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his society must have been a copious and unfailing spring of instruction and delight-but he manœuvres in conversation, and yet often discovers that he looks down, with supercilious disdain, upon every person's understanding who presumes to dissent from his opinions.

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What lustre does the grace he wants throw around the wit, the information, and the eloquence of Mrs Knowles! It is either genuine, or assumed with guarded and unbetraying art. However that may be, it renders her conversation delightful, whether we adopt or combat her opinions. I congratulate you upon the pleasures it will afford you. The new, the strange enthusiasm about Animal Magnetism, has seized her violently. She fervently assures me, that it is a great, important discovery in the powers of nature; capable of being highly useful in the cure of diseases, whether evident or occult, and that it makes no false pretences.

I am sure she believes what she asserts-yet, after reading your candid and rational disquisition on the subject, I stand amazed at her credulity. It must be confessed, however, maugre all the native strength of her understanding, that she has a portion of metaphysic faith, which carries her a great way up the lunar heights of system. That

recollection ought to mitigate my wonder on the magnetic theme.

When I was upon the subject of reviews, I forgot to observe, that we had once a man of great ability, taste, and integrity, who filled the department of poetic critic, during several years, in the Monthly Review. That was Mr Bentley, partner with the great Wedgewood. We found a classic spirit, and elegance in his criticisms, which rendered them at once just and delightful. He died seven years ago, and "we shall not look upon his like again." His successor, Kippis, has neither his ingenuity, his judgment, or his impartiality.

I should find the idea of few excursions so alluring as that of a tour into Scotland. In the words of Johnson, though with very different dispositions towards that country, and its inhabitants, I exclaim, respecting such a journey, "Far from me, and from my friends, be that frigid philosophy, which conducts us, cold, and unmoved, over regions that have been distinguished by genius, wisdom, bravery, and virtue."

You are very obliging in the wish, as you express it, to make me better known in Scotland ;but if an author's works do not introduce him, or her, it is in vain that the partialities of private friendship seek to give. eclat. I shall, however,

gratefully accept your recommendation, if a Caledonian expedition should appear in my prospects. Invalid parents fixed me, through youth, to this peculiar spot. One link of the precious chain remains yet unbroken, and grows stronger by its very weakness, than the fetters of literal imprisonment. Stationary habits will perhaps have become invincible, ere the long-dreaded hour of my infranchisement shall arrive. Adieu!



Lichfield, Jan. 23, 1788.

I SINCERELY thank you for your criticisms upon my poem on the Future Existence of Brutes. In consequence it has undergone several little alterations; though, where I do not feel the force of your objections, the passages remain in their original state.

In the 8th stanza I have substituted cruel for barbarous; but I must observe, that if the former had been used too near to have admitted a repetition, you would scarce be able to convince me, that

to use barbarous synonymously, would have been a vulgarism. Barbarity signifies cruelty, full as often as it implies an uncivilized state :

"Barbarian stay!-that bloody hand restrain!"


I cannot, in the next quatrain, learn to dislike the word * steely, as applied to spurs. It is certainly of the tribe of your old aversions; but as Shakespeare, Milton, Dryden, and Pope, were as fond as you are averse to the whole confraternity, snowy, steepy, grassy, turfy, &c. I must always dissent from an every-way impolitic desire of excluding them from the poetic page. Doubtless those great authors felt, as strongly as myself, the important power they possess of putting the sense of two or three words into one, and of increasing the general harmony by softness of termination.

Dear to the poet are all the privileges which enable him to say much in little. Pity that you thus suffer prejudices to spoil, at times, such excellent critical abilities!

I could easily alter the line you object to in the 10th, as obscure,

* Speaking of post-horses,

"While smites the lash, the steely torments goad."


"Beneath a load

Their fainting strength is basely doom'd to bear."

"Which their exhausted strength is doom'd to bear."

Yet I shall not, because I like the first reading much better; that, and which, and whom, are words poets ought always, upon established privilege, to omit, wherever their omission does not produce obscurity. Every one accustomed to poetic language, and such only is it of consequence to please, will, I am sure, understand the 10th and 11th stanzas, as instantly with their ellipsis as without it. The that's, the which's, the who's, and the whom's, are prosefiers, and are always in some degree injurious to the melody of verse. Not to leave such things to be supplied by the reader's imagination is to suppose it dull indeed. Pope would have stared had a poetic reader told him, that the following couplet was obscure for want of the word whom,

"O Death! all eloquent, you only prove

What dust we doat on when 'tis man (whom) we love."

Surely inelegance results from the insertion, not from the omission of such feeble expletives!

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