Tuesday Aug 29th.
I have been several times on the point of writing to you
& as often delayed by the daily expectation of a letter. your last never
reachd me. I have received but one from you, except what arrived to day
& in that you evidently allude to another which must have been lost on
Take care of despondence Horace. you are younger than
I am — & yet I have not yet set out on my way of life — I am to live by
the law — & know not even the ABC of it. of the nature of the
application which you say has xxxxxxxx
<failed> I know nothing. is not the law open to you? or the more
rational & more respectable study of physic?
some subjects you say harrass you to distraction. if — as I
suspect — they are upon some metaphysical questions — think nothing about them.
I have followed the bubble myself till it burst — & take my word for it
it is nothing but emptiness. time has produced some changes in me Horace since last we met. I
have learnt heartily to despise the reptile race that pollute the world.
you love Rousseau. read his letter to that rascal Voltaire.
perhaps the most eloquent & the most excellent of all his works. it is
in answer to a Poem which Voltaire had written upon the earthquake at
Lisbon  — speaking of religion he says
— my mind cannot <endure> the painful state of suspense —
& xxxx if the arguments on one side
balance those on the other — I fling the weight of Hope into the scale of
My letters are advancing. I treat the Beast
with as little respect as he deserves, & give my own opinion totally
careless how far it may coincide with any one else.
I have now read the Monk — & admire the delicacy of
Lewis  in criticising
the Bible. there is genius in the book — but no good can possibly be produced by
it. I would not have men distrust themselves. xx he who slides timidly
will fall — & this is a slippery world.
apropos I must give you a couplet in the best alliterative
There — trace where tranquil oer his track of trail
Slow slides the sleek & slimey-slipping snail. 
Lewiss poetry is contemptible — except the Water King — & Alonzo
& Imogine  — of which the story is bad — & the most
striking part very inferior to what appears to me its original the Franciscan
monk at the marriage of Lorenzo in the Ghost-Seer of Frederick Schiller.  an
author compared to whom the sublimity of Eschylus 
& Shakesperexx is little have you read
Fiesco? Stodhard  of Christ Church is one of
the translators. you may hear something of him from Collins — if you still retain his
acquaintance: with friendship I believe him totally unacquainted.
I envy you your Hastings expedition. that country is well known
to me. I love the sea when on shore — but no motive shall ever take me a longer
voyage than to Calais again. x somebody (a
painter I believe — Tresham?) has [MS torn] a poem called the Sea Sick
Minstrel  lately. tis a villainous subject. Oh Horace — conceive Heart
Liver & Lights & Tripes & Trullibubs with the Fauxbourg
St Intestinal Canal — in a state of insurrection — then
the tocsin of the windpipe — then the discharge — such a scene of retchedness! — there is no occasion of the W.
I must give you the Effusion of a morning [MS torn] before [MS
torn] breakfast. the Personification & image is I think new
How did ye murmur then my Trullibubs!
On that ill-omend day
When forth — all-breakfastless — I went my way.
xxxxx Mother of Mulligrubs
Hunger — with all the melody of gripes
Playing the flaccid bagpipe of my tripes!
I made a good pun the other day on a boy who had stolen some
cakes — for I said he was
“With what a weight does Expectation load the wings of
Time”!  says somebody — but at what a pace says <does> the bald old rascal run
on when the spur of business goads! I have a great desire to write my tragedy
& to finish Madoc. both of which I could do with great ease in a
twelvemonth — I have heard people laugh at “give us this day our daily
bread”  as a foolish petition — if those persons
were at the trouble of getting it they would think otherwise.
Sunday is to be a day of rest from my law studies. & as I
frequent no place of worship I shall then have leisure for writing.
Let me hear from you soon: you promisd some remarks on Joan of
Arc. let them be critical ones. we shall meet soon — & then if you have
time & inclination to execute half my plans — take the mantle of
Elijah  — I have a thousand things to say
<to> you when we meet —
yrs most truly.
Horace Walpole Bedford Esqr/ New Palace Yard Hastings/ Westminster./ Sussex
Postmarks: BSE/ 1/
96; FSE/ 1/ 96
Endorsement: Thursday afternoon
Library, bMS Eng 265.1 (15)
Dating note: The letter is
dated ‘Tuesday Aug 29th’, but this could be a misdating
as Tuesday was 30 August in 1796. BACK
 The Lisbon earthquake occurred
on 1 November 1755. Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) wrote to Voltaire,
François-Marie Arouet (1694–1778) on 18 August 1756, in reply to Voltaire’s
‘Poem on the Lisbon Disaster’ (1756). BACK
 Matthew Gregory Lewis
(1775–1818; DNB), author of the controversial
Gothic novel The Monk (1796). BACK
 Southey’s sonnet ‘Oh! ’tis a soft and
sorrow-soothing sight’, published anonymously in the Morning Post, 3 April 1799. BACK
 Matthew Gregory Lewis,
The Monk, 3 vols (London, 1796), III, pp. 17–20
and pp. 63–66. BACK
 Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller
(1759–1805), The Ghost-Seer (1786–1788). BACK
 Æschylus (525–456 BC), Greek tragic dramatist. BACK
 John Stoddart
(1773–1856; DNB), co-translator of Johann Christoph
Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805), Fiesco; or the Genoese
Conspiracy: A Tragedy (1796). BACK
 Henry Tresham (c.
1750/51–1814; DNB), The Sea-Sick
Minstrel; or, Maritime Sorrows. A Poem, in Six Cantos
 The Greek translates as ‘[a] bad
 William Mason (1725–1797;
DNB), Elfrida, a Dramatic
Poem. Written on the Model of the Antient Greek Tragedy (London,
1752), p. 12. BACK