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with the perquifite of fpunging while you are young; and when you are old, will afford you a pint of Port at night, two fervants, and an old maid, a little garden, and pen and ink,-provided you live in the country. Have you no scheme either in verfe or profe? The Duchefs should keep you at hard meat, and by that means force you to write; and so I have done with you.
SINCE I began to grow old, I have found all ladies become inconftant, without any reproach from their confcience. If I wait on you, I declare, that one of your women (which ever it is that has defigns upon a chaplain) must be my nurse, if I happen to be fick or peevish at your houfe; and in that cafe you muft fufpend your domineering claim till I recover. Your omitting the ufual appendix to Mr Gay's letters hath done me infinite mischief here; for while you continued them, you would wonder how civil the ladies here were to me, and how much they have altered fince. I dare not confefs that I have defcended fo low as to write to your Grace, after the abominable neglect you have been guilty of; for if they but fufpected it, I fhould lofe them all. One of them who had an inkling of the matter, (your Grace will hardly believe it), refused to beg my pardon upon her knees, for once neglecting to make my rice-milk.-Pray, confider this, and do your duty, or dread the confequence. I promise you shall have your will fix minutes every hour at Aimsbury, and feven in London, while I am in health: but if I happen to be fick, I must govern to a second. Yet, properly fpeaking, there is no man alive with so much truth and respect your Grace's most obedient and devoted fervant.
Auguft 28. 1731.
OU and the Duchefs ufe me very ill; for I profefs I cannot diftinguifh the ftyle or the hand-writing of either. I think her Grace writes more like you than herfelf, and that you write more like her Grace than
yourself. I would fwear the beginning of your letter writ by the Duchefs, though it is to pals for yours; becaufe there is a curfed lie in it, that he is neither young nor healthy; and befides, it perfectly resembles the part fhe owns. I will likewife fwear, that what I must fuppose is written by the Duchefs, is your hand: and thus I am puzzled and perplexed between you; but I will go on in the innocency of my own heart. I ain got eight miles from our famous metropolis, to a country parfon's, to whom I lately gave a city-living, fuch as an English chaplain would leap at. I retired hither for the public good, having two great works in hand: one to reduce the whole politeness, wit, humour, and style of Eng land into a short fyftem, for the use of all perfons of quality, and particularly the maids of honour *. The other is of almost equal importance; I may call it the whole duty of fervants, in about twenty feveral stations, from the steward and waiting woman, down to the fcullion and pantry-boy †. -I believe no mortal had ever fuch fair invitations, as to be happy in the best company of England. I wish I had liberty to print your letter with my own comments upon it. There was a fellow in Ireland, who from a fhoe-boy grew to be several times one of the chief govenors, wholly illiterate, and with hardly common fenfe. A Lord Lieutenant told the firft King George, that he was the greatest subject he had in both kingdoms; and truly this character was gotten and preferved by his never appearing in England; which was the only wife thing he ever did, except purchafing 16,000 l. a-year.Why, you need not ftare it is eafily applied. I must be abfent, in order to preserve my credit with her Grace. -Lo here comes in the. Duchefs again, (I know her by her dd's but am a fool for difcovering my art), to defend herself against my conjecture of what the faid.-Madam, I will imitate your Grace, and write to you upon the fame line. I own it is a base un-romantic spirit in me to suspend the honour of waiting at your Grace's feet,
*Wag ftaff's Dialogues of polite converfation, published in his lifetime. See vol. 7. p. 245.
† An imperfect thing of this kind, called Directions to fervants in general, has been published fince his death. See vol. 7. p. 344.
till I can finish a paltry law-fuit. It concerns indeed almost all my whole fortune; it is equal to half Mr Pope's, and two thirds of Mr Gay's, and about fix weeks rent of your Grace's. This curfed accident hath drill'd away the whole fummer. But, Madam, underftand one thing, that I take all your ironical civilities in a literal fenfe; and whenever I have the honour to attend you, fhall expect them to be literally perform. ed: though perhaps I fhall find it hard to prove your hand-writing in a court of juftice; but that will not be much for your credit. How miferably hath your Grace been mistaken, in thinking to avoid envy by running into exile, where it haunts you more than ever it did even at court? Non te civitas, non regia domus in exilium miferunt, fed tu utrofque. So fays Cicero, (as your Grace knows), or fo he might have faid.
