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over this enchanted ground, we returned to
poetical enthusiasm the village.
The poet's house was close to the church, the greatest part of it has been pulled down, and what remains, belongs to an adjacent .. farm. I am informed that several papers in Milton's own hand, were found by the gentleman who was last in possession of the estate. The tradition of his having lived there is current among the villagers : one of them shewed us a ruinous wall that made part of his chamber, and I was much pleased with another, who had forgotten the name of Milton, but recollected him by the title of The Poet.
It must not be omitted, that the groves near this village are famous for nightingales, which are so elegantly described in the Pensieroso. Most of the cottage windows are overgrown with sweetbriars, vines, and honey-suckľes ; and that Milton's habitation had the same rustic prnament, we may conclude from his description of the lark bidding him good-morrow,
Thro' the sweet-briar, or the vine,
for it is evident, that he meant a sort of honey-suckle by the eglantine; though that word is commonly used for the sweet-briar, which he could not mention twice in the same couplet.
If I ever pass a month or six weeks at Oxford in the Summers I shall be inclined to hire and repair this venerable mansion, and to make a festival for a circle of friends, in honour of Milton, the most perfect scholar, as well as the sublimest poet, that our country ever produced. Such an honour will be less splendid, but more sincere and respectful, than all the pomp and ceremony on the banks of the Avon. I have the honour, &c.
· Towards the end of this year, Mr. Jones accompanied the family of Lord Spencer in a journey to the Continent. I cannot better describe his occupations and reflections during this excursion, than in his own words:
* Mr. JONES to C. REVICZKI.
Nice, 4th Feb. 1770. The date of my letter will not fail to surprize you ; for I do not write from the plains, through which the Thames or Isis, so justly dear to me, glides, but from the foot of the Alps, and in front of the Ligurian sea.
I have resided in this delightful little spot nearly three months; it was not possible therefore for me to receive your two most acceptable letters, dated in September and January, before my departure from England: I have read them with singular pleasure, to which their length did not a little contribute. You cannot conceive my anxiety to peruse your Treatise on the Military Art of the Turks ; it is, I understand, deposited in Lord Spencer's house in London, but I expect to receive a copy by the first vessel which sails from England for this port, and I will take care that the three remaining copies shall be safely and expeditiously delivered to your friends, and if yours, mine also, although I do not even know them by sight.
The approbation which your work has received in Germany, delights, without surprizing me. It was first mentioned to me by a nobleman of that country, apparently a man of taste and amiable manners, who holds, I believe, a public office at Milan ; and he promised not only to send it to me, but to inform me of your health, and where to address you; a promise which gave me the * Appendix, No. 11.
greatest satisfaction: for I suspected (forgive the injustico of the suspicion) that I no longer retained a place in your remembrance, and in consequence despaired of hearing from you, unless I first wrote to you. In this suspense, I received your two most welcome letters with fourteen odes: they are not only worthy of the lyre, but the lyre to which they are sung, ought to be of gold. I am indeed proud of your condescension in asking my opinion of them, as I can by no means think myself entitled to such an honour. I will however make my remarks upon them as well as I can, and return them to you when I receive an answer to this letter; for I should be sorry to trust such precious writings to the uncertain conveyance of the post..
This letter will probably reach you in a fortnight, and I beg you to gratify me by an early acknowledgment of it; for I assure you with great truth, that nothing can give me more pleasure than a letter from you, however hasty. You perhaps wish to know how I employed my time after your departure from England; a short explanation will suffice. Amongst other occupations; I revised and corrected my Commentaries on Oriental Poetry, and when I was preparing an accurate transcription of the manuscript for your perusal, I was unexpectedly interrupted by a business of more importance*
I had scarcely brought this work to a conclusion, when, in consequence of the sudden indisposition of the younger sister of my pupil, (who frequently talks of you) her father determined to pass
* The business here alluded to, is the translation of the life of Nadir Shah, the circumstances of which have been already detailed, and are repeated in another letter; the particular. mention made of them in the letter before the reader, is therefore untranslated.
the winter with his family in Italy, or the South of France. I was therefore under the necessity of entrusting my history (as the King of Denmark was anxious for its publication) to a Frenchman, upon whose accuracy I could depend, for correcting the errors of the press. I have just learned from him, that the work is printed ; and I will take care that not even his Danish Majesty shall receive a copy of it before you. Having thus left England, we repaired to Paris, and after rather a tedious residence there, we proceeded with great rapidity by the Rhone to Lyons, and from that place continued our journey by Marseilles, Frejus, and Antibes, to Nice,
Where Spring in all her charms perpetual reigns,
And banish'd Winter flies the blooming plains. Even here we shall remain longer than I wish; but I hope to return to England by the beginning of June. I propose, however, if I should have an opportunity, to cross the sea about the middle of this month, and visit Florence, that celebrated colony of the Triumviri, and the cradle of reviving literature, as well as Rome, the nurse of all elegant arts, and perhaps Naples; but on this plan you shall hereafter know my determination. You may perhaps enquire, what are my occupations at this place: I will tell you in few words; music, with all its sweetness and feeling; difficult and abstruse problems in mathematics; the beautiful and sublime in poetry and painting; these occupy all my senses and thoughts; nor do I neglect the study of the military art, which it would be the greatest disgrace to an English gentleman, not to be acquainted with. I have written much in my native language, and amongst other things a little Tract on Education, in the manner of Aristotle, that is, the analytic manner. I have moreover begun a tragedy, to which I have given the title of Soliman, whose most amiable son perished miserably, as you know, by the treachery of a stepmother. The story is full of the most affecting incidents, and has more sublimity even than the tragedies of Æschylus, as it abounds with Oriental images. I send you translations of two odes, one from Hafez, the other from the very ancient Arabic poet; but I have adapted the images of the latter to the Roman manners, and I fill the remainder of the paper with a Greek epigram, in imitation of a little English song. Farewell. You shall have your papers as soon as I am informed that you have received this letter. * Mr. JONES to N. B. HALHED.
Nice, March 1, 1770. I received your short letter with great pleasure, as it convinced me, that you were not insensible of my esteem for you, and such as resemble you. I wrote immediately to my friendss. as you desired, most earnestly requesting them to promote your views, as if my own interest were concerned ; if they accede to my . wishes in this respect, they will oblige me and themselves too; for doubtless I shall be ready to make them every return that I can. I think however that I shall have it in my power to serve you more effectually, after my return to England ; and I beg you to believe, that no inclination or efforts on my part, shall ever be wanting to promote your wishes.
My health is good; but I long for those enjoyments, of which I know not well how to bear the privation. When I first arrived here, I was delighted with a variety of objects, rarely, if ever, seen in my own country,--olives, myrtles, pomegranates, palms, vineyards, aromatic plants, and a surprising variety of the sweetest flowers, blooming in the midst of winter. But the attraction of novelty has ceased'; I am now satiated, and begin to feel somewhat of disgust. The windows of our inn are scarcely thirty paces from the sea, and, as Ovid beautifully says . i
Tired, on the uniform expanse I gaze. . * Appendix, No. 12.