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Farewell my dearest friend! ever, and upon every ac count that can create friendship and esteem.
March 25. 1736.
Fever I write more epiftles in verfe, one of them fhall be addreffed to you. I have long concerted it, and begun it; but I would make what bears your name as finished as my laft work ought to be, that is to fay, more finished than any of the reft. The fubject is large, and will divide into four epiftles, which naturally follow the effay on man, viz. 1. Of the extent and limits of human reafon and science. 2. A view of the useful and therefore attainable, and of the unufeful, and therefore unattainable arts. 3. Of the nature, ends, application, and ufe of different capacities. 4. Of the ufe of learning, of the Science of the world, and of wit. It will conclude with a fatire against the mifapplication of all these, exemplified by pictures, characters, and examples.
But alas! the task is great, and non fum qualis eram ! My understanding indeed, fuch as it is, is extended rather than diminished. I fee things more in the whole, more confiftent, and more clearly deduced from, and related to each other. But what I gain on the fide of philofophy, I lofe on the fide of poetry: the flowers are gone, when the fruits begin to ripen, and the fruits perhaps will never ripen perfectly. The climate (under our heaven of a court) is but cold and uncertain; the winds rife, and the winter comes on. I find myself but little difpofed to build a new house; I have nothing left but to gather up the relics of a wreck, and look about me to fee how few friends I have left. Pray, whofe efteem or admiration fhould I defire now to procure by my writings whose friendship or converfation to obtain by them? I am a man of desperate fortunes, that is, a man whose friends are dead: for I never aimed at any other fortune than in friends. As foon as I had fent my laft letter, I received a moft kind one from you, expreffing great pain for my late illness at Mr Chefelden's. I con
clude you was eased of that friendly apprehenfion in a few days after you had dispatched your's, for mine must have reached you then. I wondered a little at your quære, who Chefelden was? It fhews that the trueft merit does not travel so far any way as on the wings of poetry; he is the most noted, and most deserving man, in the whole profeffion of chirurgery; and has faved the lives of thoufands, by his manner of cutting for the ftone.- I am now well, or what I must call fo.
I have lately feen fome writings of Lord B.'s fince he went to France. Nothing can deprefs his genius: whatever befals him, he will ftill be the greatest man in the world, either in his own time, or with posterity.
Every man you know or care for here, inquires of you, and pays you the only devoir he can, that of drinking your health. I wish you had any motive to fee this kingdom. I could keep you; for I am rich, that is, I have more than I want. I can afford room for yourfelf and two fervants. I have indeed room enough, nothing but myself at home; the kind and hearty housewife is dead! the agreeable and inftructive neighbour is gone! yet my houfe is enlarged, and the gardens extend and flourish, as knowing nothing of the guests they have loft. I have more fruit-trees and kitchen garden than you have any thought of; nay, I have good melons and pine apples of my own growth. I am as much a better gardener, as I am a worse poet, than when you faw me but gardening is near akin to philofophy; for Tully fays, Agricultura proxima fapientia. For God's fake, why fhould not you, (that are a step higher than a philofopher, a divine, yet have two much grace and wit than to be a bishop), e'en give all you have to the poor of Ireland, (for whom you have already done every thing elfe), fo quit the place, and live and die with me? And let Tales anima concordes be our motto and our epitaph.
From Dr SWIFT.
Dublin, April 22. 1736.
Y common illness is of that kind which utterly difqualifies me for all converfation; I mean my deafness: and indeed it is that only which discourageth me from all thoughts of coming to England; because I am never fure that it may not return in a week. If it were a good honeft gout, I could catch an interval, to take a voyage, and in a warm lodging get an eafy chair, and be able to hear and roar among my friends. "As to what you fay of your letters, fince 66 you have many years of life more than I, my refolu
tion is to direct my executors to fend you all your "letters, well fealed and packeted, along with fome "legacies mentioned in my will, and leave them en"tirely to your difpofal. Those things are all tied up, "indorsed, and locked in a cabinet, and I have not one "fervant who can properly be faid to write or read. "No mortal fhall copy them, but you shall furely have "them when I am no more." I have a little repined at my being hitherto flipped by you in your epifties, not from any other ambition than the title of a friend and in that fenfe I expect you fhall perform your promife, if your health, and leisure, and inclination will permit. I deny your lofing on the fide of poetry; I could reafon against you a little from experience you are, and will be fome years to come, at the age when invention ftill keeps its ground, and judgment is at full maturity; but your fubjects are much more difficult when confined to verse. I am amazed to see you exhaust the whole science of morality in fo masterly a manner. Sir W. Temple faid, that the lofs of friends was a tax upon long life. It need not be very long, fince you have had fo great a fhare, but I have not above one left: and in this country I have only a few general companions of good nature and middling understandings. How fhould I know Chefelden? On your fide men of fame ftart VOL. VIII.
