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To the fame.
March 20, 1715-16. Dear Sir, I Find that a real Concern is not only a Hindrance
to Speaking, but to Writing too. The more time we give ourfelves to think over one's own, or a Friend's Unhappiness, the more unable we grow to express the Grief that proceeds from it. It is as natural to delay a Letter at such a Seafon as this, as to retard a melancholy Visit to a Perton one cannot relieve. One is alhamed in that Circumstance, to pretend to entertain People with trifing, insignificant Affectations of Sorrow on the one Hand, or unseasonable and forced Gaieties on the other. 'Tis a kind of Profanation of things sacred, to treat fo folemn a Matter as a generous voluntary Suffering, with Compliments or, Heroic Gallantries. Such a Mind as your's has no need of being spirited up into Honour, or like a weak Woman, praised into an Opinion of it's own Virtue. 'Tis enough to do and suffer what we ought; and Men should know, that the noble Power of Suffering bravely is as far above that of enterprizing greatly, as an unblemish'd Conscience and inflexible Resolution are above an accidental Flow of Spirits, or a sudden Tide of Blood. If the whole religious Business of Mankind be included in Relignation to our Maker, and Charity to our FellowCreatures, there are now fome People who give us the Opportunity of affording as bright an Example in practising the one, as themselves have given an infamous Instance of the Violation of the other.
Whoever is really brave, has always this Comfort when he is 'opprest, that he knows himself to be fuperior to those who injure him : For the greatest Power on Earth can no sooner do him that Injury, but the brave Man can make himself greater by forgiving it.
If it were generous to seek for alleviating Confolations in a Calamity of so much Glory, one might say that to be ruin'd thus in the Gross, with a whole People, is but like perishing in the general Conflagration, where nothing we can value is left behind us.
Methinks in our present Condition, the most heroic thing we are left capable of doing, is to endeavour to lighten each other's Load, and (opprest as we are) to fuccour such as are yet more oppreft. If there are too many who cannot be assisted but by what we cannot give, our Money ; there are yet others who may be reliev'd by our Counfel, by our Countenance, and even by our Chearfulness. The Misfortunes of private Fainilies, the Misunderftandings of People whom Distresses in ake suspicious, the Coldnesses of Relations whom Change of Religion 'may dif-unite, or the Necessities of halfruin'd Estatés render unkind to each other
these at least may be soften'd into some Degrees, by a general well-manag'd Humanity among ourselves, if all those who have your Principles of Belief, had alfo
your Sense and Conduct. But indeed most of 'em have given lamentable * Proofs of the contrary; and 'tis to be apprehended that they who want Sense, are only religious through Weakness, and good-natur'd thro? Shame. These are narrowminded Creatures that never deal in Essentials; their Faith never looks beyond Ceremonials, nor their
This was written in the
Charity beyond Relations. As poor as I am, I would gladly relieve any distressed, conscientious French Refugee at this Instant; what must my Concern then be, when I perceive fo many Anxieties now tearing those Hearts, which I have desired a place in ; and Clouds of Melancholy rising on those Faces, which I have long look'd upon with Affection ? I begin already to feel both what some apprehend, and what others are yet too stupid to apprehend. I grieve with the Old, for so many additional Inconveniencies, and Chagrins, more than their small Remain of Life seem'd deftin'd to undergo; and with the Young, for so many of those Gayeties and Pleasures (the Portion of Youth) which they will by this means be depriv'd of. This brings into my Mind one or other of those I love best, and among them the Widow and Fatherless, late of As I am certain no Pean ple living had an earlier and truer Senfe of others Misfortunes, or a more generous Refignation as to what might be their own ;, so I earnestly will, that whatever part they must bear, may be render'd' as supportable to them, as it is in the power of any Friend to make it.
But I know you have prevented me in this Thought, as you always will in any thing that's good, or generous : I find by a Letter of your Lady's (which I have seen) that their Ease and Tranquillity is part of your Care, I believe there's fome Fatality in it, that you should always, from time to time, be doing those particular things that make me enamour'd of you.
I write this from Windfor Foreft, 'of which I am come to take my lait :look. We here bid our Neighbours adieu, much as those who go to be hang'd do their Fellow-Prisoners, who are
condemn'd to follow them a few weeks after." I parted from honest Mr Dwith Tenderness ; and from old Şir IVilliam Trumbull as from a venerable Prophet, foretelling with lifted Hands the Miseries to come, from which he is just going to be remov'd himself.
Perhaps, now I have learnt so far as
Nos Dulcia linquimus arva,
My next Leffon may be
Nos Patriam fugimus
Let that, and all else be as Heaven pleafes ! I have provided just enough to keep me a Man of Honour. I believe you and I shall never be afham'd of each other. I know I wish my Country well; and if it undees me, it shall not make me with it otherwise,
To the fame.
June 22, 1716. Dear Sir, IF F a Regard both to public and private Affairs
may plead a lawful Excuse in Behalf of a negligent Correspondent, I have really a very good Title to it. I cannot say whether 'tis a Felicity or Unhappiness, that I am obliged at this time to give up my whole Application to Homer ; when without that Employment, my Thoughts must turn upon what is less agreeable, the Violence, Madness, and Resentment, of modern War-makers, which are likely to prove (to fome People at least) more fatal, than the same Qualities in Achilles did to his unfortunate Countrymen.
Tho' the Change of my Scene of Life from Windsor Forest to the side of the Thames be one of the grand Æra's of my Days, and may be called a notable Period in fo inconsiderable a History; yet you can scarce imagine any Hero paffing from one Stage of Life to another with fo much Tranquillity, so easy a Transition, and fo laudable à Behaviour. I am become so truly a Citizen of the World (according to Plato's Expresion) that I look with equal Indifference on what I have lost, and on what I have gained. The Times and Amusements past are not more like a Dream to me, than those which are present : I lie in a refreshing kind of Inaction, and have one Comfort at least from ObFourity, that the Darkness helps me to peep the better. I now and then reflect upon the Enjoy-ment of my Friends, whom I fancy I remember