« AnteriorContinuar »
gloriously formed-for all the most refined thoughtless follies; by degrees I grow sober, luxuries of love-Why was that heart ever prudent, and statedly pious-I say statedly, wrung? O Clarinda! shall we not meet because the most unaffected devotion is not in a state, some yet unknown state of being, at all inconsistent with my first character
where the lavish hand of plenty shall I join the world in congratulating myself on minister to the highest wish of benevolence; the happy change. But let me pry more and where the chill north-wind of prudence varrowly into this affair. Have I, at botshall never blow over the flowery fields of tom, any thing of a secret pride in these enjoyment? If we do not, man was made endowments and emendations? Have I in vain! I deserved most of the unhappy nothing of a presbyterian sourness, an hypohours that have li
linsered over my head: critical severity, when I survey my less they were the wayes of my labour: but regular neighbours? In a word, have I what unprovoked demon, malignant as hell, missed all those nameless and numberless stole on the contidence of unmistrusting modifications of indistinct selfishness, which buss Fite, and dashed your cup of life with / are so near our own eyes that we can scarcely undeserved sorrow ?
bring them within the spliere of our vision, Let me kuow how long your stay will be and which the known spotless cambric of our out of town; I shall count the hours till character hides from the ordinary observer ? you inform me of your return. Cursed My definition of worth is short; truth and etiquette forbids your seeing me just now; humanity respecting our fellow-creatures ; and so soon as I can walk I must bid Edin-reverence and humility in the presence of burgh adieu. Lord, why was I born to see that Being, my Creator and Preserver, and misery which I cannot relieve, and to meet who, I have every reason to helieve, will one with friends whom I cannot enjoy? I look day be my Judge. The first part of my back with the pany of unavailing avarice on detinition is the creature of unbiassed in. my loss in not knowing you sooner; all last stinct; the last is the child of after reflection. winter, these three months past, what luxury Where I found these two essentials, I would of intercourse have I not lost! Perhaps, gently note, and slightly mention, any at. though, 'twas better for my peace. You see tendant flaws-flaws, the marks, the conse
am either above, or incapable of, dissimu- quences, of human nature. lation. I believe it is want of that particu. I can easily enter into the sublime lar genius. I despise design, because I want pleasures that your strony imagination and either coolness or wisdom to be capable of it. keen sensibility must derive from religion, I am interrupted. --Adieu! my dear Clarinda! particularly if a little in the shade of mis
SYLVANDER. fortune : but I own I cannot, without a
marked grudge, see Heaven totally engross so amiable, so charming, a woman as my friend Clarinda; and should be very well
pleased at a circumstance that would put it NO. LXXXVI. (59)
in the power of somebody (happy somebody!) TO THE SAME
to divide her attention, with all the delicacy
and tenderness of an earthly attachment. You are right, my dear Clarinda; a You will not easily persuade me that you friendly correspondence goes for nothing, have not a grammatical knowledge of the except one writes his or her undisguised sen- English language. So far from being inactiments. Yours please me for their intrinsic curate, you are eloquent beyond any woman merit, as well as because they are yours, of my acquaintance, except one, whom I wish which, I assure you, is to me a high recom- you knew. mendation. Your religious sentiments, Your last verses to me have so delighted Madam, I revere. If you have, on some me that I have got an excellent old Scots air suspicious evidence, from some lying oracle, that suits the measure, and you shall see learned that I despise or ridicule so sacredly them in print in the Scots Musical Museum, important a matter as real religion, you have, a work publishing by a friend of mine in this my Clarinda, much misconstrued your friend. town. I want four stanzas; you gave me “ I am not inad, most noble Festus !” Hare but three, and one of them alluded to an you ever met a perfect character? Do we expression in my former letter; so I have not sometimes rather exchange faults than taken your first two verses, with & get rid of them? For instance, I am perhaps slight alteration in the second, and have tired with, and shocked at, a life too much added a third; but you must help me to a the prey of giddy inconsistencies and fourth. Here they are: the latter half of the first stanza would have been worthy of not love you, deserves to be damn'd for his Sappho; I am in raptures with it.
stupidity! He who loves you, and would Talk not of love, it gives me pain,
injure you, deserves to be doubly damn'd for
| his villiany! Adieu. SYLVANDER. For love has been my foe; He bound me with an iron chain,
P.S. What would you think of this for a And sunk me deep in woe.
fjurth stanza? But Friendship's pure and lasting joys
Your thought, if love must harbour there, My heart was formed to prove;
| Conceal it in that thought, There, welcome, win, and wear the prize,
Nor cause me from my bosom tear
The very friend I sought.
TO THE SAME.
