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cutting off the head of an unbappy queen, who fled to her for protection. But to return to the Castle of Indolence: I believe it will afford you much entertainment; there are many pretty paintings in it, but I think the wizard's song deserves a preference—“ He needs no muse who dictates from his heart.” Have you met with two little volumes, which contain four Contemplations, written by a Mr. James Hervey, a young Cornish or Devonshire clergyman? The subjects are upon Walking among the Tombs, upon a Flower-Garden, upon Night, and upon the Starry Heavens. There is something poetical and truly pious. Now I have got into the impertinence of reconimending books to one who is a much better judge than myself, I must name an Essay on Delicacy*, a subject which, if I were not acquainted with, you, and one or two more, I should imagine had no longer an existence upon our globe.
I sincerely sympathize in the pleasure which you must feel, dear madam, from the extreme good character which every body gives of your son, and which his behaviour to you proves he deserves. May this, with every other blessing, be long continued to you; and may you always look upou me as a sincere though insignificant friend, as well as a most faithful and obedient, &c.
My lord is at present in London, but I hope he will be here time enough to save the postage of this letter. I should be very glad to see any thing of Mr. Shenstone's.
* The Essay on Delicacy, here mentioned, was the produc. tion of Dr. Nathaniel Lancaster, inany years rector of Stan. ford-Rivers near Ongar, in Essex.
COUNTESS OF HERTFORD, AFTERWARDS DUCHESS
OF SOMERSET, TO LADY LUX BOROUGH.
DEAR MADAM, Fiercy-Lodge, Nov. 20, 1748. I REMEMBER Mrs. Higgons used to say, Lady Clarendon had such a power over her understanding, that she might persuade her she was a fish. You have pretty near the same ascendant over mine, yet cannot quite convince me that eight months is not an immoderate while to keep silence, and make a chasm in a correspondence with a friend, who incessantly wishes to hear of your health and happiness. I am not more easily seduced into an assent to your apology; for though I admire the beautiful language in which the fiction of your dulness is painted, I cannot mistake it for a truth. I am so bad at invention, that I will not search for an ingenious fable to excuse myself for troubling you with an answer so soon, though my readiness to obey your commands, in subscribing for the prints you mention (if you will let me know where I must send for a receipt), might furnish me with one; but honestly own, that as my lord has been in London since Thursday, I did not know how to employ the leisure hours his absence afforded me, more to my satisfaction.
We returned hither from Bath only Friday the eleventh: we were there two months, the last fortnight of which we were detained, after all our things were gone, by my poor lord's having a fit of the gout; and I believe we came away rather
too soon after it, for his limbs had not recovered their strength, so that he was terribly fatigued : however, he has now recovered it, and is certainly upon the whole infinitely the better for having drank the Bath waters. If I could envy you, dear madam, I should be tempted to do it, for being in reach of Hagley, for having Mr. West for a neighbour, and Mr. Shenstone for a friend. He has obliged me so much, in letting me see his charming Ode upon autumn, and the honour he does Mr. Thomson's memory in that poem, and in his design to erect an urn for him in Virgil's Grove, that I am sorry I cannot agree with him, in his dislike to autumn. On the contrary, I draw one motive of my partiality to it, from a similar cause to what he partly ascribes his aversion; he hates it as a season which deprived him of a friend; I love it, because the latest days my heart could boast of happiness, in the best and most beloved of sons, were in that time of the year, till (as Dr. Young says)
-At Death's toll, whose restless, iron tongue
Starting I woke, and fonnd myself undone.
The clouds, the winds, the rains, the falling leaves,
The naked branches, the poor shiv'ring birds every thing around me seemed to sympathize in my distress, and still at every melancholy anni. versary of my ever-to-be-lamented loss, put on the same friendly appearance of social sorrow; and I may say with Myra, in her poem, before Mr. Thomson's first edition of the Seasons,
To thee my gently-drooping head I bend, Thy sigh my sister, and thy tear my friend. Forgive me, dear madam, for thus continually returning to this afflicting subject: but two lines of Mr. Pope's, with the alteration only of one word, must plead my excuse :
Of all affliction taught a sufferer yet,
'Tis sure the hardest science to forget. I have done—and will now tell you that our being obliged to go to Bath has hindered us from undertaking any thing here, so that I have nothing to talk of that is new, and I am afraid there was nothing here before that would make a tolerable figure, either in a print or a drawing; a flat can hardly look well upon paper, though in reality, the variety of woods and lawns, water, grass, and grayel, may produce a contrast not unpleasing to the eye. I am sorry you find any defects in Mr. Hervey ; for both the design and manner of his writing please me extremely.
I want to know what you think of the Peruvian Letters, and especially of the fifth in the suite. I have been very well entertained lately with the two first volumes of The Foundling", written by Mr. Fielding, but not to be published till the 22d of January; if the same spirit runs through the whole work, I think it will be much preferable to Joseph Andrews. My lord is absent from London, but I hope will be here time enough to free this letter, for I am sure it is not worth the postage. I am, dear madam, your, &c.
• The History of Tom Jones, by Henry Fielding, esq.
COUNTESS OF HERTFORD TO LADY LUXBOROUGH.
DEAR MADAM, Piercy-Lodge, December 31, 1751. APOLOGies between friends appear so unnecessary, that if you have still the same inclination which you have formerly shown to look upon me in this light, you will never again treat me with the ceremony of a formal acquaintance: when you write to me, you give me pleasure; when you do not, I love my own peace too well to fancy you are angry
while I am not conscious of my deserving to have you so. You see I do not regulate my correspondence as poor lady – did her vi. sits; which she never was to return sooner than hér former ones had been repaid.
I am not in the least surprised that you were pleased to return to the venerable seat of your ancestors, and the abode of your first and happiest days : and find nothing trivial or childish in the satisfaction you felt, in seeing old faces full of gratitude for obligations long since past, and by you, perhaps, forgot; or in recalling some little lively incidents in the earliest and innocent hours of youth. As for the wise and witty of the present agé, I know not what they would say, and I do not design to hear it; they will scarce visit my hermitage, and I shall not leave it to visit them. I hope to dispose of my bouse in Downing-street, which I wonld not do, if I ever intended to pass six weeks in London, for I am fond of the situation