(631) “Modern ears,” says Mr. Matthias, in the Pursuits of Literature, “are absolutely debauched by such poetry as Dr. Darwin’s, which marks the decline of simplicity and true taste in this country. It is to England what Seneca’s prose was to Rome: abundat dulcibus vitiis. Dryden and Pope are the standards of excellence in this species of writing in our language; and when young minds are rightly instituted in their works, they may, without much danger, read such glittering verses as Dr. Darwin’s. They will then perceive the distortion of the sentiment, and the harlotry of the ornaments.” To the short-lived popularity of Dr. Darwin, the admirable poem of “The Loves of the Triangles’” the joint production of Mr. Canning and Mr. Frere, in no small degree contributed.-E.
I am not a little disappointed and mortified at the post bringing me no letter from you to-day; you promised to write on the road. I reckon you arrived at your station on Sunday evening: if you do not write till next day, I shall have no letter till Thursday!
I am not at all consoled for my double loss: my only comfort is, that I flatter myself the journey and air will be of service to you both. The latter has been of use to me, though the part of the element of air has been chiefly acted by the element of water, as my poor haycocks feel! Tonton (632) does not miss you so much as I do, not having so good a taste; for he is grown very fond of me, and I return it for your sakes, though he deserves it too, for he is perfectly good-natured and tractable; but he is not beautiful, like his " god-dog,(633) as Mr. Selwyn, who dined here on Saturday, called my poor late favourite; especially as I have had him clipped. The shearing has brought to light a nose an ell long; an as he has now nasum rhinocerotis, I do not doubt but he will be a better critic in poetry than Dr. Johnson, who judged of harmony by the principles of an author, and fancied, or wished to make others believe, that no Jacobite could write bad verses, nor a Whig good.
Have you shed a tear over the Opera-house?(634) or do you agree with me, that there is no occasion to rebuild it? The nation has long been tired of operas, and has now a good opportunity of dropping them. Dancing protracted their existence for some time; but the room after. was the real support of both, and was like what has been said of your sex, that they never speak their true meaning but in the postscript of their letters. Would not it be sufficient to build an after-room on the whole emplacement, to which people might resort from all assemblies? It should be a codicil to all the diversions of London; and the greater the concourse, the more excuse there would be for staying all night, from the impossibility of ladies getting their coaches to drive up. To be crowded to death in a waiting-room, at the end