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To John Jon N son, Esq. Weston, Nov. 20, 1792. “My deares: Johnny, 44 GIVE you many thanks for your rhymes, and for your verses without rhyme; for your poetical dialogue between Wood and Stone; between Homer’s head and the head of Samuel ; kindly intended, I know well, for my amusement, and that amused me much. “The successor of the clerk defunct, for whom I used to write mortuary verses, arrived here this morning with a recommendatory letter from Joe Rye, and an humble petition of his own, entreating me to assist him as I had assisted his predecessor. I have undertaken the service, although with no little reluctance, being involved in many arrears on other subjects, and having very little dependence at present on my ability to write at all. I proceed exactly as when you were here—a letter now and then before breakfast, and the rest of my time all holiday; if holiday it may be called, that is spent chiefly in moping and musing, and “forecasting the fashion of uncer"tain evils.’ “The fever on my spirits has harassed me much, and I have never had so good a night, nor so quiet a rising, since you went, as on this very morning. A relief that I account particularly seasonable and propitious; because I had, in my intentions, devoted this morning to you, and could not have fulfilled those intentions, had
Pointe Liter Aruze.
an. “I am glad that Johnson is in no haste for Milton, for I seem myself not likely to address myself presently to that concern, with any prospect of success; yet something now and then, like a secret whisper, encourages and assures me that it will yet be done. “ W. C.”
To will I AM HAYLEY, Esq.
Weston, Nov. 25, 1792.
“How shall I thank you enough for the interest you take in my future Miltonic labours, and the assistance you promise me in the performance of them; I will some time or other, if I live, and live a poet, acknowledge your friendship in some of my best verse; the most suitable return one poet can make to another: in the mean time, I love you, and am sensible of all your kindness. You wish me warm in my work, and I ardently wish the same; but when I shall be so, God only knows. My melancholy, which seemed a little alleviated for a few days, has gathered about me again, with as black a cloud as ever : the consequence is
absolute incapacity to begin. “I was for some years dirgewriter to the town of Northampton, being employed by the clerk of the principal parish there, to furnish him with an annual copy of verses proper to be printed at the foot .# his bill of mortality. But the clerk died, and hearing nothing for
Weston, Dec. 16, 1792. “My dear Friend,
“We differ so little, that it is pity we should not agree. The possibility of restoring our diseased government is, I think, the only point on which we are not of one mind. If you are right, and it cannot be touched in the medical way, without danger of absolute ruin to the constitution, keep the doctors at a distance, say I—and let us live as long as we can. But perhaps physicians might be found of skill sufficient for the purpose, were they but as willing as able. Who are they Not those honest
blunderers the mob, but our gover
nors themselves. As it is in the power of any individual to be honest if he will, any body of men are, as it seems to me, equally possessed of the same option. For I can never persuade myself to think the world so constituted by the Author of it, and human society, which is his ordinance, so shabby a business,
that the buying and selling of votes and consciences j be essential to its existence. As to multiplied representation I know not that I foresee any great advantage likely to arise from that. Provided that there be but a reasonable number of reasonable heads laid together for the good of the nation, the end may as well be answered by five hundred, as it would be by a thousand, and perhaps better. But then they should be honest as well as wise, and in order that they may be so, they should put it out of their own power to be otherwise. This they might certainly do if they would ; and, would they do it, I am not convinced that any great mischief would ensue. You say ‘somebody must have influence,’ but I see no necessity for it. Let integrity of intention, and a due share of ability, be supposed, and the influence will be in its right place, it will all centre in the zeal and good of the nation. That will influence their debates and decisions, and nothing else ought to do it. You will say perhaps, that, wise men and honest men as they are supposed, they are yet liable to be split into almost as many differences of opinion as there are individuals ; but I rather think not. It is observed of prince Eugene, and the duke of Marlborough, that each always approved, and seconded, the plans and views of the other; and the reason given for it is, that they were men of equal ability. The same cause that could make two unanimous, would make twenty so, and would at least secure a majority among as many hundreds. “As to the reformation of the church, I want none, unless by a better provision for the inferior
clergy; and if that could be brought about by emaciating a little some of our too corpulent dignitaries, I should be well contented. “The dissenters, I think, catholics and others, have all a right to the privileges of all other Englishmen, because to deprive them, is persecution, and persecution, on any account, but especially on a religious one, is an abomination. But, after all, valeat respublica, I love my country, I love my king, and I wish peace and prosperity to Old England. Adieu. « W. C.”
To will I AM HAY LEY, Esq. Weston, Dec. 26, 1792.
“That I may not be silent till my silence alarms you, I snatch a moment to tell you, that, although toujours triste, I am not worse than usual, but my opportunities of writing are paucified, as perhaps l)r. i. would have dared to say, and the few that I have are shortened by company. “Give my love to dear Tom, and thank him for his very apposite extract, which I should be happy indeed to turn to any account. How often do I wish in the course of every day, that I could be emi. more in poetry, and ow often of course that this Miltonic trap had never caught me ! The year ninety-two shall stand chronicled in my remembrance as the most melancholy that I have ever known, except the weeks that I spent at Eartham; and such it has been principally, because bei engaged to Milton, I felt myse no longer free for any other engement. That ill-fated work, impracticable in itself, has made every thing else impracticable.
“* * * * I am very Pindaric, and obliged to be so by the hurry of the hour. My friends are come
down to breakfast. Adieu. « W. C.”
