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(I hope) my love to it or you, since there I can enjoy your Company without seeing you in Pain to give me Satisfaction and Pleasure there I can have you without Rivals or Disturbers ; without the C-----s too civil, or the T----s too rude; without the Noise of the Loud, and the Censure of the Silent; and would rather have you abuse me there with the Truth, than at this Distance with your Compliment. Since now, your Business of a Friend and Kindness to a Friend, is by finding Fault with his Faults, and mending them by your obliging Severity'; I hope (in Point of your good Nature) you will have no cruel Charity for those Papers of mine, you were willing to be troubled with; which I take most infinitely kind of you, and shall acknowledge with Gratitude, as long as I live. No Friend can do more for his Friend than preserving his Reputation (nay not by preserving his Life) since by preserving his Life, he can only make him live about threescore or foursccre Years; but by preserving his Reputation, he can make him live as long as the World lasts ; so save him from Damning, when he is gone to the Devil: Therefore I pray condemn me in private, as the Thieves do their Accomplices in Newgate, to save them from Condemnation by the Public. Be most kindly unmerciful to my poetical Faults, and do with my Papers, as you Country Gentlemen do with your Trees, slash, cut, and lop-off the excrescencies and dead Parts of my withered Bays, that the little Remainder may live the longer, and increase the Value of them, by diminishing the Number. I have troubled you with my Papers rather to give you Pain than Pleasure, notwithstanding your Compliment, which says, you take trouble kindly: Such is your Generosny to your Friends, that you take it kindly to be desired by them to do them a Kindness; and you think it done to you,
when they give you an Opportunity to do it to them. Wherefore you may be sure to be troubled with my Letters out of Interest, if not Kindness, since mine to you will procure yours to me; so that I write to you more for my own fake than yours ; less to make you think I write well, than to learn from you to write better. Thus you see Interest in my Kindness, which is like the Friendship of the World, rather to make a Fried than be a Friend ; but I am yours, as a true Plain-Dealer.
Mr. Wycherley to Mr. Pope.
April 11, 1710.
IF I can but do Part of my Business at Shrews
bury in a Fortnight's time (which I propose to do) I will be foon after with you, and trouble you with my Company, for the Remainder of the Summer. In the mean time, I beg you to give your self the Pains of altering, or leaving out what you think fuperfluous in my Papers; that I may endeavour to print such a Number of them as you and I shall think fit, about Michaelmas next. In order to which (my dear Friend) I beg you to be so kind to me, as to be severe to them; that the Critics may be less fo; for I had rather be condemned by my Friend in private, than exposed to my Foes in publick, the Critics, or common Judges, who are made such by having been old Offenders themselves. Pray believe I have as much Faith in your Friendship. and Sincerity, as I have Deference to your Judgment ; and as the best Mark of a Friend, is telling his Friend his Faults in Private ; so the next
is concealing them from the public, 'till they are fit to appear. In the mean time, I am not a little sensible of the great Kindness you do me, in putting my Rhymes in Tune, since good Sounds frequently set off ill Sense.. As the Italian Songs, whose good Airs, with the worst Words, or Meaning, make the best Mufick ; so by your tuning my Welch Harp, my rough Sense may be the less offensive to the nicer Ears of those Critics, who deal more in Sound than Sense. Pray then take Pity at once both of iny Readers and me, in shortning my barren Abundance, and increafing their Patience by it, as well as the Obligations I have to you: And since no Madrigaller can entertain the Head, unless he pleases the Ear; and since the crowded Opera's have left the best Comedies with the least Audiences, it is a Sign Sound can prevail over Sense; therefore soften my Words, and strengthen my Sense, and
Eris mihi magnus Apollo.
Mr. Wycherley to Mr. Pope.
April 27, 1710. You give me an Account in your Letter of
the Trouble you have undergone for me, in comparing my Papers you took down with you, with the old printed Volume, and with one another of that Bundle you have in your Hands; amongst which you say you find numerous * Re
* The Truth of this may be seen in tbe whole printed Volume of bis Miscellanies in Folio, in 1704, in almoft every Page,
petitions of the fame Thoughts and Subjects ; all
which I must confess my want of Memory has : prevented me from imagining, as well as made me
capable of committing them ; fince of all Figures, that of Tautology is the last. I would use, or least forgive my self for. But Seeing is Believing: wherefore I will take some Pains to examine and compare those Papers in your Hands, with one another, as well as with the former printed Copies or Books of my damned Miscellanies; all which (as bad a Memory as I have) with a little more Pains and Care, I think I can remedy; therefore I would not have
you give your self more Trouble about them, which may prevent the pleasure you have, and may give the World, in Writing upon new Subjects of your own, whereby you will much better entertain yourself and othurs.
Now as to your Remarks upon the whole Volume of my Papers, all that I desire of you, is to mark in the Margin (without defacing the Copy at a!) either any Repetition of Words, Matter, or Sense, or any Thoughts, or Words too much repeated; which if you will be so kind as to do for me, you will supply my want of Memory with your good one, and my Deficiencies of Sense with the Infallibility of yours; which if you do, you will most infinitely oblige me, who almost repent the trouble I have given you, since so much. Now as to what you call Freedom with me, (which you, desire me to forgive) you may be affured I would not forgive you unless you did use it ; for I am so far from thinking your Plainness a Fault, or an Of-?. fence to me, that I think it a Charity and an Obligation ; which I shall always acknowledge with all lort of Gratitude to you for it, who am therefore
(Dear Mr. Pope)
C W. WYCHERLEY,
All the News I have to send you, is, that poor Mr. Betterton is going to make his Exit from the Stage of this World, the Gout being gotten up into his Head, and (as the Physicians say) will certainly carry him off suddenly.
Mr. POPE's Answer..
May 2, 1710. I
Am sorry you perfift to take ill my not accept
ing your Invitation, and to find (if I mistake not). your Exception not unmixt with some Suspicion. Be certain I shall most carefully observe your Request, not to cross over, or deface the Copy of your Papers for the future, and only to mark in the Margin the Repetitions : But as this can serve no further than to get rid of those Repetitions, and no way rectify the Method, nor connect the Matter, nor improve the Poetry in Expression or Numbers, without further blotting, adding, and altering ; so it really is my opinion, and desire, that you thould take your Papers out of my hands into your own; and that no Alterations may be made but when both of us are present, when you may be satisfied with every Blot, as well as every. Addition; and nothing be put upon the Papers, but what you shall give your own sanction and aflent to at the same time.
Do not be so unjust, as to imagine from hence that I would decline any part of this Task; on the contrary you know, I have been at the pains of transcribing some Pieces, at once to comply with your desire of not defacing the Copy, and yet to lose no Time in proceeding upon the Correction. I will go on the same way if you please; tho' truly it is (as I have often told you) my fincere opinion, that