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dise Lost, he would neither have directed the attention of others to it, nor have much admired it himself. Good-sense in short, and strength of intellect, seem to me, rather than a fine taste, to have been his distinguishing characteristics. But should you still think otherwise, you have my free permission; for so long as you have yourself a taste for the beauties of Cowper, I care not a fig whether Johnson had a taste or not.
I wonder where you find all your quotations, pat as they are to the present condition of France. Do you make them yourself, or do you actually find them? I am apt to suspect sometimes that you impose them only on a poor man who has but twenty books in the world, and two of them are your Brother Chester's. They are, however, much to the purpose, be the author of them who he may.
I was very sorry to learn lately, that my friend at Chichely has been sometime indisposed, either with gout or rheumatism (for it seems to be uncertain which) and attended by Dr. Kerr. I am at a loss to conceive how so temperate a man should acquire the gout, and am resolved therefore to conclude, that it must be the rheumatism, which, bad as it is, is in my judgment the best of the two, and will afford me, be
sides, some opportunity to sympathize with him, for I am not perfectly exempt from it myself. Distant as you are in situation, you are yet, perhaps, nearer to him in point of intelligence than I, and if you can send me any particular news of him, pray do it in your next.
I love and thank you for your benediction. If God forgive me my sins, surely I shall love him much, for I have much to be forgiven. But the quantum need not discourage me, since there is One whose atonement can suffice for all.
Accept our joint remembrances, and believe me affectionately yours,
To JOHN JOHNSON, Esqr,
Weston, March 19, 1791.
MY DEAREST JOHNNY,
You ask, if it may not be improper to solicit Lady Hesketh's subscription to the poems of the Norwich maiden ? To which I reply, it will be by no means improper. On the contrary, I am persuaded, that she will give her name with a very good will: for she is much an admirer of poesy, that is worthy to be admired, and such I think, judging by the specimen, the poesy of this maiden, Elizabeth Bentley of Norwich, is likely to prove. : Not that I am myself inclined to expect in general great matters in the poetical way from persons whose ill-fortune it has been to want the common advantages of education: neither do I account it in general a kindness to such to encourage them in the indulgence of a propensity more likely to do them harm in the end, than to advance their interest. Many such phenomena have arisen within my remembrance, at which all the world has wondered for a season, and has then forgot them.
The fact is, that though strong natural genius is always accompanied with strong natural tendency to its object, yet it often happens that the tendency is found where the genius is wanting. In the present instance however (the poems of a certain Mrs. Leapor excepted, who published some forty years ago) I discern, I think, more marks of true poetical talent than I remember to have observed in the verses of any other male or female, so disadvantageously circumstanced. I wish her therefore good speed, and subscribe to her with all my heart.
You will rejoice when I tell you, that I have some hopes, after all, of a harvest from Oxford also ; Mr. Throckmorton has written to a person of considerable influence there, which he has desired him to exert in my favour, and his request, I should imagine, will hardly prove a vain one,
To SAMUEL ROSE, Esqr.
Weston, March 24, 1791. MY DEAR FRIEND,
. You apologize for your silence in a manner which affords me so much pleasure, that I cannot but be satisfied. Let business be the cause, and I am contented. That is a cause to which I would even be accessary myself, and would increase yours by any means, except by a law-suit of my own, at the expence of all your opportunities of writing oftener than thrice in a twelve-month.
. Your application to Dr. Dunbar reminds me of two lines to be found somewhere in Dr. Young.
:“ And now a poet's gratitude you see,
In this particular, therefore, I perceive, that a poet, and a poet's friend, bear a striking resemblance to each other. The Doctor will bless himself, that the number of Scotch universities is not larger, assured that if they equalled those in England in number of colleges, you would give him no rest till he had en