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brew Horace in English, and make dead smallbeer of him! Your Ode* is champagne from the
* Ode to Delius, from Horace, Book II, Ode 5th, by the
Rev. Mr Stevens.
« Plung’d in the troubled tempest of distress,
Or borne on fortune's favouring billows high,
Remembering still my Delius thon must die :
Die, whether grief distain each sadden'd honr,
Or pleasure bloom perpetual in the glade,
And pines with poplars blend their grateful shade.
“ O! hither haste, thy wines, thy perfumes bring,
And pluck thy roses ere their sweets decay,
And youth's short lustre cheer thy passing day.
6 Soon shall thy purchas'd pomp no more be thine,
Thy groves, thy fountains, and thy villas fair,
No more for thee, but for thy grasping heir.
« Wealth gilds the victim, but it cannot save;
The final power to one impartial doom,
Ah ! hope not pity from th' insatiate tomb !
« Fate ceaseless moves her universal urn,
Where human lots in mix'd confusion lie;
And the sad prize of mortals is to die.”
vines of Aonia. The first, second, third, and fifth stanzas charm me. The fourth is
very but I think less beautifully rendered than the others. The last line of the concluding verse does not quite satisfy me. I feel a want of accuracy in it, but shall perhaps find difficulty in explaining the nature of my objection, viz.
“ And the sad prize of mortals is to die.”
Dying is an action, though generally an involuntary one. Is not a prize rather something that we obtain than that we do? To die is
properly called the doom of mortality; but can it as properly be called a prize or gift which it receives ? Death might indisputably so be termed; but dying, being an action, I think cannot. I translated this ode some time since. That sion of mine is from a prose translation, given me by my learned and ingenious friend Mr Dewes. It is more paraphrastic, and probably much more amenable to just criticism than yours, drawn from the pure well-head.
Let me exhort you not to suffer the stupid impertinence of our hireling critics to repress the exertions of your genius, assured, as I trust you
* It will be found in the author's Miscellany, with her other Eranslations and paraphrases of Horace's Odes.S.
feel, that, in whatever transiently eclipsing clouds dulness or envy may involve them, yet that fame shall one day consecrate to immortality the claims
of the poet,
" If she be right invok'd in warbled song."
JOSEPH Sykes, Esg.*
Lichfield, April 13, 1787. Right glad am I to perceive, in your
last letter, the sprightly glow of your fancy; and for a reason more material than my own amusement, since well I know the son's danger incompatible with the father's vivacity. Silent as you are upon the subject, I see, in the gaiety of your style, Mr J. Sykes's recovery-yes, 'as in a mirror. On your own late indisposition, I will not condole with you. The recollection of past sufferings, merely bodily, and that have left behind them no vestige of pain or danger, give to re
Of Westella, near Hull.
turning health the zest of delight. The advancing year will, I trust, perfectly restore your strength, though spring is at present somewhat sullen, and comes on shivering, and with a tardy step; but I trust she will brighten on her progress, diffusing health and gladness from her wings, amidst the bowers of West Ella, With all Mr
-'s genius, knowledge, and varied eloquence of intellect, I cannot persist in recommending it to my friends to put their sons under his tuition. Alas ! he has not one ounce of ballast to those full sails of wit and ingenuity with which he steers amidst the dangerous shoals of life. His taste for
expence been, beyond all measure, inconsistent with the retired situation in which he fixed himself; with the narrowness of his certain income, and with his plan of pupilage. That taste involved him in perplexities, from which he will find it difficult to emerge. The consequences of this infatuation have unhinged his mind, and incapacitated him for the energetic and assiduous attention necessary in the education of youth, particularly at the period of life when he would receive pupils, during the ambiguous years of commencing manhood.
My father, then in the full vigour of his mind, warmly remonstrated with Mr
when first he took a house in Eyam for that purpose,
against the superfluous, nay, absurd elegance with which he was furnishing it ;-white fringed beds for school-boys, azure stained papers, with gilt mouldings, and fine prints, framed and glazed, to be spattered over with the ink of their exercises, and broken by their robust plays ! He talks much of having“ built his nest in the rocks.” He was certainly at liberty, so to do, but not to hazard the contraction of debts he might never be able to pay, by lining with purple and fine linen, that eyrie for his eaglets.
Your friend's loss has been great indeed ;-her brother, her beloved and constant companion, the soother of her widowed years ! How are such ties entwined around the heart! When they break, our peace, our cheerfulness, burst like bubbles. Youth easily blows more of those soft, shining meteors. Hope supplies the materials, and decks their forms with a thousand gay and agreeable colours. But in declining life, she no longer presents them-at least for this world.
Alas, no! Time cannot make me cease to regret my changed, my lost Honora. Few days pass away, some portion of which is not tinged with sadness, from the consciousness of her extinction. From
year to year, musing on her idea, I often seem inclined to reproach the scenes she loved so well for pouring forth their vernal and summer