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L E T T E R LV.
Mr. GAY to Dr. SWIFT.
December. I, 1731. OU us'd to complain that Mr. Pope and
I would not let you speak : you may now be even with me, and take it out in writing. If you don't send to me now and then, the poft-office will think me of no consequence, for I have no correspondent but you. keep as far from us as you please, you cannot be forgotten by thofe who ever knew you, and therefore please me by sometimes shewing that I am not forgot by you. I have nothing to take me off from my friendship to you ; I seek no new acquaintance, and court no favour ; I spend no shillings in coaches or chairs to levees or great visits, and as I don't want the assistance of some that I formerly convers’d with, I will not so much as seem to seek to be a dependant. As to my studies, I have not been entirely idle, though I cannot say that I have yet perfected any thing. What I have done ' is something in the way of those Fables, I have already published. All the money I get saving, so that by habit there may be some hopes (if I grow richer) of my becoming a
is by miser. All misers have their excuses ; the motive to my parfimony is Independance. If I were to be represented by the Dutchess (The is such a downright niggard for me) this character might not be allowed me; but I really think I am covetous enough for any who lives at the coort-end of the town, and who is as poor as myself: For I don't pretend that I am equally saving' with S-lk-k, Mr. Lewis desir'd you might be told that he hath five pounds of yours in his hands, which he fancies you may have forgot, for he will hardly allow that a Verseman can have a juft knowledge of his own affairs. When you got rid of your law-suit, I was in hopes you had got your own, and was free from every vexation of the law; but Mr. Pope tells me you are not entirely out of your perplexity, though you have the security now in your own poffeffion; but still
your cafe is not so bad as Captain Gulliver's, who was ruin'd by having a decree for him with costs. I have had an injunction for me against pyrating-booksellers, which I am sure to get nothing by, and will, I fear, in the end drain me of some money. When I begun this prosecution I fancy'd there would be some end of it, but the law still goes on, and is probable I shall some time or other fee an Attorney's bill as long as the Book. Poor Duke Disney is dead, and hath left what he had
his friends, among whom are Bolingbroke, five hundred pounds; Sir William Wyndham's
youngest youngest son, five hundred pounds; General Hill, five hundred pounds; and Lord Maffam's son, five hundred pounds.
You have the good wishes of those I converse with, they know they gratify me when they remember
but I really think they do it purely for your own fake. I am satisfied with the love and friendship of good men, and envy not the demerits of those who are more conspicuously distinguish'd. Therefore as I set a just value upon your friendship, you cannot please me more than letting me now and then know that you remember me (the only satisfaction of distant friends !)
be a very
P. S. Mr. Gay's is a good letter, mine will
and think the worst of it is what should be its excuse, that I write in a head-ach that has lafted three days. I am never ill but I think of your ailments, and repine that they mutually hinder our being together: Though in one point I am apt to differ from you, for you
friends when you are in those circumstances, and I defire them ; your way is the more generous, mine the more tender. Lady letter very kindly, for I had prepared her to expect no answer under a twelvemonth ; but kindness perhaps is a word not applicable to courtiers : however she is an extraordinary woman there, who will do you common justice. For God's sake why all this scruple about Lord
B's keeping your horses, who has a park, or about my keeping you on a pint of wine a day? We are infinitely richer than you imagine; John Gay shall help me to entertain you, tho' you come like King Lear with fifty Knights-Tho' such prospects as I wish cannot now be formed for fixing you with us, time may provide better before you part again : The old Lord may die, the benefice may drop, or at worst
you may carry me into Ireland. You will see a work of Lord B
ke's and one of mine; which with a just neglect of the present age, confult only posterity; and with a noble scorn of Politicks, aspire to Philosophy. I am glad you resolve to meddle no more with the low concerns and interest of Parties, even of Countries, (for Countries are but larger parties) * Quid verum atque decens, curare, & rogare, nostrum fit. I am much pleased with your design upon Rochefoucault's maxim, pray finish it: I am happy whenever you joyn our names together; so would Dr. Arbuthnot be, but at this time he can be pleas’d with nothing; for his darling son is dying in all probability, by the melancholy account I received this morning.
The paper you ask me about is of little value. It might have been a seasonable satire upon the
* We are to spend our Time in the Search and Enquiry after Truth and Decency. Vol. VII.
scandalous language and passion with which men of condition have stooped to treat one another : surely they sacrifice too much to the people when they sacrifice their own characters, families, &c. to the diversion of that rabble of readers. I
you contempt of most popularity, fame, &c. even as a writer I am cool in it, and whenever you see what I am now writing, you'll be convinced I would please but a few, and (if I could) make mankind less Admirers and greater Reasoners. I study much more to render my own portion of Being easy, and to keep this peevilh frame of the human body in good humour. Infirmities have not quite unman'd me, and it will delight you to hear they are not increased, tho' not diminished. I thank God I do not very much want people to attend me, tho' my Mother now cannot. When I am fick I lie down, when I am better I rise up; I am used to the head-ach &c. If greater pains arrive (such as my late rheumatism) the servants bathe and plaister me, or the surgeon scarifies me, and I bear it, because I must. This is the evil of Nature, not of Fortune. I am just now as well as when you was here : I pray God you were no worse. I sincerely with my life were past near you, and such as it is I would not repine at it.-All you mention remember you, and wish you here.