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of the ladies, of whom London affords an enchanting variety; but I prefer glory, my supreme delight, to all other gratifications, and I will pursue it through fire and water, by day and by night. Ohl my Charles, (for I renounce all, ceremony, and address you with ancient simplicity) what a boundless scene opens to my view! if I had two lives, I should scarcely find time for the due execution of all the public and private projects which I have in mind !
Mr. BATES to, W. JONES, Esq.
March 27th, 1771, Last night, I received from Mr. Williams your most; ingenious and satisfactory letter, for which my heartiest thanks are due. If you have no objection to it, as I think you cannot, I propose to embellish my MS. with it, by sticking it into the book,, in like manner as I have done my own account of it. It will be no small addition to the curiosity of the book; for I can easily foresee, that in times to come, a piece of your band-writing will be looked
upon as a curiosity by virtuosi yet unborn.
In the mean time, I hope this letter, does not preclude your fulfilling your promise of obliging me with another visit (and I hope still more) after your return from Oxford, at the end of the holidays. I assure you, I wait for the end of those holidays, as impatiently as most schoolboys dread and abhor it. Therefore I beg you would favour me with a line to apprise me of your return back to: town, that in case I should, in the dialect of Deptford, be moored head and stern by the gout, I may let you know as much, to save you the trouble of a visit, that will answer no end; but if I keep clear from that malady, as I am at present, I shall beg you to take a nightcap here, that we may spend one entire morning in Qriental speculation, without the interruption of other company, For I
have still many queries which you must resolve. I heartily wish you a pleasant journey; and hope that, for the good of the Literati, you'll be blessed with life and health to go on with the noble undertaking you are engaged in, and that you'll meet with the merited success.
I am, Sir, &c.
* Mr. JONES to D. B.
London, April 1771. Your Persian book is more valuable than the costliest jewel. Meninski, 'that universal scholar, has a copy exactly like
yours, and he describes it in his usual manner, that is, inelegantly, and in miserable Latin. From his description, you may however estimate the real excellence of your book. I shall beg leave to say something more about it myself, and as a poet, venture to affirm, that the six most beautiful poems in the volume are far more valuable for their intrinsic merit; than for the elegance of the characters in which they are written, or for the glowing tints of the pictures which adorn them.
The author of these poems was the very celebrated Nezami, who assumed the name of Kenjavi ; he flourished towards the close of the twelfth century, and was the favourite of that illustrious warrior, and patron of literature, Togrul, the son of Erslan.
The book comprises five poems, the last of which is divided into two parts; the first, which is entitled The Treasury of Secrets, contains many fables, and various discourses on moral duties and human affairs ; Nushirovan, King of Persia, who, towards the end of the sixth century, waged a successful war against the first Justin, * Appendix, No. 19.
and Justinian are frequently introduced in it; Mohammed, the
For ages mingled with his parent dust,
The second poem commemorates the lives of a most amiable youth, (named Mujnoon, or the Frantic, from his mad passion) and his mistress, the beautiful Leili. The loves of Khosro and the adorable Sherin, form the subject of the third poem. Khosro was the twenty-third in descent from Sassan, and the grandson of Nushirovan. The fourth poem has the title of The Seven Figures, and recites the history of King Beharam, whom the Greeks, with their usual inaccuracy, call Varanes : but it more particularly describes his seven palaces, each of which is said to have been distinguished by a particular colour. In the fifth, we have the life and actions of Alexander; it is however to be remarked, that the Asiatics perpetually confound the Macedonian monarch with another and very ancient king of the same name, and blend their actions most ridiculously. Thus much about your book, and you may depend upon what I say, as certain and not conjectural. I sincerely rejoice, that St. Jolin's College, at Cambridge, will possess this treasure by your gift; and I no less sincerely hope, that your own University will boast some future scholar, capable of thoroughly understanding the elegance of the charming Nesami. If any one wishes to obtain further information respecting this poet, let him consult the pleasing work of Dowlat Shah of Samercand, on the lives of the Persian poets. I saw a beautiful manuscript of it at Paris.--Farewell.
Mr. JONES to J. WILMOT, Esq.
Univ. Coll. Oxford, 3d of June, 1771. MY DEAR WILMOT,
It makes me very happy to hear that my Lord Chief Justice does not retire on account of ill health, but from a motive which does him the highest honour. He will now enjoy the greatest happiness of human life, ease with dignity, after having passed through the most honourable labour without danger. I should think myself highly blessed, if I could pursue a similar course in my small sphere, and, after having raised a competency at the bar, could retire to the bowers of learning and the arts.
I have just begun to contemplate the stately edifice of the laws of England,
“ The gather'd wisdom of a thousand years," if you will allow me to parody a line of Pope. I do not see why the study of the law is called dry and unpleasant; and I very much suspect that it seems so to those only, who would think any study unpleasant, which required a great application of the mind, and exertion of the memory. I have read most attentively the two first volumes of Blackstone's Commentaries, and the two others will require much less attention. I am much pleased with the care he takes to quote his authorities in the margin, which not only give a sanction to what he asserts, but point out the sources to which the student may apply for more diffusive knowledge. I have opened two commonplace books, the one of the law, the other of oratory, which is surely too much neglected by our modern speakers. I do not mean the popular eloquence, which cannot be tolerated at the bar, but that correctness of style, and elegance of method, which at once pleases and persuades the hearer. But I must lay aside my studies for about six weeks, while I am printing my Grammar, from
which a good deal is expected; and which I must endeavour to make as perfect as a human work can be. When that is finished, I shall attend the Court of King's Bench very constantly, and shall either take a lodging in Westminster, or accept the invitation of a friend, in Duke Street, who has made me an obliging offer of apartments.
I am sorry the characters you sent me are not Persian but Chinese, which I cannot decipher without a book, which I have not at present, but tous Chinois qu'ils sont, I shall be able to make them out, when the weather will permit me to sit in the Bodleian. In the mean time, I would advise you to enquire after a native of China, who is now in London; I cannot recollect where he lodges, but shall know when I come to town, which will be to-morrow or Saturday. I shall be at Richardson's till my Grammar is finished, unless I can buy a set of chambers in the Temple, which I fear will be difficult. I will certainly call upon you in a day or two. On one of the Indian pictures at your house, there was a beautiful copy of Persian verses, which I will beg leave to transcribe, and should be glad to print it, with a translation, in the Appendix to my Grammar. I have not yet had my Persian proposals engraved, but when you write to your brother, you would much oblige me by desiring him to send me a little Persian manuscript, if he can procure it without much trouble. It is a small poem which I intend to print; we have six or seven copies of it at Oxford, but if I had one in my possession, it would save me the trouble of transcribing it. I have inclosed its title in Persian and English. I am very glad that your family are well. I wish them joy upon every occasion; my mother and sister desire their compliments to you, and I am, with great regard,
Yours, most affectionately,