« ForrigeFortsett »
ed of them, please leave them with Mr. Clint, of the king's-arms. There is not another copy of the collection in the world, and I should be sorry that any unfortunate negligence should deprive me of what has cost me a good deal of pains.
To Mrs. R******
TVho was to bespeak a play one evening at the
I am thinking to send my Address to some periodical publication, but it has not got your sanction, so pray look over it.
As to the Tuesday's play, let me beg of you, my dear madam, to give us, The Wonder, 4 Woman keeps a Secret ; to which please add, The Spoilt Child-you will highly oblige me by so doing.
Ah, what an enviable creature you are! There now, this cursed gloomy blue-devil day, you are going to a party of choice spirits
“ To play the shapes Or frolic fancy, and incessant form Those rapid pictures, that assembled train of fleet ideas, never join'd before, Where lively wit excites to gay surprise ; Or folly-painting humour, grave himself, Calls laughter forth, deep-shaping every nerve."
But as you rejoice with them that do rejoice, do also remember to weep with them that weep: and pity your melancholy friend.
• To a LADY,
In favour of a player's benefit.
You were so very good as to promise me to honour my friend with your presence on his benefitnight. That night is fixed for Friday first; the play a most interesting one : The way to keep him. I have the pleasure to know Mr. G. well. His merit as an actor is generally acknowledged. He has genius and worth which would do honour to patronage : he is a poor and modest man ; claims which from their very silence have the more forcible power on the generous heart. Alas, for pity! that from the indolence of those, who have the good things of this life in their gift, too often does brazen-fronted importunity snatch that boon, the rightful due of retiring, humble want! Of all the qualities we assign to the author and director of nature, by far the most enviable is--to be able “ to wipe away all tears from all eyes.” O what insignificant, sordid wretches are they, however chance may have loaded them with wealth, who go to their graves, to their magnificent nausoleums, with hardly the consciousness of having made one poor honest heart happy!
But I crave your pardon, madan: I came to beg, not to preach.
EXTRACT of a LETTER
1794. I am extremely obliged to you for your kind montion of my interests, in a letter which Mr. S*** shewed me. At present my situation in life must be, in a great measure, stationary, at least for two or three years. The statement is this-I am on the supervisor's list; and as we come on there by precedency, in two or three years I shall be at the head of that list, and be appointed of course-then, a friend might be of service to me in getting me into a place of the kingdom, which I would like. A supervisor's income varies from about a hundred and twenty, to two hundred a year; but the business is an incessant drudgery, and would be nearly a complete bar to every species of literary pursuit. The moment I am ap pointed supervisor in the common routine, I may be nominated on the collector's list; and this is always a business purely of political patronage. A collectorship varies much from better than two hundred a year to near a thousand. They also come forward by precedency on the list, and have, besides a handsome income, a life of complete lei. sure. A life of literary leisure, with a decent competence, is the summit of my wishes. It would be the prudish affectation of silly pride in me, to say, that I do not need or would not be indebted to a political friend ; at the same time, sir, 1, by no means, lay my affairs before you thus, to hook my dependent situation on your benevolence. If, in my progress of life, an opening should occur where the good offices of a gentleman of your public character and political consequence might bring me forward, I will petition your goodness with the same frankness and sincerity as I now do imyself the honour to subscribe myself, &c.
To Mrs. R*****
I meant to have called on you yesternight, but as I edged up to your box-door, the first object
which greeted my view, was one of those lobstercoated puppies, sitting like another dragon, guarding the Hesperian fruit. On the conditions and capitulations you so obligingly offer, I shall cer. tainly make my weather-beaten rustic phiz a part of your box-furniture on Tuesday; when we may arrange the business of the visit.
Among the profusion of idle compliments, which insidious craft, or unmeaning folly, incessantly offer at your shrine-a shrine, how far ex. alted above such adoration-permit me, were it but for rarity's sake, to pay you the honest tribute of a warm heart, and an independent mind; and to assure you, that I am, thou most amiable, and most accomplished of thy sex, with the most respectful esteem, and fervent regard, thine, &c.
To THE SAME.
I will wait on you, my ever-valued friend, but whether in the morning I am not sure. Sunday closes a period of our curst revenue business, and may probably keep me employed with my pen until noon. Fine employment for a poet's pen! There is a species of the human genius that I call the gin-horse class : what enviable dogs they are ! Round, and round, and round they go,-Mundell's ox, that drives his cotton mill, is their exact prototype-without an idea or wish beyond their cir. cle; fat, sleek, stupid, patient, quiet, and contented; while here I sit, altogether Novemberish, a
melange of fretfulness and melancholy; not enough of the one to rouse me to passion, nor of the other to repose me in torpor; my soul flouncing and fluttering round her tenement, like a wild finch, caught amid the horrors of winter, and new. ly thrust into a cage. Well, I am persuaded that it was of me the Hebrew sage prophesied, when he foretold" And behold, on whatsoever this man doth set his heart, it shall not prosper !" resentment is awaked, it is sure to be where it dare not squeak; and if
Pray that wisdom and bliss be more frequent visitors of
TO THE SAME.
I have this moment got the song from S***, and I am sorry to see that he has spoilt it a good deal. It shall be a lesson to me how I lend him any thing again.
I have sent you Werter, truly happy to have any the smallest opportunity of obliging you.
'Tis true, madam, I saw you once since I was at W-; and that once froze the very life-blood of my heart. Yonr reception of me was such, that a wretch meeting the eye of his judge, about to pronounce sentence of death on him, could only have envied my feelings and situation. But I hate the theme, and never more shall write or speak on it.
One thing I shall proudly say, that I can pay Mrs. - a higher tribute of esteem, and appreciate her amiable worth more truly, than any man whom I kave seen approach her.