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self is one of the prettiest I know ; terminated at one end by the church tower, seen through the trees, and at the other, by a very handsome gateway, opening into a fine grove of elms, belonging to our neighbour Courtenay. How happy should I be to shew it instead of describing it to you! Adieu, my dear friend.
To the Revd. WALTER BAGOT.
Weston, Nov. 10, 1793. MY DEAR FRIEND,
You are very kind to consider my literary engagements, and to make them a reason for not interrupting me more frequently with a letter, but though I am indeed as busy as an author or an editor can well be, and am not apt to be overjoyed at the arrival of letters from uninteristing quarters, I shall always, I hope, have leisure both to peruse and to answer those of my real friends, and to do both with pleasure.
I have to thank you much for your benevolent aid in the affair of my friend Hurdis. You have doubtless learned ere now that he has succeeded, and carried the prize by a majority of twenty. He is well qualified for the post he has gained. So much the better for the honour of the Oxonian laurel, and so much the more for the credit of those, who have favored him with their suffrages.
I am entirely of your mind respecting this conflagration by which all Europe suffers at present, and is likely to suffer for a long time to come. The same mistake seems to have prevailed as in the American business. We then flattered ourselves that the colonies would prove an easy conquest, and when all the neighbour nations armed themselves against France, we imagined, I believe, that she too would be presently vanquished. But we begin already to be undeceived, and God only knows to what a degree we may find we have erred, at the conclusion. Such however is the state of things ali around us, as reminds me continually of the Psalmist's expression—" He shall break them in pieces like a potter's vessel.” — And I rather wish than hope in some of my me
lancholy moods that England herself may escape a fracture. I remain, truly yours,
To the Revd. Mr. HURDIS.
Weston, Nov. 24, 1793.
MY DEAR SIR,
Though my congratulations have been delayed, you have no friend, numerous as your friends are, who has more sincerely rejoiced in your success than I. It was no small mortification to me, to find that three out of the six, whom I had engaged, were not qualified to vote. You have prevailed however, and by a considerable majority; there is, therefore, no room left for regret. When your short note arrived, which gave me the agreeable news of your victory, our friend of Eartham was with me, and shared largely in the joy, that I felt on the occasion. He left me but a few days since, having spent somewhat more than a fortnight here; during which
time we employed all our leisure hours in the revisal of his Life of Milton. It is now finished, and a very finished work it is; and one that will do great honour I am persuaded to the biographer, and the excellent man, of injured memory, who is the subject of it. As to my own concern with the works of this first of poets, which has been long a matter of burthensome contemplation, I have the happiness to find at last, that I am at liberty to postpone my labours. While I expected that my commentary would be called for in the ensuing spring, I looked forward to the undertaking with dismay, not seeing a shadow of probability that I should be ready to answer the demand. For this ultimate revisal of my Homer, together with the notes, occupies completely at present (and will for some time longer) all the little leisure that I have for study. Leisure which I gain at this season of the year, by rising long before day-light.
You are now become a nearer neighbour, and as your professorship, I hope, will not engross you wholly, will find an opportunity to give me your company at Weston. Let me hear from you soon, tell me how you like your new office, and whether you perform the duties of it with pleasure to yourself, With much pleasure to others you will, I doubt not, and with equal advantage.
To SAMUEL ROSE, Esqr.
Weston, Nov. 29, 1793.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
I have risen, while the owls are still hooting, to pursue my accustomed labours in the mine of Homer ; but before I enter upon them, shall give the first moment of day-light to the purpose of thanking you for your last Letter, containing many pleasant articles of intelligence, with nothing to abate the pleasantness of them, except the single circumstance that we are not likely to see you here so soon as I expected. My hope was, that the first frost would bring you, and the amiable painter with you: If, however, you are prevented by the business of your respective professions, you are well prevented, and I will endeavour to be patient. When the latter was here, he mentioned one day the subject