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'.f-1'...S ~'..v '.- i'.J •■■ OB. i, 1730.. ~ Dear Sir* . ;i, . ■ ..- !t. -. -.2 ir Ci.-.v
IAM something like the Sun at this Sea-, son, withdrawing from the World, but meaning it mighty well, and resolving to shine whenever! can again. But I fcap the Clouds of a long Winter will over*' come me to such a degree, that any body will take a farthing-candle for a better Guide, and more serviceable companions My Friends may remember my brighter days, but will think (like the Irishman) that the Mowi 'xs a better thing when once I ant gone. I don't lay this with any allusion to my Poetical capacity as a Son- of Apollo^ but in my Companionable one, (if you'll suffer me to use a phrase of the Earl of Clarendon's) For I stiall see or be seen, of; few of you, this Winter. I am grown too faint to do any good, or to give any plea*; sure. I not only, as Drydeu fairly fays, Feel my Notes decuy. as a Poet; but feel my. Spirits flag as a Companion, and'stiall re* turn 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,
0.3 0 (a Woman-friend, God help me!) with whom I have spent three or four hours a day these fifteen years, advised me to p3ss more time in my studies: I reflected, lhe must have found some Reason for this admonition, and concluded stiewou'd compleat all her kindnesses to me by returning me to the Employment I am fittest for j Conversation with the dead, the old, and the worm-eaten.
Judge therefore if I might not treat you as a Beatify'd Spirit, comparing your life with my stupid state. 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 fee the Children of the present Race, meerly in hope they may be a little wiser than their Parents.
• To J. Gat, Efo ••*-'
Dec. 16, 173.1.
IAm astonished at the Complaints occasion'd by a late Epijlle 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 Defecl, that it is proclaimed with Ostentation 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 universally encouraged : Had he overwarmly defended the Religion- oj his Country, against such Books as come from every Press, are publickly vended in every Shop, and greedily bought by almost every Rank of Men; or had. he called our excellent Weekly Writers by the fame Names which theyopenly bestow on the greatest Men in the Ministry, and out of the Ministry, for which they are all unpunistied, and most rewarded: 225.4 ~ rh % T£ £ *^o^f .
In any os these Gasesr indeed, I might have judged him too presumptuous, and perhaps have trembled for his Rashness.
I could hot but hope better for this small and modest Epistle,, which attacks no one Vice whatsoever; which deals only in Folly, and not Folly in general, but a single Species of it; that only Branch, for the opposite Excellency to which, the Noble Lord to whom it is written must necessarilv be celebrated. I fancied it might escape Censure, especially seeing how tenderly these Follies are treated, and really less accused, than Apologized for,
Yet hence the Poor are cloatVd, the Hungry fed*
Is this such a Crime, that to impute it to a Man must be a grievous Offence? 'Tis an Innocent Folly, and much more Beneficent than the Want of it; for III taste employs more hands, and diffuses Expence more than a Good one. Is it a Moral Defect? No, it is but a Natural one; a Want of l^aste. It is what the best good Man living may be liable to: The worthiest Peer may live exemplarily in an ill-favour'd House, and the best reputed Citizen be pleased with a vile Garden. I thought (I say) the Author had the cornlfion Liberty to observe a Defect, and to compliment a Friend for a Quality that distinguishes him: which Iknow.not how any Quality should do, is we were not to remark that It was wanting in others.
But, they fay, the Satire is Personal. I thought it could not be so, because all its Reflexions are on Things. His Reflexions are noc on the Man, but his House, Garden, &c. Nay,- he respects (as one may fay) the Persons of the Gladiator, Amphitheatre, the Nile and the Triton: He is only sorry to fee them (as he might be to fee any of his Frieiids) ridiculous, by being in the wrong Place, and in bad Company. Some fancy, that to fay a Thing is Personal, is the fame as to fay it is Unjust, not considering, that nor thing can be Just that, is not Personal. I am afraid that " all such Writings and Discour-<c ses as touch no Man, will mend no Man?' The Good-Natured, indeed, are apt to be alarmed at any thing like Satire; and the Guilty readily concur with the Weak for.a. plain Reason, because the Vicious look, upon Folly as their Frontier: r,(.j .,,
~-—Jam proximus ardet
No wonder those who know Ridicule be- .