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the frequency, the length, and the heart-warm style of our first correspondence. Little did I once think that those prized letters would prove
“ But violets in the youth of primy friendship,
The perfume, and suppliance of a minute.” My opinion of the Recess, of its faults, and of its beauties, is congenial to your own; but I cannot think it possesses that strong hold on the heart, with which the pages of Werter so irresistibly seize it. I scarce wept at the Recess, full of studied misery as it is; while the so naturally mournful pages of Werter resist the indurating effect of repeated perusals, and drown me in exhaustless tears.
Mr Dewes, Mr Arch-Deacon Clive, Mr Grove, Dr Gregory, and several other of my literary friends, gratify me by the warmest praises of my paraphrases of some of the most beautiful of Horace's odes. It is on no occasion that I have been better satisfied with my muse, I must confess, than when, after having put an ode of Horace into English verse, I have examined the translation of it by Francis, Oldsworths, and Duncombe. I shall adopt some fine lines, which I have met with on Dr Johnson's imitations of Juvenal's Satires not vainly to say what I have done, but what I have wished and aimed to do.
“ Boldly my ardent spirit seeks t'infuse
So the voluptuous, the refined, the gay, the dissipated votary of fashion and expence, Mr after having lavished away a noble fortune, avows his resolve to renounce the world, to retire into the country, to keep no servant, and content himself with the mere necessaries of life. I hope there can, after all his imprudence, be no necessity for an extreme so violent-for a contrast so total; and if there should, I doubt his perseverance, and therefore said to him, with a smile of blended pity and affection,
" What! thinkest thou,
Yet, after all, the hardships of severest abstinence are less oppressive than the heart-sick anxiety of conscious debts, and the hourly dread of a prison. How can it be, that talents have been so given in vain, as that the silly love of ostentation should induce those who possess them to strew such wounding thorns upon their pillow? Heaven preserve all I love from the fatal indiscretion !
Court Dewes, Esg.
Lichfield, March 30, 1786.
Your profile is extremely like. I could not have received a more acceptable present. Several have been taken of me, but none would I suffer to be preserved, because there was not one which had ascertaining resemblance. Men and women, whose shoulders are on the large scale, appear with ten-fold their real clumsiness in these
shadowy outlines. Slenderness is essential to admit their presenting a resemblance which shall not be caricature; and surely one's feelings revolt from a caricature likeness of a friend.
Thank you for General Burgoyne's comedy, and for Miss More's late sprightly poems *. I am, in general, sick of our modern comedies, excepting the irresistible Sheridan's; but, after his, this is one of the best I have seen. The Blandishes are a race that swarm in the noon-tide beams of high-life and wealth. Our little city has produced them; though, for the exercise of their noble talents, they are obliged to resort to the seats of the neighbouring lords, lordlings, &c. down to the next class of stateliness above their
To these—“ Inferiors, horrid !- Equals, what a curse!” I have never seen the portraits of this delectable set of cringers at such full dramatic length, nor in such just and vivid colours as in General Burgoyne's comedy. Miss Alscrip appears to me to say too many really good things, and her general language is too ingeniously allusive to harmonize naturally with her absurd and stupid credulity, when Lady Emily exhibits mock airs of fashion and delicacy.
* Florio, a Poetical Tale, and the Bas bleu, or Conversation.
Miss More's poems have spirit and geniusbut contain an affected and pedantic display of knowledge and erudition, especially the Bas bleu, In the Florio we find many brilliant passages ; many just and striking observations, and some admirable portraits in satiric traits. Not Hayley himself has drawn a modern beau better. Florio is the rival of Filligree, in the Triumphs of Temper,
with sufficient difference to avert the charge of plagiarism from the female author ;—but the versification in Florio is, at times, strangely inharmonious, often alliterating with the hardest consonants, and sometimes disgraced by vulgarism: instances,
“ For face, no mortal cou'd resist her.”
" He felt not Celia's powers of face.”
These fuce-expressions put me in mind of an awkward pedantic youth, once resident, for a little time, at Lichfield. He was asked how he liked Miss Honora Sneyd. “ Almighty powers !" replied the oddity, “ I could not have conceived that she had half the face she has !” Honora was finely rallied about this imputed plenitude of face.