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generally do, in a state of happiness, they have yet but an indifferent prospect of joining them in that state hereafter. But it is not so with you. You both know whither your beloved is gone, and you know that you shall follow her ; and
know also that in the mean time she is incomparably happier than yourself. So far, therefore, as she is concerned, nothing has come to pass but what was most fervently to be wished. I do not know that I am singularly selfish ; but one of the first thoughts that your account of Miss Cunningham's dying moments and departure suggested to me had self for its object. It struck me that she was not born when I sank into darkness, and that she is gone to heaven before I have emerged again. What a lot, said I to myself, is mine! whose helmet is fallen from my head, and whose sword from my hand, in the midst of the battle; stricken down to the earth when I least expected it; who had just begun to cry victory! when I was defeated myself; and who have been trampled upon so long, that others have had time to conquer and to receive their crown, before I have been able to make one successful effort to escape from under the feet of my enemies. It seemed to me, therefore, that if you mourned for Miss Cunningham you gave those tears to her to which I only had a right, and I was almost ready to exclaim, “ I am the dead, and not she ; you misplace your sorrows." I have sent you the history of my mind on this subject without any disguise; if it does not please you, pardon it at least, for it is the truth. The unhappy, I believe, are always selfish. I have, I confess, my comfortable
moments; but they are like the morning dew, suddenly do they pass away and are gone.
It should seem a matter of small moment to me, who never hear him, whether Mr. Scott shall be removed from Olney to the Lock, or no; yet, in fact, I believe that few interest themselves more in that event than 1. He knows my manner of life, and has ceased long since to wonder at it. A new minister would need information, and I am not ambitious of having my tale told to a stranger.
Не would also perhaps think it necessary to assail me with arguments, which would be more profitably disposed of, if he should discharge them against the walls of a tower. I wish, therefore, for the continuance of Mr. Scott. He honoured me so far as to consult me twice upon the subject. At our first interview, he seemed to discern but little in the proposal that entitled it to his approbation. But, when he came the second time, we observed that his views of it were considerably altered. He was warm-he was animated; difficulties had disappeared, and allurements had started up in their place. I could not say to him, Sir, you are naturally of a sanguine temper; and he that is so cannot too much distrust his own judgment;—but I am glad that he will have the benefit of yours. It seems to me, however, that the minister who shall re-illumine the faded glories of the Lock must not only practise great fidelity in his preaching, to which task Mr. Scott is perfectly equal, but must do it with much address; and it is hardly worth while to observe that his excellence does not lie that way, because he is ever ready to acknowledge it himself. But I have nothing to suggest upon this subject that will be new to you, and therefore drop it; the rather, indeed, because I may reasonably suppose that by this time the point is decided.
I have reached that part of my paper which I generally fill with intelligence, if I can find any : but there is a great dearth of it at present; and Mr. Scott has probably anticipated me in all the little that there is. Lord P-- having dismissed Mr. Jones from his service, the people of Turvey * have burnt him [Mr. Jones] in effigy, with a bundle of quick-thornt under his arm. What consequences are to follow his dismission is uncertain. His lordship threåtens him with a lawsuit; and, unless their disputes can be settled by arbitration, it is not unlikely that the profits of poor Jones's stewardship will be melted down at Westminster. He has laboured hard, and no doubt with great integrity, and has been rewarded with hard words and scandalous treatment.
Mr. Scott (which perhaps he may not have told
* The Peterborough family had formerly a mansion and large estate in the parish of Turvey. It is mentioned in Camden's Britannia, so far back as in the time of Henry VIII. There are some marble monuments in the parish church, executed with great magnificence, and in high preservation, recording the heroes of former times belonging to that ancient but now extinct race.
(† The dispute originated respecting the enclosure of the parish; and, as this act was unpopular with the poor, the bundle of quick-thorn was intended to be expressive of their indignant feelings.
you, for he did not mention it here) has met with similar treatment at a place in this country called Hinksey, or by some such name.* But he suffered in effigy for the Gospel's sake --a cause in which I presume he would not be unwilling, if need were, to be burnt in propria persona.
I have nothing to add, but that we are well, and remember with much affection; and that I am, my dear friend,
The following letters communicate various interesting particulars respecting Cowper's laborious undertaking, the new version of Homer's Iliad.
TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.
Olney, Oct. 22, 1785. My dear William - You might well suppose that your letter had miscarried, though in fact it was duly received. I am not often so long in arrear, and you may assure yourself that when at any time it happens that I am so, neither neglect nor idleness is the cause.
I have, as you well know, a daily occupation, forty lines to translate, a task which I never excuse myself, when it is possible to perform it. Equally sedulous I am in the matter of transcribing, so that between both my morning and evening are most part completely engaged. Add to this that, though my spirits are seldom so bad but I
* The proper name of the place is Tingewick.
write verse, they are often at so low an ebb as to make the production of a letter impossible. So much for a trespass, which called for some apology, but for which to apologize further would be a greater trespass still.
I am now in the twentieth book of Homer, and shall assuredly proceed, because the further I go the more I find myself justified in the undertaking; and in due time, if I live, shall assuredly publish, In the whole I shall have composed about forty thousand verses, about which forty thousand verses I shall have taken great pains, on no occasion suffering a slovenly line to escape me. I leave guess therefore whether, such a labour once achieved, I shall not determine to turn it to some account, and to gain myself profit if I can, if not at least some credit for my reward.
I perfectly approve of your course with John. The most entertaining books are best to begin with, and none in the world, so far as entertainment is concerned, deserves the preference to Homer. Neither do I know that there is any where to be found Greek of easier construction - P ical Greek I mean; and as for prose, I should recommend Xenophon's Cyropædia. That also is a most amusing narrative, and ten times easier to understand than the crabbed epigrams and scribblements of the minor poets that are generally put into the hands of boys. I took particular notice of the neatness of John's Greek character, which (let me tell you) deserves its share of commendation ; for to write