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Or to see Hercules, a son
Of Jupiter, as fabled, Hovering like old nurse o'er an admiral's bust; As if his pupil, or by him enabled;
What could they more
In days of yore
Than make the gods descend?
Fain would I mace lay thee on;
Being thus greatly edified,
May throw their books of heathen gods aside; And shortly there I fear see rise
lu statuary the whole Pantheon,
LETTERS FROM CHARLES CHURCHILL
TO JOHN WILKES, ESQ.
MY DEAR WILKES, I Am infinitely obliged to you for the concern you express for my health; but what account to give you of it, I can't well tell. I am better as to acuteness of pain.
After having accused me on account of my dolence, dost thou not now tremble at the sight of a whole sheet? Have you laid in a stock of patience, or sufficiently prepared yourself for the Christian duty of mortification? I shall try the strength of your virtues, and the sincerity of your conversion to the doctrines of patience and forbearance.
The affair of Lord Talbot* still lives in conversation, and you are spoken of by all with the highest respect. Lord Weymouth gives you the greatest encomiums. Your friends at the Beef-Steak enquired after you last Saturday with the greatest zeal, and it gave me no small pleasure that I was the person of whom the enquiry was made. Colonel
desires his compliments in the warmest terms, and declares he must be known to you with the first occasion. Nothing ever gave me so high an opinion of myself as not being envious of you.
I have made the North Briton entirely out of your letters. There is a very decent Irishism, upless for cautious of avoiding, you read careful
* See Vol. ii. p. 250.
to avoid. I am, with the utmost sincerity, Yours ever,
MY DEAR WILKES,
Aug. 3, 1763. I COULD not write sooner. Would it not have been more for your comfort not to write at all?
News there is none, or, as Dr. Marklram under Lord Stormont's name most Christ-Churchically expresses it, no notices come here.*
I am full of work, and flatter myself my spirits are pretty good—I live soberly-enjoy healthand could, I believe, answer a bill on sight to any woman—but my wife. Next winter is certainly ordained for the rising and falling of many in Israel. The Lord forbid I should be idle in so great a work, aut tanto cessarina cardine rerum. Several poems I shall have out soon, but not, I hope, so soon as to cut them off from the advantage of your criticism. Mr. Pope ought surely to feel some instinctive terrors, for against himn I have double pointed all my little thunderbolts, in
* Most probably alluding to some dispatches of Lord Stormont, then Ambassador at Paris, and with whom Dr. Markham, who had been his tutor, was then on a visit, and whose families became afterwards allied by Lord Stormont's son marrying a daughter of Dr. Markham, when he was Archbishop of York. The Doctor was a native of Ireland, born in 1724, admitted a King's scholar at Westminster in 1734, elected to Christ Church, Oxford, in 1738, and appointed head master of Westminster School in 1753, which he resigned in January 1764. Dean of Rochester in 1765, and of Christ Church in 1767, bishop of Chester in 1768, and Archbishop of York on the death of Dr. Drummond in 1776. He died November 3, 1807, leaving above £100,000, having the Christmas before his death presented each of his forty-seven grandchildren with £1000. He was a very excellent scholar, and frequently consulted as such, although he Qever wrote or published any work.
which as to the design, I hope I shall have your approbation, when you consider his heurt, and as to the execution, if you approve it, I can sit down easily, and hear with contempt the censures of all the half-blooded, prudish lords.
For something relative to Pope take the following lines, intended as an answer to those, who because I have slightly mentioned a few qualities of a goodly nature of one of my friends, would have me enlarge on his bad, and think me inexcusable for not mentioning them.
Not spare the man I love, not dare to feel The partial glowings of a friendly zeal? Nature forgives, nay justifies the deed, By friendship's first and noblest law decreed. Shall I not do then, what in days of yore Most bitter satirists have done before? They saw the follies, but they loved the men: E'en Pope could feel for friendship now and then. I take it for granted you have seen Hogarth’s Print against me. Was ever any thing so contemptible? I think he is fairly felo de sem -I think not to let him off in that manner, although I might safely leave him to your Notes.* Ile has broke into my pale of private life, and set that example of illiberality, which I wished-of that kind of attack which is ungenerous in the first instance, but justice in the return--I intend an elegy on him, supposing him dead, but ---- tells
The reviewer of the first edition of this work, in the AntiJacobin Review for April, 1804, makes the following remark on this passage:-" The writer of this article was with Wilkes, and in habits of intimacy with him, at Paris the year after Churchill died, and he declared his intention then of fulfilling this wish of his friend, but that he should not publish the notes during his life; and several years afterwards he told him in Loudon, that he had written the notes, but repeated his resolution of not letting them be published till after his leath.” None, however, were then found.
me with a kiss he will be really dead before it comes out, that I have already killed him, &c. How sweet is flattery from the woman we love, and how weak is our boasted strength when opposed to beauty and good sense with good nature? Those who value themselves on the dignity of man may scorn such a supposition, but I would rather bear that slavery (and it is the only slavery I would tamely bear) than enjoy the empire of mankind.
How is my little muse? how is Miss Wilkes ?*
I have not, and am afraid shall not be able to steal to Aylesbury. Some inducement I find wanting to draw me even to the pleasures of that place. Can Wilkes at Paris guess what it is? As little shall I be able to see Mr. Dixon, for your letter to whom I shall not thank you, intending, for my own ease, to bring all your acts of civility and friendship to one account, which I hope is yet at a great distance. I have begun the fourth book
* Miss Wilkes was the only legitimate child of Wilkes, and they appear to have been most affectionately and devotedly attached to one another. She accompanied him more than once to France, where she was received at court and in the highest circles, as was also the case on her return to England. She was a highly accomplished lady, had a handsome fortune in right of her mother, and succeeded to more on her father's death, of which she made a very liberal and judicious disposition by her will. She died in 1802 at the age of 57.
Wilkes had two illegitimate children, one a son, for whom he obtained an appointinent in the East Indies: and a daughter, Harriet, who, in 1802, married Mr. Serjeant Rough, and died at Demarara, whither she had accompanied her husband on his appointment as judge of that colony.
Mr. Serjeant Rough published a meagre memoir of Wilkes, prefixed to four volumes of Letters from him to Harriet Wilkes, when a child, and containing mere familiar gossip, which should never have seen the liglit; and here we should dismiss this wretched compilation without a word more, did not we feel called upon to stignatize with marked reprobation that shameful compound of folly and blasphemy, called an account of a Christmas dinner.'' (Letter 75, vol. ii.)