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Thus, let me live unseen, unknown,
Thus, unlamented let me die,
Tell where I lie.
August 19..1709, IF F I were to write to you as often as I think
of you, my Letters wou'd be as bad as a Rent-charge; but tho' the one be but too little for your Good-nature, the other wou'd be too much for your Quiet, which is one blessing Good-nature shou'd indispensably receive from mankind, in return for those many it gives. I have been inform’d of late, how much I am indebted to that quality of your's, in speaking well of me in my Absence; the only thing by which you prove your self no Wit or Critic: Tho' indeed I have often thought, that a Friend will fhow just as much indulgence (and no more) to my Faults when I am absent, as he does Severity to 'em when I am present. To be very frank with you, Sir, I must own, that where I receiv'd so much Civility at first, I cou'd hardly have expected fo much Sincerity afterwards. But now I have only to wish, that the last were but equal to the firit, and that as you have omitted nothing to oblige me, so you wou'd omit nothing to improve me.
I caus’d an Acquaintance of mine to enquire twice of your welfare, by whom I have been inform’d, that you have left your speculative Angle in the Wiclow's Coffee-house, and bidding adieu for some time to all the Rehearsals, Reviews, Gazettes, &c. have march'd off into Lincolnshire. Thus I find you vary your Life in the Scene at least, tho' not
in the Action; for tho' life for the most part, like an old Play, be still the same, yet now and then a new Scene may make it more entertaining. As for myself, I would not have my life a very regular Play, let it be a good merry Farce, a God's name, and a fig for the critical Unities! Yet (on the other fide) I wou'd as soon write like Durfey, as live like I ----- e; whose beastly, yet merry, life, is (if you will excuse such a smilitude ) not unlike a F---t, at once nasty and laughable. For the generality of men, a true modern Life is like a true modern Play, neither Tragedy, Comedy, nor Farce, nor one, nor all of these: every Actor is much better known by his having the same Face, than by keeping the same Character: for we change our minds as often as they can their parts, and he who was yesterday Cefar, is to day Sir John Daw. So that one might ask the fame question of a modern Life, that Rich did of a modern Play; “ Pray do me the favour, "s Sir, to inform me; Is this your Tragedy, or “ your Comedy?
I have dwelt the longer upon this, because I persuade myself it might be useful, at a time when we have no other Theatre, to divert ourselves at this great one. Here is a glorious standing Comedy of Fools, at which every man is heartily
, merry, and thinks himself an unconcern'd Spectator. This (to our singular comfort) neither my Lord Chamberlain, nor the Queen herself, can ever shut up, or filence. . While that of Drury (alas !) lies desolate, in the profoundest peace: and the melancholy prospect of the Nymphs yet lingring about it's beloved avenues, appears no less moving than that of the Trojan Dames lamenting over their ruin'd slium ! What now can they hope, difpoffefs'd of their antient feats, but to serve as
Captives to the insulting Victors of the Hay-Market? The afflicted Subjects of France do not, in our Post- Man, fo greviously deplore the obstinacy of ther arbitrary Monarch, as thefe perishing people of Drury the obdurate heart of that Pharagh, Rich; who, like him, disdains all Proposals of Peace and Accommodation. Several Libels have been secretly affix'd to the great gates of his imperial palace in Bridges-Street; and a Memorial representing the distrelles of these perfons, has been accidentally dropt (as we are credibly inform’d by a perfon of quality) out of his first Minister the chief Box-keeper's pocket, at a late Conference of the said Person of Quality and others, on the part of the Confederates, and his Theatrical Majesty on his own part.
Of this you may expect a copy as soon as it shall be transmitted to us from a good hand. As for the late Congress, it is here reported, that is has not been wholly ineffectual; but this wants confirmation ; 'yet we cannot but hope the concurring, prayers and tears of so many wretched Ladies may induce this haughty Prince to Reason,
I am, &c.
08. 19, 1709. I MAY truly say I am more obligʻd to you this
Summer than to any of my Acquaintace, for had it not been for the two kind letters you sent I had been perfectly, oblitusque meorum, oblivifcendus & illis. The only companions I had where those Mules of whom Tully says, Adolefcentiamalunt, Senectutem oble&tant, fecundas res ornant, adverfis perfugium ac folatium præbent, delettant
domi, non impediunt foris, pernoctant nobifcum, peregrinantur, rufticantur. Which indeed is as much as ever I expected from them ; for the Muses, if you take them as Companions, are very pleasant and agreeable; but whoever should be forc'd to live or depend upon 'em, would find himself in a very bad condition. That Quiet, which Cowley calls the Companion of Obscurity, was not wanting to me, unless it was interrupted by those fears you fo justa ly guess I had for our Friend's welfare. 'Tis extremely kind in you to tell me the news you heard of him, and you have deliver'd me from more anxiety than he imagines me capable of on his acé count, as I am convinc'd by his long filence. However the love of some things rewards itself, as of Virtue, and of Mr Wycherley. I am furpriz'd at the danger you tell me has been in, and must agree with
you, that our nation would have lost in him alone, more wit and probity, than would have remain'd (for ought I know) in all the rest of it. My concern for his friendfhip will exeufe me, (since I know you honour him so much, and since you know I love him above all men) if I vent a part of my uneasiness to you, and tell you, that there has not been wanting one to insinuate mali. cious untruths of me to Mr Wycherley, which I fear may have had fome effect upon him. If.fo, he will have a greater punishment for his credulity than I cou'd with him, in that fellow's acquaintance. The loss of a faithful creature is something, tho' of ever so contemptible an one ; and if I were to change my Dog for such a Man as the aforesaid, I shou'd think my Dog undervalu’d: (who follows me about as constantly here in the country, as I was us'd to do Mr Wycherley in the Town.)
Now I talk of my Dog, that I may not treat of a worse subject which my spleen tempts me to,
I will give you some account of him ; a thing not wholly unprecedented, since Montagne (to whom I am but a Dog in comparison) has done the very fame thing of his Cat. Dic mihi quid melius defidiofus agam? You are to know then, that as ’tis Likeness begets Affection, so my favourite dog is a little one, a lean one, and none of the finest shap’d. He is not much a Spaniel in his fawning, but has (what might be worth any man's while to imitate from him) a dumb furly sort of kindness, that rather shows itself when he thinks me illus'd by others, than when we walk quietly and peaceably by ourselves. If it be the chief point of Friendship to comply with a friend's Motions and Inclinations, he poffefses this in an eminent degree; he lies down when I fit,and walks when I walk,
which is more than many good friends can pretend to, witness our walk a year ago in St James's Park.- Histories are more full of examples of the Fidelity of Dogs than of Friends, but I will not insist upon many of 'em, because it is possible fome may be almost as fabulouş, as those of Pylades and Orestes, &c. I will only fay, for the honour of Dogs, that the two most antient and esteemable books sacred and prophane extant, (viz. the Scripture and Homer) have ihewn a particular regard to these animals. That of Toby is the more remarkable, because there was no manner of reason to take notice of the Dog, besides the great humanity of the Author. Homer's account of Ulysses's Dog Argus is the most pathetic imaginable, all the circumstances consider'd, and an excellent proof of the old Bard's Good-Nature. Ulysses had left him at Ithaca when he embark'd for Troy, and found him at his return after twenty years, (which by the way is not unnatural as some Critics have said, since I remember the dam of my dog was twenty-two years old when the dy'd ;