You want news—I must make it, if I send it. To change the dulness of the scene I went to the play, where I had not been this winter. They are so crowded, that though I went before six, I got no better place than a fifth row, where I heard very ill, and was pent for five hours without a soul near me that I knew. It was Cymbeline, and appeared to me as long as if every body in it went really to Italy in every act,, and came back again. With a few pretty passages and a scene or two, it is so absurd and tiresome, that I am persuaded Garrick(206) * * * * *
(206) The rest of this letter is lost.
Your specimen pleases me, and I give you many thanks for promising me the continuation. You will, I hope, find less trouble with printers than I have done. Just when my book was, I thought, ready to appear, my printer ran away, and has left it very imperfect. This is the fourth I have tried, and I own it discourages me. Our low people are so corrupt and such knaves, that being cheated and disappointed are all the fruits of attempting to amuse oneself or others. Literature must struggle with many difficulties. They who print for profit print only for profit; we, who print to entertain or instruct others, are the bubbles of our designs, defrauded, abused, pirated—don’t you think, Sir, one need have resolution? Mine is very nearly exhausted.
(207) Now first collected.
I am this minute come home, and find such a delightful letter from you, that I cannot help answering it, and telling you so before I sleep. You need not affirm, that your ancient wit and pleasantry are revived; your letter is but five and twenty, and I will forgive any vanity, that is so honest, and so well founded. Ireland I see produces wonders of more sorts than one; if my Lord Anson was to go lord-lieutenant, I suppose he would return a ravisher. How different am I from this state of revivification! Even such talents as I had are far from blooming again; and while my friends, or contemporaries, or predecessors, are rising to preside over the fame of this age, I seem a mere antediluvian; must live upon what little stock of reputation I had acquired, and indeed grow so indifferent, that I can only wonder how those, whom I thought as old as myself, can interest themselves so much about a world, whose faces I hardly know. You recover your spirits and wit, Rigby is grown a speaker, Mr. Bentley a poet, while I am nursing one or two gouty friends, and sometimes lamenting that I am likely to survive the few I have left. Nothing tempts me to launch out again; every day teaches me how much I was mistaken in my own parts, and I am in no danger now but of thinking I am grown too wise; for every period of life has its mistake.