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Castalian state” to Bufo, or any body else. But you are a sentimental and sensibilitous person, and will rhyme to the end of the chapter. Howbeit, I have written some 4000 lines, of one kind or another, on

my travels.

(1811, June 29. Letter 155, to Francis

Hodgson, Vol. I., p. 317.)

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How does Pratt get on, or rather get off, Joe Blacket's posthumous stock? You killed that

poor man amongst you, in spite of your Ionian friend and myself, who would have saved him from Pratt, poetry, present poverty, and posthumous oblivion. Cruel patronage! to ruin a man at his calling; but then he is a divine subject for subscription and biography; and Pratt, who makes the most of his dedications, has inscribed the volume to no less than five families of distinction.

I am sorry you don't like Harry [Kirke] White: with a great deal of cant, which in him was sincere (indeed it killed him as you killed Joe Blacket), certes there is poesy and genius. I don't say this on account of my simile and rhymes; but surely he was beyond all the Bloomfields and Blackets, and their collateral cobblers, whom Lofft and Pratt have or may kidnap from their calling into the service of the trade.

(1811, August 21. Letter 167, to R. C.

Dallas, Vol. I., p. 336.)

Your anxiety about the critique on **'s book is amusing; as it was anonymous, certes it was of little consequence: I wish it had produced a little more

“ IRRITABILE GENUS”

125

confusion, being a lover of literary malice. Are you doing nothing ? writing nothing? printing nothing ? why not your Satire on Methodism ? the subject (supposing the public to be blind to merit) would do wonders. Besides, it would be as well for a destined deacon to prove his orthodoxy.—It really would give me pleasure to see you properly appreciated. I say really, as, being an author, my humanity might be suspected

(1811, August 22. Letter 168, to Francis

Hodgson, Vol. I., p. 339.)

My “Satire !”-I am glad it made you laugh for Somebody told me in Greece that you was angry, and I was sorry, as you were perhaps the only person whom I did not want to make angry.

But how you will make me laugh I don't know, for it is a vastly serious subject to me I assure you; therefore take care, or I shall hitch you into the next Edition to make up our family party. Nothing so fretful, so despicable as a Scribbler, see what I am,

and what a parcel of Scoundrels I have brought about my ears, and what language I have been obliged to treat them with to deal with them in their own way ;-all this comes of Authorship, but now I am in for it, and shall be at war with Grubstreet, till I find some better amusement.

(1811, September 2. Letter 176, to the

Hon. Augusta Leigh, Vol. II., p. 18.)

I think more highly of your poetical talents than it would, perhaps, gratify you to hear expressed, for

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I believe, from what I observe of your mind, that you are above flattery. To come to the point, you deserve success, but we know, before Addison wrote his Cato, that desert does not always command it. But, suppose it attained,--

“ You know what ills the author's life assail,

Toil, envy, want, the patron and the jail." Do not renounce writing, but never trust entirely to authorship. If you have a possession, retain it ; it will be, like Prior's fellowship, a last and sure resource. Compare M' Rogers with other authors of the day; assuredly he is amongst the first of living poets, but is it to that he owes his station in society, and his intimacy in the best circles ? No, it is to his prudence and respectability; the world (a bad one, I own) courts him because he has no occasion to court it. He is a poet, nor is he less so because he was something more. I am not sorry to hear that you are not tempted by the vicinity of Capel Lofft, Esque, though, if he had done for you what he has done for the Bloomfields, I should never have laughed at his rage for patronising. But a truly constituted mind will ever be independent.

(1812, June 1. Letter 238, to Bernard

Barton, Vol. II., p. 124.)

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The plate is broken? between ourselves, it was unlike the picture; and besides, upon the whole, the frontispiece of an author's visage is but a paltry exhibition.

(1812, October 23. Letter 268, to John

Murray, Vol. II., p. 179.)

" ACTION AND BLOOD NOW GET THE GAME” 127

I by no means rank poetry or poets high in the scale of intellect. This may look like affectation, but it is my real opinion. It is the lava of the imagination whose eruption prevents an earthquake. They say poets rarely or never go mad. Cowper and Collins are instances to the contrary (but Cowper was no poet). It is, however, to be remarked that they rarely do, but are generally so near it that I cannot help thinking rhyme is so far useful in anticipating and preventing the disorder. I prefer the talents of action -of war, or the senate, or even of science,—to all the speculations of those mere dreamers of another existence (I don't mean religiously but fancifully) and spectators of this apathy. Disgust and perhaps incapacity have rendered me now a mere spectator ; but I have occasionally mixed in the active and tumultuous departments of existence, and in these alone my recollection rests with any satisfaction, though not the best parts of it.

(1813, November 10, Correspondence with

Miss Milbanke. Letter 5, Vol. III.,

p. 405.)

Redde the Ruminatora collection of Essays, by a strange, but able, old man (Sir Egerton Brydges), and a half-wild young one, author of a poem on the Highlands, called Childe Alarique. The word “sensibility” (always my aversion) occurs a thousand times in these Essays; and, it seems, is to be an excuse for all kinds of discontent. This young man can know nothing of life; and, if he cherishes the disposition which runs through his papers, will become useless, and, perhaps, not even a poet, after all, which

he seems determined to be. God help him! no one should be a rhymer who could be any thing better. And this is what annoys one, to see Scott and Moore, and Campbell and Rogers, who might have all been agents and leaders, now mere spectators. For, though they may have other ostensible avocations, these last are reduced to a secondary consideration.

(1813, November 23. “Journal, 1813-1814,".

Vol. II., p. 337.)

Sharpe (a man of elegant mind, and who has lived much with the best-Fox, Horne Tooke, Windham, Fitzpatrick, and all the agitators of other times and tongues,) told us the particulars of his last interview with Windham, a few days before the fatal operation which sent "that gallant spirit to aspire the skies. Windham, - the first in one department of oratory and talent, whose only fault was his refinement beyond the intellect of half his hearers,–Windham, half his life an active participator in the events of the earth, and one of those who governed nations,-he regretted,--and dwelt much on that regret, that “he had not entirely devoted himself to literature and science !!!” His mind certainly would have carried him to eminence there, as elsewhere ;—but I cannot comprehend what debility of that mind could suggest such a wish. I, who have heard him, cannot regret any thing but that I shall never hear him again. What! would he have been a plodder? a metaphysician ? --- perhaps a rhymer? à scribbler ? Such an exchange must have been suggested by illness.

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