Basingstoke, Oct. 29, 1746.
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.
Do not doubt of being able to get some money this winter; if ever I have a groat, you may depend on having twopence.
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.