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Stay not an hour beyond the time you have mentioned, even though you should be able to add a thousand names by doing fo; for I cannot afford to purchase them at that coft. I long to fee you, and fo do we both, and will not fuffer you to poftpone your vifit for any fuch confideration. No, my dear boy, in the affair of sub-. fcriptions, we are already illuftrious enough; fhall be fo at least when you fhall have enlifted a college or two, more, which, perhaps, you may be able to do in the course of the enfuing week. I feel myself much obliged to your univerfity, and much difpofed, to admire the liberality of spirit they have fhewn on this occafion. Certainly I had not deferved much favour of their hands, all things confidered; but the cause of literature feems. to have fome weight with them, and to have fuperfeded the refentment they might be fuppofed to entertain on the score of certain cenfures that you wot of. It is not fo at Oxford.

W.C.

LETTER CLIX.

To SAMUEL ROSE, Efq.

April 29, 1791..

to

I FORGET if I told you that Mr. Throckmorton had applied through the medium of the University of Oxford. He did fo, but without fuccefs. Their anfwer was, "that they fubfcribe to nothing."

Pope's fubfcriptions did not amount, I think, to fix hundred; and mine will not fall very fat fhort of five. Noble doings, at a time of day when Homer has no news to tell us, and when all other comforts of life have rifen in price, poetry has of courfe fallen. I call it a "comfort of life;" it is fo to others, but to myself, it is become even a neceffary.

These holiday times are very unfavourable to the printer's progrefs. He and all his demons are making. themselves merry, and me fad, for I mourn at every hinderance. W. C.

LETTER CLX.

To JOHN JOHNSON, Efq.
WESTON, May 23, 179г.

MY DEAREST JOHNNY,

DID I not know that you are never more in your element than when you are exerting yourfelf in my caufe, I fhould congratulate you on the hope there feems to be that your labour will foon have an end.

You will wonder perhaps, my Johnny, that Mrs. Unwin by my defire, enjoined you to fecrecy concerning the tranflation of the Frogs and Mice. Wonderful it may well feem to you, that I should wish to hide for a fhort time, from a few, what I am just going to publish to all. But I had more reasons than one for this mysterious management; that is to say, I had two. In the first place, I wished to surprise my readers agreeably ; and fecondly, I wished to allow none of my friends an opportunity to object to the measure, who might think it perhaps a measure more bountiful than prudent. But I have had my fufficient reward, though not a pecuniary one. It is a poem of much humour, and accordingly I found the tranflation of it very amufing. It ftruck me too, that I must either make it part of the prefent publication, or never publish it at all; it would have been so terribly out of its place in any other volume.

I long for the time that shall bring you once more to Wefton, and all your et cetera's with you. Oh! what a month of May has this been! Let never poet, English poet at leaft, give himself to the praises of May again.

W. C.

THE JUDGMENT OF THE POETS.

TWO nymphs, both nearly of an age,
Of numerous charms poffefs'd,
A warm dispute once chanc'd to wage,
Whofe temper was the best.

The worth of each had been complete,
Had both alike been mild;

But one, although her fmile was sweet,
Frown'd oft'ner than fhe fmil'd.

And in her humour, when fhe frown'd,
Would raise her voice, and roar;
And shake with fury, to the ground,
The garland that she wore.

The other was of gentler caft,
From all fuch frenzy clear;
Her frowns were feldom known to laft,
And never prov'd severe.

To Poets of renown in fong,

The nymphs referr❜d the cause, Who, strange to tell, all judg'd it wrong, And gave misplac'd applause.

They gentle call'd, and kind, and foft,
The flippant, and the fcold;

And though she chang'd her mood fo "oft,
That failing left untold.

No judges, fure, were e'er fo mad,
Or fo refolv'd to err :

In short, the charms her fifter had,
They lavifh'd all on her.

Then thus the god, whom fondly they,
Their great infpirer call,

Was heard, one genial fummer's day,
To reprimand them all.

"Since thus ye have combin'd," he said, "My fav'rite nymph to flight, Adorning May, that peevish Maid! With June's undoubted right;

"The minx fhall, for your folly's fake,
Still prove herself a fhrew;
Shall make your fcribbling fingers ache,
And pinch your noses blue."

LETTER CLXI.

To SAMUEL ROSE, Efq.

THE LODGE, June 15, 1791.

MY DEAR FRIEND,

IF it will afford you any comfort that you have a fhare in my affections, of that comfort you may avail yourself at all times. You have acquired it by means which, unless I fhould become worthless myself, to an uncommon degree, will always fecure you from the lofs of it. You are learning what all learn, though few at so early an age, that man is an ungrateful animal; and that benefits too often, instead of fecuring a due return, operate rather as provocations to ill treatment. This I take to be the fummum malum of the human heart. Towards God we are all guilty of it, more or lefs; but between man and man, we may thank God for it, there are fome exceptions. He leaves this peccant principle to operate, in fome degree against himself, in all, for our humiliation, I fuppofe; and because the pernicious ef fects of it cannot, in reality, injure him; he cannot suffer by them; but he knows, that unless he should restrain its influence on the dealings of mankind with each other, the bonds of fociety would be diffolved, and all charitable intercourse at an end amongst us. It was faid of archbishop Cranmer, "Do him an ill turn, and you make him your friend forever;" of others it may be faid, “Do them a good one, and they will be forever your enemies." It is the grace of God only, that makes the difference.

The abfence of Homer, (for we have now fhaken hands and parted) is well fupplied by three relations of mine from Norfolk. My coufin Johnson, an aunt of

his, and his fifter. I love them all dearly, and am well contented to refign to them the place in my attentions, fo lately occupied by the chiefs of Greece and Troy. His aunt and I have spent many a merry day together, when we were some forty years younger; and we make fhift to be merry together ftill. His fifter is a sweet young woman, graceful, good-natured, and gentle, just what I had imagined her to be, before I had seen her. Farewel!

W. C.

The occurrences related in the feries of letters, that I have just imparted to my reader, have now brought me to the clofe of the fecond period in my work. As I contemplated the life of my friend, it seemed to display itself in three obvious divisions; the first ending with the remarkable era, when he burst forth on the world, as a Poet, in his fiftieth year; on which occafion we may apply to him the lively compliment of Waller to Denham, and say, with fuperior truth, " He burft out like the Irish rebellion, three-score thousand strong, when nobody was aware, or in the least suspected it." The fecond divifion may conclude with the publication of his Homer; comprising the incidents of ten splendid and fruitful years, that may be regarded as the meridian of his poetical career. The fubfequent period extends to that awful event which terminates every labour of the Poet and the man.

We have seen in many of the preceding letters, with what ardour of application and livelinefs of hope, he devoted himself to his favourite project of enriching the literature of his country with an English Homer, that might be justly esteemed as a faithful, yet free tranflation; a genuine and graceful reprefentative of the juftly idolized original.

After five years of intense and affectionate labour, in which nothing could withhold him from his interesting work, except that oppreffive and cruel malady, which

VOL. I.

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