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editor of Milton that the world has ever seen or
Your humorous descant upon my art of wishing made us merry, and consequently did good to us both. I sent my wish to the Hall yesterday. They are excellent neighbours, and so friendly to me that I wished to gratify them. When I went to pay my first visit, George flew into the court to meet me, and when I entered the parlour Catharina sprang into my arms.
TO WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ.
Weston, July 15, 1792. The
progress of the old nurse in Terence is very much like the progress of my poor patient in the road of recovery. I cannot, indeed, say that she moves but advances not, for advances are certainly made, but the progress of a week is hardly perceptible. I know not therefore, at present, what to say about this long-postponed journey. The utmost that it is safe for me to say at this moment is this— You know that you are dear to us both : true it is that you are so, and equally true that the very instant we feel ourselves at liberty, we will fly to Eartham. I have been but once within the Hall door since the Courtenays came home, much as I have been pressed to dine there, and have hardly escaped giving a little offence by declining it: but, though I should offend all the world by my ob
stinacy in this instance, I would not leave my poor Mary alone. Johnny serves me as a representative, and him I send without scruple. As to the affair of Milton, I know not what will become of it. I wrote to Johnson a week since to tell him that, the interruption of Mrs. Unwin's illness still continuing, and being likely to continue, I knew not when I should be able to proceed. The translations (I said) were finished, except the revisal of a part.
God bless your dear little boy and poet! I thank him for exercising his dawning genius upon me, and shall be still happier to thank him in person.
Abbot is painting me so true,
That (trust me) you would stare
If I were here or there."
I have sat twice; and the few who have seen his copy of me are much struck with the resemblance. He is a sober, quiet man, which, considering that I must have him at least a week longer for an inmate, is a great comfort to me.
My Mary sends you her best love. She can walk now, leaning on my arm only, and her speech is certainly much improved. I long to see you. Why cannot you
and dear Tom spend the remainder of
* This portrait was taken at the instance of Dr. Johnson, and is thought most to resemble Cowper. It is now in the possession of Dr. Johnson's family, and represents the poet in a sitting posture, in an evening dress.
the summer with us? We might then all set off for Eartham merrily together. But I retract this, conscious that I am unreasonable. It is a wretched world, and what we would is almost always what we cannot Adieu ! Love me, and be sure of a return.
TO THOMAS PARK, ESQ.
Weston Underwood, July 20, 1792. Dear Sir, I have been long silent, and must now be short. My time since I wrote last has been almost wholly occupied in suffering. Either indisposition of my own, or of the dearest friend I have, * has so entirely engaged my attention, that, except the revision of the two elegies you sent me long since, I have done nothing; nor do I at present foresee the day when I shall be able to do any thing. Should Mrs. Unwin recover sufficiently to undertake a journey, I have promised Mr. Hayley to close the summer with a visit to him at Eartham. At the best, therefore, I cannot expect to proceed in my main business, till the approach of winter. I am thus thrown so much into arrear respecting Milton, that I already despair of being ready at the time appointed, and so I have told my employer.
I need not say that the drift of this melancholy preface is to apprize you that you must not expect
* Mrs. Unwin.
dispatch from me. Such expedition as I can use I will, but I believe you must be very patient.
It was only one year that I gave to drawing, for I found it an employment hurtful to my eyes, which have always been weak and subject to inflammation. I finished my attempt in this way with three small landscapes, which I presented to a lady. These may, perhaps, exist, but I have now no correspondence with the fair proprietor. Except these, there is nothing remaining to show that I ever aspired to such an accomplishment.
The hymns in the Olney collection marked (C) are all of my composition, except one, which bears that initial by a mistake of the printer. Not having the book at hand, I cannot now say which it is.
Wishing you a pleasant time at Margate, and assuring you that I shall receive, with great pleasure, any drawing of yours with which you may favour me, and give it a distinguished place in my very small collection,
remain, dear sir,
TO WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ.
Weston, July 22, 1792. This important affair, my dear brother, is at last decided, and we are coming. Wednesday se'nnight, if nothing occur to make a later day necessarv, is
the day fixed for our journey. Our rate of travelling must depend on Mary's ability to bear it. Our mode of travelling will occupy three days unavoidably, for we shall come in a coach. Abbot finishes my picture to-morrow; on Wednesday he returns to town, and is commissioned to order one down for us, with four steeds to draw it;
“ Hollow pamper'd jades of Asia,
Send us our route, for I am as ignorant of it almost as if I were in a strange country. We shall reach St. Alban's, I suppose, the first day; say where we must finish our second day's journey, and at what inn we may best repose ? As to the end of the third day, we know where that will find us, viz. in the arms, and under the roof, of our beloved Hayley.
General Cowper, having heard a rumour of this intended migration, desires to meet me on the road, that we may once more see each other. He lives at Ham, near Kingston. Shall we go through Kingston, or near it? For I would give him as little trouble as possible, though he offers very kindly to come as far as Barnet for that purpose. Nor must I forget Carwardine, who so kindly desired to be informed what way we should go. On what point of the road will it be easiest for him to find us ? On all these points you must be my oracle. My friend and brother, we shall overwhelm you with our numbers; this is all the trouble that I have left.
My Johnny of Norfolk, happy in the thought