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I believe, to employ a Latin editor. style, seems to have been carried to There will shortly appear an Elzevir its utmost height, as may appear in Horace from the press, revised by the works of Akenside, Gray's Mr Levy, which you will probably Odes and Church-yard Verses, and like to see.
Mason's Monody and Elfrida. The As to the Erse fragments,* you public has seen all that art can do
, judged very rightly, that, amidst the and they want the more striking efapplause they were sure of receiving forts of wild, original, enthusiastic from the world, they would not fail genius. It seems to exclaim aloud to afford me a very peculiar satisfac. with the chorus in Julius Cæsar, tion. I am indeed unfeignedly thank- « Oh rather than be slaves to these deep ful for the early copy you sent me, learned men, and for the ingenious letter which ac Give us our wildness and our woods, our companied them. It seems, indeed,
huts and caves again !" from à former version of them by the I know not how far you will alsame translator, (which Mr Gray, the low the distinction or the principle poet, received from him, and shew. on which I build my remark, name. ed my friend Percy,) that he has ly, that the taste of the present age taken pretty considerable freedoms is somewhat higher than its genius
. in adapting them to the present read. This turn, you see, favours the work er. I do not in the least disapprove the translator has to publish, or has of this ; knowing by experience, that published already. Here is indeed trivial amendments in these old com- pure original genius! The very positions often render them highly quintessence of poetry; a few drops striking, which would be otherwise of which, properly managed, are quite neglected. And surely, un- enough to give a favour to quart. der all the infirmities of age, they bottles. And yet one or two of may be said to have an absolute these pieces (the first, for instance, toclaim to some indulgencies of this gether with the second) are undoubt
. kind. I presume the editor follows edly as well planned as any ode we the same model of translation in what find in Horace. he is now going to publish. I would I have perused the Gentle Shepwish him particularly attentive to the herd with all imaginable pleasure ; melody of his cadences, when it may and here again am indebted to you, be done without impeachment of his sir, for the assistance of your glossary
. fidelity. The melody of our verse ?Tis rare to find a poem of this has been perhaps carried to its utmost length, where simplicity of sentiment perfection ; that of prose seems to and of language are so very well sustainhave been more neglected, and to be ed. The metre is generally musical; capable of greater than it has yet at- and the old Scottish words form an tained. It seems to be a very fa, admirable kind of Doric. vourable era for the appearance of sense, expressed naturally, in a phrase such irregular poetry. The taste of easy, perspicuous, and not wholly the
age, so far as regards plan and void of ornament, seems the talent of * The first publications of Macpherson, entitled, “ Fragments of Ancient Poetry collected in the Highlands of Scotland, and translated from the Gælic or Erse language.” 1760.
Ramsay, whose taste in composition ty cause such things to be neglected. was perhaps more remarkable than Accordingly he has settled a correhis gerius ; and in whom greater fire spondence in Wales, in the wilds of and invention would certainly have Staffordshire and Derbyshire, in the deprived his readers of the Gentle, West Indies, in Ireland, and, if he Shepherd
can obtain your assistance in ScotAnd now, having thanked you for land, hopes to draw materials from the Scotch snuff, (better than any I the whole British empire. He tells ever tasted before,) I come to ask, me there is, in the collection of Mag. whether you have any old Scotch Coll. Libr. a very curious collection ballads, which you would wish pre- of antient Scottish songs and poems, served in a neat edition. I have oc- he thinks not published or known casioned a friend of mine to publish many of Dumbar, Maitland of-Leth. a fair collection of the best old Eng. ington, and one allegorical poem of lish and Scotch ballads ; a work I Gawain Douglas, too obsolete for his have long had much at heart. Mr collection, and one yet more obso. Percy, the collector and publisher, is lete, called Peebles in the Play,' a man of learning, taste, and indefa- mentioned in Christ's Kirk on the tigable industry, is chaplain to the Green. He met Mr Gray in the Earl of Sussex. It so happens, that university library, who is going to he has himself a folio collection of write the Hist. of English Poetry. this kind of MSS. ; which has But, to put an end to this long artimany things truly curious, and from cie! his collection will be printed which he selects the best.* I am in two or three small octavos, with only afraid that his fondness for an- suitable decorations ; and if you find tiquity should tempt him to admit an opportunity of sending aught that pieces that have no other sort of me. may be proper for his insertion, I rit. However, he has offered me a think I can safely answer for his rejecting power, of which I mean to thankfulness as well as my own. make considerable use.
