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BISHOP HOADLY TO MR. BALGUY *.
Oct. 1, 1732. It was a great joy to me to hear, by your last, that you enjoyed something better health than usual. And it was still a greater to be told by Mr. Pemberton, the other day, that it improves upon you. There is one part of your letter, which I esteem as a particular honour to myself; and own, am not insensible to it. I have prevented multitudes of dedications to myself; and hitherto discouraged every one that hath offered itself; but there are some persons, at least one, from whom such things cannot be disagreeable. I cannot think it a blameable vanity, even to be proud of a public mark of esteem from those who deserve the highest themselves : and something as different from being tickled by the common nauseous panegyric, as any thing can be. The worst thing I can say, supposing me at all in the wrong, is, that you have put a temptation in my way, that I have neither the power nor the will to resist. I willingly, therefore, yield myself up; and am, with my best wishes for your health, and my real desire to hear from you, dear sir, your true friend, &c.
* Containing the Bishop's sentiments on a Dedication, pre. fixed to “ A Collection of Tracts Moral and Theological, &c. By John Balguy, M. A., vicar of North Allerton in the county of York, and Prebendary at Sarum, 1734.”
BISHOP HOADLY TO LADY SUNDON.
Sept. 13, 1734. I CAME home from you yesterday without spirits, without heart, and without appetite. I am touched in the tenderest point, that of honour and strict regard to obligations. The great pain is, that you seem to differ from me. In such cases of morality (for so I account this) I take you to be so good a judge, that I can easily suspect my own judgment if you persist in that difference; though still my own, even mistaken judgment, must guide me. I know of no way of showing my compliance but one, without giving myself a wound which all the balm in the world will never be able to cure. If I yield, it shall be to you; and there is no way of yielding (should the case in view happen) but by giving up my own son,-&c.
FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME.
Sept. 24, 1734. I SHOULD not have omitted one post to acknowledge my obligation to you for the cordia lof your last letter, if the burry in which I have some days lived bad not made it literally impossible to have writ my sense of it, as I ought. I dare say you felt some uneasiness for me; and partook a little of the pain which the weakness of my head, or my heart, had brought apon me. Your goodness induced you to write what has had all the good effect, which that itself could wish. I must own to you, I must ever think myself obliged to explain to you what I should have little concern to do to another; because I value your friendship and your judgment too much to be at all easy without doing it. There is no doubt, as you say, that my own conscience must be my guide, and a guide not to be forsaken in deference to any person. But I am confident you could not be displeased at my earnest wish that you should think as I did, in a point of moral obligation; or, if not, at my trying to find an honourable expedient for the doing what you seemed so desirous of. And, believe me, I have such a delicacy in the matter of promises, that I can sooner make free with my own son, than with a friend to whom I had bound myself. I will trouble you no more upon this subject, except, &c.
MR. (AFTERWARDS LORD) LYTTLETON TO SIR
THOMAS LYTTLETON, AT HAGLEY.
London, Feh, 4, 1728. I Am mighty glad you have made choice of so agreeable a place as Lorrain to send me to. I shall be impatient to hear that you have got a servant for me, that my stay here may be the shorter: in the mean while, you inay be sure, I shall not neglect to make the best use of my time. I am proud that the D
approves my verses ; for her judgment does great honour to those that please ber. The subject is Blenheim-castle; I would have sent you a copy of them, but have not yet had time to transcribe them; you shall therefore receive them inclosed in my next letter.
The news you tell me of - does not a little please me; whatever does him honour in your opi. nion is of advantage to me, as it will render the friendship that is between us more agreeable to you; for my satisfaction in his acquaintance has been always checked, by observing you had not that esteem for him as I could wish you might have for all my friends : but I hope he will deserve it better every day, and confirm himself in my good opinion by gaining yours.
I am glad that you are pleased with my Persian Letters, and criticism upon Voltaire ; but with submission to your judgment, I do not see how what I have said of Milton can destroy all poetical license. That term indeed has been so much abused, and the liberty it allows has been pleaded in defence of such extravagant fictions, that one would almost wish there were no such words. But yet this is no reason why good authors may not raise and animate their works with flights and sallies of imagination, provided they are cautious of restraining them within the bounds of justness and propriety; for nothing can license a poet to offend against truth and reason, which are as much the rules of the sublime as less exalted poetry. We meet with
a thousand instances of the true nobleness of thought in Milton, where the liberty you contend for is made use of, and yet nature very strictly observed. It would be endless to point out the beauties of this kind in the Paradise Lost, where the boldness of his genius appears without shocking us with the least impropriety: weare surprised, we are warmed, we are transported; but we are not hurried out of our senses, or forced to believe impossibilities. The sixth book is, I fear, in many places, an exception to this rule; the poetica licentia is stretched too far, and the just is sacrificed to the wonderful (you will pardon me, if I talk too much in the language of the schools). To set this point in a clearer light, let us compare the fiction in los Lusiados, of the giant that appears to the Portuguese, and the battle of the angels in Milton. The storms, the thunders, and the lightnings, that hang about him, are proper and natural to that mountain he represents; we are pleased with seeing him thus armed, because there is nothing in the description that is not founded upon truth : but how do swords, and coats of mail, and cannons agree with angels? such a fiction can never be beautiful, because it wants probability to support it. We can easily imagine the Cape, extending its narrow arms over the sea, and guarding it from invaders; the tempests that mariners always meet with upon that coast, render such a supposition very just: but with what grounds of reason cap we suppose, that the angels, to defend the throne of God, threw mountains upon the heads of the rebel army?
“ Non tali auxilio, nec defensoribus istis,