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such partiality occurred during his residence at Eartham; but the one which gratified me most I cannot forbear to mention. I mean the very sweet condescension with which he admitted to his friendship and confidence the child to whom I alluded, at that time a boy of eleven years, whose rare early talents, and rarer modesty, endeared him so much to Cowper, that he allowed and invited him to criticise his Homer. The good natured reader will forgive me, if he happen to find a brief specimen of such juvenile criticism in their future correspondence.
Homer was not the immediate object of our attention, while Cowper resided at Eartham. The morning hours, that we could bestow upon books, were chiefly devoted to a complete revisal and correction of all the translations, which my friend had finished, from the Latin and Italian poetry of Milton; and we generally amused ourselves after dinner in forming together a rapid metrical version of Andreini's Adamo. But the constant care, which the delicate health of Mrs. Unwin required, rendered it impossible for us to be very assiduous in study; and perhaps the best of all studies was, to promote and share that most singular and most exemplary tenderness of attention, with which Cowper incessantly laboured to counteract every infirmity, bodily and mental, with which sickness and age VOL. III.
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had conspired to load this interesting guardian of his afflicted life.
I have myself no language sufficiently strong, or sufficiently tender, to express my just admiration of that angelic, compassionate sensibility, with which Cowper watched over his aged invalide; but my reader will yet be enabled to form an adequate idea of that sensibility by a copy of his verses, to which it gave rise, when these infirmities grew still more striking on her return to Weston.
The air of the South infused a little portion of fresh strength into her shattered frame; and to give it all possible efficacy, the boy, whom I have mentioned, and a young associate and fellow-student of his, employed themselves, regularly twice a day, in drawing this venerable cripple, in a commodious garden-chair, round. the airy hill of Eartham. To Cowper, and to me, it was a very pleasing spectacle, to see the benevolent vivacity of blooming youth thus continually labouring for the ease, health, and amusement of disabled age. But of this interesting time I will speak no more, since I have a better record of it to present to my reader in the following letters.
TO THE REV. MR. GREATHEED.
Eartham, August 6, 1792. MY DEAR SIR,
Having first thanked you for your affectionate and acceptable letter, I will proceed, as well as I can, to answer your equally affectionate request, that I would send you early news of our arrival at Eartham. Here we are in the most elegant mansion, that I have ever inhabited, and surrounded by the most delightful pleasure grounds, that I have ever seen; but which, dissipated as my powers of thought are at present, I will not undertake to describe. It shall suffice me to say, that they occupy three sides of a hill, which in Buckinghamshire might well pass for a mountain, and from the summit of which is beheld a most magnificent landscape bounded by the sea, and in one part by the Isle of Wight, which may also be seen plainly from the window of the library, in which I am writing 1. It pleased God to carry. us both through the journey with far less difficulty and inconvenience, than I expected. I began it indeed with
a thousand fears, and when we arrived the first evening at Barnet, found myself oppressed in spirit to a degree, that could hardly be exceeded. I saw Mrs. Unwin weary, as she might well be, and heard such noises, both within the house, and without, that I concluded she would get no rest. But I was mercifully disappointed. She rested, though not well, yet sufficiently; and when we finished our next day's journey at Ripley, we were both in better condition, both of body and mind, than on the day preceding. At Ripley we found a quiet inn, that housed, as it happened, that night, no company but ourselves. There we slept well, and rose perfectly refreshed. And except some terrors, that I felt at passing over the Sussex hills by moonlight, met with little to complain of, till we arrived about ten o'clock at Eartham. Here we are as happy, as it is in the power of terrestrial good to make us. It is almost a Paradise in which we dwell; and our reception has been the kindest, that it was possible for friendship and hospitality to contrive. Our host mentions you with great respect, and bids me tell you, that he esteems you highly. Mrs. Unwin, who is, I think, in some points, already the better for her excursion, unites with mine her best compliments both to yourself and Mrs. Greatheed. I have much to see and enjoy before I can be perfectly apprised of all the delights of Eartham, and will therefore now subscribe myself,
Yours, my dear Sir,
Eartham, August 12, 1792. MY DEAREST CATHARINA,
Though I have travelled far, nothing did I see in my travels that surprised me half so agreeably as your kind letter; for high as my opinion of your good-nature is; I had no hopes of hearing from you, till I should have written first. A pleasure which I intended to allow myself the first opportunity.
After three days confinement in a coach, and suffering as we went all that could be suffered from excessive heat and dust, we found ourselves late in the evening at the door of our friend Hayley. In every other respect the journey was extremely pleasant. At the Mitre, Barnet, where we lodged the first evening, we found our friend Rose, who had walked thither from