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Newcastle friday ye 10=th= of Sept 1760
[\ADDED 1761\]
My Lord
   I must condole with your Lordship on the departure of M=r= Rust; by your description of him I suspect some Muse assumed a human shape on purpose to reside (\incognito\) at Hagley in a season of jollity & (\la bonne chere\) when the spiritual nine were not invited, nor expected. By the voice, figure, and universality of talents, it is probable it was Apollo himself. But pray, tell me, who is this (\soy disant\) M=r= Rust? is [\he/] a gentleman of fortune who takes his pleasure in the gardens of Parnassus? or does he toil in the appropriated fields of science as a professor? I imagine by his not being more celebrated he must be very young. I rejoyce that your Lordship has had a companion so worthy to converse with you, for I often pity your painfull preeminence of talents & knowledge, which makes it difficult for my Lord Lyttelton to meet with any one capable of bearing a part in the kind of conversation he would naturally chuse. [\9 LINES CROSSED OUT BY MM? I know by experience with what easy & gentle condescension your Lordship can bend to inferior minds, but it must be painfull to stoop continually, & therefore it gives me pleasure when I hear of you having any one with you who can really amuse you & as the County of Worcester will hardly furnish many of the cast of M=r= Rust I shall not fear your Lorships losing the habit of condescension; nor indeed can you quit any habit taught by good nature
and benevolence.\] I shall be very glad to see M=r= Rusts translations of Euripides & Sophocles. I imagine M=r= Franklyns translation to be like the mask taken off a fine face in plaister of paris; in which the features of the original are exactly mark'd & the air of countenance preserved, but many a delicate touch & spirited grace is wanting. Such a mask indeed is far preferable to a bad picture. Most translators who profess to imitate, do in fact only mimick their original; they catch some peculiarity & heighten it to (\caracatura\) . When I know that no Poet can write in the true spirit of Dryden, Cowley, or Shakespear, tho they have the use of the same language, I am a little incredulous as to their being able to hit that (\je ne scai quoi\) , so delicate, so unreduceable to any rule of art, in a language of a quite different turn & spirit. Suppose I [\was INTO were BY MM?\] told there was not a [\single/] statuary, who could in marble entirely imitate a modern [\CROSSED OUT BY MM? [\marble/] \] statue of M=r= Rysbracks, but [\that/] an hundred artists would readily undertake to make an exact likeness [\CROSSED OUT BY MM? in lead or silver\] of some ancient statue of [\gold or/] parian marble, could I hope with great confidence for the performance of this promise? I own I was glad M=r= Franklyn undertook [\WORD DELETED\] to imitate Sophocles only in an elegant & chaste simplicity. The most flexible mind or body can hardly mould itself into the exact form of another, & every attempt towards it will have an air of distortion and constraint. I think those writings alone, which I could have known [\at sight/] to be translations, have been such as have profess'd to be rather imitations than translations, and to follow closer the spirit than letter of the original. What these gentleman commonly call the spirit [\of their author/] is really nothing but the idiom of his tongue
Whereas if they would but consider that the best way to imitate, is to write those thoughts & sentiments in pure, elegant, & natural english, which their author wrote in pure, elegant, & natural Greek, or Latin, the ignorant reader would be much obliged to them. I do not wonder that a person of M=r= Rusts taste & learning should have a superior admiration of the greek tragedies. I have not seen any thing of the dramatick kind in any language, which take it for all in all, seems to me at all equal to Sophocles plays even through the dull medium of translation. As the perfection of writing consists not so much in shining passages, as in the total perfection of a work, the best & surest applause is the unwearied attention of the reader. [\false INTO False BY MM?\] thoughts & grotesque ornaments may please & surprize, but it is only the just, the natural, & the proper, that can engage. The mob indeed are attracted by the exhibition of monsters, & prodigies, & foreign rarities, but the judicious specatator is to be fix_d by the regular, beautifull, & orderly productions. Your Lordships favorite tragedy of Philoctetes tho it is very barren of events, proves itself the master[\ship DELETED\] [\piece/] of art by the constant attention it commands. I think if all I possess was at the hazard of a trial at law, I should [\not/] listen to the pleaders with greater attention & interest than I did to Neoptolemus, Ulysses, & Philoctetes litigating for the arrows. One wonders how it will end. The honest, generous & frank character of Neoptolemus makes one under little apprehension he should [\use/] force or fraud, to a miserable man who has trusted him, Ulysses has all his wanted subtilty & art, but what is cunning when understood? Treachery, ill usage, severe suffering, despair, and
and solitude have render'd Philoctetes suspicious, resentful, & inflexible. his mind like his cave is rude, forlorn, and almost inaccessible: he will not listen to human councils or perswasion. A deity is wanted to untye the knott, but Philoctetes abandon'd by all the Gods will obey none
