(630) “I did not feel,” says Miss More, in her reply, “so much gratified in reading the poem, marvellous as I think it, as I did at the kindness which led you to think of me when you met with any thing that you imagined would give me pleasure. Your strictures, which are as true as if they had no wit in them, served to embellish every page as I went on, and were more intelligible and delightful to me than the scientific annotations in the margin. The author is, indeed, a poet; and I wish, with you, that he had devoted his exuberant fancy, his opulence of imagery, and his correct and melodious versification. to subjects more congenial to human feelings than the intrigues of a flower-garden. I feel, like the most passionate ]over, the beauty of the cyclamen, or honeysuckle; but am as indifferent as the most fashionable husband to their amours, their pleasures, or their unhappiness.” Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 149.-E.
By my not saying no to Thursday, you, I trust, understood that I meant yes; and so I do. In the mean time, I send you the most delicious poem upon earth. If you don’t know what it is all about, or why; at least you will find glorious similes about every thing in the world, and I defy you to discover three bad verses in the whole stack. Dryden was but the prototype of the Botanic Garden in his charming Flower and Leaf; and if he had less meaning, it is true he had more plan: and I must own, that his white velvets and green velvets, and rubies and emeralds, were much more virtuous gentlefolks than most of the flowers of the creation, who seem to have no fear of Doctors’ Commons before their eyes. This is only the Second Part; for, like my ’king’s eldest daughter’ in the Hieroglyphic Tales, the First Part is not born yet:—no matter. I can read this over and over again for ever; for though it is so excellent, it is impossible to remember any thing so disjointed, except you consider it as a collection of short enchanting poems,—as the Circe at her tremendous devilries in a church; the intrigue of the dear nightingale and rose; and the description of Medea; the episode of Mr. Howard, which ends with the most sublime of lines—in short, all, all; all is the most lovely poetry. And then one sighs, that such profusion of poetry, magnificent and tender, should be thrown away on what neither interests nor instructs, and, with all the pains the notes take to explain, is scarce intelligible.’
How strange it is, that a man should have been inspired with such enthusiasm of poetry by poring through a microscope, and peeping through the keyholes of all the seraglios of all the flowers in the universe I hope his discoveries may leave any impression but of the universal polygamy going on in the vegetable world, where, however, it is more gallant than amongst the human race; for you will find that they are the botanic ladies who keep harams, and not the gentlemen. Still, I will maintain that it is much better that we should have two wives than your sex two husbands. So pray don’t mind Linnaeus and Dr. Darwin: Dr. Madan had ten times more sense. Adieu! Your doubly constant Telypthorus.