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on any of them to believe, that a man in fo obfcure a corner, quite thrown out of the prefent world, and within a few steps of the next, fhould receive fuch condefcending invitations, from two fuch perfons to whom he is an utter ftranger, and who know no more of him than what they have heard by the partial reprefentations of a friend. But in the mean time, I muft defire your Grace not to flatter yourself, that I waited for your confent to accept the invitation. I must be ignorant indeed, not to know, that the Duchefs, ever fince you met, hath been moft politicly employed in increafing those forces, and sharpening thofe arms, with which the fubdued you at first, and to which, the braver and the wifer you grow, you will more and more fubmit. Thus I knew myfelf on the fecure fide; and it was a mere piece of good manners to infert that claufe, of which you have taken the advantage. But as I cannot forbear informing your Grace, that the Duchefs's great fecret in her art of government hath been, to reduce both your wills into one; fo I am content, in due obfervance to the forms of the world, to return my most humble thanks to your Grace, for fo great a favour as you are pleased to offer me, and which nothing but impoffibilities fhall prevent me from receiving; fince I am, with the greatest reafon, truth, and refpect, my Lord, your Grace's most obedient, &c.
I have confulted all the learned in ocult sciences of my acquaintance, and have fat up eleven nights to dif cover the meaning of those two hieroglyphical lines in your Grace's hands at the bottom of the last Aimsbury letter; but all in vain. Only it is agreed, that the language is Coptic; and a very profound Behmeft alfures me, the ftyle is poetic, containing an invitation from a very great perfon of the female fex, to a strange kind of man whom he never faw: and this is all I can find; which, after fo many former invitations, will ever confirm me in that refpect wherewith I am, Madam, your Grace's moft obedient, &c.
Dec. 1. 1731.
OU ufed to complain that Mr Pope and I would not let you speak; you may now be even with me, and take it out in writing. If you don't fend to me now and then, the poft-office will think me of no confequence, for I have no correfpondent but you. You may keep as far from us as you please: you cannot be forgotten by those who ever knew you; and therefore please me, by fometimes fhewing that I am not forgot by you. I have nothing to take me off from my friendfhip to you. I feek no new acquaintance, and court no favour; I spend no fhillings in coaches or chairs, to levees or great vifits; and, as I don't want the affistance of fome that I formerly converfed with, I will not fo much as feem to feek to be a dependent. As to my ftudies, I have not been entirely idle, though I cannot say that I have yet perfected any thing. What I have done is fomething in the way of thofe fables I have already published. All the money I get is by faving; fo that by habit there may be fome hopes (if I grow richer) of my becoming a mifer. All mifers have their excufes; the motive to my parfimony is independence. If I were to be reprefented by the Duchefs, (fhe is fuch a downright niggard for me), this character might not be allowed me; but I really think I am covetous enough for any who lives at the court end of the town, and who is as poor as myfelf: for I don't pretend that I am equally faving with Sk. Mr Lewis defired you might be told, that he hath five pounds of yours in his hands, which he fancies you may have forgot; for he will hardly allow that a verfe-man can have a juft knowledge of his own affairs. When you got rid of your law-fuit, 1 was in hopes that you had got your own, and was free from every vexation of the law; but Mr Pope tells me, you are not entirely out of your perplexity, though you have the fecurity now in your own poffeffion. But fill your cafe is not fo bad as Captain Gulliver's, who was
ruined by having a decree for him with cofts. I have had an injunction for me against pirating booksellers; which I am fure to get nothing by, and will, I fear, in the end drain me of fome money. When I began this profecution, I fancied there would be fome end of it; but the law still goes on; and it is probable I fhall fome time or other fee an attorney's bill as long as the book. Poor Duke Disney is dead, and hath left what he had among his friends; among whom are Lord Bolingbroke, 500 1.; Mr Pelham, 500 l.; Sir William Wyndham's youngest fon, 500l.; Gen. Hill, 500 l.; Lord Maffam's fon, 500 1,
You have the good wishes of thofe I converfe with. They know they gratify me, when they remember you; but I really think they do it purely for your own fake. I am fatisfied with the love and friendship of good men, and envy not the demerits of those who are most confpicuously distinguished. Therefore, as I set a just value upon your friendship, you cannot please me more, than letting me now and then know that you remember me; the only fatisfaction of distant friends!
