Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

My first thought was wonder, where he could have been concealed so many years ; my second, a transport of joy to find him still alive; my third, another transport to find myself in his company. and my fourth, a resolution to accost him: I did so, and he received me with a complacence, in which I saw equal sweetness and dignity. I spoke of his Paradise Lost, as every man must, who is worthy to speak of it at all, and told him a long story of the manner in which it affected me, when I first discovered it, being at that time a school-boy. He answered me by a smile, and a gentle inclination of his head. He then grasped my hand affectionately, and with a smile that charmed me, said, “ well, you for your part will do well also ;” at last recollecting his great age (for I understood him to be two hundred years old) I feared that I might fatigue him by much talking, I took my leave, and he took his, with an air of the most perfect good-breeding. His person, his features, his manner, were all so perfectly characteristic, that I am persuaded an apparition of him could not represent him more completely. This may be said to have been one of the dreams of Pindus, may it not ?

How truly I rejoice that you have recovered Guy; that man won my heart the moment I saw him; give my love to him, and tell him I am truly glad he is alive again.

There is much sweetness in those lines from the sonneteer of Avon, and not a little in dear Tom's; an earnest, I trust, of good things to come!

With Mary's kind love, I must now conclude myself,

My dear Brother, . .

Ever yours,

Lippus.

LETTER XXIV.

To the Revd. WALTER BAGOT.

Weston, March 4, 1793.

MY DEAR FRIEND,

Since I received your last I have been much indisposed, very blind, and very busy. But I have not suffered all these evils at one and the same time. While the winter lasted I was miserable with a fever on my spirits; when the

Vol. 4.

spring began to approach I was seized with an inflammation in my eyes, and ever since I have been able to use them, have been employed in giving more last touches to Homer, who is on the point of going to the press again.

Though you are Tory I believe, and I am Whig, our sentiments concerning the mad-caps of France are much the same. They are a terrible race, and I have a horror both of them and their principles. Tacitus is certainly living now, and the quotations you sent me can be nothing but extracts from some letters of his to yourself. Yours most sincerely,

W. C.

are i

LETTER XXV.

To Mr. THOMAS HAYLEY,

Weston, March 14, 1793.

MY DEAR LITTLE CRITIC,

I thank you heartily for your observations, on which I set an higher value, because they have instructed me as much, and

have entertained me more, than all the other stric tures of our public judges in these matters. Perhaps I am not much more pleased with shameless wolfe, &c: than you. But what is to be done, my little man ? Coarse as the expressions are, they are no more than equivalent to those of Homer. The invective of the ancients was never tempered with good manners, as your Papa can tell you! and my business, you know, is not to be more polite than my author, but to represent him as closely as I can.

Dishonour'd foul I have wiped away, for the reason you give, which is a very just one, and the present reading is this,

Who had dared dishonour thus

The life itself, &c.

Your objection to kindler of the fires of heaven, I had the good fortune to anticipate, and expunged the dirty ambiguity some time since, wondering, not a little, that I had ever admitted it.

The fault you find with the two first verses of Nestor's speech, discovers such a degree of just discernment, that but for your papa's assurance to the

Ver

contrary, I must have suspected him as the author of that remark: much as I should have respected it, if it had been so, I value it I assure you, my little friend, still more as yours. In the new edition the passage will be found thus altered,

Alas! great sorrow falls on Greece to-day,
Priam, and Priam's sons, with all in Troy
Oh! how will they exult, and in their hearts
Triumph, once hearing of this broil between
The prime of Greece, in council, and in arms.

Where the word reel suggests to you the idea of a drunken mountain, it performs the service to which I destined it. It is a bold metaphor; but justified by one of the sublimest passages in scripture, compared with the sublimity of which even that of Homer suffers humiliation.

It is God himself who speaking, I think, by the propet Isaiah, says,

“ The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard."

With equal boldness in the same scripture, the poetry of which was never equalled, mountains are said to skip, to break out into singing, and the fields to

« PoprzedniaDalej »