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And here again there is a resemblance between us. You will do well to guard against both, for of both, I believe, you have a considerable share as well as myself
We long to see you again, and are only concerned at the short stay you propose to make with us. If time should seem to you as short at Weston, as it seems to us, your visit here will be gone “ as a dream when one awaketh, or as a watch in the night.”
It is a life of dreams, but the pleasantest one naturally wishes longest.
- I shall find employment for you, having made already some part of the fair copy of the Odyssey a foul one. I am revising it for the last time, and spare nothing that I can mend, The Iliad is finished.
If you have Donne's poems bring them with you, for I have not seen them many years, and should like to look them over.
You may treat us too, if you please, with a little of your music, for I seldom hear any, and delight much in it. You need not fear a rival, for we have but two fiddles in the neighbourhood—one a gar
dener's, the other a taylor's: terrible performers both!
. .. "! :'W.C::
Weston, Sep. 9, 1790. MY DEAREST COUSIN,
I am truly sorrow to be forced after all to resign the hope of seeing you and Mr. Bodham at Weston this year: the next may possibly be more propitious, and I heartily wish it may. Poor Catharine's unseasonable indisposition has also cost us a disappointment which we much regret, and were it not that Johnny has made shift to reach us, we should think ourselves completely unfortunate. But him we have, and him we will hold as long as we can, so expect not very soon to see him in Norfolk. He is so harmless, cheerful, gentle, and "good-tempered, and I am so entirely at my ease with him, that I cannot surrender him without a needs must, even to those who have a superior claim upon him. He left
us yesterday moming, and whither do you think he is gone, and on what errand ? Gone, as sure as you are alive, to London, and to convey my Homer to the bookseller's. But he will return the day after tomorrow, and I mean to part with him no more, till necessity shall force us asunder. Suspect me not, my Cousin, of being such a monster as to have imposed this task myself on your kind Nephew, or even to have thought of doing it. It happened that one day, as we chatted by the fire-side, I expressed a wish that I could hear of some trusty body going to London, to whose care I might consign my voluminous labours, the work of five years. For I purpose never to visit that city, again myself, and should have been uneasy to have left a charge, of so much importance to me, altogether to the care of a stage-coachman. Johnny had no sooner heard my wish, than offering himself to the service, he fulfilled it; and his offer was made in such terms, and accompanied with a countenance and manner expressive of so much alacrity, that unreasonable as I thought it at first, to give him so much trouble, I soon found that I should mortify him by a refusal. He is gone therefore with a box full of poetry, of which I think nobody will plunder him. He has only to
say what it is, and there is no commodity. I think a free-booter would covet less.? . $ . , s
linm.:? , ' W. C.
The Lodge, Sep. 13, 1790. MY DEAR FRIEND,
Your Letter was particularly welcome to me, not only because it came after a long silence, but because it brought me good news -news of your marriage, and consequently, I trust, of your happiness. May that happiness be durable as your lives, and may you be the Felices ter et amplius of whom Horace sings so sweetly! This is my sincere wish, and though expressed in prose, shall serve as your epithalamium. You comfort me when you say, that your marriage will not deprive us of the sight of you hereafter. If you do not wish that I should regret your union, you must make that assurance good as often as you have opportunity.
After perpetual versification during five years, I find myself at last á vacant man, and reduced to read for my amusement. My Homer is gone to the press, and you will imagine that I feel a void in consequence. The proofs however will be coming soon, and I shall avail myself, with all my force, of this last opportunity, to make iny work as perfect as I wish it. I shall not therefore be long time destitute of employment, but shall have sufficient to keep me occupied all the winter, and part of the ensuing spring, for Johnson' purposes to publish either in March, April, or May m y very Preface is finished. It did not cost me much trouble, being neither long nor learned. I have spoken my mind as freely as decency would permit, on the subject of Pope's version, allowing him, at the same time, all the merit to which I think him entitled. I have given my reasons for translating in blank verse, and hold some discourse on the mechanism of it, chiefly with a view to obviate the prejudices of some people against it. I expatiate a little on the manner, in which I think Homer ought to be rendered, and in which I have endeavoured to render him myself, and anticipated two or three cavils to which I foresee that I shall be liable from the ignorant, or uncandid; in order, if possible,