Monday Evening, 11 o'clock,
January 21st, 1788. The alteration in the second stanza is no improvement, but there was a slight inaccii
Why have I not heard from you, Clarinda ? racy in your rhyme. The third I only offer
To-day I expected it; and before supper, to your choice, and have left two words for
when a letter to me was announced, my your determination. The air is . The Banks
heart danced with rapture; but behold, 'twas of Spey,' and is most beautiful.
some fool who had taken it in his head to
turn poet, and niade me an offering of the chair, and paying a visit at Park Place to a
first-fruits of his nonsense. “It is not much-valued old friend. If I could be sure
I poetry, but prose run mad.” Did I ever of finding you at home (and I will send one repeat to you an epigram I made on a Mr. of the chairmen to call}, I would spend from
Elphinstone, who has given a translation of five to six o'clock with you, as I go past. I
| Martial, a famous Latin poet ?- The poetry cannot do more at this time, as I have some
of Elphinstone can only equal his prose thing on my hand that hurries me much. I notes. I was sitting in the shop of a merpropose giving you the first call, my old chant of my acquaintance, waiting somefriend the second, and Miss - as I
i body; he put Elphinstone into my hand, and return home. Do not break any engage
asked my opinion of it; I begyed leave to ment for me, as I will spend another evening
| write it on a blank leaf, which I did. with you, at any rate, before I leave town.
TO MR. ELPHINSTONE, &c. Do not tell me that you are pleased wlien your friends inform you of your faults. I am 10 thou, whom poesy abhors ! ignorant what they are ; but I am sure they / Whom prose has turned out of doors! must be such evanescent trifles, compared
Heard'st thou that groan? proceed no further; with your personal and mental accor
'Twas laurel'd Martial roaring Murther. ments, that I would despise the ungenerous I am determined to see you, if at all posnarrow soul who would notice any shadow of sible, on Saturday evening. Next week I imperfections you may seem to have, any must sing other way than in the most delicate, agree
The night is my departing night, able raillery. Coarse minds are not aware
The morn's the day I maun awa; how much they injure the keenly feeling tie
There's neither friend nor foe o' mine, of bosom-friendship, when, in their foolish
But wishes that I were awa! officiousness, they mention what nobody
What I hae done, for lack o'wit, cares for recollecting. People of nice sensi
I never, never, can reca'; ability and generous minds have a certain intrinsic dignity that fires at being trified with, or lowered, or even too nearly ap
Guid night, and joy be wi' you a'! proached.
If I could see you sooner, I would be so You need make no apology for long leta much the happier; but I would not purchase ters: I am even with you. Many happy the dearest gratification on earth, if it must new years to you, charming Clarinda! I be at your expense in worldly censure, far can't dissemble, were it to shun perdition. | less inward peace! He who sees you as I have done, and does! I shall certainly be ashamed of thus
much von VIISII
only unity (a sad word with poets and critics!) the just idea of a man whom you have honin my ideas is CLARINDA. There my heart oured with your friendship. I am afraid you " reigns and revels."
will hardly be able to make sense of so torn “What art thou, Love? whence are those
a piece.--Your verses I shall muse on deli
ciously, as I gaze on your image in my charms, That thus thou bear'st an universal rule ?
mind's eye, in my heart's core; they will be
: | in time enough for a week to come. I am For thee the soldier quits his arms, The king turns slave, the wise man fool.
truly happy your head-ache is better.0, In vain we chase thee from the field,
how can pain or evil be so daringly, unfeelAnd with cool thoughts resist thy yoke;
ingly, cruelly savage as to wound so noble a
mind, so lovely a form! Nexė tide of blood, alas! we yield;
My little fellow is all my name-sake. And all those high resolves are broke!"
Write me soon. My every, strongest good I like to have quotations for every occasion. wishes attend you, Clarinda! They give one's ideas so pat, and save one
SYLVANDER. the trouble of finding expression a juate I know not what I have written-I am to one's feeling's. I think it is one of the pestered with people around me. greatest pleasures, attending a poetic genius, that we can give our woes, cares, joys, loves, &c., an embodied form in verse, which to me is ever immediate ease. Goldsmith says
NO. LXXXIX. finely of his Muse:“Thou source of all my bliss and all my woe,
TO THE SAME. Thou found'st me poor at first, and keep'st
Sunday Night, January 27th, 1788. ne so."
THE impertinence of fools has joined with Mly limb has been so well to-day, that I a return of an old indisposition, to make ine have gone up and down stairs often without good for nothing to-day. The paper has my staff. Tomorrow I hope to walk once lain before me all this evening, to write to again on my own legs to dinner. It is only my dear Clarinda, butnext street-Adieu.
