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can) and content myself to be useful, and in the right. Tell me your opinion as to Lady -'s or Lord *'s performance ? they are certainly the Top-wits of the Court, and you may judge by that single piece what can be done against me; for it was labour'd, corrected, præcommended and post-disapproved, so far as to be dif-own'd by themselves, after each had highly cry'd it up for the others a. I have met with some complaints, and heard at a distance of some threats, occasion’d by my verses : I sent fair messages to acquaint them where I was to be found in town, and to offer to call at their houses to satisfy them, and so it dropp’d. It is very poor in any one to rail and threaten at a distance, and have nothing to say to you when they see you.—I am glad you persist and abide by so good a thing as that Poem b, in which I am immortal for my Morality: I never took any praise so kindly, and yet, I think, I deserve that praise better than I do any other. When does your collection come out, and what will it consist of ? I have but last week finished another of my Epistles, in the order of the system; and this week (exercitandi gratia) I
? See the Epistle written b The iornical libel on pn this occasion at the end of | Dr. Delany. the second Yol. of Letters.
have translated (or rather parody’d) another of Horace's, in which I introduce you advising me about my expences, housekeeping, &c. But these things shall lie by, till you come to carp at e’m, and alter rhymes, and grammar, and triplets, and cacophonies of all kinds. Our Parliament will fit till Midsummer, which, I hope, may be a motive to bring you rather in summer than fo late as autumn: you us'd to love what I hate, a hurry of politics, &c. Courts I see not, Courtiers I know not, Kings I adore not, Queens I compliment not; so I am never like to be in fashion, nor in dependance. I heartily join with you in pitying our poor lady for her unhappiness, and should only pity her more, if she had more of what they at court call happiness. Come then, and perhaps we may go all together into France at the end of the season, and compare the liberties of both kingdoms. Adieu. Believe me, dear Sir (with a thousand warm wishes, mix'd with short sighs) ever yours.
To Mr. Pope.
Dublin, May 1, 1733. T Answer your Letter the sooner because I have
1 a particular reason for doing so. Some weeks ago came over a poem call’d, The Life and Character of Dr. S. written by himself. It was reprinted here, and is dedicated to you. It is grounded upon a Maxim in Rochefoucault, and the dedication, after a formal story, says, that my manner of writing is to be found in every line. I believe I have told you, that I writ a year or two ago near five hundred lines upon the same Maxim in Rochefoucault, and was a long time about it, as that Impostor says in his Dedication, with many circumstances, all pure invention. I desire you to believe, and to tell my friends, that in this fpurious piece there is not a single line, or bit of a line, or thought, any way resembling the genuine Copy, any more than it does Virgil's Æneis; for I never gave a Copy of mine, nor lent it out of my fight. And although I shew'd it to all common acquaintance indifferently, and some of them (especially one or two females) had got many lines by heart, here and there, and repeated
them often; yet it happens that not one single line, or thought, is contained in this Imposture, although it appears that they who counterfeited me, had heard of the true one. But even this trick shall not provoke me to print the true one, which indeed is not proper to be seen, till I can be seen no more: I therefore desire you will undeceive my friends, and I will order an Advertisement to be printed here, and transmit it to England, that every body may know the delusion, and acquit me, as I am sure you must have done yourself, if you have read any part of it, which is mean, and trivial, and full of that Cant that I most despise: I would sink to be a Vicar in Norfolk rather than be charged with such a performance. Now I come to your letter.
When I was of your age, I thought every day of death, but now every minute; and a continual giddy disorder more or less is a greater addition than that of my years. I cannot affirm that I pity our friend Gay, but I pity his friends, I pity you, and would at least equally pity myself, if I liv'd amongst you; because I should have seen him oftner than you did, who are a kind of Hermit, how great a noise foever you make by your Ill-nature in not letting the honest Villains of the times enjoy themselves in this world, which is their only happiness; and
terrifying them with another. I should have added in my libel, that of all men living you are the most happy in your Enemies and your Friends : and I will swear you have fifty times more Charity for mankind than I could ever pretend to. Whether the production you mention came from the Lady or the Lord, I did not imagine that they were at least so bad versifyers. Therefore, facit indignatio versus, is only to be. apply'd when the indignation is against general Villainy, and never operates when some sort of people write to defend themselves. I love to hear them reproach you for dulness; only I would be satisfy'd, since you are so dull, why are they so angry? Give me a shilling, and I will ensure you, that posterity shall never know you had one single enemy, excepting those whose memory you have preserv’d.
I am sorry for the situation of Mr. Gay's papers. You do not exert yourself as much as I could wish in this affair. I had rather the two fifters were hang’d than see his works swelld by any loss of credit to his memory. I would be glad to see the most valuable printed by themselves, those which ought not to be seen burn'd immediately, and the others that have gone abroad printed separately like opuscula, or rather be stifled and forgotten. I thought your Epitaph was immediately to be engrav'd, and Vol. IX.