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FROM MR. WEST.
the optics of a cat. Must I pore upon mathema
tics? Alas! I can not see in too much light; I am I AGREE with you that you have broke Statius's no eagle. It is very possible that two and two head, but it is in like manner as A pollo broke make four, but I would not give four farthings to Hyacinth's, you have foiled him infinitely at his demonstrate this ever so clearly; and if these be own weapon: I must insist on seeing the rest of the profits of life, give me the amusements of it. your translation, and then I will examine it en- The people I behold all around me, it seems, know tire, and compare it with the Latin, and be very'all this and more, and yet I do not know one of wise and severe, and put on an inflexible face, such them who inspires me with any ambition of being as becomes the character of a true son of Aristar- like him. Surely it was not this place, now Camchus, of hypercritical memory. In the meanwhile, bridge, but formerly known by the name of Baby
And calmed the terrors of his claws in gold, lon, that the prophet spoke when he said, " the is exactly Statius--Summos auro mansuererat
wild beasts of the desert shall dwell there, and ungues. I never knew before that the golden their houses shall be full of doleful creatures, and fangs on hammercloths were so old a fashion, owls shall build there, and satyrs shall dance there; Your Hymeneal I was told was the best in the their forts and towers shall be a den for ever, a Cambridge collection before I saw it, and, indeed, joy of wild asses; there shall the great owl make it is no great compliment to tell you I thought it
nest, and lay and hatch and gather under her so when I had seen it, but sincerely it pleased me shadow; It shall be a court of dragons; the screech best. Methinks the college bards have run into a
owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a strange taste on tliis occasion. Such soft annean
place of rest." You see here is a pretty collection ing stuti' about Venus and Cupid, and Peleus and of desolate animals, which is verified in this town Thetis, and Zephyrs and Dryads, was never read. to a tittle, and perhaps it may also allude to your As for my poor little Eelogue, it has been con
habitation, for you know all types may be taken demned and beheaded by our Westminster judges; by abundance of handles; however, I defy your
owls to match mine. an exordium of about sixteen lines absolutely cut off, and its other limbs quartered in a most bar
If the default of your spirits and nerves be barous manner. I will send it you in my next as
nothing but the effect of the hyp, I have no more my true and lawful heir, in exclusion of the pre
to say. We all must submit to that wayward tender, who has the impudence to appear under queen: I too in no small degree own her sway. my name.
I feel her influence while I speak her power. As yet I have not looked into Sir Isaac. Public But if it be a real distemper, pray take more care disputations I hate; mathematics I reverence; his- of your health, if not for your own at least for our tory, morality, and natural philosophy have the sakes, and do not be so soon weary of this little greatest charms in my eye; but who can forget world: I do not know what refined" friendships poetry ? they call it idleness, but it is surely the you may have contracted in the other, but pray do most enchanting thing in the world, “ ac dulce not be in a hurry to see your acquaintance above; otium et pæne omni negotio pulchrius." among your terrestrial familiars, however, though I am, dear Sir, yours while I am I say it that should not say it, there positively is
R. W. not one that has a greater esteem for you than Christ Church, May 24, 1736.
Yours most sincerely, &c. Peterhouse, Dec. 1736.
TO MR. WEST.
