Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

idea of a ladder or flight of steps, since every voJume seems so rise a step nearer the language of heaven, and there is a visible progression towards that better country through every page; so that, though all breathe piety and just reason, the last seeins to crown the whole, till you shall again publish something to enlighten a dark and obstistinate age; for I must believe that the manner in which you treat divine subjects is more likely to reform and work upon the affections of your readers than that of any other writer now living. I hope God will in mercy to many thousands, myself in particular, prolong your life many years. I own this does not seem a kind wish to you; but I think you will be content to hear the infirmities of flesh some years longer, to be an instrument in the hands of God towards the salvation of your weak and distressed brethren. The joys of heaven cannot fade, but will be as glorious millions of ages to come'as they are now; and what a moment will the longest life appear when it comes to be compared with eternity!

My lord desires to assure you of his regards and best wishes. I am, sir, yours, &c.

1

LETTER XLVIII.
FRANCES COUNTESS OF HERTFORD, AFTERWARDS

DUCHESS OF SOMERSET, TO DR. ISAAC WATTS.
SIR,

Marlborough, Sept. 10, 1739.
I AM extremely glad to find that you have still a
reserve of writings which the world may at some
time or other hope to see; for without the least

flattery (a vice I would always avoid, and more particularly on so important an occasion) it is my opinion that God has in a very extraordinary manner blessed your endeavours to the advancement of piety. I cannot help mentioning one instance of it to you, which has fallen within my own knowledge, of a person who, after having drunk extreniely hard, and made a very ill husband for upwards of twenty years, has within this year and a half entirely changed his course of life, and is now as sober a man and as good a husband as is possible; and be himself says that his reformation has been entirely owing to reading your three volumes of sermons which were printed some years since.

I must beg you to direct your next letter to me at St. Leonard's Hill, for we remove thither (if it please God) the day after to-morrow for about two months. My lord and my son assure you of their sincere regards, as I am sure Betty would do was she with me, but she is still in Yorkshire. I will not add any more at present than to desire the continuance of your prayers, and assure you that I am, with a real veneration and friendship, sir,

your, &c.

LETTER XLIX.

LADY HERTFORD, AFTERWARDS DUCHESS OF

SOMERSET, TO THE HON. MRS. KNIGHT.

DEAR MADAM, Piercy-Lodge, May 16, 1745. I OUGHT, and really intended, to have made use of the permission you gave me, to trouble you with a letter before this time; but you do not need any thing to lower your spirits, and my letters can hardly have any other effect upon harder hearts than yours. When I lost my dear, and by me everlamented son*, every faculty to please (if ever I was possessed of any such) died with him. I have no longer any cheerful thoughts to communicate to my friends ; but as the joy and pride of my heart withers in his grave, my mind is continually haunting those mansions of the dead, and is but too inattentive to what passes in a world, where I have still duties and attachments, which I onght to be, and, I hope, I may truly say, I am thankful for. I am sure my affection for my lord Hertford, and solicitude for his welfare, are sincere ; since, if I know my own heart, I would not deliberate a moment to lay down my life for bis service. Lady Betty and sir Hugh Smithson, and their children, are justly dear to me: and I still feel the bonds of tender friendship : but I enjoy all these blessings with trembling and anxiety; for, after my dear Beauchamp, what human things can appear per. manent? Youth, beauty, virtue, health, were not sufficient to save him from the hand of death! and

• Lord Beauchamp.

who then can think themselves secure? These are the melancholy considerations which generally entertain my waking hours. Though sometimes I am able to view the bright side of my fate, and ask myself, for whom I grieve? Only for myself! How narrow an affection does this imply! Could he have lived long as my fondest wish desired, what could I have asked, at the end of that term, more, than the assurance that he should be placed where I humbly hope, and confidently trust, he is, beyond the reach of sorrow, sin, or sickness? But I must leave a subject, which, though I am never tired of, I ought, in regard to my friends, to be silent upon, and ask you where you would have the Collection of letters sent, which you were so good to subscribe for at my desire ? I have a letter from Mr. Collins this day, in which he desires to receive your commands. My lord and Mr. Cowland charge me with their compliments to you. I am, with great truth, dear madam, your, &c.

LETTER L.

COUNTESS OF HERTFORD, AFTERWARDS DUCHESS

OF SOMERSET, TO LADY LUX BOROUGH.

DEAR MADAM, Piercy-Lodge, May 15, 1748. How long soever your letters are in coming, they never fail to assure their welcome, by being more agreeable and entertaining, as well as breathing more of friendship, thau any body's else have the art of doing. I have been here about a month, and find some little improvements, which were ordered when we went to London, completed; and I think they are not quite unworthy of the name. A piece of waste ground, on the lower side of the Abbey-walk, has been turned into a corn-field, and a turf-walk, about eight feet wide, round it, close to a flourishing hawthorn-hedge: on one side there is a thatched seat open on three sides, which pretends to no name of greater dig. nity than justly belongs to what it represents, namely, a shepherd's hut: before it there is an irregular piece of turf, which was spared for the sake of some old oaks and beeches which are scattered upon it; and as you are sitting down there, you have, under these boughs, a direct view of Windsor Castle. There are sweet-williams, narcissus's, rose-campions, and such flowers as the hares will not eat, in little borders, round the foot of every tree; and I almost flatter myself that you would not be displeased with the rural appearance of the whole. The rains have given us the strongest verdure I ever saw ; our lawns and meadows are enamelled with a profusion of daises and cowslips; and we have the greatest appearance of fruit that has been seen these many years. I conclude you will read Mr. Thomson's Castle of Indo. lence; it is after the manner of Spenser, but I think he does not always keep so close to his style, as the author of the School-Mistress, whose name I never knew, till you were so good as to inform me of it. I think it a charming poem; and was very much pleased with his ballad of queen Elizabeth's seeing the milk-maid She appears, at least in my humble imagination, in a more natural light, than when we hear of her bullying foreign powers, and

« НазадПродовжити »