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will expect I should recant this Expression, when I tell you, that Sapho (by which heathenish Name you have christen'd a very orthodox Lady) did not accompany me in-. to the Country. However, I will confess my felf the less concern'd on that account, because I have no very violent Inclination to lose my Heart, especially in so wild and savage a place as this Forest is: In the Town, 'tis ten to one but a young Fellow may find his stray'd Heart again, with some Wildfreet or Drury-lane Damsel ; but here, where I could have met with no redress from an unmerciful, virtuous Dame, I must for ever have lost my little Traveller in a Hole, where I could never rummage to find him again. Well, Sir, you have your Lady in the Town ftill, and I have my Heart in the Country still, which being wholly unemploy'd as. yet, has the more room in it for my Friends, and does not want a: Corner at your Service. To be ferious, you have extremely oblig'd me by your Frankness and Kindness to me: And if I have abus’d it by too much Freedom on my part, I hope you will attribute it to the natural Openness of my Temper, which hardly knows how to how Respect, where I feel Affection. I wou'd love my Friend, as my Mistress, without Ceremony ; and hope a little rongh Usage
sometimes may not be more displeasing to
you have any Curiosity to know in what manner I live, or rather lose a Life, Martiał will inform you in one Line: (the Translation of which cost a Friend of ours three in English,
(One short, one long;
One right, one wrong.)
Every Day with me is literally, another yesterday; for it is exactly the same; It has the same Business, which is Poetry; and the same Pleasure, which is Idleness. A màn might indeed pafs his Time much better, but I question if any Man could pass it much easier." If you will visit our Shades this Spring, which I very múch desire, you may perhaps instruct me to manage my Game more wisely ; but at present I am satisfy'd tơ trifle away my Time any Way, rather than let it stick by me; as Shop-keepers are glad to be rid of those Goods at any rate, which would otherwise always be lying upon their hands.
Sir, if you will favour me sometimes with your Letters, it will be a great Satisfaction
to me on several accounts; and on this in particular, That it will show me (to my Comfort) that even a wise Man is fometimes very idle ; for so you must needs be when you can find leisure to write to
April 27, 1708. Have nothing to say to you in this Leto
but I was refolv'd to write to tell you so. Why should not I content myself with so many great Examples, of deep Divines, profound Casoists, grave Philosophers, who have written, not Letters only, but whole Tomes and voluminous Treatises, about Nothing? Why shou'd a Fellow like me, who all his life does nothing, be afham'd to write nothing ? and that to one who has nothing to do but to read it?' But perhaps you'll say, the whole World has something to do, something to talk of, something to wish for, something to be imploy'd about : But pray, Sir, cast up the Account, put all these Somethings together, and what is the Sum Total but just Nothing? I have no more to say, but to desire to give you my Seryice (that
is nothing) to your Friends, and to believe that I am nothing more than
Ex nihilo nil fit.
May 10, 1708. OU talk of Fame and Glory, and of
the great Men of Antiquity: Pray tell me, what are all your great dead Men, but so many little living Letters ? What a vast Reward is here for all the Ink wasted by Writers, and all the Bloqd spilt by Princes? There was in old time one Severus a Roman Emperor. I dare say you never call'd him by any other Name in your Life: and yet in his days he was styld Lucius, Septimius, Severus, Pius, Pertinax, Augusus, Parthia cus, Adiabenicus, Arabicus, Maximus, and what not? What a prodigious waste of Letters has Time made! what a Number have here dropt off, and left the poor surviving Seven unattended! For my own part, Four are all I have to take care for; and I'IL be judg’d by you if any man cou'd live in less compass ? except it were one Monsieur D.and one Romulus *** But these, confrary to the common Calamity, came, in
process of time, to be callid Monsieur Boileau Despreadix, and Romulus Threepoints.--Well, Sir, for the future I'll drown all high Thoughts in the Lethe of Cowslip-Wine; as for Fame, Renown, Reputation, take 'em, Critics !
Tradam protervis in mare Criticum
If ever I seek for Immortality here, may I be ded! for there's not fo much dane ger in a Poet's being damn'd:
Damnation follows Death in other Men, But your damn’d Poet lives and writes agen).
November 1, 1708. Have been so well satisfy'd with the
Country ever since I saw you, that I have not so much as once thought of the Town, or enquir'd of any one in it besides Mr. Wyckerley and yourself. And from him I understand of your Journey this Summer into Leicestershire; from whence I guess you are return’d by this time, to your old Apartment in the Widow's Corner, to your old Business of comparing Critics, and re