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more of poetry in his imagination, than almost any of our number; but rough and injudicious. I should range Mr. Bramston only a step or two above Dr. King, who is as low in my estimation as in yours. Dr. Evans is a furious madman; and pre-existence is nonsense in all her altitudes. Mr. Lyttelton is a gentle elegiac person: Mr. Nugent* sure did not write his own ode.t I like Mr. Whitehead's little poems, I mean the Ode on a Tent, the Verses to Garrick, and particularly those to Charles Townshend, better than any thing I had seen before of him. I gladly pass over H. Brown, and the rest, to come at you. You know I was of the publishing side, and thought your reasons against it none; for though, as Mr. Chute said extremely well, the still small voice of Poetry was not made to be heard in a crowd; yet Satire will be heard, for all the audience are by nature her friends; especially when she appears in the spirit of Dryden, with his strength, and often with his versification; such as you have caught in those lines on the royal unction, on the papal dominion, and convents of both sexes, on Henry VIII. and Charles II. for these are to me the shining parts of your Epistle. I There are many lines I could wish corrected, and some blotted out, but beauties enough to atone for a thousand worse faults than these. The opinion of such as can at all judge, who saw it before in Dr. Middleton's hands, concurs nearly with mine. As to what any one says, since it came
• Afterwards Earl Nugent.
Epistle from Florence to Thomas Asheton, tutor to the Earl of Plymouth.
out; our people (you must know) are slow of judgment: they wait till some bold body saves them the trouble, and then follow his opinion; or stay till they hear what is said in town, that is, at some bishop's table, or some coffee-house about the Temple. When they are determined, I will tell
you faithfully their verdict. As for the Beauties, * I am their most humble servant. What shall I say to Mr. Lowth, Mr. Ridley, Mr. Rolle, the Reverend Mr. Brown, Seward, &c. ? If I say, Messieurs ! this is not the thing; write prose, write sermons, write nothing at all; they will disdain me and my advice. What then would the sickly peers have done, that spends so much time in admiring every thing that has four legs, and fretting at his own misfortune in having but two; and cursing his own politic head and feeble constitution, that won't let him be such a beast as he would wish? Mr. S. Jenyns now and then can write a good line or two-such as these
Snatch us from all our little sorrows here,
Calm every grief, and dry each childish tear, &c. I like Mr. Aston Hervey's fable; and an ode (the last of all) by Mr. Mason, a new acquaintance of mine, whose Musæus too seems to carry with it the promise at least of something good to come. I was glad to see you distinguished who poor West was, before his charming ode, and called it any thing rather than a Pindaric. The town is an owl, if it don't like Lady Mary,ş and I am
• The Epistle to Mr. Eckardt the painter.
surprised at it: we here are owls enough to think her eclogues very bad; but that I did not wonder at. Our present taste is Sir T. Fitz-Osborne's Letters. I send you a bit of a thing for two reasons: first, because it is one of your favourites, Mr. M. Green; and next, because I would do justice. The thought on which my second ode* turns is manifestly stole from hence:-not that I knew it at the time, but, having seen this many years before, to be sure it imprinted itself on my memory, and, forgetting the author, I took it for my own.
The subject was the Queen's Hermitage.
Though yet no palace grace the shore
If thou, the god with winged feet,
* The Ode to Spring.
+ Speaking to the Thames.
The four busts.
Tell those proud lords of heaven, 'tis fit
Needless it is in terms unskill'd To praise, whatever Boyle should build. Needless it is the busts to name Of men, monopolists of fame; Four chiefs adorn the modest stone For virtue, as for learning, known. The thinking sculpture helps to raise Deep thoughts, the genii of the place : To the mind's ear, and inward sight, There silence speaks, and shade gives light: While insects from the threshold preach, And minds dispos'd to musing teach; Proud of strong limbs and painted hues, They perish by the slightest bruise, Or maladies begun within Destroy more slow life's frail machine : From maggot-youth through change of state They feel like us the turns of fate: Some born to creep, have lived to fly, And chang'd earth's cells for dwellings high: And some, that did their six wings keep, Before they died, been forced to creep. They politics, like ours, profess: The greater prey upon the less. Some strain on foot huge loads to bring, Some toil incessant on the wing: Nor from their vigorous schemes desist Till death; and then are never mist. Some frolic, toil, marry, increase, Are sick and well, have war and peace, And broke with age in half a day Yield to successors,
Adieu! I am yours ever.
Stoke, July 11, 1757. I will not give you the trouble of sending your chaise for me. I intend to be with you on Wednesday in the evening. If the press stands still all this time for me, to be sure it is dead in child-bed.
I do not love notes, though you see I had resolved to put two or three.* They are signs of weakness and obscurity. If a thing cannot be understood without them, it had better be not understood at all. If you will be vulgar and pronounce it Lunnun, instead of London,t I can't help it. Caradoc I have private reasons against; and besides it is in reality Caradoc, and will not stand in the verse.
I rejoice you can fill all your vuides : the Maintenon could not, and that was her great misfortune. Seriously though, I congratulate you on your happiness and seem to understand it. The receipt is obvious: it is only, Have something to do; but how few can apply it!-Adieu!
I am ever yours.
To the Bard.