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Another phænomenon is, that I read it without finding it out: all I remember is, that I thought it not at
“ It is as easy to snatch it from us, as for the light down of these plants “ to be blown away by the breath of the Zephyrs f. In vain have I recourse to flattering Hope. Each moment increases
distur“bance. He will come no more. Who keeps him at a distance “ from me? What duty more sacred than that of calming the in
quietudes of Love! But what do I say? Fly jealous suspicions, injurious to his fidelity s, and formed to extinguish my tenderness. If jealousy grows by the side of Love, it will stifle it, if not pulled up
by the roots; it is the Ivy which, by a verdant chuin, embraces, but “ dries up the trunk which serves for its support ". “ Lover too well to doubt of his tenderness. He, like me, has, far « from the ponip
of courts, sought the tranquil asylum of the fields. Touched by the simplicity of my heart, and by my beauty, my “ sensual rivals call him in vain to their arms. Shall he be se“ duced by the advances of coquetry, which, on the check of the young maid, tarnishes the snow of innocence and the carnation of mo desty, and daubs it with the whiteness of art and the paint of effronteryi? What do I say? his contempt for her is perhaps only a
I know my
1 For Safety now sits wav'ring on your love,
Like the light down upon the thistle's beard,
h See, Elfrida;
i --To guard
all English, and did not much like it; and the reason is plain, for the lyric flights and choral flowers suited not
1 snare for me. Can I be ignorant of the partiality of men, and “ the arts they employ to seduce us? Nourished in a contempt “ for our Sex, it is not Us, it is their pleasures that they love. “Cruel as they are, they have placed in the rank of the virtues the “ barbarous fury of revenge, and the mad love of their country; “ but never have they reckoned fidelity among the virtues. With“ out remorse they abuse innocence, and often their vanity con
templates our griefs with delight. But no; fly far from me, ye “ odious thoughts, my Lover will come! A thousand times have “ I experienced it: As soon as I perceive him my agitated mind is culm, “and I often forget the too just cause I have for complaint; for near “him I can only know happiness k. Yet if he is treacherous to me; " if, in the very moment when my love excuses him, he consum
mates the crime of infidelity in another bosom, may all nature “ take up arms in revenge! may he perish! What do I say? Ye “ Elements, be deaf to my cries! Thou Earth, open not thy profound “ abyss! let the Monster walk the time prescribed him on thy splendid
surfuce, let him still commit new crimes, and still cause the tears of “the too credulous maids to flow; and if heaven avenges them and
punishes him, may it at least be at the prayer of some other unfortu“ nate woman!"
k ---Vy truant heart
And in thy sight knows only to be happy.
1 Till then, ye Elements, rest; and thou, firm Earth,
in the least with the circumstances or character of the speaker, as he had contrived it.
MR. GRAY TO MR. BROIN*.
February 17, 1763.
You will make my best acknowledgments to Mr. Howe; who, not content to rank me in the number of his friends, is so polite as to make excuses for having done me that honour.
Here ends this odd instance of plagiarism. When 1. Helvetius was in England, a year or two after I had made the discovery of it, I took my measures (as Mr. Gray advised me) to learn how he came by it; and accordingly requested two Noblemen, to whom he was introduced, to ask him some questions concerning it; but I could gain no satisfactory answer. I do not, however, by any means, suppose that the person who cooked up the disjointed parts of my Drama into this strange Fricasee, was M. Helvetius himself; I rather imagine (as I did from the firs that he was imposed upon by some young English traveller, who contrived this expedient in order to pass with him for Poet. The great Philosopher, it is true, has in this note been proved to be the receiver of Stolen Goods; but out of respect to his numerous fashionable disciples, both abroad and at home, whose credit might sufier with that of their Master, I acquit him of what would only be held criminal at the Old Bailey, that he received these goods knowing them to be stolen,
* Now master of Pembroke-Hall.
I was not born so far from the sun, as to be ignorant of Count Algarotti's name and reputation; nor am I so far advanced in years, or in philosophy, as not to feel the warmth of his approbation. The Odes in question, as their motto shews, were meant to be rocal to the intelligent alone. How few they were in my own country, Mr. Howe can testify; and yet my ambition was terminated by that small circle. I have good reason to be proud, if my voice has reached the car and apprehension of a stranger, distinguished as one of the best judges in Europe.
I am equally pleased with the just applause he bestows on Mr. Mason; and particularly on his Caractacus, which is the work of a Man: whereas Elfrida is only that of a Boy, a promising boy indeed, and of no common genius: yet this is the popular performance, and the other little known in comparison.
Neither Count Algarotti nor Mr. Howe (I believe) have heard of Ossian, the Son of Fingal. If Mr. Howe were not upon the wing, and on his way homewards, I would send it to him in Italy. Ile would there see that Imagination dwelt many hundred years ago, in all her pomp, on the cold and barren mountains of Scotland. The truth (I believe) is, that, without any respect of climates, she reigns in all nascent societies of men, where the necessities of life force every one to think and act much for himself *.
COUNT ALGAROTTI TO MR. GRAY.
Pisa, 24 Aprile, 1763.
Sono stato lungo tempo in dubbio se un dilettante quale io sono, dovea mandare alcune sue coserelle a un Professore quale è V. S. Illusino, a un arbitro di ogni poctica eleganza. Ne ci volea meno che l'autorità del valorissimo Sigr. How per persuadermi a ciò fare. V. S. Illmo accolga queste mie coserelle con quella medesima bontà con cui ha voluto accogliere quella lettera che dice pur poco delle tante cose, che fanno sen
One is led to think from this paragraph that the scepticism, which Mr. Gray had expressed before, concerning these works of Ossian, was now entirely removed (p. 163). I know no way of accounting for this (as he had certainly received no stronger evidence of their authenticity) but from the turn of his studies at the time. lle had of late much busied himself in Antiquities, and consequently had imbibed too much of the spirit of a profest Antiquarian; now we know, from a thousand instances, that no set of men are more willingly duped than these, especially by any thing that comes to them under the fascinating form of a new discovery.