« PreviousContinue »
go on. Some of them, I suppose, have quitted college, and Wilkes is by this time perhaps edifying a country congregation, instead of lavishing his weekly admonition * on his auditors at the hall in Christ Church. You also, if I mistake not, are now on the point of taking your degree. Do you think of becoming a candidate for a fellowship? I should wish again to make an attempt at Oriel, or, if there was no vacancy there, at Merton; but this I will thank you not to mention, as it might injure me in my interest at
Will you have the goodness to say whether there is any open fellowship vacant there. If there is, and you have no thoughts of being a candidate for it, (for I should be sorry we were rivals, though I trust it would not lessen our friendship), pray give me the earliest information of it, as I should think it necessary, in that case, to renew my residence at Oxford.
I shall hope to find a long letter from you when I return home, which will probably be in a week or ten days. Tell me what you have been doing, what you are doing, and what you intend to do; though the latter you will perhaps find as difficult a question to answer, as I should find it were it put to me.
* It was the practice at Christ Church to have the best Essay for the week read out by its author before the assembled members of the College. I have heard my father say, that Canning, who was his contemporary, was more successful than any other in attaining this mark of distinction. His friend Wilkes, who was a man of strong mind, without ambition or pretension, seems to have been distinguished in that way.
H. F. CARY.
I have just met with “ Walton's Complete Angler," and have got it for you, as I know it is a favourite book of yours. Remember me to all friends, particularly Wilkes.
TO THE SAME.
Cannock, December 13, 1795. MY DEAR PRICE, Your friendly letter expostulating with me on my silence has obliged me greatly; there is no stronger proof of attachment than feeling hurt at the neglect of an absent friend; but, believe me, my silence did not proceed from intentional neglect or forgetfulness of you, but rather from the desire of avoiding to give you any unnecessary trouble ; but I am glad to find you do not consider my letters in that light. The prospect of seeing you soon, after so long an interval of time, gives me the most lively pleasure; and I have purposely deferred an intended visit to Humberston at Birmingham till your coming there. As you are detained in Oxford longer than I expected, my visit shall now stand over till the week after Christmas.
If you could make it convenient to return with me, and give us as much of your time as you can spare during the vacation,
you will add greatly to the satisfaction I shall feel in seeing you.
I wish you had spoken more particularly of my riends at Oxford, whom I long much to see. I have written to Lewis Way to inquire about Merton, and to tell him my intention of being a didate there next year, if there is a vacancy, and he thinks I shall have any chance.
But I suppose he is not in college, as I have had no answer.
With regard to my intention about the choice of a profession, I am yet undecided. As a kind of half-way measure between that line of life which my father wishes me to adopt, and the army, to which I am inclined, but he unfortunately is most averse, the Bar bids fair at present for my destination. The expense of a three years' residence at the Temple is the chief obstacle ; but this would be removed if I should have the good fortune to get a fellowship. This, however, I speak in confidence to you. After the trouble taken by myself and given to others, you will think me capricious in abandoning my clerical schemes. I fear indeed that caprice is a leading feature in my character; hut of this satis superque.
Remember me kindly to Wilkes, whom I hope to see in the vacation; to Phillott and the rest of our acquaintance. I am sorry you are not acquainted with Birch, who I wish was paid for some books of Aubry's that he paid for on my account. I am glad
you thought of Pett's Virgil, from which I promise myself much entertainment.
H. F. CARY.
During the whole period of his residence at Oxford and subsequently, his correspondence with Miss Seward had been continued. But while all her letters have been carefully preserved, most of his are lost. In the following brief note he excuses himself from being able to join in celebrating her birthday. It is worth preserving for the sonnet that accompanied it
TO MISS SEWARD.
December 11, 1795. DEAR Miss SEWARD, I am sorry to decline spending to-morrow with you according to my engagement ; but I shall remember the event by which the day is distinguished, and make my vows for many happy returns of it to you. Accept as a poor but sincere offering of my respectful Muse this sonnet on your Llangollen Poem.
H. F. C. Deva, when next my vagrant steps explore
The haunts romantic, where thy silver streams,
On which the garish sun but seldom gleams,
How shall I dwell enraptured on the themes
That now the immortal Muse of Britain deems
Of Glendour claiming valour's brightest meed,
Howel's love-breathing harp and lays divine,
Who, to find friendship’s gentle power decreed,
H. F. CARY.
Miss Seward was desirous of prefixing this sonnet to her poem of Llangollen Vale, then on the eve of publication, but objected to the word "watery" in the last line, and as the next letter shows, suggested “ hallowed” in its stead ! With this alteration it was published.
TO MISS SEWARD.
Cannock, January 15, 1796. DEAR Miss SEWARD, You do my sonnet. too much honour in uniting it to your poem. I can have no objection to its being put in so honourable a station.
Since the two ladies, as well as yourself and Mr. Saville, have so strong a hydrophobia upon them, the obnoxious epithet has been removed.
Though for my own part, as I consider water the most delightful appendage to a valley, I do not approve of your draining scheme.
Hallowed, however, does very well. Lovely, as you