P. S. Mr Gay's is a good letter; mine will be a very dull one; and yet what you will think the worst of it, is what should be its excufe, that I write in a headach that has lasted three days. I am never ill but I think of your ailments, and repine that they mutually hinder our being together: though in one point I am apt to differ from you; for you fhun your friends when you are in those circumftances, and I defire them; your way is the more generous, mine the more tender. Lady took your letter very kindly; for I had prepared her to expect no answer under a twelvemonth; but kindness perhaps is a word not applicable to courtiers. However, she is an extraordinary woman there, who will do you common justice. For God's fake, why all this scruple about Lord B.-'s keeping your horfes, who has a park; or about my keeping you on a pint of wine a-day? We are infinitely richer than you imagine. John Gay shall help me to entertain you, though you come like King Lear with fifty knights. Though fuch prospects as I with cannot now be formed, for fixing you with us, time
may provide better before you part again. The old Lord may die, the benefice may drop, or, at worst, you my carry me into Ireland. You will fee a work of Lord B.-'s, and one of mine; which, with a just neglect of the prefent age, confult only pofterity; and, with a noble fcorn of politics, afpire to philofophy. I am glad you refolve to meddle no more with the low concerns and interests of parties, even of countries, (for countries are but larger parties). Quid verum atque decens, curare, et rogare, noftrum fit. I am much pleased with your defign upon Rochefoucault's maxim; pray finifh it *. I am happy whenever you join our names together. So would Dr Arbuthnot be: but at this time he can be pleased with nothing; for his darling fon is dying in all probability, by the melancholy account I received this morning.
The paper you afk me about is of little value. might have been a seasonable satire upon the fcandalous language and paffion with which men of condition have ftooped to treat one another. Surely they facrifice too much to the people, when they facrifice their own cha⚫ racters, families, &c. to the diverfion of that rabble of readers. I agree with you in my contempt of most po• pularity, fame, &c.; even as a writer I am cool in it; and whenever you fee what I am now writing, you'll be convinced I would please but a few, and, if I could, make mankind lefs admirers, and greater reafoners †. I ftudy much more to render my own portion of being eafy, and to keep this peevish frame of the human body in good humour. Infirmities have not quite unmanned and it will delight you to hear they are not increafed, though not diminished. I thank God, I do not very much want people to attend me, though my mother now cannot. When I am fick, I lie down; when I am better, I rife up: I am used to the headach, &c. If greater pains arrive, (fuch as my late rheumatifm),
*The poem on his own death, formed upon a maxim of Rochefoucault. It is one of the best of his performances, but very characterific. Warb. See it in vol. 6. p. 220.
The poem he means is the Effay on man But this point he could never gain. His readers would admire his poetry in fpite of him, and would not understand his reasoning after all his pains. W'arb.
133 the fervants bathe and plaifter me, or the furgeon fearifies me; and I bear it, because I muft. This is the evil of nature, not of fortune. I am just now as well as when you was here: I pray God you were no worse. fincerely with my life were paffed near you; and, fuch as it is, I would not repine at it.- All you mention, remember you, and wish you here.
Dr SWIFT to Mr GAY.
Dublin, May 4. 1732.
AM now as lame as when you writ your letter, and almost as lame as your letter itself, for want of that limb from my Lady Duchefs which you promifed, and without which I wonder how it could limp hither. I am not in a condition to make a true step even on Aimfbury downs; and I declare, that a corporeal false step is worfe than a political one; nay worse than a thousand political ones; for which I appeal to courts and minifters, who hobble on and profper, without the fenfe of feeling. To talk of riding and walking, is infulting me; for I can as foon fly as do either. It is your pride or laziness, more than chair-hire, that makes the town expenfive. No honour is loft by walking in the dark: and in the day, you may becken a blackguard-boy under a gate, near your vifiting-place, (experto crede), fave eleven pence, and get half a crown's worth of health. The worst of my present misfortune is, that I eat and drink, and can digeft neither for want of exercife; and, to increase my mifery, the knaves are fure to find me at home, and make huge void spaces in my cel-. lars. I congratulate with you, for lofing your great acquaintance. In fuch a cafe, philofophy teaches, that we muft fubmit, and be content with good ones. I like Lord Cornbury's refufing his penfion; but I demur at his being elected for Oxford; which I conceive is wholly changed, and entirely devoted to new principles; fo it appeared to me the two laft times I was there.
I find, by the whole caft of your letter, that you are VOL. VIII.