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I mean to the general taste for it, by rendering it more difficult to be understood by the common reader. Capitals to every substantive are cumbrously intrusive upon the eye, but surely to whatever is impersonized, to whatever acts, a capital letter is as necessary as to a proper name. When abstracted qualities are clothed and embodied by fancy, common sense revolts at their sneaking appearance
with a little letter. If we say, « We feel pleasure in contemplating the lovely scene,” it is proper to write pleasure with a small letter ; but
“ Pleasure shed all her lustre over the scene," the word requires a large one as much as any other proper name.
It was said to a public singer, who sung an energetic song of Handel's too tamely, “ Zounds, Sir, you spell God with a
if we say,
You will find, in the Gentleman's Magazine for June last, a pretty poem of my father's. It contains little sketches of his own local vicissitudes, and of the characters of his brother Canons, then of this cathedral. I had forgotten it, not having seen its face these twenty years, nor knew I that a copy was extant. We have no guess by what means it crept into that publication, but I am glad it is preserved.
In a former letter I spoke to you of the gratification my musical enthusiasms met during a late expedition to town;—but think I forgot to mention that I had three or four interviews with the extraordinary and pleasing Mrs
She is in as strong health, and as lively spirits, is as witty, as humorous, as eloquent, as friendly, as insinuating, as fascinating as ever; but more than ever snuffy, and dirty, and paltry in her dress; and, amidst her accumulated wealth, more than ever penurious in all her habits.
For the first time, I saw the justly celebrated Mrs Siddons in comedy,-in Rosalind :—but though her smile is as enchanting, as her frown is magnificent, as her tears are irresistible, yet the playful scintillations of colloquial wit, which most strongly mark that character, suit not the dignity of the Siddonian form and countenance. Then her dress was injudicious. The scrupulous prudery of decency, produced an ambiguous vestment, that seemed neither male nor female. When she first came on as the princess, nothing could be more charming ; nor than when she resumed her original character, and exchanged comic spirit for dignified tenderness.
One of those rays of exquisite and original discrimination, which her genius so perpetually elicits, shone out on her first rushing upon the stage
in her own resumed person and dress ; when she bent her knee to her father, the Duke, and said
“ To you I give myself—for I am yours ;”
and when, falling into Orlando's arms, she repeated the same words,
you I give myself—for I am yours .!”
The marked difference of her look and voice in repeating that line, and particularly the last word of it, was inimitably striking. The tender joy of filial love was in the first; the whole soul of enamoured transport in the second. The extremely heightened emphasis on the word yours, produced an effect greater than you can conceive could result from the circumstance, without seeing and hearing it given by that mistress of the passions.
I do not wonder that the idea of meeting Mrs
in public jars you.
“ Not the basilisk
Adieu, dear Sophia ; far be from your spirit every baleful impression!
To Mrs STOKES*
Lichfield, August 9, 1786. My acquaintance is such a nothing at Shrewsbury, dear friend, that I cannot hope my recommendations could be of use to Dr Stokes ;-but what I can I will. After all that could be done by introduction, even where its sources are plenteous as mine are limited, it is to the luck of some remarkable cures that young physicians must owe their rising into practice. The sense of pain, and the dread of death, are arbitrary impulses, before which all lesser considerations vanish.
Yes, indeed, my expectations were more than answered by the abbey-music. In smaller scenes the single songs have certainly been heard to more advantage; but all that resulted from the blended harmony, both of voices and instruments, was above description, and beyond compare.
* The lady of Dr Stokes, physician of Chesterfield, Derbyshire : when first intimate with Miss Seward, she was Miss Rogers of Dronfield, in that county.
picturesque powers of some of the chorusses seemed miraculous. Above all others, in that celebrated one from Israel in Egypt, which describes the return of the Red-sea over the host of Pharaoh. It is then that we felt the dire situation from the clang of the trumpets, the thunder of the drums, the sounds of wild dismay, which burst in vollies from every part of the vast orchestra, whilst a distinct melody was preserved amidst the fearful and mingled tones, as the horse and his rider were thrown into the sea.
You inquire after my correspondence with the illustrious H. It is not what it was ; bụt the deficiency, or cause of deficiency, proceeds not from me. I honour and love him as well as ever ; yet I feel that the silver cord of our amity is loosening at more links than one.
People teaze me with applications to write epitaphs upon their favourite friends. Of frequent compliance, there would be no end, and I could wish never to attempt another. That path of composition is so narrow, and so beaten, that one cannot hope to gather in it one novel floret, especially where an uneventful life, and a consequently monotonous virtue preclude the possibility of appropriate praise.
As to Madam Genlis on Education, I like not the experiments she is perpetually making on the