1735 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Hughes

Thomas Herring to William Duncombe, 12 May 1735; Letters from ... Dr. Thomas Herring, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury (1777) 24-26.



Blechingly, May 12, 1735.

DEAR SIR.

I have received and thank you for the books. I have dipped into them, and am satisfied, from a small specimen, that the world is obliged to you, and will thank you for your pains in collecting them. The bookseller too, I think, has done his part in the beauty of the edition. It is but right and suitable that the works of so delicate a genius should come abroad in a neat and elegant dress. I told you I had not gone far in my reading yet, and I have made the less progress for being most agreeably detained in the three fine poems to the honour of the house of Nassau. The Court of Neptune is one of the most beautiful sea-pieces that I ever beheld; and I am satisfied, if a judicious pencil were to strike off the ideas of the poet on canvass, the picture would be invaluable. The guardian-shield is is wonderfully poetical and instructive. Never, surely, were the actions of any hero more agreeably related than those of king William in that fine description (exactly consonant to history) which we find in the ode, entitled The House of Nassau. I am, in short, extremely delighted, and read Mr. Hughes's poems in a sort of transport. If the Chace, by Somerville, be worth having, send it me by Pemberton, or give me credit for it till I see you.

You were so kind as to promise me a visit, and I should be glad to see you, but to say the plain truth, at present I have no beds. I have with me a friend, and expect on Saturday next two school-boys, my relations, for the holidays. And if they should be baulked in an amusement which I suppose they have dreamt of this fortnight, I do not know what might be the consequence to their Greek and Latin.

I am, Dear Sir,

Yours, &c.

THO. HERRING.