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"Solvitur acris hyems, &c."
So bleak winter is gone! and, fo, with him too, flies
And the fhips river-lockt, now, fo long by the ice,
Launch themselves, once more, into the main
Now, for this we must thank our good brother the south,
Who feem rather to breathe, than to blow from their mouth,
Kitchen fires no longer the ploughman inthrall !
Now the dance comes in vogue by the light of the moon,
And, for want of fweet mufic, they foot it in tune
• And now! now is the feason (the season of love)
"Tis an emblem to fhew that you're constant in love,
And be fure kill a lamb (it will make good report)
• But, amidit all our mirth, how oft Death will step in,
For no feafon he minds-and no tears can him win,
Like the blackeft of black huffars on ftill he goes,
While the tears of each virgin-the mother's soft throes,
Are, to him, but a story of laughter
From the king, to the beggar, he knocks at each door,
"Tis in vain to pretend that he came juft before;***
For your innocent life never fears a fad end,
Poor man's life is too fhort a long scheme to propose,"
Thus, for inftance, on Friday he plans him an house;
Yes! the night everlasting will drop her fad veil
O'er those eyes with the luftre of day;
And no more will earth's objects that dear fenfe regale,
'Tis death, only, can make me, then, ceafe to relate
Our readers will not be difpleafed with the following account of the Paraclete.
The Pere St. Romain, confeffor to the nunnery, informed me that the abbefs being in her eighty-fecond year, feldom rofe 'till noon; but that she begged I would stay 'till, I faw her for fhe was my country-woman, though early called to be a convert, from England; and was allied to the extinct families of Lifford and Stafford.
• She was aunt to the present duke dè Rochfaulcault-fifter to the Great Cardinal; and being fifth in fucceffion, abbefs of that convent, pleased herself to hope it would become a kind of patrimony; and that his majefty (it being a royal abbey) would graciously bestow it on that name, whenever she was called away; which the hourly expected, and daily wifhed.
As a further proof of this, the arms of the Rochfaulcault family are over each gate-way; and, on any reparation, or new erection on the premises, the faid method is always practifed.
Before dinner, St. Romain walked with me round the demefne. Mr. Pope's defcription is ideal; and, to poetical minds, eafily conveyed; but I faw neither rocks, nor pines, nor was it a kind of ground which ever feemed to encourage fuch objects; on the contrary, it was in a vale; and mountains, like the Alps, generally produce views of this kind.
I can't but fay too, that the line
"See in her cell fad Eloïfa spread,”
Should be near her cell. The doors of all cells open into the common cloister. In that cloister are, often, tombs; and the may well be supposed to have quitted her cell (more especially in that warm part of France) for air, change of place, and refreshment.
* A famous grove, part of the Electoral Gardens.
The fuper-structure of the Paraclete is not the fame as we can imagine the twelfth century to have produced; but the vaulted part, as the arches are all pointed, may most likely be fuch.
Adjoining is a low building, now inhabited by a miller, which has fome marks of real antiquity; and St. Romain concurred with me in the fentiment. It feems to have been the public ball where Abelard might have given his lectures; for, in the wall, on each fide, are fmall apertures, fo horizontal, that it has strong appearances of benches ; which never rise theatrically in these buildings abroad.
• In the abbatial vault I faw the skeletons of Abelard and Eloïfa. The under jaws of both are destroyed, but the bones and their cartilages are still entire. As it was by torch light, I could ill remark more than that Eloïfa appeared much taller than Abelard. A small plinth of brick or stone, preferved the bones from being trampled on and the vault, in which they were depofited, being fmall, feemed much crowded.
Before I arrived at this manfion of the dead, they fhewed me all the vaulted part of the former church, and private chapel, which were now well filled with wine: magazines of this kind are often erected, even for fale, where convents are not wealthy enough in lands, or public flock, to fupport themselves. And in countries where wine is not the manufacture, they have refort to boarders, or penfioners, to maintain themselves; the value of money being altered, as in all countries. In this convent are only twenty-two fifters.'
Abelard died in the year 1 142, Eloifa in 1163. It is impoffible their cartilages should be preferved entire, we therefore fufpect an impofition.
XII. "Letters from Altamont in the Capital, to his Friends in the Country. 8vo. Pr. 35.
Becket and De Hondt.
