« PredošláPokračovať »
TO THE REV, WILLIAM UNWIN.
It was her custom on these occasions, to try it might be advisable to send my love to your all the resources of her sprightly powers for mother and your sisters. They may have his immediate relief. She told him the story thought my 'silence strange, but they have of John Gilpin (which had been treasured in here the reason of it. Assure them of iny her memory from her childhood) to dissipate affectionate remembrance, and that nothing the gloom of the passing hour. Its effect on would make me happier than to receive you the fancy of Cowper had the air of enchant- all in my greenhouse, your own Mrs. Ilill ment: he informed her the next morning, included. It is fronted with myrtles, and that convulsions of laughter, brought on by lined with mats, and would just bold us, for his recollection of her story, had kept him Mr. Small informs me your dimensions are waking during the greatest part of the night, much the same as usual. and that he had turned it into a ballad.-So
Yours, my dear Friend, W. C. arose the pleasant poem of John Gilpin. It was eagerly copied, and, finding its way rapidly to the newspapers, it was seized by the lively spirit of Henderson the comedian, a man, like the Yorick described by Shakspeare,
Olney, Nov. 4, 1722. " of infinite jest and most excellent fancy." My dear Friend,—You are too modest; By him it was selected as a proper subject for though your last consisted of three sides only, the display of his own comic powers, and, by I am certainly a letter in your debt. It is reciting it in his public readings, he gave un possible that this present writing may prove common celebrity to the ballad, before the as short. Yet, short as it may be, it will be public suspected to what poet they were in a letter, and make me creditor, and you my debted for the sudden burst of ludicrous debtor. A letter, indeed, ought not to be amusement. Many readers were astonished estimated by the length of it, but by the conwhen the poem made its first authentic ap- tents, and how can the contents of any letter pearance in the second volume of Cowper. be more agreeable than your last.
You tell me that John Gilpin made you
laugh tears, and that the ladies at court are TO JOSEPH HILL, ESQ.*
delighted with my poems. Much good may
Olney, Sept. 6, 1782. they do them! May they become as wise as My dear Friend,- Yesterday, and not be the writer wishes them, and they will be fore, I received your letter, dated the 11th of much happier than he! I know there is in June, from the hands of Mr. Small. I should the book that wisdom which cometh from have been happy to have known him sooner; above, because it was from above that I rebut whether being afraid of that horned mon- ceived it. May they receive it too! For, ster, a Methodist, or whether from a principle whether they drink it out of the cistern, or of delicacy, or deterred by a flood, which has whether it falls upon them immediately from rolled for some weeks between Clifton and 'the clouds, as it did on me, it is all one. It Olney, I know not,—he has favored me only is the water of life, which whosoever drinketh with a taste of his company, and will leave shall thirst no more. As to the famous horse. me on Saturday evening, to regret that our
man above mentioned, he and his feats are an acquaintance, so lately begun, must be so
inexhaustible source of merriment. At least soon suspended. He will dine with us that we find him so, and seldom meet without reday, which I reckon a fortunate circumstance, freshing ourselves with the recollection of as I shall have an opportunity to introduce them. You are perfectly at liberty to deal him to the liveliest and most entertaining with them as you please. Auctore tantrim woman in the country.f I have seen him anonymo, imprimantur ; and when printed but for half an hour, yet, without boasting of send me a copy. much discernment, I see that he is polite, easy,
I congratulate you on the discharge of your cheerful, and sensible. An old man thus duty and your conscience by the pains you qualified, cannot fail to charm the lady in ques. have taken for the relief of the prisoners.tion. As to his religion, I leave it I am You proceeded wisely, yet courageously, and neither his bisliop nor his confessor. A man deserved better success. Your labors, howof his character, and recommended by you, ever, will be remembered elsewhere, when would be welcome here, were he a Gentoo you shall be forgotten here; and, if the poor or a Mahometan.
folks at Chelmsford should never receive the I learn from him that certain friends of benefit of them, you will yourself receive it mine, whom I have been afraid to inquire in heaven. It is pity that men of fortune about by letter, are alive and well. The cur- should be determined to acts of benefience, rent of twenty years has swept away so many sometimes by popular whim or prejudice, and whom I once knew, that I doubted whether sometimes by motives still more unworthy, * Private correspondence.
