You will forgive my not having sent you the “Thoughts on Comedy,” (281) as I promised, I have had no time to look them over and put them into shape. I have been and am involved in most unpleasant affairs of family, that take up my whole thoughts and attention. The melancholy situation of my nephew Lord Orford, engages me particularly, and I am not young enough to excuse postponing business and duties for amusement. In truth, I am really too old not to have given up literary pleasures. Nobody will tell one when one grows dull, but one’s time of life ought to tell it one. I long ago determined to keep the archbishop in Gil Blas in my eye. when I should advance to his caducity; but as dotage steals in at more doors than one, perhaps the sermon I have been preaching to you is a symptom of it. You must judge of that, Sir. If I fancy I have been wise, and have only been peevish, throw my lecture into the fire. I am sure the liberties I have taken with you deserve no indulgence, if you do not discern true friendship at the bottom of them.
(277) Now first printed. Robert Jephson, Esq. was born in Ireland in 1736. He attained the rank of captain in the 73d regiment, and when it was reduced at the peace of 1763, he retired on half-pay, and procured, through the influence of Mr. Gerard Hamilton, a Pension on the Irish establishment. Besides several tragedies, he wrote the farce of “Two Strings to your Bow,” and “Roman Portraits,” a poem. Hardy, in his Memoirs of Lord Charlemont, says, “he was much caressed ’and sought after by several of the first societies in Dublin, as he possess’d much wit and pleasantry, and, when not overcome by the spleen, was extremely amusing and entertaining.” He was a member of the Irish House of Commons, and died in 1803. Walpole’s “Thoughts on Tragedy” had been addressed, in 1775, to this gentleman.-E.
(278) “Braganza” came out at Drury-lane theatre in 1775, and was very successful. Walpole supplied the epilogue.-E.
(279) “The Law of Lombardy” was brought out at Drury-lane in 1779, but was only acted nine nights.-E.
(280) Sheridan’s “School for Scandal” was first performed at Drury-lane on the 8th of May, 1777.
(281) Walpole’s “Thoughts on Comedy” were written in 1775 and 1776, and will be found in his Works.-E.