FROM MR. WEST. You must know that I do not take degrees, and, after this term, shall have nothing more of college I CONGRATULATE you on your being about to impertinences to undergo, which I trust will be leave college, t and rejoice much you carry no desome pleasure to you, as it is a great one to me. I grees with you. For I would not have you dignihave endured lectures daily and hourly since 1 tied, and I not, for the world, you would have incame last, supported by the hopes of being shortly sulted me so. My eyes, such as they are, like at full liberty, to give myself up to my friends and yours, are neither metaphysical nor mathematical; classical companions, who, poor souls ! though I see them fallen into great contempt with most peo- * Perhaps he meant to ridicule the affected manner of Mrs. ple here, yet I can not help sticking to them, and Rowe's letters from the dead to the living. out of a spirit of obstinacy (I think) love them the 11 suspect that Mr. Wost mistook his correspondent; who, better for it; and, indeed, what can I do else? in saying he did not take degrees, meant only to let his friend Must I plunge into metaphysics? Alas! I can not cations. It is certain that M:. Gray continued at college near
know that he should soon be released from lectures and dispu see in the dark; nature has not furnished me with two years after the time he wrote the preceding letter,
I have, nevertheless, a great respect for your con- piness that I have almost ever received, and which noisseurs that way, but am always contented to (begging your pardon for thinking so differently be their humble admirer. Your collection of de- from you in such cases) I would by no means have solate animals pleased me so much: but Oxford, I parted with for an exemption from all the uneasican assure you, has her owls that match yours, and ness mixed with it; but it would be unjust to imathe prophecy has certainly a squint that way. gine my taste was any rule of yours; for which Well, you are leaving this dismal land of bondage, reason my letters are shorter and less frequent and which way are you turning your face ? Your than they would be, had I any materials but myfriends, indeed, may be happy in you, but what self to entertain you with. Love and brown suwill you do with your classic companions? An gar must be a poor regale for one of your gout, and, inn of court is as horrid a place as a college, and alas ! you know I am by trade a grocer.* Scana moot case is as dear to gentle dullness as a syllo- dal (if I had any) is a merchandise you do not progism. But wherever you go, let me beg you not fess dealing in; now and then, indeed, and to to throw poetry, "like a nauseous weed away;" oblige a friend, you may perhaps slip a little out cherish its sweets in your bosom; they will serve of your pocket, as a decayed gentlewoman would you now and then to correct the disgusting sober a piece of right mecklin, or a little quantity of run follies of the common law, misce stultiliam con- tea, but this only now and then, not to make a pracsiliis brerem, dulce est desipere in loco; so said tice of it. Monsters appertaining to this climate Horace to Virgil, those two sons of Anak in poet- you have seen already, both wet and dry. So you ry, and so say I to you in this degenerate land of perceive within how narrow bounds my pen is cirpigmies,
cumscribed, and the whole contents of my share Mix with your grave designs a little pleasure,
in our correspondence may be reduced under the Each day of business has its hour of leisure. two heads of first, You; secondly, I; the first is, In one of these hours I hope, dear Sir, you will indeed, a subject to expatiate upon, but you may sometimes think of me, write to me, and know me
laugh at me for talking about what I do not un
derstand; the second is so tiny, so tiresome, that yours,
you shall hear no more of it than it is ever
Yours. that is, write freely to me and openly, as I do to Peterhouse, Dec. 23, 1736. you; and to give you a proof of it, I have sent you an elegy of Tibullus translated. Tibullus, you must know, is my favourite elegiac poet; for his
FROM MR. WEST. language is more elegant, and his thoughts more natural than Ovid's. Ovid excels him only in wit, I have been very ill, and am still hardly recov. of which no poet had more in my opinion. The ered. Do you remember Elegy 5th, Book the 3d, reason I choose so melancholy a kind of poesie, is, of Tibullus, Vos tenet, &c., and do you remember because my low spirits, and constant ill health, a letter of Mr. Pope's, in sickness, to Mr. Steele? (things in me not imaginary, as you surmise, but This melancholy elegy, and this melancholy letter, too real, alas! and I fear, constitutional,)“ have I turned into a more melancholy epistle of my own, tuned my heart to elegies of wo;" and this likewise during my sickness, in the way of imitation; and is the reason why I am the most irregular thing this I send to you and my friends at Cambridge, at college, for you may depend upon it I value my not to divert them, for I can not, but merely to show health above what they call discipline. As for this them how sincere I was when sick: I hope my poor unlicked thing of an elegy, pray criticise it sending it to them now may convince them I am unmercifully, for I send it with that intent. In- no less sincere, though perhaps more simple, when deed your late translation of Statius might have well. deterred me: but I know you are not more able to
AD AMICOS. excel others, than you are apt to forgive the want of excellence, especially when it is found in the Yes, happy youths, on Camus' sedgy side,
You feel each joy that friendship can divide; productions of
Each realm of science and of art explore,
And with the ancient blend the modern lore.
.i.e. A man who deals only in coarse and ordinary wares,
to these he compares the plain sincerity of his own friendship TO MR. WALPOLE.
undisguised by flattery; which, had he chosen to carry on the
allusion, he might have termed the trade of a confectioner. You can never weary me with the repetition of from whence his transition to Mr. Pope's letter is very arifully
† Almost all Tibullus's elegy is imitated in this little piece, any thing that makes me sensible of your kindness: contrived, and bespeaks a degree of judgment much beyond since that has been the only idea of any social hap- 'Mr. West's years.
