1754 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Joseph Warton

Robert Dodsley to Joseph Warton, 29 September 1754; Wooll, Biographical Memoirs of Joseph Warton (1806) 224-25.



Pall Mall, Sept. 29, 1754.

Dear Sir,

That I am an insufferably bad correspondent, all my friends, with too much reason, complain: and I am afraid I sometimes sin this way beyond forgiveness. However, I have in my own mind made great resolutions of amendment: and when one considers how delightful it is to talk to an absent friend, it is amazing how one can possibly be guilty of the crime of neglect. But the practice of every virtue is delightful, and yet the world continues to be a wicked world: so true it is that man is an heap of contradictions. One good thing however attends this neglect of writing to one's friends too punctually, which is, that one sometimes gets almost to the bottom of the first page in making an apology. I was extremely sorry we could not spare time to call on you in our return from Portsmouth; our party was Mr. Giffard and his wife, and I and mine; and when women are in the way (don't let Mrs. Warton see this) a man can never do what he ought. I prodigiously admire your character of Mr. Bedingfield, who you say has actually refin'd his taste to a degree that makes him dissatisfy'd with almost every composition; don't you think then that he is in almost the same situation with Horace's recover'd madman? What are you doing? and what is your Brother doing? I hear he has laid aside all thoughts of Apollonius. I think he is right: but I would not have him lie still. I am just going to put my fourth volume of poems to press, and wish he would send me a corrected copy of his Pleasures of Melancholy, and Triumphs of Isis. And have you nothing to send me? Whitehead's play does not come on this winter, there is no room for it. Glover's Boadicea comes on in November. And Garrick is engag'd for a play of a Mr. Crisp in February. I have never thought of mine since, and probably never shall. Let me first see what will be said to my Agriculture, which is now finish't, and will be published in November. Compliments to Mrs. Warton and your Brother. Sha'nt we see him or you, or both, in town this winter?

I am ever yours,

R. DODSLEY.