Poor Mr. Bentley, I doubt, is under the greatest difficulties of any body. His poem, which he modestly delivered over to immortality, must be cut and turned; for Lord Halifax and Lord Bute cannot sit in the same canto together; then the horns and hoofs that he had bestowed on Lord Temple must be pared away, and beams of glory distributed over his whole person. ’Tis a dangerous thing to write political panegyrics or satires; it draws the unhappy bard into a thousand scrapes and contradictions. The edifices and inscriptions at Stowe should be a lesson not to erect monuments to the living. I will not place an ossuarium in my garden for my cat, before her bones are ready to be placed in it. I hold contradictions to be as essential to the definition of a political man, as any visible or featherless quality can be to man in general. Good night!
I shall send this by the coach; so whatever comes with it is only to make bundle. Here are some lines that came into my head yesterday in the postchaise, as I was reading in the Annual Register an account of a fountain-tree in one of the Canary Islands, which never dies, and supplies the inhabitants with water. I don’t warrant the longevity though the hypostatic union of a fountain may eternize the tree.
“In climes adust, where rivers never flow,
Where constant suns repel approaching snow,
How Nature’s various and inventive hand
Can pour unheard-of moisture o’er the land!
immortal plants she bids on rocks arise,
And from the dropping branches streams supplies,
The thirsty native sucks the falling shower,
Nor asks for juicy fruit or blooming flower;
But haply doubts when travellers maintain,
That Europe’s forests melt not into rain.”
(842) See ant`e, p. 365, letter 237.-E.
(843) Wilkes, in the North Briton, had applied to the Earl of Sandwich the sobriquet of jemmy Twitcher.-E.
(844) ant`e, p. 294, letter 194.-E.
I am just come out of the garden in the most oriental of all evenings, and from breathing odours beyond those of Araby. The acacias, which the Arabians have the sense to worship, are covered with blossoms, the honeysuckles dangle from every tree in festoons, the seringas are thickets of sweets, and the new-cut hay in the field tempers the balmy gales with simple freshness; while a thousand sky-rockets launched into the air at Ranelagh or Marybone illuminate the scene, and give it an air of Haroun Alraschid’s paradise. I was not quite so content by daylight; some foreigners dined here, and, though they admired our verdure, it mortified me by its brownness—we have not had a drop of rain this month to cool the tip of our daisies. My company was Lady Lyttelton, Lady Schaub, a Madame de Juliac from the Pyreneans,