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which, at least, are so direct and close as to leave no shadow of a doubt, and therefore confirm all the rest. It is a phaenomenon that you will be in the right to inform
foot of the altars, love will soon bring him to mine." Let all around me partake of my joy. Let all bless the rising luminary by which we are enlightened. Ye flowers that inclose in your bosoms the odours that cool night condenses there, open your buds, and exhale in the air your balmy vapours. I know not whether the delightful intoxication that possesses my soul, does not embellish whatever I behold; but the rivulet, that in pleasing meanders winds along this valley, enchants me with his murmurs. Zephyrus caresses me with his breath; the fragrant plants, pressed under my feet, waft to my senses their perfume. Oh! if Felicity sometimes condescends to visit the abode of mortals, to these places, doubtless, she retires." But with what secret trouble am I agitated? Already impatience mingles its poison with the sweetness of my expectation. This valley has already lost all its beauties. Is joy then so fleeting? It is as easy to snatch it from us, as for the light down of these plants to be blown away by the breath of the zephyrs." In vain have I recourse to flattering Hope. Each moment increases my disturbance. He will come no more. Who keeps him at a distance from me? What duty more sacred than that of calming the inquietudes of love! But what do I say? Fly jealous suspicions, injurious to his fidelity,s and formed to extinguish my tenderness. If jealousy grows by the side of love, it will stifle it, if not pulled up by the roots ; it is the ivy which, by a verdant chain, embraces, but dries up the trunk which serves for its support.” I know my lover too well to doubt of his tenderness. He, like me, has, far from the pomp of courts, sought the tranquil asylum of the fields. Touched by the simplicity of my heart, and by my beauty, my sensual rivals call him in vain to their arms. Shall he be seduced by the advances of coquetry, which, on the cheek of the young maid, tarnishes the snow of innocence and the carnation of modesty, and daubs it with a whiteness of art and the paint of effrontery? What do I say? his contempt for her is perhaps only a snare for mé. Can I be ignorant of the partiality of men, and the arts they employ to seduce us? Nourished in a contempt for our sex, it is not us, it is their pleasures that they love. Cruel as they are, they have placed in the rank of the virtues the barbarous fury of revenge, and the mad love of their country; but never have they reckoned fidelity among the virtues. Withoutremorse they abuse innocence, . often their vanity contemplates our griefs with delight. But no; fly far from me, ye odious thoughts, my lover will come ! A thousand times have I experienced
* 'Twill not be long, ere his unbending mind
e The soft air
Salutes me with most cool and temperate breath,
* For Safety now sits wav'ring on your love,
* Avaunt! ye vain delusive fears.
h See, Elfrida;
Your beauties from the blast of courtly gales.
yourself about, and which I long to understand. Another phaenomenon is, that I read it without finding it out: all I remember is, that I thought it not at all English, and did not much like it; and the reason is plain, for the lyric flights and choral flowers suited not in the least with the circumstances or character of the speaker, as he had contrived it.
x L.V. M. R. GRAY TO MR. B Row N.” February 17, 1763. You will make my best acknowledgments to Mr. Howe: who, not content to rank me in the number of his friends, is so polite as to make excuses for having done me that I was not born so far from the sun, as to be ignorant of Count Algarotti's name and reputation; nor am I so far advanced in years, or in philosophy, as not to feel the warmth of his approbation. The Odes in question, as their motto shews, were meant to be vocal to the intelligent alone. How few they were in my own country, Mr. Howe can testify; and yet my ambition was terminated by that small circle. I have good reason to be proud, if my voice has reached the ear and apprehension of a stranger, distinguished as one of the best judges in Europe.
it: as soon as I perceive him my agitated mind is calm, and I often forget the too jus’ cause I have for complaint ; for near him I can only know happiness.k Yet if he is treacherous to me; if, in the very moment when my love excuses him, he consummates the crime of infidelity in another bosom, may all nature take up arms in revenge! may he perish! What do I say? Ye elements, be deaf to my criest Thou earth, open not thy profound abyss' let the monster walk the time prescribed him on thy splendid surface, let him still commit new crimes, and still cause the tears of the too credulous maids to flow ; and if Heaven avenges them and punishes him, may it at least be at the prayer M. other unfortunate woman.”
* — My truant heart Forgets each lesson that Resentment taught, And in thy sight knows only to be happy. In the French it is more literal, “Pres de lui jeme scais qu’etre heureuse.” | Till then, }. elements, rest; and thou, firm earth, Ope not thy yawning jaws; but let this monster Stalk his due time on thine affrighted surface: Yee, let him still go on, still execute His savage purposes, and daily make More widows weep, as I do. Here ends this odd instance of plagiarism. When M. Helvetius was in England, a year or two after I had made the discovery of it, I took my measures (as Mr. Gray advised me) to learn how he came by it; and accordingly requested two noblemen, to whom he was introduced, to ask him some questions concerning it; but I could gain no satisfactory answer: . I do not, however, by any means, suppose that the person who cooked up the disjointed parts of my drama into this strange fricasee, was M. Helvetius himself; I rather imagine (as I did from the first) that he was imposed upon by some young English traveller, who contrived this expe. dient in order to pass with him for a poet. The great philosopher, it is true, has in this note been proved to be the receiver of stolen goods; but out of respect to his numerous fashionable disciples, both abroad and at home, whose credit might suffer with that of their master, I acquit him of what would only be held criminal at the Old Bailey, that he received these goods knowing them to be stolen. * Now master of Pembroke-hall.
