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Sæpe enim curis vagor expeditâ
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
Multa flagranti radiisq; cincto
Sentit Olympus !
Ohe! amicule noster, et unde, sodes tu uovoováraktoç aded repente evasisti? jam te rogitaturum credo. Nescio hercle, sic planè habet. Quicquid enim nugarum éni gyodñs 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 mæstitiæ studiosiorem factum scias, promptumque, Kaiνοις 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 indeed 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.
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 benè conveniunt nec in unâ 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. Longicallyt 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 between green fields on either
* 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 humorously-hyperbolic description of the quadrangle of Peterhouse.
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 preserve, in 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
MR. GRAY TO MR. WEST.
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,
• Orator Henley.