« 이전계속 »
heart, recommended him equally to Mr Pitt and Lord Bute; but the political difference which arose and increased betwixt these personages, lost him the one in the same degree as he acquired the other.
"It was, I think, in his first visit to London, he fell in with Collins the poet, perhaps introduced by Mr Barrow, who, as you suppose, was his fellow adventurer in the Castle of Doune, and continued through life his warm and affectionate friend, as I too experienced by Home's recommendation. Home's access te Lord Bute procured Barrow the office of pay-master to the army, during the American war, where scores of millions passed through his hands, and left him returning to England, I believe, nearly as poor as he went.
"I lived, as you suppose, with Mr Home, at Braid, a farm-house two miles south of Edinburgh; but as to the date, I can say nothing, but suppose it may have been after the first representation of Douglas at Edinburgh, and after he was far gone in the favour of Lord Bute.
"I remember he was then much engaged in versifying, but cannot say what. I think, but may be mistaken, it was in some changes or amendments wished by Lord Bute, in the tragedy of Agis ; and even in concert with Garrick, who was beginning to regard the influence of Lord Bute more than he had formerly regarded the applications of Home. I am by no means qualified to mention what different subjects, or works, Mr Home attempted or executed, as I myself, during the busiest time of his life, was much engaged abroad, sometimes in the Low Countries, in Germany, Switzerland, and even in America. As to any attempt of his in comedy, I never heard of any such thing; and, if the public are not much interested to know the failures as well as successes of literary men, I should be willing to have the attempt in comedy you mention entirely suppressed, as one of the mistakes we commit in moments of dulness or error.
"As to what you call the party at Moffat, I cannot pretend to recollect the date to which it may be referred. I believe it was not any concerted party. John Home was there by himself—lived at the Ordinary—and met with James M'Pherson at the Bowling-Green. M'Pherson was there with his pupil, young Graham of Balgoun, [now Lord Lynedoch,] living with his mother, Lady Christian Graham, at her brother, Lord Hopetoun's house, in that village. What passed between John Home and James M'Pherson, I soon after heard of; and had no doubt it was a continuation of what had passed frequently betwixt Home and myself, on the subject of reported traditionary poetry in thcHighlands. There was another Highlander there, who, as well as Mr Home, I understood, obtruded on M'Pherson with inquiries on that subject. M'Pherson confirmed the reports; and being asked whether he could exhibit any specimens, said he was possessed of several; and on Home's wishing to have some translation, M'Pherson agreed, and furnished him with some of faosefragments which were afterwards printed in a pamphlet, and drew that public attention which gave rise to the further proceeding on the subject.
"David Hume was not at Moffat when these interviews with M'Pherson took place ; he was, you know, a professed sceptic, and cannot properly be said to have ever formally affirmed or denied the authenticity or imposture of the poetry in question. He began, and continued to call for evidence—perhaps for more evidence than the circumstances of the case could admit; but this, you know, is the essence of scepticism ;—to most men, day-light is sufficient evidence that the sun is rising or risen; but the sceptic would always have more, even if the rays were vertical.
"As to the project and subscription which afterwards took place, to dispatch M'Pherson to collect more poetry in the Highlands, I was not then in Scotland, nor heard of it till some time afterwards.
"Mr Home certainly never entertained any doubt that the original of Mr M'Pherson's translations was traditionary in the Highlands.
"As to the society he mostly frequented at London, you seem to be sufficiently informed. Lord Bute generally treated him with an uncommon degree of affection; their minds were much at unison in all the sentiments of admiration or contempt. The sphere of attentions paid to Mr Home at London, no doubt extended after the representation of Douglas; but I have ever since been too little in London to be apprised of particulars for your information; and as to the defects of what you might expect from me on the subject of this letter in general, I trust you will forgive it, being now for many years declining, while you and many other younger men are advancing in knowledge and power.
"I am visited sometimes by Dempster, who is possibly too old for your acquaintance, but I call him a younker, being myself about to enter on my ninetieth year.
"With great esteem,
Part of a Letter from Mr Home, to a Friend, giving a humorous Account of himself, after recovering from a severe Jit of the Toothache; concluding with a Description O/*blacklock, the blind poet,
"I Fancy my letter last week would puzzle you strangely, and make it hard for you to divine the fate of the china and the wig, (for a wig was got by George's care ;) but by the inexcusable neglect of the china merchant, who undertook to send them with some other boxes that were going for Dunse, they have both lain in his shop all this week. I should be extremely sorry if I thought that this disappointment had given as much pain to Mrs Home or you, as it has done to me.
"Yesterday I was out for the first time, having been obliged, after a number of tormenting successless remedies, to draw the tooth where the pain was seated, which has relieved me for this bout. I am now what one, at first sight, would call a polite fellow, being much thinner and paler than usual; and when I am dressed in my folio coat, I very much resemble those petit maitres that are pictured on the frontispieces of Moliere's plays. My spirits were so low for some time, that the taste for reading, and even for arguing with my companions, was