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Tantissimi classici della letteratura e della cultura politica, economica e scientifica in lingua inglese con audio di ReadSpeaker e traduttore automatico interattivo FGA Translate

  1. Abbe Prevost - MANON LESCAUT
  2. Alcott, Louisa M. - AN OLDFASHIONED GIRL
  3. Alcott, Louisa M. - LITTLE MEN
  4. Alcott, Louisa M. - LITTLE WOMEN
  5. Alcott, Louisa May - JACK AND JILL
  6. Alcott, Louisa May - LIFE LETTERS AND JOURNALS
  7. Andersen, Hans Christian - FAIRY TALES
  8. Anonimo - BEOWULF
  9. Ariosto, Ludovico - ORLANDO ENRAGED
  10. Aurelius, Marcus - MEDITATIONS
  11. Austen, Jane - EMMA
  12. Austen, Jane - MANSFIELD PARK
  13. Austen, Jane - NORTHANGER ABBEY
  14. Austen, Jane - PERSUASION
  15. Austen, Jane - PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
  16. Austen, Jane - SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
  17. Authors, Various - LETTERS OF ABELARD AND HELOISE
  18. Authors, Various - SELECTED ENGLISH LETTERS
  19. Autori Vari - THE WORLD ENGLISH BIBLE
  20. Bacon, Francis - THE ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING
  21. Balzac, Honore de - EUGENIE GRANDET
  22. Balzac, Honore de - FATHER GORIOT
  23. Baroness Orczy - THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL
  24. Barrie, J. M. - PETER AND WENDY
  25. Barrie, James M. - PETER PAN
  26. Bierce, Ambrose - THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY
  27. Blake, William - SONGS OF INNOCENCE AND EXPERIENCE
  28. Boccaccio, Giovanni - DECAMERONE
  29. Brent, Linda - INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF A SLAVE GIRL
  30. Bronte, Charlotte - JANE EYRE
  31. Bronte, Charlotte - VILLETTE
  32. Buchan, John - GREENMANTLE
  33. Buchan, John - MR STANDFAST
  34. Buchan, John - THE 39 STEPS
  35. Bunyan, John - THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS
  36. Burckhardt, Jacob - THE CIVILIZATION OF THE RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
  37. Burnett, Frances H. - A LITTLE PRINCESS
  38. Burnett, Frances H. - LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY
  39. Burnett, Frances H. - THE SECRET GARDEN
  40. Butler, Samuel - EREWHON
  41. Carlyle, Thomas - PAST AND PRESENT
  42. Carlyle, Thomas - THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
  43. Cellini, Benvenuto - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
  44. Cervantes - DON QUIXOTE
  45. Chaucer, Geoffrey - THE CANTERBURY TALES
  46. Chesterton, G. K. - A SHORT HISTORY OF ENGLAND
  47. Chesterton, G. K. - THE BALLAD OF THE WHITE HORSE
  48. Chesterton, G. K. - THE INNOCENCE OF FATHER BROWN
  49. Chesterton, G. K. - THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH
  50. Chesterton, G. K. - THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY
  51. Chesterton, G. K. - THE WISDOM OF FATHER BROWN
  52. Chesterton, G. K. - TWELVE TYPES
  53. Chesterton, G. K. - WHAT I SAW IN AMERICA
  54. Chesterton, Gilbert K. - HERETICS
  55. Chopin, Kate - AT FAULT
  56. Chopin, Kate - BAYOU FOLK
  57. Chopin, Kate - THE AWAKENING AND SELECTED SHORT STORIES
  58. Clark Hall, John R. - A CONCISE ANGLOSAXON DICTIONARY
  59. Clarkson, Thomas - AN ESSAY ON THE SLAVERY AND COMMERCE OF THE HUMAN SPECIES
  60. Clausewitz, Carl von - ON WAR
  61. Coleridge, Herbert - A DICTIONARY OF THE FIRST OR OLDEST WORDS IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
  62. Coleridge, S. T. - COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS
  63. Coleridge, S. T. - HINTS TOWARDS THE FORMATION OF A MORE COMPREHENSIVE THEORY OF LIFE
  64. Coleridge, S. T. - THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER
  65. Collins, Wilkie - THE MOONSTONE
  66. Collodi - PINOCCHIO
  67. Conan Doyle, Arthur - A STUDY IN SCARLET
  68. Conan Doyle, Arthur - MEMOIRS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
  69. Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
  70. Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
  71. Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE SIGN OF THE FOUR
  72. Conrad, Joseph - HEART OF DARKNESS
  73. Conrad, Joseph - LORD JIM
  74. Conrad, Joseph - NOSTROMO
  75. Conrad, Joseph - THE NIGGER OF THE NARCISSUS
  76. Conrad, Joseph - TYPHOON
  77. Crane, Stephen - LAST WORDS
  78. Crane, Stephen - MAGGIE
  79. Crane, Stephen - THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE
  80. Crane, Stephen - WOUNDS IN THE RAIN
  81. Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: HELL
  82. Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: PARADISE
  83. Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: PURGATORY
  84. Darwin, Charles - THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES DARWIN
  85. Darwin, Charles - THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES
  86. Defoe, Daniel - A GENERAL HISTORY OF THE PYRATES
  87. Defoe, Daniel - A JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR
  88. Defoe, Daniel - CAPTAIN SINGLETON
  89. Defoe, Daniel - MOLL FLANDERS
  90. Defoe, Daniel - ROBINSON CRUSOE
  91. Defoe, Daniel - THE COMPLETE ENGLISH TRADESMAN
  92. Defoe, Daniel - THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF ROBINSON CRUSOE
  93. Deledda, Grazia - AFTER THE DIVORCE
  94. Dickens, Charles - A CHRISTMAS CAROL
  95. Dickens, Charles - A TALE OF TWO CITIES
  96. Dickens, Charles - BLEAK HOUSE
  97. Dickens, Charles - DAVID COPPERFIELD
  98. Dickens, Charles - DONBEY AND SON
  99. Dickens, Charles - GREAT EXPECTATIONS
  100. Dickens, Charles - HARD TIMES
  101. Dickens, Charles - LETTERS VOLUME 1
  102. Dickens, Charles - LITTLE DORRIT
  103. Dickens, Charles - MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT
  104. Dickens, Charles - NICHOLAS NICKLEBY
  105. Dickens, Charles - OLIVER TWIST
  106. Dickens, Charles - OUR MUTUAL FRIEND
  107. Dickens, Charles - PICTURES FROM ITALY
  108. Dickens, Charles - THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD
  109. Dickens, Charles - THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP
  110. Dickens, Charles - THE PICKWICK PAPERS
  111. Dickinson, Emily - POEMS
  112. Dostoevsky, Fyodor - CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
  113. Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV
  114. Du Maurier, George - TRILBY
  115. Dumas, Alexandre - THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO
  116. Dumas, Alexandre - THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK
  117. Dumas, Alexandre - THE THREE MUSKETEERS
  118. Eliot, George - DANIEL DERONDA
  119. Eliot, George - MIDDLEMARCH
  120. Eliot, George - SILAS MARNER
  121. Eliot, George - THE MILL ON THE FLOSS
  122. Engels, Frederick - THE CONDITION OF THE WORKING-CLASS IN ENGLAND IN 1844
  123. Equiano - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
  124. Esopo - FABLES
  125. Fenimore Cooper, James - THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS
  126. Fielding, Henry - TOM JONES
  127. France, Anatole - THAIS
  128. France, Anatole - THE GODS ARE ATHIRST
  129. France, Anatole - THE LIFE OF JOAN OF ARC
  130. France, Anatole - THE SEVEN WIVES OF BLUEBEARD
  131. Frank Baum, L. - THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ
  132. Frank Baum, L. - THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ
  133. Franklin, Benjamin - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
  134. Frazer, James George - THE GOLDEN BOUGH
  135. Freud, Sigmund - DREAM PSYCHOLOGY
  136. Galsworthy, John - COMPLETE PLAYS
  137. Galsworthy, John - STRIFE
  138. Galsworthy, John - STUDIES AND ESSAYS
  139. Galsworthy, John - THE FIRST AND THE LAST
  140. Galsworthy, John - THE FORSYTE SAGA
  141. Galsworthy, John - THE LITTLE MAN
  142. Galsworthy, John - THE SILVER BOX
  143. Galsworthy, John - THE SKIN GAME
  144. Gaskell, Elizabeth - CRANFORD
  145. Gaskell, Elizabeth - MARY BARTON
  146. Gaskell, Elizabeth - NORTH AND SOUTH
  147. Gaskell, Elizabeth - THE LIFE OF CHARLOTTE BRONTE
  148. Gay, John - THE BEGGAR'S OPERA
  149. Gentile, Maria - THE ITALIAN COOK BOOK
  150. Gilbert and Sullivan - PLAYS
  151. Goethe - FAUST
  152. Gogol - DEAD SOULS
  153. Goldsmith, Oliver - SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER
  154. Goldsmith, Oliver - THE VICAR OF WAKEFIELD
  155. Grahame, Kenneth - THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS
  156. Grimm, Brothers - FAIRY TALES
  157. Harding, A. R. - GINSENG AND OTHER MEDICINAL PLANTS
  158. Hardy, Thomas - A CHANGED MAN AND OTHER TALES
  159. Hardy, Thomas - FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
  160. Hardy, Thomas - JUDE THE OBSCURE
  161. Hardy, Thomas - TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES
  162. Hardy, Thomas - THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE
  163. Hartley, Cecil B. - THE GENTLEMEN'S BOOK OF ETIQUETTE
  164. Hawthorne, Nathaniel - LITTLE MASTERPIECES
  165. Hawthorne, Nathaniel - THE SCARLET LETTER
  166. Henry VIII - LOVE LETTERS TO ANNE BOLEYN
  167. Henry, O. - CABBAGES AND KINGS
  168. Henry, O. - SIXES AND SEVENS
  169. Henry, O. - THE FOUR MILLION
  170. Henry, O. - THE TRIMMED LAMP
  171. Henry, O. - WHIRLIGIGS
  172. Hindman Miller, Gustavus - TEN THOUSAND DREAMS INTERPRETED
  173. Hobbes, Thomas - LEVIATHAN
  174. Homer - THE ILIAD
  175. Homer - THE ODYSSEY
  176. Hornaday, William T. - THE EXTERMINATION OF THE AMERICAN BISON
  177. Hume, David - A TREATISE OF HUMAN NATURE
  178. Hume, David - AN ENQUIRY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTANDING
  179. Hume, David - DIALOGUES CONCERNING NATURAL RELIGION
  180. Ibsen, Henrik - A DOLL'S HOUSE
  181. Ibsen, Henrik - AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE
  182. Ibsen, Henrik - GHOSTS
  183. Ibsen, Henrik - HEDDA GABLER
  184. Ibsen, Henrik - JOHN GABRIEL BORKMAN
  185. Ibsen, Henrik - ROSMERHOLM
  186. Ibsen, Henrik - THE LADY FROM THE SEA
  187. Ibsen, Henrik - THE MASTER BUILDER
  188. Ibsen, Henrik - WHEN WE DEAD AWAKEN
  189. Irving, Washington - THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW
  190. James, Henry - ITALIAN HOURS
  191. James, Henry - THE ASPERN PAPERS
  192. James, Henry - THE BOSTONIANS
  193. James, Henry - THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY
  194. James, Henry - THE TURN OF THE SCREW
  195. James, Henry - WASHINGTON SQUARE
  196. Jerome, Jerome K. - THREE MEN IN A BOAT
  197. Jerome, Jerome K. - THREE MEN ON THE BUMMEL
  198. Jevons, Stanley - POLITICAL ECONOMY
  199. Johnson, Samuel - A GRAMMAR OF THE ENGLISH TONGUE
  200. Jonson, Ben - THE ALCHEMIST
  201. Jonson, Ben - VOLPONE
  202. Joyce, James - A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN
  203. Joyce, James - CHAMBER MUSIC
  204. Joyce, James - DUBLINERS
  205. Joyce, James - ULYSSES
  206. Keats, John - ENDYMION
  207. Keats, John - POEMS PUBLISHED IN 1817
  208. Keats, John - POEMS PUBLISHED IN 1820
  209. King James - THE BIBLE
  210. Kipling, Rudyard - CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS
  211. Kipling, Rudyard - INDIAN TALES
  212. Kipling, Rudyard - JUST SO STORIES
  213. Kipling, Rudyard - KIM
  214. Kipling, Rudyard - THE JUNGLE BOOK
  215. Kipling, Rudyard - THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING
  216. Kipling, Rudyard - THE SECOND JUNGLE BOOK
  217. Lawrence, D. H - THE RAINBOW
  218. Lawrence, D. H - THE WHITE PEACOCK
  219. Lawrence, D. H - TWILIGHT IN ITALY
  220. Lawrence, D. H. - AARON'S ROD
  221. Lawrence, D. H. - SONS AND LOVERS
  222. Lawrence, D. H. - THE LOST GIRL
  223. Lawrence, D. H. - WOMEN IN LOVE
  224. Lear, Edward - BOOK OF NONSENSE
  225. Lear, Edward - LAUGHABLE LYRICS
  226. Lear, Edward - MORE NONSENSE
  227. Lear, Edward - NONSENSE SONG
  228. Leblanc, Maurice - ARSENE LUPIN VS SHERLOCK HOLMES
  229. Leblanc, Maurice - THE ADVENTURES OF ARSENE LUPIN
  230. Leblanc, Maurice - THE CONFESSIONS OF ARSENE LUPIN
  231. Leblanc, Maurice - THE HOLLOW NEEDLE
  232. Leblanc, Maurice - THE RETURN OF ARSENE LUPIN
  233. Lehmann, Lilli - HOW TO SING
  234. Leroux, Gaston - THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER
  235. Leroux, Gaston - THE MYSTERY OF THE YELLOW ROOM
  236. Leroux, Gaston - THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
  237. London, Jack - MARTIN EDEN
  238. London, Jack - THE CALL OF THE WILD
  239. London, Jack - WHITE FANG
  240. Machiavelli, Nicolo' - THE PRINCE
  241. Malthus, Thomas - PRINCIPLE OF POPULATION
  242. Mansfield, Katherine - THE GARDEN PARTY AND OTHER STORIES
  243. Marlowe, Christopher - THE JEW OF MALTA
  244. Marryat, Captain - THE CHILDREN OF THE NEW FOREST
  245. Maupassant, Guy De - BEL AMI
  246. Melville, Hermann - MOBY DICK
  247. Melville, Hermann - TYPEE
  248. Mill, John Stuart - PRINCIPLES OF POLITICAL ECONOMY
  249. Milton, John - PARADISE LOST
  250. Mitra, S. M. - HINDU TALES FROM THE SANSKRIT
  251. Montaigne, Michel de - ESSAYS
  252. Montgomery, Lucy Maud - ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
  253. More, Thomas - UTOPIA
  254. Nesbit, E. - FIVE CHILDREN AND IT
  255. Nesbit, E. - THE PHOENIX AND THE CARPET
  256. Nesbit, E. - THE RAILWAY CHILDREN
  257. Nesbit, E. - THE STORY OF THE AMULET
  258. Newton, Isaac - OPTICKS
  259. Nietsche, Friedrich - BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL
  260. Nietsche, Friedrich - THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA
  261. Nightingale, Florence - NOTES ON NURSING
  262. Owen, Wilfred - POEMS
  263. Ozaki, Yei Theodora - JAPANESE FAIRY TALES
  264. Pascal, Blaise - PENSEES
  265. Pellico, Silvio - MY TEN YEARS IMPRISONMENT
  266. Perrault, Charles - FAIRY TALES
  267. Pirandello, Luigi - THREE PLAYS
  268. Plato - THE REPUBLIC
  269. Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 1
  270. Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 2
  271. Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 3
  272. Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 4
  273. Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 5
  274. Poe, Edgar Allan - THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER
  275. Potter, Beatrix - THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT
  276. Proust, Marcel - SWANN'S WAY
  277. Radcliffe, Ann - A SICILIAN ROMANCE
  278. Ricardo, David - ON THE PRINCIPLES OF POLITICAL ECONOMY AND TAXATION
  279. Richardson, Samuel - PAMELA
  280. Rider Haggard, H. - ALLAN QUATERMAIN
  281. Rider Haggard, H. - KING SOLOMON'S MINES
  282. Rousseau, J. J. - THE ORIGIN AND FOUNDATION OF INEQUALITY AMONG MANKIND
  283. Ruskin, John - THE SEVEN LAMPS OF ARCHITECTURE
  284. Schiller, Friedrich - THE DEATH OF WALLENSTEIN
  285. Schiller, Friedrich - THE PICCOLOMINI
  286. Schopenhauer, Arthur - THE ART OF CONTROVERSY
  287. Schopenhauer, Arthur - THE WISDOM OF LIFE
  288. Scott Fitzgerald, F. - FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
  289. Scott Fitzgerald, F. - TALES OF THE JAZZ AGE
  290. Scott Fitzgerald, F. - THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED
  291. Scott Fitzgerald, F. - THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
  292. Scott, Walter - IVANHOE
  293. Scott, Walter - QUENTIN DURWARD
  294. Scott, Walter - ROB ROY
  295. Scott, Walter - THE BRIDE OF LAMMERMOOR
  296. Scott, Walter - WAVERLEY
  297. Sedgwick, Anne Douglas - THE THIRD WINDOW
  298. Sewell, Anna - BLACK BEAUTY
  299. Shakespeare, William - COMPLETE WORKS
  300. Shakespeare, William - HAMLET
  301. Shakespeare, William - OTHELLO
  302. Shakespeare, William - ROMEO AND JULIET
  303. Shelley, Mary - FRANKENSTEIN
  304. Shelley, Percy Bysshe - A DEFENCE OF POETRY AND OTHER ESSAYS
  305. Shelley, Percy Bysshe - COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS
  306. Sheridan, Richard B. - THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL
  307. Sienkiewicz, Henryk - QUO VADIS
  308. Smith, Adam - THE WEALTH OF NATIONS
  309. Smollett, Tobias - TRAVELS THROUGH FRANCE AND ITALY
  310. Spencer, Herbert - ESSAYS ON EDUCATION AND KINDRED SUBJECTS
  311. Spyri, Johanna - HEIDI
  312. Sterne, Laurence - A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY
  313. Sterne, Laurence - TRISTRAM SHANDY
  314. Stevenson, Robert Louis - A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES
  315. Stevenson, Robert Louis - ESSAYS IN THE ART OF WRITING
  316. Stevenson, Robert Louis - KIDNAPPED
  317. Stevenson, Robert Louis - NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
  318. Stevenson, Robert Louis - THE BLACK ARROW
  319. Stevenson, Robert Louis - THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE
  320. Stevenson, Robert Louis - TREASURE ISLAND
  321. Stoker, Bram - DRACULA
  322. Strindberg, August - LUCKY PEHR
  323. Strindberg, August - MASTER OLOF
  324. Strindberg, August - THE RED ROOM
  325. Strindberg, August - THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS
  326. Strindberg, August - THERE ARE CRIMES AND CRIMES
  327. Swift, Jonathan - A MODEST PROPOSAL
  328. Swift, Jonathan - A TALE OF A TUB
  329. Swift, Jonathan - GULLIVER'S TRAVELS
  330. Swift, Jonathan - THE BATTLE OF THE BOOKS AND OTHER SHORT PIECES
  331. Tagore, Rabindranath - FRUIT GATHERING
  332. Tagore, Rabindranath - THE GARDENER
  333. Tagore, Rabindranath - THE HUNGRY STONES AND OTHER STORIES
  334. Thackeray, William - BARRY LYNDON
  335. Thackeray, William - VANITY FAIR
  336. Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE BOOK OF SNOBS
  337. Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE ROSE AND THE RING
  338. Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE VIRGINIANS
  339. Thoreau, Henry David - WALDEN
  340. Tolstoi, Leo - A LETTER TO A HINDU
  341. Tolstoy, Lev - ANNA KARENINA
  342. Tolstoy, Lev - WAR AND PEACE
  343. Trollope, Anthony - AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY
  344. Trollope, Anthony - BARCHESTER TOWERS
  345. Trollope, Anthony - FRAMLEY PARSONAGE
  346. Trollope, Anthony - THE EUSTACE DIAMONDS
  347. Trollope, Anthony - THE MAN WHO KEPT HIS MONEY IN A BOX
  348. Trollope, Anthony - THE WARDEN
  349. Trollope, Anthony - THE WAY WE LIVE NOW
  350. Twain, Mark - LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI
  351. Twain, Mark - SPEECHES
  352. Twain, Mark - THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
  353. Twain, Mark - THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER
  354. Twain, Mark - THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER
  355. Vari, Autori - THE MAGNA CARTA
  356. Verga, Giovanni - SICILIAN STORIES
  357. Verne, Jules - 20000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEAS
  358. Verne, Jules - A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH
  359. Verne, Jules - ALL AROUND THE MOON
  360. Verne, Jules - AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS
  361. Verne, Jules - FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON
  362. Verne, Jules - FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON
  363. Verne, Jules - MICHAEL STROGOFF
  364. Verne, Jules - THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND
  365. Voltaire - PHILOSOPHICAL DICTIONARY
  366. Vyasa - MAHABHARATA
  367. Wallace, Edgar - SANDERS OF THE RIVER
  368. Wallace, Edgar - THE DAFFODIL MYSTERY
  369. Wallace, Lew - BEN HUR
  370. Webster, Jean - DADDY LONG LEGS
  371. Wedekind, Franz - THE AWAKENING OF SPRING
  372. Wells, H. G. - KIPPS
  373. Wells, H. G. - THE INVISIBLE MAN
  374. Wells, H. G. - THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU
  375. Wells, H. G. - THE STOLEN BACILLUS AND OTHER INCIDENTS
  376. Wells, H. G. - THE TIME MACHINE
  377. Wells, H. G. - THE WAR OF THE WORLDS
  378. Wells, H. G. - WHAT IS COMING
  379. Wharton, Edith - THE AGE OF INNOCENCE
  380. White, Andrew Dickson - FIAT MONEY INFLATION IN FRANCE
  381. Wilde, Oscar - A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
  382. Wilde, Oscar - AN IDEAL HUSBAND
  383. Wilde, Oscar - DE PROFUNDIS
  384. Wilde, Oscar - LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
  385. Wilde, Oscar - SALOME
  386. Wilde, Oscar - SELECTED POEMS
  387. Wilde, Oscar - THE BALLAD OF READING GAOL
  388. Wilde, Oscar - THE CANTERVILLE GHOST
  389. Wilde, Oscar - THE HAPPY PRINCE AND OTHER TALES
  390. Wilde, Oscar - THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
  391. Wilde, Oscar - THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GREY
  392. Wilde, Oscar - THE SOUL OF MAN
  393. Wilson, Epiphanius - SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST
  394. Wollstonecraft, Mary - A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN
  395. Woolf, Virgina - NIGHT AND DAY
  396. Woolf, Virgina - THE VOYAGE OUT
  397. Woolf, Virginia - JACOB'S ROOM
  398. Woolf, Virginia - MONDAY OR TUESDAY
  399. Wordsworth, William - POEMS
  400. Wordsworth, William - PROSE WORKS
  401. Zola, Emile - THERESE RAQUIN

 




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SELECTED ENGLISH LETTERS (XV-XIX CENTURIES)

by VARIOUS AUTHORS

ARRANGED BY M. DUCKITT & H. WRAGG 1913

PREFACE

This anthology has been compiled with rather mixed motives. First, 'all for our delight'--a rule that editors sometimes observe, and occasionally acknowledge; then, with the desire to interest as large a section of the public as may be. Here is a medley of gay, grave, frivolous, homely, religious, sociable, refined, philosophic, and feminine,--something for every mood, and for the proper study of mankind. We do not hope to satisfy all critics, but we do not anticipate that we shall please none. Our difficulty has been that of choice. Many pleasant companions we have had to pass by; to strike from our list many excellent letters. Those that remain are intended to present as complete a portrait of the writer as space permits. Occasionally it was some feature of the age, some nicety of manners, some contrast in point of view, that obtained inclusion.

Into such an anthology the ordinary reader prefers to dip at random, looking for old friends or new faces, and has his reward. But if he is resolute to read letters in chronological order, he will also, we hope, find in our selection some trace of the development of the Epistolary art, as, rising through earlier naiveties and formalities to the grace and "bel air" of the great Augustans, it slides into the freer, if less dignified, utterance of an age which, startled by cries of 'Equality' at its birth, has concerned itself less with form than with individuality and sincerity of expression.

Three letters are included of which the originals were penned in Latin. In a few cases the spelling and punctuation have been modernized.

Our best thanks are due to Mr. J.C. Smith, whose kind criticism and inspiring suggestions have been of inestimable service to us in the preparation of this work.

M.D. H.W.

CONTENTS

SIR THOMAS MORE, 1478-1535-- To Margaret Roper. 'Wyth a cole' from prison.

MARGARET ROPER, 1505-1544-- To Sir Thomas More. Reply to the above.

ROGER ASCHAM, 1515-1568-- To Lady Jane Grey. A most accomplished maiden. To Lady Clarke. An offer of assistance.

FRANCIS BACON, 1561-1626-- To Sir Thomas Bodley. With a copy of his book.

SIR THOMAS BROWNE, 1605-1682-- To his son Thomas. Fatherly commendations. To his son Edward. Centenarians.

JOHN MILTON, 1608-1674-- To a Cambridge friend. The choice of a profession. To Leonard Philaras. The blind poet.

JOHN EVELYN, 1620-1706-- To Samuel Pepys. In retirement at Wotton. To the same. An old man's occupations.

DAME DOROTHY BROWNE, 1621-1685-- To her daughter in London. Three interesting postscripts.

GEORGE, LORD BERKELEY, 1628-1698-- To Samuel Pepys. Honourable acquittal.

DOROTHY OSBORNE, 1628-1698-- To Sir William Temple. Passing the time. To the same. Another pretender. To the same. A disappointing preacher. To the same. The ideal husband. To the same. The growth of friendship. To the same. Wilful woman.

KATHARINE PHILIPS, 1631-1664-- To the Honourable Berenice. Yielding to opinion.

JOHN LOCKE, 1632-1704-- To William Molyneux. A philosopher's confidences. To Dr. Molyneux. True friendship.

SAMUEL PEPYS, 1633-1703-- To George, Lord Berkeley. An explanation. To Mrs. Steward. A wedding in the City. To John Evelyn. Reply to an old friend.

JONATHAN SWIFT, 1667-1745-- To Stella. The Dean at home. To Lord Treasurer Oxford. The Dean makes his bow. To Dr. Sheridan. News from the country. To Alexander Pope. Mostly about "Gulliver". To John Gay. Enquiries into Mr. Gay's pursuits.

JOSEPH ADDISON, 1672-1719-- To Alexander Pope. Translation of Homer. To Mr. Secretary Craggs. A bequest.

SIR RICHARD STEELE, 1672-1729-- To Mary Scurlock. An explicit declaration. To the same. A pleasing transport. To the same. A lover betrays himself. To his wife. He proposes an outing. To the same. His greatest affliction. To the same. Four characteristic notes. To the same. The natural slave of beauty.

JOHN GAY, 1685-1732-- To Jonathan Swift. Concerning "Gulliver".

ALEXANDER POPE, 1688-1744-- To William Wycherley. Dryden and his critics. To Joseph Addison. A few thoughts from a rambling head. To Jonathan Swift. Friends to posterity. To the same. A farming friend, and "The Dunciad". To the same. An invitation to England.

SAMUEL RICHARDSON, 1689-1761-- To Miss Mulso. A discussion on love.

LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU, 1689-1762-- To the Countess of Mar. The Viennese court. To Miss Sarah Chiswell. Ingrafting for small-pox. To the Countess of Bristol. The Grand Signior a slave. To the Countess of Mar. The Grand Vizier's lady. To the Countess of Bute. Her grand-daughter's education. To the same. Fielding and Steele.

PHILIP DORMER STANHOPE, EARL OF CHESTERFIELD, 1694-1773-- To his son. Dancing. To the same. A good enunciation. To the same. Keeping accounts. To the same. A father's example. To the same. Public speaking. To the same. The new Earl of Chatham.

SAMUEL JOHNSON, 1709-1784-- To Bonnet Langton. Postponement of a visit. To Miss Porter. A mother's death. To Joseph Baretti. A letter of counsel. To Mrs. Thrale. Travel in Scotland. To the Earl of Chesterfield. Patronage. To James Boswell. A silent friend. To Mrs. Thrale. A great man's fortitude.

LAURENCE STERNE, 1713-1768-- To Miss Lumley. The disconsolate lover. To David Garrick. Le Chevalier Shandy. To Mr. Foley. An adventure on the road.

THOMAS GRAY, 1716-1771-- To Richard West. Scenery at Tivoli. To the same. A poet's melancholy. To Horace Walpole. The fate of Selima. To the same. Publication of the "Elegy". To the same. At Burnham. To the Rev. William Mason. The Laureateship. To Dr. Wharton. A holiday in Kent.

HORACE WALPOLE, 1717-1797-- To Richard West. Floods in the Arno. To Richard Bentley. Pictures, and Garrick. To Lord Lyttelton. Gray's Odes. To George Montagu. At Lady Suffolk's. To Lady Hervey. A quiet life. To the Rev. William Cole. Gray's death. To the Rev. William Mason. The quarrel with Gray. To the Countess of Upper-Ossory. Fashionable intelligence. To the Rev. William Cole. Antiquaries and authors. To the Miss Berrys. Their first meeting.

OLIVER GOLDSMITH, 1728-1774-- To his mother. At Cork. To Robert Bryanton. In Scotland. To his uncle Contarine. In Holland. To his brother Henry. Family matters.

WILLIAM COWPER, 1731-1800-- To the Rev. John Newton. Escapade of Puss. To the Rev. William Unwin. A laugh that hurts nobody. To the Rev. John Newton. Village politicians. To the same. Village justice. To the same. A candidate's visit. To Lady Hesketh. An acquaintance reopened. To the same. The kindliness of thanks. To the same. Arrival of the desk. To the same. Anticipations of a visit. To the same. Commissions and thanks. To Mrs. Bodham. His mother's portrait.

EDMUND BURKE, 1729-1797-- To Matthew Smith. First impressions of London. To James Barry. A friend's infirmities. To Lord Auckland. An old stag at bay. To Mary Leadbeater. His last letter.

EDWARD GIBBON, 1737-1794-- To Mrs. Porten. His daily life. To Lord Sheffield. A great work.

FRANCES D'ARBLAY, 1752-1840-- To Susan Burney. An excited Unknown. To Samuel Crisp. Mrs. Thrale and Dr. Johnson. To Mrs. Lock. A royal commission.

GEORGE CRABBE, 1754-1832-- To Mary Leadbeater. The only survivors. To the same. Comparisons.

WILLIAM BLAKE, 1757-1827-- To John Flaxman. Friends 'from eternity'. To Thomas Butts. Trouble in the path. To the same. The wonderful poem. To the same. The poet and William Hayley.

MARY LEADBEATER, 1758-1826-- To Edmund Burke. Reply to his last letter. To George Crabbe. She writes to remind him.

ROBERT BURNS, 1759-1796-- To Miss Chalmers. Marriage with Jean. To Mr. R. Ainslie. A gauger. To Francis Grose. Witch tales.

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH, 1770-1850-- To Sir George Beaumont. A brother's character. To Walter Scott. Dryden. To Lady Beaumont. The destiny of his poems. To Sir George Beaumont. The language of poetry.

SIR WALTER SCOTT, 1771-1832-- To his mother. Marriage with Miss Carpenter. To Miss Seward. "The Lay of the Last Minstrel". To Lady Louisa Stuart. An amiable blue-stocking. To Robert Southey. Congratulations. To J.B.S. Morritt. A small anonymous sort of a novel. To the same. Acceptance of a baronetcy. To Lord Montagu. Prince Leopold's visit. To Daniel Terry. Progress at Abbotsford. To J.B.S. Morritt. A brave face to the world. To Maria Edgeworth. Time's revenges.

SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE, 1772-1834-- To Charles Lamb. A sympathetic reply. To Joseph Cottle. Literary adventurers. To Josiah Wade. A public example. To Thomas Allsop. Himself and his detractors. To the same. The Great Work described. To the same. Reminiscences.

ROBERT SOUTHEY, 1774-1843-- To Joseph Cottle. Question of copyrights. To John May. Waterloo. To Henry Taylor. Anastasius Hope. To Edward Moxon. Recollections of the Lambs.

CHARLES LAMB, 1775-1834-- To Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Temporary frenzy. To the same. A friend in need. To the same. The tragedy. To William Wordsworth. The delights of London. To Thomas Manning. At the Lakes. To the same. Dissuasion from Tartary. To Mrs. Wordsworth. Friends' importunities. To Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The famous pigling. To Bernard Barton. A blessing in disguise. To the same. A cold.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, 1778-1830-- To Miss Sarah Stoddart. A love-letter. To his son. Marriage, and the choice of a profession. To Charles Cowden Clarke. The "Life of Napoleon".

LEIGH HUNT, 1784-1859-- To Joseph Severn. A belated letter. To Percy Bysshe Shelley. Outpourings of gratitude. To Horace Smith. Shelley's death. To Mrs. Procter. Accepting an invitation. To a friend. Offence and punishment.

GEORGE GORDON NOEL, LORD BYRON, 1788-1824-- To Mr. Hodgson. Travel in Portugal. To Thomas Moore. Announces his engagement. To John Murray. No bid for sweet voices. To the same. The cemetery at Bologna. To the same. In rebellious mood. To Percy Bysshe Shelley. A trio of poets. To Lady Byron. A plain statement of facts. To Mr. Barff. Sympathy with the Greeks.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, 1792-1822-- To T.J. Hogg. His first marriage. To William Godwin. An introduction. To Thomas Hookham. A subscription for Hunt. To Mr. Ollier. An article by Southey. To Mrs. Hunt. Keats and some others. To Leigh Hunt. A literary collaboration.

JOHN KEATS, 1795-1821-- To John Hamilton Reynolds. Burns's cottage. To Richard Woodhouse. The poetic character. To Percy Bysshe Shelley. Returning advice. To Charles Brown. A despairing cry.

THOMAS HOOD, 1799-1845-- To Charles Dickens. "American Notes". To the "Manchester Athenaeum". The uses of literature. To Dr. Moir. A humourist to the last. To Sir Robert Peel. A farewell letter.

ROBERT BROWNING, 1812-1889, and ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING, 1806-1861-- To Leigh Hunt. A joint epistle.

CHARLOTTE BRONTË, 1816-1855-- To a friend. Trials of a governess. To William Wordsworth. Thanks for advice. To a friend. At school abroad. To a friend. Curates to tea. To George Henry Lewes. Herself and Miss Austen. To the same. The argument continued. To a friend. Illness and death of Emily Brontë. To Mr. G. Smith. Thackeray and "Esmond" To the same. "Esmond" again.

SELECTED ENGLISH LETTERS

SIR THOMAS MORE

1478-1535

To MARGARET ROPER

"'Wyth a cole' from prison"

[1535.]

Myne owne good doughter, our lorde be thanked I am in good helthe of bodye, and in good quiet of minde: and of worldly thynges I no more desyer then I have. I beseche hym make you all mery in the hope of heaven. And such thynges as I somewhat longed to talke with you all, concerning the worlde to come, our Lord put theim into your myndes, as I trust he dothe, and better to, by his holy spirite: who blesse you and preserve you all. Written wyth a cole by your tender loving father, who in his pore prayers forgetteth none of you all, nor your babes, nor your nurses, nor your good husbandes, nor your good husbandes shrewde wyves, nor your fathers shrewde wyfe neither, nor our other frendes. And thus fare ye hartely well for lack of paper.

THOMAS MORE, knight.

Our Lorde kepe me continuallye true, faithfull and playne, to the contrarye whereof I beseche hym hartelye never to suffer me live. For as for longe life (as I have often tolde the Megge) I neyther looke for, nor long for, but am well content to goe, yf God call me hence to morowe. And I thanke our lorde, I knowe no person living, that I woulde had one philippe for my sake: of whiche minde I am more gladde then of all the worlde.

Recommend me to your shrewde wil, and mine other sonnes, and to John Harris my frende, and your selfe knoweth to whome els, and to my shrewde wife above all, and God preserve you all and make and kepe you his servantes all.

MARGARET ROPER

1505-1544

TO SIR THOMAS MORE

"Reply to the above"

[1534.]

Myne owne moste entierelye beloved father, I thynke my self never hable to geve you sufficiente thankes, for the inestimable coumforte my poore hearte received in the readyng of youre moste lovynge and godlye letter, representing to me, the cleare shynyng bryghtenesse of youre soule, the pure temple of the holy spirite of God, which I doubte not shall perpetuallye reste in you and you in hym. Father, if all the worlde hadde bene geven to me, as I be saved it hadde bene a small pleasure, in comparison of the pleasure I conceived of the treasure of youre letter, whiche thoughe it were written with a cole, is woorthye in myne opinion to be wrytten in letters of golde. Father, what moved them to shytte you uppe againe, we can nothynge heare. But surelye I coniecture that when they considered that you wer of so temperate mind, that you were contented to abyde there all your lyfe with suche libertie, they thought it wer never possible to enclyne you to theyr will, excepte it were by restrayning you from the church, and the companye of my good mother youre deare wyfe and us youre chyldren and bedesfolke. But father this chaunce was not straunge to you. For I shal not forgeat howe you tolde us when we were with you in the gardeyne, that these thinges wer like ynoughe to chaunce you shortlye after. Father I have manye tymes rehearsed to myne owne coumfort and dyvers others, your fashyon and wordes ye hadde to us when we were laste with you: for which I trust by the grace of god to be the better while I live, and when I am departed oute of this frayle life, which I praye God I maye passe and ende in his true obedient service, after the wholesome counsayle and fruitful exaumple of living I have had (good father) of you, whom I pray god geve me grace to folowe: which I shal the better thorow the assistaunce of your devoute prayers, the speciall staye of my frayltie. Father I am sory I have no lenger laysure at this time to talke with you, the chief comfort of my life, I trust to have occasion to write again shortly. I trust I have your daily prayer and blessing.

Your most loving obedient daughter and bedeswoma Margaret Roper, which daily and howrely is boude to pray for you, for whom she prayeth in this wise, that our lord of his infinite mercye geve you of hys hevenly comfort, and so to assist you with hys speciall grace, that ye never in any thing declyne from hys blessed will, but live and dye his true obedient servaunt. Amen.

ROGER ASCHAM

1515-1568

To Lady Jane Grey

"A most accomplished maiden"

Augsberg, 18 "Jan". 1551.

Most Illustrious Lady,

In this long travel of mine, I have passed over wide tracts of country, and seen the largest cities, I have studied the customs, institutes, laws, and religion of many men and diverse nations, with as much diligence as I was able: but in all this variety of subjects, nothing has caused in me so much wonder as my having fallen upon you last summer, a maiden of noble birth, and that too in the absence of your tutor, in the hall of your most noble family, and at a time when others, both men and women, give themselves up to hunting and pleasures, you, a divine maiden, reading carefully in Greek the "Phaedo" of the divine Plato; and happier in being so occupied than because you derive your birth, both on your father's side, and on your mother's, from kings and queens! Go on then, most accomplished maiden, to bring honour on your country, happiness on your parents, glory to yourself, credit to your tutor, congratulation to all your friends, and the greatest admiration to all strangers!

O happy Elmar in having such a pupil, and happier still you, in having such a tutor ... I ask two things of you, my dear Elmar, for I suppose you will read this letter, that you will persuade the Lady Jane to write me a letter in Greek as soon as possible; for she promised she would do so ... I have also lately written to John Sturm, and told him that she had promised. Take care that I get a letter soon from her as well as from you. It is a long way for letters to come, but John Hales will be a most convenient letter-carrier and bring them safely....

To LADY CLARKE

"An offer of assistance"

[London], 15 "Jan". 1554.

Your remarkable love of virtue and zeal for learning, most illustrious lady, joined with such talents and perseverance, are worthy of great praise in themselves, and greater still because you are a woman, but greatest of all because you are a lady of the court; where there are many other occupations for ladies, besides learning, and many other pleasures besides the practice of the virtues. This double praise is further enhanced by the two patterns that you have proposed to yourself to follow, the one furnished you by the court, the other by your family. I mean our illustrious queen Mary, and your noble grandfather, Thomas More--a man whose virtues go to raise England above all other nations....

I am led to write thus not altogether by my admiration of you, but partly by my own wish and more from the nature of my own office. It was I who was invited some years ago from the University of Cambridge by your mother, Margaret Roper--a lady worthy of her great father, and of you her daughter--to the house of your kinsman, Lord Giles Alington, to teach you and her other children the Greek and Latin tongues; but at that time no offers could induce me to leave the University. It is sweet to me to bear in mind this request of your mother's, and I now not only remind you thereof, but would offer you, now that I am at court, if not to fulfil her wishes, yet to do my best to fulfil them, were it not that you have so much learning in yourself, and also the aid of those two learned men, Cole and Christopherson, so that you need no help from me, unless in their absence you make use of my assistance, and if you like, abuse it.

I write thus not because of any talents I possess (for I know they are very small) but because of my will (which I know is very great), and because of the opportunity long wished for and now granted me. For by favour of that great bishop the Lord Stephen of Winchester, I have been fetched away from the University to serve our illustrious queen at court, and that too in such a post, that I can there follow the same mode of life for the discharge of my duties as I did at the University for study. My office is to write Latin letters for the queen, and I hope I shall fulfil that office, if not with ability, yet faithfully, diligently, and unblameably ... Farewell, most accomplished lady!

SIR FRANCIS BACON

1561-1626

To Sir Thomas Bodley

"With a copy of his book"

["Nov". 1605.]

SIR,

I think no man may more truly say with the Psalm "Multum incola fuit anima mea", than myself. For I do confess, since I was of any understanding, my mind hath in effect been absent from that I have done; and in absence are many errors which I do willingly acknowledge; and amongst the rest this great one that led the rest; that knowing myself by inward calling to be fitter to hold a book than to play a part, I have led my life in civil causes; for which I was not very fit by nature, and more unfit by the preoccupation of my mind. Therefore calling myself home, I have now for a time enjoyed myself; whereof likewise I desire to make the world partaker. My labours (if I may so term that which was the comfort of my other labours) I have dedicated to the King; desirous, if there be any good in them, it may be as the fat of a sacrifice, incensed to his honour: and the second copy I have sent unto you, not only in good affection, but in a kind of congruity, in regard of your great and rare desert of learning. For books are the shrines where the saint is, or is believed to be; and you having built an Ark to save learning from deluge, deserve propriety in any new instrument or engine, whereby learning should be improved or advanced.

SIR THOMAS BROWNE

1605-1682

To HIS SON THOMAS

"Fatherly commendations"

[c. 1667.]

I Receaved yours, and would not deferre to send vnto you before you sayled, which I hope will come vnto you; for in this wind, neither can Reare-admirall Kempthorne come to you, nor you beginne your voyage. I am glad you like Lucan so well. I wish more military men could read him; in this passage you mention, there are noble straynes; and such as may well affect generous minds. Butt I hope you are more taken with the verses then the subject, and rather embrace the expression then the example. And this I the rather hint unto you, because the like, though in another waye, is sometimes practised in the king's shipps, when, in desperate cases, they blowe up the same. For though I know you are sober and considerative, yet knowing you also to be of great resolution; and having also heard from ocular testimonies with what vndaunted and persevering courage you have demeaned yourself in great difficulties; and knowing your captaine to bee a stout and resolute man; and with all the cordiall friendshippe that is between you; I cannot omitt my earnest prayers vnto God to deliver you from such a temptation. Hee that goes to warre must patiently submitt vnto the various accidents thereof. To bee made prisoner by an vnequall and overruling power, after a due resistance, is no disparagement; butt upon a carelesse surprizall or faynt opposition; and you have so good a memorie that you cannot forgett many examples thereof, even of the worthiest commanders in your beloved Plutark. God hath given you a stout, butt a generous and mercifull heart withall; and in all your life you could never behold any person in miserie butt with compassion and relief; which hath been notable in you from a child: so have you layd up a good foundation for God's mercy; and, if such a disaster should happen, Hee will, without doubt, mercifully remember you. How euer, let God that brought you in the world in his owne good time, lead you through it; and in his owne season bring you out of it; and without such wayes as are displeasing vnto him. When you are at Cales, see if you can get a box of the Jesuits' powder at easier rate, and bring it in the bark, not in powder. I am glad you haue receaued the bill of exchange for Cales; if you should find occasion to make vse thereof. Enquire farther at Tangier of the minerall water you told mee, which was neere the towne, and whereof many made use. Take notice of such plants as you meet with, either upon the Spanish or African coast; and if you knowe them not, putt some leaves into a booke, though carelessely, and not with that neatenesse as in your booke at Norwich. Enquire after any one who hath been at Fez; and learne what you can of the present state of that place, which hath been so famous in the description of Leo and others. The mercifull providence of God go with you. "Impellant animae lintea Thraciae".

TO HIS SON EDWARD

"Centenarians"

15 "Dec". [1679.]

DEARE SONNE,

Some thinck that great age superannuates persons from the vse of physicall meanes, or that at a hundred yeares of age 'tis either a folly or a shame to vse meanes to liue longer, and yet I haue knowne many send to mee for their seuerall troubles at a hundred yeares of age, and this day a poore woeman being a hundred and three yeares and a weeke old sent to mee to giue her some ease of the colick. The "macrobii" and long liuers which I haue knowne heere haue been of the meaner and poorer sort of people. Tho. Parrot was butt a meane or rather poore man. Your brother Thomas gaue two pence a weeke to John More, a scauenger, who dyed in the hundred and second yeare of his life; and 'twas taken the more notice of that the father of Sir John Shawe, who marryed my Lady Killmorey, and liueth in London, I say that his father, who had been a vintner, liued a hundred and two yeares, or neere it, and dyed about a yeere agoe. God send us to number our dayes and fitt ourselves for a better world.

JOHN MILTON

1608-1674

TO A CAMBRIDGE FRIEND

"The choice of a profession"

[1631-2.]

SIR,

Besides that in sundry other respects I must acknowledge me to profit by you whenever we meet, you are often to me, and were yesterday especially, as a good watchman to admonish that the hours of the night pass on (for so I call my life, as yet obscure and unserviceable to mankind), and that the day with me is at hand, wherein Christ commands all to labour, while there is light. Which because I am persuaded you do to no other purpose than out of a true desire that God should be honoured in every one, I therefore think myself bound, though unasked, to give you account, as oft as occasion is, of this my tardy moving, according to the precept of my conscience, which I firmly trust is not without God. Yet now I will not strain for any set apology, but only refer myself to what my mind shall have at any time to declare herself at her best ease.

But if you think, as you said, that too much love of learning is in fault, and that I have given up myself to dream away my years in the arms of studious retirement, like Endymion with the moon, as the tale of Latmus goes; yet consider that if it were no more but the mere love of learning--whether it proceed from a principle bad, good, or natural--it could not have held out thus long against so strong opposition on the other side of every kind. For, if it be bad, why should not all the fond hopes that forward youth and vanity are fledge with, together with gain, pride, and ambition, call me forward more powerfully than a poor, regardless, and unprofitable sin of curiosity should be able to withhold me; whereby a man cuts himself off from all action, and becomes the most helpless, pusillanimous, and unweaponed creature in the world, the most unfit and unable to do that which all mortals most aspire to--either to be useful to his friends or to offend his enemies? Or, if it be to be thought a natural proneness, there is against that a much more potent inclination inbred, which about this time of a man's life solicits most--the desire of house and family of his own; to which nothing is esteemed more helpful than the early entering into credible employment, and nothing more hindering than this affected solitariness. And though this were enough, yet there is to this another act, if not of pure, yet of refined nature, no less available to dissuade prolonged obscurity--a desire of honour and repute and immortal fame, seated in the breast of every true scholar; which all make haste to by the readiest ways of publishing and divulging conceived merits--as well those that shall, as those that never shall, obtain it. Nature, therefore, would presently work the more prevalent way, if there were nothing but this inferior bent of herself to restrain her. Lastly, the love of learning, as it is the pursuit of something good, it would sooner follow the more excellent and supreme good known and presented, and so be quickly diverted from the empty and fantastic chase of shadows and notions, to the solid good flowing from due and timely obedience to that command in the Gospel set out by the terrible seasing of him that hid the talent.

It is more probable, therefore, that not the endless delight of speculation, but this very consideration of that great commandment, does not press forward, as soon as many do, to undergo, but keeps off, with a sacred reverence and religious advisement how "best" to undergo--not taking thought of being "late", so it give advantage to be more "fit"; for those that were latest lost nothing, when the master of the vineyard came to give each one his hire. And here I am come to a stream-head, copious enough to disburden itself, like Nilus, at seven mouths into an ocean. But then I should also run into a reciprocal contradiction of ebbing and flowing at once, and do that which I excuse myself for not doing--'preach and not preach.' Yet, that you may see that I am something suspicious of myself, and do take notice of a certain belatedness in me, I am the bolder to send you some of my nightward thoughts some while since, because they come in not altogether unfitly, made up in a Petrarchian stanza, which I told you of:

How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth, Stol'n on his wing my three-and-twentieth year! My hasting days fly on with full career, But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th. Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth That I to manhood am arrived so near; And inward ripeness doth much less appear That some more timely-happy spirits endu'th. Yet be it less, or more, or soon, or slow, It shall be still in strictest measure even To that same lot, however mean or high, Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heaven. All is, if I have grace to use it so, As ever in my great taskmaster's eye.

By this I believe you may well repent of having made mention at all of this matter; for, if I have not all this while won you to this, I have certainly wearied you of it. This, therefore, alone may be a sufficient reason for me to keep me as I am, lest having thus tired you singly, I should deal worse with, a whole congregation, and spoil all the patience of a parish; for I myself do not only see my own tediousness, but now grow offended with it, that has hindered me thus long from coming to the last and best "period" of my letter, and that which must now chiefly work my pardon, that I am your true and unfeigned "friend".

TO LEONARD PHILARAS, THE ATHENIAN

"The blind poet"[1]

Westminster, 28 "Sept". 1654.

I have always been devotedly attached to the literature of Greece, and particularly to that of your Athens; and have never ceased to cherish the persuasion that that city would one day make me ample recompense for the warmth of my regard. The ancient genius of your renowned country has favoured the completion of my prophecy in presenting me with your friendship and esteem. Though I was known to you only by my writings, and we were removed to such a distance from each other, you most courteously addressed me by letter; and when you unexpectedly came to London, and saw me who could no longer see, my affliction, which causes none to regard me with greater admiration, and perhaps many even with feelings of contempt, excited your tenderest sympathy and concern. You would not suffer me to abandon the hope of recovering my sight; and informed me you had an intimate friend at Paris, Dr. Thevenot, who was particularly celebrated in disorders of the eyes, whom you would consult about mine, if I would enable you to lay before him the causes and the symptoms of the complaint. I will do what you desire, lest I should seem to reject that aid which perhaps may be offered me by Heaven. It is now, I think, about ten years since I perceived my vision to grow weak and dull; and at the same time I was troubled with pain in my kidneys and bowels, accompanied with flatulency. In the morning, if I began to read, as was my custom, my eyes instantly ached intensely, but were refreshed after a little corporeal exercise. The candle which I looked at, seemed as it were encircled with a rainbow. Not long after the sight in the left part of the left eye (which I lost some years before the other) became quite obscured, and prevented me from discerning any object on that side. The sight in my other eye has now been gradually and sensibly vanishing away for about three years; some months before it had entirely perished, though I stood motionless, everything which I looked at seemed in motion to and fro. A stiff cloudy vapour seemed to have settled on my forehead and temples, which usually occasions a sort of somnolent pressure upon my eyes, and particularly from dinner till the evening. So that I often recollect what is said of the poet Phineas in the "Argonautics":

A stupor deep his cloudy temples bound, And when he walked he seemed as whirling round, Or in a feeble trance he speechless lay.

I ought not to omit that while I had any sight left, as soon as I lay down on my bed and turned on either side, a flood of light used to gush from my closed eyelids. Then, as my sight became daily more impaired, the colours became more faint and were emitted with a certain inward crackling sound; but at present, every species of illumination being, as it were, extinguished, there is diffused around me nothing but darkness, or darkness mingled and streaked with an ashy brown. Yet the darkness in which I am perpetually immersed seems always, both by night and day, to approach nearer to white than black; and when the eye is rolling in its socket, it admits a little particle of light, as through a chink. And though your physician may kindle a small ray of hope, yet I make up my mind to the malady as quite incurable; and I often reflect, that as the wise man admonishes, days of darkness are destined to each of us, the darkness which I experience, less oppressive than that of the tomb, is, owing to the singular goodness of the Deity, passed amid the pursuits of literature and the cheering salutations of friendship. But if, as is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God,' why may not any one acquiesce in the privation of his sight, when God has so amply furnished his mind and his conscience with eyes? While He so tenderly provides for me, while He so graciously leads me by the hand, and conducts me on the way, I will, since it is His pleasure, rather rejoice than repine at being blind. And, my dear Philaras, whatever may be the event, I wish you adieu with no less courage and composure than if I had the eyes of a lynx.

[Footnote 1: From the Latin.]

JOHN EVELYN

1620-1706

To SAMUEL PEPYS

"In retirement at Wotton"

Wotton, 2 "Aug". 1692.

I have been philosophizing and world-despising in the solitudes of this place, whither I am retired to pass and mourn the absence of my worthiest friend. Here is wood and water, meadows and mountains, the Dryads and Hamadryads; but here's no Mr. Pepys, no Dr. Gale. Nothing of all the cheer in the parlour that I taste; all's insipid, and all will be so to me, till I see and enjoy you again. I long to know what you do, and what you think, because I am certain you do both what is worthy the knowing and imitation. On Monday next will Mr. Bentley resume his lecture, I think, at Bow Church: I fear I shall hardly get through this wilderness by that time. Pray give him your wonted confidence if you can, and tell him how unhappily I am entangled. I hope, however, to get home within this fortnight, and about the end of October to my hyemation in Dover Street. My son is gone with the Lord Lieutenant, and our new relation, Sir Cyril Wych, into Ireland: I look they should return wondrous statesmen, or else they had as well have stayed at home. I am here with Boccalini, and Erasmus's "Praise of Folly", and look down upon the world with wondrous contempt, when I consider for what we keep such a mighty bustle. "O fortunate" Mr. Pepys! who knows, possesses, and enjoys all that's worth the seeking after. Let me live among your inclinations, and I shall be happy.

To THE SAME

"An old man's occupations"

Wotton, 22 "July", 1700.

I could no longer suffer this old servant of mine to pass and repass so near Clapham without a particular account of your health and all your happy family. You will now inquire what I do here? Why, as the patriarchs of old, I pass the days in the fields, among horses and oxen, sheep, cows, bulls, and sows, "et cetera pecora campi". We have, thank God! finished our hay harvest prosperously. I am looking after my hinds, providing carriage and tackle against reaping time and sowing. What shall I say more? "Venio ad voluptates agricolarum", which Cicero, you know, reckons amongst the most becoming diversions of old age; and so I render it. This without: now within doors, never was any matron more busy than my wife, disposing of our plain country furniture for a naked old extravagant house, suitable to our employments. She has a dairy, and distaffs, for "lac, linum, et lanam", and is become a very Sabine. But can you thus hold out? Will my friend say; is philosophy, Gresham College, and the example of Mr. Pepys, and agreeable conversation of York Buildings, quite forgotten and abandoned? No, no! "Naturam expellas furca tamen usque recurret". Know I have been ranging of no fewer than thirty large cases of books, destined for a competent standing library, during four or five days wholly destitute of my young coadjutor, who, upon some pretence of being much engaged in the mathematics, and desiring he may continue his course at Oxford till the beginning of August, I have wholly left it to him. You will now suspect something by this disordered hand; truly I was too happy in these little domestic affairs, when, on the sudden, as I was about my books in the library, I found myself sorely attacked with a shivering, followed by a feverish indisposition, and a strangury, so as to have kept, not my chamber only, but my bed, till very lately, and with just so much strength as to scribble these lines to you. For the rest, I give God thanks for this gracious warning, my great age calling upon me "sarcinam componere" every day expecting it, who have still enjoyed a wonderful course of bodily health for forty years....

DAME DOROTHY BROWNE

1621-1685

TO HER DAUGHTER IN LONDON

"Three interesting postscripts"

[Norfolk, 28 "June, c". 1679.]

DEARE DAUGHTER,

I have received all the things, to the great content of the owners, who returne you many thankes. Thay ar indeed very well chose things of all sorts: and I give you many thanks for the troble you have had with them: I sent you Tomey's scurt and long slevs of his ould cott; I hope you have them. On Mr. Felden it seemes took it last Wadinsday, and sayd hee would deliver it him selfe. Wee dayly wish for the new cloths; all our linen being worne out but shefts, and Tomey would give all his stock to see his briches. I bless God wee ar all well as I hope you ar. Tomey presents his dutty, your sisters all love and services.

[4 "July".]

GOOD DAUGHTER,

I must troble you once more abought my cosen Tenoson. She would macke a manto gown of the grene and whight silke you sent down for a peticot, but she wants two yards, and as much slit grene sarsinat as will line it in sight. I pray send nurs to gett it and lett mee know what it com to, and I will send you the mony. I sayes my Cossen Cradock might send it me by the choch for she would have it as sonne as possible. I bless God wee ar all in helth, and Tomey much longing for his briches.

[5 "July".]

Tomey have received his cloues, and is much delighted, and sends you and his mother and grandmother dutty and thanckes, and meanes to war them carfully.

GEORGE, LORD BERKELEY

1628-1698

To SAMUEL PEPYS[1]

"Honourable Acquittal"

Berkeley House, 23 "Feb". 1677-8.

GOOD MR. PEPYS,

Though I thank you for the favour of your letter, yet I confess myself both much surprised and troubled to receive a letter from you upon such an occasion: so is my wife, who professes herself wholly innocent of any crime of charging you in thought, word, or deed, and hopes you will do her that right to believe so of her. My daughter Berkeley says she expressed some trouble that the friend she recommended had not success, and that she was told the Commissioners of the Navy did report they had given the same recommendations of the person she proposed, as they did of him that was accepted, for the lieutenant's place; which my daughter, supposing to be true, wondered the more he lost the preferment: but, by the copies enclosed in your's, it appears her Ladyship was very much misinformed. As for Mrs. Henrietta, she is extremely troubled in saying any thing that gave you offence; and though she did not in the least intend it, yet she begs your pardon. And now, my good friend, though I am not under any accusation, and therefore need not say any thing to vindicate myself, yet give me leave, upon this occasion, to assure you, that there is no person has a better opinion of you than myself, nor is more sensible of your particular civilities to me; which I should be very glad to make a return of when in my power to serve you: and give me leave to add further, without flattery to you, and with great sincerity, that I believe our gracious master, His Majesty, is so fortunate in employing you in his service, that, if he should lose you, it would be very difficult for His Majesty to find a successor so well qualified in all respects for his service, if we consider both your integrity, vast abilities, industry, and zealous affections for his service; and, if His Majesty were asked the question, I will hold ten to one His Majesty declares himself of my opinion; so will I believe all that know you, more especially our fellow-traders that are so conversant with you and obliged by you.

This is asserted as a great truth by, Sir, your very affectionate and hearty friend and Servant.

[Footnote 1: Cf. Letter on p. 45.]

DOROTHY OSBORNE

1628-1698

To SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE

"Passing the time"

[No date; c. 1653.]

I have been reckoning up how many faults you lay to my charge in your last letter, and I find I am severe, unjust, unmerciful, and unkind! O me! how should one do to mend all those! 'Tis work for an age, and I fear that I shall be so old before I am good, that 'twill not be considerable to any body but myself whether I am so or not.... You ask me how I pass my time here. I can give you a perfect account, not only of what I do for the present, but what I am likely to do this seven years if I stay here so long. I rise in the morning reasonably early, and before I am ready I go round the house till I am weary of that, and then into the garden till it grows too hot for me. I then think of making me ready; and when that's done I go into my father's chamber; from thence to dinner, where my cousin Molle and I sit in great state in a room and at a table that would hold a great many more. After dinner we sit and talk till Mr. P. comes in question, and then I am gone. The heat of the day is spent in reading or working; and about six or seven o'clock I walk out into a common that lies hard by the house, where a great many young wenches keep sheep and cows, and sit in the shade singing of ballads; I go to them, and compare their voices and beauty to some ancient shepherdesses that I have read of, and find a vast difference there; but, trust me, I think these are as innocent as those could be. I talk to them, and find "they want nothing to make them the happiest people in the world but the knowledge that they are so". Most commonly, while we are in the middle of our discourse, one looks about her, and spies her cows going into the corn, and then away they all run as if they had wings at their heels. I that am not so nimble stay behind, and when I see them driving home their cattle think it is time for me to return too. When I have supped I go into the garden, and so to the side of a small river that runs by it, where I sit down and wish you with me (you had best say this is not kind, neither). In earnest, it is a pleasant place, and would be more so to me if I had your company, as I sit there sometimes till I am lost with thinking; and were it not for some cruel thoughts of the crossness of my fortune, that will not let me sleep there, I should forget there were such a thing to be done as going to bed. Since I writ this, my company is increased by two, my brother Harry, and a fair niece, my brother Peyton's daughter. She is so much a woman that I am almost ashamed to say I am her aunt, and so pretty, that if I had any design to gain a servant I should not like her company; but I have none, and therefore I shall endeavour to keep her here as long as I can persuade her father to spare her, for she will easily consent to it, having so much of my humour (though it be the worst thing in her) as to like a melancholy place, and little company.... My father is reasonably well, but keeps his chamber still; but will hardly, I am afraid, ever be so perfectly recovered as to come abroad again.

TO THE SAME

"Another pretender"

[No date; c. 1653.]

I could tell you such a story (it is too long to be written), as would make you see what I never discovered in my life before, that I am a valiant lady. In earnest, we have had such a skirmish and upon so foolish an occasion, as I cannot tell which is strangest. The Emperor and his proposals began it; I talked merrily on it till I saw my brother put on his sober face, and could hardly then believe he was in earnest. It seems he was; for when I had spoke freely my meaning it wrought so with him, as to fetch up all that lay upon his stomach: all the people that I had ever in my life refused were brought again upon the stage, like Richard the Third's ghosts, to reproach me withal, and all the kindness his discoveries could make I had for you was laid to my charge; my best qualities, if I have any that are good, served but for aggravations of my fault, and I was allowed to have wit, and understanding, and discretion, in all other things, that it might appear I had none in this. Well, 'twas a pretty lecture, and I grew warm with it after a while. In short, we came so near to an absolute falling out that 'twas time to give over, and we said so much then that we have hardly spoken a word together since. But 'tis wonderful to see what courtesies and legs pass between us, and as before we were thought the kindest brother and sister, we are certainly now the most complimental couple in England: it is a strange change, and I am very sorry for it, but I'll swear I know not how to help it....

TO THE SAME

"A disappointing preacher"

[No date; c. 1653.]

