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public Criticism, or solicit Regard; why we wrote the verses may be easily explain'd, we wrote them to divert ourselves, and to say kind things of each other; we collected them that our reciprocal expressions of kindness might not be lost, and we printed them because we had no reason to be ashamed of our mutual partiality.
Portrait Painting, though unadorn'd by allegorical allusions and unsupported by recollection of events or places, will be esteem'd for ever as one of the most durable methods to keep Tenderness alive and preserve Friendship from decay: nor do I observe that the room here where Artists of many Ages have contributed their own likenesses to the Royal Gallery is less frequented than that which contains the statue of a slave and the picture of a Sibyl. Our little Book can scarcely be less important to Readers of a distant Age or Nation than we ourselves are ready to acknowledge it: the waters of a mineral spring which sparkle in the glass, and exhilarate the spirits of those who drink them on the spot, grow vapid and tasteless by carriage and keeping; and though we have perhaps transgress'd the Persian Rule of sitting silent till we could find something important or instructive to say, we shall at least be allow'd to have glisten'd innocently in Italian Sunshine, and to have imbibed from it's rays the warmth of mutual Benevolence, though we may have miss'd the hardness and polish that some coarser Metal might have obtain❜d by heat of equal force. I will not however lengthen out my Preface; if the Book is but a feather, tying a stone to it can be no good policy, though it were a precious
one; the lighter body would not make the heavy one swim, but the heavy body would inevitably make the light one sink.
During her stay in Italy (writes Sir J. Fellowes) in this delightful society, upon the banks of the Arno, which was duly enlivened by brilliant wit and classic taste, the conversation often turned upon more serious subjects, and one day it was proposed to write an impromptu upon the fatal monosyllable now, the present moment passing away even before the word is written that explains it. This pretty quatrain was produced by Della Crusca Merry, who had been asserting that all past actions are nihilitic, and that the immediate moment was the whole of human existence :
"One endless Now stands o'er th' eventful stream
Of all that may be with colossal stride;
To this H. L. P. replied: —
'Tis yours the present moment to redeem,
ON A WEEPING WILLOW PLACED AGAINST THE SUNDIAL AT BRYNBELLA, NOV. 28TH, 1802.
Mark how the weeping willow stands,
It seems to blame our idle hands,
Thus conscience holds our fancy fast,
Yet shall the swift improving plant
Loiter no more then near the tree,
If but an hour be giv'n to thee,
LINES WRITTEN JULY 28TH, 1815.
Is it of intellectual powers,
Of such the infant shows no sign,
Still less when passion bears the sway,
With scorn avow'd.
For twenty years she reigns at most,
Above the crowd.
Sickness then fills th' uneasy chair, Sorrow, and loss, and strife, and care; While faith just saves us from despair, Wishing to die.
Till the farce ends as it began,
ON A WATCH.
When Pleasure marks each hour that flies,
It may be good, it may be wise,
To watch with care the flight of time.
To mark how few there yet remain ?
when friends and hours are seen
I am asked to produce some étrennes for dear Mrs. Lutwyche. Will these verses do, accompanied by a bouquet?
The charms we find Maria still possess,
* It was the fashion of her day to play at emblems. C. J. Fox presented a bunch of grapes to Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, for her emblem, with the motto Je plais jusqu'à l'ivresse.