Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

know not how to retract my promise to Dodsley. By the way, you perhaps may imagine that I have some kind of interest in this publication; but the truth is, I have none whatever. The expense is his, and so is the profit, if there be any. I therefore told him the other day, in general terms, that I heard there would be an edition put out in Scotland by a friend of mine, whom I could not refuse; and that, if so, I would send thither a copy of the same notes and additions that I had promised to send to him. This did not seem at all to cool his courage; Mr. Foulis must therefore judge for himself, whether he thinks it worth while to print what is going to be printed also at London. If he does, I will send him (in a packet to you) the same things I shall send to Dodsley. They are imitations of two pieces of old Norwegian poetry, in which there was a wild spirit that struck me : but for my paraphrases I cannot say much ; you will judge. The rest are nothing but a few parallel passages, and small notes just to explain what people said at the time was wrapped in total darkness. You will please to tell me, as soon as you can conveniently, what Mr. Foulis says on this head; that (if he drops the design) I may save myself and you the trouble of this packet. I ask your pardon for talking so long about it; a little more and my letter would be as big as all my works. I have read, with much pleasure, an ode of yours (in which you have done me the honour to adopt a measure that I have used) on Lord Hay's birth-day. Though I do not love panegyric, I cannot but applaud this, for there is nothing mean in it. The diction is easy and noble, the texture of the thoughts lyric, and the versification harmonious. The few expressions I object to are * * * *. These, indeed, are minutiae; but they weigh for something, as half a grain makes a difference LVII. M. R. GRAY TO MR. BEATTIE. - Pembroke-hall, Feb. 1, 1768. I AM almost sorry to have raised any degree of impatience in you, because I can by no means satisfy it. The sole reason I have to publish these few additions now, is to make up (in both) for the omission of that Jong Story; and as to the notes, I do it out of spite, because the public did not understand the two odes (which I have called Pindaric); though the first was not very dark, and the second alluded to a few common facts to be found in any sixpenny history of England, by way of question and answer, for the use of children. The parellel passages I insert out of justice to those writers from whom I happened to take the hint of any line, as far as I can recollect. I rejoice to be in the hands of Mr. Foulis, who has the laudable ambition of surpassing his predecessors, the Etiennes and the Elzevirs, as well in literature, as in the proper art of his profession: he surprises me in mentioning a lady, after whom I have been inquiring these fourteen years in vain. When the two odes were first published, I sent them to her; but as I was forced to direct them very much at random, probably they never came to her hands. When the present edition comes out, I beg of Mr. Foulis to offer her a copy, in my name, with my respects and grateful remembrances; he will send another to you, Sir, and a third to Lord Gray, if he will do me the honour of accepting it. These are all the presents I pretend to make (for I would have it considered only as a new edition of an old book); after this, if he pleases to send me one or two, I shall think myself obliged to him. I cannot advise him to print a great number; especially as Dodsley has it in his power to print as many as he pleases, though I desire him not to do so.

in the value of a diamond. * Another paragraph of particular criticism is here omitted.

[ocr errors]

You are very good to me in taking this trouble upon you: all I can say is, that I shall be happy to return it in kind, whenever you will give me the opportunity.

Lv1.11.* M.R. GRAY to THE DUKE of GRAFTon. MY LORD, Cambridge, July, 1768. YoUR Grace has dealt nobly with me; and the same delicacy of mind that induced you to confer this favour on me, unsolicited and unexpected, may perhaps make you averse to receive my sincerest thanks and grateful acknowledgments. Yet your Grace must excuse me, they will have their way: they are indeed but words; yet I know and feel they come from my heart, and therefore are not wholly unworthy of your Grace's acceptance. I even flatter myself (such is my pride) that you have some little satisfaction in your own work. If I did not deceive myself in this, it would complete the happiness of, My Lord, Your Grace's most obliged And devoted servant.

[The following letter of Mr. Gray, to Mary Antrobus, is found in a curious collection of autographs, made by Dr. E. D. Clarke in the latter part of his life. It was written on the day of his presentation to George III., upon his appointment to the Professorship of Modern History at Cambridge, and contains some traits highly characteristic of the poet,

DEAR MARY, 29th July, 1768. I THANK you for all your intelligence (and the first news I had of poor Brocket's death was from you), and to reward you in part for it, I now shall tell you, that this day, hot as it is, I kissed the King's hand; that my warrant was signed by him last night; that on Wednesday I received a very honourable letter from the Duke of Grafton, acquainting me, that his Majesty had ordered him to offer me this Professorship

* The three following letters explain the occasion of th

honourable to his Grace, and are withal so authentic a gratitude, that they leave me nothing to add on the subj

more, which does me too much credit by half, for me to mention it: the Duke adds, that from private as well as public considerations, he takes the warmest part, in approving this measure of the king. These are his own words. You see there are princes (or ministers,) left in the world, that know how to do things handsomely; for I profess I never asked for it, nor have I seen his Grace, before or after this event. Dr. R. (not forgetting a certain lady of his), is so good to you and to me, that you may (if you please) shew him my letter: he will not be critical as to the style, and I wish you would send it also to Mr. Brown, for I have not time to write to him, by this post: they need not mention this circumstance to others—they may learn it as they can. Adieu. I receive your letter of July 28 (while I am writing). Consult your friends over the way; they are as good as I, and better. All I can say is, the Board have been so often used to the name of Antrobus lately, that I fear they may take your petition not in good part: if you are sure of the kindness or interest of Mr. A., the opportunity should not be lost; but I always a little distrust new friends and new lawyers. I have found a man, who has brought Mr. Eyres (I think) up to my price in a hurry; however, he defers his final answer till Wednesday next. He shall not have it a shilling lower, I promise; and if he hesitates, I will rise upon him like fury. Good night. I am ever Yours.

How could you dream that St—, or Hinchl— would ask this for themselves? The only people that asked it were Lort, Marriet, Delavel, Tibb, and Peck— at least I have heard of no more. Delavel always communicated his thoughts to me, knowing I would make no ill use of that knowledge. Lort is a worthy man, and I wish he could have it, or something as good: the rest are nothing.]

Lix. M.R. GRAY to MR. NICHOLLs.”
Jermyn-street, Aug. 3, 1768.

THAT Mr. Brocket has broken his neck, by a fall from his horse, you will have seen in the newspapers; and also that I, your humble servant, have kissed the King's hand for his succession: they are both true, but the manner how you know not: only I can assure you that I had no hand at all in his fall, and almost as little in the second event. He died on the Sunday; on Wednesday following his Grace the Duke of Grafton wrote me a very polite letter to say, that his Majesty had commanded him to offer me the vacant professorship, not only as a reward of, &c. but as a credit to, &c. with much more too high for me to transcribe: so on Thursday the King signed the warrant, and next day, at his levee, I kissed his hand; he made me several gracious speeches, which I shall not repeat, because every body that goes to court does so: besides, the day was so hot, and the ceremony so embarrassing to me, that I hardly knew what he said.

Adieu! I am to perish here with heat this fortnight yet, and then to Cambridge; to be sure my dignity is a little the worse for wear, but, mended and washed, it will do for me.

[graphic]

-
LX. M.R. GRAY TO MR. BEATTIE.

Pembroke-hall, Oct. 31, 1768. It is some time since I received from Mr. Foulis two copies of my Poems, one by the hands of Mr. T. Pitt, the other by Mr. Merrill, a bookseller of this town: it is indeed a most beautiful edition, and must certainly * Rector of Lounde and Bradwell, in Suffolk. His acquaintance with Mr. G commenced a few years before the date of this, when he was a student of Trini

hall, Cambridge. T

« ForrigeFortsett »