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I wish you would come and see Last summer gave me the pleasure of talking about you, and your muse, with Mr Shaw. Partaken enthusiams respecting the talents and merits of those we esteem, are very delightful to the mind.
Have you seen Boyd's translation of Dante? After reading, and comparing it with Mr Hayley's sublime English version of the three first cantos, we cannot place great confidence in Boyd's justice to his author. The inferiority of his translation of those cantos, is, on comparison, very impressive indeed
Milton is said to have been indebted to the Inferno of Dante, for many of the striking features of his Pandemonium ;-but surely it is much more various, more grand, more sublime in its horror than the Inferno ; and the reproach of plagiarism is lost in the impression of that great superiority.
I am tempted to hazard a seeming vanity, by inserting the following verses, presented to me by that ingenious, learned, and able writer, Mr Pol
Worthy immortal life ; great souls enshrin'd
Above earth's grosser sphere!—To such alone,
Like Hayley candid to a rival's claim,
The British muse brings, with triumphant aim,
wheel, whose didactic Poem on Eloquence, and Translations from the Classics, are so deservedly admired.
To Miss SEWARD.
*While friendship hails the rosy plume,
That wafts bright joy thro' + Wroxal's shade,
The breast that erst, its hopes to aid,
Yes, to the sweetest of the choir
For whom attendant genius brings,
All the rich music of its strings,
And tho' the momentary strain
May feebly touch thy finer ear,
Which springs to truth, and virtue dear;
* The first stanza alludes to a tribute of just praise, from the author of these letters to Mr Polwheel, on having read his Poem on Eloquence, in manuscript.-S.
+ Wroxal, the name of the place where Mr Polwheel lived.-S.
E'en while a world's applausive charm
Bids thy pale André's closing breath
And triumph o'er opprobrious death;
Or while the universal voice
Shall hail thee the enthusiast child,
Nature unveild her pictures wild,
Still gratitude, her stores among,
Shall bid the plausive poet sing,
That rise on the poetic wing,
Adieu Sir! and do not forget that Repton is only seventeen miles from Lichfield.
Rev. W. CROWE, Public Orator at Oxford, on
his Poem, LEWESDON-HILL.
Lichfield, March 11, 1788. Permit my grateful acknowledgement of a most welcome present, by which I think myself much honoured. My idea of the poetic, and musical talents of the donor, had been raised high by the song Seaton Cliffs. The hand of a master is discernible in its slightest sketch. The awful loneliness of marine
with a blended sentiment of tenderness and intrepidity, breathe through the poetry, and through the music of that stanza.
Lewesdon-Hill fulfils the promise of excellence, made by its beautiful little harbinger. If I did not fear to be obtrusive, I should speak to you with more discrimination over its graces, that glow with Shakespearean and Miltonic tints.
My correspondent, Mr Hardinge, that witty son of Themis, lately sent me a few sweet lines of yours, which compare something, a fair nymph I suppose, to the lily of the valley. I have never
seen the coy beauties of that flower so happily described. Observe how we begin to collect your scattered pearls.
The Grecian and Latian muses have engrossed too many of your golden years. Henceforth may their British sister possess exclusively your poetic leisure. Her claim upon the genius which arose in her clime is indisputable; and she has allowed pretensions to dispute for that clime the palm of pre-eminence with the real Parnassus, and with the bowers of Mæcenas., They have given the world no epic poet superior to Milton, no dramatic one that, in inventive genius, and intuitive knowledge of the human heart, has any shadow of equality with Shakespeare.
66 * Not Homer's self such matehless honours won,
I remain, Sir, &c.
* See the Rev. Mr Seward's verses, written at Stratfordupon-Avon, in Dodsley's Miscellany. They are printed anonymously.-S.