The liberal subscription, raised in behalf of † Lady Austen.
the widows of seamen lost in the Royal
George was an instanee of the former. At as you term it, was however a very welcome least a plain, short and sensible letter in the one. The character indeed has not quite the newspaper, convinced me at the time that it neatness and beauty of an engraving; but was an unnecessary and injudicious collec- if it cost me some pains to decipher it, they tion: and the disticulty you found in effectu- were well rewarded by the minute informaating your benevolent intentions on this occa- tion it conveyed. I am glad your health is sion, construins me to think that, had it been such that you have nothing more to complain an aftur of more notoriety than merely to fur- of than may be expected on the down-hill nish a few poor fellows with a little fuel to side of lite. If mine is better than yours, it preserve their extreunities from the frost, you is to be attributed, I suppose, principally to would have succeeded better. Men really the constant enjoyment of country air and pious delight in doing good by stealth. But retirement; the most perfect regularity in moiting less than an ostentatious display of matters of eating, drinking, and sleeping; and bounty will satisfy mankind in general. I a happy emancipation from everything that feel nyself disposed to furnish you with an wears the face of business. I lead the life I opportunity to shine in secret. We do what always wished for, and, the single circum
But that can is little. You have stance of dependence excepted, (which, berich friends, are eloquent on all occasions, tween ourselves, is very contrary to my preand know how to be pathetic on a proper one. dominant humor and disposition,) have no The winter will be severely felt at Olney by want left broad enough for another wish to many, whose sobriety, industry, and honesty, stand upon. recommended them to charitable notice; and
You may not, perhaps, live to see your we think we could tell such persons as Mr. trees attain to the dignity of timber : I never
half a dozen tales of dis- theless approve of your planting, and the distruss, that would find their way into hearts as interested spirit that prompts you to it. Few feeling as theirs. You will do as you see people plant when they are young; a thougood, and we in the meantime shall remain sand other less profitable amusements divert convinced that you will do your best. Lady their attention; and most people, when the Austen will, no doubt, do something, fo he date of youth is once expired, think it too late has great sensibility aud compassion. to begin. I can tell you, however, for your Yours, my dear Unwin, W. C. comfort and encouragement, that when a
grove which Major Cowper had planted was
of eighteen years' growth, it was no small TO THE REV. WILLIAM BULL.*
ornament to his grounds, and afforded as
complete a shade as could be desired. Were
Olney, Nov. 5, 1782. Charissime Taurorum
I as old as your mother, in whose longevity Quot sunt, vel fuerunt, vel posthac aliis erunt in I rejoice, and the more because I consider it annis,
as in some sort a pledge and assurance of We shall rejoice to see you, and I just write yours, and should come to the possession of
land worth planting, I would begin to-morto tell you so. Whatever else I want, I have, at least, this quality in common with row, and even without previously insisting publicans and sinners, thắt I love those that upon a bond from Providence that I should
live five years longer. love me, and for that reason, you in particular. Your warin and affectionate manner demands
I saw last week a gentleman who was it of me. And, though I consider your love lately at Hastings. I asked him where he as growing out of a mistaken expectation that lodged. He replied at P—'s. I next inyou shall see me a spiritual man hereafter, I quired after the poor man's wife, whether do not love you inuch the less for it. I only said I, she has scolded her last; and a sensi
alive or dead. He answered, dead. So then, regret that I did not know you intimately in
ble old man will go down to his grave in those happier days, when the frame of my
to be sure, is of no great heart and inind was such as might have made peace. Mr. Pa connexion with me pot altogether unworthy having so fair an opportunity to inform my
consequence either to you or to me; but, of you.
I aid only Mrs. Unwin's remembrances, self about him, I could not neglect it. It and that I am glad you believe me to be, gives me pleasure to learn soinewhat of a
man I knew a little of so many years since, what I truly am, Your faithful and affectionate, W.C.
and for that reason merely I mention the cir. cumstance to you.
