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of Doctor Middleton's unpublished works. One is about forty-four pages in quarto against Dr. Waterland, who wrote a very orthodox book on the Importance of the Doctrine of the Trinity, and insisted, that Christians ought to have no communion with such as differ from them in fundamentals. Middleton enters no farther into the doctrine itself than to shew, that a mere speculative point can never be called a fundamental; and that the earlier fathers, on whose concurrent tradition Waterland would build, are so far, when they speak of the three persons, from agreeing with the present notion of our church, that they declare for the inferiority of the Son, and seem to have no clear and distinct idea of the Holy Ghost at all. The rest is employed in exposing the folly and cruelty of stiffness and zealotism in religion, and in shewing that the primitive ages of the church, in which tradition had its rise, were (even by confession of the best scholars and most orthodox writers) the era of nonsense and absurdity. It is finished, and very well wrote; but has been mostly incorporated into his other works, particularly the Inquiry: and for this reason I suppose he has writ upon it, This wholly laid aside. The second is in Latin, on Miracles; to shew that of the two methods of defending Christianity—one from its intrinsic evidence, the holiness and purity of its doctrines—the other from its external, the miracles said to be wrought to confirm it: the first has been little attended to by reason of its difficulty; the second much insisted upon, because it appeared an easier task; but that it can in reality prove nothing at all. “Nobilisilla quidem defensio (the first) quam si obtinere potuissent, rem simul omnem expediisse, causamdue penitus vicisse viderentur. At causae hujus defendendae labor cum tanta argumentandi cavillandique molestia conjunctus ad alteram, quam dixi, defensionis viam, ut commodiorem longe et faciliorem, plerosque adegit—ego vero
istiusmodi defensione religionem nostram non modo non confirmari, sed dubiam potius suspectamgue reddi existimo.” He then proceeds to consider miracles in general, and afterward those of the pagans compared with those of Christ. I only tell you the plan, for I have not read it out (though it is short); but you will not doubt to what conclusion it tends. There is another thing, I know not what, I am to see. As to the treatise on Prayer; they say it is burnt indeed. Adieu.
You R pen was too rapid to mind the common form of a direction, and so, by omitting the words near Windsor, your letter has been diverting itself at another Stoke near Aylesbury, and came not to my hands till to-day. The true original chairs were all sold, when the Huntingdon broke; there are nothing now but Halseychairs, not adapted to the squareness of a Gothic dowager's rump. And by the way, I do not see how the uneasiness and uncomfortableness of a coronation-chair can be any objection with you: every chair that is easy is modern, and unknown to our ancestors. As I remember, there were certain low chairs, that looked like ebony, at Esher, and were old and pretty. Why should not Mr. Bentley improve upon them?—I do not wonder at Dodsley. You have talked to him of six odes, for so you are pleased to call every thing I write, though it be but a receipt to make apple-dumplings. He has reason to gulp when he finds one of them only a long story, I don't know but I may send him very soon (by your hands) an ode to his own tooth, a high Pindaric upon stilts, which one must be a better scholar than he is to understand a line of, and the very best scholars will understand but a little matter here and there. It wants but seventeen lines of having an end, I don't say of being finished. As it is so unfortunate to come too late for Mr. Bentley, it may appear in the fourth volume of the Miscellanies, provided you don't think itexecrable, and suppress it. Pray, when the fine book is to be printed,” let me revise the press, for you know you can't; and there are a few trifles I could wish altered. I know not what you mean by hours of love, and cherries, and pine-apples. I neither see nor hear any thing here, and am of opinion that is the best way. My
compliments to Mr. Bentley, if he be with you.
I desire you would not shew that epigram I repeated to you, f as mine. I have heard of it twice already as
coming from you.
