« PoprzedniaDalej »
of Diomede's horses, driven under the axle of his chariot, by the thunder-bolt which fell at their feet, as a subject for his pencil. It is certainly a noble one, and therefore worthy of his study and attention. It occurred to me at the moment, but I know not what it was that made me forget it again the next moment, that the horses of Achilles flying over the foss, with Patroclus and Automedon in the chariot, would be a good companion for it. Should you happen to recollect this, when you next see him, you may submit it, if you please, to his consideration. I stumbled yesterday on another subjeet, which reminded me of said excellent artist, as likely to afford a fine opportunity to the expression that he could give it. It is found in the shooting-match in the twenty-third book of the Iliad, between Meriones and Teucer. The former cuts the string with which the dove is tied to the mast-head, and sets her at liberty; the latter standing at his side, in all the eagerness of emulation, points an arrow at the mark with his right hand, while with his left he snatches the bow from his competitor; he is a fine poetical figure, but Mr. Lawrence himself must judge whether or not he promises as well for the canvas.
He does great honour to my physiognomy by his intention to get it engraved, and though I think, I foresee that this private publication will grow in time into a publication of absolute publicity, I find it impossible to be dissatisfied with any thing that seems eligible both to him and you. To say the truth, when a man has once turned his mind inside out for the inspection of all who chuse to inspect it, to make a secret of his face seems but little better than a self contradiction. At the same time however, I shall be best pleased if it be kept, according to your intentions, as a rarity.
I have lost Hayley, and begin to be uneasy at not hearing from him, tell me about him when you write.
I should be happy to have a work of mine embellished by Lawrence, and made a companion for a work of Hayley's. Is is an event to which I look forward with the utmost complacence. I cannot tell you what a relief I feel it, not to be pressed for Milton.
To SAMUEL ROSE, Esqr.
Weston, Dec. 8, 1793. MY DEAR FRIEND,
In my last I forgot to thank you for the box of books, containing also the pamphlets. We have read, that is to say, my Cousin has, who reads to us in an evening, the history of Jonathan Wild; and found it highly entertaining. The satire on great men is witty, and I believe perfectly just : we have no censure to pass on it, unless that we think the character of Mrs. Heartfree not well sustained; not quite delicate in the latter part of it; and that the constant effect of her charms upon every man who sees her, has a sameness in it that is tiresome, and betrays either much carelessness, or idleness, or lack of invention. It is possible, indeed, that the author might intend by this circumstance, a satirical glance at novelists, whose heroines are generally all bewitching; but it is a fault that he had better have noticed in another manner, and not have exemplified in his own.
The first volume of Man as he is, has lain
unread in my study window this twelvemonth, and would have been returned unread to its owner, had not my Cousin come in good time to save it from that disgrace. We are now reading it, and find it excellent; abounding with wit and just sentiment, and knowledge both of books and men. Adieu !
To WILLIAM HAYLEY, Esqr.
Weston, Dec. 8, 1793.
I have waited, and waited impatiently, for a line from you, and am at last determined to send you one, to enquire what is become of you, and why you are silent so much longer than usual.
I want to know many things, which only you can tell me, but especially I want to know what has been the issue of your conference with Nichol: Has he seen your work? I am impatient for the appea
rance of it, because impatient to have the spotless credit of the great poet's character, as a man and a citizen, vindicated, as it ought to be, and as it never will be again.
It is a great relief to me, that my Miltonic labours are suspended. I am now busy in transcribing the alterations of Homer, having finished the whole revisal. I must then write a new Preface, which done I shall endeavour immediately to descant on The four Ages.
Adieu ! my dear Brother.
The reader may now be anxious to learn some particulars of the projected poem, which has been repeatedly mentioned under the title of The four Ages; a poem to which the mind of Cowper looked eagerly