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Imitation of Juvenal-Letters from Mr. Wakefield-Dr. Dar
win-Scripture Lexicon, &c.
It has been already observed that Mr. Wakefield was accustomed occasionally to translate into English verse some passages
of his favourite ancient poets.
In the spring of this year he amused himself with writing an imitation of the Tenth Satire of Juvenal, of which he printed, without his name,' a very few copies, designed as presents to his friends. This little composition has been commended by persons of acknowledged taste, and judgment, for its successful and spirited application of the characters in the original to men of distinguished station in the present day.
The circulation of these verses having been, necessarily, very limited, they are reprinted
Which explains Mr. Wakefield's allusion to this “ Imitation," in the preceding chapter.
in the Appendix, as not unworthy of such preservation as can be given by this work.
As the weather became mild and the days lengthened he was tempted to take more exercise in the open air. His situation was also rendered less irksome by the prospect, though still distant, of restoration to liberty. Of this he takes notice in the following letter to his daughter.
Dorchester Gaol, May 10, 1800.
MY DEAR CHILD,
I LEARN with great pleasure the agreeable manner, in which your time passes, and the amusing and instructive society, which you enjoy at Eton. You may assure yourself, that no one circumstance can contribute more to soothe and cheer both your mother's spirits and my own, than these communications of your happiness, and especially in addition to the more satisfactory accounts of your health,
At the conclusion of this month, when the grim term of our confinement no longer stares us in the face, but is pursuing his progress from us down the hill, every day will be regarded as a conquest, and increase, with accelerated rapidity, the current of our satisfac
tion. We expect a variety of friends this summer.
It is lamentable that the incommodiousness of this situation should render the presence of every visitor, whom I really value and love, almost an oppression to my spirits: but so it is. Had this family been civilised in any tolerable degree, our residence here under the liberal assistances of our friends, would have proved, comparatively, little else than a temporary change of residence. But, altogether, it is but an evil of trivial magnitude, and I should be wholly contented, and even comfortable, if your mother's fortitude were equal to my own. Her sympathy in this event entitles her to every generous and tender attention on my part, through every moment of my future existence in this world.
Remember us most kindly to all our invaluable friends, and give his mother's love, and mine, to little Gilbert. We shall be eager to have him home when the period of our pilgrimage is run out.
Farewell, my dear child! accept your mother's ardent love, with that of Your most affectionate father,
Notwithstanding the unpleasant circumstance in his situation to which he here again alludes, he was still gratified and enlivened by the society of several of his old friends, some of whom came to visit him from a considerable distance; particularly Mr. Shepherd, of Gate
It was Mr. Wakefield's constant practice to read with a pencil in his hand, for the opportunity of making marginal observations, of which, indeed, almost every book in his library afforded some proof.
When any material remarks were suggested by the perusal of the works of a living writer of respectability, he would not unfrequently communicate them to the author. This he did with so much candour and delicacy, as not only to avoid giving offence, but frequently to produce a conviction of the justness of his sentiments, and a desire of still further communia cations. Such was the case as to the author of the “ Botanic Garden,” a work which he had lately read, for the first time.
In a letter to his daughter, he says; “As Dr. Darwin has lately published his poem in a more purchaseable form, I have bought it, and have read his first volume, which treats of general nature, with extraordinary delight, and admiration.
The second volume pleases me less, from an ignorance of botany, in part, and from an unavoidable sameness in the subject; though the doctor has introduced all the variety that could be expected from taste and genius. Were I intimate with him I should take the liberty of suggesting a few remarks, which might probably induce him to correct, in some instances, a poem destined for immortality.”
Notwithstanding his first hesitation, relying upon the candour of the author, he ventured to send him some critical remarks on his poem. These were received with that liberality and kindness which usually accompany true genius, who, from her large claims upon the admiration of the public, is seldom backward to resign those less ably supported. We insert Dr. Darwin's friendly reply to Mr. Wakefield's letter, which accompanied his " Imitation of Juvenal.”
Derby, August 19, 1800.
your severe and elegant satire, which you have so good cause to write, who so long have felt the persecution of these flagitious times! When one considers the folly of one great part of mankind, and the villany of another great,