I must finish, wishing you three hundred and thirteen days of happiness for the new year that is arrived this morning: the fifty-two that you hold in commendam, I have no doubt will be rewarded as such good intentions deserve. Adieu, my too good friend! My direction shall talk superciliously to the postman;(836) but do let me continue unchangeably your faithful and sincere Horace Walpole.(837)
(836) He means franking his letter by his newly-acquired title of Earl of Orford.
(837) This is the last letter signed Horace Walpole.-E.
Dear Sir, Though my poor fingers do not yet write easily, I cannot help inquiring if Mabeuse(838) is arrived safely at Lee, and fits his destined stall in the library. My amendment is far slower, comme de raison, than ever; and my weakness much greater. Another fit, I doubt, will confine me to my chair, if it does not do more; it is not worth haggling about that.
Dr. Darwin has appeared, superior in some respects to the former part. The Triumph of Flora, beginning at the fifty-ninth line, is most beautifully and enchantingly imagined; and the twelve verses that by miracle describe and comprehend the creation of the universe out of chaos, are in my opinion the most sublime passage in any author, or in any of the few languages with which I am acquainted. There are a thousand other verses most charming, or indeed are all so, crowded with most poetic imagery, gorgeous epithets and style: and yet these four cantos do not please me equally with the Loves of the Plants. This seems to me almost as much a rhapsody of unconnected parts; and is so deep, that I cannot read six lines together, and know what they are about, till I have studied them in the long notes, and then perhaps do not comprehend them; but all this is my fault, not Dr. Darwin’s. Is he to blame, that I am no natural philosopher, no chemist, no metaphysician? One misfortune will attend this glorious work; it will be little read but by those who have no taste for poetry and who will be weighing, and criticising his positions, without feeling the imagination, harmony, and expression of the versification. Is not it extraordinary, dear Sir, that two of our very best poets, Garth and Darwin, should have been physicians? I believe they have left all the lawyers wrangling at the turnpike of Parnassus. Adieu, dear Sir! Yours most cordially.
(838) A capital picture by that master, then lately purchased by Mr. Barrett.-E.