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kind a friend as yourself. But as it was always my resolution, if I must sink, to do it as decently (that is, as silently) as I could; so when I found my self plung'd into unforeseen, and unavoidable ruin, I retreated from the world, and in a manner buried my self in a dismal place, where I knew none, and none knew me. In this dull unthinking way, I have protracted a lingring death, (for life it cannot be called) ever since you saw me, fequester’d from Company, depriv'd of my books, and nothing left to converse with, but the Letters of my dead, or absent friends; amongst which latter I always placed your's, and Mr. Pope's, in the first rank. I lenti some of them indeed to an ingenious perfon, who was fo delighted with the specimen, that he importuned me for a sight of the rest, which having obtained, he convey'd them to the Press, I must not fay altogether with my consent, nor wholly without it. I thought them too good to be lost in oblivion, and had no cause to-apprehend the disobliging of any. The publick, viz. all persons of taste and judgment, would be pleased with so agreeable an amusement ; Mr. Gromwell could not be angry, fince it was but justice to his merit, to publish the folemn, and private professions of Love, Gratitude, and Veneration, made him by 1o. celebrated an Author ; and fincerely Mr. Pope ought not to resent the publication, since the early pregnancy of his Gentus was no dishonour to his character. And yet had either of you been asked, common modesty wou'd have obliged you to refule, what you wou'd not be displeased with, if done without your knowledge: And besides, to end all dispute, you had been pleased, to make me a free gift of them, to do what I pleased with them; and every one knows, that the person to whom a Letter is addressed, has the same right to dispose of it, as he has of goods purchased: with his money. I doubt not but your generosity
and honour will do me the right, of owning by a line, that I came honestly by them. I flatter my self, in a few months I shall again be visible to the world; and whenever thro' good providence that Turn shall happen, I shall joyfully acquaint you with it, there being none more truly your obliged Servant, than, Sir,
Your faithful, and
P.S. A Letter, Sir, directed to Mrs. Thomas, to be left at my house, will be safely transmitted to her, by,
To Mr. POPE.
Epsom, July 6, 1727: HEN these Letters were first printed, I
and cou'd not but laugh at the pompous title; since Whatever you wrote to me was humour, and familiar Raillery. As soon as I came from Epsom, I heard you had been to see me, and I writ you a short letter from Will's, that I longed to see you. Mr. D-S, about that time, charged me, with giving them to a Mistress, which I positively denied; not in the least, at that time, thinking of it: but some time after, finding in the news-papers Letters from Lady Packington, Lady Chudleigh, and Mr. Norris, to the same Sapho or E. T. I began to fear that I was guilty. I have never seen these
Letters of Curlis, nor wou'd go to his shop about them; I have not seen this Sapho, alias E. T. these
---- her writing, That I gave her pem, to do what he wou'd with 'em, is straining the point too far. I thought not of it, nor do I think The did then; but severe Necessity, which catches hold of a Twig, has produced all this; which has lain hid, and forgot by me so many years.
Curll sent me a Letter last week, defiring a positive anfwer about this matter, but finding I wou'd give him none, he went to E. Ti and writ a Postscript in her long romantic Letter, to direct my Answer to his house; but they not expecting an Answer, sent a young man to me, whose name, it seems, 'is Pattisson : I told him, I shou'd not write any thing, but I believed it might be so, as she writ in her Letter. I am extremely concerned, that my former Indircretion in putting them into the hands of this Pretreufe, should have given you so much disturbance ; for the last thing I should do would be to disoblige you, for whom I have ever preserved the greatest eleem, and shall ever be, Sir,
Your faithful Friend, and
most lumble Servant,
10 Mr. POPE.
Aug. 1, 1727
Pill I was tired, yet was I not fatisfied ; left any doubt should rest upon your mind. I could not make protestations of my Innocence of a grie
vous crime; but I was impatient 'till I came to Town, that I might send you those Letters, as a clear evidence, that I was a perfect stranger to all their proceeding. Should I have protested against it, after the printing, it might have been taken for an attempt to decry his purchase ; and as the little exception you have taken, has served him to play his game upon us for these two years; a new incident from me might enable him to play it on for two more.
The great value she expreffes for all
you write, and her paslion for having them, I believe, was what prevailed upon me to let her keep them. By the interval of twelve years at least, from her possession, to the time of printing them, 'tis manifest, that I had not the least ground to apprebend such a design : But as People in great straits, bring forth their boards of old Gold, and most valued Jewels; fo Sapho had recourse to her hid treasure of Letters, and play'd off, not only your's to me, but all those to herself (as the Lady's last-stake) into the press.
As for me, I hope, when you shall coo'ly consider the many thousand inftances of our being deluded by the females, since that great Original of Adam by Eve, you will have a more favourable thought of the undesigning error of
Now should our Apology for this Publication be as ill received, as the Lady's seems to have been by the Gentlemen concerned; we mall at least have Her Comfort of being Thanked by the rest of the world. Nor has Mr. P. himself any great cause to think it much Offence
to his Modesty, or Reflexion on his Judgment ; when we take care to inform the Public, that there are few Letters of his in this Collection, which were not written under Twenty years of Age: On the other hand, we doubt not the Reader will be much more surprized to find, at that early period, so much variety of Style, Affitting Sentiment, and Juftness of Criticism, in pieces which must have been writ'in haste, very few perhaps ever reviewed, and none intended for the Eye of the Public,