Studious alone to learn whate'er may tend * 'Tis like the stream, beside whose watery bed
Wide and more wide the waters urge their way,
But why repine ? does life deserve my sigh? Like some sad exile in a desert land;
Few will lament my loss whene'er I die. Around no friends their lenient care to join + For those the wretches I despise or hate, In mutual warmth, and mix their heart with mine. I neither envy nor regard their fate. Or real pains, or those which fancy raise, For me, whene'er all conquering death shall spread For ever blot the sunshine of my days;
His wings around my unrepining head, To sickness still, and still to grief a prey, + I care not; though this face be seen no more, Health turns from me her rosy face away. The world will pass as cheerful as before; Just Heaven ! what sin, ere life begins to bloom, Bright as before the day-star will appear, Devotes my head untimely to the tomb ? The fields as verdant, and the skies as clear; Did e'er this hand against a brother's life
Nor storms nor comets will my doom declare, Drug the dire bowl, or point the murderous knife? Nor signs on earth, nor portents in the air; Did e’er this tongue the slanderer's tale proclaim, Unknown and silent will depart my breath, Or madly violate my Maker's name?
Nor nature e'er take notice of my death. Did e'er this heart betray a friend or foe, Yet some there are (ere spent my vital days) Or know a thought but all the world might know? Within whose breasts my tomb I wish to raise. As yet, just started from the lists of time, Loved in my life, lamented in my end, My growing years have scarcely told their prime; Their praise would crown me as their precepts Useless, as yet, through life I've idly run,
mend: No pleasures tasted, and few duties done. To them may these fond lines my name endear, * Ah, who, ere autumn's mellowing suns appear, Not from the Poet, but the Friend sincere. Would pluck the promise of the vernal year? Christ Church, July 4, 1737. Or, ere the grapes their purple hue betray, Tear the crude cluster from the morning spray?
TO MR. WEST.
After a month's expectation of you, and a
• “ Youth, at the very best, is but the betrayer of human life Shake in my head, and falter in my pace;
in a gentler and smoother manner than age: 'uis like the
stream that nourishes a plant upon a bank, and causes it to Then aim the shaft, then meditate the blow,
flourish and blossom to the sight, but at the same time is un. † And to the dead my willing shade shall go. dermining it at the root in secret.” Pope's Works, vol. 7,
How weak is man to Reason's judging eye! page 254, 1st edil. Warburton. Mr. West, by prolonging Born in this moment, in the next we die;
his paraphrase of this simile, gives it additional beauty from Part mortal clay, and part ethereal fire,
that very circumstance, but he ought to have introduced it by
Mr. Pope's own thought, “ Youth is a betrayer," his couple Too proud to creep, too humble to aspire.
preceding the simile conveys too general a reflection. In vain our plans of happiness we raise,
"I am not at all uneasy at the thought that many men, Pain is our lot, and patience is our praise; whom I never had any esteem for, are likely to enjoy this Wealth, lineage, honours
, conquest, or a throne; world after me.- Vide ibid. Are what the wise would fear to call their own.
"The morning after my exit the sun will rise as bright as
ever, the flowers smell as sweet, the plants spring as green;" Health is at best a vain precarious thing,
so far Mr. West copies his original, but instead of the followAnd fair-faced youth is ever on the wing: ing part of the sentence, “People will laugh as heartily and
marry as fast as they used to do,” he inserts a more solemn .Quid fraudare juvat vitem crescentibus uvis ?
idea, El modo nata mala vellere poma manu?
