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but it is shorter than one would wish. The Euthyphro I would not read at all.
TO MR. WALPOLE.
Stoke, Jan. irs3. I Am at present at Stoke, to which place I came at half an hour's warning upon the news I received of my mother's illness, and did not expect to have found her alive; but when 1 arrived she was much better, and continues so. I shall therefore be very glad to make you a visit at Strawberry-Hill, whenever you give me notice of a convenient time. I am surprised at the print,* which far surpasses my idea of London graving:. The drawing itself was so finished, that I suppose it did not require all the art 1 had imagined to copy it tolerably. My aunts seeing me open your letter, took it to be a burningticket, and asked whether any body had left me a ring; and so they still conceive it to be, even with all their spectacles on. Heaven forbid they should suspect it to belong to any verses of mine, they would burn ihe for a poet. On my own part, I am satisfied, if this design of yours succeed so well as you intend it; and yet 1 know it will be accompanied with something not at all agreeable to me.—While I write this, I receive your second letter.—Sure, you are not out of your wits! This I know, if you suffer my head to be printed, you will infallibly put me out of mine. I conjure you immediately to put a stop to any such design. Who is at the expense of engraving it, I know not; but if it be Dodsley, I will make up the loss to him. The thing as it was, I know, will make me ridiculous enough; but to appear in proper person, at the head of my works, consisting of half a dozen ballads in thirty pages, would be worse than the pillory. I do assure you, if I had received such a book, with such a frontispiece, without any warning, I believe it would have given me a palsy: therefore I rejoice to have received this notice, and shall not be easy till you tell me all thoughts of it are laid aside. 1 am extremely in earnest, and cannot bear even the idea.
* A proof print of the Col de Lampe, which Mr. Bentley designed for the elegy in a coontry church-j ard, and which represent! a village funeral: thi- occasioned the pleasant mistake of his two aunts. The remainder of the letter relates entirely to the projected publication of Mr. Bentley's designs, which were printed after by Dclslev the same year. The latter part of it, where he so vehemently deelares l.gainst having his head prefixed to that work. will appear highly eliaracteristicai to those readers, who were personally acquainted with Mr. Gray The print, which was taken from an original picture, painted by Eccardt, in Mr. Walpole's possession, was actually more than half engraved ; hut afterwards oa this account suppressed.
I had written to Dodsley if I had not received yours, to tell him how little I liked the title which he meant to prefix; but your letter has put all that out of my head. If you think it necessary to print these explanations* for the use of people that have no eye?, I should be glad they were a little altered. I am, to my shame, in your debt for a long letter; but I cannot think of any thing else till you have set me at ease on this matter.
TO MR. MASON.t
Durham, Dec. 25, 1751.
A Little while before I received your melancholy letter, I had been informed by Mr. Charles Avison of one of the sad events you mention.* I know what it is to lose persona thai one's eyes and heart have long been used to; and I never desire to pari with the remembrance of that loss, nor would wish you should.—It is something that you had a little time to acquaint yourself with the idea beforehand; and that your father suffered but little pain, the only thing that makes death terrible. After I have said this, I cannot help expressing my surprise at the disposition he has made of his affairs. I must (if you will sutfer me to say so) call it great weakness; and yet perhaps your affliction for him is heightened by that very weakness; for I know it is possible to feel an additional sorrow for the faults of those we have loved, even where that fault has been greatly injurious to ourselves. Let me desire you not to expose yourself to any further danger in the midst of that scene of sickness and death; but withdraw as soon as possible to some place at a little distance in the country; for I do not, in the least, like the situation you are in. I do not attempt to console you on the situation your fortune is left in; if it were far worse, the good opinion I have of you, tells me, you will never the sooner do any thing mean or unworthy of yourself; and consequently I cannot pity you on this account: but I sincerely do on the new loss you have had of a good and friendly man, whose memory 1 honour. I have seen the scene you describe, and know how dreadful it is: 1 know too I am the better for it. We are all idle and thoughtless things, and have no sense, no use in the world any longer than that sad impression lasts; the deeper it is engraved the better.
* See the abi.ve-mentioned designs, where the explanations here alluded to are inserted.
t It was not till about the year 1747 that I had the happiness of being introduced to the acquaintance of Mr. Gray. Some ver> juvenile imitations of Milton's juvenile poems, which I had written a year or two before, and of which the monody on Mr. Pope's death was the prineipal, be then, at the request of one of my friiMds, was so obliging as to revise.
* The death of my father, and of Dr. Marmaduke Pricket, a young, physieian of ray own age, with whom I was brought op ftoitt iufaticy, who dicd of the tame infectious fever.