I collect a new comfort from your letter. The writing is much better than in most of your latest letters. If your pain were not ceased, you could not have formed your letters so firmly and distinctly. I will not say more, lest I should draw you into greater fatigue; let me have but a single line in answer. Yours most cordially.(488)
(488) This is the last letter addressed by Walpole to Mr. Cole; who died within six weeks of the date of it. The event is thus recorded by Mr. Gough, in the second volume of his edition of Camden’s Britannia. “At Milton a small village on the Ely road, was the retirement of the Rev. William Cole. Here, Dec. 16, 1782, in his sixty-eighth year, he closed a life spent in learned research into the history and antiquities of this county in particular, which nothing but his declining state of health prevented this work from sharing the benefit of. He was buried under the belfry of St. Clement’s Church in Cambridge."-E.
Dear Sir, For so you must allow me to call you, after your being so kind as to send me so valuable and agreeable a present as your translation of Horace(490)—I wish compliment had left any term uninvaded, Of which sincerity could make use without suspicion. Those would be precisely what I would employ in commending your poem; and, if they proved too simple to content my gratitude, I would be satisfied with an offering to truth, and wait for a nobler opportunity of sacrificing to the warmer virtue. If I have not lost my memory, your translation is the best I have ever seen of that difficult epistle. Your expression is easy and natural, and when requisite, poetic. In short, it has a prime merit, it has the air of an original.
Your hypothesis in your commentary is very ingenious. I do not know whether it is true, which now cannot be known; but if the scope of the epistle was, as you suppose, to hint in a delicate and friendly manner to the elder of Piso’s sons that he had written a bad tragedy, Horace had certainly executed his plan with great address; and, I think, nobody will be able to show that any thing in the poem clashes with your idea. Nay, if he went farther, and meant to disguise his object, by giving his epistle the air of general rules on poetry and tragedy, he achieved both purposes; and while the youth his friend was at once corrected and put to no shame, all other readers were kept in the dark, except you, and diverted to different scents.(491) Excuse my commenting your comment, but I had no other way of proving that I really approve both your version and criticism than by stating the grounds of my applause. If you have wrested the sense of the original to favour your own hypothesis, I have not been able to discover your art; for I do not perceive where it has been employed. If you have given Horace more meaning than he was intitled