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duty, and to himself; nor need we hasten to get rid of these impressions; time (by appointment of the same Power) will cure the smart, and in some hearts soon blot out all the traces of sorrow but such as preserve them longest (for it is partly left in our own power) do perhaps best acquiesce in the will of the chastiser.
For the consequences of this sudden loss, I see them well, and I think, in a like situation, could fortify my mind, so as to support them with cheerfulness and good hopes, though not naturally inclined to see things. in their best aspect. When you have time to turn yourself round, you must think seriously of your profession; you know I would have wished to see you wear the livery of it long ago: but I will not dwell on this subject at present. To be obliged to those we love and esteem is a pleasure; but to serve and oblige them is a still greater; and this, with independence (no vulgar blessing), are what a profession at your age may reasonably promise: without it they are hardly attainable. Remember I speak from experience.
In the mean time while your present situation lasts, which I hope will not be long, continue your kindness and confidence in me, by trusting me with the whole of it; and surely you hazard nothing by so doing; that situation does not appear so new to me as it does to you. You well know the tenour of my conversation (urged at times perhaps a little farther than you liked) has been intended to prepare you for this event, and to familiarize your mind with this spectre, which you call by its worst name; but remember that "Honesta res est læta paupertas." I see it with respect, and so will every one, whose poverty is not seated in their mind.* There is but one real evil in it (take my word who know it well), and that is, that you have less the power of assisting others, who have not the same resources to * An excellent thought finely expressed.
However, be it known to you, though I have no garden, I have sold my estate and got a thousand guineas,* and fourscore pounds a year for my old aunt, and a twenty pound prize in the lottery, and Lord knows what arrears in the treasury, and am a rich fellow enough, go to; and a fellow that hath had losses, and one that hath two gowns, and every thing handsome about him, and in a few days shall have new window-curtains: are you avized of that? Ay, and a new mattress to lie upon.
My Ode has been rehearsed again and again,† and the scholars have got scraps by heart: I expect to see it torn piece-meal in the North-Briton before it is born. If you will come you shall see it, and sing in it amidst a chorus from Salisbury and Gloucester music meeting, great names there, and all well versed in Judas Maccabæus. I wish it were once over; for then I immediately go for a few days to London, and so with Mr. Brown to Aston, though I fear it will rain the whole summer, and Skiddaw will be invisible and inaccessible to mortals.
I have got De la Landes' Voyage through Italy, in eight volumes; he is a member of the academy of sciences, and pretty good to read. I have read too an octavo volume of Shenstone's Letters: poor man! he was always wishing for money, for fame, and other distinctions; and his whole philosophy consisted in living against his will in retirement, and in a place which his taste had adorned; but which he only enjoyed when people of note came to see and commend it: his correspondence is about nothing else but this place and his own writings, with two or three neighbouring clergymen who wrote verses too.
Consisting of houses on the west side of Hand-alley, London: Mrs. Olliffe was the aunt here mentioned, who had a share in this estate, and for whom he procured this annuity. She died in 1771, a few months before her nephew.
+ Ode for Music on the Duke of Grafton's Installation. See Poems. His rea son for writing it is given in the next letter.
I have just found the beginning of a letter, which somebody had dropped: I should rather call it first thoughts for the beginning of a letter; for there are many scratches and corrections. As I cannot use it myself (having got a beginning already of my own), I send it for your use on some great occasion.
"After so long silence, the hopes of pardon, and prospect of forgiveness might seem entirely extinct, or at least very remote, was I not truly sensible of your goodness and candour, which is the only asylum that my negligence can fly to, since every apology would prove insufficient to counterbalance it, or alleviate my fault: how then shall my deficiency presume to make so bold an attempt, or be able to suffer the hardships of so rough a campaign?" &c. &c. &c.
III. MR. GRAY TO MR. BEATTIE. Cambridge, July 16, 1769. THE late ceremony of the Duke of Grafton's installation has hindered me from acknowledging sooner the satisfaction your friendly compliment gave me: I thought myself bound in gratitude to his Grace, unasked, to take upon me the task of writing those verses which are usually set to music on this occasion.* I do not think them worth sending you, because they are by nature doomed to live but a single day; or, if their existence is prolonged beyond that date, it is only by means of newspaper parodies, and witless criticisms. This sort
* In a short note which he wrote to Mr. Stonhewer, June 12, when at his request he sent him the Ode in manuscript for his Grace's perusal, he expresses this motive more fully. "I did not intend the Duke should have heard me till he could not help it. You are desired to make the best excuses you can to his Grace for the liberty I have taken of praising him to his face; but as somebody was necessarily to do this, I did not see why Gratitude should sit silent and leave it to Expectation to sing, who certainly would have sung, and that à gorge deployée, upon such an occasion.'
of abuse I had reason to expect, but did not think it worth while to avoid.
Mr. Foulis is magnificent in his gratitude:* I cannot figure to myself how it can be worth his while to offer me such a present. You can judge better of it than I and if he does not hurt himself by it, I would accept his Homer with many thanks. I have not got or even
I could wish to subscribe to his new edition of Milton, and desire to be set down for two copies of the large paper; but you must inform me where and when I may pay the money.
You have taught me to long for a second letter, and particularly for what you say will make the contents of it. I have nothing to requite it with but plain and friendly truth, and that you shall have joined to a zeal for your fame, and a pleasure in your success.
I am now setting forward on a journey towards the north of England; but it will not reach so far as I could wish. I must return hither before Michaelmas, and shall barely have time to visit a few places, and a few friends.
IV. MR. GRAY TO DR. WHARTON.
Aston, Oct. 18, 1769.
I HOPE you got safe and well home after that troublesome night. I long to hear you say so. For me I
* When the Glasgow edition of Mr. Gray's Poems was sold off (which it was in a short time), Mr. Foulis finding himself a considerable gainer, mentioned to Mr. Beattie, that he wished to make Mr. Gray a present either of his Homer, in 4 vols. folio, or the Greek Historians, printed likewise at his press, in 29 vols. duodecimo.
+ His correspondent had intimated to him his intention of sending him his first book of the Minstrel. See the seventh letter of this series.
Dr. Wharton, who had intended to accompany Mr. Gray to Keswick, was seized at Brough with a violent fit of his asthma, which obliged him to return home. This was the reason that Mr. Gray undertook to write the following journal of his tour for his friend's amusement. He sent it under different covers. I give it here in continuation. It may not be amiss, however, to hint to the reader, that if he expects to find elaborate and nicely-turned periods in this narration, he will