I AM obliged to you for Mr. Dodsley's book; and, having pretty well looked it over, will (as you desire) tell you my opinion of it. He might, methinks, have spared the graces in his frontispiece, if he chose to be economical, and dressed his authors in a little more decent raiment—not in whited-brown paper and distorted characters, like an old ballad. . I am ashamed to see myself: but the company keeps me in countenance: so to begin with Mr. Tickell. This is not only a statepoem (my ancient aversion), but a state-poem on the peace of Utrecht. If Mr. Pope had wrote a panegyric on it, one could hardly have read him with patience: but this is only a poor short-winded imitator of Addison, who had himself not above three or four notes in poetry, sweet enough indeed, like those of a German flute, but such as soon tire and satiate the ear with their frequent
* The edition of his Odes, printed at Strawberry-hill. t The epigram here alluded to cannot be ascertained with certainty.
f His Collection of Poems.
return. Tickell has added to this a great poverty of sense, and a string of transitions that hardly become a school-boy. However, I forgive him for the sake of his ballad,” which I always thought the prettiest in the world. All there is of M. Green here has been printed before: there is a profusion of wit every where; reading would have formed his judgment, and harmonized his verse, for even his wood-notes often break out into strains of real poetry and music. The School-mistress is excellent in its kind, and masterly; and (I am sorry to differ from you, but) London is to me one of those few imitations, that have all the ease and all the spirit of an original. The same man'sf verses at the opening of Garrick's theatre are far from bad. . Mr. Dyer (here you will despise me highly) has more of poetry in his imagination, than almost any of our number; but rough and injudicious. I should range Mr. Bramston only a step or two above Dr. King, who is as low in my estimation as in yours. Dr. Evans is a furious madman; and pre-existence is nonsense in all her altitudes. Mr. Lyttelton is a gentle elegiac person: Mr. Nugents sure did not write his own ode. § I like Mr. Whitehead's little poems, I mean the Ode on a Tent, the Verses to Garrick, and particularly those to Charles Townshend, better than anything I had seen before of him. I gladly pass over H. Brown, and the rest, to come at you. You know I was of the publishing side, and thought your reasons against it none; for though, as Mr. Chute said extremely well, the still small voice of Poetry was not made to be heard in a crowd; yet Satire will be heard, for all the audience are by nature her friends; especially when she appears in the spirit of Dryden, with his strength, and often with his versification; such as you have caught in those lines on the royal unction, on the papal dominion, and convents of both sexes, on Henry VIII. and Charles II. for these are to me the shining parts of your Epistle.* There are many lines I could wish corrected, and some blotted out, but beauties enough to atone for a thousand worse faults than these. . The opinion of such as can at all judge, who saw it before in Dr. Middleton's hands, concurs nearly with mine. As to what any one says, since it came out; our people (you must know) are slow of judgment: they wait till some bold body saves them the trouble, and then follow his opinion; or stay till they hear what is said in town, that is, at some bishop's table, or some coffee-house about the Temple. When they are determined, I will tell you faithfully their verdict. As for the Beauties,f I am their most humble servant. What shall I say to Mr. Lowth, Mr. Ridley, Mr. Rolle, the Reverend Mr. Brown, Seward, &c. : If I say, Messieurs' this is not the thing; write prose, write sermons, write nothing at all; they will disdain me and my advice. What then would the sickly peers have done, that spends so much time in admiring every thing that has four legs, and fretting at his own misfortume in having but two; and cursing his own politic head and feeble constitution, that won't let him be such a beast as he would wish? Mr. S. Jenyns now and then can write a good line or two—such as these—
* Colin and Lucy; beginning,
# Doctor Samuel Johnson. : Afterward Earl Nugent. § That addressed to Mr. Pulteney.
Snatch us from all our little sorrows here,
I like Mr. Aston Hervey's fable; and an ode (the last of all) by Mr. Mason, a new acquaintance of mine, whose Musaeus too seems to carry with it the promise at least of something good to come. I was glad to see
* Epistle from Florence to Thomas Asheton, tutor to the Earl of Plymouth. f The Epistle to Mr. Eckardt the painter. # Lord Hervey.