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the charming prospects demand a poetical farewell, and here it is.

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I will send you, too, a pretty little Sonnet of a Sig. Abbate Buondelmonte, with my imitation of it.

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Here comes a letter from you. I must defer giving my opinion of * Pausanias till I can see the whole, and only have said what I did in obedience to your commands. I have spoken with such freedom on this head, that it seems but just you should have your revenge; and therefore I send you the beginning not of an Epic Poem, but of a Metaphysic one. Poems and Metaphysics (say you, with your spectacles on) are inconsistent things. A metaphysical poem is a contradiction in terms. It is true, but I will go on. It is Latin too to increase the absurdity. It will, I suppose, put you in mind of the man who wrote a treatise of Canon Law in Hexameters. Pray help me to the description of a mixt mode, and a little Episode about Space.

Mr. Walpole and Mr. Gray set out from Florence

* Some part of a Tragedy under that title, which Mr. West had begun; but I do not find amongst Mr. Gray's papers either the sketch itself, or Mr. Gray's free critique upon it, which he here mentions.-Mason.

+ The beginning of the first book of a didactic Poem, "De Principiis Cogitandi." The fragment which he now sent contained the first 53 lines.-Mason.

at the time specified in the foregoing Letter. When Mr. Gray left Venice, which he did the middle of July following, he returned home through Padua, Verona, Milan, Turin, and Lyons. From all which places he writ either to his Father or Mother with great punctuality: but merely to inform them of his health and safety; about which (as might be expected) they were now very anxious, as he travelled with only a 'Laquais de Voyage.' These letters do not even mention that he went out of his way to make a second visit to the Grande Chartreuse, * and there wrote in the Album of the Fathers the following Alcaic + Ode, with which I conclude this Section.-Mason.

*He was at Turin the 15th of August, and began to cross the Alps the next day. On the 25th he reached Lyons; therefore it must have been between these two dates that he made this visit.-Mason.

+ We saw in the 8th and 11th letters how much Mr. Gray was struck with the awful scenery which surrounds the Chartreuse, at a time his mind must have been in a far more tranquil state than when he wrote this excellent Ode. It is marked, I think, with all the finest touches of his melancholy Muse, and flows with such an originality of expression, that one can hardly lament he did not honour his own language by making it the vehicle of this noble imagery and pathetic sentiment.-Mason.

It may perhaps be necessary to observe that all the Poems mentioned as inclosed in these Letters may be found in the First Volume of this Work, in the order in which they occurred here.-Ed.




I WRITE to make you write, for I have not much to tell you. I have recovered no spirits as yet; but, as I am not displeased with my company, I sit purring by the fire-side, in my arm-chair, with no small satisfaction. I read too sometimes, and have begun Tacitus, but have not yet read enough to judge of him; only his Pannonian sedition in the first book of his annals, which is just as far as I have got, seemed to me a little tedious. I have no more to say, but to desire you will write letters of a handsome length, and always answer me within a reasonable space of time, which I leave to your discretion.

Popes, March 28, 1742.

P. S. The new Dunciad! qu'en pensez vous?

This letter is inserted as introductory only to the answer which follows.-Mason.

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I TRUST to the country, and that easy indolence you say you enjoy there, to restore you your health and spirits; and doubt not but, when the sun grows warm enough to tempt you from your fireside, you will (like all other things) be the better for his influence. He is my old friend, and an excellent nurse, I assure you. Had it not been

for him, life had often been to me intolerable. Pray do not imagine that Tacitus, of all authors in the world, can be tedious. An annalist, you know, is by no means master of his subject; and I think one may venture to say, that if those Pannonian affairs are tedious in his hands, in another's they would have been insupportable. However, fear not, they will soon be over, and he will make ample amends. A man, who could join the brilliant of wit and concise sententiousness peculiar to that age, with the truth and gravity of better times, and the deep reflection and good sense of the best moderns, cannot choose but have something to strike you. Yet what I admire in him above all this, is his detestation of tyranny, and the high spirit of liberty that every now and then breaks out, as it were, whether he would or no. I remember a sentence in his Agricola that (con

cise as it is) I always admired for saying much in He speaks of Domitian, who

a little compass.

upon seeing the last will of that General, where he had made him Coheir with his Wife and Daughter, "Satis constabat lætatum eum, velut honore, judicioque: tam cæca & corrupta mens assiduis adulationibus erat, ut nesciret a bono patre non scribi hæredem, nisi malum principem."

As to the Dunciad, it is greatly admired: the Genii of Operas and Schools, with their attendants, the pleas of the Virtuosos and Florists, and the yawn of dulness in the end, are as fine as any thing he has written. The Metaphysicians' part is to me the worst; and here and there a few illexpressed lines, and some hardly intelligible.

I take the liberty of sending you a long speech of Agrippina; much too long, but I could be glad you would retrench it. Aceronia, you may remember, had been giving quiet counsels. I fancy, if it ever be finished, it will be in the nature of Nat. Lee's Bedlam Tragedy, which had twenty-five acts and some odd scenes.

The speech herewith sent to Mr. West was the concluding one of the first scene of Agrippina, which I believe was begun the preceding winter.Mason.

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