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L ET TER VIII.
From Dr. Swift to Mr. Pope,
Dublin, Sept. 20, 1723. Eturning from a summer expedition of
four months on account of my health, I found a letter from you, with an appendix longer than yours from Lord Bolingbroke. I believe there is not a more miserable malady than an unwillingness to write letters to our best friends, and a man might be philosopher enough in finding out reasons for it. One thing is clear, that it sheweth a mighty difference between Friendthip and Love, for a lover (as I have heard) is always fcribling to his mistress. If I could permit myself to believe what your civility maketh you say, that I am still remembered by my friends in England, I am in the right to keep myself here * Non fum qualis
you in a period of Life when one year doth more execution than three at yours, to which if you add the dulness of the air, and of the people, it will make a terrible sum. I have no very strong faith in your pretenders, to Retirement, you are not of an age for it, nor have gone through either good or bad fortune enough to go into a corner, and form conclu
* I am not what I was,
fions * de contemptu mundi & fuga sæculi
, unless a Poet groweth weary of too much applause, as Ministers do of too much weight of business.
Your Happiness is greater than your Merit, in chusing your Favourites fo indifferently among either Party : this you owe partly to your Education, and partly to your Genius employing you in an art in which Faction hath nothing to do; for I suppose Virgil and Horace are equally read by Whigs and Tories. You have no more to do with the Constitution of Church and State, than a Christian at Constantinople ; and you are so much the wiser and the happier, because both parties will approve your Poetry as long as you are known to be of neither.
Your notions of Friendship are new to me: I believe every man is born with his t quantum, and he cannot give to one without robbing another. I
well know to whom I would give the first places in my Friendship, but they are not in the way : I am condemned to another scene, and therefore I distribute it in Pennyworths to those about me, and who displease me least; and should do the same to my fellow prisoners if I were condemned to a jayl. I can likewise tolerate Knaves much better than Fools, because their knavery doth me no hurt in the
Concerning the Contempt of the World, and Retirement from publick Business,
commerce I have with them, which however I own is more dangerous, although not fo troublesome, as that of Fools.
I have often endeavoured to establish a friendship among all Men of Genius, and would fain have it done : they are seldom above three or four Contemporaries, and if they could be united, would drive the World before them. I think it was so among the Poets in the time of Augustus : but Envy, and Party, and Pride, have hindered it among us. I do not include the Subalterns, of which you are seldom without a large Tribe : Under the name of Poets and Scriblers, I suppose you mean the Fools you are content to see sometimes, when they happen to be modeft ; which was not frequent among
them while I was in the world.
I would describe to you my way of living, if any method could be called so in this Country. I chuse my companions among those of least consequence, and most compliance: I read the most trifling Books I can find, and whenever I write, it is upon the most trifling subjects: But riding, walking, and sleeping, take up eighteen of the twenty-four hours. I procrastinate more than I did twenty years ago, and have several things to finish, which I put off to twenty years hence; * Hæc eft vita Solutorum, &c. I send you the compliments of a || friend
* This the Life of Persons at Ease,
Charles Ford, Esq;
yours, who hath passed four months this summer with two grave acquaintance at his country-house without ever once going to Dublin, which is but eight miles distant; yet when he returneth to London, I will
engage you shall find him as deep in the Court of Requests, the Park, the Opera's, and the Coffeehouse as any man there. I am now with him for a few days.
You must remember me with great affection to Dr. Arbuthnot, Mr. Congreve, and Gay-I think there are no more * eodem tertio's between you and me, except Mr. ll Jervas, to whose house I address this, for want of knowing where you live : for it was not clear from your last, whether you lodge with Lord Peterborow, or he with you?
I am ever, &c.
* In the same Class of Three.
|| An eminent Painter, who translated Don Quixote from the Original into English.
LETTER L E T T E R IX.
Mr. Pope to Dr. SWIFT.
Sept. 14, 1725
with what real delight I should have done any thing you desired, and in particular any good offices in my power towards the bearer of your Letter, who is this day gone for France. Perhaps it is with Poets as with Prophets, they are so much better liked in another country than in their own, that your Gentleman, upon arriving in England, lost his curiosity concerning me. However, had he tried, he had found me his friend; I mean he had found me yours, I am disappointed at · not knowing better a man whom you esteem, and comfort myself only with having got a Letter from you, with which (after all) I sit down a gainer; since to my great pleasure it confirms my hope of once more seeing you. After so many dispersions, and so many divisions, two or three of us may yet be gathered together ; not to plot, not to contrive silly schemes of ambition, or to vex our own or others hearts with husy vanities (such as perhaps at one time of life or other take their Tour in every man) but to divert ourselves, and the world too if it pleases; or at worst, to laugh at others as inpocently and as unhurtfully as at ourselves. Your Travels I hear much of; my own I pro