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objects on those high wild hills. What a humid climate! Not a day without rain, and chilling coldness of atmosphere! Once, for about a quarter of an hour, the snow fell in large flakes, and reminded us of Shakespeare's pretty description :
“ The seasons alter, hoary-headed frosts
Fall in the fresh lap of the damask rose.”
But no roses were there to spread their bosoms to such churlish visitors. Surrounded by an agreeable and numerous company, a disposition, social as mine, felt little disposed to mourn over the inverted seasons. We had much mental sun-shine
; not once, as I recollect, was it overshadowed by tenacious pride, by envy, or by spleen. Thus did cheerfulness, and unanimity, compensate the straightness of our dusky mansion, the inelegance of its board, and the unpleasant effluvias which met us on the staircase, and in every passage.
When the beauteous Crescent shall be finished, and rendered habitable, all these sins against our corporeal senses will probably be reformed.
Dr Darwin called here the other morning. We walked to Mr Saville's garden, accompanied by its owner. Talking about some rare and beautiful plants, Dr Darwin turned to me, and asked if I had seen the CALMIA. 'On my saying no, he
continued—“ it is a flower of such exquisite beauty, that would make you waste the summer's day in examining it:--you would forget the hour of dinner; all your senses would be absorbed in one; you would be all eye." I smiled, and asked him to describe it:“ What, in the first place, was its colour?"_“Precisely that of a seraph's plume." We laughed, as he intended we should, at the accuracy of the description. He told us afterward, that he had heard much of the flower, but, as yet, had not seen it.
Mr and Mrs Whalley are just arrived at Avignon. Thus he writes in his last letter: “ I have lately made a most agreeable excursion to Lausanne, through the beautiful Pays de Vaud, accompanied by a young Danish noblemau of great merit, fine talents, and polished manners. The situation of Lausanne pleased me more than that of Geneva. It commands a finer view of the lake, is more rural, and less pretending. It is not encumbered, as about Geneva, with a multitude of country-seats, nor insulted by the cropt hedges and formal gardens, which crowd upon the eye round that famous city. From Lausanne I took up my staff and walked to explore Vevay and Clarens, rendered so interesting by Rousseau in his immortal ELOISA. Vevay is a neat pretty town, situated at the extreme end of the lake ; but Clarens is a beggarly village,
where we find no traces of Julie, Clara, St Preux, or Wolmar. However, the wily peasants have found their account in beguiling the warm imaginations of credulous strangers, and point out, with an air of confidence, the celebrated Elysium of tender memory, and the situation of Wolmar's chateau. From Geneva we came directly hither. At Lyons we took places in the coche d'eau for Avignon, and found our trajet down the rapid Rhine very delightful, adorned as are its banks by numberless villages, vineyards, and the picturesque ruins of ancient castles; yet the banks of the gentler Soane, between Macen and Lyons, charmed us still more, as being more various, more pastoral, and as the different parts of the landscape were more finely contrasted. The celebrated Pont St Esprit, that hangs, with such noble lightness, over the rapid Rhone, pleased us infinitely. We like Avignon, and are settled here for the winter. The provisions are good and cheap, the fruits delicious, the air pleasant, except when the sharp bize pierces to the marrow; but it purifies the air, braces the nerves, and like a skilful surgeon, cuts to cure."
And now, my dear bard, after having snatched you to the continentby Whalleyan magic, I restore you to Eartham. Suffer me, then, to express my gratitude for the kind attention and ar
dent welcome with which my poetical offspring has been received in its lovely precincts; for the critical accuracy of those observations which have strengthened their claims to the public smile, and for the generous, the discriminating approbation which has so highly gratified their parent.
The scoff of spleen shall miss its wounding aim,
DR PERCIVAL OF MANCHESTER.
Lichfield, Feb. 17, 1785. I thank you, Sir, with the fervour of a pleased spirit, for the ingenious pamphlet * you have sent
The system it holds forth, and, as I think, demonstrates, has long been a favourite hypothesis of mine. Judge, then, with what pleasure I see its rational probability so benevolently, so ably asserted.
* A Tract, by Dr Percival, on the probability that conscious sensation extends through the vegetable as well as animal world.
My intimacy with your publication, the “ MORAL AND LITERARY DISSERTATIONS," promising me much gratification, became established soon after I had the honour to address you last, and, contrary to the general consequence of raised expectations, it promised no more than it performed. Nothing can be more just than your general censure of the poetic violations of natural history. Yet, I confess, I think slight and skirmishing allusions to fabulous circumstances have often great beauty. Surely the philosopher should pardon them, when they happily serve the purposes of illustration and imagery. Lucretius has so elegantly, and with such an air of philosophic truth, accounted for what you tell us is an unexisting circumstance, the yellow vision of icteric patients, that a poet must be unwilling to renounce the fable as a source of allusion. Poetic taste surely welcomes it in Mr Hayley's animated couplet concerning the female poets of this country, in his Epistles On Epic POETRY,
6 The bards of Britain, with unjaundic'd eyes,
Will glory to behold such rivals rise.”
Nor is the fable, if fable it be, less beautifully introduced in Thomson's Spring, where he describes the passion of jealousy,