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To SAMUEL ROSE, Esqr.
Weston, March 27. 1793.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
I must send you a line of congratulation on the event of your transaction with Johnson, since you, I know, partake with me in the pleasure I receive from it. Few of my concerns have been so happily concluded. I am now satisfied with my bookseller, as I have substantial cause to be, and account myself in good hands; a circumstance as pleasant to me, as any other part of my business ; för I love dearly to be able to confide, with all my heart, in those with whom I am connected, of what kind soever the connection may be.
The question of printing or not printing the alterations, seems difficult to decide. If they are not printed, I shall perhaps disoblige some purchasers of the first edition, and if they are, many others of them, perhaps a great majority, will never care about them. As far as I have gone I have made a fair copy, and when I have finished the whole, will send them to Johnson, together with the interleaved volumes.
He will see in a few minutes what it will be best to do, and by his judgment I shall be determined. The opinion to which I most incline is, that they ought to be printed separately, for they are many of them rather long, here and there a whole speech, or a whole simile, and the verbal and lineal variations are so numerous, that altogether, I apprehend, they will give a new air to the work, and I hope a much improved one.
I forgot to say in the proper place, that some notes, although but very few, I have added already, and may perhaps see here and there, opportunity for a few more. But notes being little wanted, especially by people at all conversant with classical literature, as most readers of Homer are. I am persuaded that were they numerous, they would be deemed an incumbrance. I shall write to Johnson soon, perhaps to-morrow, and then shall say the same thing to him.
In point of health we continue much the same, our united love, and many thanks for your prosperous negociations, attend yourself and whole family, and especially my little namesake.
TO JOHN JOHNSON, Esqr,
Weston, April 11, 1793.
MY DEAREST JOHNNY,
The long muster-roll of my great and small ancestors I signed and dated, and sent up to Mr. Blue-mantle, on Monday, according to your desire. Such a pompous affair, drawn out for my sake, reminds me of the old fable of the mountain in parturition, and a mouse the produce. Rest undisturbed, say I, their lordly, ducal, and royal dust! Had. they left me something handsome, I should have respected them more.' But perhaps they did not know that such a one as I should have the honour to be numbered among their descendants. Well! I have a little bookseller that makes me some amends for their deficiency. He has made me a present; an act of liberality, which I take every opportunity to blazon, as it well deserves. But you, I suppose, have learned it already from Mr. Rose.
Fear not, my man. You will acquit yourself very well, I dare say, both in standing for your degree, and when you have gained it. A little tremor,
and a little shame-facedness in a stripling, like you, are recommendations rather than otherwise; and so they ought to be, being symptoms of an ingenuous mind, rather unfrequent in this age of brass.
What you say of your determined purpose, with God's help, to take up the Cross, and despise the shame, gives us both real pleasure. In our pedigree is found one, at least, who did it before you. Do you the like; and you will meet him in Heaven, as sure as the Scripture is the word of God.
The quarrel that the world has with evangelic men and doctrines, they would have with a host of angels in the human form. For it is the quarrel of owls with sunshine ; of ignorance with divine illumination.
Adieu, my dear Johnny! We shall expect you with earnest desire of your coming, and receive you with much delight.
To WILLIAM HAYLEY, Esqr.
Weston, April 23, 1793.
· MY DEAR FRIEND AND BROTHER,
Better late than never, and better a little than none at all! Had I been at liberty to consult my inclinations, I would have answered your truly kind and affectionate Letter immediately. But I am the busiest man alive, and when this epistle is dispatched, you will be the only one of my correspondents, to whom I shall not be indebted. While I write this, my poor Mary sits mute; which I cannot well bear, and which, together with want of time to write much, will have a curtailing effect on my epistle.
My only studying time is still given to Homer, not to correction and amendment of him (for that is all over) but to writing notes. Johnson has expressed a wish for some, that the unlearned may be a little illuminated concerning classical story and the mythology of the antients; and his behaviour to me has been so liberal, that I can refuse him nothing.