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red of any inattention, although the pretended causes were removed. When I was with Mr Gay laft in London, talking with him on fome poetical fubjects, he would answer, "Well, I am determined not to accept "the employment of Gentleman-ufher :" and of the fame difpofition were all my poetical friends; and if you cannot cure him, I utterly defpair.As to yourself, I would fay to you, (though comparisons be odious), what I faid to the, that your quality should be never any motive of esteem to me: my compliment was then loft, but it will not be fo to you. For I know you more by any one of your letters than I could by fix months converfing. Your pen is always more natural, and fincere, and unaffected than your tongue: in writing you are too lazy to give yourself the trouble of act ing a part and have indeed acted fo indifcreetly, that I have you at mercy and although you should arrive to fuch a height of immorality as to deny your hand, yet, whenever I produce it, the world will unite in fwearing this must come from you only.
I will answer your question. Mr Gay is not discreet enough to live alone; but he is too difcreet to live alone; and yet (unless you mend him) he will live alone even in your Grace's company. Your quarrelling with each other upon the subject of bread and butter, is the moft ufual thing in the world. Parliaments, courts, cities, and kingdoms, quarrel for no other caufe: from hence, and from hence only, arife all the quarrels between Whig and Tory; between those who are in the ministry, and those who are out; between all pretenders to employment in the church, the law, and the army. Even the common proverb teaches you this, when we fay, It is none of my bread and butter; meaning it is no business of mine. Therefore I defpair of any reconcilement between you till the affair of bread and butter be adjusted, wherein I would gladly be a mediator. If Mahomet fhould come to the mountain, how happy would an exccellent lady be, who lives a few miles from this town? As I was telling of Mr Gay's way of living at Aimsbury, the offered fifty guineas to have you both at her houfe for one hour over a bottle of Burgundy, which we were then drinking. To your
question I answer, that your Grace fhould pull me by the sleeve till you tore it off; and when you faid you were weary of me, I would pretend to be deaf, and think (according to another proverb) that you tore my cloaths to keep me from going. I never will believe one word you say of my Lord Duke, unless I fee three or four lines in his own hand at the bottom of your's. I have a concern in the whole family, and Mr Gay must give me a particular account of every branch; for I am not ashamed of you though you be Duke and Duchefs, though I have been of others who are, &c.; and I do not doubt but even your own fervants love you, even down to your poftilions; and when I come to Aimsbury, before I fee your Grace, I will have an hour's converfation with the vicar, who will tell me how familiarly you talk to Goody Dobfon and all the neighbours, as if you were their equal, and that you were godmother to her fon Jacky.
I am, and shall be ever, with the greatest respect, your Grace's most obedient, &c.
Dublin, 08. 3. 1731.
Ufually write to friends after a pause of a few weeks, that I may not interrupt them in better company, better thoughts, and better diverfions. believe I have told you of a great man, who faid to me, that he never once in his life received a good letter from Ireland for which there are reafons enough, without affronting our understandings. For there is not one perfon out of this country, who regards any events that pafs here, unless he hath an estate or employment.
I cannot tell, that you or I ever gave the leaft provocation to the prefent miniftry, much lefs to the court; and yet I am ten times more out of favour than you. For my own part, I do not fee the politic of opening common letters, directed to perfons generally known; for a man's understanding would be very weak to convey fecrets by the poft, if he knew any; which I declare I do not: and, befides, I think the world is already fo well informed
informed by plain events, that I question whether the ministers have any fecrets at all. Neither would I be under any apprehenfion if a letter should be fent me full of treafon; because I cannot hinder people from writing what they please, nor fending it to me; and although it should be difcovered to have been opened before it came to my hand, I would only burn it, and think no further. I approve of the scheme you have to grow fomewhat richer, though, I agree, you will meet with difcouragements; and it is reafonable you should, confidering what kind of pens are at this time only employed and encouraged. For you must allow, that the bad painter was in the right, who, having painted a cock, drove away all the cocks and hens, and even the chickens, for fear thofe who paffed by his fhop might make a comparison with his work. And I will fay one thing in fpite of the poft-officers, that fince wit and learning began to be made use of in our kingdoms, they were never profeffedly thrown afide, contemned, and punished, till within your own memory; nor dulness and ignorance ever fo openly encouraged and promoted. In answer to what you fay of my living among you, if I could do it to my eafe; perhaps you have heard of a scheme for an exchange in Berkshire proposed by two of our friends; but, befides the difficulty of adjufting certain circumstances, it would not answer. I am at a time of life that feeks ease and independence: you will hear my reasons when you fee thofe friends; and I concluded them with faying, That I would rather be a freeman among flaves than a flave among freemen. The dignity of my prefent ftation damps the pertness of inferior puppies and 'fquires, which, without plenty and ease on your fide the channel, would break my heart in a month.