... God forgive me, I was as near laughing yesterday where I should not: would you believe that I had the grace to go to hear a sermon upon a week-day? In earnest, 'tis true, and Mr. Marshall was the man that preached, but never any body was so defeated. He is so famed that I expected rare things from him, and seriously I listened to him at first with as much reverence and attention as if he had been St. Paul. And what do you think he told us? why, that if there were no kings, no queens, no lords, no ladies, no gentlemen or gentlewomen in the world, it would be no loss at all to God Almighty: this he said over some forty times, which made me remember it, whether I would or not. The rest was much at this rate, entertained with the prettiest odd phrases, that I had the most ado to look soberly enough for the place I was in that ever I had in my life. He does not preach so always, sure; if he does, I cannot believe his sermons will do much towards the bringing anybody to heaven more than by exercising their patience; yet I'll say that for him, he stood stoutly for tithes, though in my opinion few deserve them less than he, and it may be he would be better without them. Yet you say you are not convinced that to be miserable is the way to be good; to some natures I think it is not; but there are many of so careless and vain a temper that the least breath of good fortune swells them with so much pride, that if they were not put in mind sometimes by a sound cross or two that they are mortal, they would hardly think it possible; and though it is a sign of a servile nature, when fear produces more of reverence in us than love, yet there is more danger of forgetting one's self in a prosperous fortune than in the contrary; and affliction may be the surest though not the pleasantest guide to heaven. What think you, might I not preach with Mr. Marshall for a wager?...

TO THE SAME

"The ideal husband"

[No date; "c". 1653.]

There are a great many ingredients must go to the making me happy in a husband. My cousin F. says our humours must agree, and to do that he must have that kind of breeding that I have had, and used to that kind of company; that is, he must not be so much a country gentleman as to understand nothing but hawks and dogs, and be fonder of either than of his wife; nor of the next sort of them, whose time reaches no farther than to be justice of peace, and once in his life high sheriff, who reads no book but statutes, and studies nothing but how to make a speech interlarded with Latin, that may amaze his disagreeing poor neighbours, and fright them rather than persuade them into quietness. He must not be a thing that began the world in a free school, was sent from thence to the university, and is at his farthest when he reaches the inns of court; has no acquaintance but those of his form in those places; speaks the French he has picked out of old laws, and admires nothing but the stories he has heard of the revels that were kept there before his time. He must not be a town gallant neither, that lives in a tavern and an ordinary; that cannot imagine how an hour should be spent without company unless it be in sleeping; that makes court to all the women he sees, thinks they believe him, and laughs and is laughed at equally. Nor a travelled Monsieur, whose head is feathered inside and outside, that can talk of nothing but of dances and duels, and has courage enough to wear slashes, when every body else dies with cold to see him. He must not be a fool of no sort, nor peevish, nor ill-natured, nor proud, nor courteous; and to all this must be added, that he must love me, and I him, as much as we are capable of loving. Without all this his fortune, though never so great, would not satisfy me, and with it a very moderate one would keep me from ever repenting my disposal....

TO THE SAME

"The growth of friendship"

[No date; c. 1653.]

... I must find you pleased and in good humour; merry as you were wont to be, when we first met, if you will not have me show that I am nothing akin to my cousin Osborne's lady. But what an age it is since we first met, and how great a change it has wrought in both of us! if there had been as great a one on my face, it would be either very handsome or very ugly. For God's sake, when we meet, let us design one day to remember old stories in, to ask one another by what degrees our friendship grew to this height 'tis at. In earnest, I am lost sometimes in thinking of it, and though I can never repent of the share you have in my heart, I know not whether I gave it you willingly or not at first. No; to speak ingenuously, I think you got an interest there a good while before I thought you had any, and it grew so insensibly and yet so fast, that all the traverses it has met with since have served rather to discover it to me than at all to hinder it.

TO THE SAME.

"Wilful woman"

[No date; c. 1653.]

I was carried yesterday abroad to a dinner that was designed for mirth, but it seems one ill-humoured person in the company is enough to put all the rest out of tune, for I never saw people perform what they intended worse, and could not forbear telling them so; but to excuse themselves and silence my reproaches they all agreed to say that I spoiled their jollity by wearing the most unseasonable looks that could be put on for such an occasion. I told them I knew no remedy but leaving me behind them; that my looks were suitable to my fortune though not to a feast. Fie, I am got into my complaining humour that tires myself as well as every body else, and which (as you observe) helps not at all; would it would leave me and that I should not always have occasion for it, but that's in nobody's power, and my Lady Talmash, that says she can do whatever she will, cannot believe whatsoever she pleases. 'Tis not unpleasant, methinks, to hear her talk how at such a time she was sick, and the physicians told her she would have the small-pox and showed her where they were coming out upon her, but she bethought herself that it was not at all convenient for her to have them at that time; some business she had that required her going abroad, and so she resolved she would not be sick nor was not. Twenty such stories as these she tells, and then falls into discourses of the strength of reason and power of philosophy till she confounds herself and all that hear her. You have no such ladies in Ireland.... My poor Lady Vavasor is carried to the Tower, and her situation could not excuse her, because she was acquainted by somebody that there was a plot against the Protector, and did not discover it. She has told now all that was told her, but vows she will never say from whence she had it; we shall see whether her resolutions are as unalterable as those of my Lady Talmash. I wonder how she behaved herself when she was married; I never yet saw anybody that did not look simply and out of countenance, nor ever knew a wedding well designed but one, and that was of two persons who had time enough I confess to contrive it, and nobody to please in it but themselves. He came down into the country where she was upon a visit, and one morning married her; as soon as they came out of the church, they took coach and came for the town, dined at an Inn by the way, and at night came into lodgings that were provided for them, where nobody knew them, and where they passed for married people of seven years' standing. The truth is I could not endure to be Mrs. Bride in a public wedding, to be made the happiest person on earth; do not take it ill, for I would endure it if I could, rather than fail, but in earnest I do not think it were possible for me; you cannot apprehend the formalities of a treaty more than I do, nor so much the success of it. Yet in earnest your father will not find my brother Peyton wanting in civility (though he is not a man of much compliment unless it be in his letters to me), nor an unreasonable person in any thing so he will allow him, out of his kindness to his wife, to set a higher value upon his sister than she deserves. I know not how he may be prejudiced upon the business, but he is not deaf to reason when it is civilly delivered, and is as easily gained with compliance and good usage as any body I know, but no other way; when he is roughly used he is like me ten times the worse for it. I make it a case of conscience to discover my faults to you as fast as I know them, that you may consider what you have to do: my aunt told me no longer ago than yesterday, that I was the most wilful woman that ever she knew, and had an obstinacy of spirit nothing could overcome. Take heed, you see I give you fair warning. I have missed a letter this Monday, what is the reason? By the next I shall be gone into Kent, and my other journey is laid aside, which I am not displeased at, because it would have broken our intercourse very much. Here are some verses of Cowley's; pray tell me how you like them. It is only a piece taken out of a new thing of his. The whole is very long, and is a description of, or rather a paraphrase upon, the friendships of David and Jonathan. 'Tis I think the best I have seen of his, and I like the subject because it is that I would be perfect in. Adieu!

KATHARINE PHILIPS

1631-1664

ORINDA TO THE HONOURABLE BERENICE

"Yielding to opinion"

Priory of Cardigan, "25 June"

Your Ladyship's last favour from Coll. P----'s was truly obliging, and carried so much of the same great soul of yours, which loves to diffuse itself in expressions of friendship to me, that it merits a great deal more acknowledgement than I am able to pay at my best condition, and am less now when my head aches, and will give me no leave to enlarge, though I have so much subject and reason; but really if my heart ached too, I could be sensible of a very great kindness and condescension in thinking me worthy of your concern, though I visibly perceive most of my letters have lost their way to your Ladyship. I beseech you be pleased first to believe I have written every post; but, secondly, since I came, and then to enquire for them, that they may be commended into your hands, where alone they can hope for a favourable residence; I am very much a sharer by sympathy, in your Ladyship's satisfaction in the converse you had in the country, and find that to that ingenious company Fortune hath been just, there being no person fitter to receive all the admiration of persons best capable to pay them, than the great "Berenice"....

And now (madam) why was that a cruel question, When will you come to "Wales"? 'Tis cruel to me, I confess, that it is yet in question, but I humbly beg your Ladyship to unriddle that part of your letter, for I cannot understand why you, madam, who have no persons alive to whom your birth hath submitted you, and have already by your life secured to yourself the best opinion the world can give you, should create an awe upon your own actions, from imaginary inconveniences: Happiness, I confess, is two-faced, and one is opinion; but that opinion is certainly "our own"; for it were equally ridiculous and impossible to shape our "actions" by others' "opinions". I have had so much (and some sad) reason to discuss this principle, that I can speak with some confidence, That "none will ever be happy, who make their happiness to consist in, or be governed by the votes of other persons." I deny not but the approbation of wise and good persons is a very necessary satisfaction; but to forbear innocent contentments, only because it's possible some fancies may be so capricious as to dispute whether I should have taken them, is, in my belief, neither better nor worse than to fast always, because there are some so superstitious in the world, that will abstain from meat, upon some score or other, upon every day in the year, that is, some upon some days, and others upon others, and some upon all. You know, madam, there is nothing so various as "vulgar opinion", nothing so untrue to itself. Who shall then please since none can fix it? 'Tis heresy (this of submitting to every blast of popular extravagancy) which I have combated in persons very dear to me; "Dear madam", let them not have your authority for a relapse, when I had almost committed them; but consider it without a bias, and give sentence as you see cause; and in that interim put me not off ("Dear madam") with those chimeras, but tell me plainly what inconvenience is it to come? If it be one in earnest, I will submit, but otherwise, I am so much my own friend, and my friend's friend, as not to be satisfied with your Ladyship's taking measure of your actions by others' opinion, when I know too that the severest could find nothing in this journey that they could condemn, but your excess of charity to me, and that censure you have already supported with patience, and (notwithstanding my own consciousness of no ways deserving your sufferance upon that score) I cannot beg you to recover the reputation of your judgement in that particular, since it must be my ruin. I should now say very much for your most obliging commands to me, to write, and should beg frequent letters from your Ladyship with all possible importunity, and should by command from my "Lucasia" excuse her last rudeness (as she calls it) in giving you account of her honour for you under her own hand, but I must beg your pardon now, and out-believing all, I can say upon every one of these accounts, for really, madam, you cannot tell how to imagine any person more to any one, than I am,

"Madam, Your Ladyship's most faithful servant, and passionate friend", ORINDA

JOHN LOCKE

1632-1704

TO WILLIAM MOLYNEUX

"A philosopher's confidences"

Oates, 26 "April", 1695.

SIR,

You look with the eyes, and speak the language of friendship, when you make my life of much more concern to the world than your own. I take it, as it is, for an effect of your kindness, and so shall not accuse you of compliment; the mistakes and over-valuings of good-will being always sincere, even when they exceed what common truth allows. This on my side I must beg you to believe, that my life would be much more pleasant and useful to me, if you were within my reach, that I might sometimes enjoy your conversation, and, upon twenty occasions, lay my thoughts before you, and have the advantage of your judgement. I cannot complain that I have not my share of friends of all ranks, and such, whose interest, assistance, affection, and opinions too, in fit cases, I can rely on. But methinks, for all this, there is one place vacant, that I know nobody that would so well fill as yourself; I want one near me to talk freely with, "de quolibet ente"; to propose to the extravagancies that rise in my mind; one with whom I would debate several doubts and questions, to see what was in them. Meditating by one's self, is like digging in the mine; it often, perhaps, brings up maiden earth, which never came near the light before; but whether it contains any metal in it, is never so well tried as in conversation with a knowing judicious friend who carries about with him the true touchstone, which is love of truth in a clear-thinking head. Men of parts and judgement the world usually gets hold of, and by a great mistake (that their abilities of mind are lost, if not employed in the pursuit of wealth or power) engages them in the ways of fortune and interest, which usually leave but little freedom or leisure of thought for pure disinterested truth. And such who give themselves up frankly, and in earnest to the full latitude of real knowledge, are not everywhere to be met with. Wonder not, therefore, that I wish so much for you in my neighbourhood; I should be too happy in a friend of your make, were you within my reach. But yet I cannot but wish that some business would once bring you within distance; and it is a pain to me to think of leaving the world without the happiness of seeing you.

I do not wonder that a kinsman of yours should magnify civilities that scarce deserve the name; I know not wherein they consisted, but in being glad to see one that was in any way related to you, and was himself a very ingenious man; either of those was a title to more than I did, or could show him. I am sorry I have not yet had an opportunity to wait on him in London; and I fear he should be gone before I am able to get thither. This long winter, and cold spring, has hung very heavy upon my lungs, and they are not yet in a case to be ventured in London air, which must be my excuse for not waiting upon him and Dr. Ashe yet.

The third edition of my essay has already, or will be speedily, in the press. But what perhaps will seem stranger, and possibly please you better, an abridgement is now making (if it be not already done) by one of the university of Oxford, for the use of young scholars, in the place of the ordinary system of logic. From the acquaintance I had of the temper of that place I did not expect to have it get much footing there. But so it is, I some time since received a very civil letter from one, wholly a stranger to me there, concerning such a design; and by another from him since, I conclude it near done. He seems to be an ingenious man, and he writes sensibly about it, but I can say nothing of it till I see it; and he, of his own accord, has offered that it shall be wholly submitted to my opinion, and disposal of it. And thus, sir, possibly that which you once proposed may be attained to, and I was pleased with the gentleman's design for your sake.

You are a strange man, you oblige me very much by the care you take to have it well translated, and you thank me for complying with your offer. In my last, as I remember, I told you the reason why it was so long before I writ, was an expectation of an answer from London, concerning something I had to communicate to you: it was in short this; I was willing to know what my bookseller would give for a good latin copy; he told me, at last, twenty pounds. His delay was, because he would first have known what the translator demanded. But I forced him to make his proposal, and so I send it to you, to make what use of it you please. He since writ me word, that a friend of his at Oxford would, in some time, be at leisure to do it, and would undertake it. I bid him excuse himself to him, for that it was in hands I approved of, and some part of it now actually done. For I hope the essay (he was to show you the next week after you writ to me last) pleased you. Think it not a compliment, that I desire you to make what alterations you think fit. One thing particularly you will oblige me and the world in, and that is, in paring off some of the superfluous repetitions, which I left in for the sake of illiterate men, and the softer sex, not used to abstract notions and reasonings. But much of this reasoning will be out of doors in a latin translation. I refer all to your judgement, and so am secure it will be done as is best.

What I shall add concerning enthusiasm, I guess, will very much agree with your thoughts, since yours jump so right with mine, about the place where it is to come in, I having designed it for chap. 18, lib. iv, as a false principle of reasoning often made use of. But, to give an historical account of the various ravings men have embraced for religion, would, I fear, be besides my purpose, and be enough to make an huge volume.

My opinion of P. Malebranche agrees perfectly with yours. What I have writ concerning 'seeing all things in God', would make a little treatise of itself. But I have not quite gone through it, for fear I should by somebody or other be tempted to print it. For I love not controversies, and have a personal kindness for the author. When I have the happiness to see you, we will consider it together, and you shall dispose of it.

I think I shall make some other additions to be put into your latin translation, and particularly concerning the 'connection of ideas', which has not, that I know, been hitherto considered, and has, I guess, a greater influence upon our minds than is usually taken notice of. Thus, you see, I make you the confident of my reveries; you would be troubled with a great many more of them, were you nearer.

TO DR. MOLYNEUX

"True friendship"

Oates, 27 "Oct." 1698.

SIR,

Death has, with a violent hand, hastily snatched from you a dear brother. I doubt not but, on this occasion, you need all the consolation can be given to one unexpectedly bereft of so worthy and near a relation. Whatever inclination I may have to alleviate your sorrow, I bear too great a share in the loss, and am too sensibly touched with it myself, to be in a condition to discourse with you on this subject, or do any thing but mingle my tears with yours. I have lost, in your brother, not only an ingenious and learned acquaintance, all that the world esteemed; but an intimate and sincere friend, whom I truly loved, and by whom I was truly loved: and what a loss that is, those only can be sensible who know how valuable, and how scarce, a true friend is, and how far to be preferred to all other sorts of treasure. He has left a son, who I know was dear to him, and deserved to be so as much as was possible, for one of his age. I cannot think myself wholly incapacitated from paying some of the affection and service that was due from me to my dear friend, as long as he has a child, or a brother, in the world. If, therefore, there be any thing, at this distance, wherein I, in my little sphere, may be able to serve your nephew or you, I beg you, by the memory of our deceased friend, to let me know it, that you may see that one who loved him so well, cannot but be tenderly concerned for his son, nor be otherwise than I am, Sir, etc.

SAMUEL PEPYS

1633-1703

TO GEORGE, LORD BERKELEY

"An explanation"

Derby House, 22 "Feb." 1677-8

MY LORD,

I am greatly owing to your Lordship for your last favour at St. John's, and did, till now, reckon myself under no less a debt to my Ladies for the honour at the same time done me, in their commands touching Mr. Bonithan. But, my Lord, I have lately had the misfortune of being undeceived in the latter, by coming to know the severity with which some of my Ladies are pleased to discourse of me in relation thereto. I assure your Lordship, I was so big with the satisfaction of having an opportunity given me by my Ladies at once of obliging them, paying a small respect to you, and doing a good office to a deserving gentleman, that I did not let one day pass before I had bespoke and obtained His Majesty's and Royal Highness's promise of favour in Mr. Bonithan's behalf: and was so far afterwards from failing him in my further assistances with Captain Trevanion and others, that I took early care to secure him a lieutenancy, by a commission actually signed for him by the King, in the ship "Stavereene", relying upon the character Captain Trevanion had given me of his capacity to abide the examination, established by the King, upon the promotion of lieutenants; which was not only the most I should have done in the case of a brother, but more than ever I did in any man's case before, or, for his sake, do think I shall ever do again. True it is, my Lord, that when, upon his examination by the officers of the Navy, he was found not so fully qualified for the office of lieutenant as was requisite, I did with all respect, and to his seeming satisfaction, advise him to pass a little longer time in the condition he was then in, under a stricter application of himself to the practice of navigation. And, in pursuance of my duty to the King, I did acquaint him also with Mr. Bonithan's present unreadiness; and had, therefore, a command given me for conferring the commission prepared for him upon another, who, upon examination, at the same time with Mr. Bonithan, was found better qualified for it. As to what I understand my Ladies are pleased to entertain themselves and others with, to my reproach, as if money had been wanting in the case, it is a reproach lost upon me, my Lord, who am known to be so far from needing any purgation in the point of selling places, as never to have taken so much as my fee for a commission or warrant to any one officer in the Navy, within the whole time, now near twenty years, that I have had the honour of serving His Majesty therein--a self-denial at this day so little in fashion, and yet so chargeable to maintain, that I take no pride, and as little pleasure, in the mentioning it, further than it happily falls in here to my defence against the mistake the Ladies seem disposed to arraign me by on this occasion. Besides that, in the particular case of this gentleman, Lieut. Beele, who enjoys the commission designed for Mr. Bonithan, he is one whose face I never saw either before or since the time of his receiving it, nor know one friend he has in the world to whom he owes this benefit, other than the King's justice and his own modest merit: which, having said, it remains only that I assure your Lordship what I have so said, is not calculated with any regard to, much less any repining at, the usage the Ladies are pleased to show me in this affair, for 'tis fit I bear it, but to acquit myself to your Lordship in my demeanour towards them, as becomes their and, my Lord,

Your Lordship's most obedient Servant.

TO MRS. STEWARD

"A wedding in the city"

20 "Sept." 1695.

MADAM,

You are very good, and pray continue so, by as many kind messages as you can, and notices of your health, such as the bearer brings you back my thanks for, and a thousand services. Here's a sad town, and God knows when it will be a better, our losses at sea making a very melancholy exchange at both ends of it; the gentlewomen of this, to say nothing of the other, sitting with their arms across, without a yard of muslin in their shops to sell, while the ladies, they tell me, walk pensively by, without a shilling, I mean a good one, in their pockets to buy. One thing there is indeed, that comes in my way as a Governor, to hear of, which carries a little mirth with it, and indeed is very odd. Two wealthy citizens that are lately dead, and left their estates, one to a Blue Coat boy, and the other to a Blue Coat girl, in Christ's Hospital. The extraordinariness of which has led some of the magistrates to carry it on to a match, which is ended in a public wedding; he in his habit of blue satin, led by two of the girls, and she in blue, with an apron green and petticoat yellow, all of sarsnet, led by two of the boys of the house, through Cheapside to Guildhall Chapel, where they were married by the Dean of St. Paul's, she given by my Lord Mayor. The wedding dinner, it seems, was kept in the Hospital Hall, but the great day will be tomorrow, St Matthew's; when, so much I am sure of, my Lord Mayor will be there, and myself also have had a ticket of invitation thither, and if I can, will be there too, but, for other particulars, I must refer you to my next, and so,

Dear madam, Adieu.

Bow Bells are just now ringing, ding dong, but whether for this, I cannot presently tell; but it is likely enough, for I have known them ring upon much foolisher occasions, and lately too.

TO JOHN EVELYN

"Reply to an old friend"

Clapham, 7 "Aug." 1700.

I have no herds to mind, nor will my Doctor allow me any books here. What then, will you say, too, are you doing? Why, truly, nothing that will bear naming, and yet I am not, I think, idle; for who can, that has so much of past and to come to think on, as I have? And thinking, I take it, is working, though many forms beneath what my Lady and you are doing. But pray remember what o'clock it is with you and me; and be not now, by overstirring, too bold with your present complaint, any more than I dare be with mine, which, too, has been no less kind in giving me my warning, than the other to you, and to neither of us, I hope, and, through God's mercy, dare say, either unlooked for or unwelcome. I wish, nevertheless, that I were able to administer any thing towards the lengthening that precious rest of life which God has thus long blessed you, and, in you, mankind, with; but I have always been too little regardful of my own health, to be a prescriber to others. I cannot give myself the scope I otherwise should in talking now to you at this distance, on account of the care extraordinary I am now under from Mrs. Skinner's being suddenly fallen very ill; but ere long I may possibly venture at entertaining you with something from my young man in exchange--I don't say in payment, for the pleasure you gratify me with from yours, whom I pray God to bless with continuing but what he is! and I'll ask no more for him.

JONATHAN SWIFT

1667-1745

TO STELLA

"The Dean at home"

London, 16 "Jan." 1710-11.

O faith, young women, I have sent my letter N. 13, without one crumb of an answer to any of MD's; there is for you now; and yet Presto ben't angry faith, not a bit, only he will begin to be in pain next Irish post, except he sees MD's little handwriting in the glass frame at the bar of St. James's Coffee-house, where Presto would never go but for that purpose. Presto's at home, God help him, every night from six till bed time, and has as little enjoyment or pleasure in life at present as anybody in the world, although in full favour with all the ministry. As hope saved, nothing gives Presto any sort of dream of happiness, but a letter now and then from his own dearest MD. I love the expectation of it, and when it does not come, I comfort myself, that I have it yet to be happy with. Yes faith, and when I write to MD, I am happy too; it is just as if methinks you were here, and I prating to you, and telling you where I have been: Well, says you, Presto, come, where have you been to-day? come, let's hear now. And so then I answer; Ford and I were visiting Mr. Lewis, and Mr. Prior, and Prior has given me a fine Plautus, and then Ford would have had me dine at his lodgings, and so I would not; and so I dined with him at an eating-house; which I have not done five times since I came here; and so I came home, after visiting Sir Andrew Fountaine's mother and sister, and Sir Andrew Fountaine is mending, though slowly.

17. I was making, this morning, some general visits, and at twelve I called at the coffee-house for a letter from MD; so the man said he had given it to Patrick; then I went to the Court of requests and treasury to find Mr. Harley, and after some time spent in mutual reproaches, I promised to dine with him; I stayed there till seven, then called at Sterne's and Leigh's to talk about your box, and to have it sent by Smyth; Sterne says he has been making inquiries, and will set things right as soon as possible. I suppose it lies at Chester, at least I hope so, and only wants a lift over to you.... Well, so I came home to read my letter from Stella, but the dog Patrick was abroad; at last he came, and I got my letter; I found another hand had superscribed it; when I opened it, I found it written all in French, and subscribed Bernage: faith, I was ready to fling it at Patrick's head. Bernage tells me, he had been to desire your recommendation to me to make him a captain; and your cautious answer, 'That he had as much power with me as you,' was a notable one; if you were here, I would present you to the ministry as a person of ability. Bernage should let me know where to write to him; this is the second letter I have had without any direction; however, I beg I may not have a third, but that you will ask him, and send me how I shall direct to him. In the meantime, tell him, that if regiments are to be raised here, as he says, I will speak to George Granville, secretary at war, to make him a captain; and use what other interest I conveniently can. I think that is enough, and so tell him, and do not trouble me with his letters when I expect them from MD; do you hear, young women, write to Presto.

18. I was this morning with Mr. Secretary St. John, and we were to dine at Mr. Harley's alone, about some business of importance; but there were two or three gentlemen there. Mr. Secretary and I went together from his office to Mr. Harley's, and thought to have been very wise; but the deuce a bit: the company stayed, and more came, and Harley went away at seven, and the secretary and I stayed with the rest of the company till eleven; I would then have had him come away, but he was in for it; and though he swore he would come away at that flask, there I left him. I wonder at the civility of these people; when he saw I would drink no more, he would always pass the bottle by me, and yet I could not keep the toad from drinking himself, nor he would not let me go neither, nor Masham, who was with us. When I got home, I found a parcel directed to me, and opening it, I found a pamphlet written entirely against myself, not by name, but against something I writ: it is pretty civil, and affects to be so, and I think I will take no notice of it; it is against something written very lately; and indeed I know not what to say, nor do I care; and so you are a saucy rogue for losing your money to-day at Stoyte's; to let that bungler beat you, my Stella, are not you ashamed? well, I forgive you this once, never do so again; no, noooo. Kiss and be friends, sirrah.--Come, let me go sleep, I go earlier to bed than formerly; and have not been out so late these two months; but the secretary was in a drinking humour. So good night, myownlittledearsaucyinsolentrogues.

19. Then you read that long word in the last line, no faith have not you. Well, when will this letter come from our MD? to-morrow or next day without fail; yes faith, and so it is coming. This was an insipid snowy day, and I dined gravely with Mrs. Vanhomrigh, and came home, and am now got to bed a little after ten; I remember old Culpepper's maxim:

Would you have a settled head, You must early go to bed: I tell you, and I tell it again, You must be in bed at ten.

20. And so I went to-day with my new wig, o hoao, to visit Lady Worsley, whom I had not seen before, although she was near a month in town. Then I walked in the Park to find Mr. Ford, whom I had promised to meet, and coming down the Mall, who should come towards me but Patrick, and gives me five letters out of his pocket. I read the superscription of the first, Pshoh, said I; of the second, pshoh again; of the third, pshah, pshah, pshah; of the fourth, a gad, a gad, a gad, I am in a rage; of the fifth and last, O hoooa; ay marry this is something, this is our MD, so truly we opened it, I think immediately, and it began the most impudently in the world, thus; Dear Presto, we are even thus far. Now we are even, quoth Stephen, when he gave his wife six blows for one. I received your ninth four days after I had sent my thirteenth. But I'll reckon with you anon about that, young women. Why did not you recant at the end of your letter when you got your eleventh? tell me that, huzzies base, were we even then, were we, sirrah? but I will not answer your letter now, I will keep it for another time. We had a great deal of snow to-day, and it is terrible cold....

21. "Morning". It has snowed terribly all night, and is vengeance cold. I am not yet up, but cannot write long; my hands will freeze. Is there a good fire, Patrick? Yes, sir, then I will rise; come take away the candle. You must know I write on the dark side of my bedchamber, and am forced to have a candle till I rise, for the bed stands between me and the window, and I keep the curtains shut this cold weather. So pray let me rise, and, Patrick, here, take away the candle.--"At night." We are now here in high frost and snow, the largest fire can hardly keep us warm. It is very ugly walking, a baker's boy broke his thigh yesterday. I walk slow, make short steps, and never tread on my heel. It is a good proverb the Devonshire people have:

Walk fast in snow, In frost walk slow, And still as you go, Tread on your toe:

When frost and snow are both together, Sit by the fire and spare shoe leather.

22. "Morning". Starving, starving, uth, uth, uth, uth, uth.--Do not you remember I used to come into your chamber, and turn Stella out of her chair, and rake up the fire in a cold morning, and cry uth, uth, uth? O faith, I must rise, my hand is so cold I can write no more....

26, 27, 28, 29, 30. I have been so lazy and negligent these last four days, that I could not write to MD. My head is not in order, and yet it is not absolutely ill, but giddyish, and makes me listless; I walk every day, and hope I shall grow better. I wish I were with MD; I long for spring and good weather, and then I will come over. My riding in Ireland keeps me well. I am very temperate, and eat of the easiest meats as I am directed, and hope the malignity will go off; but one fit shakes me a long time. I dined to-day with Lord Mountjoy, yesterday at Mr. Stone's in the city, on Sunday at Vanhomrigh's, Saturday with Ford, and Friday I think at Vanhomrigh's, and that's all the journal I can send MD; for I was so lazy while I was well that I could not write. I thought to have sent this to-night, but it is ten, and I'll go to bed, and write on the other side to Parsivol to-morrow, and send it on Thursday; and so good night my dears, and love Presto, and be healthy, and Presto will be so too.

To LORD TREASURER OXFORD

"The Dean makes his bow"

1 "July", 1714.

MY LORD,

When I was with you, I have said more than once, that I would never allow quality or station made any real difference between men. Being now absent and forgotten, I have changed my mind: you have a thousand people who can pretend they love you, with as much appearance of sincerity as I, so that, according to common justice, I can have but a thousandth part in return of what I give. And this difference is wholly owing to your station. And the misfortune is still the greater, because I always loved you just so much the worse for your station: for, in your public capacity, you have often angered me to the heart, but, as a private man, never once. So that, if I only look toward myself, I could wish you a private man to-morrow: for I have nothing to ask; at least nothing that you will give, which is the same thing: and then you would see whether I should not with much more willingness attend you in a retirement, whenever you please to give me leave, than ever I did at London or Windsor. From these sentiments I will never write to you, if I can help it, otherwise than as to a private person, or allow myself to have been obliged to you in any other capacity.

The memory of one great instance of your candour and justice, I will carry to my grave; that having been in a manner domestic with you for almost four years, it was never in the power of any public or concealed enemy to make you think ill of me, though malice and envy were often employed to that end. If I live, posterity shall know that, and more; which, though you, and somebody that shall be nameless, seem to value less than I could wish, is all the return I can make you. Will you give me leave to say how I would desire to stand in your memory? As one, who was truly sensible of the honour you did him, though he was too proud to be vain upon it; as one, who was neither assuming, officious, nor teasing; who never wilfully misrepresented persons or facts to you, nor consulted his passions when he gave a character; and lastly, as one, whose indiscretions proceeded altogether from a weak head, and not an ill heart. I will add one thing more, which is the highest compliment I can make, that I never was afraid of offending you, nor am now in any pain for the manner I write to you in. I have said enough; and, like one at your levee, having made my bow, I shrink back into the crowd.

TO DR. SHERIDAN

"News from the country"

25 "Jan." 1724-5.

I have a packet of letters, which I intended to send by Molly, who has been stopped three days by the bad weather; but now I will send them by the post to-morrow to Kells, and enclosed to Mr. Tickell there is one to you, and one to James Stopford.

I can do no work this terrible weather; which has put us all seventy times out of patience. I have been deaf nine days, and am now pretty well recovered again.

Pray desire Mr. Stanton and Worral to continue giving themselves some trouble with Mr. Pratt; but let it succeed or not, I hope I shall be easy.

Mrs. Johnson swears it will rain till Michaelmas. She is so pleased with her pick-axe, that she wears it fastened to her girdle on her left side, in balance with her watch. The lake is strangely overflown, and we are desperate about turf, being forced to buy it three miles off: and Mrs. Johnson (God help her!) gives you many a curse. Your mason is come, but cannot yet work upon your garden. Neither can I agree with him about the great wall. For the rest, "vide" the letter you will have on Monday, if Mr. Tickell uses you well.

The news of this country is, that the maid you sent down, John Farelly's sister, is married; but the portion and settlement are yet a secret. The cows here never give milk on midsummer eve.

You would wonder what carking and caring there is among us for small beer and lean mutton, and starved lamb, and stopping gaps, and driving cattle from the corn. In that we are all-to-be-Dingleyed.

