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me; and her part was fometimes longer than his, and they made up great part of the little happiness I could have here. This was the more generous, because I never faw her fince she was a girl of five years old, nor did I envy poor Mr Gay for any thing fo much as being a domeftic friend to fuch a lady. I defire you will ne ver fail to fend me a particular account of your health. I dare hardly inquire about Mrs Pope, who, I am told, is but just among the living, and confequently a conti nual grief to you: fhe is fenfible of your tenderness, which robs her of the only happiness the is capable of enjoying. And yet I pity you more than her; you can. not lengthen her days, and I beg fhe may not fhorten yours.
Feb. 16. 1732-3.
T is indeed impoffible to speak on fuch a fubject as the lofs of Mr Gay, to me an irreparable one. But I fend you what I intend for the infcription on his tomb, which the Duke of Queenfberry will fet up at Westminfter. As to his writings, he left no will, nor fpoke a word of them, or any thing elfe, during his fhort and precipitate ilinefs, in which I attended him to his last breath. The Duke has acted more than the part of a brother to him; and it will be ftrange if the fifters do not leave his papers totally to his difpofal, who will do the fame that I would with them. He has managed the comedy (which our poor friend gave to the playhouse the week before his death) to the utmost advantage for his relations; and propofes to do the fame with fome fables he left finished.
There is nothing of late which I think of more than mortality, and what you mention, of collecting the best monuments we can of our friends, their own images in their writings for thofe are the beft, when their minds are fuch as Mr Gay's was, and as yours is. I am preparing alfo for my own; and have nothing fo much at heart, as to fhew the filly world, that men of wit, or even poets, may be the most moral of mankind.
loose things fometimes fall from them, by which cenforious fools judge as ill of them as poflibly they can, for their own comfort. And indeed, when fuch unguarded and trifling jeux d'efprit have once got abroad, all that prudence or repentance can do, fince they cannot be denied, is, to put them fairly upon that foot; and teach the public, (as we have done in the preface to the four volumes of mifcellanies), to diftinguish betwixt our studies and our idleneffes, our works and our weaknesses. That was the whole end of the last volume of mifcellanies, without which our former declaration in that preface, "That these volumes contained all that we have ever offended in that way," would have been discre dited. It went indeed to my heart, to omit what you called the libel on Dr D, and the best panegyric on myself, that either my own times, or any other, could have afforded, or will ever afford to me. The book, as you obferve, was printed in great hafte; the caufe whereof was, that the bookfellers here were doing the fame, in collecting your pieces, the corn with the chaff: I don't mean that any thing of yours is chaff, but with other wit of Ireland, which was fo, and the whole in your name. I meant principally to oblige them to feparate what you writ feriously from what you writ carelessly; and thought my own weeds might pass for a fort of wild flowers, when bundled up with them.
It was that fent you those books into Ireland, and fo I did my epiftle to Lord Bathurst, even before it was published; and another thing of mine, which is a parody from Horace *, writ in two mornings. I never took more care in my life of any thing than of the former of thefe, nor less than of the latter: yet every friend has forced me to print it, though in truth my own single motive was about twenty lines toward the latter end, which you will find out.
I have declined opening to you by letters the whole fcheme of my prefent work, expecting still to do it in a better manner in perfon. But you will fee pretty foon, that the letter to Lord Bathurst is a part of it; and you will find a plain connection between them, if you read
Sat. 1. lib.ij. vol. 4. of Warburton's edition of Pope's works.
them in the order juft contrary to that they were pu blished in. I imitate thofe cunning tradefmen, who fhow their best filks laft; or (to give you a truer idea, though it founds too proudly) my works will in one refpect be like the works of Nature, much more to be liked and understood, when confidered in the relation they bear with each other, than when ignorantly looked upon one by one; and often those parts which attract most at first fight, will appear to be not the most, but the leaft confiderable *.
