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you in case you be not prepared to defend yourself: but if your purse be valiant, please to inquire for Jean or Elizabeth Thomson, at the Rev. Mr. Gusthart's; and if this letter be not sufficient testimony of the debt, I will send you whatever you shall desire. It is late, and I would not lose this post. Like a laconic man of business, there. fore, I must here stop short; though I have several things to impart to you, and through your canal, to the dearest, truest, heartiest youth that treads on Scottish ground.
The next letter I write you shall be washed clean from business in the Castalian fountain.
I am whipping and spurring to finish a tragedy for you this winter, but am still at some distance from the goal, which makes me fear being distanced. Remember me to all friends, and above them all, heartily, heartily to Mr. Forbes : though my affection to him is not fanned by letters, yet it is as high as when I was his brother in the Virtû, and played at chess with him in a post chaise. I am, dear Ross, most sincerely and affectionately yours,
JAMES THOMSON TO MR. ROSS.
London, Jan. 12, 1737. HAVING been entirely in the country of late, finishing my play, I did not receive yours till some days ago. It was kind in you not to draw rashly upon me, which at present had put me into danger; but very soon, that is to say, about two months hence, I shall have a golden buckler, and you may draw · boldly. My play is received at Drury Lane Playhouse, and will be put into my Lord Chamberlain's or his deputy's hands to-morrow. May we hope to see you this winter, and to have the assistance of your hands, in case it is acted ?What will become of you if you don't come up? I am afraid the Creepy and you will become acquainted.
Forbes, I hope, is cheerful and in good health -shall we never see him? or shall I go to him before he comes to us? I long to see him, in order to play out that game of chess which we left untinished. Remember me kindly to him, with all the zealous truth of old friendship. Petite * came here two or three days ago : I have not yet seen the round man of God to be. He is to be parsonified a few days hence. How a gown and cassock will become him! and with what a holy leer he will edify the devout females !
There is no doubt of his having a call, for he is immediately to enter upon a tolerable living. God grant him more, and as fat as himself. .
It rejoices me to see one worthy, honest, excellent man raised at least to an independency, Pray make my compliments to my Lord President, and all friends. I shall be glad to hear more at large from you. Just now I am with the Alderman, who wishes you all happiness, and desires his service to Joe. Believe me to be ever most affectionately yours,
JAMES THOMSON. * The Rev. Patrick Murdock, the “ oily man of God," characterized con amore in the Castle of Indolence.
JAMES THOMSON TO MR. LYTTELTON.
London, July 14, 1743. I had the pleasure of yours some posts ago, and have delayed answering it hitherto, that I might be able to determine when I could have the happiness of waiting upon you.
Hagley is the place in England I most desire to see; I imagine it to be greatly delightful in itself, and I know it to be so in the highest degree by the company it is aniinated with. Some reasons prevent my waiting upon you immediately; but if you will be so good as to let me know how long you design to stay in the country, nothing shall hinder me from passing three weeks or a month with you before you leave it.
As this will fall in autumn, I shall like it the better; for I think that season of the year the most pleasing, and the most poetical; the spirits are not then dissipated with the gaiety of spring, and the glaring light of summer, but composed into a serious and tempered joy.
The year is perfect. In the mean time I will go on with correcting the Seasons, and hope to carry down more than one of them with me.
The Muses, whom you obliging say I shall bring along with me, I shall find with you : the muses of the great simple country, not the little fine-lady muses of Richmond-hill. I have lived so long in the noise, or at least the distant din of the town, that I begin to forget what retirement is ; with you I shall enjoy it in its highest elegance and purest simplicity.
The mind will not only be soothed into peace, but enlivened into harmony. My compliments attend all at Hagley, and particularly her (Lady Lyttelton ) who gives it charms to you it never had before. Believe me to be ever with the greatest respect, most affectionately yours,
JAMES THOMSON TO MR. PATTERSON, DEAR PATTERSON,
1748. In the first place, and previous to my letter, I must recommend to your favour and protection Mr. James Smith, searcher in St. Christopher's; and I beg of you as occasion shall serve, and as you find he merits it, to advance him in the business of the customs. He is warmly recommended to me by Mr. Sargent, who in verity turns out one of the best men of our youthful acquaintancehonest, honourable, friendly, and generous,
If we are not to oblige one another, life becomes a paltry, selfish affair-a pitiful morsel in a corner! Sargent is so happily married, that I could almost say—the same case happen to us
That I have not answered several letters of yours, is not owing to the want of friendship and the sincerest regard for you; but you know me well enough to account for my silence, without my saying any more on that head. Besides, I
• Patterson was his deputy, as surveyor in the Leeward Islands.
have very little to say that is worthy to be transmitted over the great ocean. The world either fertilizes so much, or we grow so dead to it, that its transactions make but feeble impressions on us. Retirement and nature are more and more my passion every day. And now, even now, the charming time comes on: heaven is just on the point, or rather in the very act of giving earth a green gown, the voice of the nightingale is heard in our lanes.
You must know that I have enlarged my rural domain, much to the same dimensions you have done yours. The two fields next to me, from the first of which I have walled—no, no--paled in about as much as my garden consisted of before; so that the walk runs round the hedge, where you may figure me walking any time of the day, and sometimes under night. For you, I imagine you reclining under cedars and palmettoes, and there enjoying more magnificent slumbers than are known to the pale climates of the north : slumbers rendered awful and divine, by the solemn still. ness and deep fervours of the torrid noon! At other times I imagine you drinking punch in groves of lime or orange trees; gathering pine apples from hedges, as commonly as we may blackberries; poetising under lofty laurels, or making love under full-spread myrtles.
But to lower my style a little ; as I am such a genuine lover of gardening, why don't you remember me in that instance, and send me some seeds of things that might succeed here during the summer, though they cannot perfect their seed sufficiently in this, to them, ungenial climate, to propagate ;