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examine and correct those of others. It is an heavy evil of authorism. Several poetic tasks, and some prose ones, the execution of which is important to my wishes, lie before me, as water before the lip of Tantalus. My Horatian odes are almost the sum-total of my poetry during the last twelve-months. Not only by yourself, and several other literary friends, but by the public prints, I am exhorted to go through with the odes of Horace. They, and you also, flatter me, that such a work would be a valuable acquisition to English verse; but I have no time; besides, there are many which it would be impossible to render interesting, and others, and which are unfit for the female pen.
Let us turn to a more heart-engaging theme. Ah ! dear, and ever dear friend, your letter from Strasbourg to Sophia, delights me, as breathing an homeward air; yet, what it says of your health, is far from being all I wish. The death of excellent Mrs E. Whalley has, doubtless, injured it, through the generous excess of your sympathetic feelings. The reconciling power of time, will, I trust, ere long, brace your nerves again, and restore the tone of your constitution, Neither is our Sophia well. She now seeks to renovate a disordered frame on the dreary shores of Abberistwith.
I am just returned from paying a delightful visit, of three weeks, to my friends, Mr and Mrs Granville. Accomplished and excellent Mr Dewes was of our party. The situation of their villa, Calwich, near Ashbourn, is as singular as it is beautiful ; standing on the extremest verge of a large and very lucid sheet of water, through which runs the river Dove. It comes winding down from Dovedale to Ileham, and from thence to Calwich. Gentle hills, the nurselings of the peak mountains, forni a semi-circle round the lake, opposite the house, at about a mile's distance. It is quite fairy-land, so verdant are its lawns, so crystal its streams. The minds of its owners are cultivated as the valley, and clear as the lake.
The lady of that lake is young, pretty, graceful, and admired, but loves her home and domestic duties, as well as it is natural for those to do, who bear about them no such magnetism, either of person or manners, to attract attention, or stimulate flattery. Yet is not Mrs Granville coldly unsocial; she mixes with the large neighbourhood around her, with cheerful pleasure ; but her most enjoyed days are those in which books, needle-works, and the conversation of her more intimate friends, give wings to the hours.
The weather was not propitious to the outdoor pleasures of this interesting visit. In days
which should have been those of autumnal prime, storms often infesting the wane of that season, howled over the lawns and lake, and through the bowers of Calwich. No morning was unsullied by rainy clouds, till that of my departure, which arose in despiteful beauty. I left Aurora shaking her amber tresses on the rocks, and hills, and waters. On returning home, the placid health of my dear enfeebled father completed the pleasures of a period, in which the light of mind recompenced the watery gloom of a long-sullen atmosphere.
Your friend, Pratt, has been making a fresh, though not a new, attack upon my poems, in reviewing those of dear Helen Williams. Though my old enemy shifts his ground, he continues to fire off his darling simile of rags and tatters for my muse.
The most charming novel I have read these many years, Caroline de Lichfield, formed part of our amusement at Calwich. It is a unique of its kind, resembling no other novel. Mr Dewes Englished it aloud and extempore from the French, in language at once fluent and graceful. Doubtless you have read it. What a wonderful interest in the last solemn appointment made by Lindorffe to meet Caroline in the pavilion ! What a moment, when he lays the manuscript on
the knees of Caroline, and rushes from her into the wood with wild precipitation !
Sophia ardently presses me to visit her at Ludlow next summer. If
If my father's health permits, I may hope to enjoy that pleasure. For her and her mother's sake, I wish their mansion more spacious and pleasant; but, for my own part, the gratifications of such a visit would not suffer me to hear the din of the blacksmith's hammer, whose vicinity she laments, nor to feel the straightness of my apartment. You and Mrs W. will be in England ere summer comes. Ah! if we could meet at Ludlow! What an agreeable day-dream is that hope! Waft it to me across
the months of bloom see it realized !
the ocean ;
WILLIAM HAYLEY, Esg.
Lichfield, Oct. 11, 1786. MY DEAR BARD, Your friend, the ingenious, benevolent, and energetic Dr Warner, lately passed a few days in
Lichfield. He came hither, possessed with the idea, that I was the author of a new poem, entitled The Triumph of Benevolence, on his darling subject, the immediate order for a statue to the honour of the great Howard. It is a favourite subject with every person whose heart glows with enthusiasm, the noblest enthusiasm, that of humanity : but for the verses, I never saw or heard of them, till I learnt, from * Longinus's letter, sent by the Doctor, that he also believed them mine.
My muse is too high of spirit to have produced a work on the dear exalted Howard, which has such boundless inferiority to that ode of yours on the same theme, and which gave him his poetic apotheosis. I would as soon have attempted to write a new Iliad.
There is something like genius, however, in this same poem;
but it is the random fire of an inexperienced writer, little acquainted with some of the most essential rules of poetic arrangement: Hence, the descending to parts, after he had advanced the whole; to individuals, after he had mentioned their species ;-hence, what are only different names for the same virtue, as courage
* The ingenious and classical Mr Long, an eminent Surgeon in London, and the confidential friend of Mr Hayley.