Obrazy na stronie

Physicians, I observed, in particular, were objects of that remark, who persist in prescribing in Latin, many times, no doubt, to the hazard of a patient's life, through the ignorance of an apothecary. Mr. Throckmorton assented to what I said, and turning to his chaplain, to my infinite surprize, observed to him, “ That is just as absurd as our praying in Latin,I could have hugged him for his liberality and freedom from bigotry, but thought it rather more decent to let the matter pass without any visible notice. I therefore heard it with pleasure, and kept my pleasure to myself. The two ladies, in the mean time, were tete-a-tete in the drawing-room. Their conversation turned principally (as I afterwards learned of Mrs. Unwin) on a most delightful topic, viz. myself. In the first place, Mrs. Throckmorton admired my book, from which she quoted by heart more than I could repeat, though I so lately wrote it. In short, my dear, I cannot proceed to relate what she said of the book, and the book's author, for that abominable modesty that I cannot even yet get rid of. Let it suffice to say, that you, who are disposed to love every body who speaks kindly of your cousin, will certainly love Mrs. Throckmorton, when you shall be told what she said of him, and that you will be told is equally certain, because it depends on Mrs. Unwin. It is a very convenient thing to have a Mrs. Unwin, who will tell you many a good and long story for me, that I am not able to tell for myself. I am, however, not at all in arrears to my neighbours in the matter of admiration and es. teem, but the more I know, the more I like them, and and have nearly an affection for them both. lam delighted that the Task has so large a share of the approbation of your sensible Suffolk friend.

I received yesterday, from the General, another let' ter of T. S, an unknown auxiliary having started up in my behalf. I believe I shall leave the business of an

swering to him, having no leisure myself for controversy. He lies very open to a very effectual reply.

My dearest cousin, adieu ! I hope to write to you but once more before we meet, But Oh! this coach-maker, and Oh! this holiday week! Yours, with impatient desire to see you,



Olney, June 9, 1786. MY DEAR FRIEND,

The little time that I can de. vote to any other purpose than that of poetry is, as you may suppose, stolen. Homer is urgent. Much is done, but much remains undone, and no school-boy is more attentive to the performance of his daily task than I am. You will therefore excuse me, if at present I am unfrequent and short.

The paper tells me that the Chancellor has relapsed, and I am truly sorry to hear it. The first attack was dangerous, but a second must be more formidable still, It is not probable that I should ever hear from him again, if he survive ; yet, of the much that I should have felt for him, had our connection never been interrupted, I still feel much. Every body will feel the loss of a man whose abilities have made him of such general importance.

I correspond again with Colman, and upon the most friendly footing, and find in his instance, and in some others, that an intimate intercourse which has been only casually suspended, not forfeited on either side by


outrage, is capable not only of revival, but improvement.

I had a letter some time since that gave me great pleasure, from your sister Fanny. Such notices from old friends are always pleasant, and of such pleasures I have received many lately. They refresh the remembrance of early days, and make me young again.

The noble institution of the Nonsense Club will be forgotten when we are gone, who composed it; but I of. ten think of your most heroic line, written at one of our meetings, and especially think of it when I am translaţing Homer

“ To whom replied the Devil yard-long-tail'd."

There never was any thing more truly Grecian than 1 that triple epithet, and were it possible to introduce it into either Iliad or Odyssey, I should certainly steal it.

I am now flushed with expectation of Lady Hesketh, who spends the summer with us. We hope to see her next week. We have found admirable lodgings both ! for her and her suite, and a Quaker in this town, still more admirable than they, who, as if he loved her as much I do, furnishes them for her with real elegance,

W. c."


Olney, June 9, 1786.'

My dear cousin's arrival has, as it could not fail to do, made us happier than we ever were at Olney. Her great kindness in giving us her company is a cordial that I shall feel the effect of, not only while she is here, but while I live.

Olney will not be much longer the place of our habis tation. At a village, two miles distant, we have hired a house of Mr. Throckmorton, a much better than we occupy at present, and yet not more expensive. It is situated very near to our most agreeable landlord, and his agreeable pleasure grounds. In him, and in his wife, we shall find such companions as will always make the time pass pleasantly while they are in the country, and his grounds will afford us good air, and good walking room in the winter ; two advantages which we have not enjoyed at Olney, where I have no neighbour with whom I can converse, and where, seven months in the year, I have been imprisoned by dirty and impassable ways, till both my health and Mrs. Unwin's have suffered materially.

Homer is ever importunate, and will not suffer me to spend half the time with my distant friends that I would gladly give them.

W. C.

T. JOSEPH HILL, Esquire.

Olney, Oct. 6, 1786.

You have not heard, I suppose, that the ninth book of my translation is at the bottom of the Thames. But it is even so. A storm overtook it in its way to Kingston, and it sunk, together with the whole cargo of the boat in which it was a passenger. Not figuratively foreshowing, I hope, by its submersion, the fate of all the rest. My kind and generous cousin, who leaves nothing undone that she thinks can conduce to my comfort, encouragement, or convenience, is my transcriber also. She wrote the copy, and she will have to write it again— Hers, therefore, is the damage. I have a thousand reasons to lament that the time approaches when we must lose her. She has made a winterly summer a most delightful one, but the winter itself we must spend without her.


The letters which I have just imparted to my reader exhibit a picture so minute and so admirable, of the life, the studies, and the affections of Cowper, during the period to which they relate, that they require no comment from his biographer. They must render all who read them intimately acquainted with the writer, and the result of such intimacy must be, what it is at once my duty and my delight to promote, an increase of public affection for his enchanting character, an effect which all his posthumous compositions are ex, cellently suited to extend and confirm.

It is now incumbent on me to relate the consequences of a visit, so fondly expected by the poet, and happily productive of a change in his local situation,

It does not always happen, when the heart and fancy have indulged themselves with such fervency in a prospect of delight, from the renewed society of a long absent friend, it does not always happen, that the pleasure, on its arrival, proyes exactly what it promised to be on its approach. But in the present case, to the honour of the two friends concerned, the delightful vi. sion was followed by a reality of delight. Cowper was truly happy in receiving and settling his beloved, though long unseen relation, as his neighbour : she was comfortably lodged in the vicarage of Olney, a mansion so near to his residence, and so commodious from the private communication between their two houses, that

« PoprzedniaDalej »