, 1789. 2 annends for all. Sir John was a coxcomb, and I am truly sorry that it must be so long before
Boswell is not less a coxcomb, though of another we can have an opportunity to meet. My cousin,
kind. I fancy Johnson made coxcombs of all his in her last letter but one, inspired me with other i kod friends, and they in return made him a coxcomb; expectations, expressing a purpose, if the matter
for with reverence be it spoken, such he certainly could be so contrived, of bringing you with her: was, and, flattered as he was, he was sure to be I was willing to believe that you had consulted
together on the subject, and found it feasible. A Thanks for your invitation to London, but un- month was formerly a trifle in my account, but at less London can come to me, I fear we shall never my present age I give it all its importance, and mert. I was sure that you would love my friend, grudge that so many months should yet pass, in when you should once be well acquainted with which I have not even a glimpse of those I love, him; and equally sure that he would take kindly and of whom, the course of nature considered, I
must ere long take leave forever-but I shall live Now for Homer.
Many thanks for the cuckoo, which arrived per
fectly safe, and goes well, to the amusement and TO THE REV. WALTER BAGOT.
amazement of all who hear it. Hannah lies awake
to hear it, and I am not sure that we have not Weston, June 16, 1789. others in the house that admire his music as much You will naturally suppose that the letter in as she. which you announced your marriage occasioned Having read both Hawkins and Boswell, I now me some concern, though in my answer I had the think myself almost as much a master of Johnwisdom to conceal it. The account you gave me son's character as if I had known him personally, of the object of your choice was such as left me and can not but regret that our bards of other times at liberty to form conjectures not very comfortable found no such biographers as these. They have to myself, if my friendship for you were indeed both been ridiculed, and the wits have had their sincere. I have since however been sufficiently laugh; but such an history of Milton or Shakconsoled. Your brother Chester has informed me, speare, as they have given of Johnson-0, how that
you have married not only one of the most desirable! agreeable, but one of the most accomplished women in the kingdom. It is an old maxim, that it is better to exceed expectation than to disappoint TO MRS. THROCKMORTON. it, and with this maxim in your view it was, no doubt , that you dwelt only on circumstances of dis
July 18, 1789. advantage, and would not treat me with a recital MANY thanks, my dear madam, for
your extract of others which abundantly overweigh thein. I now froin George's letter. I retain but little Italian, congratulate not you only, but myself, and truly yet that little was so forcibly mustered by the conrejoice that my friend has chosen for his fellow- sciousness that I was myself the subject, that I traveller through the remaining stages of his jour- presently becane muster of it. I have always said ney, a companion who will do honour to his dis- that George is a poet, and I am never in his comcernment, and make his way, so far as it can de- pany but I discovor proofs of it; and the delicate pend on a wife to do so, pleasant to the last.
address by which he has managed his complimenMy verses on the Queen's visit to London either tary mention of me, convinces me of it still more have been printed, or soon will be, in the World. than ever. Here are a thousand poets of us, who The finishing to which you objected I have alter- have impudence enough to write for the public; ed, and have substituted two new stanzas instead but amongst the modest men who are by diffidence of it. Two others also I have struck out, another restrained from such an enterprise are those who critic having objected to them. I think I am a would eclipse us all. I wish that George would very tractable sort of a poet. Most of my frater- make the experiment; I would bind on his laurels nity would as soon shorten the noses of their chil- with my own hand. dren because they were said to be too long, as thus Your gardener has gone after his wife, but havdock their compositions in compliance with the ing neglected to take his lyre, alias fiddle, with opinion of others. I beg that when my life shall him, has not yet brought home his Eurydice. Your be written hereafter, my authorship's ductability clock in the hall has stopped, and (strange to tell!) of temper may not be forgotten!
it stopped at the sight of the watch-maker. For I am, my dear friend, ever yours, W.C. he only looked at it, and it has been motionless