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O soul, in whom my thoughts find all repose,
My glory, my perfection, glad I see
Thy face and Morn returned.

Why is my inclination not attended with ability? Why do I find myself
disposed to write without experiencing that rigor of conviction and
facility of utterance of which I have at other times been sensible?
Unseasonable langors take possession of me. Joyless slumbers weigh
down my eye-lids. Not even the idea of my beloved friend, for whom,
notwithstanding an impatient and capricious disposition, I entertain
the most ardent and sincere affection, of which my heart is at this
waning era of my existence susceptible, can banish this oppressive
listlessness and rouse me into watchfulness or activity. What expe-
dient shall I practice to restore me to the empire of my thoughts?
How the curtain of each eye gradually falls, how the objects vanish
by degrees "remote and small"! My pen moves with difficulty through
the line. Each letter is at least a league in length, in traversing a
third of which I grow unsufferably weary. I must sleep—doze, I mean;
pos—itively I—m—m—ust sl—sle—sleep—.

What! have I lost the dominion of myself? Cannot I resist, when I
will, the approach of that unseasonable and impertinent intruder
sleep? What tranquillity is there in my lassitude: My heart is equally
dead to the voice of sorrow and of joy. Let me at this moment of
vacancy consider what is the idea which shall dwell the longest on
my mind, which shall leave my intellects the last, for that it will be
the ideal representation of what, whether thing or person, is the
dearest to my heart, may justly be imagined. My eyes are closed, my
head reposes on my arm, my thoughts are scattered, my attention
dissipated. I linger for a moment on the verge of sleep; I just retain
discernment to discover what it is that covers over the threshold of
my imagination, and is the only one of all the throng which has just
retired from the penetralia that is visible. A sound reaches me that is,


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with difficulty, audible. Some spirit whispers in my ear the name of
Wilkins, but before its last faint echoes are departed, my slumber is
disturbed by that of Henrietta, but which, after it has vanished, none
is found worthy to succeed, and sleep is at length permitted to ascend
in silence and security her throne. Thus, a friend! thou seest in what
relation thou standest to the Sleeper. That thy image is excluded only
to admit the luminous idea of a gracious beauty, with whom if thou
wast acquainted thou wouldst join me in adoring her, and in looking
with contempt or indignation on the Dolls or Lucys that daily flutter in
thy sight. Those toys! Those gildings, those baubles to amuse a
thoughtless hour, those eye deluders; who, when absent, are invisible,
and never visit the beholder in his solitude, nor fill his bosom with
untractable enthusiasm or an agonizing softness. Where in that
superiority of understanding, that sublimity of sentiment, that sanc-
tity of virtue, that union of grace and dignity! Where are those
features, mind-irritated, and those eyes each glance of which appears
to be an emanation of divinity? Ah, my friend, in the image at which
my solitary hours are employed in gazing, all those attributes and
more than I can number are comprised. What! my friend, are thou a
lover? Yes, vain, pragmatical, and ignorant pretender, so thou auda-
ciously pretendest, but let me tell thee that thou art able to describe its
effects with just as much skill as an elephant can finger an harpsichord.

Be not angry at Sir Oracle, nor offended at his sincerity; he is
conscious of his own defects, that he has read but few pages in the
book of human nature and those with which he is acquainted were
perused without attention or sagacity. The temple of science he has
not yet visited. The tracts of literature he began, in resemblance of
Barretier and Haller, to treat in infancy, but untoward accidents
retarded his career, ere it had scarcely been begun, and put a period to
his progress, long before his entrance into manhood. Humble are
therefore his pretentions, and few his claims. His prospect is confined
to the surfaces of things and even to a narrow portion of the surface.
He will, therefore, never aspire to conduct thee to the shrine of literary
glory, or lead thee to the summits of ethereal science, or guide thee
through the mazes of the human heart and teach thee the knowledge
of thyself, of nature, or of God; but in whatever respect or in what-
ever degree, his weakness and ignorance be manifest, he is at least a
proficient in Love. In an experimental knowledge of the motives,
circumstances, and consequences of love, he will not scruple to esteem
himself immeasurably superior to the reptiles that surround him, and
on this superiority then my friend shouldst rely with beseeming defer-
ence and question not the truth of my assertion that thou art yet a
stranger to the raptures and the agonies of love.



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Monday afternoon

I have slept. How long I know not. Let me reconsider my dream.
It has more correctness and vehemence than my dreams generally
possess. The subjects, I perceive, are love and beauty: fertile topics,
themes in which my friend takes greatest pleasure, in expatiating on
which he thinks himself peculiarly qualified by long and melting
experiences to pronounce decisively, and in which I will not deny that
he is an adept. This conception may, perhaps, be contradictory to the
tenor of my dream, but a visionary is not answerable for his senti-
ments or actions. I shall abide only by the decisions of my waking
hours. Let me not therefore be accused of arrogance and presumption
a shadow, and because, now that I am awake, I declare myself of a
different opinion.

I will willingly become a pupil to you and be taught, by my amorous
friend, the art and mystery of a Lover. His precepts will be highly
useful, the result of infinite sagacity and long experience. With what
nervous arguments and opposite instances will [thou] not prove that
love is the same in brute and men, that true chastity is utterly
unknown in the world, that every woman is a rake at heart, and that
reputation is the only god of womankind. Vile, detestable, degrading
maxims! Engendered in the corrupted heart and nourished by the
perverted understanding of a prostitute! That forms the creeds of the profligates and gains
the approbation of fools! Ye are unworthy of the lips of virtue! But how shall
I appollogize for imputing opinions like these to my friend? For insinuating
that he whose virtues and talents have ingaged my love and admiration
and induced me to aspire to his friendship, is capable of espousing tenets
so base and despicable? I hope he will forgive me and impute [gap] my
fault to inattention and negligence rather than to any inexcusable motive.
I will indeavour to sooth his resentment with a Song.


When Bringhurst and Wilkins are here
Diffusing the smiles of content
My bosom shall banish its fear
My sorrow shall quickly relent.

No longer be moistened the eye
The hours no longer in weeping
Be spent, nor the eloquent sigh
No longer prevent me from sleeping.

No longer embellish the page
With emblems of gloomy despair
Or struggle to temper its rage
Or lighten the burthen of care.

With accents of musical woe
Attuned to the voice of the flute
In teaching Æolus to blow
Or vocalizing the lute.


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But sitting securely together
We order the door to be shut
We pass from the news and the weather
To shuffle, to deal, and to cut.

In tale of fictitious distress
In study or converse the day—
At ombre or chequers or chess
The even shall vanish away.

I cannot write any more at present. This is written in the midst of
difficulty and embarrassment, with disturbed intellects and lethargic
stupor. I am, my dearest William, ever and faithfully yours

C. B. B.