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The Letters of Robert Bloomfield and His Circle, Edited By Tim Fulford and Lynda Pratt
TEI

238. George Bloomfield to William Holloway, before 11 June 1809* 

To Mr Willam Holloway

Dear Sir

I beg leave to give you my sincere thanks for your Minor Minstrel, [1]  I hope you, and all those you love are healthfull and happy, I lent your charming poems to my particular friends, all of whom speak highly of them, Last week I read you every time I took my tea, and great delight I took with you in your rural excursions; You have great variety this time,—I found that sort of pleasure I have so often found in roaming about the flower-deck't meadows at Honington with my Brothers—But all at once I found you gon over the Stile! left the pleasant meadows and peacefull Towns for war. [2]  this bestir'd the water in my brain, and after the agitation ceaced I fell into a rhyme-atical sleep and dream'd of a Brother I dearly love, and of an unknown friend, they were conversing after this sort——

The poets at Odds,
Observe cried Nat and learn the cause,
Of all those fatal cruel wars, [3] 
Men like the Bees in swarms combined,
In hopes each social joy to find,
As they increase their food grow scant,
They reather choose to fight then want;
Too soon they'r formd in Martial bands,
Intent to pillage forign lands,
Wars scythe produced swift decrace,
The cause remov'd men wish for peace,

'Was man a social creature made,
'To thin his race with Murders blade,
'Ah tell us not at Honors call,
'More myriads every age must fall,
'That thus th'encumber'd world has need
'Its victims oft shoud fight and bleed,
'I hear the God of truth reply,
'—Twas Hells arch-fiend devis'd the Lye,'—

Softly dear Will, I pray be civel,
Perhaps thy zeal belye the Devil,
If the satanic King declare,
That mankind still are thin'd by war
Whoever reads the historic page
Of ev'ry climb, of ev'ry age,
This obvious Truth needs must find,
(unless by prejudice they'r blind)
All historians display it,
Truth, is Truth, let who will say it

Think on Gods Word!——
'His Gospel bids our bick'rings ceace,
'And only whispers—love and peace
'Could not the power who life supplied
'For all his creatures wants provide.
'Accomodate th increasing race
'With food, convenience, health and space,
'And in the course of nature give
'Sufficiency for all that live,
'Let truth oppose the Sophist band,
'Lo Sin and Death go hand, in hand,

I made the search of scripture truth,
The study of my early youth,
Tis said to mankind great and small,
Resist not,* injuries atall,
Resist not, says the Law of Love
Yet you defensive war approve!!
No doubt but God the great first cause,
Could force obedience to his laws,
Bid national distinction ceace,
The schemes of patriots Eface,
Self int'rest drown in the great sea,
Of general phylanthrophy,
That peace and Love the world might crown,
The soldier and his trade unknown,
And for room, should men be scanted,
Could make another world and plant it.

'Ungreatfull Time to rob the brave,
'Whom Heaven ordain'd to shield and save,
'Of laurels Worthy to be worn,
'From fierce ambitions trophies torn
'When tyrants rouse the world to arms,
And deck Destructions form with charms,
'But would the proud and mighty hear,
'And listen with impartial ear,
'Whatever system they defend,
'How'er successfully contend,
'Beyond the rule of self defence,
'Unjust is every Vague pretence.

Give me your hand for I protest
My sentiments you have express'd
Nor can there be twixt any two,
More concord then twixt me and you

Hold Hold friend Nat,
'Commissiond War is but the rod
'And scourge of an offended God,—

As each contending state declare,
Theirs the just cause for waging war,
Each warft their prayers to the skies,
For aid to crush their enemies,
Then how shall any mortal white
Dare to decide whose cause is right,
And arrogate the place of God
O're fellow sinners shake the rod
Abstract perfection leads us far,
From what mere mortals realy are,
Proimiscuous, Mans lot may seem
As good, and bad, swim down Lifes stream
But yet there is a choosen race,
Who follow after Love and peace,
Nor do the storms of war destroy,
Their hopes of sollid Lasting joy,
We Deplore what cant be mended
Tis fickle Man, Not God offended,—
Yet I know————————
Here I awoke and Lo it was a Dream!!—

yours

George Bloomfield

* Matthew 5, 39 V,

P.S. Dear Sir I have beg'd of Mr Hill to give these Lines a place in his Mirror I wish I could have Done them better I know Nat would be the last man to defend his opinion, though no one is more Capable. he is to much a Christian to return a blow, he was Cruelly hunted Down by the Critics and may be considerd as a dead man and I am jealous of any one who Disturb his Ghost

Poor Henry Kirk White did him justice [4] 

But Henry is dead to—

Oh for a scrap of Latin or Greek to tagg this with but Allass I am no scholar———

* Houghton Library, Harvard, fMS Eng 776, f. 20 copied by George Bloomfield in his 11 June letter to Thomas Hill. BACK

[1] The Minor Minstrel; or Poetical Pieces, Chiefly Familiar and Descriptive (London, 1808). BACK

[2] Holloway's poem 'War' is on pp. 172-76 of The Minor Minstrel. BACK

[3] This verse-debate about war springs from the differing sentiments expressed in Nathaniel Bloomfield's 'Essay on War', published in An Essay on War, in Blank Verse; Honington Green, a Ballad . . . and Other Poems (London, 1803). BACK

[4] Henry Kirke White wrote positively about Nathaniel Bloomfield's poetry in his 'Melancholy Hours', which appeared in the November 1803 number of The Monthly Mirror (301–4). BACK

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Published @ RC

September 2009