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Fray, and I hope all your Undertakings will turn to the better Account for it.
You see how I presume on your Friendship in taking all this Freedom with you, but I already. fancy that we have lived many years together, in an unreserved Conversation, and that we may do many more, is the sincere With of
Mr Pope to Mr ADDISON.
YOUR laft is the more obliging, as it hints at
fome little Niceties in my Conduct, which your Candour and Affection prompt you to recommend to me, and which (fo trivial as things of this Nature seem) are yet of no flight Consequence, to People whom every Body talks of, and every Body as he pleafes. 'Tis a fort of Tax that attends an Eftate in Parnaffus, which is often rated much higher than in Proportion to the smal? Possession an Author holds. For indeed an Author who is once come upon the Town, is enjoy'd without being thanked for the Pleasure, and sometimes ill-treated by those very Persons that first debauch'd him. Yet to tell you the bottom of my Heart, I am no way displeas'd. that I have offended the Violent of all Parties already; and at the fame Time I assure you conscientiously, I feel not the least Malevolence or Resentment against any of those who misrepresent me, or are dissatisfied
This Frame of Mind is so easy, that I am perfe&tly content with my Condition.
As I hope and would flatter myself, that you know me and my Thoughts fo entirely as never to be mistaken in either, fo 'tis a Pleasure to me that you guess's so right in regard to the Author of that
Guardian you mentioned.
mentioned. But I am sorry to find it has taken Air that I have some hand in those Papers because I write to very few as neither to deserve the Credit of such a Report with some People, nor the Disrepute of it with others. An honest Jacobite spoke to me the Senfe or Nonsense of the weak Part of his Party very fairly, that the good People took it ill of me, that I writ with Steele, tho' upon never fo indifferent Subjects. This I know you will laugh at as well as I do: Yet I doubt not but many little Calumniators and Persons of lowre Difpositions will take Occasion hence to bespatter me.
I confess I scorn narrow Souls, of all Parties, and if : I renounce - my Reason in religious Matters, I'll hardly do it in any other.
I can't imagine whence it comes to pass that the few Guardians I have written are so generally known for mine ; that in particular which you '
mention. I never discovered to any Man but the Publisher, 'till very lately: Yet almost every Body I met cold me
The true Reason that Mr Steele laid down the Paper, was a Quarrel between him and Jacob Tonfon. He stood engaged to his Bookseller, in Articles of Penalty, for all the Guardians; and by desisting two Days, and altering the Title of the Paper to that of the Englishman, was quit of his Obligation: These Papers being printed by Buckley.
As to his taking a more politic Turn, I cannot any way enter into that Secret, nor have I been let into it, any more than into the rest of his Politics. Tho' 'tis said, he will take into these Papers also feveral Subjects of the politic Kind, as before: But I assure you as to myself, I have quite done with 'em, for the Future. The little I have done, and the great Respect I bcar Mr Steele, as a Man of Wit, has rendered me a suspected Whig to som e ofthe Violent,
but (as old Dryden said before me) 'tis not the Vio-' lent I design to please.
I generally employ the Mornings in Painting with Mr Jervas*; and the Evenings in the Conversation of fuch, as I think can most improve my Mind, of whatever Party or Denomination they are. I ever must set the highest Value upon Men of truly great, that is, honeft, Principles, with equal Capacities. The best way I know of overcoming Calumny and Mifconstruction, is by a vigorous Perseverance in every thing we know to be right, and a total Neglect of all that can ensue from it.' 'Tis partly from this Maxim that I depend upon your Friendship, because I believe it will do justice to my Intention in every thing; and give me leave to tell you, that (as the World goes) this is no small Assurance I repose
To the same.
DEC. 14.. 1713.
I HAVE been lying in wait for my own Imagi
nation, this Week and more, and watching what Thoughts came up in the Whirl of the Fancy, that were worth communicating to you in a Letter. But I am at length convinc'd that my rambling Head can produce nothing of that fort; fo I must e'en be contented with telling you the old Story, that I love you heartily. I have often found by Experience, that Nature and Truth, tho' never fo low or vulgar, are yet pleasing when openly and artlessly represented; it would be diverting to me,
See Mr Pope's Epitle to him in Verse, writ about this time.
to read the very Letters of an Infant, could it write it's innocent Inconsistencies and Tautologies just as it thought 'em. This makes me hope a letter from me will not be unwelcome to you, when I am confcious I write with more unreservedness than ever Man wrote, or perhaps talk'd to another. I trust your good Nature with the whole range of my Follies, and really love you so well, that I would rather you should pardon me than esteem me, since one is an act of Goodness and Benevolence, the other a kind of constrained Deference.
You can't wonder my Thoughts are scarce confiftent, when I tell you how they are distracted. Ev'ry Hour of my Life, my Mind is strangly divided ; this Minute perhaps I am above the Stars, with a thousand Systems round about me, looking forward into a vast Abyss, and losing my whole Comprehension in the boundless space of Creation, in dialogues with and the Astronomers ;' the next Moment I am below all Trifles, grovelling with I-in the very Center of Nonsense. Now I am recreated with the brisk Sallies and quick turns of Wit, which Mr Steele in his liveliest and freest Humours darts about him; and now levelling my Application to the insignificant Observations and quirks of Grammar of Mr and D
Good God! What an incongruous animal is Man? How unsettled is his best Part, his Soul ; and how changing and variable in his Frame of Body? The constancy of the one shook by every Notion, the Temperament of the other affected by every blast of Wind! What is Man altogether, but one mighty Inconsistency! Sickness and Pain is the lot of one half of us; Doubt and Fear the Portion of the other ! What a Bustle we make about paffing our Time, when all our space is but a Point? What Aims and Ambitions are crowded into this little
id Icarce perceptible moment of Duration.
Pur Life, which (as Shakespear finely
no more, in the Eyes of him who gave Den lana
three or four Hours, as the Naturalists assure us, are yet as long-lived and possess as wide a Scene of Action as Man, if we consider him with an Eye to all Space, and all Eternity. Who knows what Plots, what Atchievements a Mite may perform in his Kingdom of a grain of Duft, within his Life of some Minutes? And of how much less Confideration than even this, is the Life of Man in the fight of that God, who is from Ever, and for Ever!
Who that thinks in this Train, but must see the World and it's contemptible Grandeurs lefsen before him at every Thought? "Tis enough to make one remain ftupify'd, in a Poize of Inaction, void of all Desires
, of all Designs, of all Friendihips. But we must return" (thro' our very Condition of being) to our narrow felves, and those things that affect our Selves; our Paffions, our Interests, Aow in upon us, and unphilofophize us into meer Mortals
. For my part, I never return so much into my felf, as when I think of you, whose Friendship is one of the best Comforts I have for the Insignificancy of my felf. I am
the Sez zie, look
thebe tion ing our
JAN, 30, 1713-4. OUR Letter found me very busy in my grand
Undertaking, to which I must wholly give myfelf up for some time, unless when I snatch an Hour