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L E T T E R XXVIII.
Mr. Pope to Dr. SWIFT.
23, 1727-8. Send you a very old thing, a paper printed
in Boston in New-England, wherein you'll find a real person, a member of their Parliament, of the name of Jonathan Gulliver. If the fame of that Traveller has travell’d thither, it has travell’d very quick, to have folks christen'd already by the name of the supposed Author. But if you object that no child fo lately christen'd could be arrived at years of maturity to be elected into parliament, I reply (to solve the Riddle) that the person is an Anabaptist, and not christen’d till full
which sets all right. However it be, the accident is very singular, that these two names should be united.
Mr. Gay's Opera has acted near forty days running, and will certainly continue the whole season. So he has more than a fence about his thousand pounds : he'll soon be thinking of a fence about his two thousand. Shall no one of us live as we would wish each other to live? Shall he have no sure annuity, you no settlement on this fide, and I no prospect of getting to you on the other ? This world is made for Cæfar--as Cato faid, for ambitious, false, or flattering people to domineer in : Nay they
would not, by their good will, leave us our very books, thoughts, or words in quiet. I despise the world yet, I assure you, more than either Gay or you, and the Court more than all the rest of the world. As for those Scriblers for whom you apprehend I would suppress my Dulness, (which by the way for the future you are to call by a more pompous name, The Dunciad) how much that nest of Hornets are my regard, will easily appear to you when
you read the Treatise of the Bathos.
At all adventures, yours and my name shall stand linked as friends to posterity, both in verse and prose, and (as Tully calls it) in
consuetudine Studiorum. Would to God our persons could but as well, and as surely, be inseparable! I find my other Tyes dropping from me, some worn off, some torn off, others relaxing daily : My greatest, both by duty, gratitude, and humanity, Time is shaking every moment, and it now hangs but by a thread! I am many years the older, for living so much with one so old; much the more helpless, for having been so long help'd and tended by her ; much the more considerate and tender, for a daily commerce, with one who requir'd me justly to be both to her ; and consequently the more melancholy and thoughtful; and the less fit for others, who want only in a companion or a friend, to be amused or entertained. My constitution too has had its share of decay, as
well * In the familiarity of our Studies.
well as my spirits, and I am as much in the decline at forty as you at fixty. I believe we should be fit to live together, cou'd I get a little more health, which might make me not quite insupportable: Your Deafness would agree with my Dulness; you would not want me to speak when you could not hear : But God forbid you
should be as destitute of the social comforts of life, as I must when I lose my or that ever you should lose your more useful acquaintance so utterly, as to turn your thoughts to such a broken reed as I am, who could fo ill fupply your wants. I am extremely troubled at the returns of your deafness; you cannot be too particular in the accounts of your health to me ; every thing you do or say in this kind obliges me, nay delights me, to see the justice you do me in thinking me concern'd in all
your concerns, so that tho' the plea fantest thing you. can tell me be that you are better or easier ; next to that it pleases me that you make me the person you would complain to,
As the obtaining the love of valuable men is the happiest end I know of this life, so the next felicity is to get rid of fools and scoundrels ; which I can't but own to you was one Part of my design in falling upon these Authors, whose incapacity is not greater than their insincerity, and of whom I have always found (if I may quote myself) That each bad Author is as bad a Friend.
This Poem will rid me of those infects.
* Cedite Romani Scriptores, cedite Graii,
Nescio quid majus nafcitur. Iliade. I mean than my Iliad; and I call it Nescio quid, which is a degree of modesty ; but however if it filence these fellows, it must be something greater
L ET TER XXIX,
Dr. SWIFT to Mr. Pope.
Dublin, May 10, 1728. Have with great pleasure shewn the New
England News-paper with the two names Jonathan Gulliver, and I remember Mr. Fortescue sent you an account from the assizes, of one Lemuel Gulliver, who had a Cause there, and lost it on his ill reputation of being a liar ; and these are not the only observations I have made upon odd strange accidents in trifles, which in things of great importance would have been matter for Historians. Mr. Gay's Opera hath been acted here twenty times, and my I Lord Lieutenant telleth me it is very well
performed; * Ye Romans, yield; ye Grecians, yield the Prize,
See something greater than an Iliad rise ! I Lord Carteret,
performed; he hath seen it often, and approveth it much.
You give a most melancholy account of yourself, and which I do not approve. I reckon that a Man subject like us to bodily infirmities, should only occasionally converse with great people, notwithstanding all their good qualities, easinesses, and kindnesses. There is another race which I prefer before them, as Beef and Mutton for constant dyet before Partridges : I mean a middle kind, both for understanding and fortune, who are perfectly easy, never impertinent, complying in every thing, ready to do a hundred little offices that you and I may often want, who dine and fit with me five times for once that I go to them, and whom I can tell without offence, that I am otherwise engaged at present. This you cannot expect from any of those that either you, or I, or both, are acquainted with on your side; who are only fit for our healthy seasons, and have much business of their own. God forbid I should condemn you to Ireland (* Quanquam 0!) and for England I despair ; and indeed a change of affairs would come too late at my season of life, and might probably produce nothing on my behalf,
behalf. You have kept Mrs. Pope longer, and have had her care beyond, what from nature you could expect; not but her loss will be very sensible, whenever it shall happen. I say one thing, that both summers
and * And yet I wish!