Nor storms nor comets, &c. So the original. The paraphrase seems to be infinitely more justly perceiving that the elegiac turn of his epistle would not beautifu! There is a peculiar blemish in the second line admit so ludicrous a thought, as was in its place in Mr. Pope's arising from the synonimes mala and poma.
familiar letter; so that we see, young as he was, he had 05 1 Here he quits Tibullus: the ten following verses have but tained the art of judiciously selecting; one of the first prom a remote reference to Mr. Pope's letter.
vinces of good taste.
town, and to better hopes of seeing you. If what very reverend vegetables, that, like most other an. you sent me last be the product of your melan- cient people, are always dreaming out their old choly, what may I not expect from your more stories to the wind. cheerful hours ? For by this time the ill health that you complain of is (I hope) quite departed; though,
And as they bow their hoary tops, relate if I were self-interested, I ought to wish for the
In murmuring sounds, the dark decrees of fate;
While visions as poetic eyes avow, continuance of any thing that could be the occa
Cling to each leaf and swarm on every bough. sion of so much pleasure to me, Low spirits are my true and faithful companions; they get up At the foot of one of these squats me I, (il pensewith me, go to bed with me, make journeys and roso) and there grow to the trunk for a whole returns as I do; nay, and pay visits, and will even morning. The timorous hare and sportive squiraffect to be jocose, and force a feeble laugh with rel gambol around me like Adam in Paradise, beme: but most commonly we sit alone together, and fore he had an Eve; but I think he did not use to are the prettiest insipid company in the world. read Virgil, as I commonly do there. In this situaHowever, when you come, I believe they must tion I often converse with my Horace, aloud too, undergo the fate of all humble companions, and that is talk to you, but I do not remember that I be discarded. Would I could turn them to the ever heard you answer me. I beg pardon for taksame use that you have done, and make an Apollo ing all the conversation to myself, but it is entireof them. If they could write such verses with me, ly your own fault. We have old Mr. Southern at a not hartshorn, nor spirit of amber, nor all that fur- gentleman's house a little way off, who often comes nishes the closet of an apothecary's widow, should to see us; he is now seventy-seven years old, and persuade me to part with them: but, while I write has almost wholly lost his memory; but is as agrecato you, I hear the bad news of Lady Walpole's ble as an old man can be, at least I persuade mydeath on Saturday night last. Forgive me if the self so when I look at him, and think of Isabella thought of what my poor Horace must feel on that and Oroonoko. I shall be in town in about three account, obliges me to have done in reminding you weeks. Adieu. that I am
Yours, &c. September, 1737. London, Aug. 22, 1737.
TO MR. WALPOLE.*
I SYMPATHize with you in the sufferings which I was hindered in my last, and so could not give you foresee are coming upon you. We are both at you all the trouble I would have done. The de- present, I imagine, in no very agreeable situation : scription of a road which your coach wheels have for my part I am under the misfortune of having so often honoured, it would be needless to give you: nothing to do, but it is a misfortune which, thank suffice it that I arrived safet at my uncle's who is my stars, I can pretty well bear. You are in a a great hunter in imagination; his dogs take up confusion of wine, roaring, and hunting, and to every chair in the house, so I am forced to stand at bacco, and, heaven be praised, you too can pretty this present writing, and though the gout forbids well bear it; while our evils are no more, I believe him galloping after them in the field, yet he con- we shall not repine. I imagine, however, you tinues still to regale his ears and nose with their will rather choose to converse with the living dead, comfortable noise and stink. He holds me mighty that adorn the walls of your apartments, than with cheap, I perceive, for walking when I should ride, the dead living that deck the middles of them; and and reading when I should hunt. My comfort prefer a picture of still life to the realities of a noisy amidst all this is, that I have at the distance of half one, and, as I guess, will imitate what you prefer, a mile, through a green lane, a forest (the vulgar and for an hour or two at noon will stick yourself call it a common) all my own, at least as good as up as formal as if you had been fixed in your frame so, for I spy no human thing in it but myself. It for these hundred years, with a pink or rose in one is a little chaos of mountains and precipices; moun- hand, and a great seal ring on the other. Your tains, it is true, that do not ascend much above the name, I assure you, has been propagated in theso clouds, nor are the declivities quite so amazing as countries by a convert of yours, one ***; he has Dover cliff; but just such hills as people who love brought over his whole family to you: they were their necks as well as I do, may venture to climb, before pretty good Whigs, but now they are abso and crags that give the eye as much pleasure as if Iute Walpolians. We have hardly any body in they were more dangerous; both vale and hill are the parish but knows exactly the dimensions of tho covered with most venerable beeches, and other hall and saloon at Houghton, and begin to believe that the lantern* is not so great a consumer of the fat of the land as disaffected persons have said: for
* At Burnham in Buckinghamshire.
