1774 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Francis Hoyland

William Mason to Horace Walpole, 3 February 1774; Horace Walpole's Correspondence with William Mason, ed. W. S. Lewis et. al. (1955) 1:132-33.



The poor man, whom some years ago you so much befriended by printing his little poems at your press, has been on my hands ever since; and by the contributions I then raised, added to a small living which Mr. Stonhewer procured for him, he and his wife and four children have been kept from starving, and this without much diminishing the little principal which I have kept in my hands. During all this time, he has been in such a state between madness and reason, that he is only capable at times of doing the common duties of his church but never of taking care of his own affairs; and now he has taken it into his head to send his children to York for education, which will of necessity run away presently with that money which I intended to have employed in setting up his wife and eldest daughter in some decent trade, in case of his death, which, from his apparently bad constitution, was long ago expected. I mention this merely to show how fruitless it is to hope to do real good in cases so deplorable as these. Yet I think at the same time it is our duty to act even without and against hope in such cases, but for our own ease we should always avoid laying any preconcerted scheme for our conduct, and only act as circumstances arise, otherwise we are sure of being disappointed.