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Greek poet, which I have not read in English. If you have any considerable faults, they consist chiefly in the choice of words, and the placeing them so as to make the verse run smoothly; but I am at present so taken up with my own studies, that I have not leisure to descend to particulars ; being, in the mean time, the fair Corinna's
Most humble and most
P.S. I keep your two copies, till you want them, and are pleas'd to send for them.
Saturday, Nov. 26th. [1699.] After a long expectation, Madam, at length your happy letter came to your servant, who almost despair’d of it. The onely comfort I had, was, my hopes of seeing you, and that
3 The Pastoral Elegy already mentioned, and “The TRIPLE LEAGUE, written in imitation of Mrs. Behn," and inserted afterwards in Mrs. Thomas's Poems. She had sent these two papers of verses to our author, (who was then unknown to her,) with a letter requesting that he would peruse and correct them.
fer'd writeing, because you wou'd surprise me with your presence, and beare your relations company to town. Your neighbour, Mr. Price, has given me an apprehension that my cousin, your father, is in some danger of being made Sheriff the following yeare ; but I hope 'tis a jealousy without ground, and that the warm season only keeps him in the country. If you come up next week, you will be entertain'd with a new tragedy, which the authour of it, one Mr. Dennis, cryes up at an excessive rate ; and Colonel Codrington, who has seen it, prepares the world to give it loud applauses.* 'Tis called Iphigenia, and imitated from Euripides, an old Greek poet. This is to be acted at Betterton's house; and another play of the same name is very shortly to come on the stage in Drury-Lane. -I was lately to visite the Duchess of Norfolk ;' and she speaks of you
with much affection and respect. Your cousin Montague, after the present session of parliament, will
4 See p. 88. n. 2. Colonel Codrington wrote the Epilogue to it.
s Mary, the daughter of Henry Mordaunt, the second Earl of Peterborough, and wife of Thomas the seventh Duke of Norfolk, who at this time was soliciting to be divorced from her by Act of Parliament, for criminal conversation with Sir John Germaine. See vol. i. part i. p. 415, n. The Duke of Norfolk was a distant relation of our poet's wife.
6 The Right Hon. Charles Montague, who on the ed of June 1699, had been deprived of the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer; and a few days before this
be created Earl of Bristoll,” and I hope is much
friend : but I doubt I am in no condition of
my brother in Westminster.' My sonn has
Most devoted Servant,
letter was written, (Nov. 15) was removed from the
? Such, it appears, was the rumour of the day. He
8 Lord Somers.-Does not this passage add some sup-
9 Erasmus Dryden, who lived in King's-street, West.
I write no recommendations of service to our friends at Oundle, because I suppose they are leaveing that place; but I wish my
Cousin Stuart a boy, as like Miss Jem:* as he and you can make him.' My wife and sonn are never forgetfull of their acknowledgments to you both.
For Mrs. Stuart, Att
in the County of Northton, These. To be left at the Posthouse
TO MRS. STEWARD.
Thursday, Dec. the 14th, 1699. MADAM, When I have either too much business, or want of health, to write to you, I count my time is lost, or at least my conscience accuses me that I spend it ill. At this time my head is full of cares, and my body ill at ease. My book is printing, and
* Jemima, Mrs. Steward's youngest daughter, probably then four or five years old. Hence Miss Jem. See po
68, n. 9.
This friendly wish was not crowned with success, Mrs. Steward had three daughters, but never bore a son.
2 FABLES, ANCIENT AND MODERN.
my bookseller makes no hast. I had last night at będ-time an unwelcome fit of vomiting ; and my sonn, Charles, lyes sick upon his bed with the colique, which has been violent upon him for almost a week. With all this, I cannot but remember that you accus'd me of barbarity, I hope, in jeast onely, for mistaking one Sheriff for another, which proceeded from my want of heareing well. I am heartily sorry that a chargeable office is fallen on my Cousin Stuart. * But my
Cousin Driden comforts me, that it must have come one time or other, like the small-pox; and better have it
young, than old. I hope it will leave no great marks behind it, and that your fortune will no more feel it than your beauty, by the addition of a year's wearing. My cousine, your mother, was heer yesterday, to see my wife, though I had not the happiness to be at home. Both the IphigenIAS have been play'd with bad success ;' and being
3 In the latter part of the last century, the vowel (e) seems by general agreement to have been ejected from certain classes of verbs and substantives ; as if the proportion of consonants to vowels were not already too great in our language. On this ground, they wrote mov’d, prov'd, tast, hast, plac’d, oblig’d, &c.; but this unsightly practice has for these last fifty years been very properly discontinued, at least in most printed works.
4 Elmes Steward, Esq., was appointed Sheriff of the county of Northampton in Nov. 1699.
s Dennis's IPhiGENIA was performed at the Theatre in Little Lincoln's Fields; and Achilles, or IPhi.