I find a single expression in your letter
which needs correction. You say I carefully TO JOSEPH HILL, ESQ.*
avoid paying you a visit at Wargrave. Not Olney, Nov. 11, 1722.
so; but connected as I happily am, and rooted My dear friend,- Your shocking scrawl, where I am, and not having travelled these • Pavate correspondence.
twenty years—being besides of an indolent temper, and having spirits that cannot bear a acknowledgements, such as the occasion calls bustle—all these are so many insuperables in for, to our beneficent friend, Mr. — I the way. They are not however in yours; call him ours, because, having experienced and if you and Mrs. Hill will make the ex- his kindness to myself, in a former instance, periment, you shall find yourselves as wel- and in the present his disinterested readiness come here, both to me and to Mrs. Unwin, as to succor the distressed, my ambition will it is possible you can be anywhere.
be satisfied with nothing less. He may deYours affectionately, W. C. pend upon the strictest secrecy; no creature
shall hear him mentioned, either now or
hereafter, as the person from whom we have TO JOSEPH HILL, ESQ.*
received this bounty. But when I speak of Olney, Nov., 1782.
him, or hear him spoken of by others, which My dear Friend,-I am to thank you for a
sometimes happens, I shall not forget what very fine cod, which came most opportunely is due to so rare a character. I wish, and to make a figure on our table, on an occa- your mother wishes too, that he could somesion that made him singularly welcome. I times take us in his way to - he will write, and you send me a fish. This is
find us happy to receive a person whom we
very well, but not altogether what I want. I
must needs account it an honor to kuow. wish to hear from you, because the fish, We shall exercise our best discretion in the though he serves to convince me that you where the gospel has been preached so many
disposal of the money; but in this town, have me still in remembrance, says not a word of those that sent him ; and, with re years, where the people have been favored spect to your and Mrs. Hill's health, pros
so long with laborious and conscientious perity, and happiness, leaves me as much in ministers, it is not an easy thing to find the dark as before. You are aware, like those who make no profession of religion at wise, that where there is an exchange of let- all, and are yet proper objects of charity. ters it is much easier to write. But I know The profane are so profane, so drunken, disthe multiplicity of your affairs, and therefore solute, and in every respect worthless, that perform my part of the correspondence as
to make them partakers of his bounty would well as I can, convinced that you would not
be to abuse it. We promise, however, that omit yours, if you could help it.
none shall touch it but such as are miserably Three days since I received a note from poor, yet at the same time industrions and old Mr. Smäll, which was more than civil- honest, two characters frequently united here, it was warm and friendly. The good vet- where the most watchful and unremitting eran excuses himself for not calling upon
labor will hardly procure them bread. We me, on account of the feeble state in which make none but the cheapest laces, and the a fit of the gout had left him. He tells me
price of them is fallen almost to nothing. however that he has seen Mrs. Hill, and Thanks are due to yourself likewise, and your improvements at Wargrave, which will are hereby accordingly rendered, for wriving soon become an ornament to the place. May your claim in behalf of your own parishionthey, and may you both live long to enjoy
You are always with them, and they them! I shall be sensibly mortified if the are always, at least some of them, the better
for season and bis gout together should deprive
your residence among them. Olney is a me of the pleasure of receiving him here; populous place, inhabited chiefly by the balf for he is a man much to my taste, and quite starved and the ragged of the earth, and it is an unique in this country.
not possible for our small party and small My eyes are in general better than I re-abiliiy to extend their operations so far as to member them to have been since I first opened
be much felt among such numbers. Accept, them upon this sublunary stage, which is therefore, your share of their gratitude, and now a little more than half a century ago.
be convinced that, when they pray for a We are growing old; but this is between blessing upon those who relieved iheir wants, ourselves: the world knows nothing of the he that answers that prayer, and when he matter. Mr. Small tells me you look much
answers it, will remember his servant at
Stock, as you did; and as for me, being grown rather plump, the ladies tell me I am as young as
I little thought when I was writing the W. C.
history of John Gilpin, that he would appear in print-I intended to laugh, and to inake two or three others laugh, of whom you
But now all the world laugh, at
least if they have the same relish for a tule Olney, Nov. 18, 1792
ridiculous in itself, and quaintly told, as we My dear William,—On the part of the have. Well, they do not always laugh so poor, and on our part, be pleased to make innocently, and at so small an expense, for * Private correspondence.
in a world like this, abounding with subjeels
TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.
TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.
for satire, and with satirical wits to mark am even now writing, for the press. I told them, a laugh that hurts nobody has at least you that I had translated several of the the grace of novelty to recommend it. Swift's poems of Madame Guion. I told you too, darling motto was, Vive la bagatelle! a good or I am mistakeu, that Mr. Bull designed to wish for a philosopher of his complexion, print them. That gentleman is gone to the the greater part of whose wisdom, whence- sea-side with Mrs. Wilberforce, and will be soever it came, most certainly came not from absent six weeks. My intention is to surabove. La bagalelle has no enemy in me, prise him at his return with the addition of though it has neither so warm a friend nor as much more translation as I have already so able a one as it had in him. If I trille, given him. This, however, is still less likely and merely tritle, it is because I am reduced to be a popular work than my former. Men to it by necessity-a melancholy that noth- that have no religion would despise it; and ing else so effectually disperses engages me men that have no religious experience would sometimes in the arduous task of being mer- not understand it. But the strain of simple ry by force. And, strange as it may seem, and unaffected piety in the original is sweet the most ludierous lines I ever wrote have beyond expression. She sings like an angel, been written in the saddest mood, and but and that very reason has found but fe for that saddest mood, perhaps, had never admirers. Other things I write too, as you been written at all.
will see on the other side, but these merely I hear from Mrs. Newton that some great for my amusement.* persons he spoken with great approbation of a certain book—who they are, and what they have said, I am to be told in a future
TO MRS. NEWTON. letter. The Monthly Reviewers, in the mean
Olney, Nov. 23, 1782. time, have satisfied ine well enough.
My dear Madam, Accept my thanks for Yours, my dear William,
the trouble you take in vending my poems, W. C.
and still more for the interest you take in their success. My authorship is undoubtedly pleased, when I hear that they are ap
proved either by the great or the small; but My dear William,-Dr. Beattie is a respeciable character.* I account him a m:in served many years ago, is fame indeed. Hav
to be approved by the great, as Horace obof sene, a philosopher, a scholar, a person ing met with encouragement, I consequently of distinguished genius, and a good writer. wish to write again; but wishes are a very I believe him too a Christian; with a pro- small part of the qualifications necessary for found reverence for the scripture, with great such a purpose. Many a man, who has suczeal and ability to enforce the belief of it, ceeded tolerably well in his first attempt, both which he exerts with the candor and has spoiled all by the second. But it just good manners of a gentleman: he seems
occurs to me that I told you so once before, well entitled to that allowance; and to deny and, if my memory had served me with the it him, would imperich one's right to the ap- intelligence a minute sooner, I would not pellation. With all these good things to have repeated the observation now. recommend him, there can be no dearth of
The winter sets in with great severity. bullicient reasons to read his writings. You The rigor of the season, and the advanced favored me soine years since with one of his price of grain, are very threatening to the solumes; by which I was both pleased and
It is well with those that can feed instructed: and I beg you will send me upon a promise, and wrap themselves up the new one, when you can conveniently
warm in the robe of salvation. A good firexpire it, or rather bring it yourself, while side and a well-spread table are but very inile swallows are yet upon the wing: for the different substitutes for these better accomsuminer is going down apuce.
modations; so very indifferent, that I would You tell me you have been asked, if I am gladly exchange them both for the rags and intent upon anoiher volume? I reply, not the unsatisfied hunger of the poorest creaat present, not being convinced that I have ture that looks forward with hope to a betmet with sufficient encouragement. I ac
ter world, and weeps tears of joy in the count myself happy in having pleased a few, midst of penury and distress. What a world but am not rich enough to despise the many. is this! How mysteriously governed, and in I do not know what sort of market my come appearance left to itself! One man, having modity has found, but, if a slack one, I must squandered thousands at a gaming-table, beware how I make a second attempt. My finds it convenient to travel ; gives his estate book-eller will not be willing to incur a cer
to somebody to manage for him; amuses tain loss; and I can as little afford it. Notwithstanding what I have said, I write, and * This letter closed with the English and Latin verses
on the loss of the Royal George, inserted before. • The well-known author of " The Minstrel." | Private correspondence.
