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himself; although it is possible that sometimes a friend may give you a lucky one just suited to your own imagination. But all this is almost past with me : My invention and judgment are perpetually at fifty-cuffs, until they have quite disabled each other; and the meerest trifles I ever wrote are serious philosophical lucubrations in comparison to what I now busy myself about; as (to speak in the author's phrase) the world may one day see,
L E T T E R LIV.
Dr. SWIFT to Mr. GAY.
Sept. 10, 1731. F your ramble were on horseback, I am
glad of it on account of your health ; but I know your arts of patching up a journey between stage-coaches and friends coaches; for you are as arrant a cockney as any hosier in Cheapfide. One clean shirt with two cravats, and as many handkerchiefs make up your equi
. page ; and as for a night-gown, it is clear from Homer, that Agamemnon rose without one. I have often had it in my head to put it into yours, that you ought you ought to have some
have some great work in scheme, which may take up seven years to finish, besides two or three under-ones that Înay add another thousand pounds to your stock ;
and then I shall be in less pain about you. I know
you can find dinners, but you love twelvepenny
coaches too well, without considering that the interest of a whole thousand pounds bringeth you but half a crown a day. I find a greater longing than ever to come among you ; and reason good, when I am teazed with Dukes and Dutchesses for a visit, all my demands complied with, and all excuses cut off. You remember, " O happy Don Quixot, Queens “ held his horse, and Dutchesses pulld off his “ armour,” or something to that purpose. He was a mean-spirited fellow, I can say ten times more ; O happy, &c, such a Dutchess was designed to attend him, and such a Duke invited him to command his Palace. * Nam iftos reges ceteros memorare nolo, hominum mendicabula :
read your Plautus, and observe Strobilus vapouring after he had found the pot of gold.- I will have nothing to do with that Lady. I have long hated her on your account, and the more because you are so forgiving as not to hate her; however the hath good qualities enough to make her esteemed, but not one grain of feeling. I only wish fhe were a fool. I have been several months writing near five hundred lines on a pleasant subject, only to tell what tell what my friends and enemies will
* I pass by those other Princes, poor Mendicants of Mankind.
say of me after I am dead.
I shall finish it soon, for I add two lines every week, and blot out four and alter eight. I have brought in you and my other friends, as well as enemies and detractors It is a great comfort to see how Corruption and ill conduct are instrumental in uniting virtuous persons and lovers of their country of all denominations: Whig and Tory, High and Low-church, as soon as they are left to think freely, all joining in opinion. If this be disaffection, pray God send me always among the disaffected ! and I heartily wish you joy of your scurvy treatment at Court, which hath given you leisure to cultivate both publick and private Virtue, neither of them likely to be soon met with within the walls of St. James's or Westminster. But I must here dismiss you, that I may pay my acknowledgments to the Duke for the great honour he hath done me.
My Lord, I could have fworn that 'my Pride would be always able to preserve me from vanity; of which I have been in great danger to be guilty for some months past, first by the conduct of my Lady Dutchess, and now by that of
your Grace, which had like to finish the work : And I should have certainly gone about shewing my letters under the charge of secrecy to every blab of my acquaintance, if I could have the least hope of prevailing on any of them to believe that a man in so obscure a corner, quite thrown out of the present world and within a few steps of the next, should receive such condescending invitations, from two such persons to whom he is an utter stranger, and who know no more of him than what they have heard by the partial representations of a friend, But in the mean time I must desire your Grace not to flatter yourself, that I waited for
your consent to accept the invitation : I must be ignorant indeed not to know, that the Dutchess, ever since you met, hath been most politickly employed in encreasing those forces, and sharpening those arms with which the subdued
you at first, and to which, the braver and wiser
you grow, you will more and more submit. Thus I knew myself on the secure fide, and it was a mere piece of good manners to insert that clause, of which you have taken the advantage. But, as I cannot forbear informing your Grace that the Dutchess's great secret in the art of government, hath been to reduce both your wills into one ; so I am content, in due observance to the forms of the world, to return my most humble thanks to your Grace for so great a favour as you are pleased to offer me, and which nothing but impossibilities shall prevent me from receiving, since I am, with the greatest reason, truth, and respect, my Lord, your Grace's most obedient, &c.
Madam, Madam, I have consulted all the learned in occult sciences of my acquaintance, and have fate up eleven nights to discover the meaning of those two hieroglyphical lines in your Grace's hand at the bottom of the last Aimsbury letter, but all in vain. Only it is agreed, that the language is Coptick, and a very profound Behmist affureth me, the style is poetick, containing an invitation from a very great person of the female sex to a strange kind of man, whom she