 of them, despair is impious. What can be done then? why, let his Hero, his benefactor, his deify'd friend appear. He comes, untyes [\ye knott/] without breaking any of the strong threads of which it was composed. That the difficulty & distresses arose merely from the personal characters of those concernd, without any external impediment & are removed without violating those characters, is most singularly beautifull. The tragedy of Ajax seems to me to fall far short of the other. Ulysses is not there directed by Minerva, but Minerva seems to act by the counsels [\of Ulysses/] & divine wisdom is turn'd into human cunning. The minute description of Ajax killing & quartering sheep is abominable. the story would pass in light narration, as in Homer, but dwelt upon, circumstantiated, & as it were represented, it deviates into the comick. The behaviour of the Atridiae is barbarous & brutal; [\CROSSED OUT BY MM? like a\] [\they act like/] tyrants over their savage subjects, not like chiefs of an army of Heroes. Tho I admire Athenian art, I have not lost my esteem for the native genius of Shakespear; he alone, like the Dervise in the arabian tales, can throw his soul into the body of
 another man; feel all his sentiments, perform his function, & fill his place. Must not one have been in King Lears situation, who had injured one daughter & been offended by another, [\have DELETED\] feard the worlds censure for imprudent generosity, & dreaded losing all the tender
pleasures of paternal love before one could have thought of falling on ones knees to ones child to beseech her to be dutifull. How without having incurr'd the guilt of murder did he so far feel the remorse that attends it, [\as/] to know that after [\having/] done such an act when the grooms cry God bless us Macbeth could not say Amen, & that his crime being so recent he was scarce acquainted with the nature & measure of his offence, he should make him ask himself (^wherefore could I not say Amen^)? Every passing sentiment is caught by this great genius; every shade of passion, every gradation of thought is mark'd. In the famous soliloquy, To be or not to be? how [\naturaly INTO naturally BY MM\] do all the questions arise, & how finely are those circumstances set forth which are most grievous, to the discontented mind! The insolence of office, the rich mans contumely, the laws delay, the thousand scorns that patient merit from the unworthy take, these are the grievances a splenatick [\mind/] complains of. It is not the [\anguish or ye/] fear of bodily diseases that prompts the desperate hand of selfmurder, it is gloomy pride & discontent at the offenses offer'd by fellow creatures that drive the soul to sullen desperation. When Macbeth intimates to his wife, that he is about something with which he will not acquaint her, you see his words are full of the dark & bloody purpose of a midnight murderer, & he considers the night only as an accomplice. How finely does King John prepare us for the command he is going to give to Hubert? My paper would not hold all the
remarks one might make on King Lears addresses to the storm & return of thought to his daughters, & the workings of a wounded mind till by degrees madness is brought on. In his Hamlet, K: John, Henry ye Fourth, & all his good plays, he makes his person say what one would imagine could not occur to any one who was not in their very circumstances. I imagine that being an actor might a little assist him in this respect; the writer puts down what he imagines, the actor what he feels, the characters & situations are in some degree realized in the acting. Had Shakespear lived in Sophocles age & country what a writer had he been What powers had he by nature, & alas! what deficiencies in art! Genius alone cannot attain the perfection of composition, but it can (^snatch a grace beyond the reach of art^) . I must observe too that the moral reflections of Shakespear are not the cold & formal observations of a Spectator, but come warm from the heart of an interested person. How natural are those made by Wolsey on his disgrace! The same things out of the mouths of the chorus would lose much of their force & their grace & wear too great an appearance of commonplace observations. But I ask pardon for troubling your Lordship with what if it is just you must have observed before, if it is not, is unworthy of your attention. I am actually
an Inhabitant of Newcastle, & am taking out my freedom, not out of a gold box, but by entering all the diversions of the place. I was at a musical entertainment yesterday morning, at a Concert last night, at a musical entertainment this morning. I have bespoken a play for to morrow night, & I shall go to a ball on chusing a Mayor on monday night. The people are very obliging & desirous to amuse me, & I could never understand Master Shallows dignity of being very proud & very melancholly, & so I endeavour to seem diverted at least as I am in good health. I could spend my time very happily with my books. More leisure & fewer acres had possibly made me happier, but my business is to make the best of things as they are. I am not much alarm'd at the report of Emin, it may be an old lye or a new one. The Bishop of Ossory & D=r= Gregory left us on monday. My complim=ts= attend all my friends at Hagley. Your Lordship will be glad to hear we are to have more Highland poetry.
   [\CROSSED OVER BY MM? With unalterable regard\]
   I am your Lordships
   [\CROSSED OVER BY MM? most obliged & Obedient
   Humble Servant\]
   E Montagu
   The post which is just come in has brought me a letter from M=rs= Pitt, in which she tells me there is news that M=r= Emin is alive & well.