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there were certain low chairs, that looked like ebony, at Esher, and were old and pretty. Why should not Mr. Bentley improve upon them? I do not wonder at Dodsley. You have talked to him of six od(.s\ for so you are pleased to call every thing I write, though it be but a receipt to make apple-dumplings. He has reason to gulp when he finds one of them only a long story. I don't know but I may send him very soon (by your hands) an ode to his own tooth, a high Pindaric upon stilts, which one must be a better scholar than he is to understand a line of, and the very best scholars will understand but a little matter here and there. It wants but seventeen lines of having an end, I don't say of being finished. As it is so unfortunate to come too late for Mr. Bentley, it may appear in the fourth volume of the Miscellanies, provided you don't think it execrable, and suppress it. Pray, when the fine book is to be printed,* let me revise the press, for you know you can't; and there are a few trifles 1 could wish altered.
I know not what you mean by hours of love, and cherries, and pineapples. I neither see nor hear any thing here, and am of opinion that is the best way. My compliments to Mr. Bentley, if he be with you.
* The editios of his odes printed at Strawberry-hill. B.
I desire you would not show that epigram I repeated to you,* as mine. 1 have heard of it twice already as coming from you.
TO MR. WALPOLE.
I Am obliged to you for Mr. Dodsley's book,t and, having pretty well looked it over, will (as you desire) tell you my opinion of it. He might, methinks, have spared the Graces in his frontispiece, if he chose to be economical, and dressed his authors in a little more decent raiment—not m whited-brown paper, and distorted characters, like an old ballad. I am ashamed to see myself; but the company keeps me in countenance: so to begin with Mr. Tickell. This is not only a state-poem (my ancient aversion) but a statepoem on the peace of Utrecht. If Mr. Pope
* The editor much wishes he could repeat it to the public, but has not been able to discover the epigram alluded to, B,
1' His collection of poems. B. VOL,. IV. 15 * Colin and Lucy; beginning;
had wrote a panegyric on it, one could hardly have read him with patience:, but this is only a poor short-winded imitator of Addison, who had himself not above three or four notes in poetry, sweet enough indeed, like those of a German flute, but such as soon tire and satiate the ear with their frequent return. Tickell has added to this a great poverty of sense, and a string of transitions that hardly become a schoolboy. However, I forgive him for the sake of his ballad,* which 1 always thought the prettiest in the world. All there is of M. Green here has been printed before: there is a profusion of wit every where; reading would have formed his judgment, and harmonized his verse, for even his woodnotes often break out into strains of real poetry and music. The School-mistress is excellent in its kind, and masterly; and (I am sorry to differ from you, but) London is to me one of those few imitations, that have all the ease and all the spirit of an original. The same man'st verses at the opening of Garrick's theatre are far from bad. Mr.
"Of Leinstcr famed for maiden* fair.'' B. t Dr. Samuel Johnson. B.
Dyer (here you will despise me highly) has more of poetry in his imagination, than almost any of our number; but rough and injudicious. I should range Mr. Bramston only a step or two above Dr. King, who is as low m my estimation as in yours. Dr. Evans is a furious madman; and Pre-existence is nonsense in all her altitudes. Mr. Lyttelton is a gentle elegiac person: Mr." Nugent* sure did not write his own ode t I like Mr. Whitehead's little poems, I mean the Ode on a Tent, the Verses to Garrick, and particularly those to Charles Townshend, better than any thing I had seen before of him. I gladly pass over H. Brown, and the rest, to come at you. You know I was of the publishing side, and thought your reasons agamst it none; for though, as Mr Chute said extremely well, the still small voice of poetry was not made to be heard m a crowd; yet satire will be heard, for all the audience are by nature her friends; especially when she appears in the spirit of Dryden, with his strength, and often with his versification; such as you have caught in those lines on the royal unction,
* Afterwards earl Nugent. B.
t That addressed to Mr, PuJteney. B.
on the papal dominion, and convents of botb sexes, on Henry VIII. and Charles II. for these are to me the shining parts of your epistle.* There are many lines I could wish corrected, and some blotted out, but beauties enough to atone for a thousand worse faults than these. The opinion of such as can at all judge, who saw it before in Dr. Middleton's hands, concurs nearly with mine. As to what any one says, since it c;une out; our people (you must know) are slow of judgment: they wait till some bold body saves them the trouble, and then follow his opinion; or stay till they hear what is said in town, that is, at some bishop's table, or some coffee-house about the Temple. When they are determined, I will tell you faithfully their verdict. As for the Beauties,t I am their most humble servant. What shall I say to Mr. Lowth, Mr. Ridley, Mr. Rolle, the reverend Mr. Brown, Seward, &c? If I say. Messieurs! mis is not the thing; write prose, write sermons, write nothing at all; they will disdain me, and my advice. What then would
* Epistle from Florence to Thomas Ashcton, tutor to the earl of Plymouth. B.
t The epistle t» Mr. Eecmdt the Painter. B.