The ladies' room smokes; the rain drops from the skies into the kitchen; our servants eat and drink like the devil, and pray for rain, which entertains them at cards and sleep; which are much lighter than spades, sledges, and crows. Their maxim is,

Eat like a Turk, Sleep like a dormouse; Be last at work, At victuals foremost.

Which is all at present; hoping you and your good family are well, as we are all at this present writing &c.

Robin has just carried out a load of bread and cold meat for breakfast; this is their way; but now a cloud hangs over them, for fear it should hold up, and the clouds blow off.

I write on till Molly comes in for the letter. O, what a draggletail will she be before she gets to Dublin! I wish she may not happen to fall upon her back by the way.

I affirm against Aristotle, that cold and rain congregate homogenes, for they gather together you and your crew, at whist, punch, and claret. Happy weather for Mrs. Maul, Betty, and Stopford, and all true lovers of cards and laziness.

THE BLESSINGS OF A COUNTRY LIFE.

Far from our debtors, No Dublin letters, Not seen by our betters.

THE PLAGUES OF A COUNTRY LIFE.

A companion with news, A great want of shoes; Eat lean meat, or choose; A church without pews. Our horses astray, No straw, oats, or hay; December in May, Our boys run away, All servants at play.

Molly sends for the letter.

TO ALEXANDER POPE

"Mostly about Gulliver"

Dublin, 17 "Nov." 1726.

I am just come from answering a letter of Mrs. Howard's, writ in such mystical terms, that I should never have found out the meaning, if a book had not been sent me called "Gulliver's Travels", of which you say so much in yours. I read the book over, and in the second volume observed several passages which appear to be patched and altered, and the style of a different sort, unless I am mistaken. Dr. Arbuthnot likes the projectors least; others, you tell me, the flying island; some think it wrong to be so hard upon whole bodies or corporations, yet the general opinion is, that reflections on particular persons are most to be blamed; so that in these cases, I think the best method is to let censure and opinion take their course. A bishop here said, that book was full of improbable lies, and for his part, he hardly believed a word of it; and so much for Gulliver.

Going to England is a very good thing, if it were not attended with an ugly circumstance of returning to Ireland. It is a shame you do not persuade your ministers to keep me on that side, if it were but by a court expedient of keeping me in prison for a plotter; but at the same time I must tell you, that such journeys very much shorten my life, for a month here is very much longer than six at Twickenham.

How comes friend Gay to be so tedious? Another man can publish fifty thousand lies sooner than he can publish fifty fables.... Let me add, that if I were Gulliver's friend, I would desire all my acquaintance to give out that his copy was basely mangled and abused, and added to, and blotted out by the printer; for so to me it seems in the second volume particularly.

Adieu.

TO JOHN GAY

"Enquiries into Mr. Gay's pursuits"

Dublin, 4 "May", 1732.

I am now as lame as when you writ your letter, and almost as lame as your letter itself, for want of that limb from my lady duchess, which you promised, and without which I wonder how it could limp hither. I am not in a condition to make a true step even on Amesbury Downs, and I declare that a corporeal false step is worse than a political one: nay, worse than a thousand political ones, for which I appeal to courts and ministers, who hobble on and prosper without the sense of feeling. To talk of riding and walking is insulting me, for I can as soon fly as do either. It is your pride or laziness, more than chair-hire, that makes the town expensive. No honour is lost by walking in the dark; and in the day you may beckon a blackguard boy under a gate, near your visiting place, (experto crede,) save elevenpence, and get half-a-crown's worth of health. The worst of my present misfortune is, that I eat and drink, and can digest neither for want of exercise; and, to increase my misery, the knaves are sure to find me at home, and make huge void spaces in my cellars. I congratulate with you for losing your great acquaintance; in such a case, philosophy teaches that we must submit, and be content with good ones. I like Lord Cornbury's refusing his pension, but I demur at his being elected for Oxford; which, I conceive, is wholly changed; and entirely devoted to new principles; so it appeared to me the two last times I was there. I find by the whole cast of your letter, that you are as giddy and as volatile as ever: just the reverse of Mr. Pope, who has always loved a domestic life from his youth. I was going to wish you had some little place that you could call your own, but, I profess I do not know you well enough to contrive any one system of life that would please you. You pretend to preach up riding and walking to the duchess, yet from my knowledge of you after twenty years, you always joined a violent desire of perpetually shifting places and company, with a rooted laziness, and an utter impatience of fatigue. A coach and six horses is the utmost exercise you can bear; and this only when you can fill it with such company as is best suited to your taste, and how glad would you be if it could waft you in the air to avoid jolting; while I, who am so much later in life, can, or at least could, ride five hundred miles on a trotting horse. You mortally hate writing, only because it is the thing you chiefly ought to do; as well to keep up the vogue you have in the world, as to make you easy in your fortune. You are merciful to everything but money, your best friend, whom you treat with inhumanity. Be assured I will hire people to watch all your motions, and to return me a faithful account. Tell me, have you cured your absence of mind? can you attend to trifles? can you at Amesbury write domestic libels to divert the family and neighbouring squires for five miles round? or venture so far on horseback, without apprehending a stumble at every step? can you set the footmen a-laughing as they wait at dinner? and do the duchess's women admire your wit? in what esteem are you with the vicar of the parish? can you play with him at backgammon? have the farmers found out that you cannot distinguish rye from barley, or an oak from a crab-tree? You are sensible that I know the full extent of your country skill is in fishing for roaches or gudgeons at the highest.

I love to do you good offices with your friends, and therefore desire you will show this letter to the duchess, to improve her grace's good opinion of your qualifications, and convince her how useful you are likely to be in the family. Her grace shall have the honour of my correspondence again when she goes to Amesbury. Hear a piece of Irish news; I buried the famous General Meredyth's father last night in my cathedral, he was ninety-six years old; so that Mrs. Pope may live seven years longer. You saw Mr. Pope in health, pray is he generally more healthy than when I was among you? I would know how your own health is, and how much wine you drink in a day? My stint in company is a pint at noon, and half as much at night; but I often dine at home like a hermit, and then I drink little or none at all. Yet I differ from you, for I would have society, if I could get what I like, people of middle understanding, and middle rank.

Adieu.

JOSEPH ADDISON

1672-1719

TO ALEXANDER POPE

"Translation of Homer"

26 "Oct." 1713.

I was extremely glad to receive a letter from you, but more so upon reading the contents of it. The work you mention will, I dare say, very sufficiently recommend itself when your name appears with the proposals: and if you think I can any way contribute to the forwarding of them, you cannot lay a greater obligation upon me, than by employing me in such an office. As I have an ambition of having it known that you are my friend, I shall be very proud of showing it by this or any other instance. I question not but your translation will enrich our tongue, and do honour to our country; for I conclude of it already from those performances with which you have obliged the public. I would only have you consider how it may most turn to your advantage. Excuse my impertinence in this particular, which proceeds from my zeal for your ease and happiness. The work would cost you a great deal of time, and, unless you undertake it, will, I am afraid, never be executed by any other; at least I know none of this age that is equal to it besides yourself.

I am at present wholly immersed in country business, and begin to take a delight in it. I wish I might hope to see you here some time, and will not despair of it, when you engage in a work that will require solitude and retirement.

TO MR. SECRETARY CRAGGS

"A bequest"

"June" 1719.

DEAR SIR,

I cannot wish that any of my writings should last longer than the memory of our friendship, and therefore I thus publicly bequeath them to you, in return for the many valuable instances of your affection.

That they may come to you with as little disadvantage as possible, I have left the care of them to one, whom, by the experience of some years, I know well-qualified to answer my intentions. He has already the honour and happiness of being under your protection; and as he will very much stand in need of it, I cannot wish him better than that he may continue to deserve the favour and countenance of such a patron.

I have no time to lay out in forming such compliments as would but ill suit that familiarity between us which was once my greatest pleasure, and will be my greatest honour hereafter. Instead of them, accept of my hearty wishes that the great reputation you have acquired so early, may increase more and more, and that you may long serve your country with those excellent talents and unblemished integrity, which have so powerfully recommended you to the most gracious and amiable monarch that ever filled a throne. May the frankness and generosity of your spirit continue to soften and subdue your enemies, and gain you many friends, if possible, as sincere as yourself. When you have found such, they cannot wish you more true happiness than I, who am with the greatest zeal, dear sir,

Your most entirely affectionate friend and faithful obedient servant.

SIR RICHARD STEELE

1672-1729

TO MARY SCURLOCK

"An explicit declaration"

11 "Aug." 1707.

Madam,--I writ you on Saturday, by Mrs. Warren, and give you this trouble to urge the same request I made then; which was, that I may be admitted to wait upon you. I should be very far from desiring this if it were a transgression of the most severe rules to allow it. I know you are very much above the little arts which are frequent in your sex, of giving unnecessary torment to their admirers; I therefore hope you will do so much justice to the generous passion I have for you, as to let me have an opportunity of acquainting you upon what motives I pretend to your good opinion. I shall not trouble you with my sentiments till I know how they will be received; and as I know no reason why the difference of sex should make our language to each other differ from the ordinary rules of right reason, I shall affect plainness and sincerity in my discourse to you, as much as other lovers do perplexity and rapture. Instead of saying 'I shall die for you', I profess I should be glad to lead my life with you. You are as beautiful, as witty, as prudent, and as good-humoured as any woman breathing; but, I must confess to you, I regard all these excellences as you will please to direct them for my happiness or misery. With me, madam, the only lasting motive to love, is the hope of its becoming mutual. I beg of you to let Mrs. Warren send me word when I may attend you. I promise you, I will talk of nothing but indifferent things; though, at the same time, I know not how I shall approach you in the tender moment of first seeing you after this declaration which has been made by, madam,

Your most obedient and most faithful humble servant.

TO THE SAME

"A pleasing transport"

Smith Street, Westminster, 1707.

Madam,--I lay down last night with your image in my thoughts, and have awakened this morning in the same contemplation. The pleasing transport with which I am delighted has a sweetness in it attended with a train of ten thousand soft desires, anxieties, and cares. The day arises on my hopes with new brightness; youth, beauty, and innocence are the charming objects that steal me from myself, and give me joys above the reach of ambition, pride, or glory. Believe me, fair one, to throw myself at your feet is giving myself the highest bliss I know on earth. Oh, hasten, ye minutes! bring on the happy morning wherein to be ever hers will make me look down on thrones! Dear Molly, I am tenderly, passionately, faithfully thine.

TO THE SAME

"A lover betrays himself"

St. James's Coffee House, 1 "Sept." 1707

Madam,--It is the hardest thing in the world to be in love, and yet to attend to business. As for me, all who speak to me find me out, and I must lock myself up, or other people will do it for me.

A gentleman asked me this morning, 'What news from Lisbon?' and I answered, 'She's exquisitely handsome.' Another desired to know when I had been last at Hampton Court. I replied, 'It will be on Tuesday come se'nnight.' Pr'ythee allow me at least to kiss your hand before that day, that my mind may be in some composure. O love!

A thousand torments dwell about thee! Yet who would live to live without thee?

Methinks I could write a volume to you; but all the language on earth would fail in saying how much, and with what disinterested passion, I am ever yours.

TO HIS WIFE

"He proposes an outing"

Lord Sunderland's Office, 19 May, 1708.

Eleven o'clock.

Dear Prue,--I desire you to get the coach and yourself ready as soon as you can conveniently, and call for me here, from whence we will go and spend some time together in the fresh air in free conference. Let my best periwig be put in the coach-box, and my new shoes, for it is a great comfort to be well dressed in agreeable company. You are vital life to your obliged, affectionate husband, and humble servant.

TO THE SAME

"His greatest affliction"

12 "Aug." 1708.

Madam,--I have your letter, wherein you let me know that the little dispute we have had is far from being a trouble to you; nevertheless I assure you, any disturbance between us is the greatest affliction to me imaginable. You talk of the judgement of the world; I shall never govern my actions by it, but by the rules of morality and right reason. I love you better than the light of my eyes or the life-blood in my heart; but you are also to understand that neither my sight shall be so far enchanted, nor my affection so much master of me, as to make me forget our common interest. To attend my business as I ought, and improve my fortune, it is necessary that my time and my will should be under no direction but my own.... I write all this rather to explain my own thoughts to you, than to answer your letter distinctly. I enclose it to you, that upon second thoughts, you may see the disrespectful manner in which you treat

Your affectionate, faithful husband.

TO THE SAME

"Four characteristic notes"

I

From the Press, one in the morning, 30 "Sept." 1710.

Dear Prue,--I am very sleepy and tired, but could not think of closing my eyes till I had told you I am, dearest creature,

Your most affectionate and faithful husband.

II

Bloomsbury Square, 24 "Dec." 1713.

Dear Prue,--I dine with Lord Halifax and shall be at home half hour after six. For thee I die, for thee I languish.

III

16 "Feb." 1716-17.

Dear Prue,--Sober or not, I am ever yours.

IV

Thursday, 3 in the afternoon, 2 "May", 1717.

I had a very painful night last night; but, after a little chocolate an hour or two ago, and a chicken for dinner, am much more at ease.

TO THE SAME

"The natural slave of beauty".

20 "June", 1717.

Dear Prue,--I have yours of the 14th, and am infinitely obliged to you for the length of it. I do not know another whom I could commend for that circumstance; but where we entirely love, the continuance of anything they do to please us is a pleasure. As for your relations, once for all, pray take it for granted, that my regard and conduct towards all and singular of them shall be as you direct.

I hope, by the grace of God, to continue what you wish me, every way, an honest man. My wife and my children are the objects that have wholly taken up my heart; and as I am not invited or encouraged in anything which regards the public, I am easy under that neglect or envy of my past actions, and cheerfully contract that diffusive spirit within the interests of my own family. You are the head of us; and I stoop to a female reign as being naturally made the slave of beauty. But to prepare for our manner of living when we are again together, give me leave to say, while I am here at leisure, and come to lie at Chelsea, what I think may contribute to our better way of living. I very much approve Mrs. Evans and her husband; and if you take my advice, I would have them a being in our house, and Mrs. Clark the care and inspection of the nursery. I would have you entirely at leisure to pass your time with me in diversions, in books, in entertainments, and no manner of business intrude upon us but at stated times. For, though you are made to be the delight of my eyes, and food of all my senses and faculties, yet a turn of care and housewifery, and I know not what prepossession against conversation-pleasures, robs me of the witty and the handsome woman to a degree not to be expressed. I will work my brains and fingers to procure us plenty of all things, and demand nothing of you but to take delight in agreeable dresses, cheerful discourses, and gay sights, attended by me. This may be done by putting the kitchen and the nursery in the hands I propose; and I shall have nothing to do but to pass as much time at home as I possibly can, in the best company in the world. We cannot tell here what to think of the trial of my Lord Oxford; if the ministry are in earnest in that, and I should see it will be extended to a length of time, I will leave them to themselves, and wait upon you. Miss Moll grows a mighty beauty, and she shall be very prettily dressed, as likewise shall Betty and Eugene: and if I throw away a little money in adorning my brats, I hope you will forgive me: they are, I thank God, all very well; and the charming form of their mother has tempered the likeness they bear to their rough sire, who is, with the greatest fondness,

Your most obliged and obedient husband.

JOHN GAY

1685-1732

TO JONATHAN SWIFT

"Concerning Gulliver"

17 "Nov." 1726.

About ten days ago a book was published here of the travels of one Gulliver, which has been the conversation of the whole town ever since: the whole impression sold in a week: and nothing is more diverting than to hear the different opinions people give of it, though all agree in liking it extremely. It is generally said that you are the author; but I am told the bookseller declares, he knows not from what hand it came. From the highest to the lowest it is universally read, from the cabinet-council to the nursery. The politicians to a man agree, that it is free from particular reflections, but that the satire on general societies of men is too severe. Not but we now and then meet with people of greater perspicuity, who are in search for particular applications in every leaf; and it is highly probable we shall have keys published to give light into Gulliver's design. Lord ---- is the person who least approves it, blaming it as a design of evil consequence to depreciate human nature, at which it cannot be wondered that he takes most offence, being himself the most accomplished of his species, and so losing more than any other of that praise which is due both to the dignity and virtue of a man. Your friend, my Lord Harcourt, commends it very much, though he thinks in some places the matter too far carried. The Duchess Dowager of Marlborough is in raptures at it; she says she can dream of nothing else since she read it: she declares that she has now found out that her whole life has been lost in caressing the worst part of mankind, and treating the best as her foes: and that if she knew Gulliver, though he had been the worst enemy she ever had, she should give up her present acquaintance for his friendship. You may see by this, that you are not much injured by being supposed the author of this piece. If you are, you have disobliged us, and two or three of your best friends, in not giving us the least hint of it while you were with us; and in particular Dr. Arbuthnot, who says it is ten thousand pities he had not known it, he could have added such abundance of things upon every subject. Among lady critics, some have found out that Mr. Gulliver had a particular malice to maids of honour. Those of them who frequent the church, say his design is impious, and that it is depreciating the works of the Creator.

Notwithstanding, I am told the princess has read it with great pleasure. As to other critics, they think the flying island is the least entertaining; and so great an opinion the town have of the impossibility of Gulliver's writing at all below himself, it is agreed that part was not writ by the same hand, though this has its defenders too. It has passed lords and commons, "nemine contradicente"; and the whole town, men, women, and children, are quite full of it.

Perhaps I may all this time be talking to you of a book you have never seen, and which has not yet reached Ireland; if it has not, I believe what we have said will be sufficient to recommend it to your reading, and that you will order me to send it to you.

But it will be much better to come over yourself, and read it here, where you will have the pleasure of variety of commentators, to explain the difficult passages to you.

We all rejoice that you have fixed the precise time of your coming to be "cum hirundine prima"; which we modern naturalists pronounce, ought to be reckoned, contrary to Pliny, in this northern latitude of fifty-two degrees, from the end of February, Styl. Greg., at furthest. But to us, your friends, the coming of such a black swallow as you will make a summer in the worst of seasons. We are no less glad at your mention of Twickenham and Dawley; and in town you know, you have a lodging at court.

The princess is clothed in Irish silk; pray give our service to the weavers. We are strangely surprised to hear that the bells in Ireland ring without your money. I hope you do not write the thing that is not. We are afraid that B---- hath been guilty of that crime, that you (like a houyhnhnm) have treated him as a yahoo, and discarded him your service. I fear you do not understand these modish terms, which every creature now understands but yourself.

You tell us your wine is bad, and that the clergy do not frequent your house, which we look upon to be tautology. The best advice we can give you is, to make them a present of your wine, and come away to better.

You fancy we envy you, but you are mistaken; we envy those you are with, for we cannot envy the man we love. Adieu.

ALEXANDER POPE

1688-1744

TO WILLIAM WYCHERLEY

"Dryden and his critics"

Binfield in Windsor Forest, 26 "Dec". 1704.

It was certainly a great satisfaction to me to see and converse with a man, whom in his writings I had so long known with pleasure; but it was a high addition to it, to hear you, at our very first meeting, doing justice to your dead friend Mr. Dryden. I was not so happy as to know him: "Virgilium tantum vidi". Had I been born early enough I must have known and loved him: for I have been assured, not only by yourself, but by Mr. Congreve and Sir William Trumbul, that his personal qualities were as amiable as his poetical, notwithstanding the many libellous misrepresentations of them, against which the former of these gentlemen has told me he will one day vindicate him. I suppose those injuries were begun by the violence of party, but it is no doubt they were continued by envy at his success and fame. And those scribblers who attacked him in his latter times, were only like gnats in a summer's evening, which are never very troublesome but in the finest and most glorious season; for his fire, like the sun's, shined clearest towards its setting.

You must not therefore imagine, that when you told me my own performances were above those critics, I was so vain as to believe it; and yet I may not be so humble as to think myself quite below their notice. For critics, as they are birds of prey, have ever a natural inclination to carrion: and though such poor writers as I are but beggars, no beggar is so poor but he can keep a cur, and no author is so beggarly but he can keep a critic. I am far from thinking the attacks of such people any honour or dishonour even to me, much less to Mr. Dryden. I agree with you that whatever lesser wits have arisen since his death are but like stars appearing when the sun is set, that twinkle only in his absence, and with the rays they have borrowed from him. Our wit (as you call it) is but reflection or imitation, therefore scarce to be called ours. True wit, I believe, may be defined a justness of thought, and a facility of expression.... However, this is far from a complete definition; pray help me to a better, as I doubt not you can.

TO JOSEPH ADDISON

"A few thoughts from a rambling head"

14 "Dec". 1713.

I have been lying in wait for my own imagination, this week and more, and watching what thoughts came up in the whirl of the fancy, that were worth communicating to you in a letter. But I am at length convinced that my rambling head can produce nothing of that sort; so I must e'en be content with telling you the old story, that I love you heartily. I have often found by experience, that nature and truth, though never so low or vulgar, are yet pleasing when openly and artlessly represented: it would be diverting to me to read the very letters of an infant, could it write its innocent inconsistencies and tautologies just as it thought them. This makes me hope a letter from me will not be unwelcome to you, when I am conscious I write with more unreservedness than ever man wrote, or perhaps talked, to another. I trust your good nature with the whole range of my follies, and really love you so well, that I would rather you should pardon me than esteem me; since one is an act of goodness and benevolence, the other a kind of constrained deference.

You cannot wonder my thoughts are scarce consistent, when I tell you how they are distracted. Every hour of my life my mind is strangely divided; this minute perhaps I am above the stars, with a thousand systems round about me, looking forward into a vast abyss, and losing my whole comprehension in the boundless space of creation, in dialogues with Whiston and the astronomers; the next moment I am below all trifles, grovelling with T---- in the very centre of nonsense: now I am recreated with the brisk sallies and quick turns of wit, which Mr. Steele, in his liveliest and freest humours, darts about him; and now levelling my application to the insignificant observations and quirks of grammar of C---- and D----.

Good God! what an incongruous animal is man! how unsettled in his best part, his soul; and how changing and variable in his frame of body! the constancy of the one shook by every notion, the temperament of the other affected by every blast of wind! What is he, altogether, but a mighty inconsistency; sickness and pain is the lot of one half of him, doubt and fear the portion of the other! What a bustle we make about passing our time when all our space is but a point! what aims and ambitions are crowded into this little instant of our life, which (as Shakespeare finely worded it) is rounded with a sleep! Our whole extent of being is no more, in the eye of Him who gave it, than a scarce perceptible moment of duration. Those animals whose circle of living is limited to three or four hours, as the naturalists tell us, are yet as long-lived, and possess as wide a field of action as man, if we consider him with a view to all space and all eternity. Who knows what plots, what achievements a mite may perform in his kingdom of a grain of dust, within his life of some minutes; and of how much less consideration than even this, is the life of man in the sight of God, who is for ever and ever?

Who that thinks in this train, but must see the world, and its contemptible grandeurs, lessen before him at every thought? It is enough to make one remain stupefied in a poise of inaction, void of all desires, of all designs, of all friendships.

But we must return (through our very condition of being) to our narrow selves, and those things that affect ourselves: our passions, our interests flow in upon us and unphilosophize us into mere mortals. For my part, I never return so much into myself, as when I think of you, whose friendship is one of the best comforts I have for the insignificancy of myself.

TO JONATHAN SWIFT

"Friends to posterity"

23 "March", 1727-8.

I send you a very odd thing, a paper printed in Boston, in New England, wherein you will find a real person, a member of their parliament, of the name of Jonathan Gulliver. If the fame of that traveller has travelled thither, it has travelled very quick, to have folks christened already by the name of the supposed author. But if you object that no child so lately christened could be arrived at years of maturity to be elected into parliament, I reply (to solve the riddle) that the person is an Anabaptist, and not christened till full age, which sets all right. However it be, the accident is very singular that these two names should be united.

Mr. Gay's opera has been acted near forty days running, and will certainly continue the whole season. So he has more than a fence about his thousand pounds; he will soon be thinking of a fence about his two thousand. Shall no one of us live as we would wish each other to live? Shall he have no annuity, you no settlement on this side, and I no prospect of getting to you on the other? This world is made for Caesar,--as Cato said, for ambitious, false, or flattering people to domineer in; nay, they would not, by their good will, leave us our very books, thoughts, or words in quiet. I despise the world yet, I assure you, more than either Gay or you, and the court more than all the rest of the world. As for those scribblers for whom you apprehend I would suppress my "Dulness" (which, by the way, for the future you are to call by a more pompous name, the "Dunciad"), how much that nest of hornets are my regard will easily appear to you when you read the "Treatise of the Bathos".

At all adventures, yours and mine shall stand linked as friends to posterity, both in verse and prose, and (as Tully calls it) "in consuetudine studiorum". Would to God our persons could but as well and as surely be inseparable! I find my other ties dropping from me; some worn off, some torn off, some relaxing daily: my greatest, both by duty, gratitude, and humanity, time is shaking every moment, and it now hangs but by a thread! I am many years the older for living so much with one so old; much the more helpless for having been so long helped and tendered by her; much the more considerate and tender, for a daily commerce with one who required me justly to be both to her; and consequently the more melancholy and thoughtful; and the less fit for others, who want only in a companion or a friend to be amused or entertained. My constitution too has had its share of decay as well as my spirits, and I am as much in the decline at forty as you at sixty. I believe we should be fit to live together could I get a little more health, which might make me not quite insupportable. Your deafness would agree with my dulness; you would not want me to speak when you could not hear. But God forbid you should be as destitute of the social comforts of life as I must when I lose my mother; or that ever you should lose your more useful acquaintance so utterly, as to turn your thoughts to such a broken reed as I am, who could so ill supply your wants. I am extremely troubled at the return of your deafness; you cannot be too particular in the accounts of your health to me; everything you do or say in this kind obliges me, nay, delights me, to see the justice you do me in thinking me concerned in all your concerns; so that though the pleasantest thing you can tell me be that you are better or easier; next to that it pleases me that you make me the person you would complain to.

As the obtaining the love of valuable men is the happiest end I know of this life, so the next felicity is to get rid of fools and scoundrels; which I cannot but own to you was one part of my design in falling upon these authors, whose incapacity is not greater than their insincerity, and of whom I have always found (if I may quote myself),

That each bad author is as bad a friend.

This poem will rid me of these insects.

Cedite, Romani scriptores, cedite, Graii; "Nescio quid" maius nascitur Iliade.

I mean than "my Iliad"; and I call it "Nescio quid", which is a degree of modesty; but however, if it silence these fellows, it must be something greater than any "Iliad" in Christendom. Adieu.

TO THE SAME

"A farming friend, and the Dunciad"

Dawley, 28 "June", 1728.

I now hold the pen for my Lord Bolingbroke, who is reading your letter between two haycocks, but his attention is somewhat diverted by casting his eyes on the clouds, not in admiration of what you say, but for fear of a shower. He is pleased with your placing him in the triumvirate between yourself and me: though he says, that he doubts he shall fare like Lepidus, while one of us runs away with all the power, like Augustus, and another with all the pleasures, like Anthony. It is upon a foresight of this that he has fitted up his farm, and you will agree that his scheme of retreat at least is not founded upon weak appearances. Upon his return from the Bath, all peccant humours, he finds, are purged out of him; and his great temperance and economy are so signal, that the first is fit for my constitution, and the latter would enable you to lay up so much money as to buy a bishopric in England. As to the return of his health and vigour, were you here, you might inquire of his haymakers; but as to his temperance, I can answer that (for one whole day) we have had nothing for dinner but mutton broth, beans, and bacon, and a barn-door fowl.

Now his lordship is run after his cart, I have a moment left to myself to tell you, that I overheard him yesterday agree with a painter for £200, to paint his country hall with trophies of rakes, spades, prongs, &c., and other ornaments, merely to countenance his calling this place a farm--now turn over a new leaf.

He bids me assure you, he should be sorry not to have more schemes of kindness for his friends than of ambition for himself; there, though his schemes may be weak, the motives at least are strong; and he says farther, if you could bear as great a fall and decrease of your revenues, as he knows by experience he can, you would not live in Ireland an hour.

The "Dunciad" is going to be printed in all pomp, with the inscription, which makes me proudest. It will be attended with "proeme, prolegomena, testimonia scriptorum, index authorum", and notes "variorum". As to the latter, I desire you to read over the text, and make a few in any way you like best; whether dry raillery, upon the style and way of commenting of trivial critics; or humourous, upon the authors in the poem; or historical, of persons, places, times; or explanatory, or collecting the parallel passages of the ancients. Adieu. I am pretty well, my mother not ill, Dr. Arbuthnot vexed with his fever by intervals; I am afraid he declines, and we shall lose a worthy man: I am troubled about him very much.

TO THE SAME

"An invitation to England"

23 "March", 1736-7.

Though you were never to write to me, yet what you desired in your last, that I would write often to you, would be a very easy task: for every day I talk with you, and of you, in my heart; and I need only set down what that is thinking of. The nearer I find myself verging to that period of life which is to be labour and sorrow, the more I prop myself upon those few supports that are left me. People in this state are like props indeed; they cannot stand alone, but two or more of them can stand, leaning and bearing upon one another. I wish you and I might pass this part of life together. My only necessary care is at an end. I am now my own master too much; my house is too large; my gardens furnish too much wood and provision for my use. My servants are sensible and tender of me; they have intermarried, and are become rather low friends than servants; and to all those that I see here with pleasure, they take a pleasure in being useful. I conclude this is your case too in your domestic life, and I sometimes think of your old housekeeper as my nurse, though I tremble at the sea, which only divides us. As your fears are not so great as mine, and I firmly hope your strength still much greater, is it utterly impossible it might once more be some pleasure to you to see England? My sole motive in proposing France to meet in, was the narrowness of the passage by sea from hence, the physicians having told me the weakness of my breast, &c., is such, as a sea-sickness might endanger my life. Though one or two of our friends are gone since you saw your native country, there remain a few more who will last so till death; and who I cannot but hope have an attractive power to draw you back to a country which cannot quite be sunk or enslaved, while such spirits remain. And let me tell you, there are a few more of the same spirit, who would awaken all your old ideas, and revive your hopes of her future recovery and virtue. These look up to you with reverence, and would be animated by the sight of him at whose soul they have taken fire in his writings, and derived from thence as much love of their species as is consistent with a contempt for the knaves in it.

I could never be weary, except at the eyes, of writing to you; but my real reason (and a strong one it is) for doing it so seldom, is fear; fear of a very great and experienced evil, that of my letters being kept by the partiality of friends, and passing into the hands and malice of enemies, who publish them with all their imperfections on their head, so that I write not on the common terms of honest men.

Would to God you would come over with Lord Orrery, whose care of you in the voyage I could so certainly depend on; and bring with you your old housekeeper and two or three servants. I have room for all, a heart for all, and (think what you will) a fortune for all. We could, were we together, contrive to make our last days easy, and leave some sort of monument, what friends two wits could be in spite of all the fools in the world. Adieu.

SAMUEL RICHARDSON

1689-1761

TO MISS MULSO

"A discussion on love"

3 "Sept". 1751.

In another place, you are offended with the word gratitude; as if your idea of love excluded gratitude.

And further on, you are offended that I call this same passion 'a little selfish passion'.

And you say that you have known few girls, and still fewer men, whom you have thought 'capable of being in love'.

'By this', proceed you, 'you will see that my ideas of the word love are different from yours, when you call it a little selfish passion.'

Now, madam, if that passion is not little and selfish that makes two vehement souls prefer the gratification of each other, often to a sense of duty, and always to the whole world without them, be pleased to tell me what is? And pray be so good as to define to me what the noble passion is, of which so few people of either sex are capable. Give me your ideas of it.

I put not this question as a puzzler, a bamboozler, but purely for information; and that I may make my Sir Charles susceptible of the generous (may I say generous?) flame, and yet know what he is about, yet be a reasonable man.

Harriet's passion is founded in gratitude for relief given her in a great exigence. But the man who rescued her is not, it seems, to have such a word as gratitude in his head, in return for her love.

I repeat, that I will please you if I can; please you, Miss Mulso, I here mean (before I meant not you particularly, my dear, but your sex), in Sir Charles's character; and I sincerely declare, that I would rather form his character to your liking, than to the liking of three parts out of four of the persons I am acquainted with.

