« PreviousContinue »
or to express it in musical characters, thus :
Even the learned Dr. Watts has so far mistaken the nature of this verse, as to compose what he calls a Sapphic ode on the Last Day, in this very rhythm: yet the true Sapphic rhythm is :
that is, a trochee, a spondee, a dactyl, and two trochees; or musically,
I suspect, Sir, (you will pardon me if I am wrong) that you have fallen into a mistake similar to that of Dr. Watts; and that, in composing your ode, your ear has been directed rather by the former rhythm than the latter; the consequence of which is, that there are actually several false quantities in your numbers.
DR. PERCY TO MR. PINKERTON.
Carlisle (the Deanery,) Nov. 27th, 1778.
I hope you will pardon my suffering your obliging letter of last month, to remain so long unanswered, in consideration of the very interesting avocations, which, since I received it, have taken off my attention from all literary subjects. Indeed,
I have such a multiplicity of business come upon me in consequence of my new preferment, that I cannot foresee when I shall be sufficiently released from it, to be able to return to those agreeable studies, which I always loved, and which have afforded me so much delightful amusement. I could not, however, allow myself to come so near Edinburgh, (though but for a short time,) and return back to the south, without stealing a few moments to acknowledge the favor of your very agreeable letter, and to thank you for the trouble you have been so good as to take, in pointing out to my notice those charming poems of Drummond of Hawthornden. He has always been a favorite with me, and I have long since been possessed of the thin folio edition of his works, printed about the beginning of this century, which you seem not to have seen; as you say the only impression you know, is that of London, 1656. This thin folio contains both his poems and his histories of the five James's, &c., with some very curious anecdotes of Ben Jonson, who once made him a visit, and spent some time at Hawthornden.
Your intended selection of the best modern Latin poems will be a pleasing work: we have lately had a collection made by a Mr. Popham of the best modern Latin poems by English writers, published by subscription in 3 vols. 12mo. which, together with the Musa Anglicana, 3 vols. 12mo. tho Carmina Quadrigesimalia, 2 vols. 8vo., and the Lusus Westmonasterienses, 1 vol. 12mo., take in the chief of what this country has produced, excepting what may be found scattered among many puerile
poems in the congratulatory and condoling verses of our two Universities, on the births, marriages, deaths, &c. of our kings. I am not likely to see Dr. Warton soon, and shall be for some time wholly immersed in business; but, whenever I can, I will endeavor to execute your commands with regard to him or any other subject.
DR. PERCY TO MR. PINKERTON.
Carlisle, July 2nd, 1779.
I hope you will excuse my delay in answering your very obliging letter, when I inform you that, since I received it, I have been extremely ill, even at the point of death; and the place, whence I date this, will satisfy you that I have moreover been obliged to travel through a great part of this island.
I return you many thanks for the Scot's song, with which you have been so kind as to favor me; but, from what I have already mentioned, you will readily conceive, that I have hardly had it in my power to relish pleasures of this kind. And, indeed, I find this inability so far increasing upon me by new duties and new avocations, that I hardly foresee when it will give room to the intentions, which some time since I hinted to you; so that I think it would be far better, if you would resume your original design of printing your second part of Hardyknute, with such other poems as have occurred to you of that kind, in a little elegant
miscellany of your own; and then, if my son, at any future time, takes up the subject, he can (with your leave,) quote or make extracts from your work, with all proper acknowledgments to its editor.
I am sorry to say, that, since the death of Mr. Garrick, I have not any interest among the dramatic people, nor do I know one person particularly skilful in that branch of writing, whom I could prevail upon to examine a tragedy,* with critical attention and proper candor: otherwise I should with the greatest pleasure have performed any commands you should have wished to have executed.
DR. PERCY TO MR. PINKERTON.
Easton Mauduit, March 17th, 1780.
I was upon the point of writing, when last night, and not before, I received your obliging letter of the 4th inst., which had lain several days at Carlisle. Indeed I have, for some time, intended myself the pleasure of writing to you, to inform you that I have never once been in London since last June; and, as all your papers were locked up in my escritoire, in Northumberland House, I could not tell how to proceed in the in
It appears clearly from this passage, that, young as Mr. Pinkerton then was, he had already written one at least of the two tragedies, which it is stated in his Life that he composed, but never published,
tended business, till I could produce them, to have them shown to any bookseller; even if I had applied to any one by letter, previous to my going to town. This has really been the case; nor have I ever lost sight a moment of the intended business, which you had intrusted to me. Nor, indeed, should I have delayed writing to you so long, but that I, from time to time, thought I should have finished my affairs at Carlisle (where I was just before Christmas) and here, so as to remove to London with my family before this time.
We have now fixed for our removal thither about the middle of April; and then I shall with pleasure undertake the printing of your poems. Previous to which, I think it would not be amiss, if you yourself wrote to Mr. Dodsley, to give him the offer of having it published in his shop, upon the terms I mentioned ;* viz., that if he will take upon himself all the expenses of printing and publishing, you will be glad to divide the profits with him, if there should be any, after all those expenses are defrayed out of the first returns. At the same time you may mention, that my present avocations having caused me to delay any intended additions to my former three volumes, you are inclined to print your pieces in a separate publication, with my entire approbation; that you understand I shall be in town about the middle of April; that I shall be then ready to deliver up
This is stated in a letter dated 27th July, 1779, and not published here.