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To the fame.
June 2, 1725. OU fhew your self a juft Man and a Friend
in those Gueffes and Suppositions you make at the possible reasons of my Silence, every one of which is a true one. As to forgetfulnes of you or your's, I assure you, the promiscuous Converfations of the Town serve only to put me in mind of better, and more quiet, to be had in a Corner of the World (undisturb’d, innocent, serence, and fenfible) with such as you. Let no Access of any Distrust make you think of me differently in a cloudy day, from what you do in the mott fun-fhiny Weather. Let the young Ladies be assured I make nothing new in my Gardens without wishing to see the Print of their Fairy Steps in every part of 'em. I have put the last Hand to my Works of this kind, in happily finishing the fubterraneous Way and Grotto. I there found a Spring of the cleareit Water, which falls in a perpetual Rill, that ecchoes thro' the Cavern day and night. From the River Thames you see thro' my Arch up a Walk of the Wilderness to a kind of open Temple, wholly compos'd of Shells in the Rustic Manner; and from that distance under the Temple you look down thro' a sloping Arcade of Trees, and see the Sails on the River passing suddenly and vanishing, as thro' a Perspective Glass. When you shut the Doors of this Grotto, it becomes, on the instant, from a luminous Room, a Camera obscura ; on the Walls of which all the objects of the River, Hills, Woods, and Boats, are forming a moving Picture in their visible Radiations: And when you have a mind to light it up, it affords you a very different Scene: it is finished with Shells interspersed with Pieces of
Looking-Glass in angular Forms; and in the Cieling is a Star of the fame Material, at which when a Lamp (of an orbicular Figure of thin Alabaster) is hung in the middle, a thousand pointed Rays glitter and are reflected over the Place. There are connected to this. Grotto by a narrower Paffage two Porches with Niches and Seats ; one towardthe River, of smooth Stones, full of Light, and open; the other toward the Arch of Trees, rough with Shells, Flints, and Iron Ore. The Bottom is paved with simple Pebble, as the adjoining Walk up the Wilderness to the Temple, is to be Cockleshells, in the natural Taste, agreeing not ill with the little dripping Murmur, and the Aquatic Idea of the whole Place. It wants nothing to compleat it but a good Statue with an Inscription, like that beautiful antique one which you know I am so fond of:
Hujus Nympha loci, sacri custodia fontis
Dormio, dum blanda fentio murmur aqua. Parce meum, quifquis tangis cava marmora, fomnum
Rumpere ; Jeu bibas, five lavere, tace. Nymph of the Grot, these facred Springs I keep, And to the Murmur of these Waters sleep. Whoe'er thou art, ah gently tread the Cave, Ah bathe in silence, or in filence lave.
You'll think I have been very poetical in this Description, but it is pretty near the Truth. I wish you were here to bear Testimony how little it owes to Art, either the Place itself, or the Image I give of it.
I am, &c.
To the same.
Sept. 13, 1725. I
Should be asham'd to own the receipt of a very
kind Letter from you, two whole Months from the date of this; if I were not more asham’d to tell a Lye, or to make an Excuse, which is worse than a Lye (for being built upon some probable Grcumstance, it makes use of a degree of Truth to falsify with: It is a Lye Guarded). Your Letter has been in my Pocket in constant wearing, till that, and the Pocket, and the Suit, are worn out; by which means, I have read it forty times, and I find by so doing, that I have not enough confider'd, and reflected upon many others you have oblged me with; for true Friendship, as they say of good Writing, will bear reviewing a thousand times, and still discover new Beauties.
I have had a Fever, a short one, but a violent: I am now well. : So it shall take up no more of this Paper:
1 : I begin now to expect you in Town, to make the Winter to come more tolerable to us both. The Summer is a kind of Heaven, when we wander in a Paradisaical Scene of Nature among Groves and Gardens; but at this season, we are like our poor first Parents turn'd out of that agreeable tho' folitary life, and forc'd to look about' for more people to help to bear our labours, to get into warmer Houses, and hive together in Cities.
I hope you are long since perfectly restor’d, and risen from your Gout, happy in the delights of a contented Family, smiling at Storms, laughing at Greatness, and merry over a Christmas-fire, exercising all the Functions of an old Patriarch in Charity and Hospitaly. I will not tell Mrs B. what
I think she is doing, for I canclude it is her opinion, that he only ought to know it for whom it is done; and she will allow herself to be far enough advanc'd above a fine Lady, not to desire to thine before Men.
Your Daughters perhaps may have some other Thoughts, which even their Mother muft excufe them for, because the is a Mother. I will not however fuppofe those Thoughts get the better of their Devotions, but rather excite 'em, and affift the warmth of them; while their Prayer may be, that they may raise up and breed as irreproachable a young Family as their Parents have done. In a Word, I fancy you all well, easy; and happy, just as I wish you; and next to that I wish you
all with me.
Next to God, is a good Man: Next in dignity, and next in value. Minuiste eum paullo minus ab Angelis. If therefore I wish well to the good and the deserving, and defire They only shou'd be my Companions and Correspondents; I must very fooni
, and very
much think of you. I want your Company, and your Example. Pray make hafte to Town, so as not again to leave us. Discharge the Łoad of Earth that lies on you, like one of the Mountains under which the Poets say the Giants (that is, the Men of the Earth) are whelmed. Leave Earth to the Sons of Earth: your conversation is in Heaven. Which that it may be accomplish'd in us all, is the Prayer of him who maketh this short Sermon. Value (to you) Three Pence. Adieu.