226. Robert Bloomfield to Catherine Sharp, 11 February 1808


226. Robert Bloomfield to Catherine Sharp, 11 February 1808* 

Mr Bloomfield to Miss Sharp

City Road Feb 11th 1808.

To Miss C. Sharp

I am reduced to the very last shift for paper and must therefore scribble (with moderate ink and an oily pen,—) just to acknowledge the receipt of yours, and to thank you.

Whenever I have let slip out of my hands a kind of momentary composition like the song in question, [1] I am sure afterwards to find something that is ambiguous, or perhaps contradictory. In this case I had only doubted whether I had made the second line say what I meant (viz) 'Hope,' strengthens my heart and my constancy, or resolution. In a thing like this there are a kind of painters strokes, which must by no means be removed. I therefore propose to say—

'Yield there to pleasure old care
Sweet Hope I'll rely on thy truth.
Sickness in pity forbear
And steal not the case of my youth.'

and if this does not amend it, I despair of doing it any good, indeed the second line might still be transposed and stand 'Hope, let me rejoice in thy truth;' or, 'Let me rely on thy truth.' of these, I now prefer

'Hope let me rejoice' &c

and you may if you please insert it.—This scrap is full of personifications, and if Joy is one of the party I am determined she shall be a lady, and if so I am as fully determined, to have her hand white if I have it at all. I can see Madam Joy stretching out her hand to Charlotte Cooper, and can justify the expression to myself. I must defer this till I see Dr Crotch. I tell you again that her hand shall be white, or else I'll keep it out of the picture.

I hope to write more fully in a week or two.

With true respects and remembrances to Mrs Sharp &c. I am yours

R. Bloomfield

* BL Add. MS 28268, f. 251 BACK

[1] The song in question was published in the first volume of Remains as 'Yield thee to pleasure old care' (p. 67):

Yield thee to pleasure, old Care;
Hope—let me rejoice in thy truth;
Leave me, pale sickness; forbear,
And steal not the rose of my youth.

Spring; with thy charms, prithee come,
I long for thy bright sunny hours;
Clothe the steep woods round my home;
And bid me revive with thy flowers.

Borne on the fresh blowing breeze,
The respite of Heaven descends.
Joy; thy white hand let me seize;
I live for my father and friends.