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TO THE REV. THOMAS PRICE.
Kensington Gravel Pits, April 24, 1814. MY DEAR PRICE, Two of your letters lie before me, which I must claim your indulgence for not having answered sooner. I received your last half-year's bounty, out of which I paid for your paper, and desired it to be discontinued : and requested my father to pay you the balance, unless you should wish me to lay it out for you here. On the preceding account there will, I think, be almost a pound due to you after you have received the land-tax, and I have paid for my Russian clothing
I have just been giving my father an account of my intended removal to Chiswick, the particulars of which I will not repeat to you; but will only add, that my new dwelling will be only divided from the Thames by the breadth of the public road, and will command a grand view of that river, of which I am not so worthy as you. If you are not engaged by the new curacy on which you are likely to batten, I hope you will soon come to me, and teach me again how to feather the oar. We may assuredly both of us say with the apostle, that “here we have no continuing city.”
I fear I am not likely to profit by your kind exertions as a critic in my behalf, as the Review, in
which you have hitherto becn my trumpeter, has lately shifted its leaders, and is therefore in all probability no longer to have the benefit of your voice.
Do you know who is the writer of a letter signed Crito in the last “Gentleman's Magazine,” who has been so liberal of his commendations to my book?
It is time for me, however, to resign my cittern to my son James, whose task this Easter has been to compose a Sapphic Ode to the Spring, in seven stanzas. He was to begin Homer, Sophocles, and Demosthenes, and the Hebrew Psalter, on his return to school, so that he is by this time learneder than his father.
Mr. Willoughby and Mr. Norman must fight it out between themselves about the fish. It is not for me tantas componere lites.
I have sent Wilkes my Dante in hopes of calling him off, at least while he is unpacking the parcel, from the miseries you told me he was in about his workmen. I wish you would tell him I am very much offended that he did not write me a complimentary letter.
It is to be hoped you will soon let the world see your companion to Paterson, of which Waters had indeed given me a hint. Seriously, I think it would be a very entertaining work, and I long to see it.
Have you ever seen Vallans's Tale of the Two Swannes, in which he describes in verse one of the English counties, I forget which ? Tom Warton
quotes some very pretty lines from it in his History of English Poetry. I believe it is very scarce.
I had intended writing a few lines to my sister, but am got to the end of my paper before I was aware of it: assure her of my best affections; and believe me yours truly,
H. F. CARY.
TO THE SAME.
Chiswick, November 11, 1814. MY DEAR PRICE, On the receipt of your letter, I wrote to Mr. Downes respecting the curacy of Kingsbury, and a negotiation is opened between us which I hope will terminate to the satisfaction of both the contracting parties. Mr. Fox has left the place very abruptly, and till a successor is found for him there will be some difficulty about getting the duty done.
You will, I trust, give me the earliest information as to the event of your canvas for the minor canonry; and not be less prompt in acquainting me with the publication of your sermons. I do not recollect to have offered my services, as a reviewer to the“ Gentleman's Magazine,” since the appearance of Waters's volume. But I shall be happy to assist at your début as an author.
I have seen no review of the translation of Dante, except two or three lines of very contemptuous mention made of it in the “ Critical Review." For this
gnat-sting I got a basilicon plaster the same day in a letter from Mr. Crowe, the public orator, couched in such a strain of compliment, as my modesty will not let me repeat.
Mr. Mathias's publication of Gray's papers has afforded me unspeakable amusement. Could I have known that my mention of it to you would have induced my father to send it me, I should have been silent.
Francis is much better, and all the rest of us well. Believe me, dear Price, with love to the Georginas, &c., yours faithfully always,
H. F. CARY. ..
TO THE REV. WALTER BIRCH.
Chiswtck, January 2, 1815, MY DEAR BIRCH, The business you expected in June last would have brought you to town, either has not required your presence, or else you are—shall I say a faithless or a forgetful wight? In the meantime you have perhaps been accusing me of negligence for not having thanked you sooner for your verses in honour of the
δαίμονες, δις επί μάρτυσι χρησόμεθ' ουκ επιλήσμοσιν ησυχίας πέρι της μεγαλόφρονος.
Aristoph. Lysist. 1289.*
-" The divinities, whom we
They would certainly have formed one of the sprightliest nosegays that Rhedycina could have presented them, though the bouquet, it seems, was not tied up quite carefully enough for her prudish fingers.
Would you were here to help my second boy out of a scrape you have got him into by recommending Merchant Tailors' school, nothing less than the dire necessity of putting the Carmen Seculare of Horace into rhyme during the present holidays. In the rude attempts of children to make verse, there is something now and then out of the hacknied way, that is very taking. In fact, I believe it can be only on this principle of novelty that one must account for some writers of our day being such favourites with the public.
A musician, at whose father's house Haydn used to be a frequent visitor, lately told me that he would sometimes at dinner, after having spent the whole morning in fruitless attempts at composition, shake his head, and say, "Nothing new;" for without having struck out something that he thought new he would never make a beginning.
This resolution, if there be at the same time a sound judgment that will prevent a man's mistaking mere novelty for excellence, seems to me a very good one for any writer to make who is not bound to produce a certain quantity of metre within a given time. I have not, for some time, seen anything equally new and good with those papers of Gray lately published by Mr. Mathias, though, indeed,