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pleasure, ha* taken her from us to himself: and perhaps, if we reflect upon what she felt in this life, we may look upon this as an instance of his goodness both to her, and to those that loved her. She might have languished many years before our eyes in a continual increase of pain, and totally helpless; she might have long wished to end her misery without being able to attain it; or perhaps even lost all sense, and yet continued to breathe; a sad spectacle to such as must have felt more for her than she could have done for herself. However you may deplore your own loss, yet think that she is at last easy and happy; and has now more occasion to pity us than we her. I hope, and beg, you will support yourself with that resignation we owe to Him, who gave us our being for our good, and who deprives us of it for the same reason. I would have come to you directly, but you do not say whether you desire I should or not; if you do, 1 beg I may know it, for there is nothing to hinder me, and I am in very good health.
TO MR. WALPOLE.
Stoke, June 12, 1750.
As I live in a place, where even the ordinary tattle of the town arrives not till it is stale, and which produces no events of its own, you will not desire any excuse from me for writing so seldom, especially as of all people living I know you are the least a friend to letters spun out of one's own hrains, with all the toil and constraint that accompanies sentimental productions. I have been here at Stoke a few days (where I shall continue good part of the summer); and having put an end to a thing, whose beginning you have seen long ago, I immediately send it you.* You will, I hope, look upon it in the light of a thing with an end to it; a merit that most of my writings have wanted, and are like to want, but which this epistle I am determined shall not want, when it tells you that I am ever
* Thft was the Elegy in toe church yard.—B.
Not that I have done yet; but who could avoid the temptation of finishing so roundly and so cleverly in the manner of good queen Anne's days? Now 1 have talked of writings; I have seen a book, which is by this time in the press, against Middleton (though without naming him), by Asheton. As far as 1 can judge from a very hasty reading, there are things in it new and ingenious, but rather too prolix, and the style here and there savouring too strongly of sermon. 1 imagine it will do him credit So much for other people, now to self again. You are desired to tell me your opinion, if you can take the pains, of these lines. I am once more
But Aristotle may say whatever he pleases, I do not find myself at all the worse for it. I could indeed wish to refresh my Engyiia a little at Durham by the sight of you, but when is there a probability of my being so happy? It concerned me greatly when I heard the other day that your asthma continued at times to afflict you, and that you were often obliged to go into the country to breathe; you cannot oblige me more than by giving me an account both of the state of your body and mind: I hope the latter is able to keep you cheerful and easy in spite of the frailties of its companion. As to my own, it can neither do one nor the other; and I have the mortification to find my spiritual part the most infirm thing about me. You have doubtless heard of the loss I have had in Dr. Middleton, whose house was the only easy place one could find to converse in at Cambridge: for my part, 1 find a friend so uncommon a thing, that I cannot help regretting even an old acquaintance, which is an indifferent likeness of it; and though 1 do not approve of the spirit of his books, methinks 'tis pity the world should lose so rare a thing as a good writer.*
* Mr. Gray uied to say, that good writing not only required p;reat parts, hut the very best of those parts.
My studies cannot furnish a recommendation of many new books to you. There is a de- • fence "de l'Esprit des Lois," by Montesquieu himself; it has some lively things in it, but is very short, and his adversary appears to be so mean a bigot that he deserved no answer. There are 3 vols, in 4to. of "Histoire du Cabinet du Roi, by Messrs. Buffon and d'Aubenton;''' the first is a man of character, but I am told has hurt it by this work. It is all a sort of introduction to natural history; the weak part of it is a love of system which runs through it; the most contrary thing in the world to a science entirely grounded upon experiments, and which has nothing to do with vivacity of imagination. However, I cannot help commending the general view which he gives of the face of the earth, followed by a particular one of all the known nations, their peculiar figure a*hd manners, which is the best epitome of geography 1 ever met with, and written with sense and elegance; in short, these books are well worth turning over. The memoirs of the Abbe1 de Mongon, in 5 vols, are highly commended, but I have not seen them. He was engaged in several embassies to Germany. England, &c. duriDg the course of the late war. The president Henault's "Abrt'sw