Imágenes de páginas

in the course of such a business: the latter could still worse, a better than he that employs him. not be applied to, for these purposes, without what The consequence is, that with cobbling, and tinwould be a manifest encroachment on his kind- kering, and patching on here and there a shred of ness; because it might happen, that the trouble- his own, he makes such a difference between the some office might cost him now and then a jour-original and the copy, that an author can not ney, which it was absolutely impossible for me to know his own work again. Now as I choose to endure the thought of.

be responsible for nobody's dulness but my own, When I wrote to you for the copies you have I am a little comforted, when I reflect that it will sent me, I told you I was making a collection, but be in my power to prevent all such impertinence, not with a design to publish. There is nothing and yet not without your assistance. It will be truer, than that at that time I had not the smallest quite necessary, that the correspondence between expectation of sending a volume of Poems to the me and Johnson should be carried on without the press. I had several small pieces that might expense of postage, because proof sheets would amuse, but I would not, when I publish, make the make double or treble letters, which expense, as in amusement of the reader my only object. When every instance it must occur twice, first when the the winter deprived me of other employments, 1 packet is sent, and again when it is returned, began to compose, and seeing six or seven months would be rather inconvenient to me, who, as you before me, which would naturally afford me much perceive, am forced to live by my wits, and to him, leisure for such a purpose, I undertook a piece of who hopes to get a little matter no doubt by the some length; that finished, another; and so on, same means. Half a dozen franks therefore to till I had amassed the number of lines I mentioned me, and totidem to him, will be singularly acceptin my last.

able, if you can, without feeling it in any respect Believe of me what you please, but not that I a trouble, procure them for me. am indifferent to you, or your friendship for me, I am much obliged to you for your offer to sup on any occasion.

port me in a translation of Bourne. It is but Yours,

W. c. seldom, however, and never except for my amuse

ment, that I translate; because I find it disagreca

ble to work by another man's pattern; I should at TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.

least be sure to find it so in a business of any

length. Again, that is epigrammatic and witty MY DEAR FRIEND,

May 23, 1781.

in Latin, which would be perfectly insipid in EngIfa writer's friends have need of patience, how lish; and a translator of Bourne would frequently much more the writer! Your desire to see my find himself obliged to supply what is called the muse in public, and mine to gratify you, must turn, which is in fact the most difficult, and the both suffer the mortification of delay—I expected most expensive part of the whole composition, and that my trumpeter would have informed the world could not perhaps, in many instances, be done by this time of all that is needful for them to know with any tolerable success. If a Latin poem is upon such an occasion; and that an advertising neat, elegant, and musical, it is enough—but Engblast, blown through every newspaper, would have lish readers are not so easily satisfied. To quote said—' The poet is coming.'-But man, especially myself, you will find, in comparing the Jack-daw man that writes verse, is born to diappointments, with the original, that I was obliged to sharpen a as surely as printers and booksellers are born to be point which, though smart enough in the Latin, the most dilatory and tedious of all creatures. The would, in English, have appeared as plain, and plain English of this magnificent preamble is, that as blunt as the tag of a lace. I love the memory the season of publication is just elapsed, that the of Vinny Bourne. I think him a better Latin town is going into the country every day, and poet than Tibullus, Propertius, Ausonius, or any that my book can not appear till they return, that of the writers in his way, except Ovid, and not at is to say not till next winter. This misfortune all inferior to him. I love him too with a love of however comes not without its attendant advan- partiality, because he was usher of the fifth form tage; I shall now have, what I should not other- at Westminster, when I passed through it. He wise have had, an opportunity to correct the press was so good-natured, and so indolent, that I lost myself; no small advantage upon any occasion, more than I got by him; for he made me as idle as but especially important, where poetry is concern- himself. He was such a sloven, as if he had ed! A single erratum may knock out the brains trusted to his genius as a cloak for every thing of a whole passage, and that perhaps, which of all that could disgust you in his person; and indeed others the unfortunate poet is the most proud of. in his writings he has almost made amends for Add to this, that now and then there is to be found all

