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And sung of Nature with unceasing joy,
Through the hushed air the whitening shower descends,
Though timorous of heart, and hard beset
(From The Seasons)
And see where surly Winter passes off,
Then no more
Fleecy, and white, o'er all-surrounding heaven.
Letter to the Earl of Chesterfield
FEBRUARY 7, 1755.
TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE THE EARL OF CHESTERFIELD.
I have been lately informed, by the proprietor of the World, that two papers, in which my Dictionary is rec-5 ommended to the public, were written by your Lordship. To be so distinguished, is an honor, which, being very little accustomed to favors from the great, I know not well how to receive, or in what terms to acknowledge.
When, upon some slight encouragement, I first visited your 10 Lordship, I was overpowered, like the rest of mankind, by the enchantment of your address; and could not forbear to
wish that I might boast myself Le vainqueur du vainqueur
de la terre; - that I might obtain that regard for which I 15 saw the world contending; but I found my attendance so
little encouraged, that neither pride nor modesty would suffer me to continue it. When I had once addressed your Lordship in public, I had exhausted all the art of pleasing
which a retired and uncourtly scholar can possess. I had 20 done all that I could; and no man is well pleased to have his all neglected, be it ever so little.
Seven years, my Lord, have now past, since I waited in your outward rooms, or was repulsed from your door; during
which time I have been pushing on my work through diffi25 culties, of which it is useless to complain, and have brought
it, at last, to the verge of publication, without one act of assistance, one word of encouragement, or one smile of favor. Such treatment I did not expect, for I never had a Patron
before. 30 The shepherd in Virgil grew at last acquainted with Love, and found him a native of the rocks.
Is not a Patron, my Lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and, when he has
reached ground, encumbers him with help? The notice 35 which you have been pleased to take of my labors, had it
been early, had been kind; but it has been delayed till I am indifferent, and cannot enjoy it; till I am solitary, and cannot impart it; till I am known, and do not want
it. I hope it is no very cynical asperity, not to confess 40 obligations where no benefit has been received, or to be
unwilling that the Public should consider me as owing that to a Patron, which Providence has enabled me to do for myself.
Having carried on my work thus far with so little obliga45 tion to any favorer of learning, I shall not be disappointed
though I should conclude it, if less be possible, with less;
for I have been long wakened from that dream of hope, in which I once boasted myself with so much exultation,
50 Most obedient servant,
Letter to James Macpherson
MR. JAMES MACPHERSON,
I received your foolish and impudent letter. Any violence offered me I shall do my best to repel; and what I cannot do for myself, the law shall do for me. I hope I shall never be deterred from detecting what I think a cheat, by the 5 menaces of a ruffian.
What would you have me retract? I thought your book an imposture; I think it an imposture still. For this opinion I have given my reasons to the public, which I here dare you to refute. Your rage I defy. Your abilities, since your 10 Homer, are not so formidable; and what I hear of your morals inclines me to pay regard not to what you
say, but to what you shall prove. You may print this if you will.
A Dissertation on the Art of Flying
(From Rasselas, Chap. VI) Among the artists that had been allured into the happy valley, to labor for the accommodation and pleasure of its inhabitants, was a man eminent for his knowledge of the mechanic powers, who had contrived many engines both of use and recreation. By a wheel, which the stream turned, 5 he forced the water into a tower, whence it was distributed