I shall go about the end of this week to Park-place, where I expect to find the Druidic temple from Jersey erected. How dull will the world be, if constant pilgrimages are not made thither! where, besides the delight of the scenes, that temple, the rude great arch, Lady Ailesbury’s needle-works, and Mrs. Damer’s Thames and Isis on Henley-bridge, with other of her sculptures, make it one of the most curious spots in the island, and unique. I want to have Mr. Conway’s comedy acted there; and then the father, mother, and daughter would exhibit a theatre of arts as uncommon. How I regret your lordship did not hear Mrs. Damer speak the epilogue!
Your intelligence of the jubilees to be celebrated in Scotland in honour of the Revolution was welcomed indeed. It is a favourable symptom of an age when its festivals are founded on good sense and liberality of sentiment, and not to perpetuate superstition and slavery. Your countrymen, Sir, have proved their good sense too in their choice of a poet. Your writings breathe the noble generous spirit congenial to the institution. Give me leave to say that it is very flattering to me to have the ode communicated to me; I will not say, to be consulted, for of that distinction I am not worthy: I am not a poet, and am Sure I cannot improve your ideas, which you have expressed with propriety and clearness, the necessary ingredients of an address to a populous meeting; for I doubt our numerous audiences are not arrived at Olympic taste enough to seize with enthusiasm the eccentric flights of Pindar. You have taken a more rational road to inspiration,’-by adhering to the genuine topics of the occasion; and you speak in so manly a Style, that I do not believe a more competent judge could amend your poetry.
I will tell you how more than occasionally the mention of Pindar slipped into my pen. I have frequently, and even yesterday, wished that some attempt were made to ennoble our horse-races, particularly at Newmarket, by associating better arts with the courses; as, by contributing for odes, the best of which should be rewarded by medals. Our nobility would find their vanity gratified; for, as the pedigrees of their steeds would soon grow tiresome, their own genealogies would replace them; and, in the mean time, poetry and medals would be improved. Their lordships would have judgment enough to know if their horse (which should be the impression on one side) were not well executed; and, as I hold that there is no being more difficult to draw well than a horse, no bad artist could be employed. Such a beginning would lead farther; and the cup or plate for the prize might rise into beautiful vases. But this is a vision; and I may as well go to bed and dream of any thing else.
(619) Now first collected.