You are one of my best girls, and best judges. Of whom have I the opinion that I have of Miss Mulso on these nice subjects?--I ask therefore repeatedly for your definition of the passion which you dignify by the word noble; and from which you exclude everything mean, little, or selfish.

And you really think it marvellous that a young woman should find a man of exalted merit to be in love with? Why, truly, I am half of your mind; for how should people find what, in general, they do not seek? Yet what good creatures are many girls! They will be in love for all that.

Why, yes, to be sure, they would be glad of a Sir Charles Grandison, and prefer him even to a Lovelace, were he capable of being terribly in love. And yet, I know one excellent girl who is afraid 'that ladies in general will think him too wise'.--Dear, dear girls, help me to a few monkey-tricks to throw into his character, in order to shield him from contempt for his wisdom.

'It is one of my maxims,' you say, 'that people even of bad hearts will admire and love people of good ones.' Very true!--and yet admiration and love, in the sense before us, do not always shake hands, except at parting, and with an intention never to meet again. I have known women who professed to admire good men, but have chosen to marry men--not so good, when lovers of both sorts have tendered themselves to their acceptance. There is something very pretty in the sound of the word wild, added to the word fellow; and good sense is a very grateful victim to be sacrificed on the altar of love. Fervour and extravagance in expressions will please. How shall a woman, who, moreover, loves to be admired, know a man's heart, but from his lips?--Let him find flattery, and she will find credulity. Sweet souls! can they be always contradicting?

You believe it is not in human nature, however depraved, to prefer evil to good in another, whatever people may do in themselves. Why, no one would really think so, did not experience convince us that many, very many young women, in the article of marriage, though not before thought to be very depraved, are taken by this green sickness of the soul, and prefer dirt and rubbish to wholesome diet. The result of the matter is this, with very many young women: they will admire a good man, but they will marry a bad one. Are not rakes pretty fellows?

But one thing let me add, to comfort you in relation to Harriet's difficulties: I intend to make her shine by her cordial approbation, as she goes along, of every good action of her beloved. She is humbled by her love (suspense in love is a mortifier) to think herself inferior to his sisters; but I intend to raise her above them, even in her own just opinion; and when she shines out the girl worthy of a man, not exalt, but reward her, and at the same time make him think himself highly rewarded by the love of so frank and so right an heart.

There now!--Will that do, my Miss Mulso?

I laid indeed a heavy hand on the good Clarissa. But I had begun with her, with a view to the future saint in her character; and could she, but by sufferings, shine as she does?

Do you, my dear child, look upon me as your paternal friend.

LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU

1689-1762

TO THE COUNTESS OF MAR

"The Viennese court"

Vienna, 14 "Sept". o.s. [1716].

Though I have so lately troubled you, my dear sister, with a long letter, yet I will keep my promise in giving you an account of my first going to court.

In order to that ceremony, I was squeezed up in a gown, and adorned with a gorget and the other implements thereunto belonging: a dress very inconvenient, but which certainly shews the neck and shape to great advantage. I cannot forbear in this place giving you some description of the fashions here, which are more monstrous and contrary to all common sense and reason, than 'tis possible for you to imagine. They build certain fabrics of gauze on their heads about a yard high, consisting of three or four stories, fortified with numberless yards of heavy ribbon. The foundation of this structure is a thing they call a "Bourle", which is exactly of the same shape and kind, but about four times as big, as those rolls our prudent milk-maids make use of to fix their pails upon. This machine they cover with their own hair, which they mix with a great deal of false, it being a particular beauty to have their heads too large to go into a moderate tub. Their hair is prodigiously powdered, to conceal the mixture, and set out with three or four rows of bodkins (wonderfully large, that stick two or three inches from their hair), made of diamonds, pearls, red, green, and yellow stones, that it certainly requires as much art and experience to carry the load upright, as to dance upon May-day with the garland. Their whalebone petticoats outdo ours by several yards circumference, and cover some acres of ground.

You may easily suppose how much this extraordinary dress sets off and improves the natural ugliness with which God Almighty has been pleased to endow them all generally. Even the lovely empress herself is obliged to comply, in some degree, with these absurd fashions, which they would not quit for all the world. I had a private audience (according to ceremony) of half an hour, and then all the other ladies were permitted to come make their court. I was perfectly charmed with the empress: I cannot, however, tell you that her features are regular; her eyes are not large, but have a lively look, full of sweetness; her complexion the finest I ever saw; her nose and forehead well-made, but her mouth has ten thousand charms that touch the soul. When she smiles, 'tis with a beauty and sweetness that force adoration. She has a vast quantity of fine fair hair; but then her person!--one must speak of it poetically to do it rigid justice; all that the poets have said of the mien of Juno, the air of Venus, comes not up to the truth. The Graces move with her; the famous statue of Medicis was not formed with more delicate proportion; nothing can be added to the beauty of her neck and hands. Till I saw them, I did not believe there were any in nature so perfect, and I was almost sorry that my rank here did not permit me to kiss them; but they are kissed sufficiently; for every body that waits on her pays that homage at their entrance, and when they take leave.

When the ladies were come in, she sat down to Quinze. I could not play at a game I had never seen before, and she ordered me a seat at her right hand, and had the goodness to talk to me very much, with that grace so natural to her. I expected every moment when the men were to come in to pay their court; but this drawing-room is very different from that of England; no man enters it but the old grand-master, who comes in to advertize the empress of the approach of the emperor. His imperial majesty did me the honour of speaking to me in a very obliging manner; but he never speaks to any of the other ladies; and the whole passes with a gravity and air of ceremony that has something very formal in it.

The empress Amelia, dowager of the late emperor Joseph, came this evening to wait on the reigning empress, followed by the two archduchesses her daughters, who are very agreeable young princesses. Their imperial majesties rise and go to meet her at the door of the room, after which she is seated in an armed chair, next the empress, and in the same manner at supper, and there the men had the permission of paying their Court. The archduchesses sit on chairs with backs without arms. The table is entirely served, and all the dishes set on by the empress's maids of honour, which are twelve young ladies of the first quality. They have no salary, but their chambers at court, where they live in a sort of confinement, not being suffered to go to the assemblies or public places in town, except in compliment to the wedding of a sister maid, whom the empress always presents with her picture set in diamonds. The three first of them are called "Ladies of the Key", and wear gold keys by their sides; but what I find most pleasant, is the custom which obliges them, as long as they live, after they have left the empress's service, to make her some present every year on the day of her feast. Her majesty is served by no married women but the "grande maîtresse", who is generally a widow of the first quality, always very old, and is at the same time groom of the stole, and mother of the maids. The dresses are not at all in the figure they pretend to in England, being looked upon no otherwise than as downright chambermaids.

I had audience next day of the empress mother, a princess of great virtue and goodness, but who piques herself so much on a violent devotion; she is perpetually performing extraordinary acts of penance, without having ever done anything to deserve them. She has the same number of maids of honour, whom she suffers to go in colours; but she herself never quits her mourning; and sure nothing can be more dismal than the mourning here, even for a brother. There is not the least bit of linen to be seen; all black crape instead of it. The neck, ears, and side of the face covered with a plaited piece of the same stuff, and the face that peeps out in the midst of it, looks as if it were pilloried. The widows wear, over and above, a crape forehead cloth; and in this solemn weed go to all the public places of diversion without scruple. The next day I was to wait on the empress Amelia, who is now at her palace of retirement half a mile from the town. I had there the pleasure of seeing a diversion wholly new to me, but which is the common amusement of this court. The empress herself was seated on a little throne at the end of a fine alley in the garden, and on each side of her were ranged two parties of her ladies of honour with other young ladies of quality, headed by the two young archduchesses, all dressed in their hair full of jewels, with fine light guns in their hands; and at proper distances were placed three oval pictures, which were the marks to be shot at. The first was that of a CUPID, filling a bumper of Burgundy, and this motto, '"Tis easy to be valiant here". The second a FORTUNE, holding a garland in her hand, the motto, "For her whom Fortune favours". The third was a SWORD, with a laurel wreath on the point, the motto, "Here is no shame to the vanquished". Near the empress was a gilded trophy wreathed with flowers, and made of little crooks, on which were hung rich Turkish handkerchiefs, tippets, ribbons, laces, etc., for the small prizes. The empress gave the first with her own hand, which was a fine ruby ring set round with diamonds, in a gold snuff-box. There was for the second, a little Cupid set with brilliants; and besides these, a set of fine china for a tea-table enchased in gold, japan trunks, fans, and many gallantries of the same nature. All the men of quality at Vienna were spectators; but only the ladies had permission to shoot, and the Archduchess Amelia carried off the first prize. I was very well pleased with having seen this entertainment, and I do not know but it might make as good a figure as the prize-shooting in the "Eneid", if I could write as well as Virgil. This is the favourite pleasure of the emperor, and there is rarely a week without some feast of this kind, which makes the young ladies skilful enough to defend a fort, and they laughed very much to see me afraid to handle a gun.

My dear sister, you will easily pardon an abrupt conclusion. I believe, by this time, you are ready to fear I would never conclude at all.

To MRS. SARAH CHISWELL

"Ingrafting for small-pox"

Adrianople, 1 "April", O.S. [1717].

In my opinion, dear S., I ought rather to quarrel with you for not answering my Nimeguen letter of August till December, than to excuse my not writing again till now. I am sure there is on my side a very good excuse for silence, having gone such tiresome land-journeys, though I don't find the conclusion of them so bad as you seem to imagine. I am very easy here, and not in the solitude you fancy me. The great number of Greek, French, English, and Italians, that are under our protection, make their court to me from morning till night; and, I'll assure you, are many of them very fine ladies; for there is no possibility for a Christian to live easily under this government but by the protection of an embassador--and the richer they are, the greater their danger.

Those dreadful stories you have heard of the plague have very little foundation in truth. I own I have much ado to reconcile myself to the sound of a word which has always given me such terrible ideas, though I am convinced there is little more in it than a fever. As a proof we passed through two or three towns most violently infected. In the very next house where we lay (in one of them) two persons died of it. Luckily for me, I knew nothing of the matter; and I was made believe, that our second cook who fell ill here, had only a great cold. However, we left our doctor to take care of him, and yesterday they both arrived here in good health; and now I am let into the secret that he has had the "plague". There are many that escape it; neither is the air ever infected. I am persuaded that it would be as easy to root it out here as out of Italy and France; but it does so little mischief, they are not very solicitous about it, and are content to suffer this distemper instead of our variety, which they are utterly unacquainted with.

"A propos" of distempers: I am going to tell you a thing that I am sure will make you wish yourself here. The small-pox, so fatal and so general among us, is here entirely harmless by the invention of "ingrafting", which is the term they give it. There is a set of old women who make it their business to perform the operation every autumn, in the month of September, when the great heat is abated. People send to one another to know if any of their family has a mind to have the small-pox: they make parties for this purpose, and when they are met (commonly fifteen or sixteen together) the old woman comes with a nut-shell full of the matter of the best sort of small-pox, and asks what veins you please to have opened. She immediately rips open that you offer to her with a large needle (which gives you no more pain than a common scratch), and puts into the vein as much venom as can lie upon the head of her needle, and after that binds up the little wound with a hollow bit of shell; and in this manner opens four or five veins. The Grecians have commonly the superstition of opening one in the middle of the forehead, in each arm, and on the breast, to mark the sign of the cross; but this has a very ill effect, all these wounds leaving little scars, and is not done by those that are not superstitious, who choose to have them in the legs, or that part of the arm that is concealed. The children or young patients play together all the rest of the day, and are in perfect health to the eighth. Then the fever begins to seize them, and they keep their beds two days, very seldom three. They have very rarely above twenty or thirty in their faces, which never mark; and in eight days' time they are as well as before their illness. Where they are wounded, there remain running sores during the distemper, which I don't doubt is a great relief to it. Every year thousands undergo this operation; and the French embassador says pleasantly, that they take the small-pox here by way of diversion, as they take the waters in other countries. There is no example of any one that has died in it; and you may believe I am very well satisfied of the safety of the experiment, since I intend to try it on my dear little son.

I am patriot enough to take pains to bring this useful invention into fashion in England; and I should not fail to write to some of our doctors very particularly about it, if I knew any one of them that I thought had virtue enough to destroy such a considerable branch of their revenue for the good of mankind. But that distemper is too beneficial to them not to expose to all their resentment the hardy wight that should undertake to put an end to it. Perhaps, if I live to return, I may, however, have courage to war with them. Upon this occasion admire the heroism in the heart of your friend.

TO THE COUNTESS OF BRISTOL

"The Grand Signior a slave"

Adrianople, 1 "April", o.s. 1717.

As I never can forget the smallest of your ladyship's commands, my first business here has been to inquire after the stuffs you ordered me to look for, without being able to find what you would like. The difference of the dress here and at London is so great, the same sort of things are not proper for "caftans" and "manteaus". However, I will not give over my search, but renew it again at Constantinople, though I have reason to believe there is nothing finer than what is to be found here, being the present residence of the court. The Grand Signior's eldest daughter was married some few days before I came; and upon that occasion the Turkish ladies display all their magnificence. The bride was conducted to her husband's house in very great splendour. She is widow of the late Vizier, who was killed at Peterwaradin, though that ought rather to be called a contract than a marriage, not having ever lived with him: however, the greatest part of his wealth is hers. He had the permission of visiting her in the seraglio; and, being one of the handsomest men in the empire, had very much engaged her affections.--When she saw this second husband, who is at least fifty, she could not forbear bursting into tears. He is a man of merit, and the declared favourite of the Sultan (which they call "mosáyp"); but that is not enough to make him pleasing in the eyes of a girl of thirteen.

The government here is entirely in the hands of the army: and the Grand Signior, with all his absolute power, as much a slave as any of his subjects, and trembles at a janissary's frown. Here is, indeed, a much greater appearance of subjection than among us: a minister of state is not spoken to, but upon the knee; should a reflection on his conduct be dropped in a coffee-house (for they have spies everywhere), the house would be razed to the ground, and perhaps the whole company put to the torture. No huzzaing mobs, senseless pamphlets, and tavern disputes about politics:

A consequential ill that freedom draws; A bad effect,--but from a noble cause.

None of our harmless calling names! but when a minister here displeases the people, in three hours' time he is dragged even from his master's arms. They cut off his hands, head, and feet, and throw them before the palace gate, with all the respect in the world; while that Sultan (to whom they all profess an unlimited adoration) sits trembling in his apartment, and dare neither defend nor revenge his favourite. This is the blessed condition of the most absolute monarch upon earth, who owns no "law" but his "will". I cannot help wishing, in the loyalty of my heart, that the parliament would send hither a ship-load of your passive-obedient men, that they might see arbitrary government in its clearest strongest light, where it is hard to judge whether the prince, people, or ministers, are most miserable. I could make many reflections on this subject; but I know, madam, your own good sense has already furnished you with better than I am capable of.

I went yesterday with the French embassadors to see the Grand Signior in his passage to the mosque. He was preceded by a numerous guard of janissaries, with vast white feathers on their heads, "spahis" and "bostangees" (these are foot and horse guards), and the royal gardeners, which are a very considerable body of men, dressed in different habits of fine lively colours, that, at a distance, they appeared like a parterre of tulips. After them the aga of the janissaries, in a robe of purple velvet, lined with silver tissue, his horse led by two slaves richly dressed. Next him the "Kyzlár-aga" (your ladyship knows this is the chief guardian of the seraglio ladies) in a deep yellow cloth (which suited very well to his black face) lined with sables, and last his Sublimity himself, in green lined with the fur of a black Muscovite fox, which is supposed worth a thousand pounds sterling, mounted on a fine horse, with furniture embroidered with jewels. Six more horses richly furnished were led after him; and two of his principal courtiers bore, one his gold, and the other his silver coffee-pot, on a staff; another carried a silver stool on his head for him to sit on.

It would be too tedious to tell your ladyship the various dresses and turbans by which their rank is distinguished; but they were all extremely rich and gay, to the number of some thousands; that, perhaps, there cannot be seen a more beautiful procession. The Sultan appeared to us a handsome man of about forty, with a very graceful air, but something severe in his countenance, his eyes very full and black. He happened to stop under the window where we stood, and (I suppose being told who we were) looked upon us very attentively, that we had full leisure to consider him, and the French embassadress agreed with me as to his good mien: I see that lady very often; she is young, and her conversation would be a great relief to me, if I could persuade her to live without those forms and ceremonies that make life formal and tiresome. But she is so delighted with her guards, her four-and-twenty footmen, gentlemen ushers, etc., that she would rather die than make me a visit without them: not to reckon a coachful of attending damsels yclep'd maids of honour. What vexes me is, that as long as she will visit with a troublesome equipage, I am obliged to do the same: however, our mutual interest makes us much together.

I went with her the other day all round the town, in an open gilt chariot, with our joint train of attendants, preceded by our guards, who might have summoned the people to see what they had never seen, nor ever would see again--two young Christian embassadresses never yet having been in this country at the same time, nor I believe ever will again. Your ladyship may easily imagine that we drew a vast crowd of spectators, but all silent as death. If any of them had taken the liberties of our mob upon any strange sight, our janissaries had made no scruple of falling on them with their scimitars, without danger for so doing, being above law.

Yet these people have some good qualities; they are very zealous and faithful where they serve, and look upon it as their business to fight for you upon all occasions. Of this I had a very pleasant instance in a village on this side Philipopolis, where we were met by our domestic guard. I happened to bespeak pigeons for my supper, upon which one of my janissaries went immediately to the Cadi (the chief civil officer of the town), and ordered him to send in some dozens. The poor man answered that he had already sent about, but could get none. My janissary, in the height of his zeal for my service, immediately locked him up prisoner in his room, telling him he deserved death for his impudence, in offering to excuse his not obeying my command; but, out of respect to me, he would not punish him but by my order, and accordingly, came very gravely to me, to ask what should be done to him; adding, by way of compliment, that if I pleased he would bring me his head. This may give you some idea of the unlimited power of these fellows, who are all sworn brothers, and bound to revenge the injuries done to one another, whether at Cairo, Aleppo, or any part of the world; and this inviolable league makes them so powerful, that the greatest man at court never speaks to them but in a flattering tone; and in Asia, any man that is rich is forced to enrol himself a janissary, to secure his estate.

But I have already said enough; and I dare swear, dear madam, that, by this time, 'tis a very comfortable reflection to you that there is no possibility of your receiving such a tedious letter but once in six months; 'tis that consideration has given me the assurance to entertain you so long, and will, I hope, plead the excuse of, dear madam, &c.

To THE COUNTESS OF MAR

"The Grand Vizier's lady"

Adrianople, 18 "April", O.S. [1717].

I wrote to you, dear sister, and to all my other English correspondents, by the last ship, and only Heaven can tell when I shall have another opportunity of sending to you; but I cannot forbear writing, though perhaps my letter may lie upon my hands this two months. To confess the truth, my head is so full of my entertainment yesterday, that 'tis absolutely necessary for my own repose to give it some vent. Without farther preface, I will then begin my story. I was invited to dine with the Grand Vizier's lady, and it was with a great deal of pleasure I prepared myself for an entertainment which was never given before to any Christian. I thought I should very little satisfy her curiosity (which I did not doubt was a considerable motive to the invitation) by going in a dress she was used to see, and therefore dressed myself in the court habit of Vienna, which is much more magnificent than ours. However, I chose to go "incognita", to avoid any disputes about ceremony, and went in a Turkish coach, only attended by my woman that held up my train, and the Greek lady who was my interpretress. I was met at the court door by her black eunuch, who helped me out of the coach with great respect, and conducted me through several rooms, where her she-slaves, finely dressed, were ranged on each side. In the innermost I found the lady sitting on her sofa, in a sable vest. She advanced to meet me, and presented me half a dozen of her friends with great civility. She seemed a very good woman, near fifty years old. I was surprised to observe so little magnificence in her house, the furniture being all very moderate; and except the habits and number of her slaves, nothing about her that appeared expensive. She guessed at my thoughts, and told me that she was no longer of an age to spend either her time or money in superfluities; that her whole expense was in charity, and her whole employment praying to God. There was no affectation in this speech; both she and her husband are entirely given up to devotion. He never looks upon any other woman; and, what is much more extraordinary, touches no bribes, notwithstanding the example of all his predecessors. He is so scrupulous on this point, he would not accept Mr. Wortley's present, till he had been assured over and over that it was a settled perquisite of his place at the entrance of every ambassador.

She entertained me with all kind of civility till dinner came in, which was served, one dish at a time, to a vast number, all finely dressed after their manner, which I do not think so bad as you have perhaps heard it represented. I am a very good judge of their eating, having lived three weeks in the house of an "effendi" at Belgrade, who gave us very magnificent dinners, dressed by his own cooks, which the first week pleased me extremely; but I own I then began to grow weary of it, and desired our own cook might add a dish or two after our manner. But I attribute this to custom. I am very much inclined to believe an Indian, that had never tasted of either, would prefer their cookery to ours. Their sauces are very high, all the roast very much done. They use a great deal of rich spice. The soup is served for the last dish; and they have at least as great variety of ragouts as we have. I was very sorry I could not eat of as many as the good lady would have had me, who was very earnest in serving me of everything. The treat concluded with coffee and perfumes, which is a high mark of respect; two slaves kneeling censed my hair, clothes, and handkerchief. After this ceremony, she commanded her slaves to play and dance, which they did with their guitars in their hands; and she excused to me their want of skill, saying she took no care to accomplish them in that art.

I returned her thanks, and soon after took my leave. I was conducted back in the same manner I entered; and would have gone straight to my own house; but the Greek lady with me earnestly solicited me to visit the "Kiyàya's" lady, saying, he was the second officer in the empire, and ought indeed to be looked upon as the first, the Grand Vizier having only the name, while he exercised the authority. I had found so little diversion in this harem, that I had no mind to go into another. But her importunity prevailed with me, and I am extreme glad that I was so complaisant.

All things here were with quite another air than at the Grand Vizier's; and the very house confessed the difference between an old devotee and a young beauty. It was nicely clean and magnificent. I was met at the door by two black eunuchs, who led me through a long gallery between two ranks of beautiful young girls, with their hair finely plaited, almost hanging to their feet, all dressed in fine light damasks, brocaded with silver. I was sorry that decency did not permit me to stop to consider them nearer. But that thought was lost upon my entrance into a large room, or rather pavilion, built round with gilded sashes, which were most of them thrown up, and the trees planted near them gave an agreeable shade, which hindered the sun from being troublesome. The jessamines and honeysuckles that twisted round their trunks, shedding a soft perfume, increased by a white marble fountain playing sweet water in the lower part of the room, which fell into three or four basins with a pleasing sound. The roof was painted with all sort of flowers, falling out of gilded baskets, that seemed tumbling down. On a sofa, raised three steps, and covered with fine Persian carpets, sat the "Kiyàya's" lady, leaning on cushions of white satin, embroidered; and at her feet sat two young girls, the eldest about twelve years old, lovely as angels, dressed perfectly rich, and almost covered with jewels. But they were hardly seen near the fair Fatima (for that is her name), so much her beauty effaced every thing I have seen, all that has been called lovely either in England or Germany, and must own that I never saw any thing so gloriously beautiful, nor can I recollect a face that would have been taken notice of near hers. She stood up to receive me, saluting me after their fashion, putting her hand upon her heart with a sweetness full of majesty, that no court breeding could ever give. She ordered cushions to be given to me, and took care to place me in the corner, which is the place of honour. I confess, though the Greek lady had before given me a great opinion of her beauty, I was so struck with admiration, that I could not for some time speak to her, being wholly taken up in gazing. That surprising harmony of features! that charming result of the whole! that exact proportion of body! that lovely bloom of complexion unsullied by art! the unutterable enchantment of her smile!--But her eyes!--large and black, with all the soft languishment of the blue! every turn of her face discovering some new charm.

After my first surprise was over, I endeavoured, by nicely examining her face, to find out some imperfection, without any fruit of my search, but being clearly convinced of the error of that vulgar notion, that a face perfectly regular would not be agreeable: nature having done for her with more success, what Apelles is said to have essayed, by a collection of the most exact features, to form a perfect face, and to that, a behaviour, so full of grace and sweetness, such easy motions, with an air so majestic, yet free from stiffness or affectation, that I am persuaded, could she be suddenly transported upon the most polite throne of Europe, nobody would think her other than born and bred to be a queen, though educated in a country we call barbarous. To say all in a word, our most celebrated English beauties would vanish near her.

She was dressed in a "caftán" of gold brocade, flowered with silver, very well fitted to her shape, and shewing to advantage the beauty of her bosom, only shaded by the thin guaze of her shift. Her drawers were pale pink, green and silver, her slippers white, finely embroidered; her lovely arms adorned with bracelets of diamonds, and her broad girdle set round with diamonds; upon her head a rich Turkish handkerchief of pink and silver, her own fine black hair hanging a great length in various tresses, and on one side of her head some bodkins of jewels. I am afraid you will accuse me of extravagance in this description. I think I have read somewhere that women always speak in rapture when they speak of beauty, but I cannot imagine why they should not be allowed to do so. I rather think it virtue to be able to admire without any mixture of desire or envy. The gravest writers have spoken with great warmth of some celebrated pictures and statues. The workmanship of Heaven certainly excels all our weak imitations, and, I think, has a much better claim to our praise. For me, I am not ashamed to own I took more pleasure in looking on the beauteous Fatima, than the finest piece of sculpture could have given me.

She told me the two girls at her feet were her daughters, though she appeared too young to be their mother. Her fair maids were ranged below the sofa, to the number of twenty, and put me in mind of the pictures of the ancient nymphs. I did not think all nature could have furnished such a scene of beauty. She made them a sign to play and dance. Four of them immediately began to play some soft airs on instruments between a lute and a guitar, which they accompanied with their voices, while the others danced by turns. This dance was very different from what I had seen before. Nothing could be more artful.... The tunes so soft!--the motions so languishing!--accompanied with pauses and dying eyes! half-falling back, and then recovering themselves in so artful a manner.... I suppose you may have read that the Turks have no music but what is shocking to the ears; but this account is from those who never heard any, but what is played in the streets, and is just as reasonable as if a foreigner should take his ideas of the English music from the bladder and string, and marrowbone and cleavers. I can assure you that the music is extremely pathetic; 'tis true I am inclined to prefer the Italian, but perhaps I am partial. I am acquainted with a Greek lady who sings better than Mrs. Robinson, and is very well skilled in both, who gives the preference to the Turkish. 'Tis certain they have very fine natural voices; these were very agreeable. When the dance was over, four fair slaves came into the room with silver censers in their hands, and perfumed the room with amber, aloes-wood, and other scents. After this they served me coffee upon their knees in the finest japan china, with "soucoupes" of silver, gilt. The lovely Fatima entertained me all this while in the most polite agreeable manner, calling me often "Guzél sultanum", or the beautiful sultana, and desiring my friendship with the best grace in the world, lamenting that she could not entertain me in my own language.

When I took my leave, two maids brought in a fine silver basket of embroidered handkerchiefs; she begged I would wear the richest for her sake, and gave the others to my woman and interpretress. I returned through the same ceremonies as before, and could not help fancying I had been some time in Mahomet's paradise, so much I was charmed with what I had seen. I know not how the relation of it appears to you. I wish it may give you part of my pleasure; for I would have my dear sister share in all the diversions of, &c.

To THE COUNTESS OF BUTE

"Her grand-daughter's education"

28 "Jan". N.S. [1753].

Dear child,

You have given me a great deal of satisfaction by your account of your eldest daughter. I am particularly pleased to hear she is a good arithmetician; it is the best proof of understanding: the knowledge of numbers is one of the chief distinctions between us and the brutes. If there is anything in blood, you may reasonably expect your children should be endowed with an uncommon share of good sense. Mr. Wortley's family and mine have both produced some of the greatest men that have been born in England: I mean Admiral Sandwich, and my grandfather, who was distinguished by the name of Wise William. I have heard Lord Bute's father mentioned as an extraordinary genius, though he had not many opportunities of showing it; and his uncle, the present Duke of Argyll, has one of the best heads I ever knew. I will therefore speak to you as supposing Lady Mary not only capable, but desirous of learning: in that case by all means let her be indulged in it. You will tell me I did not make it a part of your education: your prospect was very different from hers. As you had no defect either in mind or person to hinder, and much in your circumstances to attract the highest offers, it seemed your business to learn how to live in the world, as it is hers to know how to be easy out of it. It is the common error of builders and parents to follow some plan they think beautiful (and perhaps is so), without considering that nothing is beautiful that is displaced. Hence we see so many edifices raised that the raisers can never inhabit, being too large for their fortunes. Vistas are laid open over barren heaths, and apartments contrived for a coolness very agreeable in Italy, but killing in the north of Britain: thus every woman endeavours to breed her daughter a fine lady, qualifying her for a station in which she will never appear, and at the same time incapacitating her for that retirement to which she is destined. Learning, if she has a real taste for it, will not only make her contented, but happy in it. No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. She will not want new fashions, nor regret the loss of expensive diversions, or variety of company, if she can be amused with an author in her closet. To render this amusement extensive, she should be permitted to learn the languages. I have heard it lamented that boys lose so many years in mere learning of words: this is no objection to a girl, whose time is not so precious: she cannot advance herself in any profession, and has therefore more hours to spare; and as you say her memory is good, she will be very agreeably employed this way. There are two cautions to be given on this subject: first, not to think herself learned when she can read Latin, or even Greek. Languages are more properly to be called vehicles of learning than learning itself, as may be observed in many schoolmasters, who, though perhaps critics in grammar, are the most ignorant fellows upon earth. True knowledge consists in knowing things, not words. I would wish her no further a linguist than to enable her to read books in their originals, that are often corrupted, and always injured, by translations. Two hours' application every morning will bring this about much sooner than you can imagine, and she will have leisure enough besides to run over the English poetry, which is a more important part of a woman's education than it is generally supposed. Many a young damsel has been ruined by a fine copy of verses, which she would have laughed at if she had known it had been stolen from Mr. Waller. I remember, when I was a girl, I saved one of my companions from destruction, who communicated to me an epistle she was quite charmed with. As she had a natural good taste, she observed the lines were not so smooth as Prior's or Pope's, but had more thought and spirit than any of theirs. She was wonderfully delighted with such a demonstration of her lover's sense and passion, and not a little pleased with her own charms, that had force enough to inspire such elegancies. In the midst of this triumph I showed her that they were taken from Randolph's poems, and the unfortunate transcriber was dismissed with the scorn he deserved. To say truth, the poor plagiary was very unlucky to fall into my hands; that author being no longer in fashion, would have escaped any one of less universal reading than myself. You should encourage your daughter to talk over with you what she reads; and, as you are very capable of distinguishing, take care she does not mistake pert folly for wit and humour, or rhyme for poetry, which are the common errors of young people, and have a train of ill consequences. The second caution to be given her (and which is most absolutely necessary) is to conceal whatever learning she attains, with as much solicitude as she would hide crookedness or lameness; the parade of it can only serve to draw on her the envy, and consequently the most inveterate hatred, of all he and she fools, which will certainly be at least three parts in four of all her acquaintance. The use of knowledge in our sex, besides the amusement of solitude, is to moderate the passions, and learn to be contented with a small expense, which are the certain effects of a studious life; and it may be preferable even to that fame which men have engrossed to themselves, and will not suffer us to share. You will tell me I have not observed this rule myself; but you are mistaken: it is only inevitable accident that has given me any reputation that way. I have always carefully avoided it, and ever thought it a misfortune. The explanation of this paragraph would occasion a long digression, which I will not trouble you with, it being my present design only to say what I think useful for the instruction of my granddaughter, which I have much at heart. If she has the same inclination (I should say passion) for learning that I was born with, history, geography, and philosophy will furnish her with materials to pass away cheerfully a longer life than is allotted to mortals. I believe there are few heads capable of making Sir I. Newton's calculations, but the result of them is not difficult to be understood by a moderate capacity. Do not fear this should make her affect the character of Lady----, or Lady----, or Mrs.----: those women are ridiculous, not because they have learning, but because they have it not. One thinks herself a complete historian, after reading Echard's Roman History; another a profound philosopher, having got by heart some of Pope's unintelligible essays; and a third an able divine, on the strength of Whitefield's sermons: thus you hear them screaming politics and controversy.