SEE what it is to live where I do. I am utterly ignorant of that fame Strado del Poe; and yet, if that author be against lending or giving money, I cannot but think him a good courtier; which I am fure your Grace is not, no not so much as to be a maid of honour. For I am certainly informed, that you are neither a freethinker,
freethinker, nor can fell bargains; that you can neither spell, nor talk, nor write, nor think like a courtier ; that you pretend to be refpected for qualities which have been out of fashion ever fince you were almost in your cradle; that your contempt for a fine petticoat is an infallible mark of difaffection; which is further confirmed by your ill tafte for wit, in preferring two old-fashioned poets before Duck or Cibber. Besides, you spell in fuch a manner as no court-lady can read, and write in fuch an old-fashioned ftyle as none of them can understand. You need not be in pain about Mr Gay's stock of health. I promise you he will fpend it all upon lazinefs, and run deep in debt by a winter's repofe in town; therefore I intreat your Grace will order him to move his chops lefs and his legs more the fix cold months, elfe he will spend all his money in phyfic and coach-hire. I am in much perplexity about your Grace's declaration, of the manner in which you dispose what you call your love and respect, which you fay are not paid to merit, but to your own humour. Now, Madam, my misfortune is, that I have nothing to plead but abundance of merit; and there goes an ugly obfervation, that the humour of ladies is apt to change. Now, Madam, if I fhould go to Aimfbury, with a great load of merit and your Grace happen to be out of humour, and will not purchase my merchandise at the price of your refpect, the goods may be damaged, and no body elfe will take them off my hands. Befides, you have declared Mr Gay to hold the first part, and I but the fecond; which is hard treatment, fince I fhall be the newest acquaintance by fome years; and I will appeal to all the rest of your fex, whether fuch an innovation ought to be allowed. I should be ready to fay in the common forms, that I was much obliged to the lady who wished fhe could give me the best living, &c. if I did not vehemently fufpect it was the very fame lady who spoke many things to me in the fame ftyle; and alfo with regard to the gentleman at your elbow when you writ, whose dupe he was, as well as of her waiting-woman but they were both arrant knaves, as I told him and a third friend, though they will not be lieve it to this day. I defire to prefent my moft humble refpects
respects to my Lord Duke; and, with
my heartieft prayer for the profperity of the whole family, remain your
To Mr POP E.
Dublin, June 12. 1732.
fickness attended by pain. With me, the lowness of fpirits hath a moft unhappy effect; I am grown lefs patient with folitude, and harder to be pleased with company; which I could formerly better digeft, when I could be eafier without it than at prefent. As to fending you any thing that I have written fince I left you, (either verfe or profe), I can only fay, that I have ordered by my will, that all my papers of any kind shall be delivered you to difpofe of as you please. I have feveral things that I have had fchemes to finish, or to attempt; but I very foolishly put off the trouble, as finners do their repentance: for I grow every day more averse from writing, which is very natural; and when I take a pen, fay to myself a thousand times, Non eft tanti. As to thofe papers of four or five years paft, that you are pleafed to require foon; they confift of little accidental things writ in the country; family-amufements never intended further than to divert ourselves and fome neighbours; or some effects of anger on public grievances here, which would be infignificant out of this kingdom. Two or three of us had a fancy, three years ago, to write a weekly paper, and called it an Intelligencer: but it continued not long; for the whole volume (it was reprinted in London, and I find you have feen it) was the work only of two, myself and Dr Sheridan. If we could have got fome ingenious young man to have been the manager, who fhould have published all that might be fent to him, it might have continued longer, for there were hints enough. But the printer here could not afford fuch a young man one farthing * John Harding.