I am equally pleased with the just applause he bestows on Mr. Mason; and particularly on his Caractacus, which is the work of a man : whereas Elfrida is only that of a boy, a promising boy indeed, and of no common genius: yet this is the popular performance, and the other little known in comparison.
Neither Count Algarotti nor Mr. Howe (I believe) have heard of Ossian, the son of Fingal. If Mr. Howe were not upon the wing, and on his way homewards, I would send it to him in Italy. He would there see that Imagination dwelt many hundred years ago, in all her pomp, on the cold and barren mountains of Scotland. The truth (I believe) is, that, without any respect of climates, she reigns in all nascent societies of men, where the necessities of life force every one to think and act much for himself.”
* One is led to think from this paragraph that the scepticism, which Mr. Gray
had expressed before, concerning these works of Ossian, was now entirely removed. (See p. 228.) I know no way of accounting for this (as he had certainly received no stronger evidence of their authenticity) but from the turn of his studies at the time. He had of late much busied himself in antiquities, and consequently had imbibed too much of the spirit of a professed antiquarian: now we know, from a thousand instances, that no set of men are more willingly duped than these, es
pecially by any thing that comes to them under the fascinating form of a new discovery.
x Lv 1. couNT A LGA RoTTI To MR. GRAY. Pisa, 24 Aprile, 1763. SoNo stato lungo tempo in dubbio se un dilettante quale io sono, dovea mandare alcune sue coserelle a un professore quale è V. S. Illus", a un arbitro di ogni poetica eleganza. Nè ci volea meno che l'autorità del valorissimo Sig. How per persuadermi a ciò fare. V. S. Ill" accolga queste mie coserelle con quella medesima bontà con cui ha voluto accogliere quella lettera che dice pur poco delle tante cose, che fanno sentire alle anime armoniche di ammirabili suoi versi. Io saro per quanto io porrò, Praeco laudum tuarum, e quella mia lettera si stamperà in un nuove Giornale, che si fa in Venezia, intitolato la Minerva, perche sappia la Italia che la Inghilterra, ricca di un “Omero, di uno fArchimede, di un i Demostene, non manca del suo Pindaro. Al Sig. How le non saprei dire quanti obblighi io abbia, ma si maggiore è certamente quello di avermi presentato alla sua Musa, e di avermi procurato la occasione di poterla assicurare della perfetta ed altissima stima, con cui io ho l'honore di sottescrivermi, De V. S. Illuso. Devotis. &c. ALGA RoTTI.
xLvII. MR. GRAy To DR. wHARTON. - Pembroke-hall, Aug. 5, 1763. YoU may well wonder at my long taciturnity. I wonder too, and know not what cause to assign; for it is certain I think of you daily. I believe it is owing to the nothingness of my history, for except six weeks that I passed in town towards the end of the spring, and a little jaunt to Epsom and Box-hill, I have been here time out o Milton. s f Newton. i Mr. Pitt.
of mind, in a place where no events grow, though we preserve those of former days, by way of Hortus siccus in our libraries. I doubt you have not read Rousseau's Emile. Every body that has children should read it more than once: for though it abounds with his usual glorious absurdity, though his general scheme of education be an impracticable chimera, yet there are a thousand lights struck out, a thousand important truths better expressed than ever they were before, that may be of service to the wisest men. Particularly I think he has observed children with more attention, and knows their meaning and the working of their little passions better than any other writer. As to his religious discussions, which have alarmed the world, and engaged their thoughts more than any other part of the book, I set them all at nought, and wish they had been omitted.”
x Lv III. M.R. GRAY To M.R. PALG R A v E.” - March, 1765. My instructions, of which you are so desirous, are twofold: the first part relates to what is past, and that will be rather diffuse: the second, to what is to come; and that we shall treat more succinctly, and with all due
* That I may put together the rest of Mr. Gray's sentiments concerning this singular writer, I insert here an extract from a letter of later date, written to myself. “I have not read the Philosophic Dictionary. I can now stay with great patience for anything that comes from Voltaire. They tell me it is frippery, and blasphemy, and wit. I could have forgiven myself if I had not read Rousseau's Lettres de la Montagne. Always excepting the Contract Social, it is the dullest performance he ever published. It is a weak attempt to separate the miracles from the morality of the gospel. The latter (he would have you think) he believes was sent from God; and the former he very explicitly takes for an imposture: this is in order to prove the cruelty and injustice of the state of Geneva in burning his Emile. The latter part of his book is to shew the abuses that have crept into the constitution of his country, which point (if you are concerned about it) he makes out very well; and his intention in this is plainly to raise a tumult in the city, and to be revenged on the Petit Conseil, who condemned his writings to the flames.
f Mr. Gray's correspondent was now making the tour of France and Italy.