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But without Laughter on the one fide, or Compliment on the other, I assure you,
I am with real esteem,
Otober 26, 1711. MR Wycherley visited me at the Bath in my Sick
ness, and express'd much Affection to me: Hearing from me how welcome his Letters would be, he presently writ to you; in which I inserted my Scrall, and after a second. He went to Glou cester in his way to Salop, but was difappointed of a Boat, and so return'd to the Bath; then helhew'd me your Answer to his Letters in which you speak of my good Nature, but I fear you found me very froward at Reading ; yet you allow for my illness. I cou'd not poffibly be in the same House with Mr Wycherley, tho' Í fought it earnestly; nor come up to Town with him, he being engag'd with others; but whenever we met we talk'd of you. He praises your * Poem, and even outvies me in kind Expressions of you. As if he had not wrote two Letters to you, he was for writing every Poft; I put him in mind he had already. Forgive me this Wrong, I know not whether my talking to much of your great humanity and tenderness to me, and love to him ; or whether the return of his natural Disposition to you, was the Cause; but certainly you are now highly in his Favour; now he will come this Winter to your House, and I must go with him ; but first he will invite you speedily to Town.-I arrived on Saturday last much wearied, yet had wrote sooner, but was told by Mr Gay (who has writ a pretty Poem to Lintot, and who gives you his service) that you was gone from * Effay on Criticism,
home, Lewis shew'd me your letter, which set me right, and your next letter is impatiently expected by me. Mr Wycherley came to town on Sunday last, and kindly surpriz'd me with a visit on Monday morning. We din'd and drank together; and I saying, To our Loves ; he reply'd, Tis "Mr Pope's health: He faid he would go to Mr Thorolds and leave a letter for you. Tho' I cannot anfwer for the event of all this, in respect to him; yet I can assure you, that when you please to come you will be most desirable to me, as always by inclination fo now by duty, who Thall ever be
Mr POPE 10, Mr Co.--.--.
Nov. 12, 1711. I Receiv'd the entertainment of your Letter the
day after I had fent you one of mine, and I am but this morning return'd-hither. The news you tell me of the many difficulties you found in your return from Bath, gives me fuch a kind of pleasure as we usually take in accompanying our Friends in their mixt adventures; for methinks I see
Ja. bouring thro' all your inconveniences of the rough roads, the hard faddle, the trotting horfe, and what not? What an agreeable surprize wou'd it have been to me, to have met you by pure accident, (which I was within an ace of doing) and to have carry'd you off triumphantly, set you on an eafier Pad, and reliev'd the wandring Knight with a Night's lodging and rural Repast, at our Castle in the Foreft? But these are only the pleafing Imaginations of a disappointed Lover, who must fuffer in a melancholy -absence yet these two months. In the mean time, I take up with the Mufes for want of your better company; the Muses, Qua nobiscum pernoctant,
peregrinantur, rusticantur. Thofe aerial Ladies. just discover enough to me of their beauties to urge my pursuit, arrd draw me on in a wand'ring Maze of Thought, till in hopes (and only in hopes) of attaining those favours from 'em, which they confer on their' more happy. Admirers. We grasp fome more beautiful Idea in our own bra than our endeavours to express it can set to the view of others; and still do but labour to fall short of our first Imagination. The gay Colouring which Fancy gave at the first transient glance we had of it, goes off in the Execution ; like those various figures in the gilded clouds which while we gaze long upon, to separate the parts of each imaginary Image, the whole faints before the eye and decays into confusion,
I am highly pleas'd with the knowledge you give me of Mr IVycherley's present temper, which feems so favourable to me. I shall ever have such à Fund of Affection for him as to be agreeable to myself when I am so to him, and cannot but be gay when he's in good humour, as the surface of the Earth (if you will pardon a poetical Similitude) is clearer or glomier, just as the Sun is brighter, or more overcast.
I should be glad to see the Verses to Lintot which you mention, for methinks something oddly agreeable may be produc'd from that subject.
For what remains, I am fo well, that nothing but the assurance of your being fo can make me better; and if
wou'd have me live with any fatisfaction these dark days in which I cannot see you, it must be by your writing sometimes to
Mr C. ... to Mr Pope.
Dec. 7, 1711. M RIVycherley has, I believe, fent you two of
three letters of invitation ; but you, like the Fair, will be long follicited before you yield, to make the favour the more acceptable to the Lover. He is much your's by his talk; for that unbounded Genius which has rang'd at large like a Libertire, now seems confin’d to you: and I thou'd take him for your Mistress too by your Simile of the Sun and Earth : 'Tis very fine, but inverted by the application ; for the gaiety of your fancy, and the drooping of his by the withdrawing of your luftre, perswades me it wou'd be juster by the reverse. Oh happy Favourite of the Muses! how per-noctare, all night long with them? but alas! you do but toy, but skirmish with them, and decline a clofe Engagement. Leave Elegy and Translation to the inferior Class, on whom the Muses only glance now and then like our Winter-Sun, and then leave 'em in the dark. Think on the Dignity of Tragedy, which is of the greater Poetry, ás Dennis says, and foil him at his other weapon, as you have done in Criticism. Every one wonders that a Genius like your's will not support the sinking Drama; and Mr-Wilks (tho' I think his Talent is Comedy) has express'd a furious ambition to swell in your Buskins. We have had a poor Comedy of Johnson's (not Ben ) which held seven nights, and has got him three hundred pounds, for the town is sharp-set on new Plays. In vain wou'd I fire you by Interest or Ambition, when your mind is not susceptible of either; tho' your Authority (arising from the general Esteem, like that of Pompey) must infallibly assure you of Success; for which in all your Wishes you will be attended with those of
Mr Pope to Mr C....
December 21, 1711.. I!
F I have not writ to you so soon as I ought, let
my writing now attone for the Delay; as it will infallibly do, when you know what a Sacrifice I make you at this time, and that every Moment my Eyes are employ'd upon this paper, they are taken off from two of the finest Faces in the Universe. But indeed 'tis some Consolation to me to reflect, that while I but write this Period, I escape fome hundred fatal Darts from those unerring Eyes, and about a thousand Deaths, or better. Now you, that delight in dying, would not once have dream'd of an absent Friend in these Circumstances; you that are fo nice an Admirer of Beauty, or (as a Critic wou'd say after Terence) so elegant a Spectator of Forms? You must have a fober Dish of Coffee, and a folitary Candle at your Side, to write an Epiftle lucubratory to your Friend; whereas I can do it as well with two Pair of radiant Lights, that outshine the golden God of Lay and filver Goddess of Night, with all the refulgent Eyes of the Firmament.--You fancy now that Şapho's Eyes are two of these my Tapers, but 'tis no such Matter, Sir; these are Eyes that have more Persuasion in one Glance than all Sapho's Oratory and Gesture together, let her put her Body into what moving Posture the pleases. Indeed, indeed, my Friend, you cou'd never have found so improper a time to tempt me with Interest or Ambition : Let me but have the Reputation of these in my keeping, and as for my own, let the Devil, or let Dennis, take it for ever. How gladly wou'd I give all I am worth, that is to say, my Pastorals for one of them, and my El ay