Abbe Boyle, March 22, 1748.
I SHOULD be as insensible not to feel, as I should be ungrateful not to own the pleasure I receive from your most agreeable correspondence; and should think myself still happier, had I the smallest claim from my own merit to the praises you are kind enough to bestow upon me; however, Madam, I am so vain as to believe you think what you say of me, as Mrs. Pilkington's sincerity has never yet been called in question.
Should I attempt to comply with your request, in correcting anything that fell from your pen, I must arrogate to myself a title I know I am unequal to; for had Longinus seen your writings, Madam, he must, as a man of taste, have admired them; but, as a man of prudence, would never have presumed to alter what was so inimitably elegant.
As I find I have undeservedly acquired the good opinion of the only lady I am solicitous to please, I shall make it my study to act up to the character the happiness of your imagination has given me, by a perseverance in which I may possibly attain a path to that glorious summit you have placed me upon, and be in reality what Mrs. Pilkington is so generous to think me.
In compliance with your desire, I have sent back the poem,[see note] though I confess with reluctance; but in this, as in everything else, I shall endeavour to show that obedience and respect wherewith I've the honour to be
Your most obliged,
and ever devoted,
P. S. I have taken the liberty to enclose notes for thirty pounds, could I have found one for twenty more would have sent it; but own I delay it till next post with some pleasure, as it will• give me another opportunity to pay my respects.
*Note: This poem was the dedication to her second vol. beginning,
"To thee within whose heaven-illumined breast
Resides each virtue that adorns the blessed."