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other employment. I have, however, in pursuit of your idea to compliment Darwin, put a few stanzas together, which I shall subjoin ; you will easily give them all that you find they want, and match the song with another.
I am now going to walk with Johnny, much cheered since I began writing to you, and by Mary's looks and good spirits.
TO DR. DARWIN.
AUTHOR OF THE BOTANIC GARDEN
Two poets (poets by report
Not oft so well agree)
Conspire to honour thee.
They best can judge a poet's worth,
Who oft themselves have known
By labours of their own.
Though various, yet complete,
And learn'd as it is sweet.
No envy mingles with our praise ;
Though, could our hearts repine,
They would, they must, at thine.
Of friendship's closest tie,
With an unjaundic'd eye:
And deem the bard, whoe'er he be,
And howsoever known,
Unworthy of his own.* * The celebrated poem of “ the Botanic Garden,” originated in a copy of verses, addressed by Miss Seward to Dr. Darwin, complimenting him on his sequestered retreat near Lichfield. In this retreat there was a mossy fountain of the purest water; aquatic plants bordered its summit, and branched from the fissures of the rock. There was also a brook, which he widened into small lakes. The whole scene formed a little paradise, and was embellished with various classes of plants, uniting the Linnean science, with all the charm of landscape.
When Miss Seward presented her verses to Dr. Darwin, he was bighly gratified, she observes, and said, “ I shall send this poem to the periodical publications; but it ought to form the exordium of a great work. The Linnean system is unexplored poetic ground, and a happy subject for the muse. It affords fine scope for poetic landscape; it suggests, metamor. phoses of the Ovidian kind, though reversed. Orid made men and women into flowers, plants, and trees. You should make flowers, plants, and trees, into men and women. I," continued he, “ will write the notes, which must be scientific, and you shall write the verse."
Miss S. remarked, that besides her want of botanic knowledge, the undertaking was not strictly proper for a female pen ; and that she felt how much wore it was adapted to the ingenuity and vigour of his own fancy. After many objections urged on the part of Dr. Darwin, he at length acquiesced, and ultimately produced his “ Loves of the Plants, or Botanic Garden." +
Though this poem obtained much celebrity on its first appearance, it was nevertheless severely animadverted upon by some critics. A writer in the Anti-Jacobin Review, (known to be the late Mr. Canning) parodied the work, by producing
+ See Life of Dr. Darwin, by Miss Seward.
TO LADY HESKETH.
Weston, June 11, 1792. My dearest Coz— Thou art ever in my thoughts, whether I am writing to thee or not, and my correspondence seems to grow upon me at such a rate that I am not able to address thee so often as I would. In fact, I live only to write letters. Hayley is as you see added to the number, and to him I write almost as duly as I rise in the morning ; nor is he only added, but his friend Carwardine also Carwardine the generous, the disinterested, the friendly. I seem, in short, to have stumbled suddenly on race of heroes, men who resolve to have no interests of their own till mine are served.
But I will proceed to other matters, and that concern me more intimately, and more immediately, than all that can be done for me either by the great, “ The Loves of the Triangles,” in which triangles were made to fall in love with the same fervour of passion, as Dr. Darwin attributed to plants. The style, the imagery, and the entire composition of “the Loves of the Plants,” were most successfully imitated. We quote the following.
“ In filmy, gauzy, gossamery lines,
Bid the soft virgin violet expire.” We do not think that the Botanic Garden ever fully maintained its former estimation, after the keen Attic wit of Mr. Canning, though the concluding lines of Cowper seem to promise perpetuity to its fame.
or the small, or by both united. Since I wrote last, Mrs. Unwin has been continually improving in strength, but at so gradual a rate that I can only mark it by saying that she moves about every day with less support than the former. Her recovery is most of all retarded by want of sleep. On the whole I believe she goes on as well as could be expected, though not quite well enough to satisfy And Dr. Austen, speaking from the reports
I have made of her, says he has no doubt of her restoration.
During the last two months I seem to myself to have been in a dream. It has been a most eventful period, and fruitful to an uncommon degree, both in good and evil. I have been very ill, and suffered excruciating pain. I recovered, and became quite well again. I received within my doors a man, but lately an entire stranger, and who now loves me as his brother, and forgets himself to serve
Mrs. Unwin has been seized with an illness that for many days threatened to deprive me of her, and to cast a gloom, an impenetrable one, on all my future prospects. She is now granted to me again. A few days since I should have thought the moon might have descended into my purse as likely as any emolument, and now it seems not impossible. All this has come to pass with such rapidity as events move with in romance indeed, but not often in real life. Events of all sorts creep or fly exactly as God pleases.
To the foregoing I have to add in conclusion, the arrival of my Johnny, just when I wanted him
most, and when only a few days before I had no expectation of him. He came to dinner on Saturday, and I hope I shall keep him long. What comes next I know not, but shall endeavour, as you exhort me, to look for good, and I know I shall have your prayers that I may not be disappointed.
Hayley tells me you begin to be jealous of him, lest I should love him more than I love you, and bids me say, “ that, should I do so, you in revenge must love him more than I do." Him I know you will love, and me, because you have such a habit of doing it that you cannot help it.
Adieu! My knuckles ache with letter-writing. With my poor patient's affectionate remembrances, and Johnny's, I am ever thine,
TO WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ.
Weston, June 19, 1792. Thus have I filled a whole page to my dear William of Eartham, and have not said a syllable yet about my Mary. A sure sign that she goes on well. Be it known to you that we have these four days discarded our sedan with two elbows. Here is no more carrying, or being carried, but she walks up stairs boldly, with one hand upon the balustrade, and the other under my arm, and in like manner she comes down in a morning. Still I confess she is feeble, and misses much of her former strength. The weather too is sadly against