William Duncombe

Christopher Pitt to William Duncombe, 6 July 1728; Duncombe, ed. Letters by Several Eminent Persons (1772; 1773) 2:12-14.

Pimpern, July 6, 1728.


.... You desire me to recommend a tutor to your nephew. If he is designed for a gentleman-commoner, I would recommend him to New-college, (for we take no commoners) and to Mr. Spence, a fellow of the house, for his tutor. I need not enter upon his character, which is very well known; he has a more extensive character, than you insist upon in your letter. I believe he is about my age; and he is the completest scholar, either in solid or polite learning, for his years, that I ever knew. Besides, he is the sweetest-tempered gentleman breathing.

I am mightily taken with your nephew's verses, and would translate them, if I thought I could do justice to them. Accept of these, though I am sensible, they do not hit off the true turn of the epigram:

From a small acorn, see the oak arise,
Supremely tall, and tow'ring in the skies!
Queen of the groves, her stately head she rears,
Her bulk increasing with increasing years!
Now moves in pomp, majestic, o'er the deep,
While in her womb Britannia's thunders sleep;
With fame and conquest graces Albion's shore,
And guards the island, where she grew before.

I hope, sir, you will accept of this, as it is written extempore; I know the last couplet has something of a turn, but not the same with the original....
Yours, &c.