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live by my wits, and to him, who hopes to get a little matter, no doubt, by the same means. Half a dozen franks, therefore, to me, and totidem to him, will be singularly acceptable, if you can, without feeling it in any respect a trouble, procure them for me.
I am much obliged to you for your offer to support me in a translation of Bourne. It is but seldom however, and never except for my amusement, that I translate ; because I find it disagreeable to work by another man's pattern ; I should, at least, be sure to find it so, in a business of any length. Again, that is epigrammatic and witty in Latin, which would be perfectly insipid in English, and a translator of Bourne would frequently find himself obliged to supply, what is called, the turn, which is in fact the most difficult, and the most expensive part of the whole composition, and could not perhaps, in many instances, be done with any tolerable success. If a Latin poem is neat, elegant, and musical, it is enough but- English readers are not so easily satisfied. To quote myself, you will find, in comparing the jack-* daw with the original, that I was obliged to sharpen a point, which, though smart enough in the Latin,
Vol: 1, 374.. R r *
would, in English, have appearedas plain, and as blunt as the tag of a lace. I love the memory of Vinny Bourne. I think him a better Latin poet than Tibullus, Propertius, Ausonius, or any of the writers in his way, except Ovid, and not at all inferior to him. I love him too, with a love of partiality, because he was usher of the fifth form at Westminster, when I passed through it. He was so good natured, and so indolent, that I lost more than I got by him; for he made me as idle as himself He was such a sloven, as if he had trusted to his genius as a cloak for every thing that could disgust you in his person ; and indeed in his writings, he has almost made amends for all. His humour is entirely original-he can speak of a magpie or a cat, in terms so exquisitely appropriated to the character he draws, that one would suppose him animated by the spirit of the creature he describes. And with all his drollery, there is a mixture of rational, and even religious reflection, at times, and always an air of pleasantry, good-nature, and humanity, that makes him, in my mind, one of the most amiable writers in the world. It is not common to meet with an author, who can make you smile, and yet at nobody's expence; who is always entertaining and yet always harmless, and who
though always elegant, and classical, to a degree not always found in the classics themselves, charms more by the simplicity and playfulness of his ideas, than by the neatness and purity of his verse ; yet such was poor Vinny, I remember seeing the Duke of Richmond set fire to his greasy locks, and box his ears to put it out again. Since I begun to write long poems I seem to turn up my nose at the idea of a short one. I have lately entered upon one, which if ever finished, cannot easily be comprised in much less than a thousand lines ! But this must make part of a second publication, and be accompanied, in due time, by others not yet thought of; for it seems (what I did not know 'till the bookseller had occasion to tell me so) that single pieces stand no chance, and that nothing less than a volume will go down. You yourself afford me a proof of the certainty of this intelligence, by sending me franks, which nothing less than a volume can fill. I have accordingly sent you one, but am obliged to add, that had the wind been in any other point of the compass, or blowing as it does from the east, had it been less boisterous, you must have been contented with a much shorter Letter,
but the abridgment of every other occupation is very favourable to that of writing.
I am glad I did not expect to hear from you by this post, for the boy has lost the bag in which your Letter must have been enclosed-another reason for my prolixity!
I believe, I never give you trouble without feeling more than I give; so much by way of preface and apology! : Thus stands the case Johnson has begun to print, and Mr. Newton has already corrected the first sheet, This unexpected dispatch makes it necessary for me to furnish myself with the means of communication, viz. the franks, as soon as may be. There are reasons, (I believe I mentioned in my last) why I chuse to revise the proof myself.- nevertheless, if your delicacy must suffer the puncture of a pin s point, in procuring the franks for me, I release you entirely from the task, you are as free as if I had never mentioned them. But you will oblige me by a speedy answer upon this subject, because it is expedient that the printer should know to whom he is to send his copy; and, when the press is once set, those humble servants of the poets, are rather impatient of any delay, because the types are wanted for other authors, who are equally impatient to be born.
This fine weather I suppose, sets you on horseback, and allures the ladies into the garden. If I was at Stock, I should be of their party; and while they sat knotting or netting, in the shade, should comfort myself with the thought, that I had not a beast under me, whose walk would seem tedious, whose trot would jumble me, and whose gallop might throw me into a ditch. What nature expressly designed me for, I have never been able to conjecture, I seem to myself so universally disqualified for the common, and customary, occupations and amusements of mankind. When I was a boy, I excelled at cricket and foot ball, but the fame I acquired by achievements