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unless he tied up his great mastiff in the day-time, I would send him a worse thing, commonly called and known by the name of an attorney. When I go forth to ramble in the fields, I do not sally like Don Quixote, with a purpose of encountering monsters, if any such can be found; but am a peaceable poor gentleman, and a poet, who mean nobody any harm, the fox-hunters, and the two universities of this land excepted.
I cannot learn from any creature whether the Turnpike bill is alive or dead. So ignorant am I, and by such ignoramusses surrounded. But if I know little else, this at least I know, that I love you, and Mr. Frog; that I long for your return, and that I am, with Mrs. Unwin's best affections,
To Lady HESKETH.
The Lodge, May 28, 1790.
MY DEAREST COZ.
I thank thee for the offer of thy best services on this occasion. But Heaven guard my brows from the wreath you mention, whatever wreath beside may hereafter adorn them! It would be a leaden extinguisher, clapped on all the fire of my genius, and I should never more produce a line worth reading. To speak seriously, it would make me miserable, and therefore I am sure that thou, of all my friends, would'st least wish me to wear it.
Ever thine-in Homer-hurry,
To Lady HESKETH.
Weston, June 3, 1790.
You will wonder, when I tell you, that I, even I, am considered by people, who live at a great distance, as having interest and influence sufficient to procure a place at court, for those who may happen to want one, I have accordingly been applied to within these few days by a Welchman, with a wife and many children, to get him made Poet-laureat as fast as possible. If thou wouldst wish to make the world merry twice a year, thou canst not do better than procure the office for him. I will promise thee that he shall afford thee a hearty laugh in return every birth-day, and every new-year. He is an honest man.
To JOHN JOHNSON, Esqr.
Weston, June 7, 1790.
MY DEAR JOHN,
You know my engagements, and are consequently able to account for my silence. I will not therefore waste time and paper in mentioning them, but will only say, that, added to those, with which you are acquainted, I have had other hinderances, such as business, and a disorder of my spirits, to which I have been all my life subject. At present I am, thank God! perfectly well both in mind and body. Of you I am always mindful, whether I write or not, and very desirous to see you. You will remember, I hope, that you are under engagements to us, and, as soon as your Norfolk friends can spare you, will fulfil them. Give us all the time you can, and all, that they can spare to us!
You never pleased me more than when you told me you had abandoned your mathematical pursuits. It grieved me to think, that you were wasting your time merely to gain a little Cambridge fame, not worth your having. I cannot be contented, that your
renown should thrive nowhere, but on the banks of the Cam. Conceive a nobler ambition, and never let your honour be circumscribed by the paltry dimensions of an university! It is well that, you have already, as you observe, acquired sufficient information in that science to enable you to pass creditably such examinations as I suppose you must hereafter undergo. Keep what you have gotten, and be content. More is needless.
You could not apply to a worse than I am to advise you concerning your studies. I was never a regular student myself, but lost the most valuable years of my life in an attorney's office, and in the Temple. I will not therefore give myself airs, and affect to know what I know not. The affair is of great importance to you, and you should be directed in it by a wiser than I. To speak however in very general terms on the subject, it seems to me, that your chief concern is with history, natural philosophy, logic, and divinity, As to metaphysics, I know little about them. But the very little, that I do know, has not taught me to admire them. Life is too short to afford time even for serious trifles. Pursue what you know to be attainable, make truth your objcet, and your studies will make you a wise man! Let