1767 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Joseph Warton

James Harris to Joseph Warton, 8 May 1767; Wooll, Biographical Memoirs of Joseph Warton (1806) 316-17.



Committee Room, May 8, 1767.

Dear Sir,

I have a thousand thanks to return you for your kind letter, and for the elegant verses that came with it, in which I think the author has shewn his genius both in the invention and versification. The verses on the same subject by Mr. Ansty have much merit also, and prove what I have always been convinced of, that every real genius is equal to the sublime and serious as well as the humorous and gay. Hence Shakespear, Plato, Cicero, and a hundred more, prove the truth of this opinion.

I can send you little public news, the practice of the times being to put off and procrastinate. We have talked about the two Indies, and regulations relative to them, these four months, yet nothing hitherto has been done with either. Today we deliberate on East India matters, where Government and the proprietors seem at open war. Government sent them a proposition that they should not divide above 10 per cent. — they immediately upon this voted a dividend of 12 and and a half percent.

Dr. Morel is about to give an edition of Eschylus's Prometheus; 'tis said too he will publish Nicander, with the notes of Bentley, a work belonging to Dr. Askew. Dr. Sharpe, Master of the Temple, has just finished his edition of Hyde's work, de Religione Veterum Persarum, to which will be added several Tracts of Hyde, as yet unpublished. A handsome dedication is prefixt, to Lord Bute. — In the exhibitions of pictures — a portrait of the Queen and her daughter, by Coates, is universally admired — the historical pictures of West, both for colouring and design, are excellent — so are the candle-light pieces of Wright of Derby — so are two large battle piece by Casa Nova, and the landscapes of Zuccarelli and Wilson.

Present my own, my Wife's, and Daughter's, compliments to Mrs. Warton; and believe me to be, dear Sir, as much as in my library enjoying my speculations,

Yours most sincerely,

JAMES HARRIS.

My Son is well at the Hague, but soon proceeds into Germany. — If you write, I am still at St. James's Street.