“Fools rush'd on fools, as waves succeed to
waves.” I cursed them in my soul; they sacrilegi
ously disturbed my meditations on her who NO. LXXXVIII.
holds my heart. What a creature is man!
A little alarm last night and to-day, that I TO THE SAME.
am mortal, has made such a revolution on Saturday Noon, January 26th, 1788. my spirits! There is no philosophy, no SOME days, some nights, nay, some hours,
| divinity, comes half so home to the mind.
%; I have no idea of courage that braves heaven. like the “ten righteous persons in Sodom,"
| 'Tis the wild ravings of an imaginary hero save the rest of the rapid, tiresome, miser
in bedlam. able months and years of life. One of these
I can no more, Clarinda; I can scarcely hours, my dear Clarinda blessed me with yesternight.
not know it, you would be so uneasy. "One well spent hour,
SYLVANDER. In such a tender circumstance for friends, Is better than an age of common time!"
Monday Morning, January 28th, 1788. My favourite feature in Milton's Satan is
I AM, my lovely friend, much better this his manly fortitude in supporting what can not be remedied-in short, the wild broken
morning on the whole; but I have a horrid
langour on my spirits. fragments of a noble exalted mind in ruins. I meant no more by saying he was a favourite “Sick of the world, and all its joys, hero of mine.
· My soul in pining sadness mourns ; I mentioned to you my letter to Dr. Dark scenes of woe my mind employs, Moore, giving an account of my life : it is The past and present in their turns."
Have you ever met with a saying of the What a strange mysterious faculty is that great, and likewise good Mr. Locke, author thing called imagination! We have no of the famous Essay on the Human Under- ideas almost at all of another world; but I standing ? He wrote a letter to a friend," have often amused myself with visionary directing it “not to be delivered till after schemes of what happiness might be enjoyed my decease: " it ended thus-"I know you l by small alterations-alterations that we loved me when living, and will preserve my can fully enter into, in this present state of memory now I am dead. All the use to be existence. For instance, suppose you and I made of it is, that this life affords no solid just as we are at present; the same reasonsatisfaction, but in the consciousness of ing powers, sentiments, and even desires; having done well, and the hopes of another the same fond curiosity for knowledge and life. Adieu! I leave my best wishes with remarking observation in our minds; and you.--J. LOCKE.”
imagine our bodies free from pain and the
| necessary supplies for the wants of nature Clarinda, may I reckon on your friendship
at all times, and easily within our reach : for life? I think I may. Thou Almighty
imagine further, that we were set free from Preserver of men ! thy friendship, which
the laws of gravitation, which bind us to hitherto I have too much neglected, to secure
this globe, and could at pleasure fly, without it, shall all the future days and nights of my
ny inconvenience, through all the yet unconlife, be my steady care! The idea of my lips
my jectured bounds of creation, what a life of Clarinda follows
bliss would we lead, in our mutual pursuit Hide it my heart, within that close disguise,
of virtue and knowledge, and our mutual Where mix'd with God's, her lov'd idea lies."
enjoyment of friendship and love!
I see you laughing at my fairy fancies, and But I fear that inconstancy, the conse calling me a voluptuous Malıometan; but I quent imperfection of human weakness, am certain I would be a happy creature, Shall I meet with a friendship that deties beyond any thing we call bliss here below; years of absence, and the chances and changes nay, it would be a paradise congenial to you of fortune? Perhaps “such things are ;" too. Don't you see us, hand in hand, or one 'honest man I have great hopes from that rather, my arm about your lovely waist, way: but who, except a romance writer, making our remarks on Sirius, the nearest would think on a love that could promise of the fixed stars; or surveying a comet, for life, in spite of distance, absence, chance, flaming innoxious by us, as we just now and change; and that, too, with slender would mark the passing pomp of a trahopes of fruition ? For my own part, I can velling monarch; or in the shady bower of say to myself in both requisitions, Thou Mercury or Venus, dedicating the hour to art the man!" I dare, in cool resolve I dare, love, in mutual converse, relying honour, and declare myself that friend, and that lorer. / revelling endearment, whilst the most exalted If womankind is capable of such things, strains of poesy and harmony would be the Clarinda is. I trust that she is; and feel I ready, spontaneous language of our souls !
Devotion is the favourite employment of not one virtue which gives worth, nor one your heart; so it is of mine: what incentives sentiment which does honour to the sex, that then to, and powers for, reverence, gratitude, she does not possess, superiorly to any woman | faith, and hone, in all tlie fervours of adoraI ever saw: her exalted mind, aided a little, tion and praise to that Being, whose unperhaps, by her situation, is, I think, capable searchable wisdom, power and goodness, so of that nobly-romantic love-enthusiasın. pervaded, so inspired, every sense and
May I see you on Wednesday evening, my feeling !---By this time, I dare say, you will dear angel? The next Wednesday again be blessing the neglect of the inaid that will, I conjecture, be a hated day to us both. leaves me destitute of paper! I tremble for censorious remark, for your
SYLVANDER. sake; but in extraordinary cases, may not usual and useful precaution be a little dispensed with ? Three eveninys, three swiftwinged evenings, with pinions of down, are
NO. XC. (CO) all the past.; I dare not calculate the future.