. His humour is entirely original-he can in a printing house a presumptuous intermeddler, speak of a magpie or a cat in terms so exclusively who will fancy himself a poet too, and what is appropriated to the character he draws, that one



would suppose him animated by the spirit of the you will oblige me by a speedy answer upon this creature he describes. And with all his drollery subject, because it is expedient that the printer there is a mixture of rational, and even religious should know to whom he is to send his copy; and reflection, at times: and always an air of plea- when the press is once set, those humble servants santry, good-nature, and humanity, that makes of the poets are rather impatient of any delay, behim, in my mind, one of the most amiable writers cause the types are wanted for other authors, who in the world. It is not common to meet with an are equally impatient to be born. author who can make you smile, and yet at no- This fine weather I suppose sets you on horsebody's expense: who is always entertaining, and back, and allures the ladies into the garden. If I yet always harmless; and who, though always was at Stock, I should be of their party; and while elegant, and classical to a degree not always found they sat knotting or netting in the shade, should in the classics themselves, charms more by the sim- comfort myself with the thought, that I had not a plieity and playfulness of his ideas, than by the neat- beast under me, whose walk would seem tedious, ness and the purity of his verse; yet such was poor whose trot would jumble me, and whose gallop Vinny. I remember seeing the Duke of Richmond might throw me into a ditch. What nature exset fire to his greasy locks, and box his ears to put pressly designed me for I have never been able to it out again. Since I began to write long poems, I conjecture; I seem to myself so universally disseem to turn up my nose at the idea of a short qualified for the common and customary occupaone. I have lately entered upor one, which, if tions and amusements of mankind. When I was ever finished, can not easily be comprised in a boy, I excelled at cricket and foot-ball, but the much less than a thousand lines! But this must fame I acquired by achievements that way is long make part of a second publication, and be accom- since forgotten, and I do not know that I have panied, in due time, by others not yet thought of; made a figure in any thing else. I am sure, howfor it seems (what I did not know till the booksel- ever, that she did not design me for a horseman; ler had occasion to tell me so) that single pieces and that, if all men were of my mind, there would stand no chance, and that nothing less than a be an end of all jockeyship for ever. I am rather volume will go down. You yourself afford me a straitened for time, and not very rich in materials, proof of the certainty of this intelligence, by send therefore, with our joint love to you all, conclude ing me franks which nothing less than a volume myself


Yours ever, W.C. can fill. I have accordingly sent you one, but am obliged to add, that had the

ind been in any other point of the compass, or, blowing as it does

TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN. from the east, had it been less boisterous, you must have been contented with a much shorter MY DEAR FRIEND,

June 5, 1781. letter, but the abridgment of every other occupa- If the old adage be true, that he gives twice, tion is very favourable to that of writing.

who gives speedily,'it is equally true that he who I am glad I did not expect to hear from you by not only uses expedition in giving, but, gives more this post, for the boy has lost the bag in which your than was asked, gives thrice at least. Such is the letter must have been enclosed-another reason style in which Mr. - confers a favour. He for my prolixity! Yours affectionately, W. C. has not only sent me franks to Johnson, but under

another cover, has added six to you. These last,

for aught that appears by your letter, he threw in TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.

of his own mere bounty. I beg that my share of

thanks may not be wanting on this occasion, and MY DEAR FRIEND,

May, 1781. that when you write to him next you will assure I Believe I never give you trouble without feel-him of the sense I have of the obligation, which is ing more than I give; so much by way of preface the more flattering, as it includes a proof of his and apology.

predilection in favour of the poems his franks are Thus stands the case—Johnson has begun to destined to enclose. May they not forfeit his good print, and Mr. Newton has already corrected the opinion hereafter, nor yours, to whom I hold myfirst sheet. This unexpected despatch makes it self indebted in the first place, and who have equalnecessary for me to furnish myself with the means ly given me credit for their deservings! Your of communication, viz. the franks, as soon as may mother says, that although there are passages in be. There are reasons (I believe I mentioned them them containing opinions which will not be uniin my last) why I choose to revise the proofs my- versally subscribed to, the world will at least allow self:-nevertheless, if your delicacy must sufier what my great modesty will not permit me to subthe puncture of a pin's point in procuring the franks join. I have the highest opinion of her judgment, for me, I release you entirely from the task : you and know, by having experienced the soundness are as free as if I had never mentioned them. But of them, that her observations are always worthy

