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and so ready to write again. Be that as it may, here I come. We talk of nobody but you : what we will da with you, when we get you ; where you shall walk, where you shall sleep ; in short, every thing that bears the remotest relation to your well-being at Olney, occupies all our talking time, which is all that I do not spend at Troy.
I have every reason for writing to you as often as I can, but I have a particular reason for doing it now. I want to tell you that by the Diligence on Wednesday next I mean to send you a quire of my Homer for Maty's perusal. It will contain the first book, and as much of the second as brings us to the catalogue of the ships, and is every morsel of the revised copy that I have transcribed. My dearest cousin, read it your. self-Let the General read it. Do what you please with it, so that it reach Johnson in due time ; but let Maty be the only Critic that has any thing to do with it. The vexation, the perplexity that attends a multiplicity of criticisms by various hands, many of which are sure to be futile, many of them ill-founded, and some of them contradictory to others, is inconceivable, except by the author whose ill-fated work happens to be the subject of them. This also appears to me selfevident ; that if a work have past under the review of one man of taste and learning, and have had the good fortune to please him, his approbation gives security for that of all others qualified like himself. I speak thus, my dear, after having just escaped from such a storm of trouble, occasioned by endless remarks, hints, suggestions, and objections, as drove me almost to despair, and to the very edge of a resolution to drop my undertaking for ever. With infinite difficulty I, at last, sifted the chaff from the wheat, availed myself of what appeared to me to be just, and rejected the rest ; but not till the labour and anxiety had nearly undone all that Kerr had been doing for me. My beloved cousin, trust me for it, as you safely may, that temper, va. nity and self-importance had nothing to do in all this distress that I suffered. It was merely the effect of an alarm that I could not help taking, when I compare the great trouble I had with a few lines only, thus handled, with that which I foresaw such handling of the whole must necessarily give me. I felt before-hand that my constitution would not bear it. I shall send up this second specimen in a box that I have had made on purpose ; and when Maty has done with the copy, and you have done with it yourself, then you must return it in said box to my translatorship. Though Johnson's friend has teased me sadly, I verily believe that I shall have no more such cause to complain of him. We now understand one another, and I firmly believe that I might have gone the world through, before I had found his equal in an accurate and familiar acquaintance with the original.
A letter to Mr. Urban, in the last Gentleman's Ma. gazine, of which I's book is the subject, pleases me more than any thing I have seen in the way of eulogium yet. I have no guess of the author.
I do not wish to remind the Chancellor of his promise. Ask you why, my cousin ? Because, I suppose, it would be impossible. He has, no doubt, forgotten it entirely, and would be obliged to take my word for the truth of it, which I could not bear. We drank tea together with Mrs.
C e and her sister, in King's street, Bloomsbury, and there was the promise made. I said, Thurlow, I am nobody, and you will be Chan. cellor: you shall provide for me when you are. He smiled and replied, I surely will. These ladies, said I, are witnesses. He still smiled, and said, let them be se
for I will certainly do it. But alas ! twenty-four years have passed since the day of the date thereof, and to mention it now would be to upbraid him with inatten. tion to his plighted troth. Neither do I suppose he could easily serve such a creature as I am if he would. Adieu, whom I love entirely.
! Olney, Feb. 19, 1786. MY DEAREST Cousin,
Since so it must be, so it shall be. If you will not sleep under the roof of a friend, may you never sleep under the roof of an enemy. An enemy, however you will not presently find. Mrs. Unwin bids me mention her affectionately, and tell you, that she willingly gives up a part for the sake of the rest, willingly, at least as far as willingly may consist with some reluctance: I feel my reluctance too. Our design was, that you should have slept in the room that serves me for a study, and its having been occupieci by you would have been an additional recommend. ation of it to me. But all reluctances are superseded by the thought of seeing you; and because we have nothing so much at heart as the wish to see you happy and comfortable, we are desirous, therefore, to accommodate you to your own mind, and not to ours. Mrs. Unwin has already secured for you an apartment, or rather two, just such as we could wish. The house in which you will find them is within thirty yards of our own, and opposite to it. The whole affair is thus commodiously adjusted ; and now I have nothing to do but to wish for June, and June, my cousin, was never so wished for since June was made. I shall have a thou. sand things to hear, and a thousand to say, and they will all rush into my mind together, till it will be so crowded with things impatient to be said, that for some time I shall say nothing. But no matter-Sooner or later they will all come out; and since we shall have you the longer, for not having you under our own roof, (a circumstance that more than any thing reconciles us to that measure they will stand the better chance. After so long a separation, a separation that, of late, seemed likely to last for life, we shall meet each other, as alive from the dead; and, for my own part, I can truly say, that I have not a friend in the other world whose resurrection would give me greater pleasure.
I am truly happy, my dear, in having pleased you with what you have seen of my Homer. I wish that all English readers had your unsophisticated, or rather unadulterated taste, and could relish simplicity like you. But I am well aware that in this respect I am under a disadvantage, and that many, especially many ladies, missing many turns and prettinesses of expression that they have admired in Pope, will account my translation in those particulars defective. But I comfort myself with the thought, that in reality it is no defect; on the contrary, that the want of all such embellishments as do not belong to the original, will be one of its principal merits with persons indeed capable of relishing Homer. He is the best Poet that ever lived for many reasons, but for none more than for that majestic plainness that distinguishes him from all others. As an accomplished person moves gracefully without thinking of it, in like manner the dignity of Homer seems to cost him no labour. It was natural to him to şay great things, and to say them well, and little orna,
ments were beneath his notice. If Maty, my dearest cousin, should return to you my copy with any such strictures as may make it necessary for me to see it again before it goes to Johnson, in that case you shall send it to me; otherwise to Johnson immediately : for he writes me word he wishes his friend to go to work upon it as soon as possible. When you come, my dear, we will hang all these critics together, for they have worried me without remorse or conscience, at least one of them has: I had actually murthered more than a few of the best lines in the specimen, in compliance with his requisitions, but plucked up my courage at last, and in the very last opportunity that I had, recovered them to life again by restoring the original reading. At the same time I readily confess that the specimen is the better for all this discipline its author has undergone; but then it has been more indebted for its improvement to that pointed accuracy of examina. tion, to which I was myself excited, than to any proposed amendments from Mr. Critic; for as sure as you are my cousin, whom I long to see at Olney, so surely would he have done me irreparable mischief, if I would have given him leave.
My friend Bagot writes to me in a most friendly strain, and calls loudly upon me for original poetry. When I shall have done with Homer, probably he will not call in vain ; having found the prime feather of a swan on the banks of the snug and silver Trent, he keeps it for me. Adieu, dear cousin.
W. C. . I am sorry that the General has such indifferent health. He must not die. I can by no means spare a person so kind to me.