205a. John Jackson to Robert Bloomfield, 5 May 1807


205a. John Jackson to Robert Bloomfield, 5 May 1807* 

Mr. Birchall’s School, Manchester

May 5, 1807


It is with a heart glowing with the warmest gratitude, that I return you my sincere thanks for your highly valued present,  [1]  your kind and affectionate letter, and for the friendly hints and excellent advice you have given me.

To receive a letter from the Author of ‘The Farmer’s Boy,’ is an honour I but little expected, a compliment I can but ill repay; but if the sincere effusions of a heart, that has courage to scorn the baseness of dissimulation, be worth your acceptance, to you I humbly offer them.

You, Sir, have trod the enchanted path of Poësy, from the dewy morning of youth, till the meridian sun of manhood has gleamed refulgent upon you.

You have culled for your garland the fairest flowers of all the flowery lawn—flowers which can never fade, while beauty can charm, or simplicity enchant us. You have plucked the rose without being injured by the thorn, and with the disinterested kindness of a friend, you would direct me to pursue that path, where you have never been intercepted with a bramble.

Oh! that I could tell you how much I feel myself indebted to your generosity!

I have read your letter over and over again, and every time have felt a flutter in my breast, which, I would fain hope, is nothing related to pride. Indeed, Sir, this is not the first time that you have put my passions into a violent fermentation.

I have more than once shed tears in reading the story of your ‘Walter and Jane’—am absolutely in love with your ‘Miller’s Maid’—our ‘Richard and Kate’ I revere as my father and mother, and your Miller and good old Soldier I could press to my bosom with all the enthusiasm of an affectionate and long lost friend.

But I must restrain the ardour in which, if I were writing for my own private perusal only, I should certainly indulge. I know that the incense of praise, however just, would not to you be acceptable.

You must, my dear Sir, do me the justice to believe that, if it would raise me from my cottage to a throne, I would scorn to flatter either a friend or an enemy; and that when I hear the tongue of adulation lavishing those praises on the great, which belong only to the good, I can heartily join in your quotation from that independent man, Robert Burns, and say,

The rank is but the guineas’s stamp:
The man’s the gow’d for a that.  [2] 

For you to condescend to write to me often, is, I confess, more than I dare expect; but if you would sometimes send me, if it were but half a line, it would always be most thankfully received by,

Dear Sir,

Yours affectionately,


* Textual note: From the published text in John Jackson, An Address to Time, with Other Poems, 2nd edn (Macclesfield: J. Wilson; London: Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme, 1808), pp. 41–42. BACK

[1] Bloomfield had sent Jackson a presentation copy of the ninth edition of The Farmer’s Boy: a Rural Poem (London: Vernor, Hood and Sharpe, 1806). See Letter 205. BACK

[2] Lines seven and eight of Burns’s ‘Is there for honest poverty’ (1795). BACK