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DR. SWIFT TO MR. POPE.
DUBLIN, JULY 23, 1737.
SENT a letter to you some weeks ago, which my lord Orrery enclosed in one of his, to which I received as yet no answer; but it will be time enough when his lordship goes over, which will be as he hopes in about ten days, and then he will take with him “ all the letters I preserved of yours, which “ are not above twenty-five. I find there is a “ great chasm of some years, but the dates are more “ early than my two last journeys to England, which “ makes me imagine, that in one of those journeys “ I carried over another cargo.” But I cannot trust my memory half an hour; and my disorders of deafness and giddiness increase daily. So that I am declining as fast as it is easily possible for me, if I were a dozen years older.
We have had your volume of letters, which I am told are to be printed here. Some of those who highly esteem you, and a few who know you personally, are grieved to find you make no distinction between the English gentry of this kingdom, and the savage old Irish, (who are only the vulgar, and some gentlemen who live in the Irish parts of the kingdom) but the English colonies, who are three parts in four, are much more civilized than many counties in England, and speak better English, and are much better bred. And they think it very hard, that an American who is of the fifth generation from
England, England, should be allowed to preserve that title, only because we have been told by some of them that their names are entered in some parish in London. I have three or four cousins here who were born in Portugal, whose parents took the same care, and they are all of them Londoners. Dr. Delany, who as I take it, is of an Irish family, came to visit me three days ago, on purpose to complain of those passages in your letters; he will not allow such a difference between the two climates, but will assert that North Wales, Northumberland, Yorkshire, and the other northern shires have a more cloudy unge. nial air than any part of Ireland. In short, I am afraid your friends and admirers here will force you to make a palinody.
As for the other parts of your volume of letters, my opinion is, that there might be collected from them the best system that ever was writ for the conduct of human life, at least to shame all reasonable men out of their follies and vices. It is some recommendation of this kingdom, and of the taste of the people, that you are at least as highly celebrated here as you are at home. If you will blame us for slavery, corruption, atheism, and such trifles, do it freely, but include England, only with an addition of every other vice.— I wish you would give orders against the corruption of English by those scribblers who send us over their trash in prose and verse, with abominable curtailings and quaint modernisms.I now am daily expecting an end of life: I have lost all spirit, and every scrap of health; I sometimes recover a little of my hearing, but my head is ever out of order. While I have any ability to hold a commerce with you, I will never be silent, and this chancing to be a day that I can hold a pen, I will drag it as long as I am able. Pray let my lord Orrery see you often ; next to yourself I love no man so well ; and tell him what I say, if he visits you. I have now done, for it is evening, and my head grows worse. May God always protect you, and preserve you long, for a pattern of piety and virtue.
Farewell my dearest and almost only constant friend. I am ever, at least in my esteem, honour, and affection to you, what I hope you expect me to be.
DR. SWIFT TO MR. POPE.
DUBLIN, AUGUST 8, 1738.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
yours of July 25, and first I desire you will look upon me as a man worn with years, and sunk by publick as well as personal vexations. I have entirely lost my memory, uncapable of conversation by a cruel deafness, which has lasted almost a year, and I despair of any cure.
I say not this to increase your compassion (of which you have already too great a part) but as an excuse for my not being regular in my letters to you, and some few other friends. I have an ill name in the postoffice of both kingdoms, which makes the letters addressed to me not seldom miscarry, or be opened and read, and then sealed in a bungling manner before they come to my hands. Our friend Mrs. B. is very often in my thoughts, and high in my esteem ; I desire you will be the messenger of my humble thanks and service to her. That superiour universal genius you describe, whose handwriting I know toward the end of your letter, has made ine both proud and happy; but by what he writes I fear he will be too soon gone to his forest abroad. He began in the queen's time to be my patron, and then descended to be my friend.
It is a great favour of Heaven, that your health grows better by the addition of years. I have absolutely done with poetry for several years past, and even at my best times I could produce nothing but trifles: I therefore reject your compliments on that score, and it is no compliment in me ; for I take your second dialogue that you lately sent me, to equal almost any thing you ever writ; although I live so much out of the world, that I am ignorant of the facts and persons, which I presume are very well known from Temple Bar to St. James's; I mean the court exclusive. “ I can faithfully assure you,
that every letter you “ have favoured me with, these twenty years and
more, are sealed up in bundles, and delivered to “ Mrs. W—, a very worthy, rational, and judicious « cousin of mine, and the only relation whose visits " I can suffer: all these letters she is directed to “ send safely to you upon my decease.”
My lord Orrery is gone with his lady to a part of her estate in the north : she is a person of very good understanding as any I know of her sex. Give me leave to write here a short answer to my lord B.'s letter in the last page of yours.
MY DEAR LORD, I am infinitely obliged to your lordship for the honour of your letter, and kind remembrance of me. I do here confess, that I have more obligations to your lordship than to all the world besides. You never deceived me, even when you were a great minister of state : and yet I love you still more, for your condescending to write to me, when you had the honour to be an exile. hardly hope to live till you publish your history, and am vain enough to wish that my name could be squeezed in among the few subalterns, quorum pars parva fui: if not, I will be revenged, and contrive some way to be known to futurity, that I had the honour to have your lordship for my best patron ; and I will live and die, with the highest veneration and gratitude, your most obedient, &c.
P.S. I will here in a postscript correct (if it be possible) the blunders I have made in
letter. I have showed my cousin the above letter, and she assures me, “ that a great collection of your letters
are put up and sealed, and in some very << safe hand.”
I am, my most dear and honoured friend, entirely yours, It is now Aug. 24, 1738.
me, * yon,
* It is written just thus in the original. The series of correspondence in the present volume seems to be part of the collection here spoken of, as it contains not only the letters of Mr. Pope, but of Dr. Swift, both to him and Mr. Gay, which were returned to Mr. Pope after Mr. Gay's death : though any mention made by Mr. P. of the return or exchange of letters has been industriously suppressed in the publication, and only appears by some of the answers.