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poems. But these I must make the subject of some future Letter, in which it will be ten to one that your friend Samuel Johnson gets another slap or two at the hands of your humble servant. Pray read them yourself, and with as much attention as I did ; then read the Doctor's remarks if you have them, and then tell me what you think of both. It will be pretty sport for you on such a day as this, which is the fourth that we have had of almost incessant rain. The weather, and a cold, the effect of it, have confined me ever since last Thursday. Mrs. Unwin however is well, and joins me in every good wish to yourself and family. I am, my good friend,
Most truly yours,
To Lady HESKETH.
· The Lodge, May 18, 1791. MY DEAREST COZ.
Has another of thy Letters fallen short of its destination; or wherefore is it, that
thou writest not? One Letter in five weeks is a poor allowance for your friends at Weston. One, that I received two or three days since from Mrs. Frog, has not at all enlightened me on this head. But I wander in a wilderness of vain conjecture.
I have had a Letter lately from New York, from a Dr. Cogswell of that place, to thank me for my fine verses, and to tell me, which pleased me particularly, that after having read the Task, my first volume fell into his hands, which he read also, and was equally pleased with. This is the only instance I can recollect of a reader who has done justice to my first effusions: for I am sure, that in point of expression, they do not fall a jot below my second, and that in point of subject, they are for the most part superior. But enough, and too much of this. The Task he tells me has been reprinted in that city. . Adieu ! my dearest Coz.
We have blooming scenes under wintry skies, and with icy blasts to fan them.
To JOHN JOHNSON, Esqr.
Weston, May 23, 1791.
MY DEAREST JOHNNY,
Did I not know that you are never more in your element than when you are exerting yourself in my cause, I should congratulate you on the hope there seems to be that your labour will soon have an end.
You will wonder, perhaps, my Johnny, that Mrs. Unwin by my desire, enjoined you to secrecy concerning the translation of the Frogs and Mice. Wonderful it may well seem to you, that I should wish to hide for a short time from a few, what I am just going to publish to all. But I had more reasons than one for this mysterious management; that is to say, I had two. In the first place, I wished to surprize my readers agreeably; and secondly, I wished to allow none of my friends an opportunity to object to the measure, who might think it perhaps a measure more bountiful than prudent. But I have had my sufficient reward though not a pecuniary one. It is a poem of much humour, and accordingly I found the translation of it
very amusing. It struck me too, that I must either make it part of the present publication, or never publish it all; it would have been so terribly out of its place in any other volume.
I long for the time that shall bring you once more to Weston, and all your et ceteras with you. Oh! whať a month of May has this been! Let never poet, English poet at least, give himself to the praises of May again.
JUDGMENT of the POETS.
Two nymphs, both nearly of an age,
Of numerous charms possess’d,
Whose temper was the best.
The worth of each had been complete,
Had both alike been mild;
Frown’d oft'ner than she smild.
And in her humour, when she frown'd,
Would raise her voice and roar; And shake with fury to the ground,
The garland that she wore.
The other was of gentler cast,
From all such frenzy clear; Her frowns were seldom known to last,
And never prov'd severe.
To poets of renown in song,
The nymphs referr'd the cause, Who, strange to tell! all judg’d it wrong,
And gave misplac'd applause.
They gentle call’d, and kind, and soft,
The flippant, and the scold; And though she chang’d her mood so oft,
That failing left untold.
No judges sure were e'er so mad,
Or so resolv’d to err;
They lavish'd all on her.
Then thus the God, whom fondly they,
Their great inspirer call,
To reprimand them all.