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one of my ordinary pages contains three of yours: if you knew half the pleasure I feel in your correspondence, I am confident you would lengthen your letters. You tantalize me with the hopes of a prolific harvest, and I find, alas! a thin crop, whose goodness only makes me lament its scantiness.
I had almost forgot to tell you, that I have obtained the first prize (of a pair of Adams' twelve-inch globes, value three guineas) in the first class of the Monthly Preceptor. The subject was an imaginary tour from London to Edinburgh. It is printed consequently, and shall send it to you the very first opportunity. The proposals stated, that the essay was not to exceed three
pages when printed-mine takes seven; therefore I am astonished they gave me the first prize. There was an extraordinary number of candidates; and they said they never had a greater number of excellent ones, and they wished they could have given thirty prizes. You will find it in a letter) addressed to N ing yourself.
Warton is a poet from whom I have derived the most exquisite pleasure and gratification. He abounds in sublimity and loftiness of thought, as well as expression. His Pleasures of Melancholy' is truly a sublime poem. The following passage I particularly admire:
• Nor undelightful in the solemn noon
How affecting are the latter lines ! it is impossible to withstand the emotions which rise on its perusal, and I envy not that man his insensibility who can read them with apathy. Many of the pieces of the Bible are written in this sublime manner: one psalm, I think the 18th, is a perfect master-piece, and has been imitated by many poets. Compare these, or the above quoted from Warton, with the finest piece in Pope, and then judge of the rank which he holds as a poet. Another instance of the sublime in poetry I will give you, from Akenside's admirable . Pleasures of Imagination,' where, speaking of the soul, he says, she
Rides on the volley'd lightning through the heavens,
Sweeps the long tract of day.' Many of these instances of sublimity will occur to you in Thomson.
James begs leave to present you with Bloomfield's Farmer's Boy. Bloomfield has no grandeur or height; he is a pastoral poet, and the simply sweet is what you aré to expect from him; nevertheless, his descriptions are sometimes little inferior to Thomson.
How pleased should I be, Neville, to have you with us at Nottingham! Our fire-side would be delightful. -I should profit by your sentiments and experience, and you possibly might gain a little from my small bookish knowledge. But I am afraid that time will never come; your term of apprenticeship is nearly expired, and, in all appearance, the small residue that yet remains will be passed in hated London. When you are emancipated, you will have to mix in the bustle of the world, in all probability, also, far from home; so that
when we have just learnt how happy we might mutually make ourselves, we find scarcely a shadow of a probability of ever having the opportunity. Well, well, it is in vain to resist the immutable decrees of fate.
TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE. DEAR NEVILLE,
Nottingham, April, 1801. As I know you will participate with me in the pleasure I receive from literary distinctions, I hasten to inform you, that my poetical Essay on Gratitude is printed in this month's Preceptor; that my remarks on Warton are promised insertion in the next month's Mirror; and that my Essay on Truth is printed in the present (April) Monthly Visitor. The Preceptor I shall not be able to send you until the end of this month. The Visitor you will herewith receive. The next month's Mirror I shall consequently buy. I wish it were not quite so expensive, as I think it a very good work. Benjamin Thomson, Capel Lofft, Esq. Robert Bloomfield, Thomas Dermody, Mr. Gilchrist, under the signature of Octavius, Mrs. Blore, a noted female writer, under the signature of Q. Z. are correspondents; and the editors are not only men of genius and taste, but of the greatest respectability. As I shall now be a regular contributor to this work, and as I think it contains much good matter, I have half an inclination to take it in, more especially as you have got the prior volumes : but in the present state of my finances it will not be prudent, unless you accede to a proposal, which, I think, will be gratifying to yourself.-It is, to take it in conjunction with me; by which means we shall both have the same enjoyment of it,' with half the expense. It is of little consequence
who takes them, only he must be expeditious in reading them. If you have any the least objection to this scheme, do not suppress it through any regard to punctilio. I have only proposed it, and it is not very material whether you concur or not; only exercise your own discretion.
You say (speaking of a passage concerning you in my last), this is compliment sufficient; the rest must be flattery.'-Do you seriously, Neville, think me capable of flattery?
As you well know I am a carping, critical little dog, you will not be surprised at my observing that there is one figure in your last that savours rather of the ludicrous, when you talk of a 'butterfly hopping from book to book.'
As to the something that I am to find out, that is a perpetual bar to your progress in knowledge, &c. I am inclined to think, Doctor, it is merely conceit. You fancy that you cannot write a letter-you dread its idea; you conceive that a work of four volumes would require the labours of a life to read through ; you persuade yourself that you cannot retain what you read, and in despair do not attempt to conquer these visionary impediments. Confidence, Neville, in one's own abilities, is a sure forerunner (in similar circumstances with the present) of success. As an illustration of this, I beg leave to adduce the example of Pope, who had so high a sense, in his youth, or rather in his infancy, of his own capacity, that there was nothing of which, when once set about, he did not think himself capable; and, as Dr. Johnson has observed, the natural consequence of this minute perception of his own powers, was his arriving at as high a pitch of perfection as it was possible for a man with his few natural endowments to attain.
wish to read Johnson's Lives of the Poets, send for them : I have lately purchased them. I have now a largé library. My mother allows me ten pounds per annum for clothes. I always dress in a respectable and even in a genteel manner, yet I can make much less than this sum suffice. My father generally gives me one coat in a year, and I make two serve. I then receive one guinea per annum for keeping my mother's books; one guinea per annum pocket-money; and by other means I gain, perhaps, two guineas more per annum; so that I have been able to buy pretty many; and when you come home, you will find me in my study surrounded with books and papers. I am a perfect gårreteer: great part of my library, however, consists of professional books. Have you read Burke on the Subliñe? Knox's Winter Evening ?-Can lend them to you, if you have not.
Really, Neville, were you fully sensible how much my time is occupied, principally about my profession, as a primary concern, and in the hours necessarily set apart to relaxation, on polite literature, to which, as a hobby-horse, I am very desirous of paying some attention, you would not be angry at my delay in writing, or my short letters. It is always with joy that I devote à leisure hour to you, as it affords you gratification; and rest assured, that I always participate in your pleasure, and poignantly feel every adverse incident which causes you pain.
Permit me, however, again to observe, that one of my sheets is equal to two of yours; and I cannot but consider this is a kind of fallacious deception, for you always think that your letters contain so much more than mine because they occupy more room.