1762 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Kames

James Harris to Joseph Warton, 1762 ca.; Wooll, Biographical Memoirs of Joseph Warton (1806) 285-86.



Dear Sir,

Nothing should have prevented my waiting on you at the time of your repeating verses, a time I particularly love, but my being obliged to attend Parliament the day before, on the last matter of consequence, I mean the vote for the supply of an additional million; on this occasion we had all the great speakers up, and upon the whole a very entertaining debate.

Foster's book on accents I have seen, and think it a very ingenious performance. He has certainly brought together all in a manner left in antiquity upon the subject, and has shewn it to respect acute and grave, not long and short. But then, as to the application of this to any method of pronouncing we know, here I am afraid we are as much in the dark as ever.

Lord Kames's book on the Elements of Criticism, I should be glad to hear a little what you think of. He is a man of character, and has done me the honour to commence a correspondence with me. I was too much engaged in London to read, and I must confess I was a little hurt to find him condemn some of the finest parts of Virgil and Horace, and which are in the highest degree defensible; and that for no other reason than because they did not coincide with a system of his own invention. However, as I said before, I should be glad to know your sentiments.

I am sorry I cannot see you at Sarum, and envy you the pleasure of your journey through Wales. What joy to a man of taste from a scene so romantic!

What you tell me of my Son gives me the most real satisfaction. There is nothing I have so much at heart as the formation of his character, with every accomplishment that may adorn it, that while others exceed him in wealth and honours, he may exceed them in what is far more valuable, and far more his own.

My compliments, and that of us all, attend Mrs. Warton and Mr. Thomas Warton: — when he has done with those books of mine, and not before, I should be obliged if he would return them. I rest,

Dear Sir,

Your much obliged humble servant,

JAMES HARRIS.