128. Capel Lofft to Robert Bloomfield, 9 May 1804


128. Capel Lofft to Robert Bloomfield, 9 May 1804* 

Dear Sir,

I have just received your obliging Letter I like the Alteration in the pathetic Description of the Funeral exceedingly

I would transpose two lines to avoid an anti-climax thus

England has sent a balm for private woe
England strikes down the Nations bitterest Foe [1] 

The Conclusion is very beautiful, appropriate & characteristic

I still wish some little suitable ornament by way of vignette: but perhaps the Time is too short. ‘crown’ seems in haste to have been copied for ‘crowns their’

Hastily as I am obliged to write I am very sorry if I created you so much trouble by a strange omission. I said, or should have said, Frank Capell Esq., Nottingham Str: Marylebone nr. the Church.

Many thanks for procuring me the seal at Bentley’s with the head of Dr Priestley. With regard to Rousseau it would be too expensive to have a seal made on purpose. I fear at Wedgewood & Bentleys it will not be found in the seal prices [2] 

Shall I send Mr Bowdens poem [3]  to Messrs Vernor & Hood for Mr Hill or to you or how? I wrote to Mr Hill but have not yet his answer. My Proposals for the Author are these if they will print & publish the First Edition at their own risque clear of Expense to the Author allowing him half or not less than a third of the Net profits of that Edition to be open to a New Agreement between the Parties for the 2d or any subsequent edition

I must finish now in haste: and indeed I have scarce fairly time to write this.

I am very glad your Poem is to be printed I mean the Farmers Boy in stereotype. But as the nature of that method of printing while it excludes the risque of Error in one impression which existed not in a former, more particularly calls for original typographical correctnes I should be glad to revise the Proofs for that Edition.

I thank Mr Hood for what he has said relative to Mr Bowden’s poem. I faithfully comply with the wish of the Author in thinking of him as publisher.

With our united remembrances to yourself Mrs Bloomfield & Family,

I am Dear Sir,

Yrs most sincly

Capel Lofft

To Mr Bloomfield / Troston / 9 May 1804

1/2 p. 11 at night.

Not Country Hours. yet I am a Potatoe Farmer as far as one Field: but am in some dread for my success.

How vain this tribute; vain, this lowly lay;
Yet nought is vain which gratitude inspires!
The muse, besides, her duty thus approves
To virtue, to her country; to mankind!

Thomson [4] 

Address: To Mr Bloomfield / near The Shepherd & Shepherdess / City Road / London

* Houghton Library, Harvard College, fMS Eng 776, f. 6 BACK

[1] Lines 311–12 of Good Tidings; or, News from the Farm were published as in Lofft’s letter. BACK

[2] Lofft asks Bloomfield to shop for him at the London showrooms of the Etruria potter Josiah Wedgwood. He, in partnership with Thomas Bentley, sold there his famous dinner services but also seals, medals and bas reliefs. BACK

[3] Joseph Bounden was the author of Fatal Curiosity, or, the Vision of Silvester; a Poem, in Three Books (London: Longmans, 1805)—a work designed to illustrate the perils of knowing the future that was damned with faint praise in The Monthly Review, 48 (1805), 435-36 and condemned by the Annual Review for 1805, 4 (1806), 566 in these words: ‘Woe to the wight whose “fatal curiosity” leads him to cut open these lethargic leaves! His heavy slumbers will certainly be unblest by the genius of poetry’. Bounden remained in correspondence with Lofft and published more poetry, including The Deserted City; Eva, a Tale in Two Cantos; and Other Poems (1824), a publication which also met with mixed reviews. BACK

[4] These lines, 354–57 of James Thomson’s ‘To the Memory of the Right Hon. Lord Talbot, Late Chancellor of Great Britain. Addressed to his Son’, are written crossways across the flap, apparently in Bloomfield’s hand. BACK