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will tell you what you shall find at your first entrance. Imprimis, as soon as you have entered the vestibule, if you cast a look on either side of
you, you shall see on the right hand a box of my making. It is the box in which have been lodged all my hares, and in which lodges Puss at present. But he, poor fellow, is worn out with age, and promises to die before you can see him. On the right hand stands a cupboard, the work of the same author ; it was once a dove-cage, but I transformed it. Opposite to you stands a table, which I also made. But, a merciless servant having scrubbed it until it became paralytic, it serves no purpose now but of ornament; and all my clean shoes stand under it. On the left hand, at the farther end of this superb vestibule, you will find the door of the parlour, into which I will conduct you, and where I will introduce you to Mrs. Unwin, unless we should meet her before, and where we will be as happy as the day is long. Order yourself, my Cousin, to the Swan, at Newport, and there you shall find me ready to conduct you to Olney.
My ar, I have told Homer what you say about casks and urns, and have asked him whether he is sure that it is a cask in which Jupiter keeps his wine. He swears that it is a cask, and that it will never be any thing better than a cask to eternity. So if the god is content with it, we must even wonder at his taste, and be so too. Adieu ! my dearest, dearest Cousin,
TO LADY HESKETH.
Olney, Feb. 11, 1786. My dearest Cousin—It must be, I suppose, a fortnight or thereabout since I wrote last, I feel myself so alert and so ready to write again. Be that as it may, here I come.
We talk of nobody What we will do with you when we get you, where you shall walk, where you shall sleep, in short every thing that bears the remotest relation to your well-being at Olney, occupies all our talking time, which is all that I do not spend at Troy.
I have every reason for writing to you as often as I can, but I have a particular reason for doing it
I want to tell you, that by the Diligence on Wednesday next I mean to send you a quire of my Homer for Maty's perusal. It will contain the first book, and as much of the second as brings us to the catalogue of the ships, and is every morsel of the revised copy that I have transcribed. My dearest Cousin, read it yourself, let the General read it, do what you please with it, so that it reach Johnson in due time. But let Maty be the only Critic that has any thing to do with it. The vexation, the perplexity, that attends a multiplicity of criticisms by various hands, many of which are sure to be futile, many of them ill-founded, and some of them contradictory to others, is inconceivable, except by the author, whose ill-fated work happens
to be the subject of them. This also appears to me self-evident, that if a work have passed under the review of one man of taste and learning, and have had the good fortune to please him, his approbation gives security for that of all others qualified like himself. I speak thus, my dear, after having just escaped from such a storm of trouble, occasioned by endless remarks, hints, suggestions, and objections, as drove me almost to despair, and to the very verge of a resolution to drop my undertaking
With infinite difficulty I at last sifted the chaff from the wheat, availing myself of what appeared to me to be just, and rejected the rest, but not till the labour and anxiety had nearly undone all that Kerr had been doing for me.
My beloved Cousin, trust me for it, as you safely may, that temper, vanity, and self-importance had nothing to do in all this distress that I suffered. It was merely the effect of an alarm that I could not help taking, when I compared the great trouble I had with a few lines only, thus handled, with that which I foresaw such handling of the whole must necessarily give me. I felt beforehand that my constitution would not bear it. I shall send up this second specimen in a box that I have had made on purpose ; and when Maty has done with the copy, and you have done with it yourself, then you must return it in said box to my translatorship. Though Johnson's friend has teased me sadly, I verily believe that I shall have no more such cause to complain of him. We now understand one another, and I firmly believe that I might have gone the world through
before I had found his equal in an accurate and familiar acquaintance with the original.
A letter to Mr. Urban in the last Gentleman's Magazine, of which I's book is the subject, pleases me more than any thing I have seen in the way of eulogium yet. I have no guess of the author.
I do not wish to remind the Chancellor of his promise. Ask you why, my Cousin ? Because I suppose it would be impossible. He has no doubt, forgotten it entirely, and would be obliged to take my word for the truth of it, which I could not bear. We drank tea together with Mrs. Ce, and her sister, in King-street, Bloomsbury, and there was the promise made. I said, “ Thurlow, I am nobody, and shall be always nobody, and you will be Chancellor. You shall provide for me when you are.” He smiled, and replied, “I surely will.” “ These ladies,” said I, “ are witnesses.” He still smiled, and said “Let them be so, for I will certainly do it." But alas ! twenty-four years have passed since the day of the date thereof; and to mention it now would be to upbraid him with inattention to his plighted troth. Neither do I suppose that he could easily serve such a creature as I am, if he would. Adieu, whom I love entirely,
TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON.*
Olney, Feb. 18, 1786. My dear Friend—I feel myself truly obliged to you for the leave that you give me to be less frequent in writing, and more brief than heretofore. I have a long work upon my hands; and, standing engaged to the public (for by this time I suppose my subscription papers to be gone abroad, not only for the performance of it, but for the performance of it in a reasonable time,) it seems necessary to me not to intermit it often. My correspondence has also lately been renewed with several of my relations, and unavoidably engrosses now and then one of the few opportunities that I can find for writing. I nevertheless intend, in the exchange of letters with you, to be as regular as I can be, and to use, like a friend, the friendly allowance that
have made me. My reason for giving notice of an Odyssey as well as an Iliad, was this :-I feared that the public, being left to doubt whether I should ever translate the former,
would be unwilling to treat with me for the latter; which they would be apt to consider as an odd volume, and unworthy to stand upon their shelves alone. It is hardly probable however, that I should begin the Odyssey for some months to come, being now closely engaged in the revisal of my translation of the Iliad, which I compare as I go most minutely with the original. One of the great defects of Pope's transla
* Private Correspondence.