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absorbed have I sometimes been, in my rhyming oecupation, that neither the past, nor the futurë, (those themes which to me are so fruitful in regrèt at other times) had any longer a share in my contemplation. For this reason I wish, and have often wished, since the fit left me, that it would seize me again; but hitherto I have wished it in vain. I see no want of subjects, but I feel a total disability to discuss them. Whether it is thus with other writers or not, I am ignorant, but I should suppose my case in this respect, a little peculiar. The voluminous writers at least, whose vein of fancy seems always to have been rich in proportion to their occasions, cannot have been so unlike, and so unequal to themselves. There is this difference between my poetship and the generality of them they have been ignorant how much they have stood indebted to an Almighty power, for the exercise of those talents they have supposed their own.,, Whereas I know, and know most perfectly, and am perhaps to be taught it to the last, that my power to think, whatever it be; and consequently my power to compose, is, as much as my outward form, afforded to me by the same hand that makes me in any respect, to differ from a brute. This lesson, if not constantly inculcated, might perhaps be forgotten, or at least tod slightly remembered.
To the Revd. WILLIAM UNWIN.
Feb. 24, 1789
My dear friend, if I should receive a Letter from you to-morrow, you must still remember, that I am not in your debt, having paid you by anticipation.--Knowing that you take an interest in my publication, and that you have waited for it with some impatience, I write to inform you, that, if it is possible for a printer to be punctual, i shall come forth on the first of March. I have ordered two copies to Stock; one for Mr. John Unwin.It is possible after all, that my book may come forth without a preface. Mr. Newton has written (he could indeed write no other) a very sensible, as well as a very friendly one; and it is printed But the bookseller, who knows him well, and esteems him highly, is anxious to have it cancelled, and, with my consent first obtained, has offered to negociate that matter with the author. He judges, that, though it would serve to recommend the volume to the religious, it would disgust the profane, and that there is in reality, no need of a preface at all. I have found Johnson a very judicious man, on other occasions, and am therefore willing that he should determine for me upon this.
There are but few persons, to whom I present my book. The Lord Chancellor is one. I enclose in a pacquet I send by this post to Johnson, a Letter to his Lordship, which will accompany the volume; and to you I enclose a copy of it, because I know you will have a friendly curiosity to see it. An author is an important character. Whatever his merits may be, the mere circumstance of authorship warrants his approach to persons, whom otherwise perhaps he could hardly address without being deemed impertinent. He can do me no good. If I should happen to do him a little, I shall be a greater man than he. I have ordered a copy likewise to Mr. S.
I hope John continues to be pleased, and to give pleasure, If he loves instruction, he has a tutor
who can give him plentifully of what he loves; and with his natural abilities, his progress must be such as you would wish. Biri .. .
To Lord THURLOW.
PENCLOSED TO MR. UNWIN.)
Olney, Bucks. Feb, 25, 1782. MY LORN,
I make no apology for what I account a duty! I should offend against the cordiality of our former friendship, should I send a volume into the world, and forget how much I am bound to pay my particular respects to your Lordship upon that occasion: When we parted, you little thought of hearing from me again ; and I as little, that I should live to write to you, still less, that I should wait on you in the capacity of an author.
Among the pieces I have the honour to send, there is one, for which I must intreat your pardon.
I mean tñat, of which your Lordship is the subject. The best excuse I can make is, that it flowed almost spontaneously from the affectionate remembrance of a connexion that did me so much honour. . .. As to the rest, their mérits, if they have any, and their defects, which are probably more than I am aware of, will neither of them escape your notice. But where there is much discernment, there is generally much candour; and I commit myself into your Lordship’s hands with the less anxiety, being well acquainted with yours. Ob
If my first visit, after so long an interval should prove neither a troublesome, nor a dull one, but especially, if not altogether an unprofitable one,
1000 de omne tuli punctum.
cium. ito ibor I have the honour to be, though with very Smolov 6
different impressions of some subjects, yet with the of bood same sentiments of affection and esteem as ever, your Lordship's faithful, and most obedient, humble servant, iuil as I bee stins per