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them. If therefore you are ever moved on my Account by that Spirit, which I take to be as familiar to you as a Quotidian Ague, I mean the Spirit of Goodness, pray never stint it, in any fear of obliging me to a Civility beyond my natural Inclination: I dare trust you, Sir, not only with my Folly when I write, but with my Negligence when I do not; and expect equally your Pardon for either.
If I knew how to entertain you thro’the rest of this Paper, it should be spotted and diversified with Conceits all over ; you should be put out of Breath with Laughter at each Sentence, and pause at each Period, to look back over how much Wit you had pass’d. But I have found by Experience, that People now a-days regard Writing as little as they do Preaching: The most
we can hope is to be heard, just with Decency and Patience, once a Week, by Folks in the Country: Here in Town we hum over a Piece of fine Writing, and we whistle at a Sermon. The Stage is the only Place we seem alive at; there indeed we stare, and roar, and clap Hands for K. George and the Government. As for all other Virtues but this Loyalty, they are an obsolete Train, so ill-dress'd, that Men, Women, and Children, hiss 'em out of all good Company. Humility knocks so sneakingly at the Door,
that every Footman out-raps it, and makes it give way to the free Entrance of Pride, Prodigality, and Vain-glory.
My Lady Scudamore, from having rufticated in your Company too long, really behaves herfelf scandaloufly among us: She pretends to open her Eyes for the Sake of seeing the Sun, and to sleep because it is Night; drinks Tea at nine in the Morning, and is thought to have said her Prayers before; talks without
manner of Shame of good Books, and has not seen Cibber's Play of the Non-juror. I rejoiced the other Day to fee a Libel on her Toilette, which gives me fome Hope that you have at least a Taste of Scandal left you, in Defeet of all other Vices.
Upon the whole Matter, I heartily wish you well; but as I cannot entirely defire the Ruin of all the Joys of this City, fo all that remains is to wish you wou'd keep your Happiness to your selves, that the happiest here may not die with Envy at a Bliss which they cannot attain to.
I am, &c.
To the same.
May 1, 1720. QU'LL think me very full of my felf, when after a long Silence (which
however to say Truth has rather been em ploy'd to contemplate of you, than to forget you)I begin to talk of my own Works. I find it is in the finishing a Book, as in concluding a Session of Parliament, one always thinks it will be very soon, and finds it very late. There are many unlook'd for Incidents to retard the clearing any publick Account, and fo I see it is in mine. I have plagued myself, like great Ministers, with undertaking too much for one Man, and with a Desire of doing more than was expected from me, have done lets than Iought.
For having design'd four very laborious and uncommon sorts of Indexes to Homer, I'm forc’d, for want of Time, to publish two only; the Design of which you will own to be pretty, tho' far from being fully executed. I've also been oblig'd to leave unfinish'd in my Desk the Heads of two Essays, one on the Theology and Morality of Homer, and another on the Oratory of Homer and Virgil. So they must wait for future Editions, or perish; and (one Way or other, no great Matter which) dabit Deus his quoque finem.
I think of you every Day, I assure you, even without such good Memorials of you as your Sisters, with whom I sometimes talk of you, and find it one of the most agreeable of all Subjeéts to them.
Digby must be perpetually remember'd by
all who ever knew him, or knew his Children. There needs no more than an Ac
quaintance with your Family, to make all Elder Sons wish they had Fathers to their Lives-end.
I can't touch upon the Subject of filial Love, without putting you in mind of an old Woman, who has a sincere, hearty, old-fashion'd Respect for you, stantly blames her Son for not having writ to you oftner, to tell
fo. I very much wish (but what signifies my wishing? my Lady Scudamore wishes, your Şister's wish) that you were with us, to compare the beautiful Contrast this Season aftords us,
of the Town and the Country. No Ideas you could form in the Winter can make you imagine what Twickenham is (and what your Friend Mr. Johnson of Twickenhan is) in this warmer Season. Our River glitters beneath an unclouded Sun, at the same time that its Banks retain the Verdure of Showers: Our Gardens are offering their first Nosegays; our Trees, like new Acquaintance brought happily together, are Itretching their Arms to meet each other, and growing nearer and nearer eyery Hour : The Birds are paying their thanksgiving Songs for the new Habitations I have made em: My Building rises
high enough to attract the Eye and CuriOlity of the Passenger from the River, where, upon beholding a Mixture of Beauty and Ruin, he enquires what House is falling, or what Church is rising? So little taste have our common Tritons of Vitruvius whatever Delight the true, unseen, poetical Gods of the River may take, in reflecting on their Streams my Tuscan Porti. cos, or Ionic Pilafters.
But (to descend from all this Pomp of Style) the best Account I can give of what I am building, is, that it will afford me a few pleasant Rooms for such a Friend ás 1 yourself
, or a cool Situation for an Hour or two for Lady Scudamore, when she will do me the Honour (at this Publick House on the Road) to drink her own Cyder
The Moment I am writing this, I am surprized with the account of the Death of a Friend of mine; which makes all I have here been talking of, a meer Jest! Build. ings, Gardens, Writings, Pleasures, Works, of whatever stuff Man can raise! none of them (God' knows) capable of advantaging a Creature that is mortal, or of satisfying a Soul that is immortal! Dear Sir, I
Töur noft faithful Servant.