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merry life, is (if you will excuse fuch a fimilitude) not unlike a F--t, at once nasty and laughable. :. For the generality of men, a true modern life is like a true modern play, neither Tragedy, Comedy, nor Farce, nor one, nor all of these : every Actor is much better known by his having the fame Face, than by keeping the same Character: for we change our minds as often as they can their parts, and he who was yesterday Cæsar, is to day. Sir John Daw. So that one might ask the same question of a modern life, that Rich did of a modern play; so Pray do me the favour, Sir, to inform me; * Is this your Tragedy or your Comedy?
I have dwelt the longer upon this, because I persuade myself it might be ufęful, at a time when we have no other Theatre, to divert ourselves at this great one. Here is a glorious standing Comedy of Fools, ar which every man is heartily merry, and thinks himself an uneoncern'd Spectator. This (to our fingular comfort) neither my Lord Chamberlain, nor the Queen herself can ever shut up, or filence. While that of Drury (alas !) lies desolate, in the profoundeft peace: and the melancholy prospect of the Nymphs yet lingring about its beloved avenves, appears no less moving than that of the Trojan Dames lamenting over their ruin'd Ilium! What now can they
hope, dispossess’d of their antient fears, but to serve as Captives to the insulting Victors of the Hay-market? The afflicted subjects of France do not, in our Poft-man, so grievously deplore the obstinacy of their arbis trary Monarch, as these perishing people of Drury the obdurate heart of that Pharaoh, Rich, who like him, disdains all Proposals of peace and accommodation. Several Libelé have been secretly affix'd to the great gates of his imperial palace in Bridges-fireet; and a Memorial representing the distresses of these persons, has been accidentally dropt (as we are credibly inform’d by a person of quality) out of his first Minister the chief Box-keeper's pocket, at a late Conference of the said Person of quality and others, on the part of the Confederates, and his Theatrical Majesty on his own part. Of this you may expect a copy as soon as it Thall be transmitted to us from a good hand. As for the late Congress, it is here reported, that it has not been wholly ineffectual; but this wants confirmation ; yet we cannot buc hope the concutring prayers and tears of so many wretched Ladies may induce this. haughiy Prince to reason.
I am, &c
19, 1709. MAY truly say I am more oblig'd to
you this summer than to any of my Acquaintance, for had it not been for the two kind letters you sent me, I had been perfectly, oblitusque meorum, oblivifcendus & illis. The only companions I had were thofe Muses of whom Tully fays, Adole
entiam alunt, Senectutem oblectant, secundas res ornant, adverfis perfugium ac folatiuu præbent, delectant domi, non impediunt forisa pernoetant nobifcum, peregrinantur, rusticantur. Which indeed is as much as ever I expected from them ; for the Muses, if you take them as Companions, are very pleasant and agreeable; but whoever thould be forc'd to live or depend up condition. That Quiet, which Gozeley calls. the Companion of Obscurity was not wanting to me, unless it was interrupted by those fears you so justly guess I had for our Friend's welfare. 'Tis extremely kind in you to tell me the news you heard of him, and you have deliver'd me from more anxiety than he, imagines me capable of on his account, as I am convinc'd by his long
filence. However the love of some things rewards itself, as of Virtue, and of Mr.Wycherley. I am surpriz'd at the danger you tell me he has been in, and must agree with you,
that our nation would have lost in him alone, more wit and probity, than would have remain'd (for ought I know) in all the rest of it. My concern for his friendship will excuse me, (since I
honour him so much, and since you know I love him above afl men) if I vent a part of my uneasiness to you, and tell you, that there has not been wanting one to infinuatè malicious untruths of me to Mr. Wycherley, which I fear may have had some effect upon him. If so, he will have a greater punishment for his credulity than I cou'd with him, in that fellow's acquaintance. The loss of a faithful creature is something, tho' of ever fo contemptible an one; and if I were to change my Dog for such a Man as the aforefaid, I shou'd think my. Dog undervalu'd : (who follow's me about as constantly here in the country, as I was us’d to do Mr. Wycherley in the Town.)
Now I talk of my Dog, that I may not treat of a worse subject which my spleen tempts me to, I will give you some account of him ; a thing nor wholly unprecedented, fince Montaigne (to whom I am but a Doğ
in comparison) has done che very fame thing of his Cat. Dic mihi quid melius defidiofus agam? You are to know then, that as 'tis Likeness begets affection, fo my favourite dog is a little one, a lean one, and none of the finest shap'd. He is not much a Spaniel in his fawning, but has (what might be worth any man's while to imitate from him) a dumb surly fort of kindness, that rather shows itself when he thinks me illus'd by others, than when we walk quietly and peaceably by ourselves. · If it be the chief point of Friendship to comply with a friend's Motions and Inclinations, he possesses this in an eminent degree; he lies down when I fit, and walks when I walk, which is more than many good friends can pretend to, witness our walk a year ago in St. James's Park.-Histories are more full of examples of the Fidelity of Dogs than of Friends, but I will not infift upon many of 'em, because it is possible some may be almost as fabulous as those of Pylades and Orestes, &c. I will only say for the honour of Dogs, that the two most antient and esteemable books facred and prophane extant, (viz. the Scripture and Homer) have shewn a particular regard to these animals. That of Toby is the more remarkable, because there was no manner of reason to take notice of the Dog, besides the great hu