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at this distance, nor help the General, whom I greatly love, to catch one Fish. My only Consolation is to think you happier than myself, and to begin to envy you, which is next to hating (an excellent remedy for Love). How comes it that Providence has been so unkind to me, (who am a greater object of Compassion than any fat Man alive) that I am forc'd to drink Wine, while you riot in Water, prepar'd with Oranges by the hand of the Duchess of Queensberry ? that I am condemn'd to live on a Highway side, like an old Patriarch, receiving all Guests, where my Portico (as Virgil has it)
Mane falutantum totis vomit ædibus undam,
while you are wrapt into the Idalian Groves, sprinkled with Rose-water, and live in Burrage, Balm and Burnet, up to the Chin, with the Duchess of Queensberry ? that I am doom'd to the drudgery of dining at Court with the Ladies in waiting at Windsor, while you are happily banish'd with the Duchess of Queensberry ? So partial is Fortune in her Difpenfations! for I deserv'd ten times more to be banish'd than you, and I know some Ladies, who merit it better than even her Grace. After this I must not name any, who dare do so much for you, as to send you
their Services: But one there is, who exhorts me often' to write to you, I suppose to prevent or excuse her not doing it herself; The seems (for that is all I'll say for a Courtier) to wish you mighty well. Another, who is no Courtier, frequently mentions you, and does certainly wish you well — I fancy, after all, they both do so.
I writ to Mr Fortescue and told him the Pains you took to see him. Dr A. for all that I know, may yet remember you and me, but I never hear of it. The Dean is well ; I have had many accounts of him
from Irish Evidence, but only two Letters these four Months, in both which you are mentioned kindly: He is in the North of Ireland, doing I know not what with I know not whom. Čleland always speaks of you: he is at Tunbridge, wondring at the superior Carnivoracity of the Doctor. He plays now with the old Duchess of M-, nay dines with her, after she has won all his Money. Other News know I not, but that Counsellor Bickford has hurt himself, and has the strangest Walking-staff I ever faw. He intends speedily to make you a visit at Amesbury. I am my Lord Duke's, my Lady Duchess's, Mr Dormer's, General Dormer's, and
Sept. 11. 1730. Dear Sir, IMAY with
great truth return your Speech, that I think of you daily; oftner indeed than is consistent with the Character of a reasonable Man ; who is rather to make himself eafy with the things and men that are about him, than uneasy with those which are not.
And you, whose absence is in a manner perpetual to me, ought rather to be remembred as a good Man gone, than breathed after as one living. You are taken from us here, to be laid up in a more blessed State with Spirits of a higher kind: Such I reckon his Grace and her Grace, since their banishment from an earthly Court to an heavenly one, in each other and their Friends; for I conclude none but true Friends will consort or associate with them afterwards. I can't but look upon my self (so unworthy as a Man of Twitnam feems to be
rank'd with such rectify'd and sublimated Beings as you) as a separated Spirit too from Courts and Courtly Fopperies. But I own, not altogether fo divefted terrene Matter, nor altogether fo fpiritualized, as to be worthy admiffion to your depths of Retirement and Contentment. I ain tuğg'd back to the World and it's regards too often; and no wonder, when my retreat is but ten Miles from the Capital. I am within Ear-shot of Reports, within the Vortex of Lies and Censures. I hear sometimes of the Lampooners of Beauty, the Calumniators of Virtue, the Jokers at Reason and Religion. I presume thefe are Creatures and Things as unknown to you, as we of this dirty Orb are to the Inhabitants of the Planet Jupiter : Except a few fervent Prayers reach you on the Wings of the Poft, from two or three of your zealous Votaries at this distance; as one Mrs Howard, who lifts up her Heart now and then to you, from the midst of the Colluvies and Sink of Human Greatness at Wr: One Mrs B. that fancies you may remember her while you liv'd in your mortal and too transitory State at Petersham : One Lord B. who admir'd the Duchess before she grew quite a Goddess; and a few others.
To descend now to tell you what are our Wants, our Complaints, and our Miseries here; I must seriously say, the loss of any one good Woman is too great to be born easily: and poor Mrs Rollinson, tho’a private Woman, was such. Her Husband is gone into Oxfordshire very melancholy, and thence to the Bath, to live on, for such is our Fate, and Duty. Adieu. Write to me as often as you will, and (to encourage you) I will write as seldom as if you did not.
08.1, 1730. Dear Sir, I
AM fomething like the Sun at this Season,
withdrawing from the World, but meaning it mighty well, and resolving to shine whenever I can again. But I fear the Clouds of a long Winter will overcome me to such a degree, that any body will take a farthing-candle for a better Guide, and more serviceable Companion. My Friends may remember my brighter days, but will think (like the Irishman,) that the Moon is a better thing when once I am gone. I don't say this with any allusion to my Poetical Capacity as a Son of Apollo, but in my companionable one (if you'll fuffer me to use a phrase of the Earl of Clarendon's). For I shall fee or be seen of few of you, this Winter. I am grown too faint to do any good, or to give any pleasure. I not only, as Dryden fairly says, Feel my Notes decay as a Poet; but feel my Spirits Aag as a Companion, and shall return again to where I first began, 'my Books. I have been putting my Library in order, and enlarging the Chimney in it, with equal intention to warm my Mind and Body (if I can ) to some Life. A Friend, (a Woman-friend, God help me!) with whom I have spent three or four hours a day these fifteen years, advised me to pass more time in my
studies: I reflected, she must have found fome Reason for this Admonition, and concluded the wou'd compleat all her kindnesses to me by returning me to the Employment I am fittest for; Conversation with the dead, the old, and the wormeaten.
Judge therefore if I might not treat you as a Beatify'd Spirit, comparing your life with my ftu
Pid ftate. For as to my living at Windsor with Ladies, &c. it is all a dream; I was there but two nights and all the day out of that company. I shall certainly make as little court to others, as they do to me; and that will be none at all. My Fair-Weather-Friends of the Summer are going away for London, and I shall see them and the Butterflies together, if I live till next Year ; which I would not desire to do, if it were only for their fakes. But we that are Writers, ought to love Posterity, that Posterity may love us; and I would willingly live to see the Children of the present Race, meerly in hope they may be a little wiser than their parents,
I am, &c.
TO J. GAY, Esq;
Dec. 16, 1731. I
AM astonished at the Complaints occafion'd
by a late Epistle to the Earl of Burlington ; and I should be afflicted were there the least just Ground for 'em. Had the Writer attack'd Vice, at a Time when it is not only tolerated but triumphant, and so far from being concealed as a Defelt, that it is proclaimed with Oftentation as a Merit; I should have been apprehensive of the Consequence :
Had he satirized Gamesters of a hundred thousand pounds Fortune, acquired by such Methods as are in daily practice, and almost uneversally encouraged : Had he overwarmly defended the Religion of his Country, against such Books as come from every Press, are publickly vended in every Shop, and greedily bought by almost every