LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. II. 1785-1788
William Godwin to Thomas Holcroft, 5 August 1788

Contents Vol. I
Ch. I. 1756-1785
Ch. II. 1785-1788
Ch. III. 1788-1792
Ch. IV. 1793
Ch. V. 1783-1794
Ch. VI. 1794-1796
Ch. VII. 1759-1791
Ch. VII. 1791-1796
Ch. IX. 1797
Ch. X. 1797
Ch. XI. 1798
Ch. XII. 1799
Ch. XIII. 1800
Contents Vol. II
Ch. I. 1800
Ch. II. 1800
Ch. III. 1800
Ch. IV. 1801-1803
Ch. V. 1802-1803
Ch. VI. 1804-1806
Ch. VII. 1806-1811
Ch. VIII. 1811-1814
Ch. IX. 1812-1819
Ch. X. 1819-1824
Ch. XI. 1824-1832
Ch. XII. 1832-1836
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
Guildford, August 5th, 1788.

Dear Sir.—Though I am flattered by your attention, and must acknowledge that you have touched upon my hobbyhorse, yet I am sorry that your politeness led you to give yourself a moment’s trouble for the sake of gratifying the silly impatience of your humble servant. I owe you a thousand apologies for not having answered your letter of a fortnight since; but the fact is I wrote to you and another gentleman, immediately after my arrival, by the same post, and was answered by said gentleman that I was a man of leisure and could write letters; he was engaged in active life, and could not. No man is less willing to
be guilty of the sin of intrusion than I am: I therefore took this rebuff in dudgeon, and forswore the writing of any letters but of mere business for a fortnight. Will you accept this apology? If you do, in gratitude I will damn you, and say you have more good-nature than wit.

“If you did but properly reflect upon my desolate situation, banished from human society, and condemned to eat grass with the beasts, you surely would not tantalize me with the visit of a day. But be it as it will, for I can adapt to myself the words of Addison with true Addisonian fire, and say—
“‘A day, an hour, of intellectual talk
Is worth a whole eternity of solitude.’
Only upon this occasion keep the reins in your own hands, and do not fetter yourself too much with domestic stipulations before you set out.

“Sir, had you remembered the letter of the Chinese Mandarin, which had no other address than ‘Dr Boerhaave, Europe,’ you surely would not have insulted me with the supposition that I must borrow lustre from a petty upholsterer in such a town as Guildford, and not be seen by own radiance. I would have you to know that I am as much of a poet as either Dr Boerhaave, or even Van Swieten, his commentator. Nay, if you provoke me, I do not know but I shall enter the lists with Mynheer Van Haaren, the Homer of the whole Dutch nation.

Lord John Townshend for ever! Huzza!

“Yours sincerely,
W. Godwin.

“Present my compliments to Robinson and Hamilton. Tell the latter (if you see him, and if you like it) that he has forgotten me.”