of attention and regard. Yet, strange as it may verily believe to be sincere. I reply, therefore, not seem, I do not feel the vanity of an author, when peevishly, but with a sense of the kindness of your she commends me—but I feel something better, a intentions, that I hope you may make yourself spur to my diligence, and a cordial to my spirits, very easy on a subject, that I can perceive has ocboth together animating me to deserve, at least not casioned you some solicitude. When I wrote the to fall short of her expectations. For I verily be- poem called Truth, it was indispensably necessary lieve, if my dulness should earn me the character that I should set forth that doctrine which I know of a dunce, the densure would affect her more than to be true, and that I should pass 'what I underme; not that I am insensible of the value of a stood to be a just censure upon opinions and pergood name,

either as a man or an author. With-suasions that differ from, or stand in direct oppos out an ambition to attain it, it is absolutely unattaina- sition to it; because, though some errors may be ble under either of those descriptions. But my innocent, and even religious errors are not always life having been in many respects a series of mor- pernicious, yet in a case where the faith and hope tifications and disappointments, I am become less of a Christian are concerned, they must necessaapprehensive and impressible perhaps in some points rily be destructive; and because, neglecting this, than I should otherwise have been; and though I I should have betrayed my subject; either supshould be exquisitely sorry to disgrace my friends, pressing what, in my judgment, is of the last imcould endure my own share of the affliction with portance, or giving countenance by a timid silence, a reasonable measure of tranquillity.

to the very evils it was my design to combat. That These seasonable showers have poured floods you may understand me better, I will subjoinupon all the neighbouring parishes, but have pass-that I wrote that poca on purpose to inculcate the ed us by. My garden languishes, and, what is eleemosynary character of the gospel, as a dispenworse, the fields too languish, and the upland grass sation of mercy, in the most absolute sense of the is burnt. These discriminations are not fortuitous. word, to the exclusion of all claims of merit on the But if they are providential, what do they import? part of the receiver; consequently to set the brand I can only answer, as a friend of mine once an- of invalidity upon the plea of works, and to disswered a mathematical question in the schools, cover, upon spiritual ground, the absurdity of that Prorsus nescio.Perhaps it is, that men, who notion, which includes a solecism in the very terms will not believe what they can not understand, may of it, that man, by repentance and good works, learn the folly of their conduct, while their very may deserve the mercy of his Maker: I call it a senses are made to witness against them; and them- solecism, because mercy deserved ceases to be merselves in the course of Providence become the sub-cy, and must take the name of justice. This is jects of a thousand dispensations they can not ex- the opinion which I said in my last the world plain. But the end is never answered. The les- would not acquiesce in; but except this, I do not son is inculcated indeed frequently enough, but recollect that I have introduced a syllable into any nobody learns it. Well. Instruction vouchsafed of my pieces, that they can possibly object to; and in vain is, I suppose, a debt to be accounted for even this I have endeavoured to deliver from dochereafter. You must understand this to be a soli- trinal dryness, by as many pretty things, in the loquy. I wrote my thoughts without recollecting way of trinket and plaything, as I could muster that I was writing a letter, and to you. W.C. upon the subject. So that if I have rubbed their

gums, I have taken care to do it with a coral, and

even that coral embellished by the ribbon to which TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN. it is tied, and recommended by the tinkling of all

the bells I could contrive to annex to it. MY DEAR FRIEND,

June 24, 1781.

You need not trouble yourself to call on JohnThe letter you withheld so long, lest it should son; being perfectly acquainted with the progress give me pain, gave me pleasure. Horace says, the of the business, I am able to satisfy your curiosity poets are a waspish race; and from my own expe- myself—the post before the last I returned to him rience of the temper of two or three, with whom the second sheet of Table Talk, which he had I was formerly connected, I can readily subscribe sent me for correction, and which stands foremost to the character he gives them. But for my own in the volume. The delay has enabled me to add part, I have never yet felt that excessive irritability, a piece of considerable length, which, but for the which some writers discover, when a friend, in the delay, would not have made its appearance upon words of Pope,

this occasion; it answers to the name of Hope. “Just hints a fault, or hesitates dislike."

