when the subject requireth ‘common forms’ only—but, in apologizing
for my ‘prolixity,’ I am ‘adding’ to the ‘fault,’ (if it were one,
which, however, I cannot think it to be, the ‘subject’ considered:
but this I have said before in other words:) so, Sir, if you will
excuse my ‘post-script,’ I am sure you will not find fault with my
One word more as to a matter of ‘erudition,’
which you greatly love to
hear me ‘start’ and ‘dwell upon.’ Dr. Lewen once, in ‘your’
presence, (as you, ‘my good patron,’ cannot but remember,) in a
‘smartish’ kind of debate between ‘him’ and ‘me,’ took upon him to
censure the ‘paranthetical’ style, as I call it. He was a very
learned and judicious man, to be sure, and an ornament to ’our
function’: but yet I must needs say, that it is a style which I
greatly like; and the good Doctor was then past his ‘youth,’ and
that time of life, of consequence, when a ‘fertile imagination,’
and a ‘rich fancy,’ pour in ideas so fast upon a writer, that
parentheses are often wanted (and that for the sake of ‘brevity,’
as well as ‘perspicuity’) to save the reader the trouble of reading
a passage ‘more than once.’ Every man to his talent, (as I said
before.) We are all so apt to set up our ‘natural biasses’ for
‘general standards,’ that I wondered ‘the less’ at the worthy
Doctor’s ‘stiffness’ on this occasion. He ‘smiled at me,’ you may
remember, Sir—and, whether I was right or not, I am sure I ’smiled
at him.’ And ‘you,’ my ‘worthy patron,’ (as I had the satisfaction
to observe,) seemed to be of ‘my party.’ But was it not strange,
that the ‘old gentleman’ and ‘I’ should so widely differ, when the
‘end’ with ‘both’ (that is to say, ‘perspicuity’ or ‘clearness,’)
was the same?—But what shall we say?—
‘Errare est hominis, sed non persistere.’
I think I have nothing to add until I have the honour
of attending you in
‘person’; but I am, (as above,) &c. &c. &c.
Mr. Belford, to Robert Lovelace,
Wednesday night, Aug. 30.
It was lucky enough that our two servants met at Hannah’s,* which gave them so good an opportunity of exchanging their letters time enough for each to return to his master early in the day.
* The Windmill, near Slough.
Thou dost well to boast of thy capacity for managing servants, and to set up for correcting our poets in their characters of this class of people,* when, like a madman, thou canst beat their teeth out, and attempt to shoot them through the head, for not bringing to thee what they had no power to obtain.