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bellish my suit, nor the flatterer's make me at all the richer. I never make a present to my friend, of what I dislike myself. Ergo, (I have reached the conclusion at last) I did not mean to flatter you.
We have sent a petition to Lord Dartmouth, by this post, praying him to interfere in parliament, in behalf of the poor Lace-makers. I say we, because I have have signed it— Mr. G. drew it up. Mr. did not think it grammatical, therefore would not sign it. Yet I think, Priscian himself would have pardoned the manner, for the sake of the matter. I dare say if his Lordship does not comply with the prayer of it, it will not be because he thinks it of more consequence to write grammatically, than that the poor should eat, but for some better reason.
My love to all under your roof.
To the Revd. WILLIAM UNWIN.
July 2, 1780.
Carissiine, I am glad of your confidence, and have reason to hope I shall never abuse it. If you trust me with a secret, I am hermetically sealed; and if you call for the exercise of my judgment, such as it is, I am never freakish or wanton in the use of it, much less mischievous and malignant. Critics, I believe, do not often stand so clear of these vices as I do. I like your Epitaph, except that I doubt the propriety of the word immaturus; which, I think, is rather applicable to fruits than flowers, and except the last pentameter, the assertion it contains being rather too obvious a thought to finish with ; not that I think an epitaph should be pointed, like an epigram. But still there is a closeness of thought, and expression, necessary in the conclusion of all these little things, that they may leave an agreeable flavour upon the palate. Whatever is short, should be nervous, masculine, and compact. Little men are so; and little poems should be so; because, where the work is short, the author has no right to the plea of weariness, and laziness is never admitted as an available excuse in any thing. Now you know my opinion, you will very likely improve upon my improvement, and alter my alterations for the better. To toucn, and retouch, is, though some writers boast of negligence, and others would be ashamed to show their foul copies, the secret of almost all good writing, especially in verse. I am never weary of it myself, and if you would take as much pains as I do, you would have no peed to ask for my corrections.
Hic sepultus est
Inter suorum lacrymas
GULIELMI et MARIÆ filius
Unicus, unicè dilectus,
Aprilis die septimo,
1780, Æt. 10.
Care, vale! Sed non æternum, care, valeto!
Namque iterum tecum, sim modò dignus, ero, * Tum nihil amplexus poterit divellere nostros,
Nec tu marcesceš, nec lacrymabor egar
Haring an English translation of it by me, I send it, though it may be of no use.
Farewell ! “ But not for ever," Hope replies,
The Stanzas, that I sent you, are maiden ones, having never been seen by any eye but your Mother's and your own.
If you send me franks, I shall write longer Letters--Valete, sicut et nos valemus! Amate, sicut et nos amamus!
The next Letter to Mr. Hill affords a striking proof of Cowper's compassionate feelings towards the Poor around him,
To JOSEPH HILL, Esqr.
July 8, 1780. MON-AMI,
If you ever take the tip of the Chancellor's ear between your finger and
thumb, you can hardly improve the opportunity to better purpose, than if you should whisper into it the voice of compassion and lenity to the Lace-makers. I am an eye witness to their poverty, and do know, that hundreds in this little town, are upon the point of starving, and that the most unremitting industry, is but barely sufficient to keep them from it. I know that the bill, by which they would have been s0 fatally affected, is thrown out, but Lord Stormont threatens them with another; and if another, like it, should pass, they are undone. We lately sent a petition to Lord Dartmouth; I signed it, and am sure the contents are true. The purport of it was to inform him, that there are very near one thousand two hundred Lace-makers, in this beggarly town, the most of whom had reason enough, while the bill was in agitation, to look upon every loaf they bought, as the last they should ever be able to earn. I can never think it good policy to incur the certain inconvenience of ruining thirty thousand, in order to prevent a remote and possible damage though to a much greater number. The measure is like a scythe, and the poor Lace-makers are the sickly crop, that trembles before the edge of it. The prospect of a peace with America, is like the streak of dawn in their hori,