I remember a line in the Odyssey, which, litoLeast of all would I give way to such an unsea- rally translated, imports that there is nothing in sonable ebullition, merely because a civil question the world more impudent than the belly. But had is proposed to me with such gentleness, and by a Homer met with an instance of modesty like yours, man whose concern for my credit and character 1 he would either have suppressed that observation,

or at least have qualified it with an exception. I does so much good to others ! - You can no where hope that, for the future, Mrs. Unwin will never find objects more entitled to your pity than where suffer you to go to London without putting your pity seeks them. A man, whose vices and some victuals in your pocket; for what a strange irregularities have brought his liberty and life into article would it make in a newspaper, that a tall, danger, will always be viewed with an eye of comwell-dressed gentleman, by his appearance a cler- passion by those who understand what human gyman, and with a purse of gold in his pocket, nature is made of; and while we acknowledge the was found starved to death in the street. How severities of the law to be founded upon principles would it puzzle conjecture to account for such a of necessity and justice, and are glad that there is phenomenon! Some would suppose that you had such a barrier provided for the peace of society, if been kidnapped, like Betty Canning, of hungry we consider that the difference between ourselves memory; others would say, the gentleman was a and the culprit is not of our own making, we shall methodist, and had practised a rigorous self-denial, be, as you are, tenderly affected by the view of his which had unhappily proved too hard for his con- misery; and not the less so because he has brought stitution; but I will venture to say that nobody it upon himself. would divine the real cause, or suspect for a mo- I give you joy of your own hair, no doubt you ment, that your modesty had occasioned the tragedy are considerably a gainer in your appearance by in question. By the way, is it not possible, that being disperiwiged. The best wig is that which the spareness and slenderness of your person may most resembles the natural hair. Why then should be owing to the same cause ? for surely it is rea- he, who has hair enough of his own, have recourse sonable to suspect that the bashfulness which could to imitation? I have little doubt but that if an prevail against you, on so trying an occasion, may arm or leg could have been taken off with as little be equally prevalent on others. I remember having pain as attends the amputation of a curl or a lock been told by Colman, that when he once dined of hair, the natural limb would have been thought with Garrick, he repeatedly pressed him to eat less becoming, or less convenient, by some men, more of a certain dish, that he was known to be than a wooden one, and have been disposed of acparticularly fond of; Colman as often refused, and cordingly. at last declared he could not : “But could not you,” | Having begun my letter with a miserable pen, says Garrick, "if you was in a dark closet by I was unwilling to change it for a better, lest my yourself ?" The same question might perhaps be writing should not be all of a piece. But it has put to you with as much, or more propriety, and worn me and my patience quite out. Yours ever, therefore I recommend it to you, either to furnish

W.C. yourself with a little more assurance or always to eat in the dark We sympathize with Mrs. Unwin; and if it

TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON. will be any comfort to her to know it, can assure her, that a lady in our neighbourhood is always, MY VERY DEAR FRIEND, July 12, 1781. on such occasions, the most miserable of all things, I am going to send, what when you have read, and yet escapes with great facility through all the you may scratch your head, and say, I suppose, dangers of her state. Yours, ut semper. W.C. Tihere's nobody knows, whether what I have got,

be verse or not—by the tune and the time, it ought to be rhyme; but if it be, did you ever see,

of late or of yore, such a ditty before? TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.

I have writ Charity, not for popularity, but as

July 6, 1781. well as I could, in hopes to do good; and if the We are obliged to you for the rugs, a commo- reviewer should say “ to be sure, the gentleman's dity that can never come to such a place as this muse wears methodist shoes, you may know by at an unseasonable time. We have given one to her pace, and talk about grace, that she and her an industrious pour widow, with four children, bard have little regard, for the taste and fashions, whose sister overheard her shivering in the night, and ruling passions, and hoidening play, of the and with some difficulty brought her to confess modern day; and though she assume a borrowed the next morning, that she was half perished for plume, and now and then wear a tittering air, 'tis want of sufficient covering. Her said sister bor-only her plan, to catch if she can, the giddy and rowed a rug for her at a neighbour's immediately, gay, as they go that way, by a production, on a which she had used only one night when yours new construction; she has baited her trap, in hopes arrived: and I doubt not but we shall meet with to snap all that may come, with a sugar-plum." others, equally indigent and deserving of your His opinion in this will not be amiss; 'tis what bounty.

