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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 exércised 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
to the fishes; perhaps I may have the same honour. I should as soon hope to inspire a porpoise with devotion, as a turtle-eater.
You must know I find one inconvenience in franks; one never knows when to have done. In a common letter you fill your sheet, and there's an end; but with a frank you may write on and on for ever: I have tired two pens already. But I will write no more to you: I will write to poor Patty, who wants amusement,—so farewell! Go and study your Greek, and do not interrupt us.
And how do you do, my dear Patty? let me
and all the dear society at Warrington.
DEAR BROTHER, I DOUBT not but you have been grumbling in your gizzard for some time, and muttering between your teeth, “What is this lazy sister of ours about”? Now to prove to you that I am not lazy, I will tell you what I have been about. First, then, making
up beds; secondly, scolding my maids, preparing for company; and lastly, drawing up and delivering lectures on Geography. Give me joy of our success, for we shall have twenty-seven scholars before the vacation, and two more have bespoke places at Midsummer; so that we do not doubt of being soon full: nay, sir, I can assure you it is said in this country, that it will soon be a favour to be on Mr. Barbauld's list:--you have no objection, I hope, to a little boasting.
I thank you, my dear brother, for so kindly drawing your pen in my defence. An admirer of Popery! Heaven help their wise heads! when it was one of my earliest aversions. But this I see, that in religious and political affairs if a person does not enlist under a party, he is sure to meet with censure from party. I had not seen the charge till I had your letter: we had had the Review too, but I had read it carelessly. If they do not insert your letter, I should be glad to see it.
Yes, Sterne's Letters are paltry enough, and so are Lady Luxborough's, which we ran through in the course of an afternoon. I am afraid the public will be sated with letters before we publish our correspondence. I could inake a neat pocketvolume or two of yours, and of Mr. Barbauld's a quarto.
Adieu, yours ever.
Yes, I was somewhat lazy in writing, I confess; but upon my word I could not tell how to help it, so busy was I; and, by the way, I think I have sometimes been as long without hearing from Warrington. Well! we will all mend if we can.
Mr. Barbauld thanks you for your elegant Pliny, which he intends to make a school-book immediately after the vacation. Your Tacitus, too, seems a very good scheme, and we hope to see it in time. But I own I cannot help wishing you would undertake some original work, either of fancy or elegant criticism; you have the powers for both. I think we must some day sew all our fragments together, and make a Joineriana of them. Let me see:- I have, half a ballad; the first scene of a play; a plot of another, all but the catastrophe; half a dozen loose similies, and an eccentric flight or two among the fairies.
Did I tell you the boys are going to act the First Part of Henry IV., and I am busy making paper vandykes, and trimming up their hats with feathers? Do you know that we make a trip to Holland this vacation ?
DEAR BROTHER, To my
sister and yourself Mr. Barbauld and I have a request to make, in which, though perhaps
it may be rather singular, we are very seriously in earnest; and therefore, whether you grant or deny, we hope you will neither laugh at us nor take it amiss. Without further preface, it is this. You enjoy a blessing Providence has hitherto denied to us,—that of children : you have already several, and seem very likely to have a numerous family. As to ourselves, having been thus long without prospect of any, it is, to say the least, , very uncertain whether that hope, which most I believe form when they marry, will ever be fulfilled. Some, indeed, say to us, that considering how large a family we have of others' children, 'tis rather fortunate we have none of our own. And true it is, that employed as we are in the business of education, we have many of the cares and some of the pleasures of a parent; but the latter very imperfectly. We have them not early enough to contract the fondness of affection which early care alone can give; we have them not long enough to see the fruit of our culture; and we have not enough the disposal of them to follow our own plans and schemes in their education. We wish for one who might be wholly ours : and we think that if a child was made ours by being given young into our hands, we could love it, and make it love us so well, as to supply in a great ineasure the want of the real relationship. We know there are many instances of people who have taken the