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HAVING reviewed these Sheets with some care, I beg leave to put them into your hands, as a testimony of the respect I bear you; and, for the time that such things may have the fortune to live, as a monument of our friendship.
You see, by the turn of this address, you have nothing to fear from that offensive adulation, which has so much dishonoured Letters. You and I have lived together on other terms. And I should be ashamed to offer you even such a trifle as this, in a manner that would give you a right to think meanly of its author.
Your extreme delicacy allows me to say nothing of my obligations, which otherwise would demand my warmest acknowledgments. For your constant
favour has followed me in all ways, in which you could contrive to express it. And indeed I have never known any man more sensible to the good offices of his friends, and even to their good intentions, or more disposed, by every proper method, to acknowledge them. But you much over-rate the little services, which it has been in my power to render to you. I had the honour to be intrusted with a part of your education, and it was my duty to contribute all I could to the success of it. But the task was easy and pleasant. I had only to cultivate that good sense, and those generous virtues, which you brought with you to the University, and which had already grown up to some maturity under the care of a man, to whom we had both of us been extremely obliged; and who possessed every talent of a perfect institutor of youth in a degree, which, I believe, has been rarely found in any of that profession, since the days of Quinctilian.
I wish this small tribute of respect, in which I know how cordially you join with me, could be any honour to the memory of an excellent person, who loved us both, and was less known, in his life-time, from that obscure situation to which the caprice of fortune oft condemns the most accomplished characters, than his highest merit deserved.
a The Reverend Mr. BUDWORTH, Head-Master of the Grammar School at BREWOOD, in Staffordshire. He died in 1745.
It was to cherish and improve that taste of polite letters, which his early care had instilled into you, that you required me to explain to you the following exquisite piece of the best poet. I recollect with pleasure how welcome this slight essay then was to you; and am secure of the kind reception you will now give to it; improved, as I think it is, in some respects, and presented to you in this public way. I was going to say, how much you benefited by this poet (the fittest of all others, for the study of a gentleman) in your acquaintance with his moral, as well as critical writings; and how successfully you applied yourself to every other part of learning, which was thought proper for you-But I remember my engagements with you, and will not hazard your displeasure by saying too much. It is enough for me to add, that I truly respect and honour you; and that, for the rest, I indulge in those hopes, which every one, who knows you, entertains from the excellence of your nature, from the hereditary honour of your family, and from an education in which you have been trained to the study of the best things.