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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 domestick 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
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, 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.
finding finding (a better thing than our wits) our judgments jump, in the notion that all scribblers should be past by in silence. To vindicate ones self against such nasty slander, is much as wise as it was in your countryman, when the people imputed a stink to him, to prove the contrary by showing his backside. So let Gildon and Philips rest in peace! What Virgil had to do with Mævius *, that he should wear him upon his sleeve to all eternity, I do not know. I have been the longer upon this, that I may prepare you for the reception both you and your works may possibly meet in England. We your true acquaintance will look upon you as a good man, and love you; others will look upon you as a wit, and hate you.
So you know the worst ; unless you are as vindicative as Virgil, or the aforesaid Hibernian.
I wish as warmly as you, for an hospital in which to lodge the despisers of the world; only I fear it would be filled wholly like Chelsea, with maimed soldiers, and such as had been disabled in its service. I would rather have those, that out of such generous principles as you and I, despise it, fly in its face, than retire from it. Not that I have much anger against the great, my spleen is at the little rogues of it; it would vex one more to be knocked on the head with a pisspott, than by a thunder
* Or Pope with Tibbald, Concanen, Smedley, &c.
+ Here is one of those vulgar and disgusting images, on which our author too much delighted to dwell. Dr. Delany, from his partiality to Swift, is of opinion, that the dean caught his love of gross and filthy objects from Pope. The contrary seems to be the fact. One would think this love contagious ; see two passages in the “ View of Lord Bolingbroke's Philosophy," Letter II.
bolt. As to great oppressors, they are like kites or eagles, one expects mischief from them; but to be squirted to death (as poor Wycherley said to me on his deathbed) by apothecaries apprentices, by the understrappers of undersecretaries to secretaries who were no secretaries this would provoke as dull a dog as Ph-s himself.
So much for enemies, now for friends. Mr. L-thinks all this indiscreet: the Dr, not so; he loves mischief the best of any good natured man in England. Lord B. is above trifling: when he writes of any thing in this world, he is more than mortal; if ever he trifles, it must be when he turns a divine. Gay is writing tales for prince William : I suppose Mr. Philips will take this very ill, for two reasons; one that he thinks all childish things belong to him, and the other, because he will take it ill to be taught that one may write things to a child, without being childish. What have I more to add ? but that lord Oxford desires earnestly to see you : and that many others whom you do not think the worst of, will be gratified by it: 'none more, be assured, than
P.S. Pope and you are very great wits, and I think very indifferent philosophers: If you despised the world as much as you pretend, and perhaps believe, you would not be so angry with it. The founder of your sect *, that noble original whom you think it so great an honour to resemble, was a
* Lord Shaftesbury in his Characteristicks, vol. III, p. 23, has given a very different opinion of Seneca, the person here alluded to. VOL. XIV.