It is a saying of Thucydides, ignorance is bold, and knowledge reserved. Indeed, it is impossible to be far advanced in it without being more humbled by a conviction of human ignorance than elated by learning. At the same time I recommend books, I neither exclude work nor drawing. I think it as scandalous for a woman not to know how to use a needle, as for a man not to know how to use a sword. I was once extremely fond of my pencil, and it was a great mortification to me when my father turned off my master, having made a considerable progress for a short time I learnt. My over-eagerness in the pursuit of it had brought a weakness on my eyes, that made it necessary to leave it off; and all the advantage I got was the improvement of my hand. I see, by hers, that practice will make her a ready writer: she may attain it by serving you for a secretary, when your health or affairs make it troublesome to you to write yourself; and custom will make it an agreeable amusement to her. She cannot have too many for that station of life which will probably be her fate. The ultimate end of your education was to make you a good wife (and I have the comfort to hear that you are one): hers ought to be, to make her happy in a virgin state. I will not say it is happier; but it is undoubtedly safer than any marriage. In a lottery, where there are (at the lowest computation) ten thousand blanks to a prize, it is the most prudent choice not to venture. I have always been so thoroughly persuaded of this truth, that, notwithstanding the flattering views I had for you (as I never intended you a sacrifice to my vanity), I thought I owed you the justice to lay before you all the hazards attending matrimony: you may recollect I did so in the strongest manner. Perhaps you may have more success in the instructing your daughter: she has so much company at home, she will not need seeking it abroad, and will more readily take the notions you think fit to give her. As you were alone in my family, it would have been thought a great cruelty to suffer you no companions of your own age, especially having so many near relations, and I do not wonder their opinions influenced yours. I was not sorry to see you not determined on a single life, knowing it was not your father's intention, and contented myself with endeavouring to make your home so easy that you might not be in haste to leave it.

I am afraid you will think this a very long and insignificant letter. I hope the kindness of the design will excuse it, being willing to give you every proof in my power that I am,

Your most affectionate mother.

TO THE SAME

"Fielding and other authors"

Lovere, 22 "Sept". [1755].

MY DEAR CHILD,

I received, two days ago, the box of books you were so kind to send; but I can scarce say whether my pleasure or disappointment was greatest. I was much pleased to see before me a fund of amusement, but heartily vexed to find your letter consisting only of three lines and a half. Why will you not employ Lady Mary as secretary, if it is troublesome to you to write? I have told you over and over, you may at the same time oblige your mother and improve your daughter, both which I should think very agreeable to yourself. You can never want something to say. The history of your nursery, if you had no other subject to write on, would be very acceptable to me. I am such a stranger to everything in England, I should be glad to hear more particulars relating to the families I am acquainted with: if Miss Liddel marries the Lord Euston I knew, or his nephew, who has succeeded him; if Lord Berkeley has left children; and several trifles of that sort, that would be a satisfaction to my curiosity. I am sorry for H. Fielding's death, not only as I shall read no more of his writings, but I believe he lost more than others, as no man enjoyed life more than he did, though few had less reason to do so, the highest of his preferment being raking in the lowest sinks of vice and misery. I should think it a nobler and less nauseous employment to be one of the staff officers that conduct the nocturnal weddings. His happy constitution (even when he had, with great pains, half demolished it) made him forget everything when he was before a venison pasty, or over a flask of champagne; and I am persuaded he has known more happy moments than any prince upon earth. His natural spirits gave him rapture with his cook-maid, and cheerfulness when he was starving in a garret. There was a great similitude between his character and that of Sir Richard Steele. He had the advantage both in learning, and, in my opinion, genius: they both agreed in wanting money in spite of all their friends, and would have wanted it, if their hereditary lands had been as extensive as their imagination; yet each one of them so formed for happiness, it is a pity he was not immortal.... This Richardson is a strange fellow. I heartily despise him, and eagerly read him, nay, sob over his works in a most scandalous manner. The first two tomes of "Clarissa" touched me, as being very resembling to my maiden days; and I find in the pictures of Sir Thomas Grandison and his lady, what I have heard of my mother, and seen of my father....

PHILIP DORMER STANHOPE, EARL OF CHESTERFIELD

1694-1773

TO HIS SON

"Dancing"

Dublin Castle, 29 "Nov". 1745.

DEAR BOY,

I have received your last Saturday's performance, with which I am very well satisfied. I know or have heard of no Mr. St. Maurice here; and young Pain, whom I have made an ensign, was here upon the spot, as were every one of those I have named in these new levies.

Now that the Christmas breaking-up draws near, I have ordered Mr. Desnoyers to go to you, during that time, to teach you to dance. I desire that you will particularly attend to the graceful motion of your arms; which with the manner of putting on your hat, and giving your hand, is all that a gentleman need attend to. Dancing is in itself a very trifling, silly thing; but it is one of those established follies to which people of sense are sometimes obliged to conform; and then they should be able to do it well. And though I would not have you a dancer, yet when you do dance, I would have you dance well; as I would have you do everything you do, well. There is no one thing so trifling, but which (if it is to be done at all) ought to be done well; and I have often told you that I wish you even played at pitch, and cricket, better than any boy at Westminster. For instance, dress is a very foolish thing; and yet it is a very foolish thing for a man not to be well dressed, according to his rank and way of life; and it is so far from being a disparagement to any man's understanding, that it is rather a proof of it, to be as well dressed as those whom he lives with: the difference in this case between a man of sense and a fop is, that the fop values himself upon his dress; and the man of sense laughs at it, at the same time that he knows he must not neglect it. There are a thousand foolish customs of this kind, which not being criminal, must be complied with, and even cheerfully, by men of sense. Diogenes the cynic was a wise man for despising them; but a fool for showing it. Be wiser than other people if you can; but do not tell them so.

It is a very fortunate thing for Sir Charles Hotham, to have fallen into the hands of one of your age, experience, and knowledge of the world: I am persuaded you will take infinite care of him. Goodnight.

TO THE SAME

"A good enunciation"

London, 21 "June", O.S. 1748.

DEAR BOY,

Your very bad enunciation runs so much in my head, and gives me such real concern, that it will be the object of this, and I believe of many more letters. I congratulate both you and myself that I was informed of it (as I hope) in time to prevent it; and shall ever think myself, as hereafter you will, I am sure, think yourself, infinitely obliged to Sir Charles Williams, for informing me of it. Good God! if this ungraceful and disagreeable manner of speaking had, either by your negligence or mine, become habitual to you, as in a couple of years more it would have been, what a figure would you have made in company, or in a public assembly! Who would have liked you in the one, or have attended to you in the other? Read what Cicero and Quintilian say of enunciation, and see what a stress they lay on the gracefulness of it; nay, Cicero goes farther, and even maintains that a good figure is necessary for an orator, and particularly that he must not be "vastus"; that is, overgrown and clumsy. He shows by it that he knew mankind well, and knew the powers of an agreeable figure and a graceful manner. Men, as well as women, are much oftener led by their hearts, than by their understandings. The way to the heart is through the senses; please their eyes and their ears, and the work is half done. I have frequently known a man's fortune decided for ever by his first address. If it is pleasing, people are hurried involuntarily into persuasion that he has a merit, which possibly he has not; as, on the other hand, if it is ungraceful, they are immediately prejudiced against him, and unwilling to allow him the merit which it may be he has. Nor is this sentiment so unjust and unreasonable as at first sight it may seem; for if a man has parts, he must know of what infinite consequence it is to him to have a graceful manner of speaking, and a genteel and pleasing address: he will cultivate and improve them to the utmost. Your figure is a good one; you have no natural defects in the organs of speech; your address may be engaging, and your manner of speaking graceful, if you will; so that, if they are not so, neither I nor the world can ascribe it to anything but your want of parts. What is the constant and just observation as to all the actors upon the stage? Is it not, that those who have the best sense always speak the best, though they may not happen to have the best voices? They will speak plainly, distinctly, and with the proper emphasis, be their voices ever so bad. Had Roscius spoken quick, thick, and ungracefully, I will answer for it, that Cicero would not have thought him worth the oration which he made in his favour. Words were given us to communicate our ideas by, and there must be something inconceivably absurd in uttering them in such a manner, as that either people cannot understand them, or will not desire to understand them. I tell you truly and sincerely, that I shall judge of your parts by your speaking gracefully or ungracefully. If you have parts, you will never be at rest till you have brought yourself to a habit of speaking most gracefully: for I aver, that it is in your power. You will desire Mr. Harte, that you may read aloud to him every day, and that he will interrupt and correct you every time that you read too fast, do not observe the proper stops, or lay a wrong emphasis. You will take care to open your teeth when you speak; to articulate very distinctly; and to beg of Mr. Harte, Mr. Eliot, or whomever you speak to, to remind and stop you, if ever you fall into the rapid and unintelligible mutter. You will even read aloud to yourself, and tune your utterance to your own ear, and read at first much slower than you need to do, in order to correct yourself of that shameful trick of speaking faster than you ought. In short, if you think right, you will make it your business, your study, and your pleasure to speak well. Therefore, what I have said in this and in my last, is more than sufficient, if you have sense; and ten times more would not be sufficient if you have not: so here I rest it.

TO THE SAME

"Keeping accounts"

London, 10 "Jan." O.S. 1749.

DEAR BOY,

I have received your letter of the 31st December, N.S. Your thanks for my present, as you call it, exceed the value of the present; but the use which you assure me that you will make of it, is the thanks which I desire to receive. Due attention to the inside of books, and due contempt for the outside, is the proper relation between a man of sense and his books.

Now that you are going a little more into the world, I will take this occasion to explain my intentions as to your future expenses, that you may know what you have to expect from me, and make your plan accordingly. I shall neither deny nor grudge you any money that may be necessary for either your improvement or pleasures; I mean the pleasures of a rational being. Under the head of improvement I mean the best books, and the best masters, cost what they will; I also mean all the expense of lodgings, coach, dress, servants, &c., which, according to the several places where you may be, shall be respectively necessary to enable you to keep the best company. Under the head of rational pleasures I comprehend, first, proper charities to real and compassionate objects of it; secondly, proper presents to those to whom you are obliged, or whom you desire to oblige; thirdly, a conformity of expense to that of the company which you keep; as in public spectacles, your share of little entertainments, a few pistoles at games of mere commerce, and other incidental calls of good company. The only two articles which I will never supply are, the profusion of low riot, and the idle lavishness of negligence and laziness. A fool squanders away, without credit or advantage to himself, more than a man of sense spends with both. The latter employs his money as he does his time, and never spends a shilling of the one, nor a minute of the other, but in something that is either useful or rationally pleasing to himself or others. The former buys whatever he does not want, and does not pay for what he does want. He cannot withstand the charms of a toy-shop; snuff-boxes, watches, heads of canes, etc., are his destruction. His servants and tradesmen conspire with his own indolence to cheat him, and in a very little time he is astonished, in the midst of all the ridiculous superfluities, to find himself in want of all the real comforts and necessaries of life. Without care and method the largest fortune will not, and with them almost the smallest will, supply all necessary expenses. As far as you can possibly, pay ready money for everything you buy, and avoid bills. Pay that money too yourself, and not through the hands of any servant, who always either stipulates poundage, or requires a present for his good word, as they call it. Where you must have bills, (as for meat and drink, clothes, etc.) pay them regularly every month, and with your own hand. Never, from a mistaken economy, buy a thing you do not want, because it is cheap; or from a silly pride, because it is dear. Keep an account in a book, of all that you receive, and of all that you pay; for no man, who knows what he receives and what he pays, ever runs out. I do not mean that you should keep an account of the shillings and half-crowns which you may spend in chair-hire, operas, etc. They are unworthy of the time, and of the ink that they would consume; leave such "minutiae" to dull, penny-wise fellows; but remember in economy, as well as in every other part of life, to have the proper attention to proper objects, and the proper contempt for little ones. A strong mind sees things in their true proportion; a weak one views them through a magnifying medium, which, like the microscope, makes an elephant of a flea; magnifies all little objects, but cannot receive great ones. I have known many a man pass for a miser, by saving a penny, and wrangling for two-pence, who was undoing himself at the same time, by living above his income, and not attending to essential articles, which were above his "portée". The sure characteristic of a sound and strong mind is, to find in everything those certain bounds, "quos ultra citrave nequit consistere rectum". These boundaries are marked out by a very fine line, which only good sense and attention can discover; it is much too fine for vulgar eyes. In manners, this line is good-breeding; beyond it, is troublesome ceremony; short of it, is unbecoming negligence and inattention. In morals, it divides ostentatious puritanism from criminal relaxation; in religion, superstition from impiety; and, in short, every virtue from its kindred vice or weakness. I think you have sense enough to discover the line; keep it always in your eye, and learn to walk upon it; rest upon Mr. Harte, and he will poise you, till you are able to go alone. By the way, there are fewer people who walk well upon that line, than upon the slack-rope; and, therefore, a good performer shines so much the more....

Remember to take the best dancing-master at Berlin, more to teach you to sit, stand, and walk gracefully, than to dance finely. The graces, the graces; remember the graces! Adieu.

TO THE SAME

"A father's example"

London, 7 "Feb". o.s. 1749.

DEAR BOY,

You are now come to an age capable of reflection; and I hope you will do, what however few people at your age do, exert it, for your own sake, in the search of truth and sound knowledge. I will confess (for I am not unwilling to discover my secrets to you) that it is not many years since I have presumed to reflect for myself. Till sixteen or seventeen I had no reflection, and for many years after that I made no use of what I had. I adopted the notions of the books I read, or the company I kept, without examining whether they were just or not; and I rather chose to run the risk of easy error, than to take the time and trouble of investigating truth. Thus, partly from laziness, partly from dissipation, and partly from the "mauvaise honte" of rejecting fashionable notions, I was (as I since found) hurried away by prejudices, instead of being guided by reason; and quietly cherished error, instead of seeking for truth. But since I have taken the trouble of reasoning for myself, and have had the courage to own that I do so, you cannot imagine how much my notions of things are altered, and in how different a light I now see them, from that in which I formerly viewed them through the deceitful medium of prejudice or authority. Nay, I may possibly still retain many errors, which, from long habit, have perhaps grown into real opinions; for it is very difficult to distinguish habits, early acquired and long entertained, from the result of our reason and reflection.

My first prejudice (for I do not mention the prejudices of boys and women, such as hobgoblins, ghosts, dreams, spilling salt, &c.) was my classical enthusiasm, which I received from the books I read, and the masters who explained them to me. I was convinced there had been no common sense nor common honesty in the world for these last fifteen hundred years; but that they were totally extinguished with the ancient Greek and Roman governments. Homer and Virgil could have no faults, because they were ancient; Milton and Tasso could have no merit, because they were modern. And I could almost have said, with regard to the ancients, what Cicero, very absurdly and unbecomingly for a philosopher, says with regard to Plato, "Cum quo errare malim quam cum aliis recte sentire". Whereas now, without any extraordinary effort of genius, I have discovered that nature was the same three thousand years ago as it is at present; that men were but men then as well as now; that modes and customs vary often, but that human nature is always the same. And I can no more suppose, that men were better, braver, or wiser, fifteen hundred or three thousand years ago, than I can suppose that the animals or vegetables were better then than they are now. I dare assert too, in defiance of the favourers of the ancients, that Homer's hero Achilles was both a brute and a scoundrel, and consequently an improper character for the hero of an epic poem; he had so little regard for his country, that he would not act in defence of it, because he had quarrelled with Agamemnon about a--; and then afterwards, animated by private resentment only, he went about killing people basely, I will call it, because he knew himself invulnerable; and yet, invulnerable as he was, he wore the strongest armour in the world; which I humbly apprehend to be a blunder; for a horseshoe clapped to his vulnerable heel would have been sufficient. On the other hand, with submission to the favourers of the moderns, I assert with Mr. Dryden, that the Devil is in truth the hero of Milton's poem: his plan, which he lays, pursues, and at last executes, being the subject of the poem. From all which considerations I impartially conclude that the ancients had their excellencies and their defects, their virtues and their vices, just like the moderns: pedantry and affectation of learning clearly decide in favour of the former; vanity and ignorance, as peremptorily, in favour of the latter. Religious prejudices kept pace with my classical ones; and there was a time when I thought it impossible for the honestest man in the world to be saved, out of the pale of the Church of England: not considering that matters of opinion do not depend upon the will; and that it is as natural, and as allowable, that another man should differ in opinion from me, as that I should differ from him; and that, if we are both sincere, we are both blameless, and should consequently have mutual indulgences for each other.

The next prejudices I adopted were those of the "beau monde", in which, as I was determined to shine, I took what are commonly called the genteel vices to be necessary. I had heard them reckoned so, and without further inquiry, I believed it; or at least should have been ashamed to have denied it, for fear of exposing myself to the ridicule of those whom I considered as the models of fine gentlemen. But now I am neither ashamed nor afraid to assert, that those genteel vices, as they are falsely called, are only so many blemishes in the character of even a man of the world, and what is called a fine gentleman, and degrade him in the opinion of those very people, to whom he hopes to recommend himself by them. Nay, this prejudice often extends so far, that I have known people pretend to vices they had not, instead of carefully concealing those they had.

Use and assert your own reason; reflect, examine, and analyze everything, in order to form a sound and mature judgement; let no [Greek: outos epha] impose upon your understanding, mislead your actions, or dictate your conversation. Be early what, if you are not, you will when too late wish you had been. Consult your reason betimes: I do not say, that it will always prove an unerring guide; for human reason is not infallible; but it will prove the least erring guide that you can follow. Books and conversation may assist it; but adopt neither, blindly and implicitly: try both by that best rule which God has given to direct us, reason. Of all the troubles, do not decline, as many people do, that of thinking.

TO THE SAME

"Public speaking"

London, 9 "Dec". o.s. 1749.

DEAR BOY,

It is now above forty years since I have never spoken nor written one single word, without giving myself at least one moment's time to consider, whether it was a good one or a bad one, and whether I could not find out a better in its place. An unharmonious and rugged period, at this time, shocks my ears; and I, like all the rest of the world, will willingly exchange and give up some degree of rough sense, for a good degree of pleasing sound. I will freely and truly own to you, without either vanity or false modesty, that whatever reputation I have acquired as a speaker, is more owing to my constant attention to my diction than to my matter, which was necessarily just the same as other people's. When you come into parliament, your reputation as a speaker will depend much more upon your words, and your periods than upon the subject. The same matter occurs equally to everybody of common sense, upon the same question: the dressing it well, is what excites the attention and admiration of the audience.

It is in parliament that I have set my heart upon your making a figure; it is there that I want to have you justly proud of yourself, and to make me justly proud of you. This means that you must be a good speaker there; I use the word "must", because I know you may if you will. The vulgar, who are always mistaken, look upon a speaker and a comet with the same astonishment and admiration, taking them both for preternatural phenomena. This error discourages many young men from attempting that character; and good speakers are willing to have their talent considered as something very extraordinary, if not a peculiar gift of God to his elect. But, let you and I analyze and simplify this good speaker; let us strip him of those adventitious plumes with which his own pride and the ignorance of others have decked him; and we shall find the true definition of him to be no more than this: a man of good common sense, who reasons justly, and expresses himself elegantly, on that subject upon which he speaks. There is, surely, no witchcraft in this. A man of sense, without a superior and astonishing degree of parts, will not talk nonsense upon any subject; nor will he, if he has the least taste or application, talk inelegantly. What then does all this mighty art and mystery of speaking in parliament amount to? Why, no more than this, that the man who speaks in the House of Commons, speaks in that house, and to four hundred people, that opinion upon a given subject which he would make no difficulty of speaking in any house in England, round the fire, or at table, to any fourteen people whatsoever; better judges, perhaps, and severer critics of what he says, than any fourteen gentlemen of the House of Commons.

I have spoken frequently in parliament, and not always without some applause; and therefore I can assure you, from my experience, that there is very little in it. The elegancy of the style and the turn of the periods make the chief impression upon the hearers. Give them but one or two round and harmonious periods in a speech, which they will retain and repeat, and they will go home as well satisfied as people do from an opera, humming all the way one or two favourite tunes that have struck their ears, and were easily caught. Most people have ears, but few have judgement; tickle those ears, and, depend upon it, you will catch their judgements, such as they are.

Cicero, conscious that he was at the top of his profession (for in his time eloquence was a profession), in order to set himself off, defines, in his treatise "de Oratore", an orator to be such a man as never was, or never will be; and, by this fallacious argument, says that he must know every art and science whatsoever, or how shall he speak upon them? But with submission to so great an authority, my definition of an orator is extremely different from, and I believe much truer than, his. I call that man an orator who reasons justly, and expresses himself elegantly, upon whatever subjects he treats. Problems in geometry, equations in algebra, processes in chemistry, and experiments in anatomy, are never, that I have heard of, the objects of eloquence; and therefore I humbly conceive that a man may be a very fine speaker, and yet know nothing of geometry, algebra, chemistry, or anatomy. The subjects of all parliamentary debates are subjects of common sense singly.

Thus I write whatever occurs to me, that I think may contribute either to form or inform you. May my labour not be in vain! and it will not, if you will but have half the concern for yourself that I have for you. Adieu.

TO THE SAME

"The new Earl of Chatham"

Blackheath, 1 "Aug." 1766.

MY DEAR FRIEND,

The curtain was at last drawn up, the day before yesterday, and discovered the new actors together with some of the old ones. I do not name them to you, because to-morrow's Gazette will do it full as well as I could. Mr. Pitt, who had "carte blanche" given him, named every one of them: but what would you think he named himself for? Lord Privy Seal; and (what will astonish you, as it does every mortal here) Earl of Chatham. The joke here is, that he has had "a fall upstairs", and has done himself so much hurt, that he will never be able to stand upon his legs again. Everybody is puzzled how to account for this step; though it would not be the first time that great abilities have been duped by low cunning. But be it what it will, he is now certainly only Earl of Chatham; and no longer Mr. Pitt, in any respect whatever. Such an event, I believe, was never read nor heard of. To withdraw, in the fullness of his power, and in the utmost gratification of his ambition, from the House of Commons, (which procured him his power, and which could alone ensure it to him) and to go into that hospital of incurables, the House of Lords, is a measure so unaccountable, that nothing but proof positive could have made me believe it: but true it is. Hans Stanley is to go ambassador to Russia; and my nephew, Ellis, to Spain, decorated with the red ribband. Lord Shelburne is your secretary of state, which I suppose he has notified to you this post by a circular letter. Charles Townshend has now the sole management of the House of Commons; but how long he will be content to be only Lord Chatham's viceregent there, is a question which I will not pretend to decide. There is one very bad sign for Lord Chatham in his new dignity; which is, that all his enemies, without exception, rejoice at it; and all his friends are stupefied and dumb-founded. If I mistake not much, he will in the course of a year enjoy perfect "otium cum dignitate". Enough of politics.

Is the fair, or at least the fat Miss C---- with you still? It must be confessed that she knows the art of courts, to be so received at Dresden and so connived at in Leicester-fields.

There never was so wet a summer as this has been, in the memory of man; we have not had one single day, since March, without some rain; but most days a great deal. I hope that does not affect your health, as great cold does; for with all these inundations it has not been cold. God bless you!

SAMUEL JOHNSON

1709-1784

To BENNET LANGTON

"Postponement of a visit"

6 "May", 1755.

SIR,

It has been long observed, that men do not suspect faults which they do not commit; your own elegance of manners, and punctuality of complaisance, did not suffer you to impute to me that negligence of which I was guilty, and [for] which I have not since atoned. I received both your letters, and received them with pleasure proportioned to the esteem which so short an acquaintance strongly impressed, and which I hope to confirm by nearer knowledge, though I am afraid that gratification will be for a time withheld.

I have, indeed, published my book, of which I beg to know your father's judgment, and yours; and I have now stayed long enough to watch its progress in the world. It has, you see, no patrons, and I think has yet had no opponents, except the critics of the coffee-house, whose outcries are soon dispersed into the air, and are thought on no more. From this, therefore, I am at liberty, and think of taking the opportunity of this interval to make an excursion, and why not then into Lincolnshire? or, to mention a stronger attraction, why not to dear Mr. Langton? I will give the true reason, which I know you will approve:--I have a mother more than eighty years old, who has counted the days to the publication of my book, in hopes of seeing me; and to her, if I can disengage myself here, I resolve to go.

As I know, dear sir, that to delay my visit for a reason like this will not deprive me of your esteem, I beg it may not lessen your kindness. I have very seldom received an offer of friendship which I so earnestly desire to cultivate and mature. I shall rejoice to hear from you, till I can see you, and will see you as soon as I can; for when the duty that calls me to Lichfield is discharged, my inclination will carry me to Langton. I shall delight to hear the ocean roar, or see the stars twinkle, in the company of men to whom Nature does not spread her volumes or utter her voice in vain.

Do not, dear sir, make the slowness of this letter a precedent for delay, or imagine that I approved the incivility that I have committed; for I have known you enough to love you, and sincerely to wish a further knowledge; and I assure you once more, that to live in a house that contains such a father and such a son, will be accounted a very uncommon degree of pleasure by, dear sir, your most obliged and most humble servant.

TO MISS PORTER

"A mother's death"

23 "Jan." 1759.

You will conceive my sorrow for the loss of my mother, of the best mother. If she were to live again, surely I should behave better to her. But she is happy, and what is past is nothing to her; and for me, since I cannot repair my faults to her, I hope repentance will efface them. I return you and all those that have been good to her my sincerest thanks, and pray God to repay you all with infinite advantage. Write to me and comfort me, dear child. I shall be glad likewise, if Kitty will write to me. I shall send a bill of twenty pounds in a few days, which I thought to have brought to my mother; but God suffered it not. I have not power or composure to say much more. God bless you, and bless us all.

To JOSEPH BARETTI

"A letter of counsel"

21 "Dec." 1762.

SIR,

You are not to suppose, with all your conviction of my idleness, that I have passed all this time without writing to my Baretti. I gave a letter to Mr. Beauclerk, who, in my opinion, and in his own, was hastening to Naples for the recovery of his health; but he has stopped at Paris, and I know not when he will proceed. Langton is with him.

I will not trouble you with speculations about peace and war. The good or ill success of battles and embassies extends itself to a very small part of domestic life: we all have good and evil, which we feel more sensibly than our petty part of public miscarriage or prosperity. I am sorry for your disappointment, with which you seem more touched than I should expect a man of your resolution and experience to have been, did I not know that general truths are seldom applied to particular occasions; so that the fallacy of our self-love extends itself as wide as our interest and affections. Every man believes that mistresses are unfaithful, and patrons capricious; but he excepts his own mistress and his own patron. We have all learned that greatness is negligent and contemptuous, and that in courts, life is often languished away in ungratified expectation; but he that approaches greatness, or glitters in a court, imagines that destiny has at last exempted him from the common lot.

Do not let such evils overwhelm you as thousands have suffered and thousands have surmounted; but turn your thoughts with vigour to some other plan of life, and keep always in your mind that, with due submission to Providence, a man of genius has been seldom ruined but by himself. Your patron's weakness or insensibility will finally do you little hurt, if he is not assisted by your own passions. Of your love I know not the propriety, nor can estimate the power; but in love, as in every other passion, of which hope is the essence, we ought always to remember the uncertainty of events. There is indeed nothing that so much seduces reason from her vigilance, as the thought of passing life with an amiable woman; and if all would happen that a lover fancies, I know not what other terrestrial happiness would deserve pursuit. But love and marriage are different states. Those who are to suffer the evils together, and to suffer often for the sakes of one another, soon lose that tenderness of look and that benevolence of mind which arose from the participation of unmingled pleasure and successive amusement. A woman we are sure will not be always fair, we are not sure she will always be virtuous; and man cannot retain through life that respect and assiduity by which he pleases for a day or for a month. I do not however pretend to have discovered that life has anything more to be desired than a prudent and virtuous marriage; therefore know not what counsel to give you.

If you can quit your imagination of love and greatness, and leave your hopes of preferment and bridal raptures to try once more the fortune of literature and industry, the way through France is now open. We flatter ourselves that we shall cultivate with great diligence the arts of peace; and every man will be welcome among us who can teach us anything we do not know. For your part, you will find all your old friends willing to receive you....

To MRS. THRALE

"Travel in Scotland"

Skye, 21 "Sept." 1773.

DEAREST MADAM,

I am so vexed at the necessity of sending yesterday so short a letter, that I purpose to get a long letter beforehand by writing something every day, which I may the more easily do, as a cold makes me now too deaf to take the usual pleasure in conversation. Lady Macleod is very good to me, and the place at which we now are, is equal in strength of situation, in the wildness of the adjacent country, and in the plenty and elegance of the domestic entertainment, to a castle in Gothic romances. The sea with a little island is before us; cascades play within view. Close to the house is the formidable skeleton of an old castle probably Danish, and the whole mass of building stands upon a protuberance of rock, inaccessible till of late but by a pair of stairs on the sea side, and secure in ancient times against any enemy that was likely to invade the kingdom of Skye.

Macleod has offered me an island; if it were not too far off I should hardly refuse it: my island would be pleasanter than Brighthelmstone, if you and my master could come to it; but I cannot think it pleasant to live quite alone.

Oblitusque meorum, obliviscendus et illis.

That I should be elated by the dominion of an island to forgetfulness of my friends at Streatham I cannot believe, and I hope never to deserve that they should be willing to forget me.

It has happened that I have been often recognised in my journey where I did not expect it. At Aberdeen I found one of my acquaintance professor of physic; turning aside to dine with a country gentleman, I was owned at table by one who had seen me at a philosophical lecture; at Macdonald's I was claimed by a naturalist, who wanders about the islands to pick up curiosities; and I had once in London attracted the notice of Lady Macleod. I will now go on with my account.

The Highland girl made tea, and looked and talked not inelegantly; her father was by no means an ignorant or a weak man; there were books in the cottage, among which were some volumes of Prideaux's "Connection": this man's conversation we were glad of while we stayed. He had been "out", as they call it, in forty-five, and still retained his old opinions. He was going to America, because his rent was raised beyond what he thought himself able to pay.

At night our beds were made, but we had some difficulty in persuading ourselves to lie down in them, though we had put on our own sheets; at last we ventured, and I slept very soundly in the vale of Glen Morrison, amidst the rocks and mountains. Next morning our landlord liked us so well, that he walked some miles with us for our company, through a country so wild and barren that the proprietor does not, with all his pressure upon his tenants, raise more than four hundred pounds a year for near one hundred square miles or sixty thousand acres. He let us know that he had forty head of black cattle, an hundred goats, and an hundred sheep, upon a farm that he remembered let at five pounds a year, but for which he now paid twenty. He told us some stories of their march into England. At last he left us, and we went forward, winding among mountains, sometimes green and sometimes naked, commonly so steep as not easily to be climbed by the greatest vigour and activity: our way was often crossed by little rivulets, and we were entertained with small streams trickling from the rocks, which after heavy rains must be tremendous torrents.

About noon we came to a small glen, so they call a valley, which compared with other places appeared rich and fertile; here our guides desired us to stop, that the horses might graze, for the journey was very laborious, and no more grass would be found. We made no difficulty of compliance, and I sat down to take notes on a green bank, with a small stream running at my feet, in the midst of savage solitude, with mountains before me, and on either hand covered with heath. I looked around me, and wondered that I was not more affected, but the mind is not at all times equally ready to be put in motion; if my mistress and master and Queeny had been there we should have produced some reflections among us, either poetical or philosophical, for though "solitude be the nurse of woe", conversation is often the parent of remarks and discoveries.

In about an hour we remounted, and pursued our journey. The lake by which we had travelled for some time ended in a river, which we passed by a bridge, and came to another glen, with a collection of huts, called Auknashealds; the huts were generally built of clods of earth, held together by the intertexture of vegetable fibres, of which earth there are great levels in Scotland which they call mosses. Moss in Scotland is bog in Ireland, and moss-trooper is bog-trotter: there was, however, one hut built of loose stones, piled up with great thickness into a strong though not solid wall. From this house we obtained some great pails of milk, and having brought bread with us, were very liberally regaled. The inhabitants, a very coarse tribe, ignorant of any language but Erse, gathered so fast about us, that if we had not had Highlanders with us, they might have caused more alarm than pleasure; they are called the Clan of Macrae.

