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of it, I will let you know his thoughts. I desire you would let me know whether you are at leisure or not? I have a design which I shall open a month or two hence, with the affistance of the few like your self. If your thoughts are unengaged, I shall explain my self further. I am A i
* LETTER VI.
The Answer. 1..
.". Nov. 16, 1712. V OU oblige me by the indulgence you have thewn
I to the poem I sent you, but will oblige me much more by the kind severity I hope for from you. No errors are so trivial, but they deserve to be merd. ed. But since you say you see nothing that may be callid a fault, can you bui think it fo, that I have confin'd the attendance of * Guardian spirits to Heavens favourites only? I could point you to several, but 'tis my business to be informed of those faults I do not know, and as for those I do, not to talk of 'em but to correct 'em. You speak of that poem in a style I neither merit, nor expect ; but I assure you, if you freely mark or dash out, I shall look upon your blots to be its greatest beauties. "I mean if Mr. Addison and vour self shou'd like it in the whole; otherwise the trouble of correction is what I would not take, for I
* This is not now to be found in the Temple of Fame, wbich was the Poem here Spoken of .
was really so diffident of it as to let it lie by me these + two years, just as you now see it. I am afraid of nothing so much as to impose any thing on the world which is unworthy of its acceptance. ; As to the last period of your letter, I shall be very ready and glad to contribute to any design that tend's to the advantage of mankind, which I am sure all yours do. I wish I had but as much capacity as leisure, for I am perfectly idle: (a sign I have not much capacity.) • If you will entertain the best opinion of me, he pleas'd to think me your friend. Affure Mr. AddiTon of my most faithful service, of every one's esteem he must be assurd already. I am
To Mr. Steele.
-. -- Nov. 29, 1712. TAm sorry you publish'd that notion about Adrian's 1 verses as mine : had I imagin'd you wou'd use my name, I should have express’d my sentiments with more modesty and diffidence. I only sent it to have your opinion, and not to publish my own, which I distrusted. But I think the supposition you draw
+ Hence it appears this Poem was writ before the Author was 22 years old. , ,
from the notion of Adrian's being addicted to magick, is a little uncharitable, (“s that he might fear no fort of deity, good or bad”) since in the third verse he plainly testifies his apprehension of a future state, by being follicitous whither his soul was going as to what you mention of his using gay and ludicrous expressions, I have own'd my opinion to be that the expressions are not so, but that diminutives are as often in the Latin tongue used as marks of tenderness and concern.
Anima is no more than: my soul, animula has the force of my dear soul. To fay virgo bella is not half for endearing as virguncula bellula, and had Augustus only callid Horace lepidum hominem, it had amounted to no more than that he thought him a pleasant fellow : 'twas the homunciolum that expreft the love and tenderness that great Emperor had for him. And-perhaps I-fhould my felf be much better pleas'd,
if I were told you called me your little friend, than · if you complimented me with the title of a great genius, or an eminent hand, as Jacob does all his authors. I am your, &c.
* LETTER VIII.
From Mr. Steele.
Decemb. 4,17!2. THis is to desire of you that you woulā please
to make an Ode-as-of-a chearful-dying spirit, that is to say, the Emperor Adrian's Animula vagula put into two or three stanzas for musick. 'If you comply with this, and send me word so, you will very par. ticularly oblige your, &c.
I Do not send you word I will do, but have alrea. I dy done the thing you desire of me. You have it (as Cowley calls it) jult warm from the brain. It came to me the first moment I waked this morning : Yet you'll see it was not so absolutely inspiration, but that I had in my head not only the verses of Adrian, but the fine fragment of Sapho.
. ii &c.
The dying Christian to his Soul, :: O DE...
Vital Spark of heav'nly Aame!
Trenibling, hoping, lingʻring, Aying,
Cease, fond Nature, cease thy strife, "And léc me languish icto life.
What is this absorbs me quite ?
Drowns my Spirits, draws my breath ?
The world recedes; it disappears! .
With sounds seraphick ring : ?
O Death! where is thy Sting?
..! LET TER X, .
July 20, 1713. I Am more joy'd at your return than I should be at 1 that of the Sun, so much as I wish for him this melancholy wet season ; but 'tis his fate too, like your's, to be displeasing to Owls and obscene animals, who cannot bear his lustre. What put me in mind of these night.birds was John Dennis, whom I think you are best revenged upon, as the Sun was in the fable upon those bats and beastly birds above-mentioned, only by fining on. I am fo far, from esteeming it any misfortune, that I congratulate you upon having your share in that, which all the great men and all the good men that ever lived have had their part of, Envy and Calumny. To be uncensured and to be obscure, is the same thing. You may conclude from what I here say, that 'twas never in my thoughts to have offered you my pen in any direct reply to such a