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we pass our time agreeably enough between reading, walking, and such other amasements as the place in which we are, and the season of the year afford us. We have been lately reading Leonidas, in which I think there are many fine thoughts; but I hear the town are much divided in their sentiments about it, since one part of them are for preferring it to Milton, and others for levelling it to the lowest rank of poetry. I confess neither of these appear to me a just representation of it. If you have read it, I shall be glad to know your thoughts of it.
I own I find a pleasure in thinking that I perceive dawnings of an honest heart and tolerable reasoning in lord Beauchamp, and his governor; and I fatter ourselves that we see a clearness of judgment and distinctness of ideas in the themes he composes, which are infinitely the favourite part of his studies, and always performed with good humour, though he is obliged to write them in three languages, English, Latin, and French, He is by no means good at getting things by heart, for which reason Mr. Dalton is very favourable in his impositions of that kind, which he seldom gives him, and in small quantities. Now I have said so much of my son, I should be unjust to his sister if I did not tell you that I have the happi. ness to see her a very good-natured sensible young woman, with a sincere sense of religion and virtue, and the same observance from affection to my lord and me, at almost one and twenty years old, that she had in her earliest childhood. You see, sir, I take the privilege of a friend, and flatter myself that you will not be tired with a detail of my family comforts, for the enjoyment of which I hope I am thankful as I ought to be, and most particularly so that my lord is so entirely recovered as to allow me to hope liis children will long have the blessing of the tenderest father, and myself of the best husband I ever sawi You will forgive the length of this letter, and believe me, with the truest esteem, sir, your, &c.
FRANCES COUNTESS OF HERTFORD, AFTERWARDS DUCHESS OF SOMERSET, TO DR. ISAAC WATTS.
Marlborough, July 13, 1737. NOTHING but my own very bad state of health, and the confinement l' have had with my lord, who is just recovering from a severe fit of the gout, should so long have hindered me from acknowledging the receipt of your letter, and the papers inclosed with it, particularly the letter which you were so good as to design to prefix to Mrs. Rowe's Meditations. I can with the strict. est truth affirm, that I do not know any distinc. tion upon earth that I could feel a truer pleasure in receiving, were I deserving of it; but, as I am forced to see how much I fall below the idea which the benevolence of your nature has formed of me, it teaches me to humble myself by that very incident which might administer a laudable pride to a more worthy person. If I am constrained to ackpowledge this mortifying truth, you may bea: lieve there are many people in the world who look upon me with more impartial eyes than selflove will allow me to do : and others, who perhaps think I enjoy more of this world's goods than I either merit, or than falls to the common lot, look at me with envious and malignant views, and are glad of every opportunity to debase me, or those who they believe entertain a favourable opinion of
I would hope that I have never done any thing, wilfully I am sure I have not, to raise any such sentiments in the breast of the meanest person upon earth; but yet experience has convinced me that I have not been bappy enough to escape them. For these reasons, sir, I must deny myself the pleasure and the pride I should have in so public a mark of your friendship and candour, and beg that, if you will design me the honour of joining any address to me with those valuable remains of Mrs. Rowe, that you will either retrench the favourable expressions you intended to insert, or else give me no other title at the top of it than that of a friend of yours and hers, an appellation which, in the sincerity of my soul, I am prouder of, than I could be of the most pompous name that human grandeur can lay claim to. My lord and his children desire me to assure you of their service and best wishes. I inclose you a copy of the letter which Mrs. Rowe left for me; and am glad of every opportunity to repeat that I am, with the greatest esteem, sir, your, &c.
FRANCES COUNTESS OF HERTFORD, AFTERWARDS
DUCHESS OF SOMERSET, TO DR, ISAAC WATTS.
St. Leonard's Hill, Aug. 8, 1733, I would much sooner have thanked you for the favour of your last letter, but have been hindered by my attendance on my lord in a severe fit of the gont, though, I thank God, it has been only in his limbs, and not affected either bis head, or stomach.
I think every body must wish a muse like Mr. Pope's were more inclined to exert itself on divine and good-natured subjects; but I am afraid satire is his highest talent; for I think his Universal Prayer is by no means equal to some other of his works : and I think his tenth stanza * an instance how blind the wisest men may be to the errors of their own hearts; for he certainly did not mean to imprecate such a proportion of vengeance on himself, as he is too apt to load those with whom he dislikes; nor would he wish to have his own failings exposed to the eye of the world with all the invective and ridicule with which he publishes those of his fellow-creatures.
I have lately met with some riddles which we think pretty enough in their way, and, as I remem
• Teach me to feel another's woe,
o bide the fanlt I see; That mercy I to others show,
That mercy show to me.
ber you once told me you thought them tolerable amusements, I will inclose you one or two of them, and, if they do not displease you, can furnish you with a few more, which we do not think bad ones. My lord and our young people assure you of their services. I am, sir, with the sincerest esteem, yonr, &c.
FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME.
Marlborough, July 30, 1739. I would much sooner have written to you to thank you for the favour of your last letter, had I enjoyed more leisure; but I have had a friend with me this last month who has engrossed a good many of those hours which I used to employ in writing to my correspondents. She is a very pious and very religious, as well as agreeable, woman; and has seen enough of the world in her younger years to teach her to value its enjoyments, and fear its vexations, no more than they deserve, by which happy knowledge she has brought her mind and spirits to the most perfect state of calmness I ever saw, and her conversation seems to impart the blessing to all who partake of her discourse. By this you will judge that I have passed my time very much to my satisfaction while she was with me; and, though I have not written to you, you have shared my time with her, for almost all the hours I passed alone I have employed in reading your works, which for ever represent to my imagination the