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who has done me so many favours, that I
I leave you to reflect on this, and hope that time (which mollifies rocks, and of ftiff things makes limber) will turn a resolute critic to a gentle reader ; and instead of this positive, tremendous,new-fashion's Mr.C, restore upto us our old acquaintance, the soft, beneficerit, and courteous Mr. C
I expect much, towards the civilizing of you in your critical capacity, from the innocent Air and Tranquillity of our Forest, when
do me the favour to visit it. In the mean time, it wou'd do well by way of Preparative, if you wou'd duly and constantly every morning read over a Pastoral of Theccritus or Virgil; and let the Lady Isabella put your Macrobius and Aulus Gellius somewhere out of your way, for a month or so. Who knows, but Travelling and long Airing in an open field, may contribute more successfully to the cooling a Critic's severity, than it did to the afswaging of Mr. Chuck's Anger, of old ? In these fields you will be secure of finding no enemy, but the most faithful and affectionate of your friends, &c.
May 17, 1710.: FTER I had recover'd from a dan:) gerous
Illness which was first contracted in Town, about a fortnight after my coming hither I troubled you with a letter, and a paper inclos'd, which you had been so obliging as to defire a' light of when fast I faw you, promising me in return some translations of yours from Ovid. Since when, I have not had a fyllable from your hands; so that 'tis to be fear'd that tho' I have efcaped Death, I have not Oblivion. I sco'd at least have expected you to have finifh'd that Elegy upon me, which you told me you was upon the point of beginning when I was fick in London ; if you will but do fo much for me first, I will give you leave to forget me afterwards; and for my own part will die at difcretion, and at my leisure. But I fear I must be forc'd like many learned Authors, to write my own Epitaph, if I wou'd be remember'd at all. Monsieur de la Fontaine's wou'd fic me to a hair, bur it is a kind of Sacrilegé, (do you think ic is not?) to steal Epicaphs. In my present, living dead condition, nothing wou'd be properer than Oblitusque meoruin, oblivifcendus & illis, buc that unluckily I can't forget my friends, and the civilities I receiv'd from yourself,
and some others. They say indeed 'tis one quality of generous minds to forget the obligations they have conferr’d, and perhaps too it may be fo to forget those on whom they conferr’d'em? Then indeed I muft be forgotten to all intents and purposes! I am, it must be own'd, dead in a natural capacity, according to Mr. Bickerstaff; dead in a poetical capacity, as a damn’d author; and dead in a civil capacity, as a useless member of the Common-wealth. Bur re. fiect, dear Sir, what melancholy effects may ensue, if Dead men are not civil to one another? If he who has nothing to do himself, will not comfort and support another in his Idleness? If those who are to die themselves, will not now and then pay the charity of visiting a Tomb and a dead friend, and strowing a few flow’rs over him ? In the shades where I ain, the inhabitants have a mutual compaffion for each other: Being all alike Inanes
, and Umbratiles, we saunter to one another’s habitations, and daily affist each other in doing nothing at all ; this I mention for
edification and example, that Tout plein du vie as you are, yet you may not sometimes disdain-desipere in loco. Tho' you are no Papist, and have not so much regard to the dead as to address yourself to them, (which I plainly perceive by your silence) yec I hope you are not one of thofe
Heterodox, who hold them to be totally insensible of the good offices and kind wishes of their living friends, and to be in a dull State of Sleep, without one dream of those they left behind them? If you are let this Letter convince you to the contrary, which affures
you, I am still, tho' in a State of Separation,
Your, &c. P.S. This letter of Deaths, puts me in mind of poor Mr. Betterton's; over whom I wou'd have this Sentence of Tully for an Epitaph.
Vita bene a£tæ jucundiffima eft Recordatio.
Yune 24, 1710. IS very natural for a young Friend,
and a young Lover, to think the persons they love have nothing to do but to please them; when perhaps they, for their parts,
twenty other engagements before. . This was my case when I wonder'd I did not hear from you ; but I no sooner receiv'd your short letter, but I forgot your long filence ; and so many fine things as you
faid of me cou'd not but have wrought a cure on my own Sickness, if it had not been of the nature of that, which is deaf to the Voice of the Charmer.' 'Twas impossible you