I am pleased and flattered by your expreffion of Orna The chief pleasure this work can give me is, that I can in it, with propriety, decency, and juftice, infert the name and character of every friend I have, and every man that deserves to be loved or adorned. But I fmile at your applying that phrafe to my vifiting you in Ireland; a place where I might have fome apprehenfion, from their extraordinary paffion for poetry, and their boundless hofpitality, of being adorned to death, and buried under the weight of garlands, like one I have read of fomewhere or other. My mother lives, (which is an answer to that point), and I thank God, though her memory be in a manner gone, is yet awake, and fenfible to me, though fcarce to any thing elfe; which doubles the reafon of my attendance, and at the fame time sweetens it. I wish (beyond any other wifh) you could pass a fummer here; I might (too probably) return with you, unless you preferred to fee France firft, to which country, I think, you would have a strong invitation. Lord Peterborow has narrowly escaped death, and yet keeps his chamber. He is perpetually fpeaking in the most affectionate manner of you. He has written you two letters, which you never received, and by that has been difcouraged from writing more. I can well believe the poft office may do this, when fome letters of his to me have met the fame fate, and two of mine to him. Yet let not this difcourage you from writing to me, or to him, inclosed in the common way, as I do to
* See Warburton's first note on the epiftle to Lord Cobham, Of the knowledge and characters of men, vol. 3. of his edition of Pope's works.
you. Innocent men need fear no detection of their thoughts; and, for my part, I would give them free leave to fend all I write to Curl, if most of what I write was not too filly.
I defire my fincere fervices to Dr Delany, who, I agree with you, is a man every way eftimable. My Lord Orrery is a most virtuous and good-natured Nobleman, whom I should be happy to know. Lord B. received your letter through my hands. It is not to be told you how much he wishes for you. The whole lift of perfons to whom you fent your services, return you theirs, with proper fenfe of the diftinction. Your la dy-friend is femper eadem; and I have written an epistle to her on that qualification, in a female character; which is thought by my chief critic, in your abfence, to be my chef d'oeuvre. But it cannot be printed perfectly, in an age fo fore of fatire, and fo willing to mifapply cha
As to my own health, it is as good as ufual. I have lain ill feven days of a flight fever, (the complaint here); but recovered by gentle fweats, and the care of Dr Ar buthnot. The play Mr Gay left fucceeds very well. It is another original in its kind. Adieu. God preferve your life, your health, your limbs, your fpirits and your friendships !
April 2. 1733.
OU fay truly, that death is only terrible to us, as it separates us from those we love; but I really think thofe have the worst of it who are left by us, if we are true friends. I have felt more, I fancy, in the lofs of Mr Gay, than I fhall fuffer in the thought of go. ing away myself into a state that can feel none of this fort of loffes. I wished vehemently to have feen him in a condition of living independent, and to have lived inperfect indolence the reft of our days together, the two most idle, most innocent, undefigning poets of our age. I now as vehemently with you and I might walk into the grave together, by as flow steps as you please, but contentedly
contentedly and chearfully. Whether that ever can be, or in what country, I know no more, than into what country we shall walk out of the grave. But it fuffices me to know, it will be exactly what region or state our Maker appoints, and that whatever is, is right. Our poor friend's papers are partly in my hands; and for as much as is fo, I will take care to suppress things unworthy of him. As to the epitaph, I am forry you gave a copy; for it will certainly by that means come into print; and I would correct it more, unless you will do it for me, and that I fhall like as well. Upon the whole, I earnestly with your coming over hither; for this reason, among many others, that your influence may be joined with mine, to suppress whatever we may judge proper of his papers. To be plunged in my neighbour's and my papers, will be your inevitable fate as foon as you come. That I am an author whofe characters are thought of fome weight, appears from the great noife and buftle that the court and town make about any I give: and I will not render them lefs important, or lefs interefting, by fparing vice and folly, or by betraying the cause of truth and virtue. I will take care they fhall be such as no man can be angry at, but the perfons I would have angry. You are fenfible with what decency and justice I paid homage to the royal family, at the fame time that I fatirized falfe courtiers, and fpies, &c. about them. I have not the courage, however, to be fuch a fatirift as you; but I would be as much, or more, a philofopher. You call your fatires libels; I would rather call my fatires epiftles. They will confift more of morality than of wit, and grow graver, which you will call duller. I fhall leave it to my antagonists to be witty, if they can, and content myself to be useful and in the right. Tell me your opinion as to Lady -'s or Lord ** 's performance. They are certainly the top wits of the court; and you may judge by that fingle piece what can be done against me; for it was laboured, corrected, precommended, and poft-disapproved, fo far as to be dif owned by themselves, after each had highly cried it up, for the others *. I have met with fome complaints, and *See Pope's epiftle written on this occafion, at the end of the 2d volume of his letters, the 8th volume in Warburton's edition.