up and die, before we here (at leaft I) know any thing of the matter. I am a little comforted with what you fay of Lord B.'s genius ftill keeping up, and preparing to appear by effects worthy of the author, and useful to the world. Common reports have made me very uneafy about your neighbour Mr P. It is affirmed, that he hath been very near death. I love him for being a patriot in moft corrupted times, and highly esteem his excellent understanding. Nothing but the perverse na• ture of my diforders, as I have above defcribed them, and which are abfolute difqualifications for converse, could hinder me from waiting on you at Twickenham, and nurfing you to Paris. In short, my ailments amount to a prohibition; although I am, as you defcribe your felf, what I must call well, yet I have not fpirits left to ride out, which (excepting walking) was my only di. verfion. And I must expect to decline every month, like one who lives upon his principal fum, which must leffen every day; and indeed I am likewife literally almoft in the fame cafe, while every body owes me, and no body pays me. Inftead of a young race of patriots on your fide, which gives me fome glimpfe of joy, here we have the direct contrary, a race of young dunces and Atheists, or old villains and monsters, whereof four fifths are more wicked and stupid than Chartres. Your wants are fo few, that you need not be rich to fupply them; and my wants are fo many, that a king's feven millions of guineas would not fupport me.
Aug. 17. 1736.
truth of what you told me fome time ago, that increase of years makes men more talkative, but less writative; to that degree, that I now write no letters but of plain business, or plain how-d'ye's to thofe few I am forced to correfpond with, either out of neceflity, or love. And I grow laconic even beyond laconicifm ; for fometimes I return only Yes, or No, to questionary or petitionary epiftles of half a yard long. You and Lord
Lord Bolingbroke are the only men to whom I write, and always in folio. You are indeed almost the only men I know, who either can write in this age, or whofe writings will reach the next: others are mere mortals. Whatever failings fuck men may have, a refpect is due to them, as luminaries whofe exaltation renders their motion a little irregular, or rather causes it to seem so to others. I am afraid to cenfure any thing I hear of Dean Swift, because I hear it only from mortals blind and dull and you should be cautious of cenfuring any action or motion of Lord B. because you hear it only from fhallow, envious, or malicious reporters. What you writ to me about him, I find to my great fcandal repeated in one of yours to
ever you might hint to me, was this for the profane? The thing, if true, fhould be concealed; but it is, I affure you, abfolutely untrue in every circumftance. He has fixed in a very agreeable retirement near Fontain bleau, and makes it his whole bufinefs vacare literis. But tell me the truth, were you not angry at his omitting to write to you fo long? I may, for I hear from him seldomer than from you, that is, twice or thrice a year at most. Can you poffibly think he can neglect you or difregard you? If you catch yourself at thinking fuch nonfenfe, your parts are decayed: for, believe me, great geniufes muft and do esteem one another, and I queftion if any others can efteem or comprehend uncommon merit. Others only guess at that merit, or see glimmerings of their minds. A genius has the intuitive faculty therefore, imagine what you will, you cannot be fo fure of any man's esteem as of his. If I can think that neither he nor you defpife me, it is a greater honour to me by far, and will be thought fo by poste. rity, than if all the houfe of Lords writ commendatory verses upon me, the Commons ordered me to print my works, the universities gave me public thanks, and the King, Queen, and Prince crowned me with laurel. You are a very ignorant man, you don't know the figure his name and your's will make hereafter: I do, and will preferve all the memorials I can, that I was of your intimacy; longo, fed proximus, intervallo. I will not quarrel with the prefent age; it has done enough