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to his consciousness of the future fame of his verse ; but they were not natives of the scene, and time has withered and destroyed every vestige of the aliens. The scenery in reality is that of bare and broken rocks; broken into a thousand fantastic angles, and offering picturesque figures more grand than beautiful. A few straggling olive trees, nitched here and there among the cliffs, seem to strive, with their niggard and insignificant foliage, against the general image of awful barrenness; as a partial ray of light serves only to render more sensible the general blackness of the surrounding clouds. A fig-tree, however, had much interest for me. It grows wild out of the crevice of the principal rock, and immediately over the cavern. The fountain never rises above its roots, which seem planted there as a boundary to its ambition, and as an olive of peace to the affrighted valley when it shrinks beneath the overwhelming waters. ·
“We purpose staying at Avignon till March, and then removing to some pleasant villa in the neighbourhood of Vaucluse : that, if it can be procured, in which Sterne resided.
“ You will ask me if I have seen the original pictures of Petrarch and Laura. Yes, I have seen them, and am almost sorry for it, so agreeable do we find the illusions of our fancy. Petrarch appears with a rusty doctor's hood ; with a sanguine high-fed face, a harsh eye, and, I had almost said, with a libidinous countenance. Laura sticks up, stiff as an hedge-stake, with red locks, stiff top gloves, and smelling at a scarlet poppy, which she holds mincing betwixt her finger and thumb. I have hunted out three couple of their portraits; but found it vain to search for images more congenial to my idea of those charming beings: yet I console myself with exclaiming, These are but the painter's daubs; and it was the meanness and grossness of the art, in those early days, that thus disgraced the appearance of the interesting lovers, which far superior pencils would have vainly strove to represent justly."
Is not this very interesting description, my dear Mr Hayley? And now I must tell you how highly. I am gratified by the beautiful impromptu upon the mistake of the sculptor, in sending down the busts of Newton and Pope, instead of Pope and Prior, which you did me the honour to purpose placing on each side Romney's picture of me. Such intoxicating flattery has your muse put into the mouth of the supreme philosopher, that I feel more delight to know that my portrait is near him, than even that it should be placed by the brilliant and harmonious Pope. How charm
ing is your poetical gallantry! If all the testimomies of it, bestowed upon my flattered self, were collected and given to the world, the garlands of Swift's Stella and Prior's Chloe would fade before mine. My pride, my heart exults in these distinctions, conferred by the transcendent English bard of the present æra.
O, certainly! our friend, Mr, has true genius, brilliant wit, and the last polish of highlife society; while benevolence and sweet temper are added to these rare endowments. I should extremely regret his habit of passing whole weeks in Lichfield, without calling at this house, if his opinions on works of imagination, and science, and politics, were one thought more steady than the ebbing sea;" but excessive instability of every sort counteracts the pleasures I should otherwise feel in his company, and reconciles me to the seldomness of his visits. From the gay cordiality with which he always addresses me, I might expect them to be as frequent as in reality they are otherwise. Our dining hour is earlier much than his; and when he does make a morning call here, its bell generally summons me to that meal before he has been with me half an hour. He then always humorously exclaims,
"Silence that dreadful bell,
It frights my soul from her propriety.”
As to Horace, I can well believe that his odes possess many exquisite graces of expression, too subtly elegant to be fortunately transposed into another language; but I am surprised at the frequently violent transitions in the ideas of these odes. They sometimes put me in mind of a little fat attorney, of whom my mother used to talk, who had an unfortunate habit of citing cases that made directly against the cause be undertook.
One of the Horatian odes begins with adjuring a certain nymph not to cross the seas, lest she hazard a life so precious to him. After enumerating maritime signs inauspicious to her purposed voyage, he reminds her of the fate of Europa, who, when she repented of her expedition, was rallied upon the repentance by Venus. The goddess sarcastically tells her that she was only destined to be the wife of Jove, and to give her name to a third part of the habitable world. How inconsistently does this narrative conclude an ode, whose object had been to dissuade the nymph from her watery journey!
LADY MARIANNE CARNEGY.
Lichfield, March 21, 1785.
YOUR Ladyship's kind attention and most welcome letter, highly gratifies, obliges, and honours me. Since I learned the melancholy tidings of dear and honoured Lady Northesk's death, I felt what I believed, an unavailing desire to obtain more particular intelligence than I had the means of acquiring, concerning the welfare and situation of her lord, and of sweet Lady Marianne, whose virtues and graces were in their bud when I had the honour of passing a week in Lady Northesk's, Lady Marianne's, and Mrs Scott's society at Lichfield, in the house of Dr Darwin. Mournful was that pleasure, because of the fearful balance in which then hung the valuable life of Lady Northesk. Ah! with what delight did I learn, from her condescending letters to me, of the return of her health, by the prescriptions of Dr Darwin, after those of the London and Bath physicians