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Strong and brawny body, patient of cold and heat, big head, broad breast, broken voice, temperate in meat, using much exercise, just stature, forma elegantissima, colore subrufo, oculis glaucis, sharp wit, very great memory, constancy in adversity and in felicity, except at last he yielded, because almost forsaken by all; liberal, imposed few tributes, excellent soldier, and fortunate, wise, and not unlearned. His vices: mild and promising in adversity, fierce and hard, and a violator of faith in prosperity; covetous to his domestics and children, although liberal to soldiers and strangers, which turned the former from him; loved profit more than justice; very lustful, which likewise turned his sons and others from him. Rosamond and the labyrinth at Woodstock. Not very religious; mortuos milites lugens plus quam vivos amans, largus in publico, parcus in privato. Constant in love and hatred, false to his word, morose, a lover of ease. Oppressor of nobles, sullen, and a delayer of justice; verbo varius et versutus -used churchmen well after Becket's death; charitable to the poor, levied few taxes, hated slaughter and cruelty. A great memory, and always knew those he once saw.
Very indefatigable in his travels backward and forward to Normandy, &c.; of most endless desires to increase his dominions. * * * * *
THESE letters were recovered by the industry of Mr. Nicol, and throw some curious light upon Dean Swift's publications. His connection with the impudent and profligate character to whom he intrusted them is noticed, Vol. I. p. 353.
MR. PILKINGTON TO MR. BOWYER. November 9, 1731. HAVE been much surprised at your long silence, and, perhaps, you have been affected in the same manner at mine. But, as I hope always to preserve the friendship we have begun, I must acquaint you with the reasons of my conduct.
I have the misfortune to live in a scene of great
hurry; and, between attending those who live in high stations who honour me with their friendship, and discharging the duties of my profession, I have scarce a moment disengaged; yet I constantly desired friend Faulkner to write to you in my name, because I imagined it would save postage; and I thought it unreasonable to trouble you with my letters, when I had no very urgent business to write to you upon, and had too many obligations to you to think of adding to your expense. But I cannot imagine what you can plead in your case, for your neglect of writing to me, who am desirous to continue a constant correspondence: I shall be glad to hear you justify yourself.
Yesterday I saw a letter of yours to Mr. Faulkner, and on so distressful a subject, that I very sensibly shared in your affliction.* I am naturally apt to pity the woes of my fellow-creatures, but the wounds of my friends are my own. Here my office ought to be to administer comfort to you in so great a calamity; but I know how much easier it is to preach patience and resignation, than to practise either. The strongest reason acts but feebly upon the heart that is loaded with grief, nor is the highest eloquence powerful enough to heal a wounded spirit. Time, and a firm trust in Divine Providence, which undoubtedly orders all things for the best, are the only ministers of comfort in our misfortunes; and I hope your own virtue will enable you to bear this affliction with the resolution of a Christian, though joined with all the tenderness of a friend, and the fondest esteem for the memory of that relation you have lost.
I desired Mr. Faulkner, about six weeks ago, to return you my thanks for your kindness in procuring
* The death of Mrs. Bowyer.
me the books from Mr. Giles's, which I received safe, and also the box of those writings of mine; and I am extremely grieved to find that Faulkner neglected mentioning either. I had not known it, only for your postscript, wherein you desire to know whether I received them. I would have wrote to you before this, if I had not believed that your charge was paid; for Dr. Delany is, I believe, by this time in London; and he wrote to me from Bath for directions where to find you in London, that he might pay off his bill, and return you his thanks for your kindness to us. Let me beg the favour of you to acquaint Mr. Giles with this, because I would not, for any consideration, seem to forget my creditors, though in another country. If Dr. Delany be not come to you, I desire you will inquire out his lodgings; and I believe you may be informed either at Lord Bolingbroke's, or Mr. Percival's, in ConduitStreet. Tell him your name whenever you go to wait upon him; and I assure you the doctor will be extremely friendly to you, and glad to see you, for I have often talked to him of you.
I received ninety-four books* from you, but I believe you must commit them to the charge of Mr. Faulkner, because I have no opportunity of selling, but bestowing them; for when any of my friends are desirous to have one, and ask me where they are to be had, I am always too generous, or too bashful, (which is a great rarity among us Irish,) to accept of payment for them; and by this means I shall be under the necessity of giving all away, which would be too expensive an article to me. Now, what I think would answer would be, to send what I have not bestowed to Mr. Faulkner, and let him publish in his newspaper that he has imported some of those
* Mr. Pilkington's Poems, printed by Mr. Bowyer in 1730.
books, and let him be accountable to you for the sale. I wrote to you for thirty, which I expected to give away, and I believe I have distributed so many. When I receive your answer, I will give you a particular account, and remit you the money for them the first opportunity. If I find Dr. Delany's lodgings out from any friends here, or from his letters to me, I will give you immediate notice. I should be glad to have any catalogues that were now selling in London; and, if you could send any of them, or any other little pamphlets, they may be directed to the Lord Bishop of Killala, in Dublin, for me. I never received either the Monthly Chronicle for March, nor the Historia Literaria for ditto; I believe it miscarried, by being directed to Faulkner; they were not for Dr. Delany, but for another gentleman in town; but I had forgot, till the gentleman asked me for them the other day. I shall be glad to hear from you soon and am your most sincere friend, MATT. PILKINGTON.
There is one Green, a bookseller, lately come from London to this town, who has imported a very curious collection of books; but he has rated them so excessively dear, and seems to act so haughtily in the sale of them, that I believe above threefourths of them will be sent back to-morrow to England again. I made the Dean of St. Patrick's go with me there the first morning; but all the books were too dear for either of us.