To will I AM HAY LEY, Esq. Weston, Jan. 20, 1793.
“My dearest Brother,
“Now I know that you are safe, I treat you, as you see, with a philosophical indifference, not acknowledging your kind and immediate answer to anxious inquiries, till it suits my own convenience. I have learned, however, from my late solicitude, that not only you, but yours, interest me to a degree, that, should any thing happen to either of you, would be very inconsistent with my peace. Sometimes I thought that you were extremely ill, and once or twice, that you were dead. As often some tragedy reached my ear concerning little Tom, “Oh cana: mentes honinum !” How liable are we to a thousand impositions, and how indebted to honest old Time, who never fails to undeceive us : Whatever you had in prospect you acted kindly by me not to make me partaker of your expectations, for I have a spirit, if not so sanguine as yours, yet that would have waited for your coming with anxious impatience, and have been dismally mortified by the disappointment. Had you come, and come without notice too, you would not have surprised us more, than (as the matter was managed) we were surprised at the arrival of your picture. It reached us in the evening, after the shutters were closed, at a time when a chaise might actually have brought you without giving us the least previous intimation. Then it was, that Samuel, with his cheerful countenance, appeared at the study door, and, with a voice as cheerful as his looks, exclaimed, “Mr. Hayley is come, madam ' ' We both started, and in the same moment cried, “Mr. Hayley come! And where is he 2' The next moment corrected our mistake, and finding Mary’s voice grow suddenly tremulous, I turned, and saw her weeping. “I do nothing, notwithstanding all your exhortations: my idleness is proof against them all, or, to speak more truly, my difficulties are so. Something indeed I do. H play at push-pin with Homer every morning before breakfast, fingering and polishing, as Paris did his armour. I have lately liad a letter from Dublin on that cubject, which has pleased me. ... W. C.”
To will I AM HAY LEY, ESQ. JWeston, Jan. 29, 1793.
“My dearest Hayley,
“I truly sympathise with you inder your weight of sorrow for the loss of our good Samaritan. #3ut be not broken-hearted, my friend remember the loss of those we love is the condition on which we live ourselves; and that he who chooses his friends wisely from among the excellent of the earth, has a sure ground to hope, concerning them, when they die, that a merciful God has made them far happier than they could be here ; and that we shall join them soon again. This is id comfort, could we but avail ourselves of it; but I confess the difficulty of doing so. Sorrow is like the deaf adder, • that hears not the voice of the charmer, charm he never so wiseiy;’ and I feel so much myself for the death of Austin, that my
own chief consolation is, that Ihad never seen him. Live yourself, I beseech you, for I have seen so much of you, that I can by no means spare you; and I will live as long as it shall please God to permit me : I know you set some value on me, therefore let that promise comfort you! and give us not reason to say, like David's servants, – “We know that it would have pleased thee more if all we had died, than this one, for whom thou art inconsolable.’ You have still Romney, and Carwardine, and Guy, and me, my poor Mary, and I know not how many beside; as many, I suppose, as ever had an opportunity of spending a day with you. He who has the most friends must necessarily lose the most, and he whose friends are numerous as yours, may the better spare a part of them. It is a changing transient scene; yet a little while, and this poor dream of life will be over with all of us— the living, and they who live unhappy, they are indeed subjects of sorrow. Adieu, my beloved friend.
“Ever yours. W. C.”
* In vain has it been, that I have made several attempts to write, since I came from Sussex ; unless more comfortable days arrive than I have the confidence to look for, there is an end of all writing with me. I have no spirits;–when the Rose came, I was obliged to prepare for his coming by a nightly dose of laudanum—twelve drops suffice; but without them I am devoured by melancholy. “A-propos of the Rose His wife in her political notions is the exact counterpart of yourself— loyal in the extreme. Therefore, if you find her thus inclined when you become acquainted with her, you must not place her resemblance of yourself to the account of her admiration of you, for she is your likeness ready made. In fact, we are all of one mind about government matters, and, notwithstanding your opinion, the Rose is himself a whig, and I am a whig, and you, my dear, are a tory, and all the tories now-a-days call all the whigs republicans. How the deuce you came to be a tory is best known to yourself: you have to answer for this novelty to the shades of your ancestors, who were always whigs ever since we
To Samuel Rose, Esq.
Feb. 17, 1795. “I have read the critique of my work in the Analytical Review, and am happy to have fallen into
the hands of a critic, rigorous
enough indeed, but a scholar, and a man of sense, and who does not deliberately intend me mischief. I am better pleased indeed that he censures some thing. than I shoald have been with unmixed commendation, for his censure (to use the new diplomatic term) will accredit his praises. In his particular remarks he is for the most part right, and I shall be the better for them; but in his general ones I think he asserts too largely, and more than he could prove. With respect to inversions in particular, I know that they do not abound. Once they did, and I had Milton's example for it, not disapproved by Addison. But on ’s remonstrance against them I expunged the most, and in my new edition shall have fewer still. I know that they give dignity, and am sorry to part with them, but to parody an old proverb, he who lives in the year minety-three, must do as in the year ninety-three is done by others. The same remark I have to make on his censure of inharmonious lines. I know them to be much fewer than he asserts, and not more in number than I accounted indispensably necessary to a due variation of cadence. I have, however, now, in conformity with
modern taste (over-much delicate,
in my mind) given to the far greater number of them a fiow as smooth as oil. A few I retain, and will, in compliment to my own judgement. He thinks me too faithful to compound epithets in the introductory lines, and I know