« VorigeDoorgaan »
just serve to find us amusement, and not more. I hope you are too well employed to mind them : Every stick you plant, and every stone you lay, is to some purpose : but the business of such lives as theirs is but to die daily, to labour and raise nothing. I only wish we could comfort each other under our bodily infirmities, and let those who have so great a mind to have more Wit than we, win it and wear it. Give us but ease, health, peace, and fair weather, I think it is the best wish in the world, and you know whose it was. If I lived in Ireland, I fear the wet climate would endanger more than my life, my humour and health, I am so Atmospherical a creature
I must not omit acquainting you, that what you heard of the words spoken of you in the Drawing-room, was not true. The fayings of Princes are generally as ill related as the fayings of Wits. To such reports little of our regard should be given, and less of our conduct influenced by them.
Dr. Swift to Mr. POPE.
Dublin, Feb. 13, 1728. Lived very easily in the country: Sir Arthur
Acheson is a man of Sense, and a scholar, hath a good voice, and my Lady a better ; she is perfectly well bred, and desirous to improve her understanding, which is very good, but cul. tivated too much like a fine Lady. She was my pupil there, and severely chid when the read wrong; with that, and walking, and making twenty little amusing improvements, and writing family verses of mirth by way of libels on my Lady, my time past very well and in very great order ; infinitely better than here, where I see no creature but my fervants and my old Prefbyterian house-keeper, denying myself to every body until I shall recover my ears.
The account of another Lord Lieutenant was only in a common news-paper, when I was in the country, and if it should have happened to be true, I would have desired to have had access to him as the situation I am in requireth. But this renews the grief for the death of our friend Mr. * Congreve, whom I loved from my
youth, Author of several Plays and Poems, was born in Ireland, and educated in the Univerhty of Dublin,
youth, and who surely besides his other talents, was a very agreeable companion. He had the misfortune to squander away a very good constitution in his younger days; and I think a man of sense and merit like him, is bound in conscience to preserve his health for the sake of his friends as well as of himself. Upon his own account I could not much desire the continuance of his life, under so much pain, and so many infirmities.
infirmities. Years have not yet hardned me, and I have an addition of weight on my spirits" since we lost him, although I saw him so seldom ; and possibly, if he had lived on should never have seen him more, I do not only wish, as you ask me, that I was unacquainted with any deserving person, but almost, that I never had a friend. Here is an ingenious good-humoured * Physician, a fine gentleman, an excellent scholar, easy in his fortunes, kind to every body, hath abundance of friends, entertains them often and liberally, they pass the evening with him at cards, with plenty of good meat and wine, eight or a dozen together ; he loves them all, and they him; he hath twenty of these at command; if one of them dieth, it is no more than poor Tom! he getteth another, or taketh up with the rest, and is no more moved than at the loss of his çat; he offendeth no body, is easy with every body—is not this the true happy man? I was describing him to my Lady Acheson, whoknoweth him
him * Dr. Hellhạm.
too, but she hateth him mortally by my character, and will not drink his health : I would give half my fortune for the same temper; and yet, I cannot say I love it, for I do not love my Lord who is much of the Doctor's nature. I hear Mr. Gay's of second Opera which you mentioned, is forbid, and then he will be once more fit to be advised, and reject your advice. Adieu.
L E T T E R XXXV.
Dr. SWIFT to Lord BOLINGBROKE.
Dublin, March 21, 1729. OU tell me you have not quitted the
design of collecting, writing, &c. This is the answer of every finner who deferreth his repentance. I wish Mr. Pope were as great an urger as I, who long for nothing more than to see truth under your hands, laying all detraction in the dust - I find myself disposed every year, or rather every month, to be more angry and revengeful ; and my rage is so ignoble, that it descendeth even to refent the folly and baseness of the enslaved people among whom I live. I knew an old Lord in Licestershire, who amused himself with mending pitchforks and spades for his Tenants gratis : Yet
I have higher ideas left, if I were nearer to objects on which I might employ them; and contemning my private fortune, would gladly cross the channel and stand by, while my betters were driving the Boar out of the garden, if there be any probable expectation of such an endeavour. When I was of your age I often thought of death, but now after a dozen years more, it is never out of my mind, and terrifieth me less. I conclude that providence hath ordered our fears to decrease with our spirits ; and yet I love * la bagatelle better than ever : For finding it troublesome to read at night, and the company here growing tasteless, I am always writing bad prose, or worse verse, either of rage or raillery, whereof some few escape to give offence, or mirth, and the rest are burned.
They print some Irish trash in London, and charge it on me, which you will clear me of to my friends, for all are spurious except one paper, for which Mr. Pope very lately chid
I remember your Lordship used to say, that a few good speakers would in time carry any point that was right; and that the common method of a majority, by calling To the question, would never hold wrong when reason was on the other side. Whether politicks do
* Entitled, a Libel on Dr. Delany, and a certain great Lord.