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O ego felix, vice si (nec unquam
Fallere Letho !
Sentit Olympus ! Ohe; amicule noster, et unde, sodes tu uovoonáTAKTOS adeò repente evasisti? jam te rogitaturum credo. Nescio hercle, sic planè habet. Quicquid enim nugarum éni oxodñs 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 paulò mestitiæ studiosiorem factum scias, promptumque, Kaivois παλαιά δακρύοις στένειν κακά. .
O lachrymarum fons, tenero sacros
Felix! in imo qui scatentem
Pectore te, pia Nympha, sensit. 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
* Sir Robert Walpole.
Or, ere the grapes their purple hue betray,
llow weak is man to Reason's juiying eye!
But why repine, does life deserve my sigh?
bet pect the par for
* Here he quits Tibullus, the ten following verses have but a remote reference to Mr. Pope's letter.
+ “ Youth, at the very best, is but the betrayer of human life in a gentler and smoother manner than age; 'tis like the stream that nourishes a plant upon a bank, and causes it to flourish and blossom to the sight, but at the same time is undermining it at the root in secret.” Pope's Works, vol. 7, page 254, 1st. edit. Warburton. Mr. West, by prolonging bis paraphrase of this simile, gives it additional beauty from that very circumstance, but he ought to have introduced it by Mr. Pope's own thought, “ Youth is a betrayer;" his couplet preceding the simile conveys too general a reflection.
# "I am not at all uneasy at the thought that many men, whom I never had any esteem for, are likely to enjoy this world after me.” Vide ibid.
♡ “ The morning after my exit the sun will rise as bright as ever, the flowers smell as sweet, the plants spring as green :” so far Mr. West copies his original;
Bright as before the day-star will appear,
Not from the Poet, but the Friend sincere.
After a month's expectation of you, and a fortnight's despair, at Cambridge, I am come to town, and to better hopes of seeing you. If what you sent me last be the product of your melancholy, what
I not expect from your more cheerful hours ? For by this time the ill health that you complain of is (I hope) quite departed, though, if I were self-interested, I ought to wish for the continuance of any thing that could be the occasion of so much pleasure to me. Low spirits are my true and faithful companions ; they get up with me, go to bed with me, make journeys and returns as I do; nay, and pay visits, and will even affect to be jocose, and force a feeble laugh with me; but most commonly we sit alone together, and are the prettiest insipid company in the world. However, when you come, I believe they must undergo the fate of all humble companions, and be discarded. Would I could turn them to the same use that you have done, and make an Apollo of them. If they could write such verses with me, not
but, instead of the following part of the sentence, “ People will laugh as heartily and marry as fast as they used to do,” he inserts a more solemn idea,
Nor storms nor comets, &c. justly perceiving that the elegiac turn of his epistle would not admit so ludicrous a thought, as it was in its place in Mr. Pope's familiar letter; so that we see, young as he was, he had obtained the art of judiciously selecting, one of the first provinces of good taste.
XVI. MR. GRAY TO MR. WALPOLE. My dear Sir, I should say Mr. Inspector General of the Exports and Imports ;+ but that appellation would make but an odd figure in conjunction with the three familiar monosyllables above written, for
Non bene conveniunt nec in mà sede morantur
Majestas et amor. Which is, being interpreted, Love does not live at the Custom-house : however, by what style, title, or denomination soever you choose to be dignified or distinguished hereafter, these three words will stick by you like a burr, and you can no more get quit of these and your Christian name than St. Anthony could of his pig. My motions at present (which you are pleased to ask after) are much like those of a pendulum or (Dr. Longicallyf speaking) oscillatory. I swing from chapel or hall home, and from home to chapel or hall. All the strange incidents that happen in my journies and returns I shall be sure to acquaint you with : the most wonderful is, that it now rains exceedingly; this has refreshed the prospect, $ as the way for the most part lies
Mr. West seems to have been indeed in baste 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 might, 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.
+ Mr. Walpole was just named to that post, which he exchanged soon after for that of Usher of the Exchequer.
# Dr. Long, the master of Pembroke-hall, at this time read lectures in experimental philosophy
$ All that follows is a humourously-hyperbolic description of the quadrangle of Peterhouse.
between green fields on either hand, terminated with buildings at some distance, castles, I presume, and of great antiquity. The roads are very good, being, as I suspect, the works of Julius Cæsar's army; for they still
many places, the appearance of a pavement in pretty good repair, and, if they were not so near home, might perhaps be as much admired as the Via Appia : there are, at present, several rivulets to be crossed, and which serve to enliven the view all around.“ The country is exceeding fruitful in ravens and such black cattle; but, not to tire you with my travels, I abruptly conclude
I Am coming away all so fast, and leaving behind me, without the least remorse, all the beauties of Sturbridge Fair. Its white bears may roar, its apes may wring their hands, and crocodiles cry their eyes out, all's one for that; I shall not once visit them, nor so much as take my leave. The university has published a severe edict against schismatical congregations, and created half a dozen new little procterlings to see its orders executed, being under mighty apprehensions lest Henley* and his gilt tub should come to the fair and seduce their young ones : but their pains are to small purpose; for lo! after all, he is not coming.
I am at this instant in the very agonies of leaving college, and would not wish the worst of
enemies a worse situation. If you knew the dust, the old boxes, the bedsteads, and tutors, that are about my ears, you would look upon this letter as a great effort of my resolution and unconcernedness in the midst of evils. I
* Orator Henley.