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Speaking of religion, he observes,
'Tis this that gilds the horror of our night.
Bids smiling conscience spread her cloudless skies.” We would also quote the following beautiful lines from his Cotter's (or Cottager's) Saturday Night, which represents the habits of domestic piety in humble life. “ Perhaps the Christian Volume is the theme,
How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed;
Had not on earth whereon to lay his head :
The precepts sage they wrote to many a land :
Saw in the sun a mighty angel stand;
“ Then kneeling, unto Heaven's Eternal King,
The saint, the father, and the husband prays :
That thus they all shall meet in future days;
No more to sigh, or shed the bitter tear ;
In such society, yet still more dear;
TO SAMUEL ROSE, ESQ.
Weston, Aug. 27, 1787. Dear Sir-I have not yet taken up the pen again, except to write to you. The little taste that I have had of your company, and your kindness in finding me out, make me wish that we were nearer neighbours, and that there were not so great a disparity in our years—that is to say, not that you were older, but that I were younger. Could we have met in early life, I flatter myself that we might have been more intimate than now we are likely to be. But you shall not find me slow to cultivate such a measure of your regard as your friends of your own age can spare me. When your route shall lie through this country, I shall hope that the same kindness which has prompted you twice to call on me, will prompt you again, and I shall be happy if, on a future occasion, I may be able to give you a more cheerful reception than can be expected from an invalid. My health and spirits are considerably improved, and I once more associate with my neighbours. My head however has been the worst part of me, and still continues so ; is subject to giddiness and pain, maladies very unfavourable to poetical employment; but a preparation of the bark, which I take regularly, has so far been of service to me in those respects, as to encourage in me a hope that, by perseverance in the use of it, I may possibly find myself qualified to resume the translation of Homer.
When I cannot walk, I read, and perhaps more than is good for me. But I cannot be idle. The only mercy that I show myself in this respect, is, that I read nothing that requires much closeness of application. I lately finished the perusal of a book, which in former years I have more than once attacked, but never till now conquered; some other book always interfered before I could finish it. The work I mean is Barclay's “ Argenis ;"* and, if ever you allow yourself to read for mere amusement, I can recommend it to you (provided you have not already perused it) as the most amusing romance that ever was written. It is the only one indeed of an old date that I ever had the patience to go through with. It is interesting in a high degree ; richer in incident than can be imagined; full of surprises, which the reader never forestalls; and yet free from all entanglement and confusion. The style too appears to be such as would not dishonour Tacitus himself.
Poor Burns loses much of his deserved praise in this country, through our ignorance of his language. I despair of meeting with any Englishman who will take the pains that I have taken to understand him. His candle is bright, but shut up in a dark lantern. I lent him to a very sensible neighbour of mine. But his uncouth dialect spoiled all; and, before he had half read him through, he was quite bamboozled.
* A Latin romance, once celebrated.
TO LADY HESKETH.
The Lodge, August 30, 1787. My dearest Cousin—Though it costs me something to write, it would cost me more to be silent. My intercourse with my neighbours being renewed, I can no longer seem to forget how many reasons there are why you especially should not be neglected; no neighbour indeed, but the kindest of my friends, and ere long, I hope, an inmate.
My health and spirits seem to be mending daily. To what end I know not, neither will conjecture, but endeavour, as far as I can, to be content that they do so. I use exercise, and take the air in the park and wilderness. I read much, but as yet write not. Our friends at the Hall make themselves more and more amiable in our account, by treating us rather as old friends than as friends newly acquired. There are few days in which we do not meet, and I am now almost as much at home in their house as in our own. Mr. Throckmorton, having long since put me in possession of all his ground, has now given me possession of his library. An acquisition of great value to me, who never have been able to live without books, since I first knew my letters, and who have no books of my own. By his means I have been so well supplied, that I have not even yet looked at the “ Lounger” for which however I do not forget that I am obliged to you. His turn comes next, and I shall probably begin him to-morrow.
Mr. George Throckmorton is at the Hall. I thought I had known these brothers long enough to have found out all their talents and accomplishments. But I was mistaken. The day before yesterday, after having walked with us, they carried us up to the library, (a more accurate writer would have said conducted us,) and then they showed me the contents of an immense portfolio, the work of their own hands. It was furnished with drawings of the architectural kind, executed in a most masterly manner, and, among others, contained outside and inside views of the Pantheon, I mean the Roman one. They were all, I believe, made at Rome. Some men may be estimated at a first interview, but the Throckmortons must be seen often and known long before one can understand all their value. *
They often inquire after you, and ask me whether you visit Weston this autumn. I answer, yes; and I charge you, my dearest Cousin, to authenticate my information. Write to me, and tell us when we may expect to see you. We were disappointed that we had no letter from you this morning. You will
* With Mr., afterwards Sir John Throckmorton, the Editor had not the opportunity of being acquainted; but he would fail in rendering what is due to departed worth, if he did not record the high sense which he entertained of the virtues of bis brother, Sir George Throckmorton. To the polished manners of the gentleman be united the accomplishments of the scholar and the man of taste and refinement; while the attention paid to the wants, the comforts, and instruction of the poor, in which another participated with equal promptness and delight, bave left behind a memorial tbat will not soon be forgotten.