The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 4 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 897 pages of information about The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford Volume 4.
for.  I do love my nieces, nay like them; but people above forty years younger are certainly not the society I should seek.  They can only think and talk of what is, or is to come; I certainly am more disposed to think and talk of what is past:  and the obligation of passing the end of a long life in sets of totally new company is more irksome to me than passing a great deal of my time, as I do, quite alone.  Family love and pride make me interest myself about the young people of my own family-for the whole rest of the Young world, they are as indifferent to me as puppets or black children.  This is my creed, and a key to my whole conduct, and the more likely to remain my creed, as I think it is raisonn`e.  If I could paint my Opinions instead of writing them I don’t know whether it would not make a new sort of alphabet-I should use different colours for different affections at different ages.  When I speak of love, affection, friendship, taste, liking, I should draw them rose colour, carmine, blue, green, yellow, for my contemporaries:  for new comers, the first would be of no colour; the others, purple, brown, crimson, and changeable.  Remember, one tells one’s creed only to one’s confessor, that is sub sigillo.  I write to you as I think; to others as I must.  Adieu!

(286) Miss Caroline Campbell, eldest daughter of Lord William Campbell.

Letter 130 To Robert Jephson, Esq.(287) Strawberry Hill, Oct. 17, 1777. (page 177)

Mr. Garrick returned but two days ago, Sir, and I did not receive your tragedy(288) till this morning; so I could only read it once very rapidly and without any proper attention to particular passages though, even so, some struck me as very fine.  You have encouraged me rather to criticise than flatter you; and you are in the right, for you have even profited of so weak a judgment as mine, and always improved the passages I objected to.  Indeed, this is not quite a fair return, as it was inverting my method, by flattering instead of finding fault with me; and a critic that meets with submission, is apt to grow vain, and insolent, and capricious.  Still as I am persuaded that all criticisms, though erroneous, before an author appeals to the public, are friendly, I will fairly tell you what parts of your tragedy have struck me as objectionable on so superficial a perusal.

In general, the language appears to me too metaphoric; especially as used by all the characters.  You seem to me to have imitated Beaumont and Fletcher, though your play is superior to all theirs.  In truth, I think the diction is sometimes obscure from being so figurative, especially in the first act.  Will you allow me to mention two instances?

“And craven Sloth, moulting his sleepless plumes,
Nods drowsy wonder at th’ adventurous wing
That soars the shining azure o’er his head.”

I own I do not understand why Sloth’s plumes are sleepless; and I think that nodding wonder, and soaring azure, are expressions too Greek to be so close together, and too poetic for dialogue.  The other passage is—­

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