I rejoice in your amendment, and reckon it among my obligations to the fine weather, and hope it will be the most lasting of them. Yours ever.
(316) “No more the Grecian Muse unrivall’d reigns; To Britain let the nations homage pay: She felt a Homer’s fire in Milton’s strains, A Pindar’s rapture in the lyre of Gray."-E.
Your observation of Rowley not being mentioned by William of Wyrcestre, is very strong, indeed, dear Sir, and I shall certainly take notice of it. It has suggested to me that he is not named by Bale or Pitts(317)—is he? Will you trouble yourself to look? I conclude he is not, or we should have heard of it. Rowley is the reverse of King Arthur, and all those heroes that have been expected a second time; he is to come again for the first time-I mean, as a great poet. My defence amounts to thirty pages of the size of this paper: yet I believe I shall not publish it. I abhor a controversy; and what is it to me whether people believe in an impostor or not? Nay, shall I convince every body of my innocence, though there is not the shadow of reason for thinking I was to blame? If I met a beggar in the street, and refused him sixpence, thinking him strong enough to work, and two years afterwards he should die of drinking, might not I be told I had deprived the world of a capital rope-dancer? In short, to show one’s self sensible to such accusations, would only invite more; and since they accuse me of contempt, I will have it for my accusers.
My brass plate for Bishop Walpole was copied exactly from the print in Dart’s Westminster, of the tomb of Robert Dalby, Bishop of Durham, with the sole alteration Of the name. I shall return, as soon as I have time, to Mr. Baker’s Life; but I shall want to Consult you, or, at least, the account of him in the new Biographia, as your notes want some dates. I am not satisfied yet with what I have sketched; but I shall correct it. My small talent was grown very dull. This attack about Chatterton has a little revived it; but it warns me to have done , for, if*one comes to want provocatives,-the produce will soon be feeble. Adieu! Yours most sincerely.
(317) John Bale, Bishop of Ossory. The work to which Walpole alludes is his “Catalog’s Scriptorum illustrium Majoris Brytannie.” Basle, 1557-E.—John Pitts wrote, in opposition to Bale, “De illustribus Angliae Scriptoribus.” Paris, 1619.-E.