God be thanked I have yet no parliamentary business, and if they have none with me, I shall never seek their acquaintance. I have not been very fond of them for some years past, not when I thought them tolerably good; and therefore if I can get leave to be absent, I shall be much inclined to be on that side when there is a parliament on this : but truly I must be a little easy in my mind before I can think of Scriblerus.

You are to understand, that I live in the corner of a vast unfurnished house ; my family consists of a steward, a groom, a helper in the stable, a footman, and an old maid, who are all at board wages, and when I do not dine abroad, or make an entertainment, (which last is very rare) I eat a mutton pie, and drink half a pint of wine : my amusements are defending my small dominions against the archbishop, and endeavouring to reduce my rebellious choir. Perditur hæc inter misero lux. I desire you will present my humble service to Mr. Addison, Mr. Congrere, and Mr. Rowe, and Gay. I am, and will be always, extremely yours, &c.


JUNE 20, 1716. I CANNOT suffer a friend to cross the Irish seas, without bearing a testimony from me of the constant esteem and affection I am both obliged and inclined to have for you. It is better he should tell

would he insult a ministry to humour them. He said of himself, and I believe he said truly, that “ he never wrote a line to gratify “the animosity of any one party at the expense of another". See the “ Letter to a noble Lord”. W.


you -than I, how often you are in our thoughts and in our cups, and how I learn to sleep less *, and drink more, whenever you are named among us.

I look upon a friend in Ireland as upon a friend in the other world, whom (popishly speaking) I believe constantly welldisposed toward me, and ready to do me all the good he can, in that state of separation, though I hear nothing from him, and make addresses to him but very rarely. A protestant divine cannot take it amiss that I treat him in the same manner with my patron saint.

I can tell you no news, but what you will not sufficiently wonder at, that I suffer many things as an author militant: whereof in your days of probation, you have been a sharer, or you had not arrived to that trium.phant state you now deservedly enjoy in the church. As for me, I have not the least hopes of the cardinalate, though I suffer for my religion in almost every weekly paper. I have begun to take a pique at the psalms of David, if the wicked may be credited, who have printed a scandalous one of in my name *. This report I dare not discourage too much, in a prospect I have at present of a post under the marquis de Langallerres, wherein if I can but do some signal service against the pope, I may be considerably advanced by the Turks, the only religious people I dare confide in. If it should happen hereafter that I should write for the holy law of Mahomet, I hope

* Alluding to his constant custom of sleeping after dinner. + In Curll's collection,

* It is observable that he doth not deny his being the writer of them. One who made a noise then, as count Bonneval has done since. it may make no breach between you and me; every one must live, and I beg you will not be the man to manage the controversy against me. The church of Rome I judge (from many modern symptoms, as well as ancient prophecies) to be in a declining condition* ; that of England will in a short time be scarce able to maintain her own family; so churches sink as generally as banks in Europe, and for the same reason : that religion and trade, which at first were open and free, have been reduced into the management of companies, and the roguery of directors.

I do not know why I tell you all this, but that I always loved to talk to you ; but this is not the time for any man to talk to the purpose. Truth is a kind of contraband commodity which I would not venture to export, and therefore the only thing tending that dangerous way which I shall say, is, that I am and always will be with the utmost sincerity,

Yours, &c.


AUGUST 30, 1716. I HAD the favour of yours by Mr. Ford, of whom, before


other question relating to your health, or fortune, or success as a poet, I inquired your principles in the common form, “ Is he a whig or a “ tory?" I am sorry to find they are not so well tallied to the present juncture as I could wish. I always thought the terms of facto and jure had been introduced by the poets, and that possession of any sort in kings was held an unexceptionable title in the courts of Parnassus. If you do not grow a perfect good subject in all its present latitudes, I shall conclude you are become rich, and able to live without dedications to men in power, whereby one great inconvenience will follow, that you and the world and posterity will be utterly ignorant of their virtues. For, either your brethren have miserably deceived us these hundred years past; or power confers virtue, as naturally as five of your popish sacraments do grace.--You sleep less, and drink more.—But your master Horace was vini somnique benignus * : and, as I take it, both are proper

* These words are remarkable. What would he have said, if he had seen what has happened in France ? and what is likely to happen, by the diffusion of learning and science, in all the other catholick countries of Europe ? such events are stupendous ; Non bac sine numine Divum eteniunt.



your trade. As to wine, there are a thousand poetical texts to confirm the one; and as to the other, I know it was anciently the custom to sleep in temples for those who would consult the oracles, “ Who dictates to me slumbering t," &c.

You are an ill catholick, or a worse geographer, for I can assure you, Ireland is not Paradise, and I appeal even to any Spanish divine, whether addresses were ever made to a friend in Hell or Purgatory. And who are all those enemies you hint at ? I can only think of Curll, Gildon, squire Burnet, Blackmore, and a

* Indulgent to himself in sleep and wine.

+ Milion, Paradise Lost, book ix. verse 23. On this passage Dr. Joseph Warton remarks, that “this is the only time Swift ever alludes to Milton ; who was of an order of writers very differ. ent from what Swift admired and imitated ;” an assertion which we shall take a future opportunity of examining. [Sce vol. XIX. p. vi.] VOL. XIV. B 5


few others, whose fame I have forgot : tools, in my opinion, as necessary for a good writer, as pen, ink and paper. And besides, I would fain know whether every draper does not show you three or four damned pieces of stuff to set off his good one? However, I will grant that one thorough bookselling rogue is better qualified to vex an author, than all his contemporary scribblers in critick or satire, not only by stolen copies of what was incorrect or unfit for the publick, but by downright laying other men's dulness at your door. I had a long design upon the ears of that Curll, when I was in credit; but the rogue would never allow me a fair stroke at them, although my penknife was ready drawn and sharp. I can hardly believe the relation of his being poisoned, although the historian pretends to have been an eyewitness: but I beg pardon, sack might do it, although ratsbane would not. I never saw the thing you mention as falsely imputed to you ; but I think the frolicks of merry hours, even when we are guilty, should not be left to the mercy of our best friends, until Curll and his resemblers are hanged.

With submission to the better judgment of you and your friends, I take your project of an employment under the Turks to be idle and unnecessary. Have a little patience, and you will find more merit and encouragement at home, by the same methods. You are ungrateful to your country ; quit but your own religion, and ridicule ours, and that will allow jou a free choice for any other, or for none at all, and pay you well into the bargain. Therefore pray do not run and disgrace us among the Turks, by telling them you were forced to lcave your native home, , because we would oblige you to be a christian ; 2


« VorigeDoorgaan »