Abbildungen der Seite

have no claim to this distinction, although, if I had foreseeu your intention, I would have at least exerted myself to deserve it. There are several of our Vienna ladies and gentlemen now at Spa, who are all well worthy of your acquaintance. I am in. formed that lady Spencer is an intimate friend of the princess Esterhazy; she can introduce you to the acquaintance of an amiable and respectable lady, who knows how to estimate the value of persons of merit. I have nothing at present worth troubling you with; I reserve this pleasure for a future op. portunity; and, in the mean time, am, with great respect and veneration,

Your very humble servant,



From C. Reviczki. *

Vienna, Oct. 16, 1770. ALTHOUGH your last letter gives me no information of your intended destination after your departure from Spa, I conclude, from your very silence, that you are now in London. This opinion is confirmed by the late receipt of your letter. I was deprived of the pleasure of hearing from you during my excursion into Hungary; nor did your letter reach me till after my return to Vienna, long subsequent to its date, and when the subject of it was in fact obsolete. Most sincerely do I hope that your wishes may be gratified; and that, after so much travelling, I may have the pleasure of seeing you at Vienna.

The French are light and frivolous, the Italians effeminate and enervate, and the Germans may perhaps be dull and morose : yet they are not on this account to be despised; for if nature has not endowed them with the more elegant qualities, they possess what is more valuable, and win the

• Written in Latin.

affections of strangers by plain dealing and simplicity of manvers.

I give this testimony to the character of the Germaps, without partiality, for I am as much a stranger in Germany as I lately was in England ; and no one, at all acquainted with the character and country of the Germans and Hungarians, can pos. sibly consider them the same; for they are not only dissimilar in disposition, language, and manners, but in their very nature. I will not, however, dissemble, but candidly confess the truth-that my way of life here is extremely pleasant ; nor have I any doubt, that you, who are so accurate a judge of mankind, will one day readily subscribe to my opinion of this nation.

I smile at your declaration that you are changed, and that you hope to be more agreeable to me, from having renounced youthful gratifications, and devoted yourself to the cultivation of literature and the pursuit of virtue; for my own part, I only wish to find you again precisely the same as when I knew and admired you in England, faultless and irreproachable. I confess, indeed, that what I particularly valued in you, was the happy talent of blending pleasure and recreation with the most intense study and thirst for literature.

Take care, however, that you do not suffer the ardour of application to deprive you of the gratifications of life, sufficiently brief in their own nature : they are indeed so connected with literature, that the wise and the learned only are qualified for the true enjoyment of them. Take care, also, that

you have not hereafter reason to complain, in the words of Horace,

Ah why, while slighted joys I vainly mourn
Why will not youth, with youthful thoughts, return?

The chastity of the Muses, and their enmity too Venus, is a mere fable adapted to fiction; “ for poetry delights to repose on downy pillows." I now turn to another subject. I have not yet received your translation of the Persian manuscript which you promised ine, and which indeed you seem to have sent : what has delayed its arrival, I know not, and will trouble you to inquire about it.

I have read again and again the beautiful English song, with your elegant translation of it in two languages, and I am delighted with it. I wonder, however, that you are so little satisfied with the Latin version of it, with which I am highly pleased.

[ocr errors][merged small]

March 17, 1771. A PLAGUE on our men in office, who for six mouths have amused me with idle promises, which I see no prospect of their fulfilling, that they would forward my books, and a letter to you! They say, that they have not yet had an opportunity; and that the apprehension of a Spanish war (which is now no more) furnishes them with incessant occopation. I have, however, so much to say to you, that I can no longer delay writing; I wish, indeed, I could communicate it in person. On my late re. turn to England, I found myself entangled, as it were, in a variety of important considerations. My friends, companions, relations, all attacked me with urgent solicitations, to banish poetry and Ori. ental literature for a time, and apply myself to oratory and the study of the law ; in other words, to become a barrister, and pursue the track of am. bition. Their advice, in truth, was conformable to my own inclinations; for the only road to the highest stations in this country is that of the law;

• Written in Latin.

« ZurückWeiter »