1730 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lewis Theobald

Lewis Theobald to William Warburton, 1730; Nichols, Illustrations of the Literary History of the XVIII Century (1817-58) 2:616-17.



You remember well, that Mr. Cotesworth was the gentleman who gave Mr. Eusden his Lincolnshire Rectory; and, as consequently, he was the person who had the earliest notice of Eusden's death, the account no sooner reached us, but the women spurred me to put in for the withered laurel. Accordingly, I with Lord Gage attended Sir Robert Walpole; who was commanded by him to attend at Windsor; and his warmest recommendations to the Lord Chamberlain; nay, procured those recommendations to be seconded even by his Royal Highness: and yet, after standing fair for the post at least three weeks, had the mortification to be supplanted by Keyber. But, as the vacancy has been so supplied, I think, I may may fairly conclude, with Mr. Addison's Cato, "The post of honour is a private station." I have since waited on Sir Robert, to thank him for the trouble I gave him in that solicitation; and have the privilege to keep in his eye, with assurances of service. But, now I have frankly unburthened myself to you, as freely give me your friendly advice.

Shall I pursue this dream of expectation, and throw away a few hours in levee-hunting? Or will it be more wise to wake myself at once from a fruitless delusion, and look on promises but as Courtiers' oratory? You will do me justice to believe, my first quest was not on the motive of vanity, but to assist my fortune. The same reason still remains, and I would fain sit down to my little studies with an easy competency. But I should be sorry to dance a vain dependence, and be rolling the stone of Sisyphus too long. I shall wholly determine myself on your decision; and till then suspend the subject.