7 October 1779 (2)

Letter 64.  Mary Hays to John Eccles, Thursday morning, 7 October 1779.1


                     “Ah! why should duty chain the mind,

                     And part those souls which &c.2

    How much more pleasing is the reflection on those interviews which caprice has not embittered; if we knew our own happiness, should we so often disturb the few minutes we have together with quarreling or sulkiness; never shall the ^like^ be again, if it is in my power to prevent it; let “the pleasure of pleasing” from henceforth be our motto; or rather “the wakened power of giving joy;”3 never does my heart feel such sweet sensations,4 as when conscious of having written or said any thing to give you satisfaction; to contribute to your happiness (by every means that is consistant with prudence) shall ever be my first care; sure I am you cannot be ungrateful.

“Thought meeting thought, and will preventing will

“With boundless confidence; for nought but love

“Can answer love, and tender bliss secure.”5

Every real felicity springs from that union of souls which Thomson so elegantly describes, to those minds who partake of the celestial fire; [f. 254] how insipid, how uninteresting are all the enjoyments of sense, “what is the world to them?”6 – I have been censured as entertaining ideas, which are too refined to be in nature; my sentiments have been termed the gay delusions of a romantic head; oh let me then be ever so sweetly deluded! – the vision is too agreeable to wish to be awakened from it; may I flatter myself that you experience the same delusion, if it is one? which I must confess I am inclined to doubt; for would the all-wise creator have planted such ideas and conceptions in our hearts, for no other purpose than to render us unhappy – No, ’tis impossible! I can never believe it; they must proceed from him as the fountain of all good, “For God is love”7 – every sublime, every tender attachment is then, an emanation of the divinity, and as such must be pleasing in his sight. –

     You wished the weather might not be favorable today; it is as you wished; now own that all is for the best – Should you not have experienced a greater disappointment in being prevented by rain from going to Lark-hall (when you had been pleasing yourself with thoughts of the excursion for some days before,) than you do now? – If I judge from myself, the nearer we are to happiness (if I may be allowed to give it that name) the more severely we feel the disappointment. – What is become of you this morning? – I thought to have received a letter, instead of which the bird is flown. – If I don’t receive a [f.255] tremendous long epistle to morrow, you may expect I shall be very cross; – true upon my word; but breakfast is ready – Adieu! – Je suis votre tres humble serviture. –

       Again I take up my pen, though I declare I hardly know what to write, having no letter of yours to answer, and to own the truth I am rather in a stupid humour this morning, which is amazing, is it not? – I don’t find myself much inclined to go out to day – “solitude is sometimes [the] best society.”8 – I wish Mr and Mrs –––––– were not to be of the party; their presence is an antidote to pleasure – there is something in the old gentleman especially, that always fills my mind with glooms and horrors; he is one of those narrow minded bigots, who painting the deity from their own gloomy conceptions, too often frightened the young from the paths of religion; despairing of ideal perfection, they give up all virtue as unattainable, and start aside from the road which they falsely imagine strewed with thorns. – True piety is too lovely to be hid under a morose or gloomy appearance; let her appear then in her own form, and she must charm; let politeness ever be her9 attendant; – that politeness which can even give grace to vice itself; which makes superiority easy, removes the sense of inferiority and adds to every ones enjoyment both of himself and others. – My spirits seem possessed of a pleasing serenity to day, which they seldom enjoy; I will hope it is an omen of good; but I am [f. 256] always happy when I have given you satisfaction, and I flatter myself you was pleased with your Maria last night – indeed she will ever be yours, unless you cease to love her, (which I dare believe you never will) and if fortune should still continue averse, let us soften the cares of life, by the tenderest, the most faithful friendship. – Will you be my friend (if a more tender connection is denied us?) tell me if you could taste an equal pleasure in the friendship of your Maria, as in a10 union with any other woman. – Alas! – I fear ––– pardon me – I hope my fears are groundless; I know you are sincere, and that you never can deceive your faithful

                                 Maria Hays.


Thursday morn: Octr: 7th. 1779. –

1  Brooks, Correspondence 145-46; Wedd, Love Letters 121-23.

2 Source unknown.

3 See Thomson's The Seasons, "Summer," ll. 1184-85.

4 sentations] MS

5 See Thomson's The Seasons, "Spring," ll. 1120-22.

6 Ibid, ll. 1134.

7 I John 4:8.

8 See Paradise Lost, Book 9.

9 are] MS

10 an] MS