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when I have the King's leave of abfence. If he be violent, I will appeal, and die two or three hundred pounds poorer, to defend the rights of the Dean. Pray ask Mr Synge, whether his fenocchio be grown; it is now fit to eat here, and we eat it like celery, either with or without oil, &c. I defign to pass my time wholly in the country, having fome bufinefs to do and fettle, before I leave England for the last time. I will fend you Mr Pope's criticisms, and my own, on your work. Pray forget nothing of what I defire you. Pray God bless you all. If the King had lived but ten days longer, I fhould be now at Paris. Simpleton! the Drapiers fhould have been fent unbound; but 'tis no great matter; two or three would have been enough. I fee Mrs Fad but seldom; I never trouble them but when I am fent for. She expects me foon, and after that perhaps no more while I am here. I defire it may be told, that I never go to court; which I mention, because of a paffage in Mrs Dingley's letter. She speaks mighty good things of your kindness. I do not want that poem to Stella to print it entire, but fome paffages out of it, if they deserve it, to lengthen the volume. Read all this letter without hefitation, and I'll give you a pot of ale. I intend to be with you at Michaelmas, bar impoffibilities.
Dr SWIFT to Dr SHERIDAN.
Twickenham, Aug. 12. 1727
Lord Oxford + from Cambridgeshire, which was ten days ago, my old deafnefs feized me, and hath continued ever fince with great increase; fo that I am now deafer
* An English lady, a friend of the Dean's.
Son of the late Right Honourable Robert Harley, Lord High Treasurer of England, created Earl of Oxford and Mortimer by Queen Anne.
than ever you knew me, and yet a little less I think than I was yesterday; but, which is worse, about four days ago my giddinefs feized me, and I was so very ill, that yesterday I took a hearty vomit ; and though I now totter, yet, I think, I am a thought better: but what will be the event, I know not. One thing I know, that thefe deaf fits ufes to continue five or fix weeks; and I am refolved, if it continues, or my giddinefs, fome days longer, I will leave this place, and remove to Greenwich, or fomewhere near London, and take my cousin Lancelot to be my nurfe. Our friends know her; it is the fame with Pat Rol. If my disorder should keep me longer than my licence of abfence lafts, I would have you get Mr Worral to renew it. It will not expire till the fixth or seventh of October, and I resolved to begin my journey Sept. 15. Mr Worral will fee by the date of my licence, what time the new one fhould commence: but he has feven weeks yet to confider; I only fpeak in time. I am very uneafy here, because so many of our acquaintance come to fee us, and I cannot be feen; befides, Mr Pope is too fickly and complaifant; therefore I refulve to go fomewhere elfe. This is a little unlucky, my head will not bear writing long. I want to be at home, where I can turn you out, or let you in, as I think beft. The King and Queen come in two days to our neighbourhood *; and there I fhall be expected, and cannot go; which, however, is none of my grie vances; for I had rather be abfent, and have now too good an excufe. I believe this giddinefs is the disorder that will at laft get the better of me; but I had rather it should not be now; and I hope, and believe, it will not, for I am now better than yesterday. Since my dinner, my giddinefs is much better, and my deafness a hair's breadth not fo bad. It is just as usual, worst in the morning and at evening. I will be very temperate ; and in the midft of peaches, figs, nectarins, and mulberries, I touch not a bit. I hope I fhall, however, fet out in the midst of September, as I defigned. This is a long letter for an ill head; fo adieu. My service to our two friends and all others.
Dr SWIFT to Dr SHERIDAN.
Twickenham, Aug. 29. 1727.
