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minds and dispositions of her pupils, at the expence of truth. Truth ought never to be violated with children, much less should its violation form part of a system. Neither do I approve of the climax of excellence in the books which she would recommend as the proper studies of young people between fifteen and twenty-five. The species of books that first interest and delight the opening mind about fifteen, we may say, will continue to charm and interest through life, more than any
other kind of books. Remembered delight, and associated ideas, will chain the inclinations to that level. A naturally intelligent mind, especially beneath the guidance of an instructor who has just taste, will be found capable of feeling the most elevated compositions in prose and verse at fifteen. Sensibility and enthusiasm, then in their pristine, and consequently strongest glow, have an intuitive impression of the vast, the wonderful, the fair, and the elegant. There is no danger, that first-rate excellence in writing will make it less charming to youth, whose taste, in that respect, should early be set as high as possible.
But what an interesting story is that of the imprisoned Duchess ! I am in possession of some original letters from Dr Johnson to Miss Boothby, for whom he had a platonic passion. One
of them begins thus :-“ It is midnight; I am alone, and in no disposition to slumber. How shall I enploy this waste hour of darkness and vacuity?"
Alas! for the story is true; how did that unhappy woman employ nine waste years of darkness and vacuity ? When, in 1764, Mr Porter came over from Italy to marry my lovely sister, he told us that singular and almost incredible circumstance, of a woman of fashion, in that country, having then been just discovered and rescued from a nine years confinement in a subterraneous dungeon, into which no ray of light had, in the long long interval, ever penetrated. But he did not, like Madam Genlis, represent her innocent, though, with great horror and compassion, he instanced that dire revenge, as a consequence of Italian jealousy, which had not reconciled itself to the cicesbeo privileges.
I hope you will find Shrewsbury a prosperous, as certainly it is a pleasant residence.
6 Admired Salopia ! that, with venial pride,
Be thou auspicious to the health, the interest, and the fame of my friends!
Mr Saville desires his best remembrances to you and the Doctor, whose botanic enthusiasm
he shares. The botanists all love each other the better for the knowledge and vegetable treasures that each possess.
Ah! why do not the bards thus also ? Envy throws not brands into the conservatory—Why will she so often throw them upon the lyre ?
TO GEORGE HARDINGE*, Esq.
Lichfield, Sept. 10, 1786. “ If Miss Seward remembers Mr Hardinge!" Ab! dull of spirit, if the traces of those few hours, in which she was honoured with his conversation, had faded in her memory!
On their first meeting, he was so good, at Mr Boothby's request, to read a few passages from the Paradise Lost, as he sat on the window of her dressing-room. “ Poetry was then poetry indeed." The ear of her imagination has often brought back his cadences. Born an enthusiast,
Nephew to Lord Cambden, and Attorney-General to the Queen.
time has but little abated that propensity, in despite of her consciousness, that, in this marble age, nothing is more unfashionable.
Yes, Sir, from the retired situation in which my life has passed away, I have followed you through your brighter and more elevated track, with distant but earnest gaze, and rejoiced in your expand
Two of your sonnets were given me, to the Fountain, and to the Lyre of Petrarch. With them, amongst others, have I often combated the unmeaning assertion of pedants, that the legitimate sonnet suits not the genius of our language, producing those * Avignon little gems as its perfect refutation.
While these arise to the honour of Mr Hardinge's genius, his generous exertions to promote the amiable and highly ingenious Miss Helen Williams's interest, in the subscription to her poems, do equal honour to his benevolence. My mother's death, and my father's incapacity
kind of business, have involved me in much of that employment which seems the contradiction of my fate ; so that, together with an inconveniently extensive correspondence, and the social pleasures, by which I am very seducible,
* The sonnets alluded to were written at Avignon.
little time is left for versifying ; yet several thousand lines, of former composition, in the heroic, lyric, and sonnet measure, have long slumbered in my writing-desk, vainly waiting the always receding hour of transcript and revision.
The terms in which you mention my poetical novel, Louisa, gratify me extremely. I know it is the best and ablest of my publications. There may certainly be a best, even where nothing is very good.
Flattered that you preserve an agreeable remembrance of our long past and transient interviews, and that you think the employments of my 'muse worth this inquiry, I remain, Sir, &c.
Rev. T. S. WHALLEY.
Lichfield, Sept. 23, 1786. My late long silence has been involuntary. I accounted for it in a recent letter to you at Strasbourg. Mention not my miscellany ; I anı hopeless about it. Without time to revise my own writings, people persecute me with requests to