Tell me when you shall be in town. I think of passing Most Of my time here till after Christmas. Adieu!
(1095) Mr. J. Sharp, in a letter to Garrick, of the 29th of March in this year, says—“I met Mr. Gray at dinner last Sunday: he spoke handsomely of your happy knack of epilogues; but he calls the Stratford Jubilee, Vanity Fair.” See Garrick Correspondence, vol. i. p. 337.-E.
Letter 374 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.
Strawberry Hill, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 1769. (page 561)
I am here quite alone, and did not think of going to town till Friday for the opera, which I have not yet seen. In compliment to you and your Countess, I will make an effort, and be there on Thursday; and will either dine with you at your own house, or at your brother’s; which you choose. This is a great favour, and beyond my Lord Temple’s journey to dine with my Lord Mayor.(1096) I am so sick of the follies of all sides, that I am happy to be at quiet here, and to know no more of them than what I am forced to see in the newspapers; and those I skip over as fast as I can.
The account you give me of Lady *** was just the same as I received from Paris. I will show you a very particular letter I received by a private hand from France; which convinces me that I guessed right, contrary to all the wise, that the journey to Fontainbleau would overset Monsieur de Choiseul. I think he holds but by a thread, which will snap soon.(1097) I am labouring hard with the Duchess(1098) to procure the Duke of Richmond satisfaction in the favour he has asked about his duchy;’ but he shall not know it till it is completed, if I can be so lucky as to succeed. I think I shall, if they do not fall immediately.
You perceive how barren I am, and why I have not written to you. I pass my time in clipping and pasting prints; and do not think I have read forty pages since I came to England. I bought a poem called Trinculo’s Trip to the Jubilee; having been struck with two lines in an extract in the papers,
“There the ear-piercing fife,
And the ear-piercing wife—”
Alas! all the rest, and it is very long, is a heap of unintelligible nonsense, about Shakspeare, politics, and the Lord knows what. I am grieved that, with our admiration of Shakspeare, we can do nothing but write worse than ever he did. One would think the age studied nothing but his Love’s Labour Lost, and Titus Andronicus. Politics and abuse have totally corrupted our taste. Nobody thinks of writing a line that is to last beyond the next fortnight. We might as well be given up to a controversial divinity, The times put me in mind of the Constantinopolitan empire; where, in an age of learning, the subtlest wits of Greece contrived to leave nothing behind them, but the memory of their follies and acrimony. Milton did not write his Paradise Lost till he had Outlived his politics.