Have had your letter of the 19th; and expect, be
the most fatal news that can ever come to me, unless I fhould be put to death for fome ignominious crime. I continue very ill with my giddinefs and deafness, of which I had two days intermiffion, but fince worfe ; and I fhall be perfectly content, if God fhall please to call me away at this time. Here is a triple cord of friendship broke, which hath lafted thirty years; twenty-four of which in Ireland. I beg, if you have not writ to me before you get this, to tell me no particulars, but the event in general. My weakness, my age, my friendship will bear no more. I have mentioned the cafe, as well as I knew it, to a phyfician who is my friend; and I find his methods were the fame, air, and exercise, and at laft affes milk. I will tell you Lincerely, that if I were younger, and in health, or in hopes of it, I would endeavour to divert my mind by all me thods, in order to pafs my life in quiet; but I now want only three months of fixty. I am ftrongly vifited with a difeafe, that will at last cut me off, if I fhould this time escape; if not, I have but a poor remainder, and that is below any wife man's valuing. I do not intend to return to Ireland fo foon as I purposed; I would not be there in the very midst of grief. I defire you will Speak to Mr Worral, to get a new licence about the beginning of October, when my old one, as he will fee by the date, fhall expire; but if that fatal accident were not to happen, I am not able to travel in my prefent condition. What I intend is, immediately to leave this place, and go with my coufin for a nurse about five miles from London, on the other fide towards the fea; and if I recover, I will either pafs this winter near Salifbary-plain, or in France. And therefore I defire Mr Worral may make this licence run like the former, [To
Great Britain, or elsewhere, for the recovery of his health.]
Neither my health nor grief will permit me to fay more. Your directions to Mr Lancelot, at his house in New Bond-ftreet, over against the crown and cufhion, will reach me. Farewel.
This ftroke was unexpected, and my fears laft year were ten times greater *.
Dr SWIFT to Dr SHEDIRAN.
London, Sept. 2. 1727. Had yours of the 19th of Auguft, which I answered the 29th from Twickenham. I came to town on the last day of Auguft, being impatient of staying there longer, where fo much company came to us, while I was fo giddy and deaf. I am now got to my confin Lancelot's houfe; where I defire all letters may be di rected to me. I am still in the fame condition, or rather worfe; for I walk like a drunken man, and I am deafer than ever you knew me. If I had any tolerable health, I would go this moment to Ireland; yet I think I would not, confidering the news I daily expect to hear from you. I have just received your's of August 24th; I kept it an hour in my pocket, with all the fufpenfe of a man who expected to hear the worft news that Fortune could give him; and at the fame time was not able to hold up my head. Thefe are the perquifites of living. long. The laft act of life is always a tragedy at best; but it is a bitter aggravation, to have one's best friend go before one. I defired in my laft, that you would not enlarge upon that event, but tell me the bare fact. I Jong knew that our dear friend had not the famina vite; but my friendship could not arm me against this accident, although I forefaw it. I have faid enough in my last letter, which now I fuppofe is with you. I know not whether it be an addition to my grief or no, that I
* See letter 116,
am now extremely ill; for it would have been a reproach to me to be in perfect health, when fuch a friend is defperate. I do profefs, upon my falvation, that the diftreffed and desperate condition of our friend makes life fo indifferent to me, who, by courfe of nature, have fo little left, that I do not think it worth the time to ftruggle: yet I fhould think, according to what hath been formerly, that I may happen to overcome this prefent disorder; and to what advantage? Why, to fee the lofs of that perfon for whose fake only life was worth preferving. I brought both thofe friends over*, that we might be happy together as long as God fhould please. The knot is broken; and the remaining perfon, you know, has ill answered the end; and the other, who is now to be loft, is all that was valuable. You agreed with me, or you are a great hypocrite. What have I to do in the world? I never was in fuch agonies as when I received your letter, and had it in my pocket.am able to hold up my forry head no longer†.
LET T E R
Mr POPE to Dr SHERIDAN.
Twickenham, Sept. 6.
AM both obliged and alarmed by your letter. What you
Mrs Johnfon and Mrs Dingley, both relations of Sir William Temple, at whofe houfe the author became acquainted with them, after he left the university of Dublin. Their fortunes being not very confiderable, they chose to spend their days in Ireland. Dub. edit. -There is not the least reafon to believe, that Stella was related to Sir William Temple. Hawkef.
That ingenious lady for whom the author expreffeth so much concern here, and in the preceding letter, was the famous STELLA, fo often celebrated in the author's poems, vol. 6. for her fine perfon, wit, and many virtues. Her phyfician told her, when she was near dying, that he was at the bottom of the hill, and they must endeavour to get her up again. But the plainly faw the approaches of death, and readily replied, " That the found the would be out of breath be"fore fhe got up to the top." She died in a few months after the date of these letters Jan. 28. 1727-8. Dub. edit.- See her character in Dr Swift's life, prefixed to vol. 1. and vol. 6. p. 175. and vol. 8 p. 291.