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I have therefore no other resource than, with Cicero, to count the waves, or, with Archimedes and Archytas, to measure the sands. I cannot describe to you how weary I am of this place, nor my anxiety to be again at Oxford, where I might jest with you, or phi, losophize with Poore. If it be not inconvenient, I wish you would write to me often, for I long to know how you and our friends are : but write if you please in Latin, and with gaiety, for it grieves me to observe the uneasiness under which you appear to labour. Let me ever retain a place in your affection, as you do in mine; continue to cultivate polite literature; woo the muses ; reverence philosophy; and give your days and nights to composition, with a due regard however to the preservation of your health.
* Mr. JONES to C. REVICZKI.
Nice, April 1770. It is impossible to describe my vexation at not hearing from you, and I can only conclude that you have not received my letter of February, or, what would be more unpleasant, that your letter has miscarried, or finally, what I dread even to suspect, that I no longer retain a place in your remembrance. I have written to you from this place, not (as Cicero says to Lucceius) a very fine epistle, but one that I cannot but think would be acceptable to you, because it was very long, and contained, besides, much information respecting myself. After a sufficient time for the receipt of an answer, which I most anxiously expected, I daily enquired if there were any, letters from Vienna ;-none, none, was the reply day after day. My anxiety and uneasiness at this disappointment daily increased, and nearly two months, are now elapsed without a line from you. What can I do? or what shall I devise ? I fear to trust your papers, which you desired me to * Appendix, No. 13.
return, to a conveyance so hazardous as the post ; although I am persuaded it will be inconvenient for you to be so long without them ; but although I cannot venture to send them before I hear from you, I inclose my remarks, which you may throw into the fire, if you do not like them :-they are, as you seemed to wish, somewhat hypercritical, and perhaps too severe.
Your Treatise on the Military Art of the Turks, delighted me exceedingly ; nothing can be more useful or opportune. As I cannot depend upon this letter reaching you, I write but little, having no wish to talk to the winds, and risk the loss of time, which I can better employ. I expect to leave this town about the middle of the month. My proposed Italian expedition is deferred to a future period. Farewell, my Charles, and remember me, as I do you. After my return to England, I will write to you frequently, and my letters shall be longer and more cheerful.
* Mr. JONES to C. REVICZKI.- Date erased.
Although I cannot possibly receive an answer to my letter before I leave this place, I will not have to reproach myself for neglecting an opportunity of writing to you. I concur most heartily in your sentiments on the pleasures of travelling, as on all other subjects ; nothing, in my opinion, can be more useful or more delightful. How much more agreeable would my journey be, if I could make Vienna a part of it, where I might enjoy your conversation, philosophize with you, trifle away an idle hour, or explore with you the hidden treasures of poetry. As I am deprived of this happiness, I shall take the liberty of saying some thing not so favourable of the pleasures, which I actually enjoy. I am disgusted with the odious rattle of French gaiety ; and the * Appendix, No. 14.
calm serenity of an Italian sky has something gloomy in it. I am so much-in love with myself, i. e. so much beside myself, that, in my own eyes, I appear more worthy of your friendship than ever. You cannot conceive how different I am from what you knew me in England. I was then young and thoughtless ; now I devote myself wholly to polite literature, and the great objects of my ambition are virtue, fame, and, above all, your friendship; objects than which nothing can be more divine, estimable, or dear to me. That I may not altogether write an unlettered letter, I send you a Greek version of an English epigram. It was composed in a calm.night, by a friend of mine, and I translated it at his request. I think it will please you, as it appears to have an affinity to the style of Meleager, and other poets in the Anthologia*.
To Lady SPENCER.
Nice, April 14th, 1770. It is with great pleasure, that I acquaint your Ladyship, that Mrs. Poyntz, Lady Harriet, and her brother, are perfectly well ; Mrs. Poyntz goes this morning to Villa Franca ; I am to be her knight, and am just equipped to mount my Rosinantè; Mademoiselle Annette is to go upon Lady Mary Somerset's ass ; so we shall make a formidable procession. It is a delightful morning, and I hope Mrs. Poyntz will be pleased with her jaunt. We have had very bad weather, violent rains, and storms of thunder in the night, a close, sultry heat all day, and a very sharp cold every evening; but the spring seems now to be pretty well settled; and I fancy we shall have a continually clear sky, and a mild air, as long as we stay. We all promise ourselves great pleasure in our journey homewards; and we have great reason to believe it will be
* Sir William Jones's Works, vol. ii. p. 133.-In the original, Mr. Jones indulges himself with a play on words, which cannot be imitated in the translation.
enchantingly pleasant. I have every day more and more reason to be pleased with the unfolding of my pupil's disposition : your Ladyship will perhaps think these to be words of course, and what you might naturally expect from any other person in my situation ; but, believe me, I say them upon no other motive than their truth; for if it were my nature to speak to any one what I do not think, I should at least speak truly to your Ladyship, of whom I am, with the greatest truth, The obliged and grateful humble servant,
To Lady SPENCER.
Paris, 4th June, 1770. Your Ladyship will be surprised at receiving such a parcel of papers from me; but I am willing to make amends for not writing all last month. The truth is, I had nothing particular to say at that time; but on my arrival at Paris, I found a letter from my friend Reviczki, with a very spirited ode composed by him upon the marriage of the Archduchess. I dare say Lord Spencer will like it, and I therefore take the liberty to inclose it for him. I have marked in this manner'o two or three passages that are faulty; and I have put this sign to one stanza that I do not quite understand. I have also sent with it the Baron's letter to me, which will serve as a comment upon many parts of the ode. You will have heard of the shocking accidents that happened here the night of the fire-works. Above one hundred and thirty people were killed ; and several people of fashion were crushed to death in their carriages. We had the good fortune to arrive here two days after this dreadful catastrophe; which perhaps has saved some of us, if nót from real danger, at least from the apprehension of it. We shall not be sorry to see England again, and hope to have that pleasure very soon. Soon after my return, I think of going to Oxford for a short time: but if Lord Althorpe goes back to school this summer, as I sincerely hope he will, I shall not go to College till August; for I am convinced that a public school has already been, and will continue to be, of the highest advantage to him in every respect. While Mrs. Poyntz staid at Lyons, I made an excursion to Geneva, in hopes of seeing Voltaire, but was disappointed. I sent him a note with a few verses, implying that the muse of tragedy had left her ancient seat in Greece and Italy, and had fixed her abode on the borders of a lake, &c. He returned this answer: “ The worst of French poets and philosophers is s almost dying; age and sickness have brought him to his last day;
he can converse with nobody, and entreats Mr. Jones to excuse “ and pity him. He presents him with his humble respects.” But he was not so ill as he imagined; for he had been walking in his court, and went into his house just as I came to it. The servants shewed me somebody at a window, who they said was he; but I had scarce a glimpse of him. I am inclined to think that Voltaire begins to be rather serious, when he finds himself upon the brink of eternity; and that he refuses to see company, because he cannot display his former wit and sprightliness. I find my book* is published; I am not at all solicitous about its success : as I did not choose the subject myself, I am not answerable for the wild extravagance of the style, nor for the faults of the original; but if your Ladyship takes the trouble to read the dissertation at the end, you'may perhaps find some new and pleasing images. The work has one advantage, it is certainly, authentic. Lady Georgiana is so good as to enquire how Soliman goes on; pray tell her he is in great affliction, as he begins to suspect the innocence of Mustafa, who is just slain. To be serious; my tragedy is just finished; and I hope to shew it to your Ladyship in a short time. I am, &c.
WILLIAM JONES. * Translation of the Life of Nadir Shah.