himself a few years in France and Italy ; re
TO JOSEPH HILL, ESQ.* turns, perhaps, wiser than he went, having
Olney, Dec. 7, 1782. acquired knowledge which, but for his follies, My dear Friend, -At seven o'clock this he would never have acquired ; again makes evening, being the seventh of December, I a splendid figure at home, shines in the sen- imagine I see you in your box at the coffeeate, governs his country as its minister, is house. No doubt the waiter, as ingenious admired for his abilities, and, if successful, and adroit as his predecessors were before adored at least by a party. When he dies him, raises the tea-pot to the ceiling with his he is pruised as å demi-god, and his monu- right hand, while in his left the tea-cup dement records everything but his vices. The scending almost to the floor, receives a limpid exaet contrast of such a picture is to be stream ; limpid in its descent, but no sooner found in many cottages at Olney. I have has it reached its destination, than frothing no need to describe them; you know the and foaming to the view, it becomes a roaring characters I mean. They love God, they syllabub. This is the nineteenth winter since trust him, they pray to him in secret
, and, I saw you in this situation; and if nineteen though he means to reward them openly, more pass over me before I die, I shall still the day of recompense is delayed. In the remember a circumstunce we have often meantime they suffer everything that infirmi- laughed at. ty and poverty can inflict upon them. Who How different is the complexion of your would suspect, that has not a spiritual eye evenings and mine !—yours, spent amid the to discern it, that the fine gentleman was ceaseless hum that proceeds from the inside of one whom his Maker had in abhorrence, and fifty noisy and busy periwigs; mine, by a dothe wretch last-mentioned dear to him as the mestic fire-side, in a retreat as silent as retireapple of his eye! It is no wonder that the ment can make it, where no noise is made but world, who are not in the secret, find them what we make for our own amusement. For selves obliged, some of them, to doubt a instance, here are two rustics and your humProvidence, and others absolutely to deny it, ble servant in company. One of the ladies when almost all the real virtue there is in it has been playing on the harpsichord, while I is to be found living and dying in a state of with the other have been playing at battledore neglected obscurity, and all the vices of and shutilecock. A litile dog, in the meanothers cannot exclude them from the privi- time, howling under the chair of the former, lege of worship and honor! But behind the performed in the vocal way to admiration. curtain the matter is explained ; very little, This entertainment over, I began my letter, however, to the satisfaction of the great. and, having nothing more important to com
If you ask me why I have written thus, and municate, have given you an account of it. I to yon especially, to whom there was no need know you love dearly to be idle, when you to write thus, I can only reply, that, having a can find an opportunity to be so; but, as such letter to write, and no news to communicate, opportunities are rare with you, I thought it I picked up the first subject I found, and pur- possible that a short description of the idle. sued it as far as was convenient for my ness I enjoy might give you pleasure. The purpose.
happiness we cannot call our own we yet Mr. Newton and I are of one mind on the seem to possess, while we sympathize with subject of patriotism. Our dispute was no our friends who can. sooner begun than it ended. It would be well,
The papers tell me that peace is at hand, perhaps, it, when two disputants begin to en- and that it is at a great distance; that the gage, their friends would hurry each into a siege of Gibralter is abandoned, and that it is separate chaise, and order them to opposite to be still continued. It is happy for me, points of the compass. Let one travel twenty that, though I love my country, I have but miles east, the other as many west; then let little curiosity. There was a time when then write their opinions by the post. Much these contradictions would have distressed altercation and chating of the spirit would be me; but I have learned by experience that it prevented; they would sooner come to a is best for little people like myself to be paright understanding, and running away from tient, and to wait till time affords the intellieach other, would carry on the combat more gence which no speculations of theirs can judiciously, in exact proportion to the dis- ever furnish.
I thank you for a fine cod with oysters, My love to that gentleman, if you please; and hope that ere long I shall have to thank and tell him that, like him, though I love my you for procuring me Elliott's medieines, country, I hate its follies and its sins, and had Every time I feel the least uneasiness in rather see it scourged in mercy than judi- either eye, I tremble lest, my Esculapius becially hardened by prosperity.
ing departed, my infallible remcdy should be Yours, dear Madam, as ever,
lost forever. Adieu. My respects to lirs. W. C.
Yours, faithfully, W. C. * Private correspondence.