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Now let there be the merry sound of music and the dance,
O, how our hearts were beating, when at the dawn of day,
The king is come to marshal us, in all his armor drest,
Hurrah! the foes are moving! Hark to the mingled din
But out spake gentle Henry then, “No Frenchman is my foe;
LETTER WRITERS AND MODERN ESSAYISTS, WITH PROSE
WRITERS OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.
HORACE WALPOLE. 1717-1797. (Manual, p. 437.)
Arlington Street, March 17, 1757. Admiral Byng's tragedy was completed on Monday a perfect tragedy, for there were variety of incidents, villany, murder, and a hero! His sufferings, persecutions, aspersions, disturbances, nay, the revolutions of his fate, had not in the least unhinged his mind; his whole behavior was natural and firm. A few days before, one of his friends standing by him, said, “ Which of us is tallest?” He replied,
Why this ceremony? I know what it means; let the man come and measure me for my coffin.” He said, that being acquitted of cowardice, and being persuaded on the coolest reflection that he had acted for the best, and should act so again, he was not unwilling to suffer. He desired to be shot on the quarter-deck, not where common malefactors are; came out at twelve, sat down in a chair, for he would not kneel, and refused to have his face covered, that his countenance might show whether he feared death; but being told that it might frighten his executioners, he submitted,' gave the signal at once, received one shot through the head, another through the heart, and fell. Do cowards live or die thus? Can that man want spirit who only fears to terrify his executioners? Has the aspen Duke of Newcastle lived thus? Would my Lord Hardwicke die thus, even supposing he had nothing on his conscience ?
This scene is over! what will be the next is matter of great uncertainty. The new ministers are well weary of their situation; without credit at court, without influence in the House of Commons, undermined everywhere, I believe they are too sensible not to desire to be delivered of their burden, which those who increase yet dread to take on themselves. Mr. Pitt's health is as bad as his situation; confidence between the other factions almost impossible; yet I believe their impatience will prevail over their distrust. The nation expects a change every day, and being a nation, I believe, desires it; and being the English nation, will condemn it the moment it is made. We
1 Admiral Byng, on the morning of his execution, took his usual draught for the scurvy.
are trembling for Hanover, and the Duke (of Cumberland) is going to command the army of observation. These are the politics of the week: the diversions are balls, and the two Princes frequent them; but the eldest nephew (afterwards George III.] remains shut up in a ipom, where, as desirous as they are of keeping him, I believe he is now and then incommode. The Duke of Richmond has made two balls on his approaching wedding with Lady Mary Bruce (Mr. Conway's? daughter-in-law): it is the perfectest match in the world; youth, beauty, riches, alliances, and all the blood of all the kings from Robert Bruce to Charles II. They are the prettiest couple in England, except the father-in-law and mother.
As I write so often to you, you must be content with shorter letters, which, however, are always as long as I can make them. This summer will not contract our correspondence. Adieu! my dear Sir.
2 Lady Mary Bruce was only daughter of Charles, last Earl of Ailesbury, by Caroline his third wife, daughter of General John Campbell, afterwards Duke of Argyll. Lady Ailesbury married to her second husband, Colonel Henry Seymour Conway, only brother of Francis, Earl of Hertford.
WILLIAM COWPER. 1731-1800. (Manual, p. 359.)
August 21, 1780. The following occurrence ought not to be passed over in silence, in a place where so few notable ones are to be met with. Last Wednesday night, while we were at supper, between the hours of eight and nine, I heard an unusual noise in the back parlor, as if one of the hares was entangled, and endeavoring to disengage herself. I was just going to rise from table, when it ceased. In about five minutes, a voice on the outside of the parlor door inquired if one of my hares had got away. I immediately rushed into the next room, and found that my poor favorite Puss had made her escape. She had gnawed in sunder the strings of a lattice work, with which I thought I had sufficiently secured the window, and which I preferred to any other sort of blind, because it admitted plenty of air. From thence I hastened to the kitchen, where I saw the redoubtable Thomas Freeman, who told me, that having seen her, just after she had dropped into the street, he attempted to cover her with his hat, but she screained out, and leaped directly over his head. I then desired him to pursue as fast as possible, and added Richard Coleman to the chase, as being nimbler, and carrying less weight than Thomas; not expecting to see her again, but desirous to learn, if possible, what became of her. In something less than an hour, Richard returned, almost breathless, with the following account. That soon after he began to run, he left Tom behind him, and came in sight of a most numerous hunt of men, women, children, and dogs; that he did his best to keep back the dogs, and presently outstripped the crowd, so that the race was at last disputed between himself and Puss; she ran right through the town, and
down the lane that leads to Dropshort; a little before she came to the house, he got the start and turned her; she pushed for the town again, and soon after she entered it, sought shelter in Mr. Wagstaff's tanyard, adjoining to old Mr. Drake's. Sturges's harvest men were at supper, and saw her from the opposite side of the way. There she encountered the tanpits sull of water; and while she was struggling out of one pit, and plunging into another, and almost drowned, one of the men drew her out by the ears, and secured her. She was then well washed in a bucket, to get the lime out of her coat, and brought home in a sack at ten o'clock.
This frolic cost us four shillings, but you may believe we did not grudge a farthing of it. The poor creature received only a little hurt in one of her claws, and in one of her ears, and is now almost as well
I do not call this an answer to your letter, but such as it is I send it, presuming upon that interest which I know you take in my minutest concerns, which I cannot express better than in the words of Terence a little varied - Nihil mei a te alienum putas. Yours, my dear friend,
328. To LADY HESKETH.
Feb. 27, 1786. MY DEAREST Cousin,
Now for Homer, and the matters to Homer appertaining. Sephus and I are of opinions perfectly different on the subject of such an advertisement as he recommends. The only proper part for me is not to know that such a man as Pope has ever existed. I am so nice upon this subject that in that note in the specimen, in which I have accounted for the anger of Achilles (which, I believe, I may pay myself the compliment to say was never accounted for before), I have not even so much as hinted at the perplexity in which Pope was entangled when he endeavored to explain it, nor at the preposterous and blundering work that he has made with it. No, my dear, as I told you once before, my attempt has itself a loud voice, and speaks a most intelligible language. Had Pope's translation been good, or had I thought it such, or had I not known that it is admitted by all whom a knowledge of the original qualifies to judge of it, to be a very defective one, I had never translated myself one line of Homer. Dr. Johnson is the only modern writer who has spoken of it in terms of approbation, at least the only one that I have met with. And his praise of it is such as convinces me, intimately acquainted as I am with Pope's performance, that he talked at random, that either he had never examined it by Homer's, or never since he was a boy. For I would undertake to produce numberless passages from it, if need were, not only ill translated, but meanly written. It is not therefore for nie, convinced as I am of the truth of all I say, to go forth into the