« AnteriorContinuar »
Queen's Grace to him. I had notice the night before I began my journey, that Her Majesty had not only directed his pardon, but order'd a Writ for reversing his Out-lawry.
* Le T T E R IX.
To General Anthony Hamilton t upon bis having translated into French Verse the Eslay on Criticism.
08. 10, 1713: TF I could as well express, or (if you will allow me I to say it) translate the sentiments of my heart, as you have done those of my head, in your excellent version of my Essay; I should not only appear the best writer in the world, but what I much more desire to be thought, the most your servant of any. man living. 'Tis an advantage very rarely known, to receive at once a great honour and a great improves ment. This Sir, you have afforded me, having at the same time made others take my sense, and taught me to understand my own; if I may call that my own which is indeed more properly yours. Your verses are no more a translatiom of mine, than Virgils are of Homer's; but are like his, the justest Imitation and the noblest Commentary.
+ Author of the Memoirs of the Count de Grammont, Contas, and other pieces of note in French.
In putting me into a French dress, you have not only adorned my outside, but mended my tape; and if I am now a good figure, I must consider you have naturaliz'd me into a country, which is famous for making every man a fine gentleman. It is by your means, that (contrary to moft young travellers) I am come back much better than I went out.
I cannot but with we had a bill of commerce for translation established the next Parliament, we could not fail of being gainers by that, nor of making our selves amends for any thing we have lost by the war. Nay cho' we should insist upon the demolishing of Boileau's works, the French, as long as they have writers of your form, might have as good an equivalent.
Upon the whole, I am really as proud, as our Ministers ought to be, of the terms I have gain’d from abroad; and I design like them, to publish speedily to the world the benefits accruing from them; for I cannot resist the temptation of printing your admirable translation here *; to which if you will be so obliging to give me leave to prefix your name, it will be the only addition you can make to the honour already done me. I am,
** This was never done, for the two printed French Vera fions are neither of this band. The one was done by Moxfieur Roboton, private Secretary to King George the first, printed in 4° at Amsterdam and at London 1717. The other by the Abbe. Resnel, in 8° with a large Preface and Nates, at Paris, 1730.
LETTERS TO and FROM
Mr. STEELE, Mr. ADDISON,
Mr. CONGREVE, &c.
From 1712 to 1715.
LETTER I. '
June 1, 1712. T Am at a solitude, an house between Hampstead 1 and London wherein Sir Charles Sedley died. This circumstance set me a thinking and ruminating upon the employments in which men of wit exercise themselves. It was said of Sir Charles, who breath'd his last in this room,
Sedley has that prevaling gentle art,
This was an happy talent to a man of the town, but I dare fay, without presuming to make uncharitable conjectures on the author's present condition, he would rather have had it said of him that he had pray'd,
Oh thou my voice inspire,
I have turn'd to every verse and chapter, and think you have preserv'd the sublime heavenly spirit throughout the whole, especially at Hark a glad voice and The lamb with wolves shall graze - There is but one line which I think below the original,
He wipes the tears for ever from our eyes. "
You have express’d it with a good and pious, but not so exalted and poetical a spirit as the prophet, The Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces. If you agree with me in this, alter it by way of paraphrase or otherwise, that when it comes into a volume it may be amended. Your poem is already better than the Pollio. I am
: Your, &c.
.. ... . June 18, 1712. U have oblig'd me with a very kind letter, by which I find you shift the scene of your life
from the town to the country, and enjoy that mixd ftate which wife men both delight in, and are qualify'd for. Méthinks the moralifts and philofophers have generally run too much into extremes in commending intirely either solitude, or publick life. In the former, men for the most part grow useless by too much reft, and in the latter are destroy'd by much precipitation ; as waters lying still, putrify and are good for nothing, and running violently or do but the more mischief in their paffage to others, and are swallow'd up and lost the fooner themfelves. Those indeed who can be ufeful to all states, should be like gentle streams, that not only glide thro' lonely valleys and forests amidst the flocks and the shepherds, but visit populous towns in their courfe,' and are at once of ornament and service to them. But there are another fort of people who feem defign’a for folitude; such I miean as have more to hide than to show : As for my own part, I am one of those of whotn Seneca says, Tam umbratiles funt, ut putent in turbido efle quicquid in luce eft. . Some men like some pictures, ate fitter for a corner than a full light; and I believe such as have a natural bent to solitude (to carry on the former fimilitude) are like waters which may be forc'd into fountains and exalted into a great height, may make a noble figure and a louder noife, but after all they would run more smoothly, quietly and plentifully, in their own natural course upon the ground. The
The foregoing Similitudes our Author bad put into verfe fome years before and inserted into Mr. Wycherley's poem en Mixt Life: We find them in the Versification very distinct from the rest of that poen.' See his pofthumous Works, 86 Page 3d and 4th.