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Memoir of Francis Hodgson
Scrope Davies to Francis Hodgson, [March 1828]

Vol. 1 Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II. 1794-1807.
Chapter III. 1807-1808.
Chapter IV. 1808.
Chapter V. 1808-1809.
Chapter VI. 1810.
Chapter VII. 1811.
Chapter VIII. 1811.
Chapter IX. 1811.
Chapter X. 1811-12.
Chapter XI. 1812.
Chapter XII. 1812-13.
Chapter XIII. 1813-14.
Vol. 2 Contents
Chapter XIV. 1815-16.
Chapter XV. 1816-18.
Chapter XVI. 1815-22.
Chapter XVII. 1820.
Chapter XVIII. 1824-27.
Chapter XIX. 1827-1830
Chapter XX. 1830-36.
Chapter XXI. 1837-40.
Chapter XXII. 1840-47.
Chapter XXIII. 1840-52.
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My dear Hodgson,—Your letter, having been directed to me paste restante, did not reach me till the 16th day after its arrival at Ostend. As for Moore’s letter, Heaven only knows how long it has been slumbering. We have no dead letters here. . . .

Sir James Wedderburn (Webster), whom you must have met at Newstead, has passed a few days here, on his road to Paris. Did you ever see Lady Frances? She is the only person I ever beheld in whom was everything that the eye looks for in woman. She, and she alone of all whom I have ever seen, had the ‘vultus nimium lubricus aspici,’ ‘that beauty over which the eye glides with giddy delight, incapable of fixing upon any particular charm.’ Goldsmith makes no acknowledgment to Horace, though he is indebted to him to the above amount. Sir James has survived Waterloo, but he has not survived his love of writing. He makes ‘born’ rhyme to ‘storm,’ and ‘suspect’ rhyme to ‘respect.’ About the latter, in vain do I assert that in English
Poetry a rhyme, to be just, should not be an ‘idem,’ but a ‘simile.’ He goes on rhyming and reasoning, and both with the same success. I recollect to have heard
B. Craven say that he once found some lines on the breakfast table at Belvoir where ‘women’ was made to rhyme to ‘chimney’ (sic): and a Mr. Elton at Brussels, when I declared that not one word rhymed to chimney, exclaimed: ‘What do you say to nimbly?’ The latter is, I have no doubt, perfectly orthodox at Bristol, as the former was at Belvoir. So that a rhyme is what Voltaire said of religion, a matter of geography.

Your letter has recalled to my mind scenes the recollection of which now constitutes my only delight. Bacon somewhere in his letters observes, ‘Aristotle saith young men may be happy by hope, so why should not old men and sequestered men by remembrance?’ The past and the future are the sole object of man’s contemplation. There is no present, or if there is, it is a point on which we cannot stand. While I am now writing the future becomes the past. Happiness then is a pursuit, not an attainment. In one of those runs with the Duke of Rutland’s hounds, when the fox is killed the sport is over, or to be enjoyed again only in recollection after dinner.


Will the present ministry stand? Sir R. Wilson says they cannot settle into permanent power. So Eldon is extinct. I cannot bear to hear his adulators talking about his giving a decision without turning to the right or to the left, whereas he looked to the right and to the leftl without giving a decision. But what have I to do with politics? W. Drury 2 is doing well at Brussels. He has upwards of seventy pupils. In the summer of last year, I encountered Polehampton at Antwerp, and with him Lewis, the fishing and shooting conduct of Eton. It was amusing to observe how they viewed everything through a bad pair of English spectacles.

Adieu! and when you have nothing else to do, write to one who is out of the world.

Yours truly,
Scrope Davies.

I have just escaped a duel for having written a couplet on an amateur actor.

Not to be hiss’d delights the dunce,
But who can groan and hiss at once?
10 Place d’Armes, Ostende.