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tinues weak and enervate.

And for my animal

spirits they are in perpetual fluctuation: Some whole days I have no relish, no attention for any thing! at other times I revive, and am capable of writing a long letter, as you see; and though I do not write speeches, yet I translate them. When you understand what speech, you will own that it is a bold and perhaps a dull attempt. In three words, it is prose, it is from Tacitus, it is of Germanicus. Peruse, perpend, pronounce.*


London, April, 1742.

I SHOULD not have failed to answer your letter immediately, but I went out of town for a little while, which hindered me. Its length (besides the pleasure naturally accompanying a long letter from you) affords me a new one, when I think it is a symptom of the recovery of your health, and flatter myself that your bodily strength returns in proportion. Pray do not forget to mention the progress you make continually. As to Agrippina, I begin to be of your opinion; and find myself

* This speech I omit to print, as I have generally avoided to publish mere translations either of Mr. Gray or his friend.-Mason.

(as women are of their children) less enamoured of my productions the older they grow. * She is laid up to sleep till next summer; so bid her good night. I think you have translated Tacitus very justly, that is, freely; and accommodated his thoughts to the turn and genius of our language; which, though I commend your judgment, is no commendation of the English tongue, which is too diffuse, and daily grows more and more enervate. One shall never be more sensible of this, than in turning an Author like Tacitus. I have been trying it in some parts of Thucydides (who has a little resemblance of him in his conciseness) and endeavoured to do it closely, but found it produced mere nonIf you have any inclination to see what figure Tacitus makes in Italian, I have a Tuscan


*He never after awakened her; and I believe this was occasioned by the strictures which his friend had made on his dramatic style; which (though he did not think them well founded, as they certainly were not) had an effect which Mr. West, we may believe, did not intend them to have. I remember some years after I was also the innocent cause of his delaying to finish his fine ode on the Progress of Poetry. I told him, on reading the part he showed me, that "though I admired it greatly, and thought that it breathed the very spirit of Pindar, yet I suspected it would by no means hit the public taste." Finding afterwards that he did not proceed in finishing it, I often expostulated with him on the subject; but he always replied, "No, you have thrown cold water upon it." I mention this little anecdote, to shew how much the opinion of a friend, even when it did not convince his judgment, affected his inclination.-Mason.

translation of Davanzati, much esteemed in Italy; and will send you the same speech you sent me ; that is, if you care for it. In the mean time accept of Propertius.



Popes, May 5, 1742.

WITHOUT any preface, I come to your verses, which I read over and over with excessive pleasure, and which are at least as good as Propertius. I am only sorry you follow the blunders of Broakhusius, all whose insertions are nonsense. I have some objections to your antiquated words, and am also an enemy to Alexandrines; at least I do not like them in elegy. But after all, I admire your translation so extremely, that I cannot help repeating I long to shew you some little errors you are fallen into by following Broukhusius.+ Were I with you now, and Propertius with your verses lay upon the table

# *

* A translation of the first elegy of the second book in English rhyme; omitted for the reason given in the last note but one.-Mason. It is published in the edition of Mr. Matthias. Vol. ii. p. 87.-Ed.

+ I have omitted here a paragraph or two, in which different lines of the Elegy were quoted, because I had previously omitted the translation of it.-Mason.

between us, I could discuss this point in a moment; but there is nothing so tiresome as spinning out a criticism in a letter; doubts arise, and explanations follow, till there swells out at least a volume of undigested observations: and all because you are not with him whom you want to convince. Read only the Letters between Pope and Cromwell in proof of this; they dispute without end. Are you aware now that I have an interest all this while in banishing Criticism from our correspondence? Indeed I have; for I am going to write down a little Ode (if it deserves the name) for your perusal, which I am afraid will hardly stand that test. Nevertheless I leave you at your full liberty; so here it follows.


Dear Gray, that always in my heart
Possessest far the better part,

What mean these sudden blasts that rise
And drive the Zephyrs from the skies?
O join with mine thy tuneful lay,
And invocate the tardy May.

Come, fairest Nymph, resume thy reign!
Bring all the Graces in thy train!
With balmy breath and flowery tread,
Rise from thy soft ambrosial bed;
Where, in elysian slumber bound,
Embow'ring myrtles veil thee round.

Awake, in all thy glories drest,
Recall the Zephyrs from the west;

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Restore the sun, revive the skies,
At mine and Nature's call, arise!
Great Nature's self upbraids thy stay,
And misses her accustom'd May.

See all her works demand thy aid;
The labours of Pomona fade:
A plaint is heard from ev'ry tree;
Each budding flow'ret calls for thee;
The birds forget to love and sing;
With storms alone the forests ring.

Come then, with Pleasure at thy side
Diffuse thy vernal spirit wide;
Create, where'er thou turn'st thy eye
Peace, Plenty, Love, and Harmony;
Till ev'ry being share its part,

And Heav'n and Earth be glad at heart.


London, May, 8, 1742.

I REJOICE to see you putting up your prayers to the May: She cannot choose but come at such a call. It is as light and genteel as herself. You bid me find fault; I am afraid I cannot; however I will try. The first stanza (if what you say to me in it did not make me think it the best) I should call the worst of the five (except the fourth line.) The two next are very picturesque, Miltonic, and musical; her bed is so soft and so

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