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bufinefs of their own. God forbid Ifhould condemn you to Ireland, (quanquam O!); and for England L-defpair; and indeed a change of affairs would come too late at my feafon of life, and might probably produce nothing on my behalf. You have kept Mrs Pope longer, and have had her care beyond what from nature you could expect; not but her lofs will be very fenfible, whenever it fhall happen. I fay one thing, that both fummers and winters are milder here than with you; all things for life in general better. for a middling fortune: you will have an abfolute command of your company, with whatever obfequiousness or freedom you may expect or allow. I have an elderly housekeeper *, who. hath beep my W-lp-le above thirty years, whene ver I lived in this kingdom. I have the command of one or two villa's near this town: you have a warm apartment in this houfe, and two gardens for amusement.. I have faid enough, yet not half. Except abfence from. friends, I confefs freely that I have no difcontent at li ving here; befides what arifes from a filly fpirit of liber-ty, which as it neither fours my drink, nor hurts my meat, nor fpoils my ftomach farther than in imagina, tion, fo I refolve to throw it off.
You talk of this Dunciad; but I am impatient to have it volare per ora;-there is now a vacancy for fame.. The Beggars opera hath done its task; difcedat, uti cone, viva fatur. Adieu..
From Dr SWIFT.
June 1. 1728.
Look upon my Lord Bolingbroke and us two, as a peculiar triumvirate, who have nothing to expect, or to fear; and fo far fittest to converfe with one another only he and I are a little subject to schemes, and one of us (I wont fay which) upon very weak appearances, and this you have nothing to do with. I do profefs, without affectation, that your kind opinion of
• Mrs Brent.
me as a patriot, (fince you call it fo), is what I do not deferve; becaufe what I do is owing to perfect rage and refentment, and the mortifying fight of flavery, folly, and bafenefs about me, among which I am forced to live. And I will take my oath, that you have more virtue in an hour, than I in seven years: for you defpife the follies, and hate the vices of inankind, without the leaft ill effect on your temper; and with regard to parti. cular men, you are inclined always rather to think the better; whereas with me it is always directly contrary. I hope, however, this is not in you from a fuperior principle of virtue, but from your fituation; which hath made all parties and interefts indifferent to you, whe can be under no concern about high and low church, Whig and Tory, or who is first minister.— -Your long letter was the laft I received till this by Dr Delany, although you mention another fince. The Doctor told me your fecret about the Dunciad; which does not please me, because it defers gratifying my vanity in the most tender point, and perhaps may wholly disappoint it. As to one of your inquiries, I am eafy enough in great matters; but have a thousand paltry vexations in my little ftation; and the more contemptible, the more vexatious. There might be a Lutrin writ upon the tricks used by my chapter to tease me. I do not converse with one creature of station or title, but I have a fet of eafy people whom I entertain when I have a mind. I have formerly defcribed them to you; but when you come, you fhall have the honours of the country as much as you pleafe; and I fhall, on that account, make a better figure as long as I live. Pray God preferve Mrs Pope for your fake and ease; I love and efteem her too much to wish it for her own: if I were five and twenty, I would wish to be of her age, to be as fecure as fhe is of a better life. Mrs P. B. has writ to me, and is one of the best letter-writers I know; very good fenfe, civility, and friendship, without any stiffness or constraint. The Dunciad has taken wind here; but if it had not, you are as much known here as in England, and the university-lads will croud to kifs the hem of your garment. I am grieved to hear that my Lord Bo. lingbroke's ill health forced him to the Bath. Tell me,
is not Temperance a neceffary virtue for great men,. fince it is the parent of Eafe and Liberty fo neceffary for the ufe and improvement of the mind, and which philofophy allows to be the greatest felicities of life? I believe, had health been given fo liberally to you, it would have been better husbanded without shame to your parts..
