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July 28 1768
   I could only send my dear Friend when I wrote last a brief account of myself, for between attending M=r= Montagu in his very infirm state, domestick orders for y=e= regulation of a family consisting of about thirty Persons, Letters of business, & my author-like duties, I have sometimes a great hurry, & I have also some sick patients for whom I am obliged to make up medicines, that being in some cases not to be trusted to another. Poor Shakespear is last served, & I believe will be worst [\served/] . I am sure I ought to say I hope so, for he will not feel any uneasiness from my mistakes or omissions. If his Ghost was not better engaged that to attend to what happend here, there are certain Commentators whose curtains he w=d= mightily shake, if he meddles with mine, I shall say get thee to thy Elysian Groves, for I have not mixd my nonsense
with thy sense, as others have done. In my work they lye as distinct as the cloth of Frieze & cloth [\over? INTO of\] Gold in the Duke of Suffolks Caparisons. All I have done, is what is often done, to thy great Master Phœbus, & he takes [\it/] not amiss. I have presented a smoak'd glass through which thy Countrymen may [\fixedly\] look upon those beauties in thy work which were too [\dazzling/] bright (^to suit the sense of mortal sight^). Go therefore & torture those who have tortured thee, frighten those out of their Witts who have endeavourd to bereave thee of thine making thee utter that nonsence that didst never conceive. Nothing can be laid to my charge but the rashness of undertaking a task too difficult for my capacity, & talents, & says I, Master Ghost, unless you have guzzled too much of the oblivious lake in the other World, & so have forgot the human nature [\you once so well understood/] you will not be angry with me for not knowing myself. So then away he goes to B- & W- & undraws his curtains, & with [\an/] angry voice awakes him, to the
great surprize of [\3 LINES DELETED\] the Ghost & Commentator together to make up their matters as they can. The [\Tirades\] is as you say, a perfect tragedy, without a gleam of mirth full fancy, & it is very touching, but by the by, one gives ones pitty to the calamity as one does ones money to a ragged beggar without respect to personal character, I mean as far as regards to Hecuba, who is a mere old Woman: & she says Oh my back! & Oh my sides! just like the Old nurse in Romeo & Juliet she laments her hard bed &c. One sh=d= have been more [\nobly/] touchd if she had mention'd the scornfull looks of the Grecian Dames which w=d= be cast on the Mother of Hector & the Queen of Troy [\in her fallen state/] The character Andromeda gives of herself is noble, that such a Wife, such a Matron, sh=d= be a Captive is grievous. The part of Cassandra is exessively fine, & is as I remember
well imitated [\in parts/] by Thompson in his Agamemnon. How finely, in a faint perspective, does Cassandra shew the future travels of Ulysses! There is a wonderfull beauty in the prophetick part of Cassandra, & a noble spirit in the consolation she draws, that by her means, her Parents & Country will be avenged. This tragedy shews a fine dramatick genius, it is indeed an imitation of the sentiments, discourses, & actions of Men, & therefore excites a sympathy that is very strong. Andromaches envy of the dead Polixena is worthy the Widow of Hector. Hecuba rises in ones opinion when she glories not in ye number but virtue of her Children, however upon the whole, I think the Mother of Hector sh=d= have been a higher character. When Shakespear produces King Lear exposed to the stormy night, it is not by his being wet & cold that he makes you pity him, the storm only heightens the offence done by him by his Children in turning him out of doors, it is true, the Spectator finds a subject for pity in it,
but how finely does Shakespear make the old King bid his followers shelter themselves from its violence, but express that he has a great storm within, & that by diverting his thoughts it rather alleviates than aggravates his sorrow! External evils have their known limits, the minds sufferings we cannot measure, therefore the tragick [\Poet/] sh=d= move by them. Shakespear very judiciously, in my opinion, in all the reasons Hamlet enumerates for laying down the burthen of life, never reckons one bodily evil. However I have [\TEAR\] [\written\] all this very hastily, & you will tell me where I am right where wrong. I am hurried to make up a medicine for a poor Woman whom I sent to D=r= Collet this morning in my post chaise, so if I have said rash things of the Grecian Bard correct me. Indeed in some respects, & in that great point of realizing a story, he appears to me unequalled. I dont
like the dialogue of Neptune & Pallas at all. Nor do I percieve its utility. That Cassandra sh=d= prophetically disclose the fate of the Greeks is well imagined & there is something great in her prophetick fury, & a fine obscurity in her tale. Poor Neptune might say when [\he was DELETED\] out of his element, as L=d= Grantham the Queens Chamberlain used, that when he was not in Court, he was like a Goose out of water. I wish Neptune w=d= go to Sea. [\TEAR\] Mad=me= Minerva she had better take her [\TEAR\] [\spinning\] wheel than come like an idle [\TEAR\] [\Gossip\] on ye Stage. (\Adieu\) my Dear Friend make my comp=ts= acceptable to all your family & to M=rs= Underdown. We have got fine weather to day. I have sympathized a little with y=r= head achs lately but to day I am free from it. I am always my Dear Mad=m=
   most affectly y=rs=
   EM I sent a frank in hopes of a double letter