TO THE SAME. I shall call at Miss --'s to morrow evening: twill be a farewell call.
Tuesday Night, 1788. I have written out my last sheet of paper, I am delighted, charming Clarinda, with 80 I am reduced to my last half-sheet. your honest enthusiasm for religion. Those
cf either sex, but particularly the female, 1 of agony would be the consequence. Oh! who are lukewarm in that most important of thou perfidous, cruel, mischief-making demon, all things, “O my soul, come not thou into who presidest over that frantic passiontheir secrets !”-I feel myself deeply inter- thou mayest, thou dost poison my peace, ested in your good opinion, and will lay but thou shalt not taint my honour-I before you the outlines of my belief. He would not, for a single moment, give an who is our Author and Preserver, and will asylum to the most distant imagination that one day be our Judye, must be (not for his would shadow the faintest outline of a sake in the way of duty, but from the native selfish gratification, at the expense of her impulse of our hearts, the object of our whose happiness is twisted with the threads reverential awe and grateful adoration : He of my existence. May she be as happy is Almighty and all-bounteous, we are weak as she deserves! And if my tenderest, and dependent; hence prayer and every faithfulest friendship can add to her bliss, I other sort of devotion. " He is not willing shall, at least, have one solid nine of enjoythat any should perish, but that all should ment in my bosom! Don't guess at these come to everlasting life;" consequently, it ravings! must be in every one's power to embrace his I watched at our front window to-day, offer of “everlasting life;" otherwise he but was disappointed. It has been a day of could not, in justice, condemn those who disappointments. I am just risen from a did not. A mind pervaded, actuated, and two hours' bout after supper, with silly or governed by purity, truth and charity, sordid souls, who could relish nothing in though it does not merit heaven, yet is an common with me but the port.-------One-absolutely necessary pre-requisite, without | 'Tis now switching time of night;" and which heaven can neither be obtained nor whatever is out of joint in the foregoing enjoyed; and, by divine promise, such a scrawl, impute it to enchantments and spells; mind shall never fail of attaining “ever- for I can't look over it, but will seal it up lasting life;" hence the impure, the deceiv. directly, as I don't care for to-morrow's ing, and the uncharitable exclude themselves criticisms on it. from eternal bliss, by their unfitness for You are by this time fast asleep, Clarinda; enjoying it. The Supreme Being has put may good angels attend and guard you the immediate administration of all this, for as constantly und faithfully as my good wise and good ends known to himself, into wishes do! the hands of Jesus Christ, a great personage, « Beauty, which, wliether waking or asleep, whose relation to him we cannot comprehend, but whose relation to us is a guide
Shot forth peculiar graces.” and Saviour; and who, except for our own John Milton, I wish thy soul better rest obstinacy and misconduct, will bring us all, than I expect on my pillow tonight! O for through various ways, and by various means, a little of the cart-horse part of human to bliss at last.
nature! Good night, my dearest Clarinda ! These are my tenets, my lovely friend;
SYLVANDER. and which, I think, cannot be well disputed. Mly creed is pretty nearly expressed in the last clause of Jamie Dean's grace, an honest
NO. XCI. weaver in Ayrshire: “Lord, grant that we may lead a guid life! for a guid life maks a
TO THE SAME. gud end, at least it helps weel !!! I am flattered by the entertainment you
Tuesday Noon, January 17th, 1788. tell me you have found in my packet. You I AM certain I saw you, Clarinda; but you see me as I have been you know me as I am, don't look to the proper story for a poet's and may guess at what I am likely to be. too may say, “Talk not of love,” &c., for
“Where speculation's roosted near the sky." indeed he has "plunged me deep in woe!”. Not that I ever saw a woman who pleased I could almost have thrown myself over unexceptionably, as my Clarinda elegantly for very vexation. Why did'nt you look says, " in the companion, the friend, and the higher? It has spoiled my peace for this inistress.” One indeed I could except-One, day. To be so near my charming Clarinda; before passion threw its mists over ny to miss her look when it was searching for discernment, I knew the first of women! me-I am sure the soul is capable of disease, Her name is indelibly written in my heart's for mine has convulsed itself into an inflamcore—but I dare not look in on it-a degree | matory fever.