I intend my principal end; and if I succeed, and Much good may your humanity do you, as it folks should read, till a few are brought to a se

[ocr errors]

rious thought, I should think I am paid, for all I to, that the most harmless members of society have said, and all I have done, though I have run, should receive no advantage of its laws, or should many a time, after a rhyme, as far as from hence, be the only persons in the world who should deto the end of my sense, and by hook or crook, 'rive no benefit from those institutions, without write another book, if I live and am here, another which society can not subsist. Neither of them year.

could mean to throw down the pale of property, I have heard before, of a room with a floor, laid and to lay the Christian part of the world open, upon springs, and such like things, with so much throughout all ages, to the incursions of unlimited art, in every part, that when you went in, you was violence and wrong. forced to begin a minuet pace, with an air and a By this time you are sufficiently aware, that I grace, swimming about, now in and now out, with think you have an undisputable right to recover a deal of state, in a figure of eight, without pipe or at law what is so dishonestly withheld from you. string, or any such thing; and now I have writ, in a The fellow, I suppose, has discernment enough rhyming fit, what will make you dance, and as you to see a difference between you and the generality advance, will keep you still, though against your of the clergy; and cunning enough to conceive will, dancing away, alert and gay, till you come the purpose of turning your meekness and for to an end of what I have penn'd; which that you bearance to good account, and of coining them may do, ere Madam and you are quite worn out into hard cash, which he means to put in his with jigging about, I take my leave, and here you pocket. But I would disappoint him, and show receive, a bow profound, down to the ground, from him, that though a Christian is not to be quarrelyour humble me

W.C., some, he is not to be crushed—and that though

he is but a worm before God, he is not such a

worm, as every selfish unprincipled wretch may TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.

tread upon at his pleasure.

I lately heard a story from a lady, who has spent MY DEAR FRIEND,

July 29, 1781.

many years of her life in France, somewhat to the Having given the case you laid before me in present purpose. An Abbé, universally esteemed your last all due consideration, I proceed to an- for his piety, and especially for the meekness of swer it; and in order to clear my way, shall, in his manners, had, yet undesignedly, given some the first place, set down my sense of those passages offence to a shabby fellow in his parish. The man, in Scripture which, on a hasty perusal, seem to concluding he might do as he pleased with so forclash with the opinion I am going to give—"if a giving and gentle a character, struck him on one man smite one cheek, turn the other.”—“ If he cheek, and bade him turn the other. The good take thy cloak, let him take thy coat also.”—That man did so, and when he had received the two is, I suppose, rather than on a vindictive principle slaps, which he thought himself obliged to submit avail yourself of that remedy the law allows you, to, turned again, and beat him soundly. I do not in the way of retaliation, for that was the subject wish to see you follow the French gentleman's immediately under the discussion of the speaker. example

, but I believe nobody that has heard the Nothing is so contrary to the genius of the Gospel, story condemns him much for the spirit he showed as the gratification of resentment and revenge; upon the occasion. but I can not easily persuade myself to think, that I had the relation from Lady Austen,* sister to the author of that dispensation could possibly ad- Mrs. Jones, wife of the minister at Clifton. She vise his followers to consult their own peace at the is a most agrecable woman, and has fallen in love expense of the peace of society, or inculcate an with your mother and me; insomuch, that I do aniversal abstinence from the use of lawful reme- not know but she may settle at Olney. Yesterdies, to the encouragement of injury and oppres- day se’ennight we all dined together in the Spinsion.

nic-a most delightful retirement, belonging to St. Paul again seems to condemn the practice Mrs. Throckmorton of Weston. Lady Austen's of going to law, "Why do ye not rather sufler lackey, and a lad that waits on me in the garden, wrong ? &c.” But if we look again, we shall find drove a wheelbarrow full of eatables and drinkathat a litigious temper had obtained, and was pre-bles to the scene of our Fête Champêtre. A board valent among the professors of the day. This he laid over the top of the wheelbarrow served us for condemned, and with good reason; it was un- a table; our dining-room was a root-house lined seemly to the last degree, that the disciples of the with moss and ivy. At six o'clock, the servants, Prince of Peace should worry and vex each other who had dined under a great elm upon the ground, with injurious treatment, and unnecessary dis- at a little distance, boiled the kettle, and the said putes, to the scandal of their religion in the eyes of the heathen. But surely he did not mean any • Widow of Sir Robert Austen, Bart, and the lady alluded more than his Master, in the place above alluded to in the advertisement pretixed to the T'ask.

« AnteriorContinuar »