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ways mentions with a tear glistening in his dear eyes.
I had presented all my publications to Lord Heathfield, elegantly bound. He would not suffer his aid-de-camp to carry the book to the inn, but held it in his own hand, as he walked through our streets. I know your friendship will take a lively interest in these little circumstances, which do me so much honour.
The public critics are so venal, or so partial ; so perpetually suffer their publications to be the channel through which private malice may transmit its venom ; so often render their venality notorious by extolling the most worthless compositions, that I feel it impossible to be flattered by their praise, should they extend it to my writings; which is very improbable, as I know I am not in their favour. Since, therefore, I could not be gratified by their applause, yet might be hecticked by their abuse, I never look into any review; and advise every author, who cannot stoop to bribe these gentry, to follow my example in that respect.
Thus shutting my ears to the critical owls, hooting in the darkness of anonymous spleen, I can say nothing to the stricture you allude to in the Monthly Review. I have just received an high,
and most ingenious compliment in verse, upon the ode to Elliot, which, by what you say, I conclude the Monthly Review abuses. It is from Mr Mundy of Marton, author of Needwood Forest, the best local poem in this language, and contains a sovereign balm for review abuse, if I permitted it to approach near enough to wound
I thank you for the tribute of love and esteem paid by Mr de Crosne to the virtues of your General. Crosne must be a good man.
It is a degree of virtue next to that of doing great and glorious actions, to love those whose performance of them has been inimical to our interest, whether generally or individually. Farewell.
Mr W. NEWTON, THE PEAK MINSTREL.
Lichfield, Sept. 26, 1787. I AM very sorry for your declining health, and broken and perturbed rest. Perhaps your energies, the united force of your manual and mental industry bears too hard upon the vital springs
Let me intreat you to acquire a taste for the sweets of tender indolence, when there are no indispensable demands upon your attention.
Have you seen the poems of the Scotch peasant Burns ? They abound with the irregular fires of genius whenever they describe rural scenery, or the customs and characters of village-life. We find that he has looked at Nature, in her wild and rustic operations, with his own eyes, and he is particularly happy in his winter landscapes. But when he grows sentimental he has little that is new, and his plagiarisms are notorious. There is great originality in the allegoric ode which personifies a Caledonian muse; but he says there was about her
“ A hair-brain'd sentimental trace.”
The line is specked as a quotation. How a sentimental trace should be hair-brained, which means wild, giddy, unthinking, there can be no guess.
Mr Hayley thus replies to my inquiring after his opinion of Burns's compositions—“ I admire the Scotch peasant, but do not think him superior to your poetical carpenter.”
From the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, a young
prodigy in science and literature, of the name of Christie, brightened with his society a sullen evening of this summer. Scotland produces more of these early enthusiasts in the arts and in knowledge than England, or than, perhaps, any other nation. High of spirit, patient of toil, and emulous of fame, they travel far and wide, and do their country honour in every part of the world, as soldiers, statesmen, legislators, historians, philosophers, and poets:
“ As from their own clear north, in radiant streams,
GEORGE HARDINGE, Esg.
Lichfield, Oct. 1, 1787. I AM enchanted with your last letter of so much joyous wit;-circumstances so truly burlesque ;characters so singularly marked ;—pathetic narration, with an awakening portion of horror in the conclusion ; and, perhaps welcomer than all the
rest, the most agreeable and well-imagined flat
Since we have each so lately been at Ludlow, I wish we had met there. Chance must have brought about an interview between you and me in that town, but you might, at will, have done Sophia the honour of a visit. These past twelve years Ludlow has been her home. She quits it finally this month to keep her brother's house in the great Babylon. You could not suppose your name, or nature, as my friend and correspondent, unknown to her; and you must think me cold to the pleasure of imparting pleasure, if you do not believe my communications, from the treasures of your imagination, must have ensured your
welcome. You were very absent not to recollect these things. Surely if you had, wandering through the streets of that town, you would have paused upon the threshold of your kindred spirit.
When I was at Ludlow in June last, a party of eight conducted me, one bright summer's day, into the recesses of Mr Knight's romantic, his, in my eyes, matchless valley.
We obtained permission to eat our cold meat, and drink our wine and water in the lower apartment of the mill-house, furnished in all rustic ele