He is en
He shewed me an old ballad in his couraged in his undertaking by Sam. folio MS., under the name of Adam Johnson, Garrick, and many persons Carr: three parts in four coincide of note, who lend him such assistance so much with your Edom of Gor. as is within their power. He has don, that the former name seems to brought Mr Jo. Warton (the poetry me an odd corruption of the latter. professor) to ransack the Oxford lib. His MS. will, however, tend to enraries; and has resided and employed rich Edom of Gordon with two of six amanuenses to transcribe from the prettiest stanzas I ever saw, bePepys's Collection at Cambridge, side many other improvements. He consisting of five volumes of old bal- has also a MS. of Gill Morrice, call. lads in folio. He says justly, that it ed in his copy Childe Morice. Of is in the remote parts of the king- this more another time. I must at dom that he has most reason to ex. present take my leave.
Should you pect the curiosities he wants that in see Mr (Douglas) Hume, Mr Alex. the southern parts fashion and novel- ander, or Dr Robertson, I desire my
* The proposed collection was afterwards made by Dr Percy, ander the well known title of “ Reliques of Ancient English Poetry."
best respects to them. And should after a debauch. But, as a more pas. you see my good Lord Alemoor and ticular explication of that particular Mr Professor Smith, I beg you would seems superfluous, I shall only apply please to assert how unfeignedly I to you for a renewal of your good am their servant. I hope to muster offices with your nephew, Lord Tin. up sufficient assurance, even now, to wal, whose interest with Yetts and acknowledge by letter their accepta. Allan may be of service to me. There ble presents of books ; however the is no time to lose ; so that I must beg fire of gratitude was not less intense you to be speedy in writing to hin for having lain concealed and produ. or speaking to him on that head. A ced no blaze. I have many more word to the wise. Even that is not Scotch friends whom I wish to par. necessary to a friend such as I have ticularize ; but these, if I am not always esteemed and found you to be. mistaken, live in the neighbourhood I live here very comfortably with of Edinburgh. I am, dear sir, your the Marquis of Annandale, who, I most obliged humble servant, suppose you have heard, sent me a
Will. Shenstone. letter of invitation, along with a bill I will endeavour to procure and of 1001. about two months ago. send you a copy of Percy's translation Every thing is much better than I of a genuine Chinese novel, in four expected from the accounts I heard small vols., printed months ago, but after I came to London. For the not to be published before winter. secrecy with which I stole away from To Mr MacGowan.
Edinburgh, and which I thought necessary for preserving my interest there, kept me entirely ignorant of his situation : My lord never was in
80 good a way before. He has a re: To Matthew Sharpe of Hoddam, Esq. gular family, honest servants, and near Dumfries, North Britain.
every thing is managed genteelly and
with economy; he has entrusted all My Dear Sir, I am informed, his English affairs to a mighty honest that such a popular clamour has been friendly man, Captain Vincent, who raised against me in Edinburgh, on is cousin-german to the Marchioness
. account of scepticism, heterodoxy, And, as my lord has now taken so and other hard names, which confound strong a turn to solitude and repose the ignorant, that my friends find as he formerly had to company and some difficulty in working out the agitation, 'tis to be hoped that his point of my professorship, which good parts and excellent dispositions once appeared so easy. Did I need may at last, being accompanied with a testimonial for my orthodoxy, I more health and tranquillity, render should certainly appeal to you; for him a comfort to his friends, if not you know that I always imitated an ornament to his country. As you Job's friends, and defended the cause live in the neighbourhood of the Marof Providence, when you attackt it, chioness, it may give her a pleasure on account of the headachs you felt to hear these particulars. I 20,
Hau Kiou Choan, or, The Pleasing History, 4 vols. 1761.
ar sir, your most affectionate hum- thor's great modesty will prevent him Le servant,
from offering to you, and to engage David Hume. your acquaintance to purchase them. elde-Hall, near Șt Al
But, dear sir, I would fain go ans, April 25th, 1745.
farther. I would fain presume upon 2 Matthew Sharpe, Esq., of Hod
our friendship (which now begins to dam.
