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« O! when I think what pleasure I took in thee,
This cruel disappointment has changed him much -has lamentably chilled the glow of his warm and generous mind, respecting the effusions of genius and the attainment of art. He ceases also to delight in corresponding with his distant friends. It is long since I heard from him.
I remain, dearest Madam, your ever affectionate and devoted, &c.
EDMUND WIGLEY, Esg.
Lichfield, June 11, 1798. Ah, Sir! I condole with you on the late dispatches from Ireland. Insurrection there grows more dark, bloody, and formidable. Desperate and cruel as that people shew themselves, I shall always think the mischiefs of their roused and
long-embittered spirit, have been drawn upon us by ministerial obstinacy, and unwise measures, together with almost all our other national dangers. If Ireland cannot be effectually subdued, I much fear her example will raise English discontent to rebellion-pitch. The distresses occasioned by the decay of trade, and by the forcible demand for soldiers, have, I am told, excited much hatred towards government amongst the lower orders of people, even in this the loyalest county in England. It is actual hardship and misery; it is co ercion upon the will, both as to life and property, and not theories, as Mr Burke idly maintains, which are the real causes by which mighty empires are overthrown. His fatal eloquence awak ened the Quixotism which has combated his phantom at the expence of incurring real dangers.
Have you seen an exquisite satire on the plan and on the absurdities of Darwin's supremely ingenious, but very affected poem, The Economy of Vegetation, and Loves of the Plants. This sly mockery from rival genius, is entitled The Loves of the Triangles, and Allegoric Garden. It has appeared in the form of extracts in the Anti-Jacobin for last April, 16th, 23d, and for May the 7th.
In wit and humour, in the happiness of having exactly caught Dr Darwin's very peculiar style of versification, the author proves himself worthy to reprehend, by exquisite caricature, the faults of a fine writer ;-his elaborate and too profuse ornaments ;-the too lavish frequency of those hyperboles which make rivers laugh, bridges scowl, and shores applaud, &c.-his many affectations ;-his eulogiums on the demon of Europe, modern liberty ;-the dissimilarity to their subject of those successive trains of passages, which begin with, “ So,” and “ Thus," and which press into the service of illustration a countless number of circumstances from history, fable, romance, and tradition :- too charmingly told, it is true, to permit our wishing them away, while we feel that they are open to ridicule. So, also, it must be confessed, is the plan, the Linnean and sexual system of plants and flowers, whose personification, together with that of the elemental properties, is admirably burlesqued in the Loves of the Triangles; where curves, and cubes, lines, circles, fluxions, and tangents, are transformed into nymphs and swains, and are in love with each other. Trochais, the nymph of the wheel, in love with Smoke-Jack. The nymphs Parabola, Hyperbola, and Ellipsis in love with the Cone, &c. &c. Nor less ably satirized is the hypothetical philosophy of the notes to Darwin's poem.
Those only who have read and understood that composition, will understand and feel this ablespirited and highly-amusing satire upon its faults. Both will be alike caviare to the multitude.
The author, whoever he is, proves himself able to break a poetic-lance with the bard of Derby. It is diamond cut diamond here. After all, the true judges and unenvying admirers of fine poetry, have only to open the Economy of Vegetation, and Loves of the Plants, to forgive their author all his affectations in the verse, all his extravagant theories in the notes—everything, in short, but his irreligion, and encomiums on the terrible and tyrannic democracy of France, in consideration of those exhaustless and genuine beauties and sublimities, which are found in such enchanting preponderance along his fanciful composition. All such readers, however they may be amused with the rare powers of this able and learned satirist, will feel that the plan of Dr Darwin's poem, though not invulnerable to the shafts of burlesque, was yet new and fortunate in the hands of genius so bold, imaginative, and picturesque, that the poetic enchantment of its pages is resistless.
Lichfield, June 15, 1798. It is unlucky, but I hope to Heaven it will not be more than unlucky, for your short residence in London, that here is a June whose cloudless ardours have not been paralleled during very many past years.
The summer-solstice is generally ushered in by winds and showers ; but, during the three past weeks, the rivers have shrunk in their banks, the channels of the brooks are dry; the lawns are brown and slippery; the earth wrinkles as in frost; birds sit silent in the centres of the hedge-rows; the cows stand with drooping neck in the reedy brooks; the streets are still vacant and dusty, and silence is over the hills at
I have passed the glowing hours from breakfast till dinner on the terrace, reading Urry's Life of Chaucer, published 1721, in the eleventh year of Dr Johnsop's existence. It surprised me to see three of the sentences turned in John