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not followed Æneas after he left Carthage, his poem, though less complete, would have been more interesting. After the death of Dido I yawned through the remainder; read it once as a task, and never since looked into the pages beyond that epoch.
Ah! dearest ladies, how groundless has the assertion proved on which every one relied, that Duncan's victory threw the perils of invasion at a wide distance !--but I will not pursue the alarming subject.
This day a summer's sun warmly gilds the fields, the gardens, and the groves, now diffusing fragrance, and bursting into bloom. Fresh and undulating breezes from the east lured me into my drawing-room, having placed in its lifted sash the Æolian harp. It is, at this instant, warbling through all the varieties of the harmonic chords. This apartment looks upon a small lawn, gently sloping upwards. Till this spring, it was shrubbery to the edge of the grassy terrace on its summit; but I have lately covered it with a fine turf, sprinkled with cypresses, junipers, and laurels. It is bordered on the right hand by tall laburnums, lilachs, and trees of the Gelder rose,
6 throwing up, mid trees of darker leaf,
Beyond this little lawny elevation, the wall which divides its terrace from the sweet valley it overlooks, is not visible. These windows command the loveliest part of that valley, and only its first field is concealed by the sloping swell of the foreground. The vale is scarcely half a mile across, bounded, basin-like, by a semicircle of gentle hills, luxuriantly foliaged. There is a lake in its bosom, and a venerable old church, with its grey and moss-grown tower on the water's edge. Left of that old church, on the rising ground beyond, stands an elegant villa, half shrouded in its groves; --and, to the right below, on the bank of the lake, another villa with its gardens. The as yet azure waters are but little intercepted by the immense and very ancient willow that stands opposite these windows in the middle of the vale; that willow, whose height and dimensions are the wonder of naturalists. The centre of the lake gleams through its wide-spread branches, and it appears on each side like a considerable river, from its boundaries being concealed. On the right, one of our streets runs from the town to the water, interspersed with trees and gardens. . It looks like an umbraged village, and is all we see from hence of the city, so that nothing can be more quiet and rural than the landscape. It is less beautiful in summer than in spring, from the weeds that sprout up in the lake, and from the set which partially creeps upon its surface.
In my youth, it was always clear---but it is said that, some fifteen years back, two of our gormandizing aldermen took a boat and sowed it with water-lilies, to preserve the fish. The mischief is irreparable, since the cleansing it receives every autumn only procures transparence till the sun of middle sunimer enables the deep-rooted weeds to defy the scythe and the shovel.
What shall I say for the slovenliness of the inclosed transcripts ?—Thus you behold my incorrigible pen sinning, from time to time, against the faimess of transcription,-sinning and confessing, like a frail papist, and repenting without amendment.
What lovely weather Our valley is bursting into bloom, and the fruit trees of a large public garden in one part of it, now in full blossom, presents a grove of silver, amidst the lively and tender green of the fields and hedge-rows. Alas! the melancholy of the apprehensive heart is rather increased than abated by this vernal luxury, It seems but as gay garlands on the neck of a victim. -In every frame of mind, I remain, dearest ladies, &c.
THOMAS PARK, Esq.
Lichfield, May 10, 1798. THANK you for this renewed proof of obliging attention, in sending me Thomson's Winter, published in the year 1730. Since I wrote to you, I discovered amongst my father's old books, the Four Seasons, three of them published at different periods, though bound up together. The three first bear the same date with those in your collection, viz. Spring, 1728-Summer, 1727-Autumn, 1730and Winter, 1730; of which last the book that you have presented to me is a duplicate. Therefore I purpose returning it, that you may present it to some other poetic amateur of your acquaintance, who
may not possess, and might find difficulty in procuring, this interesting proof of the progressive powers of the fancy and the judgment in so fine a writer; which appears from comparing it with the Winter of the last edition he revised of the Four Seasons, that republished by Dr Aikin, in 1779, and to which the editor prefixed that admirable dissertation on the poetic powers of those compositions.
The Winter, in your collection of the earlier editions, is a fourfold treasure in our comparative investigation, from its four years precedence, being published in 1726. It would gratify me to examine it; and if you indulge me, it shall be punctually returned. The climax of excellence, on the whole, is so considerable, from the Winter published in the year 1730, to the same poem which received the poet's last touches, that if the inferiority in that of 1726 to that of 1730, is, as you say it is, in equal degree, you might well call the first a school-boy's task, compared to the consummate poem.
I have been extremely amused in examiving my father's book of the early editions, and my own of the latest, presented to me by a friend in my
fourteenth year. For this amusement I am entirely indebted to your observations on the subject. The examination has explained to me a circumstance, on which I have often, through life, with wonder meditated :-thus-my dear father was himself an elegant poet, though too devoted society to give up much time to poetic composi