Letter to Henry Fuller
January 26, 1801

Salisbury Janry 26, 1801

Why, Brother Fuller, what should induce you to present me such a request, at this time? Surely if you knew my situation you would not think me able to "write a letter all in rhime." I have been for many days shut up in my room and am just now creeping from the clutches of a fever. The Muses, you know, are not often seen hovering around the bed of an invalid; like any otehr females, they wish only to familiarized

"with swains of limbs robust
"And vigor unbating."
Thus, Friend Habijah, I have a very good reason for apologizing and soliciting a release from the task. Yet I am very seriously impressed with a sense of your situation; accustomed from infancy to the communion of the Parnassides, and encouraged and cherished in all those habits which attach you to their society a discontinuance of their intercourse at so unexpected a period must very sensibly wound your enjoyment. Influenced by these feelings, Dear Chevalier, I am induced to address the parayer of a valetudinarian on your behalf to the throne of their highness, the Parnassides.
Ye Muses! say for what black crime unknown
Ye stay your influence from your darling son,
What direful causes (as old Maro sings)
Of all his troubles are the fruitful springs?
What nymph, offended at his labored grace,
Eludes his arms and shuns his chaste embrace?
What star malignant o'er his brithday hung.
And frose the streams just rolling from his tongue?
Or what dread comet spreads infectuous fires
And eseals the lips that poetry inspires?
Has some proud nymph of our terrestrial kind,
Shot poison arrows thro' his sickening mind,
Has Mary vastly knowing of her charms
Set on the dogs, and scorned him from her arms?
(A sad mishap! but such oft takes place
None holds possesion long in M's grace)
Is this the cause, why all his lines that rose
To flowery rhime, now sink to lazy prose?
Is this the cause, why now he hangs his head
Nods in his school, and sleepless turns in bed?
If this is the cause, the Muses I acquite
And you, Friend Fuller, shall have a bit
of my advice -- The Muses are not blamed,
If, by some earthly goddess more inflamed
You leave their glorious service, and engaged
With nymphs terrestrial Venus' wars to wage
Aonian maids despise to split your heart,
Give us teh whole, they cry, or not a part.
But if, O Muses, if some other cause
Has lost your son pretection from your laws
For him I intercede. If e'er my prayers
Arose as welcome offerings to your ears
If e'er I eulogized your powers divine
Or sketched your glories in the sounding line
If e'er you bore me on your fleety wing
To wehre your chorus tune the lyric string,
If e'er I ken you on Parnassus height,
Bedecked with pearl, and strewed with living light
Hear my request, who now before you bend,
Hear my request and once forgive my friend,
If he has told too much of lies, or truth,
Forgive it as the foible of his youth,
Whate'er his crime, forgive, forgive this once
Nor call him ore a blockehead nor a dunce.
Nor thus with unrelenting heart forsake him!
So I have labored through my petition. It is undoubtedly a very fine sample of poetry. I shall not (and have not) read it over. As my ill health prevented my visiting at Con. I sent your letter by a safe hand. I was set out for Boston this day, had been in health. J. Wheelock called on me yesterday and made on of the family to Church. I did not perceive that the severity of the weather had lessened the longitude of his nose. I have had but one ride since I arrived -- which was to Boscawen saw Miss ? . Miss K. I am told is very sick -- possibly she now is departing into a world of spirits pure and lovely as her own. There can be no danger in avowing a passion after its object has ceased to exist. If ever I had a wish -- But what am I saying -- I should leave the subject. Were I writing a system of Philosophy I should digress into the vale feelings -- but I am abrupt and impertinent, pardon me for the ideas I have suggested.

I am, Dear Weld, your

Affectionate Dan'l Webster

Respects to M. Davis and Lady, your friends, et ceteris --
Good night-- sleep sound.


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