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July 8, 1744.
IF good manners will not justify my long
filence, policy at least will: for you must confess, there is fome prudence in not owning a debt one is incapable of paying. I have the mortification indeed to find myfelf engaged in a commerce, which I have not a fufficient fund to fupport; tho' I must add at the same time, if you expect an equal return of entertainment for that which your letters afford, I know not where you will find a correfpondent.. You will fcarcely at least look for him in the defart, or hope for any thing very lively from a man who is obliged to feek his companions among the dead. You who dwell in a land flowing with mirth and good humor, meet with. many a gallant occurrence worthy of record: but what can a village produce, which is more famous for repofe than for action, and is fo much behind the manners of the prefent age, as scarce to have got out of the fimplicity of the firft? The utmost of our
humor rifes no higher than punch; and all that we know of Affemblies, is once a year round our May-pole. Thus unqualified, as I am, to contribute to your amusement, I am as much at a loss to supply my own; and am obliged to have recourse to a thoufand ftratagems to help me off with those lingering hours, which run fo fwiftly, it feems, by you. As one cannot always, you know, be playing at push-pin, I fometimes employ myself with a less philosophical diverfion; and either purfue butterflies, or hunt rhymes, as the weather and the feafon permit. This' morning not proving very favorable to my sports of the field, I contented myself with thofe under covert; and as I am not at present supplied with any thing better for your entertainment, will you fuffer me to fet before of my game?
A TAL E.
RE Saturn's fons were yet difgrac'd, And heathen gods were all the taste, Full oft (we read) 'twas Jove's high will To take the air on Ida's hill.
It chanc'd, as once with ferious ken
He faw (and pity touch'd his breast)
Say, which of all this shining train "Will Virtue's conflict hard fuftain? "For fee! fhe drooping takes her flight, "While not a god fupports her right," He paus'd-when from amidst the sky, Wit, Innocence, and Harmony, With one united zeal arofe, The triple tyrants to oppose. That inftant from the realms of day, With gen'rous fpeed, they took their way': To Britain's ifle direct their car,
And enter'd with the ev'ning ftar.
They urge the trav'ler's common chance, And ev'ry piteous plea advance.
The artful tale that Wit had feign'd,
THE dame who own'd, adorn'd the place: Three blooming daughters added grace. The firft, with gentleft manners bleft And temper sweet, each heart poffeft; Who view'd her, catch'd the tender flame: And foft Amafia was her name.
In fprightly sense and polish'd air,
IMAGINE now the table clear, And mirth în ev'ry face appear: The fong, the tale, the jeft went round, The riddle dark, the trick profound. Thus each admiring and admir'd, The hofts and guests at length retir'd ;When Wit thus fpake her sister-train : "Faith, friends, our errand is but vainQuick let us measure back the sky; "Thefe nymphs alone may well supply "Wit, Innocence, and Harmony."
You fee to what expedient folitude has reduced me, when I am thus forced to string rhymes, as boys do birds eggs, in or
der to while away my idle hours. But a gayer fcene is, I truft, approaching, and the day will shortly, I hope, arrive, when I fhall only complain that it steals away too faft. It is not from any improvement in the objects which furround me, that I expect this wondrous change; nor yet that a longer familiarity will render them more agreable. It is from a promise I received, that Amafia will vifit the Hermet in his cell, and disperse the gloom of a folitaire by the chearfulness of her converfation. What inducements fhall I mention to prevail with you to haften that day? fhall I tell you, that I have a bower over-arched with woodbine? that I have an oak which is the favorite haunt of a dryad? that I have a plan-. tation, which flourishes with all the verdure of May, in the midst of all the cold of December? Or, may I not hope that I have fomething ftill more prevailing with you than all these, as I can with truth affure you that I have a heart which is faithfully yours, &c.