I am told, that the Craftsman, in one of his papers, is offended with the publishers of (I fuppofe) the last edition of the Dunciad; and I was asked whether you and Mr Pope were as good friends to the new difgraced perfon as formerly? This I knew nothing of, 'but fuppofe it was the confequence of fome mistake. As to writing, I look on you just in the prime of life for it, the very feafon when judgment and invention draw together. But fchemes are perfectly accidental: fome will appear barren of hints and matter, but prove to be fruitful; and others the contrary: and what you fay, is paft doubt, that every one can beft find hints for himself; though it is poffible, that fometimes a friend may give you a lucky one juft fuited to your own ima gination. But all this is almost paft with me: my invention and judgment are perpetually at fifty-cuffs, till they have quite difabled each other; and the merest trifles I ever wrote are ferious philofophical lucubrations, in comparison to what I now bufy myself about ; as (to fpeak in the author's phrafe) the world may one day fee *.
His ludicrous prediction was fince his death, and very much to his dishonour, feriously fulfilled. Warb.
By this defire of letting the world fee what other men of less wit and more difcretion would carefully have concealed, Swift has placed
Sept. 10. 1731.
F your ramble was on horfeback, I am glad of it on account of your health; but I know your arts of patching up a journey between ftage-coaches and friends. coaches: for you are as arrant a cockney as any hofier in Cheapfide. One clean fhirt with two cravats, and as many handkerchiefs, make up your equipage: and as for a night-gown, it is clear from Homer, that Agamemnon rofe without one. I have often had it in my head to put it into your's, that you ought to have some great work in fcheme, which may take up feven years to finish, befides two or three under ones, that may add another 1000 1. to your stock: and then I fhall be in lefs pain about you. I know you can find dinners; but you love twelve-penny coaches too well, without confidering that the intereft of a whole 1000 1. brings you but half a crown a-day. I find a greater longing than ever to come amongst you: and reafon good, when I am teafed with Dukes and Ducheffes for a vifit, all my demands complied with, and all excufes cut off. You remember, "O happy Don Quixote ! queens held his "horse, and ducheffes pulled off his armour," or fome. thing to that purpose. He was a mean-fpirited fellow;
himself open to the cenfure of his enemies, and beyond the reach of any defence from his friends. He has not only committed to the prefs a most despicable heap of writings, but has publicly recorded the lowest amusements of his private fcenes of life, without having once fufpected, that perfons whofe ftations or abilities have fixed them in a confpicuous attitude, are looked upon by the rest of mankind with a very critical, and a very envious eye. Auguftus, as I remember, was a little ashamed to be discovered at a game of cobnuts; and even Domitian was cunning enough to withdraw into his closet to catch flies. Great minds, you will fay, require to be often unbent. I allow it but thofe relaxations might be chosen, so as to make idlene fs appear in a beautiful light: and Swift would have forfeited a lefs degree of fame by playing many years at pushpin, (the records of which he could not have printed), than by composing various kinds of nonfenfe, which, by his own option, have been honoured with a place in his works, Orrery.
I can fay ten times more, O happy, &c. fuch a Duchess was defigned to attend him, and fuch a Duke invited him to command his palace. Nam iftos reges ceteros memorare nolo, hominum mendicabula. Go read your Plautus, and obferve Strobilus vapouring after he had found the pot of gold.I will have nothing to do with that, lady: I have long hated her on your account, and the more because you are fo forgiving as not to hate her : however, the has good qualities enough to make her efteemed; but not one grain of feeling. I only wifh fhe were a fool. I have been several months writing near five hundred lines on a pleasant fubject, only to tell what my friends and enemies will fay on me after I am dead. I fhall finish it foon; for I add two lines every week, and blot out four, and alter eight. I have brought in you and my other friends, as well as enemies and detractors.—It is a great comfort to see how corruption and ill conduct are inftrumental in uniting virtuous perfons and lovers of their country of all denominations; Whig and Tory, High and Low church, as foon as they are left to think freely, all joining in opinion. If this be difaffection, pray God fend me always among the difaffected! and I heartily with you joy of your fcurvy treatment at court, which hath given you leifure to cultivate both public and private virtue, neither of them likely to be foon met with within the walls of St James's or Westminster. But I must here difmifs you, that I may pay my acknowledgments to the Duke for the great honour he hath done me.
I could have fworn that my pride would be always able to preserve me from vanity; of which I have been in great danger to be guilty for fome months paft, first by the conduct of my Lady Duchefs, and now by that of your Grace, which had like to finish the work. And I fhould certainly have gone about fhewing my letters, under the charge of fecrecy, to every blab of my acquaintance, if I could have the leaft hope of prevailing
This has been published, and is amongst the best of his poems. See vol. 6. p. 2200