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we should meet like the righteous in the millennium, quite in peace, divested of all our former passions, smiling at our past follies, and content to enjoy the kingdom of the just in tranquillity. But I find you would rather be employed as an avenging angel of wrath, to break your vial of indignation over the heads of the wretched creatures of this world ; nay would make them eat your book, which you have made (I doubt not) as bitter a pill for them as possible.
I would not tell you what designs I have in my head (beside writing a set of maxims in opposition to all Rochefoucault's principles) till I see you here, face to face. Then you shall have no reason to complain of me, for want of a generous disdain of this world, though I have not lost my ears in yours and their service. Lord Oxford too (whom I have now the third time mentioned in this letter, and he deserves to be always mentioned in every thing that is addressed to you, or comes from you) expects you : that ought to be enough to bring you hither; it is a better reason than if the nation expected you. For I really enter as fully as you can desire, into your principle of love of individuals : and I think the way to have a publick spirit, is first to have a private one; for who can believe (said a friend of mine) that any man can care for a hundred thousand people, who never cared for one ? No ill humoured man can ever be a patriot, any more than a friend.
I designed to have left the following page for Dr. Arbuthnot to fill, but he is so touched with the period in yours to me concerning him, that he intends to answer it by a whole letter. He too is busy about a book, which I guess he will tell
you of. So adieu.--What remains worth telling you? Dean Berkeley is well, and happy in the prosecution of his scheme. Lord Oxford and lord Bolingbroke in health, Duke Disney so also; sir William Wyndham better, lord Bathurst well. These and some others, preserve their ancient honour, and ancient friendship. Those who do neither, if they were d-d, what is it to a protestant priest, who has nothing to do with the dead? I answer for my own part as a papist, I would not pray them out of Purgatory.
My name is as bad a one as yours, and hated by all bad people, from Hopkins and Sternhold, to Gildon and Cibber. The first prayed against me with the Turk; and a modern imitator of theirs (whom I leave you to find out) has added the Christian to them, with proper definitions of each in this manner :
The pope's the whore of Babylon,
The Turk he is a Jew :
That sitteth in a pew.
DR. SWIFT TO MR. POPE.
NOV. 26, 1725.
HOULD sooner have acknowledged yours, if à feverish disorder and the relicks of it had not disabled me for a fortnight. I now begin to make
excuses, because I hope I am pretty near seeing you, and therefore I would cultivate an acquaintance ; because if you do not know me when we meet, you need only keep one of my letters, and compare it with my face, for my face and letters are counterparts of my heart. I fear I have not expressed that right, but I mean well, and I hate blots : I look in your letter, and in my conscience you say the same thing, but in a better manner. Pray tell my lord Bolingbroke that I wish he was banished again, for then I should hear from him, when he was full of philosophy, and talked de contemptu mundi. My lord Oxford was so extremely kind as to write to me immediately an account of his son's birth; which I immediately acknowledged, but before my letter could reach him, I wished it in the sea ; I hope I was more afflicted than his lordship. It is hard that parsons and beggars should be overrun with brats, while so great and good a family wants an heir to continue it. I have received his father's picture, but I lament (sub sigillo confessionis) that it is not so true a resemblance as I could wish. Drown the world! I am not content with despising it, but I would anger it, if I could with safety. I wish there were an hospital built for its despisers, where one might act with safety, and it need not be a large building, only I would have it well endowed. P** is fort chancelant whether he shall turn parson or not. But all employments here are engaged, or in reversion. Cast wits and cast beaux have a proper sanctuary in the church: yet we think it a severe judgment, that a fine gentleman, and so much a finer for hating ecclesiasticks, should be a do
mestick humble retainer to an Irish prelate. He is neither secretary nor gentleman usher, yet serves in both capacities. He has published several reasons why he never came to see me, but the best is, that I have not waited on his lordship. We have had a poem sent from London in imitation of that on miss Carteret. It is on miss Harvey of a day old ; and we say and think it is yours. I wish it were not, because I am against monopolies. You might have spared me a few more lines of your satire, but I hope in a few months to see it all. To hear boys like you talk of millenniums and tranquillity! I am older by thirty years, lord Bolingbroke by twenty, and you but by ten, than when we last were together; and we should differ more than ever, you coquetting a maid of honour, my lord looking on to see how the gamesters play, and I railing at you both. I desire you and all my friends will take a special care that my disaffection to the world may not be imputed to my age, for I have credible witnesses ready to depose, that it hath never varied from the twenty-first to the f--ty-eighth year of my life (pray fill that blank charitably). I tell you after all, that I do not hate mankind, it is vous - autres who hate them, because you would have them reasonable animals, and are angry at being disappointed : I have always rejected that definition, and made another of my own. I am no more angry with
- than I was with the kite that last week flew away with one of my chickens; and yet I was pleased when one of my servants shot him two days after This I say, because you are so hardy as to tell me of your intentions to write maxims in opposition to
Rochefoucault, Rochefoucault, who is my favourite, because I found my whole character in him* ; however I will read him again, because it is possible I may have since undergone some alterations—Take care the bad poets do not outwit you, as they have served the good ones in every age, whom they have provoked to transmit their names to posterity. Mævius is as well known as Virgil, and Gildon will be as well known as you, if his name gets into your verses : and as to the difference between good and bad fame, it is a perfect trifle. I ask a thousand pardons, and so leave you for this time, and I will write again without concerning myself whether you write or not.
I am, &c.
MR. POPE TO DR. SWIFT.
DECEMBER 10, 1725. I FIND myself the better acquainted with you for a long absence, as men are with themselves for a. long affliction : Absence does but hold off a friend, to make one see him more truly. I am infinitely more pleased to hear you are coming near us, than at any thing you seem to think in my favour ; an opinion which has perhaps been aggrandised by the distance or dulness of Ireland, as objects look larger through a medium of fogs: and yet I am infinitely pleased with that too. I am much the happier for
* This is no great compliment to his own heart.