be antient between us) and recom
mend to your civilities a man who DEAR SIR,—I have enclosed this does honour to his country by his tater under one to my friend Mr lents, and disgraces it by the little acklock,* who has retired to Dum- encouragement he has hitherto met es, and proposes to reside there with. He is a man of very exten= some time. His character and sive knowledge and of singular good uation are, no doubt, known to dispositions, and his poetical, though u, and challenge the greatest re very much to be admired, is the least rd from every one who has either part of his merit. He is very
well od taste or sentiments of humanity. qualified to instruct youth by his ac2 has printed a collection of poems, quaintance, both with the languages rich his friends are endeavouring to and sciences; and possesses so many 'n to the best account for him. arts of supplying the want of sight, ad he published them in thecommon that that imperfection would be no y, their merit would have recom hinderance. Perhaps he may enterended them sufficiently to common tain some such project in Dumfries, e; but, in that case, the greatest and be assured you could not do your rt of the profit, it is well known, friends a more real service than by ruld have redounded to the book. recommending them to him. What. lers. His friends, therefore, take ever scheme he may choose to empies from him, and distribute them brace I was desirous you should be long their acquaintances. The prepossest in his favour, and be willems, if I have the smallest judge. ing to lend him your countenance ent, are, many of them, extremely and protection, which, I am sensiautiful, and all of them remarkable ble, would be of great advantage to + correctness and propriety. Every him. a of tasté, from the merit of the Since I saw you, I have not been rformance, would be inclined to idle. I have endeavoured to make rchase them; every benevolent some use of the libraryt which was n, from the situation of the author, entrusted to me, and have employed uld wish to encourage him; and myself in a composition of British for those who have neither taste history, beginning with the union of
benevolence, they should be for- the two crowns. I have finished the 1, by importunity, to do good a- reigns of James and Charles, and will inst their will. I must, therefore, soon send them to the press. I have ommend it to you 'to send for a the impudence to pretend that I am go of these poems, which the au. of no party, and have no byassa
The celebrated' blind poet, whose amiable disposition and uncommon vivacity dered him a general favourite. + The Advocates' Library, in which, for a time, Mr Hume held a situation.
Lord Elibank says that I am a mo- primitive simplicity of manners. b derate whig, and Mr Wallace, that I deed, taking all that his different iam a candid tory:
quaintances have said of him tor I was extremely sorry that I could ther, he seems to be one of the er not recommend your friend to direc- amiable characters that I ever e tor Hume, as Mr Cummin desired with. me. I have never exchanged a word My lord, this uncommonly work with that gentleman since I carried and good man, cut off from alt Jemmy Kirkpatrick to him, and usual methods of providing for be our acquaintance has entirely dropt. self by his blindness, (which, by the I am, dear sir, your most affectionate way, was the only thing that hirdfriead and humble servant,
ed him from being made Greek por
David HUME. fessor in the university of Aberdes Edinburgh, 25th
a year or two ago) is now in the 344 Feb. 1754.
year of his age, with scarce 10. year certain to maintain him; and sa of his friends tells me, in a letter, la
so moderate an income as 30l. a fa To Dr Conybeare, Bishop of Bristol. would make him quite easy a
happy. Bifleet, Jan. 11th, Mr Dodsley, to whom a volum 1755.
of his poems was sent from Ede My LORD,—Your lordship may burgh, (in which university some a possibly have heard of a strange phé. his friends helped to maintain his nomenon that appeared in the learned upwards of 12 years,) was so strá world last summer; a poet, who, with the character, wants, and the 2 though blind from his infancy, has rits of the man, that he soon fel sa got a knack of talking of colours and the thought of proposing a subsan describing visible objects, and that tion for his poems, in order to 261 sometimes much better than many him towards purchasing an anami! others have done who have always ene for his life, at least near that wer; joyed the use of their eyes. And moderate income which would sa: yet this is one of the least valuable of him so happy ; and on his como his excellencies : all that know Mr cating his design to me, I was * Blacklock (for that is his name) much moved too, that I promise's speak of his many virtues in the high write a little account of the mana est strains, of the sweetness of his his poems, to make him somer temper, his patience and contented. more known in this part of our isla ness under poverty, and all his other This account was published misfortunes; his industry in acqui- ward the beginning of Noren. ring, a great_mastery in the Greek, last ; and Mr Dodsley's propos Latin, and French languages, and á (for a guinea, large paper, and halgood share of knowledge in all the guinea the small toward the cix: branches of erudition, except the man of the same month. thematics; and his retaining, after all I then went to town, where la these acquisitions, the greatest mo a fortnight's solicitation) I had desty and humility, together with pleasure of paying in above 50 se the strictest love of virtue, and a mere scriptions the day before I