Dawley, June 28. 1728. Now hold the pen for my Lord Bolingbroke, who is reading your letter between two hay-cooks; but his attention is fomewhat diverted, by cafting his eyeson the clouds, not in admiration of what you say, but for fear of a shower. He is pleased with your placing him in the triumvirate between yourself and me; though he fays, that he doubts he fhall fare like Lepidus, while one of us runs away with all the power like Auguftus, and another with all the pleasures like Anthony. It is upon a forefight of this, that he has fitted up his farm; and you will agree, that this scheme of retreat at least is not founded upon weak appearances. Upon his return from the Bath, all peccant humours, he finds, are purged out of him, and his great temperance and economy are fo fignal, that the firft is fit for my conftitution, and the latter would enable you to lay up fo much money as to buy a bishoprick in England. As to the return of his health and vigour, were you here, you might inquire of his hay-makers; but as to his temperance, I can anfwer, that (for one whole day) we have had nothing for dinner but mutton-broth, beans and bacon, and a barndoor fowl.
Now his Lordship is run after his cart, I have a moment left to myself to tell you, that I overheard him yesterday agree with a painter for 2001. to paint his Country-hall with trophies of rakes, fpades, prongs, &c. and other ornaments, merely to countenance his calling this place a farm. Now turn over a new leaf.
He bids me uffure you, he should be forry not to have more fchemes of kindness for his friends, than of ambi-.
tion for himself. There, though his fchemes may be weak, the motives at least are strong. And he fays further, if you could bear as great a fall and decrease of your revenues, as he knows by experience he can, you would not live in Ireland an hour.
The Dunciad is going to be printed in all pomp, with the infcription, which makes me proudeft. It will be attended with Proeme, Prolegomena, Teftimonia Scriptorum, Index Authorum, and notes Variorum. As to the latter, I defire you to read over the text, and make a few in any way you like beft *, whether dry raillery, upon the ftyle and way of commenting of trivial critics; or humerous, upon the authors in the poem; or hiftorical, of perfons, places, times; or explanatory; or collecting the parallel paffages of the ancients. Adieu. I am pretty well, my mother not ill; Dr Arbuthnot vexed with his fever by intervals; I am afraid he declines, and we shall lofe a worthy man: I am troubled about him very much.
I am, &c.
From Dr SWIFT.
July 16. 1728.
Have often run over the Dunciad in an Irish edition, (I fuppofe full of faults), which a gentleman fent me. The notes I could wish to be very large, in what relates to the perfons concerned; for I have long obferved, that twenty miles from London no body underftands hints, initial letters, or town facts and paffages; and in a few years not even those who live in London. I would have the names of thofe fcribblers printed indexically at the beginning or end of the poem, with an account of their works, for the reader to refer to. I .would have all the parodies (as they are called) referred to the author they imitate.- -When I began this long paper, I thought I should have filled it with fetting
Dr Swift did fo.
down the feveral paffages I had marked in the edition I had; but I find it unneceffary, so many of them falling under the fame rule. After twenty times reading the whole, I never, in my opinion, faw fo much good fatire, or more good sense, in so many lines. How it paffes in Dublin I know not yet; but I am fure it will be great difadvantage to the poem, that the perfons and facts will not be understood, till an explanation comes out, and a very full one. I imagine it is not to be published till towards winter, when folks begin to gather in town. Again I infift, you must have your afterisks filled up with fome real names of real dunces.
I am now reading your preceeding letter of June 28. and find, that all I have advised above is mentioned there. I would be glad to know whether the quarto edition is to come out anonymously, as published by the commentator, with all his pomp of prefaces, &c. and among many complaints of fpurious editions.
thinking whether the editor fhould not follow the old ftyle of this exellent author, &c. and refine in many places when you meant no refinement; and into the bargain, take all the load of naming the dunces, their qualities, hiftories, and performances.
As to yourself, I doubt you want a spurrer-on to exercife and to amufements; but to talk of decay at your feafon of life, is a jeft. But you are not fo regular as I. You are the moft temperate man God-ward, and the moft intemperate yourfelf-ward, of moft I have known. I fuppofe Mr Gay will return from the Bath with twenty pounds more flesh, and two hundred less in money. Providence never defigned him to be above two and twenty, by his thought leffnefs and cullibility. He hath as little forefight of age, fickness, poverty, or lofs of admirers, as a girl at fifteen. By the way, I must obferve, that my Lord Bolingbroke (from the effects of his kindness to me) argues moft fophiftically: the fall from a million to a hundred thousand pounds is not fo great, as from eight hundred pounds a-year to one: befides, he is a controller of fortune, and poverty dares not look a great minifter in the face under his lowest declenfion. I never knew him live fo great and expenLively as he hath done fince his return from exile; fuch mortals