Letters, the author acknow-
N the introduction to thefe ledges that they are fictitious. of them, is the fon of a gentleman who had borne the poft of a lieutenant in the army. He was an officer of good education; and not lefs diftinguished for his fpirit and intrepidity in his military capacity, than for an inflexible honesty, and aufterity of manners in private life. Being unjuftly deprived of his commiffion in the army by an ungenerous artifice of those to whom the rigidness of his principles had rendered him obnoxious, he determined to feclude himself for ever from all connections with the world. He retired with his infant fon, and two domeftics, to the fartheft and inacceffible part of North-Wales; where he purchased a small farm, in a village confifting only of a few cottages, and at a confiderable distance
from any market town. In this fequestered retreat, his attention was almost wholly beftowed on the education of his fon, whofe good natural parts, and sweetness of difpofition merited his affiduity. The only companions of their folitude were the minister of the parish, and his two children, Henry and Charlotte, who were conftant fharers with Altamont in the inftruc tions which he received from his father. Altamont, reftrained by filial pity from indulging the defire he entertained of seeing. that world, about which all he could read or hear ferved rather to excite than fatisfy his curiofity, lived, converfant only with this little fociety and his books, 'till the age of twenty-one ; about which time he was carried to London by a gentleman of fortune who chanced to travel into that country.
Thefe Letters, in general, are written with tafte and fentiment; and contain feveral pertinent remarks on the manners of the Capital. They afford fome inftances of that pleasing fimplicity of thought, which an observation of the world may naturally be supposed to awaken in the mind of a perfon who. has lived abstracted from fociety, and an acquaintance with false refinement; and whose understanding is untainted with the prejudice, of popular customs, as his heart with the depravity of mankind. As a fpecimen of this work, we have extracted the following letter.
ALTAMONT to HENRY.
They who are fond of feeking for inftruction, need never be idle. Though I have no particular employment to take up my time, yet I never find any part of it hang upon my hands. I país my whole life in observation. I have been brought up in fo total an ignorance of the customs of the world, that every common occurrence is, to me, a matter of importance. Every thing I meet with furprizes me; and many things puzzle me extremely: I have no rule to direct myself by in my enquiries but common sense; and with regard to many things which I meet with, that is no manner of ufe. When cuftoms are founded merely in extravagance, and characters actuated folely by caprice, to atempt to explain them by the rule of reafon is as abfurd as to measure milk by the foot-rule: it is not the proper standard to apply to them. Here is a custom, univerfally prevalent, which perplexes me beyond measure to account for it. It is easy to conceive great comfort, and even great utility arifing from an extenfive acquaintance; nor is it difficult to account for a people of a restless temper, and much curiofity, running from one company to another, frequently, even in the fame evening, in hopes of feeing fomething new,"
or hearing fomething in one set which they may not in another. But how fhall we account for a number of people dreffing themselves with the greatest exactnefs, and a profufion of expence, getting into their coaches, perhaps in a horrid, wet, dreary night, and driving from one friend's houfe to another, for four hours together, not only without ever seeing one of their friends, but even without any intention or even a wish of feeing them? At every house they leave their name written or printed upon a piece of card, as a token that they expect their friends to take the like trouble. Upon what principles must one fet out in order to explain this custom with any tolerable chance of making it conformable to common sense? especially when you hear those who practise it every night of their lives, join with you in crying out against the monstrous abfurdity of it. But, you will fay, do thefe friends never meet? Yes; perhaps once in a month or oftener, one lady fummons to her houfe more people, by one half, than it will hold; fo that, allowing one perfon out of two not to obey the fummons, from being engaged in fome other place, the houfe is nevertheless fure of being at leaft as full as it can be. Perhaps you will think this fcheme not fo advantageous for the enjoying the comforts of society; and that, fo far from any enjoyment of conversation, the lady of the houfe has hardly time even for paying the first forms of civility to fuch a croud. It may be very true; but they meet not for the fake of converfation; it is not the fashion: their whole end in coming together is to form parties for cards; so that when once the lady of the house has ranged her company, and forted them into separate fets, fhe has done with them, and leaves them to entertain one another. And in less than ten minutes their whole attention is fo engroffed by the business in which they are engaged, that the lady of the house is no more thought of than the hostess of an inn ; nor is it necessary for her to pay any farther attention to any of her company, except the particular fet in which she herfelf happens to be engaged at play. It is not easy for me to tell you, and impoffible for you to conceive, how much the attention of old and young, high and low, rich and poor, is engaged in cards, from one end of this great town to the other. Play is a science abfolutely neceffary for every one to acquire, who intends to be admitted into any company, as it is for him to learn how to make a bow, or give an answer when he is spoken to. Nay, I question very much whether an ignorance of cards is not the most unlucky failing a man can have; because I find a man with literally no other knowledge, than that of the games of whift and quadrille, loo and lansquenet, and who even never pretends to any conversation but what has reVOL. XXIV. July, 1767. ference