Poor Alopex is still alive but he raves sadly. It seems that he prefers a life of distress and trouble to dying for love, and as he cannot get the lady — why? — her renounces her. The grapes that were at first view so inviting are now become crude and sour. With his usual inconsistency he throws up his Office of Prose Writer and yet sends us a volume of his geological scrawls on the Rock Salt of Cheshire, which has cost our eyes and head a world of labour to decipher, but the subject is so interesting that we do not repine. Why this gentleman should be angry at the honour we do him and should so pertinaciously deny the papers that have afforded us so much pleasure, we cannot imagine. Philosophers and divines have said that the soul of man has two natures, one gross and prone to earthly passions and one that delights in intellectual pursuits and sublime contemplation. This appears to be exemplified in Alopex. When the former has the mastery he abuses us and raves at the lady, and when the other is predominant he studies geology. Let us hope that the more spiritual part will finally triumph and trample the other under foot. In the meanwhile as the Office of Prose Writer is become vacant by his resignation we hereby give notice that the Chest is open to the probationary compositions of gentlemen of sound mind, wit and understanding who may think proper to offer themselves as candidates for this honourable post, and we assure them that the Society will hear them with candour and in making their election will have no other motive of preference than superior merit.
We shall open the readings with Alopex’s Letter of Resignation and then deliver his Lecture on Rock Salt, that the contrast of folly and wisdom in this extraordinary man may be fully known.
We have received a letter from the advertising lady who therein decides with apparent judgment on the pretensions of her several admirers and as she cannot attract the notice of the gentleman whose attention she most desired to engage very wisely takes the best she can get in which we recommend her to the imitation of the female part of our auditory. As Damon who is the happy man has displayed so much poetic talent we expect his joy will burst forth in dythirambic rapture and we hope for the honour of our Society that its members will furnish at least a score of congratulatory odes and epithalamiums.
The poetic pieces that will be read this evening have all of them merit. On Donald and Amanda we have already bestowed our praises and the verses before us give no reason to recall them. The Lines Written with a Crow Quill will please the remonstrance by its wit and ingenuity declares its author.
The Translation from Metastassio is very close and beautiful though disfigured by the contraction in the last line of each stanza, equally ungracious and unnecessary, as the discarded syllable is more musical and does not express the sentiment with less energy. The ‘est’ in the second person singular of English verbs is a terrible plague to a well-tuned ear and has caused many a poet to use ‘you’ and ‘thou’ in the same passage, which is equally offensive to grammar and taste. We remember to have read a translation of a poem many years ago (we believe by Cunningham) which we mention only to say that it is greatly inferior to this.