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ηδ' επιθήσω Φάρμαχ, ά κεν πάυσησι μελαινάων οδυνάων. si de his pharmacis non satis liquet; sunt festivitates meræ, sunt facetiæ et risus; quos ego equidem si adhibere nequeo, tamen ad præcipiendum (ut medicorum fere mos est) certè satis sim; id, quod poeticè sub finem epistolæ lusisti, mihi gratissimum quidem accidit; admodum Latinè coctum et conditum tetrasticon, Græcam tamen illam ápadelav mirificè sapit: tu quod restat, vide, sodes, hujusce hominis ignorantiam; cum, unde hoc tibi sit depromptum, (ut fatear) prorsus nescio: sanè ego equidem nihil in capsis reperio quo tibi minimæ partis solutio fiat. Vale, et me ut soles, ama.
A.D. 11 Kalend. Februar.
MR. WEST TO MR. GRAY.
I ought to answer you in Latin, but I feel I dare not enter the lists with you — cupidum, pater optime, vires deficiunt. Seriously, you write in that language with a grace and an Augustan urbanity that amazes me: your Greek too is perfect in its kind. And here let me wonder that a man, longè Græcorum doctissimus, should be at a loss for the verse and chapter whence my epigram is taken. I am sorry I have not my Aldus with
* This was written in French, but as I doubted whether it would stand the test of polite criticism so well as the preceding would of learned, I chose to translate so much of it as I thought necessary, in order to preserve the chain of correspondence.
me, that I might satisfy your curiosity; but he, with all my other literary folks, are left at Oxford, and therefore you must still rest in suspense. I thank you again and again for your medical prescription. I know very well that those “ risus, , festivitates, et facetia" would contribute greatly to my cure, but then you must be my apothecary as well as physician, and make up the dose as well as direct it: send me, therefore, an electuary of these drugs, made up secundùm artem, “et eris mihi magnus Apollo,” in both his capacities as a god of poets and god of physicians. Wish me joy of leaving my college, and leave yours as fast as you can.
I shall be settled at the Temple very
Dartmouth-street, Feb. 21, 1737-8.
MR. GRAY TO MR. WEST.
*BARBARAS ædes aditure mecum,
Dulcius quanto, patulis sub ulmi
Fallere Musa !
* I choose to call this delicate Sapphic Ode the first original production of Mr. Gray's muse; for verses imposed either by schoolmasters or tutors ought not, I think, to be taken into the consideration. There is seldom a verse that flows well from the pen of a real poet if it does not low voluntarily.
Sæpe enim euris vagor expedita
Cedere nocti ;
Et, pedes quò me rapiunt, in omni
Risit et Ver me, facilesq; Nymphæ
Me reclinatum teneram per herbam;
Nectit in omni.
Hæ novo nostrum ferè pectus anno
Otia et campos nec adhuc relinquo,
Namque, seu, lætos hominum labores
Vestit, et auro;
Sedulus servo veneratus orbem
Usque dum, fulgore magis magis jam
O ego felix, vice si (nec unquam
Fallere Letho !
Multa flagranti radiisq; cincto
Sentit Olympus !
Ohe! amicule noster, et unde, sodes tu povoomátaktoc aded repente evasisti? jam te rogitaturum credo. Nescio hercle, sic planè habet. Quicquid enim nugarum émioyodñs inter ambulandum in palimpsesto scriptitavi, hisce te maxumè impertiri visum est, quippe quem probare, quod meum est, aut certè ignoscere solitum probè novi: bonâ tuâ veniâ sit si fortè videar in fine subtristior; nam risui jamdudum salutem dixi; etiam pauld mostitiæ studiosiorem factum scias, promptumque, Kars νοις παλαιά δακρύοις στένειν κακά. .
O lachrymarum fons, tenero sacros
Felix! in imo qui scatentem
Sed de me satis. Cura ut valeas.
MR. WEST TO MR. GRAY.
I RETURN you a thousand thanks for
your elegant ode, and wish you every joy you wish yourself in it. But, take my word for it, you will never spend so agreeable a day here as you describe: alas! the sun with us only rises to shew us the way to Westminster-hall. Nor must I forget thanking you for your little Alcaic fragment. The optic Naiads are infinitely obliged to you. 'I was last week at Richmond Lodge, with Mr. Walpole, for two days, and dined with Cardinal Fleury:* as far as my short sight can go, the character of his great art and penetration is very just; he is indeed
Nulli penetrabilis astro. I go to-morrow to Epsom, where I shall be for about a month. Excuse me, I am in haste,t but believe me always, &c.
August 29, 1738.
* Sir Robert Walpole.
+ Mr. West seems to have been incieed in haste when he writ this letter ; else, surely his fine taste would have led him to have been more profuse in his praise of the Alcaic fragment. He night, I think, have said, without paying too extravagant a compliment to Mr. Gray's genius, that no poet of the Augustan age ever produced four more perfect lines, or what would sooner impose upon the best critic, as being a genuine ancient composition.