« AnteriorContinuar »
LETTERS TO DR. AIKIN.
Palgrave, 1774. THANKS to my dear brother for his letter, and the copy
of verses, which Mr. B. and I admire much. As to your system, I do not know what to say; I think I could make out just the contrary with as plausible arguments : as thus, Women are naturally inclined not only to love, but to all the soft and gentle affections; all the tender attentions and kind sympathies of nature. When, therefore, one of our sex shows any particular complacency towards one of
may solved into friendship; into a temper naturally çaressing, and those endearing intercourses of life which to a woman are become habitual. But when
man, haughty, independent man, becomes sensible to all the delicacies of sentiment, and softens his voice and address to the tone of les manières douces, it is much to be suspected a stronger power than friendship has worked the change. You are hardly social creatures till your minds are humanized and subdued by that passion which alone can tame you to "all the soft civilities of life.”. Your heart requires a stronger fire to melt it than ours does: the chaste and gentle rays of friendship, like star-beams may play upon it without effect;-it will only yield to gross material fire. There is a pretty flight for you! In short, women I think may be led on by sentiment to passion; but men must be subdued by passion before they can taste sentiment. Well! I protest I think I have the bestof the argument all to nothing. I'll go
ask Mr. Barbauld. Yes; he says my system will do. I beg I may have Dr. E.'s opinion upon it, as I take him to be a pretty casuist in these affairs. I hope I am by this time richer by a nephew or niece: if it is a boy, I claim it; if a girl, I will be content to stay for the next. afraid my poor child* is tossing upon the waves, for I have not heard yet of its arrival in London ; and I cannot help feeling all a parent's anxiety for
* Her Devotional Pieces, sent from Norfolk by sea to be printed at Warrington. -EDITOR.
its fate and establishment in the world : several people here are so kind as to inquire after it, but I can give them no satisfaction.
Palgrave, Sept. 9, 1775. I give you joy with all my heart, my dear brother, on the little hero's appearance in the world, and hope he will live to be as famous a man as any of his namesakes. I shall look upon you now as a very respectable man, as being entitled to all the honours and privileges of a father of three children. I would advise you to make one. a hero, as you have determined ; another a scholar; and for the third,—send him to us, and we will bring him up for a Norfolk farmer, which I suspect to be the best business of the three. I have not forgot Arthur, and send you herewith a story for his edification ; but I must desire you to go on with it. When you have brought the shepherd Hidallan a sheet further in his adventures, send him back to me, and I will take up the pen : it will be a very sociable way of writing, and I doubt not but it will produce something new and clever. The great thing to be avoided in these things is, the having any plan in your head: nothing cramps, your fancy so much; and I protest to you I am entirely clear from that inconvenience. Pray can you tell me any thing about Crashaw?
I have read some verses of his, prefixed to Cornaro's treatise, so exceedingly pretty, that I am persuaded he must have written more, and should be glad to see them: I would transcribe the verses, but I think you have Cornaro in your library.
Be it known to you, that Palgrave seminary will soon abound with poets, even as the green fields abound with grasshoppers. Our usher is a poet profest; and two of the lads have lately exercised their pens the same way, and not amiss. . One especially has written two or three pieces, which, if I am not deceived by the partiality I cannot help feeling for the little urchins, I may say are really clever for a boy of twelve years old. Now I am upon poetical subjects, I must tell you that a young clergyman in this neighbourhood is writing a play, which he did us the honour to submit to our criticism. The subject is, the resistance of the Chilese to the Spaniards, by which they recovered their independence. I am afraid I gave him very wicked advice; for I recommended it to him to re-convert his Indian from Christianity to Heathenism, and to make his chiefs a little more quarrelsome.
I believe the Devotional Pieces have met with the fate of poor Jonah, and been swallowed up by some whale,-perhaps out of pity and compassion, to save them in his jaws from the more terrible teeth of the critics. St. Anthony, I think, preached