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In his death, the indigent of his neighbourhood have an unspeakable loss—but let him be spoken of as he was, for truth is better than indiscriminate eulogium.
Mr Day, with very first-rate abilities, was a splenetic, capricious, yet bountiful misanthropist. He bestowed nearly the whole of his ample fortune in relieving the necessities of the poor; frequently, however, declaring his conviction, that there were few in the large number he fed, who would not cut his throat the next hour, if their interest could prompt the act, and their lives be safe in its commission. He took pride in avowing his abhorrence of the luxuries, and disdain of even the decencies of life; and in his person, he was generally slovenly, even to squalidness. On being asked by one of his friends, why he chose the lonely and unpleasant situation in which he lived? He replied, that the sole reason of that choice was, its being out of the stink of human society.
It had been said, and I believe with truth, that he put a total stop to all correspondence between Mrs Day and her large and respectable family-connections in Yorkshire, who had never ceased to regret so undeserved an instance of morose deprivation. She not only sacrificed her friends to gratify her husband's unsocial spleen, but all the
comforts of that affluence to which she had been accustomed. Before this lady married our gloomy philosopher, her generosity had been eminently distinguished in the large social circle in which she moved. Society is the proper sphere of action for the benevolent virtues. It is the duty of those who possess such virtues to exert them there, that the influence of excellent example may not be lost upon mankind, through the inevitable disgust it must receive from vo• luntary seclusion, and avowed contempt,
I am, Sir, &c.
REV. DR WARNER.
WELCOME home again, my dear Mercury, for the great Babylon seems, in my contemplations, a sort of desart without you. What an eternal rambler you are!--but I must not be an austere mistress, and deny you leave of absence, nor yet make consent ungracious, by giving it in a grumbling accent. You will stay at home till spring—
and Heaven knows where several of us may be ere that day! So many of my acquaintance have, of late, died suddenly, that I often feel my spirits tinged with an apprehensive gloom, which tells me health itself, and middle life, form a tenure scarce less frail than disease and old age, by which to hold the lives of those we love.
Mr Selwyn obliged me more than I can express by his kind visit. Regret will intrude upon all our pleasures, and she insisted upon her sigh of tribute for the shortness of that interview. Mr Selwyn has sweet manners. You would learn from your friend how much my poor father has lost of the little he retained when you saw him, of talents and animation, that once lifted him much above the every-day mortals; but all in him is second childhood now, with the melancholy difference of intellectual retrogression instead of advancement. Yet, yet how much I dread to see this vegetation cease, I might, philosophically speaking, be half-ashamed to confess. The voice 'of nature, however, pleads for the excess of this feeling, and his exemption from suffering acquits it of crime.
The inclosed will shew you what haste I make to avail myself of your vowed services, over which I am at once pleased, proud, and grateful.
Assure Mr Selwyn how much of all these I felt myself on Sunday se'ennight about two o'clock. You do not think of going to France, I trust, since there is little hope that her convulsive struggles will subside so soon. Adieu!
Dec. 19, 1789.
HERE is the task you sent me from the Italian. I have made it an Idyllium; for, as to sonnet, there is a gravity in the air of English sonnet-measure, ill-suited to such a playful bagatelle. After all, this is just that sort of poetry which, containing nothing intrinsically that deserves the name, is indebted for its power of pleasing to a certain nameless grace of manner, and turn of expression, which inevitably evaporate, in their transfusion from a peculiarly sweet, into an harsher, though perhaps a grander, language.
You had received this attempt sooner, but the ability to employ myself has been all this week annihilated, by a dreadful shock my spirits receiv
ed in the sudden death of poor faithful old Thomas Reid, who nursed, and watched, and protect→ ed my dear helpless, and "child-changed" father. The awful and heart-affecting scene passed before these eyes, that had never beheld a human being expire. It has left an impression which will, I believe, never be effaced. Perfectly well, till the instant of his seizure on Sunday morning, from which moment he lived only three hours! The next Wednesday evening no vestige left of him upon earth! I have not words to express how much it affected me to hear him say, while he knew he was dying,-" Let my master (who was going to breakfast) have three dishes of tea." The very last words he spoke were when my little dog sprung upon his knee, as he sat in the arm-chair, and ran up his breast, visibly alarmed, and soliciting, with her little foot, the attention of her dying bedfellow, "O! poor Sappho! I can do no more for thee!"
Then was it, and often after, through this week, so deeply shadowed over to me by the consciousness of death, that the pathetic exclamation of Werter rushed upon my mind: "Last night he stood upright; he had all his strength-this morning he lies cold, stiff, insensate.What is death ?—we do but dream when we talk of it! Such are the limits of our feeble nature, we have no clear con