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have not Oblivion. I thou'd at leaft have expected you to have finish'd that Elegy upon me, which you told me you was upon the point of beginning when I was sick in London ; if you will but do so much for me first, I will give you leave to forget me afterwards ; and for my own part will die at discretion, and at my leisure, But I fear I must be forc'd like many learned Authors, to write my own Epitaph, if I would be remember'd at all. Monfieur de la Fontaine's wou'd fit' me to a Hair, but it is a kind of Sacrilege, (do you think it is not?) to steal Epitaphs. In my present, living dead condition, nothing would be properer than Oblitufque meorum, oblivifcendus & illis, but that unluckily I can't forget my Friends, and the Civilities I receiv'd from yourself, and some others. They say indeed 'tis one quality of generous Minds to forget the Obligations they have conferr’d, and perhaps too it may be so to forget' thofe an whom they conferr'd'em? Then indeed I must be forgotten to all intents and purposes! I am, it must be own'd, dead in a natural Capacity, according to Mr Bickerstaff; dead in a poetical Capacity, as a damn'd Author ; and dead in a civil Capacity, as. a. useless Member of the Common-wealth. But reflect, dear Sir, what melancholy Effects may enfue, if dead Men are not civil to one another? If he who has nothing to do himself, will not comfort and support another in his Idleness? If those who are to die themselves, will not now and then pay the Charity of visiting a Tomb and a dead Friend, and strowing a few Flowers over him? In the Shades where I am, the Inhabitants have a mutual Compassion for each other: Being all alı ke Inanes, and Umbratiles, we faunter to one another's Habitations, and daily affift each other in doing nothing at all; this I mention for your Edification and Ex
"ample, that Tout plein du vie as you are, yet you may not sometimes disdain-defpere in loco. Tho' you are no Papist, and have not so much regard to the dead as to address yourself to them, (which I plainly perceive by your Silence) yet I hope you are not one of those Heterodox, who hold them to be totally. insensible of the good Offices and kind Wishes of their living Friends, and to be in a dull State of Sleep, without one Dream of those they left behind them? If you are, let this Letter convince you to the contrary, which afsures you, I am still, tho' in a State of Separation,
P.S. This Letter of Deaths, puts me in mind of poor Mr Betterton's ; over whom I would have this Sentence of Tully for an Epitaph.
Vitæ bene aétæ jucundiffima eft Recordatio.
June 24, 17.10. "TIS very natural for a young Friend, and a
young Lover, to think the Persons they love have nothing to do but to please then ; when perháps they, for their parts, had twenty other Engagements before. This was my Case when I wonder'd I did not hear from you; but I no sooner receiv'd your short Letter, but I forgot your long Silence ; and so many fine Things as you said of me cou'd not but have wrought a Cure on my own Sickness; if it had not been of the Nature of that, which is deaf to the Voice of the Charmer. 'Twas impossible you could have better tim'd your Compliment on my Philosophy; it was certainly properest
to commend me for it just when I most needed it, and when I cou'd least be proud of it ; that is, when I was in Pain. 'Tis not easy to express what an Exaltation it gave to my Spirits, above all the Cordials of my Doctor ; and 'tis no Compliment to tell you, that your. Compliments were fweeter than the sweetest of his Juleps and Syrups., But if you will not believe so much,
Pour le moins, votre Compliment
Nevertheless I wou'd not have you entirely lay aside the Thoughts of my Epitaph, any more than I do those of the probability of my becoming ('ere long) the Subject of one. For Death has of late been very familiar with some of my Size ; I am told my Lord Lumley and Mr Litton are gone before me ; and tho' I may now without vanity esteem myself the least thing like a Man in England, yet I can't but be sorry, two Heroes of such a Make wou'd die inglorious in their Beds; when it had been a Fate more worthy our Size, had they met with theirs from an irruption of Cranes, or other warlike Animals, those antient Enemies to our Pygmean Ancestors ! You of a superior Species little regard what befals us Homunciolos Sesquipedales; however
have no reason to be so unconcern'd, since all Physicians agree there is no greater fign of a Plague among Men, than a Mortality among Frogs. I was the other Day in Company with a Lady, who rally'd my Person so much, as to cause a total subversion of my Countenance : Some Days after, to be reveng'd on her, I presented her among
other Company the following Rondeau on that Occasion, which I desire you to show Sapho.
You know where you did despise
You know where,
You, 'tis true, have fine black Eyes,
You know where.
This sort of Writing call’d the Rondeau is what I'never knew practis'd in our Nation, and I verily believe it was not in use with the Greeks or Romans, neither Macrobius nor Hyginus taking the least Notice of it. 'Tis to be observ’d, that the vulgar spelling and pronouncing it. Round 0, is a manifeft Corruption, and by no means to be allow'd of by Critics. Some may mistakenly imagine that it was a sort of Rondeau which the Gallic Soldiers sung
in Cæsar's Triumph over Gaul.-Gallias Cæfar subegit, &c. as it is recorded by Suetonius in Julio, and so derive it's Original from the antient Gauls to . the modern French : but this is erroneous ; the Words there not being rang'd according to the Laws of the Rondeau, as laid down by Clement Marot. If you will say, that the Song of the Soldiers might be only the rude beginning of this kind of Poem, and fo. consequently imperfect, neither Heinsius nor I can be of that Opinion ; and so I conclude, that we know nothing of the Matter.
But, Sir, I ask your Pardon for all this Bul
. L foonry, which I could not address to any one so well as to you, since I have found, by Experience, you muft easily forgive my Impertinences. 'Tis only to show you, that I am mindful of you at all times; that I write at all times; and as nothing I can say can be worth your reading, fo I may as well throw out what comes uppermost, as study to be dull..
no to Mr POPE.
July 15, 1710. AT laft I have prevail'd over a lazy, humour
transcribe this Elegy: I have chang’d the Situation of some of the Latin Verses, and made some Interpolations, but I hope they are not abfurd, and foreign to my Author's Sense and Manner ; but they are referr’d to your Cenfure, as a Debt; whom I esteem no less a Critic than a Poet : I expect to be treated with the same Rigour as I have practis'd to Mr Dryden and you,
-Hanc veniam petimusq; damusq; viceffim. I desire the Favour of your Opinion, why Priam, in his Speech to Pyrrhus, in the second Æneid, says this to him,
At non ille fatum quo te mentiris, Achilles. He wou'd intimate (I fancy by Pyrrhus's Answer
) only his Degeneracy': but then these following