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To his Tutor THOMAS JURE. THOUGH
HOUGH I had determined, my excellent tutor, to write you an epistle in verse, yet I could not satisfy myself without fending also another in profe. For the emotions of my gratitude, which your services so justly inspire, are too expansive and too warm to be expressed in the confined limits of poetical metre; they demand the unconstrained freedom of prose, or rather the exuberant richness of Afiatic phraseology. Though it would far exceed my power accurately to describe how much I am obliged to you, even if I could drain dry all the sources of eloquence, or exhaust all the topics of difcourse which Aristotle or the famed Parisian Logician has collected. You complain with truth, that my letters have been very few and very short; but I do not grieve at the omiffion of so pleasurable a duty, so much as I rejoice at having such a place in your regard as makes you
anxious often to hear from me. I beseech you not to take it amiss, that I have not now written to you for more than three years ; but with your usual benignity and candour tó impute it rather to circumstances than to inclination. For, heaven knows, that I regard you as a parent, that I have always treated you with the utmost respect, and that I was unwilling to teaze you with my compositions. And I was anxious
my letters had nothing else to recommend them, VOL. I.
they might be recommended by their rarity. And lastly, since the ardour of my regard makes me imagine that you are always present, that I hear your voice and contemplate your looks; and as thus (which is usually the case with lovers) I charm away my grief by the illusion of your presence, I was afraid when I wrote to you the idea of your distant feparation should forcibly rush upon. my mind; and that the pain of your absence which was almost soothed into quiescence should revive and disperse the pleasurable dream. I long since received your desirable present of the Hebrew Bible. I wrote this at my lodgings in the city, not as usual, surrounded by my books. If therefore there be any thing in this letter which either fails to give pleasure, or which frustrates expectation, it shall be compensated by a more elaborate composition as soon as I return to the dwelling of the Mufes.
London, March 26, 1625.
TO ALEXANDER GILL. I RECEIVED your letters and your poem, with which I was highly delighted, and in which I discover the majesty of a poet, and the style of Virgil. I knew how impossible it would be for a person of your genius entirely to divert his mind from the culture of the Muses, and to extinguish those heavenly emotions, and that sacred and ethereal fire which is kindled in your heart. For what Claudian said of himself may be said of you, your “ whole soul is instinct with the fire of Apollo." If therefore, on this occasion, you have broken your own promises, I here commend the want of confiancy which you mention; I commend the want of virtue, if any want of virtue there be. But, in referring the merits of your poem to my judgment, you confer on me as great an honour as the Gods would if the contending mufical immortals had called me in to adjudge the palm of vic6
tory; as poets babble that it formerly fell to the lot of Imolus the guardian of the Lydian mount. I know not whether I ought to congratulate Henry Nassau more on the capture of the city or the composition of your poems. For I think that this victory produced nothing more entitled to distinction and to fame than your poem. But since you celebrate the successes of our allies in lays so harmonious and energetic, what may we not expect when our own successes call for the congratulations of your muse? Adieu, learned fir, and believe me greatly obliged by the favour of your verses.
London, May 20, 1628.
To the same. In my former letter I did not so much answer yours as deprecate the obligation of then answering it; and therefore at the time I tacitly promised that you should soon receive another, in which I would reply at length to your friendly challenge. But, though had not promised this, it would most justly be your due, since one of
letters is full worth two of mine, or rather, on an accurate computation, worth a hundred. When your letter arrived I was strenuously engaged in that work concerning which I had given you some obscure hints, and the execution of which could not be delayed. One of the fellows of our college, who was to be the respondent in a philosophical disputation for his degree, engaged me to furnith him with some verses, which are annually required on this occafion ; since he himself had long neglected such frivolous pursuits, and was then intent on more serious studies. Of these verses I sent you a printed copy, since I knew both your discriminating taste in poetry, and your candid allowances for poetry like mine. If you will in your turn deign to communicate to me any of your productions, you will,
I can assure you, find no one to whom they will give more delight, or who will more impartially endeavour to estimate their worth. Foras often as I recollect the topics of your conversation (the loss of which I regret even in this seminary of erudition), I cannot help painfully reflecting on what advantages I am deprived by your absence, since I never left your company without an increase of knowledge, and always had recourse to your mind as to an emporium of literature. Among us, as far as I know, there are only two or three, who, without any acquaintance with criticism or philosophy, do not instantly engage with raw and untutored judgments in the study of theology; and of this they acquire only a fender smattering, not more than sufficient to enable them to patch together a sermon with scraps pilfered, with little dilcrimination, from this author and from that. Hence I fear, lest our clergy should relapse into the sacerdotal ignorance of a former age. Since I find so few associates in ftudy here, I should instantly direct my steps to London, if I had not determind to spend the summer vacation in the depths of literary solitude, and, as it were, hide myself in the chamber of the muses. As you
do this every day, it would be injustice in me any longer to divert your attention or engrofs your time. Adieu.
Cambridge, July 2, 1628.
T. THOMAS JURE. On reading your letter, my excellent tutor, I find only one superfluous passage, an apology for not writing to me sooner ; for though nothing gives me more plea. sure than to hear from you, how can I or ought I to expect that you should always have leisure enough from more serious and more sacred engagements to write to me; particularly when it is kindness, and not duty, which prompts you to write ? Your many recent fer