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i curion. It is certainly to be lamented, that if any man does but endeavour to diftin. guish himself, or gratify others by his studies, he is immediately treated as a common ene, my, instead of being look'd upon as a common friend; and assaulted as generally, as if his whole design were to prejudice the State, and ruin the publick. I will venture to say, no man ever rose to any degree of perfection in writing, but thro' obstinacy and an inveterate resolution against the stream of mankind : So that if the world has receiv'd
any benefic from the labours of the Learned, or it was in its own despite. For when first for they essay their parts, all people in general Še are prejudiced against new beginners; and
when they have got a little above contempt, on then some particular persons who were be& bafore unfortunate in their own attempts, are Rensworn focs to them, only because they sucon ceed.
Upon the whole, one may lay of gar: the best writers, that they pay a severe fine Sa for their fame, which it is always in the
power of the most worthless part of mankind to levy upon them when they please.
I am, &c.
To Mr. J E R V A S.
July 28, 1714.
life again, sleep and musing. It is my eniployment to revive the old of past ages to the present; 'as it is yours to transmit the young of the present to the future. I am copying the great Mafter in one with the fame love and diligence with which the Painter hereafter will copy you in another.
Thus I should begin my Epistle to you if it were á Dedicatorý one. But as it is a friendly letter, you are to find nothing mentioned in your own praise but what only one in the world is withess to your particular good-natur'd offices to me. What ever mankind in general would allow you, that I am not to give you to your face; and if I were to do it in your absence, the world would tell me I am too partial to be permitted to pats any judgment of you.
So you see me cut out from any thing but common acknowledgments, or common discourse. The first you wou'd take ill, tho’ I told you but half what I ought; so in short the last only remains.
And as for the last, what can you expect from a man who has not talk'd these five days? who is withdrawing his thoughts as far as he can, from all the present world, its customs and its manners, to be fully possest and absorpt in the past? When people talk of going to Church, I think of Sacrifices and Libations ; when I see the parson, 1 address bim as Chryses priest of Apollo"; and instead of the Lord's Prayer, I begin
God of the Silver Bow, &c.
While you in the world are concerned about the Protestant Succeffion, I consider only how Menelaus may recover Helen, and the Trojan war be put to a speedy conclusion. I never inquire if the Queen be well or not; but heartily wish to be at Hector's fu, peral. The only things I regard in this life, are, whether my friends are well? whether my Translation
well on? whether Den nir be writing criticisms? whether any body will answer bim, since I don't? and whether Lintott be not yet broke?
are numberless. Homer advances so faltas 72 LETTERS
August 16, 1714.
..??? To the fame.
that he begins to look about for the orna ments he is to appear in, like a modish mo dern author
Picture in the Front,
I have the greatest proof in nature at present of the amusing power of Poetry' for it takes me up so intirely, that I scarce see what passes under my nose, and hear nothing that is said about me. To follow Poetry as one ought, one must forget father and mother, and cleave to it alone. My Rêverie has been so deep, that I have kearce had an interval to think myself u cafy in the want of your company. I now and then just miss you as I step into bed; this minure indeed I want extremely to see you the next I fall dream of nothing but the taking of Troy, or the recovery of Briseis.
i fancy no friendship is so likely to prove lafting as ours, because I am pretty sure there never was a friendship of so caly. a. nature,
We neither of us demand any mighty things from each cther; what Váñity we have, expects its gratification from other people. It is not I, that am to tell you what an Artist you are, nor is it you but 'tis from the world abroad we hope (piously hope) to hear these things. At home we follow our business, when we have any; and think and talk most of each other when we have none. 'Tis nor unlike the happy friendship of a stay'd man and his wite, who are seldom so fond as to hinder the business of the house from going on all day, or so indolent as not to find consolation in each other every evening.
Thus well-meaning couples hold in amity to the last, by not expecting too much from human nature ; while romantick friend Thips, like violent loves, begin with dif quiets, proceed to jealousies, and conclude in animolities. I have liv'd co see the fierce advancement, the sudden turn, and the abrupt period, of three or four of these enormous friendships, and am perfe&ly convinced of the truth of a Maxim- we once agreed in, That nothing hinders the conAtant agreement of people who live toge