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countenance in a former; and by thofe too, who had as much true gallantry and good-fenfe as one ufually meets with in this. But affections which are founded in truth and nature ftand not in need of any precedent to fupport them; and I efteem it my honor no less than my happiness, that I am, &c.
To CLYTANDE R.
D you imagine I was really in earnest
D when I talked of quitting *** and
withdrawing from thofe gilded profpects which ambition had once fo ftrongly set in my view? But my vows, you fee, are not in the number of thofe which are made to be broken for the retreat I had long meditated, is now, at laft, happily executed. To fay truth, my friend, the longer I lived, in the high fcenes of action, the more I was convinced that nature had not formed me for bearing a part in them and tho I was once fo unexperienced in the ways
ways of the world as to believe I had talents, as I was fure I had inclination, to ferve my country, yet every day's conversation contributed to wean me by degrees from that flattering delufion.
How indeed could a man hope to render himself acceptable to the various parties which divide our nation, who profeffes it as his principle, that there is no striking wholly into the measures of any, without renouncing either one's fenfe or one's integrity? and yet, as the world is at present conftituted, it is fcarce poffible, I fear, to do any good in one's generation (in public life I mean) without lifting under fome or other of those various banners, which diftinguish the feveral corps in these our political warfares. To thofe, therefore, who may have curiofity enough to enter into my concerns, and ask a reason for my quitting the town, I anfwer, in the words of the hiftorian, Civitatis morum tædet pigetque.
But I am wandering from the purpose of my letter, which was not fo much to justify my retreat, as to incline you to follow me into it: to follow me, I mean, as
a vifitor only; for I
love my country too
well to call you off from those great fervices you are capable of doing her.
I HAVE pitched my tent upon a spot which I am perfuaded will not displease you. My villa (if you will allow me to call by that fine name, what, in truth, is no better than a neat farm-house) is fituated upon agentle rife, which commands a short, tho agreable view of about three miles in circumference. This is bounded on the north by a ridge of hills, which afford me at once both a fecure fhelter and a beautiful profpect; for they are as well cultivated as the most fertile valleys. In the front of my house, which stands fouth-east, I have a view of the river that runs, at the distance of somewhat lefs than a quarter of a mile, at the end of my grounds; and after making feveral windings and returns, feems to lose itself at the foot of those hills I just now mentioned. As for my garden, I am obliged to nature for its chief beauties; having no other (except a small spot which I have allotted for the purposes of my table) but what the fields and meadows afford. Thefe, however, I have embellished with fome care, having intermixed among the
hedges all the feveral forts of flowering fhrubs.
But I must not forget to mention what I look upon to be the principal ornament of the place; as indeed I do not recollect to have seen any thing of the kind in our English plantations. I have covered a small fpot with different forts of ever-greens, many of which are of a fpecies not very ufual in our country. This little plantation I have branched out into various labyrinthwalks, which are all terminated by a small temple in the centre. I have a double advantage from this artificial wood: for it not only affords me avery shady retreat in fummer, but, as it is fituated oppofite to my library, supplies me in winter with a perspective of the most agreable verdure imaginable.
WHAT heightens the relifh of this retirement, is the company of my Cleora; as indeed many of the beft improvements I have made in it, are owing to hints which I have received from her exquifite taste and judgment. She will rejoice to receive you as her guest here; and has given it me in charge to remind you, that you have promifed to be fo. As the bufinefs of parlia
ment is now drawing to a conclufion, I may urge this to you without any imputation upon my patriotism; tho at the fame time I must add, I make a very confiderable facrifice of private interest whenever I refign you for the fake of the public. Adieu.
RE you aware, Hortenfius, how far I may mislead you, when willing to refign yourself to my guidance, thro the regions of criticism? Remember, however, that I take the lead in these paths, not in confidence of my own fuperior knowledge of them, but in compliance with a request, which I never yet knew how to refufe. In fhort, Hortenfius, I give you my fentiments, because it is my sentiments you require but I give them at the fame time rather as doubts than decifions.
AFTER having thus acknowledged my infufficiency for the office you have affigned me, I will venture to confefs that the poet