We had been told that nothing gratified the Highlanders so much as snuff and tobacco, and had accordingly stored ourselves with both at Fort Augustus. Boswell opened his treasure, and gave them each a piece of tobacco roll. We had more bread than we could eat for the present, and were more liberal than provident. Boswell cut it in slices, and gave them an opportunity of tasting wheaten bread for the first time. I then got some halfpence for a shilling, and made up the deficiencies of Boswell's distribution, who had given some money among the children. We then directed that the mistress of the stone house should be asked what we must pay her: she, who perhaps had never before sold anything but cattle, knew not, I believe, well what to ask, and referred herself to us: we obliged her to make some demand, and one of the Highlanders settled the account with her at a shilling. One of the men advised her, with the cunning that clowns never can be without, to ask more; but she said that a shilling was enough. We gave her half a crown, and she offered part of it again. The Macraes were so well pleased with our behaviour, that they declared it the best day they had seen since the time of the old Laird of Macleod, who, I suppose, like us, stopped in their valley, as he was travelling to Skye....

I cannot forbear to interrupt my narrative. Boswell, with some of his troublesome kindness, has informed this family and reminded me that the 18th of September is my birthday. The return of my birthday, if I remember it, fills me with thoughts which it seems to be the general care of humanity to escape. I can now look back upon three score and four years, in which little has been done, and little has been enjoyed; a life diversified by misery, spent part in the sluggishness of penury, and part under the violence of pain, in gloomy discontent or importunate distress. But perhaps I am better than I should have been if I had been less afflicted. With this I will try to be content.

In proportion as there is less pleasure in retrospective considerations, the mind is more disposed to wander forward into futurity; but at sixty-four what promises, however liberal, of imaginary good can futurity venture to make? Yet something will be always promised and some promises will always be credited. I am hoping and I am praying that I may live better in the time to come, whether long or short, than I have yet lived, and in the solace of that hope endeavour to repose. Dear Queeny's day is next, I hope she at sixty-four will have less to regret....

You will now expect that I should give you some account of the Isle of Skye, of which, though I have been twelve days upon it, I have little to say. It is an island perhaps fifty miles long, so much indented by inlets of the sea that there is no part of it removed from the water more than six miles. No part that I have seen is plain; you are always climbing or descending, and every step is upon rock or mire. A walk upon ploughed ground in England is a dance upon carpets compared to the toilsome drudgery of wandering in Skye. There is neither town nor village in the island, nor have I seen any house but Macleod's, that is not much below your habitation at Brighthelmstone. In the mountains there are stags and roebucks, but no hares, and few rabbits; nor have I seen anything that interested me as a zoologist, except an otter, bigger than I thought an otter could have been.

You perhaps are imagining that I am withdrawn from the gay and the busy world into regions of peace and pastoral felicity, and am enjoying the relics of the golden age; that I am surveying nature's magnificence from a mountain, or remarking her minuter beauties on the flowery bank of a winding rivulet; that I am invigorating myself in the sunshine, or delighting my imagination with being hidden from the invasion of human evils and human passions in the darkness of a thicket; that I am busy in gathering shells and pebbles on the shore, or contemplative on a rock, from which I look upon the water, and consider how many waves are rolling between me and Streatham.

The use of travelling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are. Here are mountains which I should once have climbed, but to climb steps is now very laborious, and to descend them dangerous; and I am now content with knowing, that by scrambling up a rock, I shall only see other rocks, and a wider circuit of barren desolation. Of streams, we have here a sufficient number, but they murmur not upon pebbles, but upon rocks. Of flowers, if Chloris herself were here, I could present her only with the bloom of heath. Of lawns and thickets, he must read that would know them, for here is little sun and no shade. On the sea I look from my window, but am not much tempted to the shore; for since I came to this island, almost every breath of air has been a storm, and what is worse, a storm with all its severity, but without its magnificence, for the sea is here so broken into channels that there is not a sufficient volume of water either for lofty surges or a loud roar....

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE EARL OF CHESTERFIELD

"Patronage"

7 "Feb". 1775.

MY LORD,

I have been lately informed, by the proprietor of "The World", that two papers, in which my "Dictionary" is recommended to the public, are by your lordship. To be so distinguished is an honour, which, being very little accustomed to favours from the great, I know not well how to receive, or in what terms to acknowledge.

When, upon some slight encouragement, I first visited your lordship, I was overpowered, like the rest of mankind, by the enchantment of your address, and could not forbear to wish that I might boast myself "le vainqueur du vainqueur de la terre";--that I might obtain that regard for which I saw the world contending; but I found my attendance so little encouraged, that neither pride nor modesty would suffer me to continue it. When I had once addressed your lordship in public, I had exhausted all the art of pleasing which a retired and uncourtly scholar can possess. I had done all I could; and no man is well pleased to have his all neglected, be it ever so little.

Seven years, my lord, have now passed, since I waited in your outward rooms, or was repulsed from your door; during which time I have been pushing on my work through difficulties, of which it is useless to complain, and have brought it at last to the verge of publication, without one act of assistance, one word of encouragement, or one smile of favour. Such treatment I did not expect, for I never had a patron before.

The shepherd in "Virgil" grew at last acquainted with Love, and found him a native of the rocks.

Is not a patron, my lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and when he has reached ground, encumbers him with help? The notice which you have been pleased to take of my labours, had it been early had been kind; but it has been delayed till I am indifferent, and cannot enjoy it; till I am solitary, and cannot impart it; till I am known, and do not want it. I hope it is no very cynical asperity, not to confess obligations, where no benefit has been received, or to be unwilling that the public should consider me as owing that to a patron, which Providence has enabled me to do for myself.

Having carried on my work thus far with so little obligation to any favourer of learning, I shall not be disappointed though I shall conclude it, if less be possible, with less; for I have been long wakened from that dream of hope in which I once boasted myself with so much exultation.

My Lord,

Your Lordship's most humble, most obedient servant.

To JAMES BOSWELL

"A silent friend"

13 "July", 1779.

DEAR SIR,

What can possibly have happened that keeps us two such strangers to each other? I expected to have heard from you when you came home; I expected afterwards. I went into the country and returned, and yet there is no letter from Mr. Boswell. No ill, I hope, has happened; and if ill should happen, why should it be concealed from him who loves you? Is it a fit of humour, that has disposed you to try who can hold out longest without writing? If it be, you have the victory. But I am afraid of something bad; set me free from my suspicions.

My thoughts are at present employed in guessing the reason of your silence; you must not expect that I should tell you anything, if I had anything to tell. Write, pray write to me, and let me know what is or what has been the cause of this long interruption.

To MRS. THRALE

"A great man's fortitude"

19 "June", 1783.

ON Monday the 16th, I sat for my picture and walked a considerable way with little inconvenience. In the afternoon and evening I felt myself light and easy, and began to plan schemes of life. Thus I went to bed, and in a short time waked and sat up, as has been long my custom, when I felt a confusion and indistinctness in my head, which lasted, I suppose, about half a minute. I was alarmed, and prayed God, that however he might afflict my body, he would spare my understanding. This prayer, that I might try the integrity of my faculties, I made in Latin verse. The lines were not very good, but I knew them not to be very good: I made them easily, and concluded myself to be unimpaired in my faculties.

Soon after I perceived that I had suffered a paralytic stroke, and that my speech was taken from me. I had no pain, and so little dejection in this dreadful state, that I wondered at my own apathy, and considered that perhaps death itself, when it should come, would excite less horror than seems now to attend it.

In order to rouse the vocal organs, I took two drams. Wine has been celebrated for the production of eloquence. I put myself into violent motion, and I think repeated it; but all was vain. I then went to bed, and strange as it may seem, I slept. When I saw light, it was time to contrive what I should do. Though God stopped my speech, he left me my hands; I enjoyed a mercy which was not granted to my dear friend Lawrence, who now perhaps overlooks me as I am writing, and rejoices that I have what he wanted. My first note was necessarily to my servant, who came in talking, and could not immediately comprehend why he should read what I put into his hands. I then wrote a card to Mr. Allen, that I might have a discreet friend at hand, to act as occasion should require. In penning this note I had some difficulty; my hand, I knew not how nor why, made wrong letters. I then wrote to Dr. Taylor to come to me, and bring Dr. Heberden: and I sent to Dr. Brocklesby, who is my neighbour. My physicians are very friendly, and give me great hopes; but you may imagine my situation. I have so far recovered my vocal powers, as to repeat the Lord's Prayer with no very imperfect articulation. My memory, I hope, yet remains as it was! but such an attack produces solicitude for the safety of every faculty.

LAURENCE STERNE

1713-1768

To Miss LUMLEY

"The disconsolate lover"

[1740-1]

You bid me tell you, my dear L., how I bore your departure for S----, and whether the valley, where D'Estella stands, retains still its looks, or if I think the roses or jessamines smell as sweet as when you left it. Alas! everything has now lost its relish and look! The hour you left D'Estella I took to my bed. I was worn out with fevers of all kinds, but most by that fever of the heart with which thou knowest well I have been wasting these two years--and shall continue wasting till you quit S----. The good Miss S----, from the forebodings of the best of hearts, thinking I was ill, insisted upon my going to her. What can be the cause, my dear L., that I never have been able to see the face of this mutual friend, but I feel myself rent to pieces? She made me stay an hour with her, and in that short space I burst into tears a dozen different times, and in such affectionate gusts of passion, that she was constrained to leave the room, and sympathize in her dressing-room. I have been weeping for you both, said she, in a tone of the sweetest pity--for poor L.'s heart, I have long known it--her anguish is as sharp as yours--her heart as tender--her constancy as great--her virtues as heroic--Heaven brought you not together to be tormented. I could only answer her with a kind look, and a heavy sigh, and returned home to your lodgings (which I have hired till your return) to resign myself to misery. Fanny had prepared me a supper--she is all attention to me--but I sat over it with tears; a bitter sauce, my L., but I could eat it with no other; for the moment she began to spread my little table, my heart fainted within me. One solitary plate, one knife, one fork, one glass! I gave a thousand pensive, penetrating looks at the chair thou hadst so often graced, in those quiet and sentimental repasts, then laid down my knife and fork, and took out my handkerchief, and clapped it across my face, and wept like a child. I could do so this very moment, my L.; for, as I take up my pen, my poor pulse quickens, my pale face glows, and tears are trickling down upon the paper, as I trace the word L----. O thou! blessed in thyself, and in thy virtues, blessed to all that know thee--to me most so, because more do I know of thee than all thy sex. This is the philtre, my L., by which thou hast charmed me, and by which thou wilt hold me thine, while virtue and faith hold this world together. This, my friend, is the plain and simple magic, by which I told Miss ---- I have won a place in that heart of thine, on which I depend so satisfied, that time, or distance, or change of everything which might alarm the hearts of little men, create no uneasy suspense in mine. Wast thou to stay in S---- these seven years, thy friend, though he would grieve, scorns to doubt, or to be doubted--'tis the only exception where security is not the parent of danger.

I told you poor Fanny was all attention to me since your departure--contrives every day bringing in the name of L. She told me last night (upon giving me some hartshorn), she had observed my illness began the very day of your departure for S----; that I had never held up my head, had seldom, or scarce ever, smiled, had fled from all society; that she verily believed I was broken-hearted, for she had never entered the room, or passed by the door, but she heard me sigh heavily; that I neither eat, or slept, or took pleasure in anything as before. Judge then, my L., can the valley look so well, or the roses and jessamines smell so sweet as heretofore? Ah me! but adieu--the vesper bell calls me from thee to my GOD.

To DAVID GARRICK

"Le chevalier Shandy"

Paris, 19 "March", 1762.

DEAR GARRICK,

This will be put into your hands by Dr. Shippen, a physician, who has been here some time with Miss Poyntz, and is at this moment setting out for your metropolis; so I snatch the opportunity of writing to you and my kind friend Mrs. Garrick. I see nothing like her here, and yet I have been introduced to one half of their best Goddesses, and in a month more shall be admitted to the shrines of the other half; but I neither worship or fall (much) on my knees before them; but, on the contrary, have converted many unto Shandeism; for be it known, I Shandy it away fifty times more than I was ever wont, talk more nonsense than ever you heard me talk in your days--and to all sorts of people. "Qui le diable est cet homme-là"--said Choiseul t'other day--"ce chevalier Shandy"? You'll think me as vain as a devil, was I to tell you the rest of the dialogue; whether the bearer knows it or no, I know not. 'Twill serve up after supper, in Southampton-street, amongst other small dishes, after the fatigues of Richard III. O God! they have nothing here, which gives the nerves so smart a blow, as those great characters in the hands of Garrick! but I forgot I am writing to the man himself. The devil take (as he will) these transports of enthusiasm! Apropos, the whole city of Paris is "bewitched" with the comic opera, and if it was not for the affair of the Jesuits, which takes up one half of our talk, the comic opera would have it all. It is a tragical nuisance in all companies as it is, and was it not for some sudden starts and dashes of Shandeism, which now and then either break the thread, or entangle it so, that the devil himself would be puzzled in winding it off, I should die a martyr--this by the way I never will.

I send you over some of these comic operas by the bearer, with the "Sallon", a satire. The French comedy, I seldom visit it--they act scarce in anything but tragedies--and the Clairon is great, and Mile. Dumesnil, in some places, still greater than her; yet I cannot bear preaching--I fancy I got a surfeit of it in my younger days. There is a tragedy to be damned to-night--peace be with it, and the gentle brain which made it! I have ten thousand things to tell you I cannot write, I do a thousand things which cut no figure, "but in the doing"--and as in London, I have the honour of having done and said a thousand things I never did or dreamed of--and yet I dream abundantly. If the devil stood behind me in the shape of a courier, I could not write faster than I do, having five letters more to dispatch by the same gentleman; he is going into another section of the globe, and when he has seen you, will depart in peace.

The Duke of Orleans has suffered my portrait to be added to the number of some odd men in his collection; and a gentleman who lives with him has taken it most expressively, at full length: I purpose to obtain an etching of it, and to send it you. Your prayer for me of "rosy health" is heard. If I stay here for three or four months, I shall return more than reinstated. My love to Mrs. Garrick.

To MR. FOLEY AT PARIS

"An adventure on the road"

Toulouse, 14 "Aug". 1762.

MY DEAR FOLEY,

After many turnings ("alias" digressions), to say nothing of downright overthrows, stops, and delays, we have arrived in three weeks at Toulouse, and are now settled in our houses with servants, &c., about us, and look as composed as if we had been here seven years. In our journey we suffered so much from the heats, it gives me pain to remember it; I never saw a cloud from Paris to Nismes half as broad as a twenty-four sols piece. Good God! we were toasted, roasted, grilled, stewed and carbonaded on one side or other all the way; and being all done enough ("assez cuits") in the day, we were eat up at night by bugs, and other unswept-out vermin, the legal inhabitants (if length of possession gives right) of every inn we lay at. Can you conceive a worse accident than that in such a journey, in the hottest day and hour of it, four miles from either tree or shrub which could cast a shade of the size of one of Eve's fig leaves, that we should break a hind wheel into ten thousand pieces, and be obliged in consequence to sit five hours on a gravelly road, without one drop of water, or possibility of getting any? To mend the matter, my two postillions were two dough-hearted fools, and fell a-crying. Nothing was to be done! By heaven, quoth I, pulling off my coat and waistcoat, something shall be done, for I'll thrash you both within an inch of your lives, and then make you take each of you a horse, and ride like two devils to the next post for a cart to carry my baggage, and a wheel to carry ourselves. Our luggage weighed ten quintals. It was the fair of Baucaire, all the world was going, or returning; we were asked by every soul who passed by us, if we were going to the fair of Baucaire. No wonder, quoth I, we have goods enough! "vous avez raison, mes amis"....

THOMAS GRAY

1716-1771

To RICHARD WEST

"Scenery at Tivoli"

Tivoli, 20 "May", 1740.

This day being in the palace of his Highness the Duke of Modena, he laid his most serene commands upon me to write to Mr. West, and said he thought it for his glory, that I should draw up an inventory of all his most serene possessions for the said West's perusal. Imprimis, a house, being in circumference a quarter of a mile, two feet and an inch; the said house containing the following particulars, to wit, a great room. Item, another great room; item, a bigger room; item, another room; item, a vast room; item, a sixth of the same; a seventh ditto; an eighth as before; a ninth as above said; a tenth (see No. 1); item, ten more such, besides twenty besides, which, not to be too particular, we shall pass over. The said rooms contain nine chairs, two tables, five stools and a cricket. From whence we shall proceed to the garden, containing two millions of superfine laurel hedges, a clump of cypress trees, and half the river Teverone.--Finis. Dame Nature desired me to put in a list of her little goods and chattels, and, as they were small, to be very minute about them. She has built here three or four little mountains, and laid them out in an irregular semi-circle; from certain others behind, at a greater distance, she has drawn a canal, into which she has put a little river of hers, called Anio; she has cut a huge cleft between the two innermost of her four hills, and there she has left it to its own disposal; which she has no sooner done, but, like a heedless chit, it tumbles headlong down a declivity fifty feet perpendicular, breaks itself all to shatters, and is converted into a shower of rain, where the sun forms many a bow, red, green, blue, and yellow. To get out of our metaphors without any further trouble, it is the most noble sight in the world. The weight of that quantity of waters, and the force they fall with, have worn the rocks they throw themselves among into a thousand irregular craggs, and to a vast depth. In this channel it goes boiling along with a mighty noise till it comes to another steep, where you see it a second time come roaring down (but first you must walk two miles farther) a greater height than before, but not with that quantity of waters; for by this time it has divided itself, being crossed and opposed by the rocks, into four several streams, each of which, in emulation of the great one, will tumble down too; and it does tumble down, but not from an equally elevated place; so that you have at one view all these cascades intermixed with groves of olive and little woods, the mountains rising behind them, and on the top of one (that which forms the extremity of one of the half-circle's horns) is seated the town itself. At the very extremity of that extremity, on the brink of the precipice, stands the Sybil's temple, the remains of a little rotunda, surrounded with its portico, above half of whose beautiful Corinthian pillars are still standing and entire; all this on one hand. On the other, the open Campagna of Rome, here and there a little castle on a hillock, and the city itself at the very brink of the horizon, indistinctly seen (being eighteen miles off) except the dome of St. Peter's; which, if you look out of your window, wherever you are, I suppose, you can see. I did not tell you that a little below the first fall, on the side of the rock, and hanging over that torrent, are little ruins which they show you for Horace's house, a curious situation to observe the

Praeceps Anio et Tiburni lucus, et uda Mobilibus pomaria rivis.

Maecenas did not care for such a noise, it seems, and built him a house (which they also carry one to see) so situated that it sees nothing at all of the matter, and for anything he knew there might be no such river in the world. Horace had another house on the other side of the Teverone, opposite to Maecenas's; and they told us there was a bridge of communication, by which "andava il detto Signor per trastullarsi coll' istesso Orazio". In coming hither we crossed the Aquae Albulae, a vile little brook that stinks like a fury, and they say it has stunk so these thousand years. I forgot the Piscina of Quintilius Varus, where he used to keep certain little fishes. This is very entire, and there is a piece of the aqueduct that supplied it too; in the garden below is old Rome, built in little, just as it was, they say. There are seven temples in it, and no houses at all; they say there were none.

TO THE SAME

"A poet's melancholy"

London, 27 "May", 1742.

Mine, you are to know is a white Melancholy, or rather Leucocholy for the most part; which, though it seldom laughs or dances, nor ever amounts to what one called Joy or Pleasure, yet is a good easy sort of a state, and "ça ne laisse que de s'amuser." The only fault is its insipidity; which is apt now and then to give a sort of Ennui, which makes one form certain little wishes that signify nothing. But there is another sort, black indeed, which I have now and then felt, that has somewhat in it like Tertullian's rule of faith, "Credo quia impossibile est"; for it believes, nay, is sure of everything that is unlikely, so it be but frightful; and on the other hand excludes and shuts its eyes to the most possible hopes, and everything that is pleasurable; from this the Lord deliver us! for none but he and sunshiny weather can do it. In hopes of enjoying this kind of weather I am going into the country for a few weeks, but shall be never the nearer any society; so, if you have any charity, you will continue to write. My life is like Harry the Fourth's supper of Hens, 'Poulets à la broche, Poulets en Ragoût, Poulets en Hâchis, Poulets en Fricassées '. Reading here, Reading there; nothing but books with different sauces. Do not let me lose my desert then; for though that be Reading too, yet it has a very different flavour. The May seems to be come since your invitation; and I propose to bask in her beams and dress me in her roses.

Et caput in verna semper habere rosa.

I shall see Mr. ---- and his Wife, nay, and his Child, too, for he has got a Boy. Is it not odd to consider one's Cotemporaries in the grave light of Husband and Father? There is my lords Sandwich and Halifax, they are Statesmen: Do not you remember them dirty boys playing at cricket? As for me, I am never a bit the older, nor the bigger, nor the wiser than I was then: no, not for having been beyond sea. Pray, how are you?...

To HORACE WALPOLE

"The fate of Selima"

Cambridge, 1 "March", 1747.

As one ought to be particularly careful to avoid blunders in a compliment of condolence, it would be a sensible satisfaction to me (before I testify my sorrow, and the sincere part I take in your misfortune) to know for certain, who it is that I lament. I knew Zara and Selima (Selima, was it? or Fatima?) or rather I knew both of them together; for I cannot justly say which was which. Then as to your handsome Cat, the name you distinguished her by, I am no less at a loss, as well knowing one's handsome cat is always the cat one likes best; or if one be alive and the other dead, it is usually the latter that is the handsomest. Besides, if the point were never so clear, I hope you do not think me so ill-bred or so imprudent as to forfeit all my interest in the survivor; Oh no! I would rather seem to mistake, and to be sure it must be the tabby one that had met with this sad accident. Till this affair is a little better determined, you will excuse me if I do not begin to cry:

Tempus inane peto, requiem, spatiumque doloris.

Which interval is the more convenient, as it gives time to rejoice with you on your new honours. This is only a beginning; I reckon next week we shall hear you are a free-Mason, or a Gormorgon at least. Heigh ho! I feel (as you to be sure have done long since) that I have very little to say, at least in prose. Somebody will be the better for it; I do not mean you, but your Cat, feuë Mademoiselle Selime, whom I am about to immortalize for one week or fortnight, as follows.

... There's a poem for you, it is rather too long for an Epitaph.

TO THE SAME

"Publication of the Elegy"

Cambridge, 11 "Feb". 1751.

As you have brought me into a little sort of distress, you must assist me, I believe, to get out of it as well as I can. Yesterday I had the misfortune of receiving a letter from certain gentlemen (as their bookseller expresses it), who have taken the "Magazine of Magazines" into their hands. They tell me that an "ingenious" poem, called "Reflections in a Country Churchyard", has been communicated to them, which they are printing forthwith; that they are informed that the "excellent" author of it is I by name, and that they beg not only his "indulgence", but the "honour" of his correspondence, &c. As I am not at all disposed to be either so indulgent, or so correspondent, as they desire, I have but one bad way left to escape the honour they would inflict upon me; and, therefore, am obliged to desire you would make Dodsley print it immediately (which may be done in less than a week's time) from your copy, but without my name, in what form is most convenient for him, but on his best paper and character; he must correct the press himself, and print it without any interval between the stanzas, because the sense is in some places continued beyond them; and the title must be,--"Elegy, written in a Country Churchyard". If he would add a line or two to say it came into his hands by accident, I should like it better. If you behold the "Magazine of Magazines" in the light that I do, you will not refuse to give yourself this trouble on my account, which you have taken of your own accord before now. If Dodsley do not do this immediately, he may as well let it alone.

TO THE SAME

"At Burnham"

[Burnham,] "Sept". 1737.

I was hindered in my last, and so could not give you all the trouble I would have done. The description of a road, which your coach wheels have so often honoured, it would be needless to give you; suffice it that I arrived safe at my uncle's, who is a great hunter in imagination; his dogs take up every chair in the house, so I am forced to stand at this present writing; and though the gout forbids him galloping after them in the field, yet he continues to regale his ears and nose with their comfortable noise and stink. He holds me mighty cheap, I perceive, for walking when I should ride, and reading when I should hunt. My comfort amidst all this is, that I have at the distance of half a mile, through a green lane, a forest (the vulgar call it a common) all my own, at least as good as so, for I spy no human thing in it but myself. It is a little chaos of mountains and precipices; mountains, it is true, that do not ascend much above the clouds, nor are the declivities quite so amazing as Dover Cliff; but just such hills as people who love their necks as well as I do may venture to climb, and crags that give the eye as much pleasure as if they were more dangerous. Both vale and hill are covered with most venerable beeches, and other very reverend vegetables, that, like most other ancient people, are always dreaming out their old stories to the winds.

"And as they bow their hoary tops relate, In murm'ring sounds, the dark decrees of fate; While visions, as poetic eyes avow, Cling to each leaf, and swarm on every bough."

At the foot of one of these squats ME I ("ilpenseroso"), and there grow to the trunk for a whole morning. The timorous hare and sportive squirrel gambol round me like Adam in Paradise, before he had an Eve; but I think he did not use to read Virgil, as I commonly do there. In this situation I often converse with my Horace, aloud too, that is talk to you, but I do not remember that I ever heard you answer me. I beg pardon for taking all the conversation to myself, but it is entirely your own fault....

To THE REV. WILLIAM MASON

"The Laureateship"

19 "Dec". 1757.

DEAR MASON,

Though I very well know the bland emollient saponaceous qualities both of sack and silver, yet if any great man would say to me, 'I make you Rat-catcher to his Majesty, with a salary of £300 a-year and two butts of the best Malaga; and though it has been usual to catch a mouse or two, for form's sake, in public once a year, yet to you, sir, we shall not stand on these things,' I cannot say I should jump at it; nay, if they would drop the very name of the office, and call me Sinecure to the King's Majesty, I should feel a little awkward, and think everybody I saw smelt a rat about me; but I do not pretend to blame any one else that has not the same sensations; for my part, I would rather be serjeant trumpeter or pinmaker to the palace. Nevertheless I interest myself a little in the history of it, and rather wish somebody may accept it who will retrieve the credit of the thing, if it be retrieveable, or ever had any credit. Rowe was, I think, the last man of character that had it. As to Settle, whom you mention, he belonged to my lord mayor, not to the King. Eusden was a person of great hopes in his youth, though at last he turned out a drunken person. Dryden was as disgraceful to the office from his character, as the poorest scribbler could have been from his verses. The office itself has always humbled the professor hitherto (even in an age when kings were somebody), if he were a poor writer by making him more conspicuous, and if he were a good one by setting him at war with the little fry of his own profession, for there are poets little enough to envy even a poet laureate.

To DR. WHARTON

"A holiday in Kent"

Pembroke College, 26 "Aug". 1766.

DEAR DOCTOR,

Whatever my pen may do, I am sure my thoughts expatiate nowhere oftener, or with more pleasure, than to Old Park. I hope you have made my peace with Miss Deborah. It is certain, whether her name were in my letter or not, she was as present to my memory as the rest of the little family; and I desire you would present her with two kisses in my name, and one a piece to all the others; for I shall take the liberty to kiss them all (great and small) as you are to be my proxy.

In spite of the rain, which I think continued with very short intervals till the beginning of this month, and quite effaced the summer from the year, I made a shift to pass May and June, not disagreeably, in Kent. I was surprised at the beauty of the road to Canterbury, which (I know not why) had not struck me in the same manner before. The whole country is a rich and well cultivated garden; orchards, cherry grounds, hop grounds, intermixed with corn and frequent villages, gentle risings covered with wood, and everywhere the Thames and Medway breaking in upon the landscape, with all their navigation. It was indeed owing to the bad weather that the whole scene was dressed in that tender emerald green, which one usually sees only for a fortnight in the opening of Spring; and this continued till I left the country. My residence was eight miles east of Canterbury, in a little quiet valley on the skirts of Barham Down; in these parts the whole soil is chalk, and whenever it holds up, in half an hour it is dry enough to walk out. I took the opportunity of three or four days fine weather to go into the Isle of Thanet, saw Margate (which is Bartholomew Fair by the seaside), Ramsgate, and other places there; and so came by Sandwich, Deal, Dover, Folkestone, and Hythe, back again. The coast is not like Hartlepool, there are no rocks, but only chalky cliffs, of no great height, till you come to Dover. There indeed they are noble and picturesque, and the opposite coasts of France begin to bound your view, which was left before to range unlimited by anything but the horizon; yet it is by no means a "shipless" sea, but everywhere peopled with white sails and vessels of all sizes in motion; and take notice (except in the Isle, which is all corn fields, and has very little enclosure), there are in all places hedgerows and tall trees, even within a few yards of the beach, particularly Hythe stands on an eminence covered with wood. I shall confess we had fires of a night (aye and a day too) several times even in June: but don't go too far and take advantage of this, for it was the most untoward year that ever I remember.

Your friend Rousseau (I doubt) grows tired of Mr. Davenport and Derbyshire; he has picked a quarrel with David Hume, and writes him letters of fourteen pages folio, upbraiding him with all his "noirceurs"; take one only as a specimen. He says, that at Calais they chanced to sleep in the same room together, and that he overheard David talking in his sleep, and saying, '"Ah! je le tiens, ce Jean-Jacques là".' In short (I fear), for want of persecution and admiration (for these are his real complaints), he will go back to the Continent.

What shall I say to you about the ministry? I am as angry as a common council man of London about my Lord Chatham; but a little more patient, and will hold my tongue till the end of the year. In the meantime I do mutter in secret, and to you, that to quit the House of Commons, his natural strength, to sap his own popularity and grandeur (which no one but himself could have done) by assuming a foolish title; and to hope that he could win by it, and attach to him a court that hate him, and will dismiss him as soon as ever they dare, was the weakest thing that ever was done by so great a man. Had it not been for this, I should have rejoiced at the breach between him and Lord Temple, and at the union between him and the Duke of Grafton and Mr. Conway: but patience! we shall see! Stonehewer perhaps is in the country (for he hoped for a month's leave of absence), and if you see him you will learn more than I can tell you.

HORACE WALPOLE

1717-1797

To RICHARD WEST

"Floods in the Arno"

From Florence, "Nov". 1740.

Child, I am going to let you see your shocking proceedings with us. On my conscience, I believe 'tis three months since you wrote to either Gray or me. If you had been ill, Ashton would have said so; and if you had been dead, the gazettes would have said it. If you had been angry,--but that's impossible; how can one quarrel with folks three thousand miles off? We are neither divines nor commentators, and consequently have not hated you on paper. 'Tis to show that my charity for you cannot be interrupted at this distance that I write to you, though I have nothing to say, for 'tis a bad time for small news; and when emperors and czarinas are dying all up and down Europe, one can't pretend to tell you of anything that happens within our sphere. Not but that we have our accidents too. If you have had a great wind in England, we have had a great water at Florence. We have been trying to set out every day, and pop upon you[1] ... It is fortunate that we stayed, for I don't know what had become of us! Yesterday, with violent rains, there came flouncing down from the mountains such a flood that it floated the whole city. The jewellers on the Old Bridge removed their commodities, and in two hours after the bridge was cracked. The torrent broke down the quays and drowned several coach-horses, which are kept here in stables under ground. We were moated into our house all day, which is near the Arno, and had the miserable spectacles of the ruins that were washed along with the hurricane. There was a cart with two oxen not quite dead, and four men in it drowned: but what was ridiculous, there came tiding along a fat hay-cock, with a hen and her eggs, and a cat. The torrent is considerably abated; but we expect terrible news from the country, especially from Pisa, which stands so much lower, and nearer the sea. There is a stone here, which, when the water overflows, Pisa is entirely flooded. The water rose two ells yesterday above that stone. Judge!