*At this time with his father at Houghton.
TO MR. WEST. your reputation, we keep to ourselves your not I am coming away all so fast, and leaving behunting nor drinking hogan, either of which here hind me, without the least remorse, all the beauties would be sufficient to lay your honour in the dust. of Sturbridge Fair. Its white bears may roar, its To-morrow se'nnight I hope to be in town, and apes may wring their hands, and crocodiles cry not long after at Cambridge.
their eyes out, all's one for that; I shall not once I am, &c.
visit them, nor so much as take my leave. The Burnham, September, 1737.
university has published a severe edict against schismatical congregations, and created half a dozen
new little procterlings to see its orders executed, TO MR. WALPOLE.
being under mighty apprehensions lest Henley*
and his gilt tub should come to the fair and seduce My dear Sir, I should say +Mr. Inspector Gene- their young ones; but their pains are to small purral of the Exports and Imports; but that appella- pose, for lo, after all, he is not coming. tion would make but an odd figure in conjunction I am at this instant in the very agonies of learwith the three familiar monosyllables above written, ing College, and would not wish the worst of my for
enemies a worse situation. If you knew the dust,
the old boxes, the bedsteads, and tutors that are Nun bene conveniunt nec in una sede morantur Majestas et amor.
about my ears, you would look upon this letter as
a great effort of my resolution and unconcernedWhich is, being interpreted, Love does not live at ness in the midst of evils. I fill up my paper with the Custom-house; however by what style, title or a loose sort of version of that scene in Pastor Fido denomination soever you choose to be dignified, or that begins, Care selve beati.t distinguished hereafter, these three words will stick Sept. 1738. by you like a bur, and you can no more get quit of these and your christian name, than St. Anthony
TO HIS MOTHER. could of his pig. My motions at present (which you are pleased to ask after) are much like those of a
Amiens, April 1, N. S. 1739. pendulum or (Dr. Longicallyt speaking) oscillato- As we made but a very short journey to-day, ry. I swing from chapel or hall home, or from and came to our inn early, I sit down to give you home to chapel or hall. All the strange incidents some account of our expedition. On the 29th (acthat happen in my journeys and returns I shall be cording to the style here) we left Dover at twelve sure to acquaint you with; the most wonderful is, at noon, and with a pretty brisk gale, which pleased that it now rains exceedingly, this has refreshed every body mighty well, except myself, who was the prospect,s as the way for the most part lies be- extremely sick the whole time; we reached Calais tween green fields on either hand, terminated with by five: the weather changed, and it began to buildings at some distance, castles, I presume, and snow hard the minute we got into the harbour, of great antiquity. The roads are very good, be- where we took the boat, and soon landed. Calais ing, as I suspect, the works of Julius Cæsar's army, is an exceedingly old, but very pretty town, and for they still preserve, in many places, the appear- we hardly saw any thing there that was not so ance of a pavement in pretty good repair, and if new and so different from England, that it surthey were not so near home, might perhaps be as prised us agreeably. We went the next morning much admired as the Via Appia ; there are at to the great church, and were at high mass (it present several rivulets to be crossed, and which being Easter Monday.) We saw also the Conserve at present to enliven the view all around. vent of the Capuchins, and the nuns of St. DomiThe country is exceeding fruitful in ravens and nic; with these last we held much conversation, such black cattle; but, not to tire you with my especially with an English nun, a Mrs. Davis, of travels, I abrubtly conclude.
whose work I sent you, by the return of the packet,
Yours, &c. a letter-case to remember her by. In the afterAugust, 1738.
noon we took a post-chaise (it still snowing very
hard) for Boulogne, which was only eighteen *A favourite object of Tory satire at the time.
miles further. This chaise is a strange sort of * Mr. Walpole was just named to that post, which he ex- conveyance, of much greater use than beauty, rechanged soon after for that of Usher of the Exchequer.
1 Dr. Long, the master of Pembroke-Hall, at this time read ectures in experimental philosophy,
Orator Henley. $ All that follows is a humorous hyperbolic description of 1 This Latin version is extremely elegiac, but as it is only a the quadrangle of Peter House.
version I do not insert it.