William Gifford to Edward Copleston (2/26/1811)

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William Gifford to Edward Copleston
Feb. 26, 1811
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Devon 1149/F83. 4pp. Date at top: Feb. 26, 1811


James St.
Buckingham Gate

Feby 26th. 1811


My dear Sir

I know not how to express my obligations to you for your last letter. I think with some uneasiness of your generous acquiescence in the resignation of Dugald—but from what Heber had often pressed on me, I thought it my duty to write; though I can scarcely reconcile my own feelings to the event.1

I cannot possibly entertain a doubt of the kind interest which you take in our success, and very gratefully do I always meditate on it. In this sense I receive what you say of Oxford, & would gladly follow every hint which you have thrown out with singular attention. But how shall I proceed

—Cupidum, pater optime, vires Deficiunt2

I have lived so long in a chimney corner, that I have no personal knowledge of the literati of Oxford, nor of the peculiar bent of their respective studies. If you would have the goodness to point out to me any persons whom I might properly address, and the nature of the subjects which might possibly suit their inclinations, I would lose no time in addressing them: for I think with you that there is much talent dormant, which might be roused, with some stimulus, to successful & honourable exertion. You have set a noble example of what might be done against the common foe, over whom your triumph is final and complete. To lie by & watch the exertions of others with captious severity, is not generous, and, in a national Establishment, is not even just.

Heber once mentioned Mr Gaisford to me, as having undertaken to review Wittenbach;3 but I have heard nothing from him. Perhaps he is about him. Conybeare & Kidd4 you know I have lost through Murray's absurd officiousness. I regret the former very much, for I hear often of his talents.

I have in this No. an article on Clavier's Ancient Greece,5 (a dull but accurate work) which I think will delight you by its learning and talent. But it will oblige me to postpone Falconer to our next, as there is in it a long disquisition on chronology, & we must not have another on measures. Falconer, I fear, is a little captious, but he is kind at the bottom, and I must sooth him as I can.6 His Article is printed, & I will take the liberty one day of transmitting it to you.

I have for the next a Review of Blomfield's Aesch. somewhat elaborate, but the article in the last Edin. has forced us to exert ourselves a little.7 To our excellent friend Davison,8 whose kindness I feel deeply, I leave the choice of subjects; wishing only to know them when made.

But what, my dear Sir, have you in view for me? Alison perhaps is scarcely equal to your strength on matters of taste; but I trust that you have already decided on your next.9 Whitaker, I presume,10 we shall have this week. I shewed Canning the Article on Roscoe,11 with which he was greatly pleased: by his advice I made a trifling omission, which even the author will scarcely discover - But what do you think of Heber, the lamb, the sucking dove, the "tender-hearted" Heber!12 He wrote to me yesterday from Hodnet Hall to deprecate the wrath of the author, & to beg some mitigation of the censor passed on his (Roscoe's) ponderous Quartos. That this can be done in any instance, I do not know at present; but I do know that the unknown writer's censure of them is just. I have yet a hundred things to say, but my paper is at an end. With the truest regards

I remain, dear Sir, your

Obliged & faithful friend

Wm. Gifford

Wednesday night13