For this last month we have passed our time but dully, all diversions silenced on the Emperor's death, and everybody out of town. I have seen nothing but cards and dull pairs of cicisbeos. I have literally seen so much of love and pharaoh since being here, that I believe I shall never love either again so long as I live. Then I am got into a horrid lazy way of a morning. I don't believe I should know seven o'clock in the morning again if I was to see it. But I am returning to England, and shall grow very solemn and wise! Are you wise? Dear West, have pity on one who has done nothing of gravity for these two years, and do laugh sometimes. We do nothing else, and have contracted such formidable ideas of the good people of England that we are already nourishing great black eyebrows and great black beards, and teasing our countenances into wrinkles.

[Footnote 1: MS. torn here.]

To RICHARD BENTLEY

"Pictures and Garrick"

Strawberry Hill, 15 "Aug". 1755.

MY DEAR SIR,

Though I wrote to you so lately, and have certainly nothing new to tell you, I can't help scribbling a line to you to-night, as I am going to Mr. Rigby's for a week or ten days, and must thank you first for the three pictures. One of them charms me, the Mount Orgueil, which is absolutely fine; the sea, and shadow upon it, are masterly. The other two I don't, at least won't, take for finished. If you please, Elizabeth Castle shall be Mr. Müntz's performance: indeed I see nothing of you in it. I do reconnoitre you in the Hercules and Nessus; but in both, your colours are dirty, carelessly dirty: in your distant hills you are improved, and not hard. The figures are too large--I don't mean in the Elizabeth Castle, for there they are neat; but the centaur, though he dies as well as Garrick can, is outrageous. Hercules and Deianira are by no means so: he is sentimental, and she most improperly sorrowful. However, I am pleased enough to beg you would continue. As soon as Mr. Müntz returns from the Vine, you shall have a good supply of colours. In the meantime why give up the good old trade of drawing? Have you no Indian ink, no soot-water, no snuff, no coat of onion, no juice of anything? If you love me, draw: you would if you knew the real pleasure you can give me. I have been studying all your drawings; and next to architecture and trees, I determine that you succeed in nothing better than animals. Now (as the newspapers say) the late ingenious Mr. Seymour is dead, I would recommend horses and greyhounds to you. I should think you capable of a landscape or two with delicious bits of architecture. I have known you execute the light of a torch or lanthorn so well, that if it was called Schalken, a housekeeper at Hampton Court or Windsor, or a Catherine at Strawberry Hill, would show it, and say it cost ten thousand pounds. Nay, if I could believe that you would ever execute any more designs I proposed to you, I would give you a hint for a picture that struck me t'other day in Péréfixe's "Life of Henry IV". He says, the king was often seen lying upon a common straw-bed among the soldiers, with a piece of brown bread in one hand, and a bit of charcoal in t'other, to draw an encampment, or town that he was besieging. If this is not character and a picture, I don't know what is.

I dined to-day at Garrick's: there were the Duke of Grafton, Lord and Lady Rochford, Lady Holderness, the crooked Mostyn, and Dabreu the Spanish minister; two regents, of which one is lord chamberlain, the other groom of the stole; and the wife of a secretary of state. This is being "sur un assez bon ton" for a player! Don't you want to ask me how I like him? Do want, and I will tell you.--I like her exceedingly; her behaviour is all sense, and all sweetness too. I don't know how, he does not improve so fast upon me: there is a great deal of parts, and vivacity, and variety, but there is a great deal too of mimicry and burlesque. I am very ungrateful, for he flatters me abundantly; but unluckily I know it. I was accustomed to it enough when my father was first minister: on his fall I lost it all at once: and since that, I have lived with Mr. Chute, who is all vehemence; with Mr. Fox, who is all disputation; with Sir Charles Williams, who has no time from flattering himself; with Gray, who does not hate to find fault with me; with Mr. Conway, who is all sincerity; and with you and Mr. Rigby, who have always laughed at me in a good-natured way. I don't know how, but I think I like all this as well--I beg his pardon, Mr. Raftor does flatter me; but I should be a cormorant for praise, if I could swallow it whole as he gives it me.

Sir William Yonge, who has been extinct so long, is at last dead; and the war, which began with such a flirt of vivacity, is I think gone to sleep. General Braddock has not yet sent over to claim the surname of Americanus. But why should I take pains to show you in how many ways I know nothing?--Why; I can tell it you in one word--why, Mr. Cambridge knows nothing!--I wish you good-night!

To GEORGE, LORD LYTTELTON

"Gray's Odes"

Strawberry Hill, 25 "Aug". 1757.

MY LORD,

It is a satisfaction one can't often receive, to show a thing of great merit to a man of great taste. Your Lordship's approbation is conclusive, and it stamps a disgrace on the age, who have not given themselves the trouble to see any beauties in these "Odes" of Mr. Gray. They have cast their eyes over them, found them obscure, and looked no further, yet perhaps no compositions ever had more sublime beauties than are in each. I agree with your Lordship in preferring the last upon the whole; the three first stanzas and half, down to "agonizing King", are in my opinion equal to anything in any language I understand. Yet the three last of the first Ode please me very near as much. The description of Shakespeare is worthy Shakespeare: the account of Milton's blindness, though perhaps not strictly defensible, is very majestic. The character of Dryden's poetry is as animated as what it paints. I can even like the epithet "Orient"; as the last is the empire of fancy and poesy, I would allow its livery to be erected into a colour. I think "blue-eyed Pleasures" is allowable: when Homer gave eyes of what hue he pleased to his Queen-Goddesses, sure Mr. Gray may tinge those of their handmaids.

In answer to your Lordship's objection to "many-twinkling", in that beautiful epode, I will quote authority to which you will yield. As Greek as the expression is, it struck Mrs. Garrick, and she says, on that whole picture, that Mr. Gray is the only poet who ever understood dancing.

These faults I think I can defend, and can excuse others; even the great obscurity of the latter, for I do not see it in the first; the subject of it has been taken for music,--it is the Power and Progress of Harmonious Poetry. I think his objection to prefixing a title to it was wrong--that Mr. Cooke published an ode with such a title. If the Louis the Great, whom Voltaire has discovered in Hungary, had not disappeared from history himself, would not Louis Quatorze have annihilated him? I was aware that the second would have darknesses, and prevailed for the insertion of what notes there are, and would have had more. Mr. Gray said, whatever wanted explanation did not deserve it, but that sentence was never so far from being an axiom as in the present case. Not to mention how he had shackled himself with strophe, antistrophe, and epode (yet acquitting himself nobly), the nature of prophecy forbade him naming his kings. To me they are apparent enough--yet I am far from thinking either piece perfect, though with what faults they have, I hold them in the first rank of genius and poetry. The second strophe of the first Ode is inexcusable, nor do I wonder your Lordship blames it; even when one does understand it, perhaps the last line is too turgid. I am not fond of the antistrophe that follows. In the second Ode he made some corrections for the worse. "Brave Urion" was originally "stern": brave is insipid and commonplace. In the third antistrophe, "leave me unblessed, unpitied", stood at first, "leave your despairing Caradoc". But the capital faults in my opinion are these--what punishment was it to Edward I to hear that his grandson would conquer France? or is so common an event as Edward III being deserted on his death-bed, worthy of being made part of a curse that was to avenge a nation? I can't cast my eye here, without crying out on those beautiful lines that follow, "Fair smiles the morn"? Though the images are extremely complicated, what painting in the whirlwind, likened to a lion lying in ambush for his evening prey, "in grim repose". Thirst and hunger mocking Richard II appear to me too ludicrously like the devils in "The Tempest", that whisk away the banquet from the shipwrecked Dukes. From thence to the conclusion of Queen Elizabeth's portrait, which he has faithfully copied from Speed, in the passage where she humbled the Polish Ambassador, I admire. I can even allow that image of Rapture hovering like an ancient grotesque, though it strictly has little meaning: but there I take my leave--the last stanza has no beauties for me. I even think its obscurity fortunate, for the allusions to Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, are not only weak, but the two last returning again, after appearing so gloriously in the first Ode, and with so much fainter colours, enervate the whole conclusion.

Your Lordship sees that I am no enthusiast to Mr. Gray: his great lustre has not dazzled me, as his obscurity seems to have blinded his contemporaries. Indeed, I do not think that they ever admired him, except in his Churchyard, though the Eton Ode was far its superior, and is certainly not obscure. The Eton Ode is perfect: those of more masterly execution have defects, yet not to admire them is total want of taste. I have an aversion to tame poetry; at best, perhaps the art is the sublimest of the "difficiles nugae"; to measure or rhyme prose is trifling without being difficult.

To GEORGE MONTAGU

"At Lady Suffolk's"

Arlington Street, 11 "Jan". 1764.

It is an age, I own, since I wrote to you; but except politics, what was there to send you? and for politics, the present are too contemptible to be recorded by anybody but journalists, gazetteers, and such historians! The ordinary of Newgate, or Mr.----, who write for their monthly half-crown, and who are indifferent whether Lord Bute, Lord Melcombe, or Maclean is their hero, may swear they find diamonds on dunghills; but you will excuse "me", if I let our correspondence lie dormant rather than deal in such trash. I am forced to send Lord Hertford and Sir Horace Mann such garbage, because they are out of England, and the sea softens and makes palatable any potion, as it does claret; but unless I can divert "you", I had rather wait till we can laugh together; the best employment for friends, who do not mean to pick one another's pockets, nor make a property of either's frankness. Instead of politics, therefore, I shall amuse you to-day with a fairy tale.

I was desired to be at my Lady Suffolk's on New Year's morn, where I found Lady Temple and others. On the toilet Miss Hotham spied a small round box. She seized it with all the eagerness and curiosity of eleven years. In it was wrapped up a heart-diamond ring, and a paper in which, in a hand as small as Buckinger's, who used to write the Lord's Prayer in the compass of a silver penny, were the following lines:

Sent by a sylph, unheard, unseen, A new-year's gift from Mab our queen: But tell it not, for if you do, You will be pinch'd all black and blue. Consider well, what a disgrace, To show abroad your mottled face: Then seal your lips, put on the ring, And sometimes think of Ob. the King.

You will easily guess that Lady Temple was the poetess, and that we were delighted with the genteelness of the thought and execution. The child, you may imagine, was less transported with the poetry than the present. Her attention, however, was hurried backwards and forwards from the ring to a new coat, that she had been trying on when sent for down; impatient to revisit her coat, and to show the ring to her maid, she whisked upstairs; when she came down again, she found a letter sealed, and lying on the floor--new exclamations! Lady Suffolk bade her open it: here it is:

Your tongue, too nimble for your sense, Is guilty of a high offence; Hath introduced unkind debate, And topsy-turvy turn'd our state. In gallantry I sent the ring, The token of a love-sick king: Under fair Mab's auspicious name From me the trifling present came. You blabb'd the news in Suffolk's ear; The tattling zephyrs brought it here, As Mab was indolently laid Under a poppy's spreading shade. The jealous queen started in rage; She kick'd her crown, and beat her page: 'Bring me my magic wand ', she cries; 'Under that primrose, there it lies; I'll change the silly, saucy chit, Into a flea, a louse, a nit, A worm, a grasshopper, a rat, An owl, a monkey, hedgehog, bat. But hold, why not by fairy art Transform the wretch, into--? Ixion once a cloud embraced, By Jove and jealousy well placed; What sport to see proud Oberon stare And flirt it with a--!' Then thrice she stamped the trembling ground, And thrice she waved her wand around; When I, endow'd with greater skill, And less inclined to do you ill, Mutter'd some words, withheld her arm, And kindly stopp'd the unfinish'd charm. But though not changed to owl or bat, Or something more indelicate; Yet, as your tongue has run too fast, Your boasted beauty must not last. No more shall frolic Cupid lie In ambuscade in either eye, From thence to aim his keenest dart To captivate each youthful heart: No more shall envious misses pine At charms now flown, that once were thine: No more, since you so ill behave, Shall injured Oberon be your slave.

There is one word which I could wish had not been there, though it is prettily excused afterwards. The next day my Lady Suffolk desired I would write her a patent for appointing Lady Temple poet laureate to the fairies. I was excessively out of order with a pain in my stomach, which I had had for ten days, and was fitter to write verses like a poet laureate, than for making one; however, I was going home to dinner alone, and at six I sent her some lines, which you ought to have seen how sick I was, to excuse; but first, I must tell you my tale methodically. The next morning by nine o'clock Miss Hotham (she must forgive me twenty years hence for saying she was eleven, for I recollect she is but ten) arrived at Lady Temple's, her face and neck all spotted with saffron, and limping. 'Oh, madam!' said she, 'I am undone for ever if you do not assist me!' 'Lord, child,' cried my Lady Temple, 'what is the matter?' thinking she had hurt herself, or lost the ring, and that she was stolen out before her aunt was up. 'Oh, madam,' said the girl, 'nobody but you can assist me!' My Lady Temple protests the child acted her part so well as to deceive her. 'What can I do for you?' 'Dear madam, take this load from my back; nobody but you can.' Lady Temple turned her round, and upon her back was tied a child's waggon. In it were three tiny purses of blue velvet; in one of them a silver cup, in another a crown of laurel, and in the third four new silver pennies, with the patent, signed at top, 'Oberon Imperator'; and two sheets of warrants strung together with blue silk according to form; and at top an office seal of wax and a chaplet of cut paper on it. The warrants were these:

From the Royal Mews: A waggon with the draught horses, delivered by command without fee.

From the Lord Chamberlain's Office: A warrant with the royal sign manual, delivered by command without fee, being first entered in the office books.

From the Lord Steward's Office: A butt of sack, delivered without fee or gratuity, with an order for returning the cask for the use of the office, by command.

From the Great Wardrobe: Three velvet bags, delivered without fee, by command.

From the Treasurer of the Household's Office: A year's salary paid free from land-tax, poundage, or any other deduction whatever, by command.

From the Jewel Office: A silver butt, a silver cup, a wreath of bays, by command without fee.

Then came the Patent:

By these presents be it known, To all who bend before our throne, Fays and fairies, elves and sprites, Beauteous dames and gallant knights, That we, Oberon the grand, Emperor of fairy-land, King of moonshine, prince of dreams, Lord of Aganippe's streams, Baron of the dimpled isles That lie in pretty maidens' smiles, Arch-treasurer of all the graces Dispersed through fifty lovely faces, Sovereign of the slipper's order, With all the rites thereon that border, Defender of the sylphic faith, Declare--and thus your monarch saith: Whereas there is a noble dame, Whom mortals Countess Temple name, To whom ourself did erst impart The choicest secrets of our art, Taught her to tune the harmonious line To our own melody divine, Taught her the graceful negligence, Which, scorning art and veiling sense, Achieves that conquest o'er the heart Sense seldom gains, and never art; This lady, 'tis our royal will, Our laureate's vacant seat should fill: A chaplet of immortal bays Shall crown her brow and guard her lays; Of nectar sack an acorn cup Be at her board each year filled up; And as each quarter feast comes round A silver penny shall be found Within the compass of her shoe-- And so we bid you all adieu!

Given at our palace of Cowslip Castle, the shortest night of the year.

OBERON.

And underneath,

HOTHAMINA.

How shall I tell you the greatest curiosity of the story? The whole plan and execution of the second act was laid and adjusted by my Lady Suffolk herself and Will. Chetwynd, Master of the Mint, Lord Bolingbroke's Oroonoho-Chetwynd; he fourscore, she past seventy-six; and what is more, much worse than I was, for, added to her deafness, she has been confined these three weeks with the gout in her eyes, and was actually then in misery, and had been without sleep. What spirits, and cleverness, and imagination, at that age, and under those afflicting circumstances! You reconnoitre her old court knowledge, how charmingly she has applied it! Do you wonder I pass so many hours and evenings with her? Alas! I had like to have lost her this morning! They had poulticed her feet to draw the gout downwards, and began to succeed yesterday, but to-day it flew up into her head, and she was almost in convulsions with the agony, and screamed dreadfully; proof enough how ill she was, for her patience and good breeding make her for ever sink and conceal what she feels. This evening the gout has been driven back to her foot, and I trust she is out of danger. Her loss would be irreparable to me at Twickenham, where she is by far the most rational and agreeable company I have....

To LADY HERVEY

"A quiet life"

Strawberry Hill, 11 "June", 1765.

I am almost as much ashamed, Madam, to plead the true cause of my faults towards your ladyship, as to have been guilty of any neglect. It is scandalous, at my age, to have been carried backwards and forwards to balls and suppers and parties by very young people, as I was all last week. My resolutions of growing old and staid are admirable: I wake with a sober plan, and intend to pass the day with my friends--then comes the Duke of Richmond, and hurries me down to Whitehall to dinner--then the Duchess of Grafton sends for me to too in Upper Grosvenor Street--before I can get thither, I am begged to step to Kensington, to give Mrs. Anne Pitt my opinion about a bow-window--after the loo, I am to march back to Whitehall to supper--and after that, am to walk with Miss Pelham on the terrace till two in the morning, because it is moonlight and her chair is not come. All this does not help my morning laziness; and by the time I have breakfasted, fed my birds and my squirrels, and dressed, there is an auction ready. In short, Madam, this was my life last week, and is I think every week, with the addition of forty episodes.--Yet, ridiculous as it is, I send it to your ladyship, because I had rather you should laugh at me than be angry. I cannot offend you in intention, but I fear my sins of omission are equal to a good many Christian's. Pray forgive me. I really will begin to be between forty and fifty by the time I am fourscore: and I truly believe I shall bring my resolutions within compass; for I have not chalked out any particular business that will take me above forty years more; so that, if I do not get acquainted with the grandchildren of all the present age, I shall lead a quiet sober life yet before I die....

To THE REV. WILLIAM COLE

"Gray's death"

Paris, 12 "Aug". 1771.

DEAR SIR,

I am excessively shocked at reading in the papers that Mr. Gray is dead! I wish to God you may be able to tell me it is not true! Yet in this painful uncertainty I must rest some days! None of my acquaintance are in London. I do not know to whom to apply but to you. Alas! I fear in vain! Too many circumstances speak it true! the detail is exact;--a second paper arrived by the same post, and does not contradict it--and what is worse, I saw him but four or five days before I came hither; he had been to Kensington for the air, complained of gout flying about him, of sensations of it in his stomach, and indeed, thought him changed, and that he looked ill--still I had not the least idea of his being in danger.--I started up from my chair, when I read the paragraph--a cannon-ball could not have surprised me more! The shock but ceased, to give way to my concern; and my hopes are too ill founded to mitigate it. If nobody has the charity to write to me, my anxiety must continue till the end of the month, for I shall set out on my return on the 26th; and unless you receive this time enough for your answer to leave London on the 20th, in the evening, I cannot meet it, till I find it in Arlington Street, whither I beg you to direct it.

If the event is but too true, pray add to this melancholy service, that of telling me any circumstances you know of his death. Our long, very long friendship, and his genius, must endear to me everything that relates to him. What writings has he left? Who are his executors? I should earnestly wish, if he has destined anything to the public, to print it at my press--it would do me honour, and would give me an opportunity of expressing what I feel for him. Methinks, as we grow old, our only business here is to adorn the graves of our friends, or to dig our own.

To THE REV. WILLIAM MASON

"The quarrel with Gray"

2 "March", 1773.

What shall I say? How shall I thank you for the kind manner in which you submit your papers to my correction? But if you are friendly, I must be just. I am so far from being dissatisfied, that I must beg to shorten your pen, and in that respect only would I wish, with regard to myself, to alter your text. I am conscious that in the beginning of the differences between Gray and me, the fault was mine. I was young, too fond of my own diversions; nay, I do not doubt, too much intoxicated by indulgence, vanity, and the insolence of my situation, as a prime minister's son, not to have been inattentive to the feelings of one, I blush to say it, that I knew was obliged to me; of one, whom presumption and folly made me deem not very superior in parts, though I have since felt my infinite inferiority to him. I treated him insolently. He loved me, and I did not think he did. I reproached him with the difference between us, when he acted from the conviction of knowing that he was my superior. I often disregarded his wish of seeing places, which I would not quit my own amusements to visit, though I offered to send him thither without me. Forgive me, if I say that his temper was not conciliating, at the same time that I will confess to you that he acted a most friendly part, had I had the sense to take advantage of it. He freely told me my faults. I declared I did not wish to hear them, nor would correct them. You will not wonder, that with the dignity of his spirit, and the obstinate carelessness of mine, the breach must have widened till we became incompatible.

After this confession, I fear you will think I fall short in the words I wish to have substituted for some of yours. If you think them inadequate to the state of the case, as I own they are, preserve this letter, and let some future Sir John Dalrymple produce it to load my memory; but I own I do not desire that any ambiguity should aid his invention to forge an account for me. If you have no objection, I would propose your narrative should run thus ... and contain no more, till a proper time shall come for publishing the truth, as I have stated it to you. While I am living, it is not pleasant to see my private disagreements discussed in magazines and newspapers.

To THE COUNTESS OF UPPER OSSORY

"Fashionable intelligence"

Strawberry Hill, 27 "March", 1773.

What play makes you laugh very much, and yet is a very wretched comedy? Dr. Goldsmith's "She Stoops to Conquer". Stoops indeed!--so she does, that is the Muse; she is draggled up to the knees, and has trudged, I believe, from Southwark fair. The whole view of the piece is low humour, and no humour is in it. All the merit is in the situations, which are comic; the heroine has no more modesty than Lady Bridget, and the author's wit is as much "manqué" as the lady's; but some of the characters are well acted, and Woodward speaks a poor prologue, written by Garrick, admirably.

You perceive, Madam, that I have boldly sallied to a play; but the heat of the house and of this sultry March half killed me, yet I limp about as if I was young and pleased. From the play I travelled to Upper Grosvenor Street, to Lady Edgecumbe's, supped at Lady Hertford's. That Maccaroni rake, Lady Powis, who is just come to her estate and spending it, calling in with news of a fire in the Strand at past one in the morning, Lady Hertford, Lady Powis, Mrs. Howe, and I, set out to see it, and were within an inch of seeing the Adelphi buildings burnt to the ground. I was to have gone to the Oratorio next night for Miss Linley's sake, but, being engaged to the French ambassador's ball afterwards, I thought I was not quite Hercules enough for so many labours, and declined the former.

The house was all arbours and bowers, but rather more approaching to Calcutta, where so many English were stewed to death; for as the Queen would not dis-Maid of Honour herself of Miss Vernon till after the Oratorio, the ball-room was not opened till she arrived, and we were penned together in the little hall till we could not breathe. The quadrilles were very pretty: Mrs. Darner, Lady Sefton, Lady Melbourne, and the Princess Czartoriski in blue satin, with blond and "collets montés à la reine Elizabeth"; Lord Robert Spencer, Mr. Fitzpatrick, Lord Carlisle, and I forget whom, in like dresses with red sashes, "derouge", black hats with diamond loops and a few feathers before, began; then the Henri Quatres and Quatresses, who were Lady Craven, Miss Minching, the two Misses Vernons, Mr. Storer, Mr. Hanger, the Duc de Lauzun, and George Damer, all in white, the men with black hats and white feathers napping behind, danced another quadrille, and then both quadrilles joined; after which Mrs. Hobart, all in gauze and spangles, like a spangle-pudding, a Miss I forget, Lord Edward Bentinck, and a Mr. Corbet, danced a "pas-de-quatre", in which Mrs. Hobart indeed performed admirably.

The fine Mrs. Matthews in white, trimmed down all the neck and petticoat with scarlet cock's feathers, appeared like a new macaw brought from Otaheite; but of all the pretty creatures next to the Carrara (who was not there) was Mrs. Bunbury; so that with her I was in love till one o'clock, and then came home to bed. The Duchess of Queensberry had a round gown of rose-colour, with a man's cape, which, with the stomacher and sleeves, was all trimmed with mother-of-pearl earrings. This Pindaric gown was a sudden thought to surprise the Duke, with whom she had dined in another dress. Did you ever see so good a joke?...

Lord Chesterfield was dead before my last letter that foretold his death set out. Alas! I shall have no more of his lively sayings, Madam, to send you. Oh yes! I have his last: being told of the quarrel in Spitalfields, and even that Mrs. F[itzroy] struck Miss P[oole], he said, I always thought Mrs. F. a "striking" beauty.'

Thus, having given away all his wit to the last farthing, he has left nothing but some poor witticisms in his will, tying up his heir by forfeitures and jokes from going to Newmarket.

I wrote this letter at Strawberry, and find nothing new in town to add but a cold north-east that has brought back all our fires and furs. Pray tell me a little of your Ladyship's futurity, and whether you will deign to pass through London.

TO THE REV. WILLIAM COLE

"Antiquaries and authors"

Arlington Street, 27 "April", 1773.

... Mr. Gough wants to be introduced to me! Indeed! I would see him;... but he is so dull that he would only be troublesome--and besides, you know I shun authors, and would never have been one myself, if it obliged me to keep such bad company. They are always in earnest, and think their profession serious, and will dwell upon trifles, and reverence learning. I laugh at all these things, and write only to laugh at them, and divert myself. None of us are authors of any consequence; and it is the most ridiculous of all vanities to be vain of being "mediocre". A page in a great author humbles me to the dust; and the conversation of those that are not superior to myself, reminds me of what will be thought of myself. I blush to flatter them, or to be flattered by them, and should dread letters being published some time or other, in which they would relate our interviews, and we should appear like those puny conceited witlings in Shenstone's and Hughes's "Correspondence", who give themselves airs from being in possession of the soil of Parnassus for the time being; as peers are proud, because they enjoy the estates of great men who went before them. Mr. Gough is very welcome to see Strawberry Hill; or I would help him to any scraps in my possession, that would assist his publications; though he is one of those industrious who are only re-burying the dead--but I cannot be acquainted with him. It is contrary to my system and my humour; and besides, I know nothing of barrows, and Danish intrenchments, and Saxon barbarisms, and Phoenician characters--in short, I know nothing of those ages that knew nothing--how then should I be of use to modern litterati? All the Scotch metaphysicians have sent me their works. I did not read one of them, because I do not understand what is not understood by those that write about it; and I did not get acquainted with one of the writers. I should like to be acquainted with Mr. Anstey, even though he wrote Lord Buckhorse, or with the author of the "Heroic Epistle"--I have no thirst to know the rest of my contemporaries, from the absurd bombast of Dr. Johnson down to the silly Dr. Goldsmith; though the latter changeling has had bright gleams of parts, and though the former had sense, till he changed it for words, and sold it for a pension. Don't think me scornful. Recollect that I have seen Pope, and lived with Gray. Adieu!

TO THE MISS BERRYS

"Their first meeting"

Tuesday night, 8 o'clock, 17 "Sept." 1793.

My beloved spouses,

Whom I love better than Solomon loved his one spouse--or his one thousand. I lament that the summer is over; not because of its iniquity, but because you two made it so delightful to me, that six weeks of gout could not sour it. Pray take care of yourselves--not for your own sakes, but for mine; for, as I have just had my quota of gout, I may, possibly, expect to see another summer; and, as you allow that I do know my own, and when I wish for anything and have it, am entirely satisfied, you may depend upon it that I shall be as happy with a third summer, if I reach it, as I have been with the two last.

Consider, that I have been threescore years and ten looking for a society that I perfectly like; and at last there dropped out of the clouds into Lady Herries's room two young gentlewomen, who I so little thought were sent thither on purpose for me, that when I was told they were the charming Miss Berrys, I would not even go to the side of the chamber where they sat. But, as Fortune never throws anything at one's head without hitting one, I soon found out that the charming Berrys were precisely "ce qu'il me fallait"; and that though young enough to be my great-grand-daughters, lovely enough to turn the heads of all our youths, and sensible enough, if said youths have any brains, to set all their heads to rights again. Yes, sweet damsels, I have found that you can bear to pass half your time with an antediluvian, without discovering any "ennui" or disgust; though his greatest merit towards you is, that he is not one of those old fools who fancy they are in love in their dotage. I have no such vagary; though I am not sorry that some folks think I am so absurd, since it frets their selfishness.

OLIVER GOLDSMITH

1728-1774

TO HIS MOTHER

"At Cork"

[c. 1751.]

My dear mother,

If you will sit down and calmly listen to what I say, you shall be fully resolved in every one of those many questions you have asked me. I went to Cork and converted my horse, which you prize so much higher than Fiddleback, into cash, took my passage in a ship bound for America, and, at the same time, paid the captain for my freight and all the other expenses of my voyage. But it so happened that the wind did not answer for three weeks; and you know, mother, that I could not command the elements. My misfortune was, that, when the wind served, I happened to be with a party in the country, and my friend the captain never inquired after me, but set sail with as much indifference as if I had been on board. The remainder of my time I employed in the city and its environs, viewing everything curious; and you know no one can starve while he has money in his pocket.

Reduced, however, to my last two guineas, I began to think of my dear mother and friends whom I had left behind me, and so bought that generous beast Fiddleback, and made adieu to Cork with only five shillings in my pocket. This, to be sure, was but a scanty allowance for man and horse towards a journey of above a hundred miles; but I did not despair, for I knew I must find friends on the road.

I recollected particularly an old and faithful acquaintance I made at college, who had often and earnestly pressed me to spend a summer with him, and he lived but eight miles from Cork. This circumstance of vicinity he would expatiate on to me with peculiar emphasis. 'We shall,' says he, 'enjoy the delights of both city and country, and you shall command my stable and my purse.'

However, upon the way, I met a poor woman all in tears, who told me her husband had been arrested for a debt he was not able to pay, and that his eight children must now starve, bereaved as they were of his industry, which had been their only support. I thought myself at home, being not far from my good friend's house, and therefore parted with a moiety of all my store; and pray, mother, ought I not to have given her the other half-crown, for what she got would be of little use to her? However, I soon arrived at the mansion of my affectionate friend, guarded by the vigilance of a huge mastiff, who flew at me, and would have torn me to pieces but for the assistance of a woman, whose countenance was not less grim than that of the dog; yet she with great humanity relieved me from the jaws of this Cerberus, and was prevailed on to carry up my name to her master.

Without suffering me to wait long, my old friend, who was then recovering from a severe fit of sickness, came down in his nightcap, nightgown, and slippers, and embraced me with the most cordial welcome, showed me in, and after giving me a history of his indisposition, assured me that he considered himself peculiarly fortunate in having under his roof the man he most loved on earth, and whose stay with him must, above all things, contribute to his perfect recovery. I now repented sorely I had not given the poor woman the other half-crown, as I thought all my bills of humanity would be punctually answered by this worthy man. I revealed to him my whole soul; I opened to him all my distresses; and freely owned that I had but one half-crown in my pocket; but that now, like a ship after weathering out the storm, I considered myself secure in a safe and hospitable harbour. He made no answer, but walked about the room, rubbing his hands as one in deep study. This I imputed to the sympathetic feelings of a tender heart, which increased my esteem for him, and as that increased, I gave the most favourable interpretation to his silence. I construed it into delicacy of sentiment, as if he dreaded to wound my pride by expressing his commiseration in words, leaving his generous conduct to speak for itself.

It now approached six o'clock in the evening; and as I had eaten no breakfast, and as my spirits were raised, my appetite for dinner grew uncommonly keen. At length the old woman came into the room with two plates, one spoon, and a dirty cloth which she laid upon the table. This appearance, without increasing my spirits, did not diminish my appetite. My protectress soon returned with a small bowl of sago, a small porringer of sour milk, a loaf of stale brown bread, and the heel of an old cheese all over crawling with mites. My friend apologized that his illness obliged him to live on slops, and that better fare was not in the house; observing, at the same time, that a milk diet was certainly the most healthful; and at eight o'clock he again recommended a regular life, declaring that for his part he would lie down with the lamb and rise with the lark. My hunger was at this time so exceedingly sharp that I wished for another slice of the loaf, but was obliged to go to bed without even that refreshment.

This lenten entertainment I had received made me resolve to depart as soon as possible; accordingly, next morning, when I spoke of going, he did not oppose my resolution; he rather commended my design, adding some very sage counsel upon the occasion. 'To be sure,' said he, 'the longer you stay away from your mother, the more you will grieve her and your other friends; and possibly they are already afflicted at hearing of this foolish expedition you have ma

 

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