1746 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Warton

Joseph Warton to Thomas Warton, 29 August 1746; Wooll, Biographical Memoirs of Joseph Warton (1806) 214-15.



Basingstoke, Oct. 29, 1746.

Dearest Tom,

I have been hindered by an infinite deal of business from writing to you sooner. This moment I have received your Ode, for which I give you a thousand thanks; I am extremely pleas'd with it, and think it very poetical and correct, as far as I can judge by twice reading it: one or two little alterations to the epithets maybe made, such as "Ivy mantled," because there is "ivy darkened" in the Ode to Despair; and "fair" is repeated several times, as also is "polish'd": but these are trifles. You judge right in saying that I should like the fourth and sixth stanzas, they are as poetical as any thing I ever read: your transitions are very judicious, especially to your descriptions of the ravages of the Goths: but of this more minutely hereafter.

I have now another scheme to communicate to you, of which 1 desire you not to speak till I have further consider'd it. Since you left Basingstoke I have found a great many poems of my Father's, much better than any we read together. These I am strongly advised to publish by subscription, by Sir Stukely Shuckburgh, Dr. Jackson, and other friends. There are sufficient to make a six shilling octavo volume, and they imagine, as my Father's acquaintance was large, it would be easy to raise two or three hundred pounds; a very solid argument, in our present situation. It would more than pay all my Father's debts. Let me know your thoughts upon this subject; but do not yet tell Hampton, or Smythe, who would at first condemn us, without knowing the prudential reasons which induce us to do it.

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Do not doubt of being able to get some money this winter; if ever I have a groat, you may depend on having twopence.

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I wish you had been with me last week, when I spent two evenings with Fielding and his sister, who wrote David Simple, and you may guess I was very well entertained. The lady indeed retir'd pretty soon, but Russell and I sat up with the Poet till one or two in the morning, and were inexpressibly diverted. I find he values, as he justly may, his Joseph Andrews above all his writings: he was extremely civil to me, I fancy, on my Father's account.

I have by this long letter endeavoured to make up the deficiency of not writing before. Accuse me of any thing but want of affection; since our melancholy loss our attachment to each other should, if possible, be stronger. We daily expect the new Vicar, who, I believe, is Mr. Henchman; lucky enough for us, as he was a friend of my dear Father's. My Mother and Sister join in love.

Yours ever most affect.

J. WARTON.