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Milton, when the idea first struck him of changing his mystery into an epic poem.
Demosthenes declaiming in a storm.
William the Conqueror, and his rebellious son Robert, discovering each other in a battle ; after they had encountered hand to hand for some time.
Charles XII. tearing the Vizir's robe with his fpur. And again, after lying in bed ten months at Demotica.
Though my mother could na speak, “ She look'd in my face till my heart was like to break.".
The Abra of Prior's Solomon, " When she, with modest scorn, the wreath return'd, “ Reciin'd her beauteous neck, and inward mourn'd.".
Our Elizabeth, when she gave her Effex a box on the ear.
Chatterton's Sir Charles Bawdin, parting from his wife--
6. Then tir'd out with raving loudy.
“ She fell upon the floor ;
" And march'd from out the door."
Finding every thing safe, he made the signal.---Behold them, yonder, feated on the ground, on the highest part of a desolate island, unattended, fearful of one another, marking out cities and rations, dividing the whole world between them; and mutually resigning to destruction, agreeably to lists which each presented, their dearest friends and nearest relations.---Salvator Rofa would not make me quarrel with him for doing the back ground. Your friend, if any one living, could execute the figures.
Let me suggest one niore subject.---Monmouth's decapitation; in the time of James ii. History speaks well of his face and perfon. The circumstances of his death are these. ---He desired the executioner to dispatch him with more skill than he had dispatched Russel. This only added to the poor fellow's confusion, who struck an ineffeétual"blow, Monmouth raised his face from the block, and with a look (which I cannot describe, but the painter must give) reproached his failure.---By the turn of the head, the effect of the blow might be concealed, and left to fancy; who might collect it from the faces of the nearest spectators.---The remainder of the scene is too shocking for the eye, alinost
for the ear.--But, I know not how, whenever I am away from you, nothing is too shocking for me.-----Monmouth again laid down his head. The executioner struck again and again, to as little purpofe ; and, at last, threw down the axe. The sheriff obliged the man, whose feelings all must pity and respect, to renew his attempt. Two strokes more finished the butchery.
Were it possible to tear off this last subject without destroying half my letter, I really would. It. will make you shudder too much. But, you see, it is not possible ; and you prefer such a letter as this, I know, to none. The paper only affords me room to say my horse is ready. Every ftep he carries me from you, will be a step from happiness.---My imagination would bufy herself just now, about the manner in which I should bchave, if I were to die as ignominiously as Monmouth. But, as I feel no inclination for: rebellion, fancy threw away her pains.
L Ε Τ Τ Ε R
To the SAM E.
5 February, 1778. Oh! my dearest M. what I have gone through fince I wrote to you last night it is impossible for
me to describe.
Thank God, you were not in town! Suffice it that
honor and life both as you wish them. Now, mine of last night is more intelligible. How strange, that the kindeff letter almost you ever wrote me, should come to me precisely at the time I was obliged to make up my mind to quit the world, or, what is more, much more, to quit you! Yet, so it was.
The story my letter mentioned, of a friend who had received such an affrontas no human being could away with, was my own.
Your feelings agreed with me, I am sure. Duelling is not what I defend, In general, almost always, it may be avoided.
But cafes may be put, in which it can be avoided only by worse than death, by everlasting disgrace and infamy. Had I fallen, I know where my last thoughts would have lingered ; and you and your children would have had some tokens of my regard. Be assured the matter is for ever. at an end, and at an end as properly as even you can with. How.happy shall we be, in 79, or 80 (for before that time we shall surely be bleft with each other!), to have those friends about us who were privy to this day; and to talk over the possibility of it!
Hi in all thy future life sacred be every fifth of February!
My mind is too much agitated to write any more this evening, To-morrow I will be more particular. My last I am sure could not alarm you; though, had any thing happened, it would have prepared you. Don't be alarmed by this. Upon my honour ! (with which you know I never preface a falsity) I am not hurt; nor, as it fince turns out, is the other gentleman---at least, not materially.
One trifling circumstance I must mention. As I was determined either to kill or be killed (un-“ Jess sufficient apologies should be inade),---the only proper, and least pernicious, idea of duelling, ---I did not see why I should not recruit my strength as much as possible. So, about three o'clock, I took some cold saddle of mutton and brandy and water at my friend's. After which I went home to seal up some things for you, where
friend was to call for me. When I. saw him coming to my door between 4 and 5,
I had just wrung the affectionate hand of the man I most value, and committed to his care you and your dear little girl, and my dear sister, &c. &c. Love, honour, revenge, and all my various feel