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I would describe to you my way of living, if any method could be call's so in this country. I chule 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 moft triling 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 of 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 diftant; yet when he returns to London, I will engage you shall find him as deep in the Court of Requests, the Park, the Opera's, and the Coffee-house, 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. 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.
LET TER X.
Sept. 14, 1725. Need not tell you, 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 'tis with Poets as with Prophets, they are so much better lik'd in another country D 2
than their own, that your Gentleman, upon arriving in England, lost his curiosity concerning me. However, had he try'd, 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 ; fince 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 gather'd together : not to plot, not to contrive silly schemes of ambition, or to vex our own or others hearts with busy 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 innocently and as unhurtfully as at ourselves. Your Travels * I hear much of; my own I promise you shall never more be in a strange land, but a diligent, I hope useful, investigation of my own Territories t. I mean no more Translations, but something domestic, fit for my own country, and for
my own time.
you come to us, I'll find you elderly Ladies enough that can halloo, and two that can nurse, and they are too old and feeble to make too much noise ;
will guess, when I tell you they are my own mother, and my own nurse. I can also help you to a Lady who is as deaf, tho' not fo old, as yourself; you'll be pleas'd with one another I'll engage, tho’ you don't hear one-another; you'll converse like spirits by intuition. What you'll most wonder at is, she is considerable at Court, yet no Party-woman, and lives in Court, yet would be easy, and make you easy.
One of those you mention (and I dare say always will remember) Dr. Arbuthnot, is at this time ill * Gulliver. + The Essay on Man.
of a very dangerous distemper, an imposthume in the bowels; which is broke, but the event is very uncertain. Whatever that be (he bids me tell you, and I write this by him) he lives or dies your faithful friend; and one reason he has to desire a little longer life, is the wish to see you once more.
He is gay enough in this circumstance to tell you, he wou'd give you (if he cou'd) such advice as might cure your deafness, but he would not advise you, if you were cured, to quit the pretence of it; because you may by that means hear as much as you will, and answer as little as you please. Believe me
From Dr. SWIFT.
Sept. 29, 1725. am now returning to the noble scene of Dublin,
into the grand Monde, for fear of burying my parts: to signalize myself among Curates and vicars, and correct all corruptions crept in relating to the weight of bread and butter, through those dominions where I govern, I have employ'd my time (besides ditching) in finishing, correcting, amending, and transcribing my * Travels, in four parts compleat, newly augmented, and intended for the press when the world shall deserve them, or rather when a Printer shall be found brave enough to venture his ears. I like the scheme of our meeting after distresses and dispersions ; but the chief end I propose to myself in all my labours, is to vex the world, rather than divert it; and if I could compass
that design without hurting my own person or fortune, I would be the most indefatigable writer you have ever seen, without reading. I am exceedingly pleased that
you have done with Translations; Lord Treasurer Oxford often lamented that a rascally world should lay you under a necessity of misemploying your genius for so long a time. But fince you will now be so much better employ'd, when you think of the world, give it one lash the more at my request. I have ever hated all Nations, Professions, and Communities; and all my love is towards Individuals : for instance, I hate the Tribe of Lawyers, but I love Counsellor such a one, and Judge such a one: 'Tis so with Physicians, (I will not speak of my own Trade) Soldiers, English, Scotch, French, and the rest. But principally i hate and detest that animal call’d Man, although I heartily love John, Peter, Thomas, and so forth. This is the system upon which I have governed my-, self many years (but do not tell) and so I shall go on till I have done with them. I have got materials towards a Treatife, proving the falsity of that definition Animal rationale, and to fhew it should be only rationis capax. Upon this great foundation of Misanthrophy (tho' not in Timon's manner) the whole building of my Travels is erected; and I never will have peace of mind, till all honeft men are of my opinion: By consequence you are to embrace it immediately, and procure that all who deserve my esteem may
do so too. The matter is so clear, that it will admit of no dispute; nay, I will hold a hundred pounds that you and I agree in the point.
I did not know your Odyssey was finished, being yet in the country, which I shall leave in three days. Í thank you kindly for the present, but shall like it three fourths the less, for the mixture you mention of other hands; however, I am glad you fav’d yourself so much drudgery--I have been long told by
Mr. Pord of your great achievements in building and planting, and especially of your subterranean passage to your garden, whereby you turned a Blunder into a Beauty, which is a piece of Ars Poetica.
I have almost done with Harridans, and shall soon become old enough to fall in love with girls of fourteen. The Lady whom you describe to live at Court; to be deaf, and no party-woman, I take to be Mythology, but know not how to moralize it. She cannot be Mercy, for Mercy is neither deaf, nor lives at Court: Justice is blind, and perhaps deaf, but neither is the a Court-lady: Fortune is both blind and deaf, and a Court-lady, but then she is a most damnable Party-woman, and will never make me easy, as you promise. It must be Riches, which anfwers all your description: I am glad fhe visits you,
my voice is so weak, that I doubt she will never hear me.
Mr. Lewis sent me an account of Dr. Arbuthnot's illness, which is a very sensible affliction' to me, who by living so long out of the world, have lost that hardness of heart contracted by years and general conversation. I am daily losing friends, and neither seeking nor getting others. Oh if the world had but a dozen of Arbuthnots in it, I would burn my Travels! But however he is not without fault": There is a passage in Bede, highly commending the piety and learning of the Irish in that age, where after abundance of praises he overthrows them all, by lamenting that, alas! they kept Easter at a wrong time of the year. So our Doctor has every quality and virtue that can make a man amiable or useful ; but alas, he hath a sort of flouch in his Walk! I pray God protect him, for he is an excellent Chriftian, though not a Catholic.
I hear nothing of our friend Gay, but I find the Court keeps him at hard meat. I advised him to come over here with a Lord Lieutenant. Philips