« PreviousContinue »
A hundred streams, which green-hair'd Naiads pour
Sometimes the more to vary the delight,
Echoes the glen ; the neighbouring rocks reply ;
Books, exercise, and slumber wing with down
And canst thou doubt, for this our calmer life,
Our cell e'en great Naugero once adorn’d;
Lest these light numbers meet Ghiberti's glance, Beware : except at Bubulo, perchance, On the green bank he nurse some milder mood, Where rolls smooth Tartarus his tranquil flood. For oft his gracious audience entertains The gladden'd muse, nor slights her rustic strains. But when his soul into herself retires, (Whether to realms of light her wing aspires, Or meekly ministrant on rights divine Duteous she bends before the hallow'd shrine,) Then holds he sweet communion with the skies . Nor lighter themes attract his awful eyes, To whom the life that angels lead, is given On earth, to know, and antedate his heaven.
From this period to the month of February, 1806, the Journal is discontinued, containing only the following single entry :
September 9. Read the Clitopho, an excellent fragment of one of Plato's Dialogues.
The few letters also that remain are brief, and of a strictly private and domestic nature. During the greater portion of this long interval repeated returns of illness interrupted his usual avocations. Of the nature of his ailments I am unable to speak with accuracy : sometimes he alludes to his being afflicted with gravel, at others he complains of vertigo as disabling him from study or business. His friend, Birch, in a letter dated January 31, 1803, congratulates him on his "recent recovery.” Again in March 1, of the same year he says, “I am sorry to hear of your slight relapses.” In the Easter following, however, he was sufficiently recovered to receive a visit from Mr. Birch. But another attack must have followed not long afterwards, for in a letter to his sister, dated Sept. 1, 1803, he writes, “I am bravely."
Two other letters, written to his sister about this period, may be worth preserving for the sake of the brief allusions they contain to the literature of the day, and as evidencing the languor which seems to have oppressed their writer.
TO HIS SISTER GEORGINA.
Kingsbury, September 17, 1803. DEAR GEORGINA, I am sorry that I happened to be at Cannock when you were out. My father has probably told you that my going there was quite accidental, occasioned by our meeting together at Lichfield. We have been looking for you and the young ladies since Wednesday last, and fear now we shall not see you before you move to Cheltenham, or rather till after your return from thence. I think of going to Mr. Seward's next week, on Wednesday (weather and duty permitting) to stay one night. For Monday next we have invited Mr. Digby and his sister to pass a day and night here. We have no other engagement, and if you can come to us any other time before the end of the month, pray do. Might you not all as well spend the next month here as at Cheltenham ?
I hope you will take care not to fatigue yourself so much as to bring on any more of those giddinesses.
Your opinion of Cowper and his fair cousin entirely agrees with mine. Indeed I think his letters the best of any I ever read in English : and your observation, that we may discover from them the character of the persons to whom they are addressed, is very just.
I suppose you have heard of the sudden and melancholy way in which Mrs. Willoughby and her
poor little girl have been carried off by the scarlet fever. The former was very well and in good spirits on Tuesday se'nnight, and had continued speechless from the following day till the Friday night after, when she was released. The other followed her mother last Wednesday night, though Dr. Jones had pronounced her out of danger the day before. He, Mr. W., bears it better than one could expect.
We are all well, and unite in love to you, my father and sisters; none more truly than your affectionate brother,
H. F. CARY.
TO THE SAME,
Kingsbury, October 29, 1803. DEAR GEORGINA, My father's letter, dated the 20th, did not reach me till the 25th of this month. However, it made up for its tardiness by the welcome news it brought me that you were all so well and so comfortably settled. My father mentions your being grown so strong and fat that I should scarcely know you. I beg you will not grow quite out of my knowledge before your return. He is, I suppose, by this time on the wing for London, where I shall write to him in a few days. I go on Wednesday next to Enville, and pass the remainder of the week there with Wilkes. Jane has been and is still in great distress, and wishes much for your aid and advice. She found her newest gown on a moderate computation a yard and a half shorter