Page images

sight. Will you hear the story of my present neighbour? Zenobia Stevens, of a good family not far off, had a lease of ninety-nine years under the Duke of Bolton, and lived it out. When she went herself and gave it up, her kind landlord begged her to keep the house during her life, and offering her a glass of wine, "One if your Grace pleases," was her prudent reply, "but as I am to ride twelve miles on a young colt these short evenings, I am afraid of being giddyheaded."



To Sir James Fellowes.

Bath, 17th January, 1815. ACCEPT a thousand compliments; I found the pasquinade after a long search as it was given me on the inauguration of Buonaparte.

"Romani! vi mostro un bel Quadro,
Il santo Padre và coronar un Ladro;
Un Pio per conservar la Fede
Lascia la Sede,

Un altro Pio per serbar la Sede
Lascia la Fede.”

Romans! behold a picture new,

The Holy Father crowns a thief;
Our group exhibits to your view

Wonders which far exceed belief.

Pius the Sixth his seat could leave
To save alive our Christian faith;
His successor that seat to save,

Abandon'd her to certain death.

The sense is kept, and the point blunted in the translation, but so it is in all translations.

To Sir James Fellowes.

Bath, 10th April, 1815.

MY DEAR SIR,-This is a copy of the memorandum I took when the Bishop of Killala (Stock) showed me the fact in Mezeray's History of France.


"When Hugh Capet was first set in the seat of power, he consulted an 'astrologer, who told him his descendants would scarcely wear the crown above 800 years. 'Will it' (says the King), 'make any difference to the dynasty, if I consent, not to be crown'd at all?' 'Oh yes!' was the reply. They will then sit at least 806 years."". . . . and so they did: for if you add 806 to the year 987 when Hugh Capet was inaugurated, it gives you the year 1793 when his descendant Louis XVII. was murdered in prison. Les Horoscopes étoient fort à la mode en ces Tems là. The bishop said it was 816, I remember, and I took the memorandum in haste: if it was really so, their time was not expired till two years ago. "Tis an odd circumstance at any rate: an odder still, that you should prefer my version of Hadrian's lines to those of better poets.

Gentle soul! a moment stay,
Whither wouldst thou wing thy way?
Cheer once more thy house of clay,
Once more prattle and be gay:

See, thy fluttering pinions play;
Gentle soul! a moment stay.*

The conversation we had that serious evening last week on the most serious of all subjects, put the verses in my head which you will read over leaf, with your accustomed partiality.

I had some of the lines lying unremembered in my mind ever since the year 1809, but I believe never written out.

Heart! where heav'd my earliest sigh,
First to live, and last to die;

Fortress of receding life,

Why maintain this useless strife?

Weary of their long delay
Time and Death demand their prey :
Worn with cares, and wearied, thou;
Willingly their claim allow :

Soon shall Time and Death destroy'd
Drop in th' illimitable void,

* Thus translated by Pope, whose "Dying Christian to His Soul" was confessedly suggested by it:—

"Oh, fleeting spirit, wandering fire,

That long has warm'd my tender breast,
Wilt thou no more my frame inspire?

No more a pleasing cheerful guest?
"Whither, ah! whither art thou flying,

To what dark, undiscover'd shore?
Thou seem'st all trembling, shivering, dying,
And wit and humour are no more."

Whilst thou thy petty powers shalt ply,
An atom of eternity.

For when the trumpet's lofty sound
Shall echo thro' the vast profound:
When with revivifying heat

All nature's numerous pulses beat,
Touched by the Master's hand: shall come
Thy unforgotten pendulum;

No longer feeble, cold, and slow
Retarded still by grief or woe;
But firm to mark th' unfinished hour,

That shall all grief and woe devour.

To Sir James Fellowes.

Blake's Hotel, Monday, July 31st, 1815. My dear Sir James Fellowes's friendly heart will feel pleased that the spasms he drove away, returned no more: altho' you were really scarce out of the street before I received a cold short note from Mr. Merrik Hoare, who married one of the sisters, to say that Lord Keith, who married the other, wished to decline purchasing so here I am : no whit nearer disposing of Streatham Park than when I sate still in Bath. Money spent and nothing done: but bills thronging in every hour. Mr. Ward, the solicitor, has sent his demand of 116. 188. 3d. I think, for expences concerning Salusbury's marriage. I call that the felicity bill: those which produce nothing but infelicity, all refer to Streatham, of course. But you ran away without your epigram translated so much apropos :

« PreviousContinue »