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the embarrassments of an honest fellow; and when, to remedy the matter, he has gained a legal commission to plunder distant provinces, or massacre peaceful nations, he returns, perhaps, laden with the spoils of rapine and murder; lives wicked and respected, and dies a ***** and a lord.-Nay, worst of all, alas for helpless woman! the needy prostitute, who has shivered at the corner of the street, waiting to earn the wages of casual prostitution, is left neglected and insulted, ridden down by the chariot wheels of the coroneted RIP, hurrying on to the guilty asssignation; she, who without the same necessities to plead, riots nightly in the same guilty trade.
Well! divines may say of it what they please, but execration is to the mind, what phlebotomy is to the body: the vital sluices of both are wonderfully relieved by their respective evacua
To A. F. TYTLER, Esq.
NOTHING less than the unfortunate accident I have met with, could have prevented my grateful acknowledgments for your letter. His own favourite poem, and that an essay in a
walk of the muses entirely new to him, where consequently his hopes and fears were on the most anxious alarm for his success in the attempt; to have that poem so much applauded by one of the first judges, was the most delicious vibration that ever trilled along the heartstrings of a poor poet. However, Providence, to keep up the proper proportion of evil with the
good, which it seems is necessary in this sublunary state, thought proper to check my exultation by a very serious misfortune. A day or two after I received your letter, my horse came down with me and broke my right arm. As this is the first service my arm has done me since its disaster, I find myself unable to do more than just in general terms to thank you for this additional instance of your patronage and friendship. As to the faults you detected in the piece, they are truly there: one of them, the hit at the lawyer and priest, I shall cut out; as to the falling off in the catastrophe, for the reason you justly adduce it cannot easily be remedied. Your approbation, sir, has given me such additional spirits to persevere in this species of poetic composition, that I am already revolving two or three stories in my fancy. If I can bring these floating ideas to bear any kind of embodied form, it will give me an additional opportu nity of assuring you how much I have the honour to be, &c.
To MRS. DUNLOP.
Ellisland, 7th. February, 1790.
WHEN I tell you, Madam, that by a fall, not from my horse but with my horse, I have been a cripple some time, and that this is the first day my arm and hand have been able to serve me in writing; you will allow that it is too good an apology for my seemingly ungrate ful silence. I am now getting better, and am able to rhyme a little, which impiies some tolerable ease; as I cannot think that the most poetic genius is able to compose on the rack.
I do not remember if ever I mentioned to you my having an idea of composing an elegy on the late Miss Burnet, of Monboddo. I had the honour of being pretty well acquainted with her, and have seldom felt so much at the loss of an acquaintance, as when I heard that so amiable and accomplished a piece of God's works was no more. I have as yet gone no farther than the following fragment, of which please let me have your opinion. You know that elegy is a subject so much exhausted, that any new idea on the business is not to be expected: 'tis well if we can place an old idea in a new light. How
far I have succeeded as to this last, you will judge from what follows
(Here follows the Elegy, &c, as in p. 206, adding this verse.)
The parent's heart, that nestled fond in thee,
I have proceeded no further.
Your kind letter, with your kind remembrance of your godson, came safe. This last, Madam, is scarcely what my pride can bear. As to the little fellow, he is, partiality apart, the finest boy I have of a long time seen. He is now seventeen months old, has the small-pox and measles over, has cut several teeth, and yet never had a grain of doctor's drugs in his bowels,
I am truly happy to hear that the "little floweret" is blooming so fresh and fair, and that the "mother-plant" is rather recovering her drooping head. Soon and well may her cruel wounds" be healed! I have written thus far with a good deal of difficulty. When I get a little abler you shall hear farther from,
Madam, Yours, &c.
To LADY W. M. CONSTABLE,
Acknowledging a Present of a valuable Snuffbox, with a fine Picture of Mary Queen of Scots on the lid.
NOTHING less than the unlucky accident of having lately broken my right arm, could have prevented me, the moment I received your ladyship's elegant present by Mrs. Miller, from returning you my warmest and most grateful acknowledgments. I assure your ladyship I shall set it apart: the symbols of religion shall only be more sacred. In the moment of poetic composition, the box shall be my inspiring genius. When I would breathe the comprehensive wish of benevolence for the happiness of others, I shall recollect your ladyship; when I would interest my fancy in the distresses incident to humanity, I shall remember the unfortunate Mary.
To MRS. GRAHAM, OF FINTRY. MADAM,
WHETHER it is that the story of our
Mary, Queen of Scots, has a peculiar effect on