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LETTER XXIII. ... ..
QA. 2, 1727 IT is a perfect trouble to me to write to you;
1 and your kind letter left for me at Mr. Gay's affected me so much, that it made me like a girl. I can't tell what to say to you; I only feel that I wish you well in every circumstance of life; that 'tis almost as good to be hated as to be loved; considering the pain it is to minds of any tender turn, to find themselves so utterly impotent to do any good, or give any ease to those who deserve most from us. I would very fain know, as soon as you recover your complaints, or any part of them. Would to God I could ease any of them, or had been able even to have alleviated any! I found I was not, and truly it grieved me. I was sorry to find you could think yourself easier in any house than in mine, tho' at the same time I can allow for a tenderness in your way of thinking, even when it seem'd to want that tenderness. I can't explain my meaning, perhaps you know it: But the best way of convincing you of my indulgence, will be, if I live, to visit you in Ireland, and act there as much in my own way as you did here in yours. I will not leave your roof, if I am ill. To your bad health I fear there was added some disagreeable news from Ireland, which might occasion your so sudden departure: For the last time I saw you, you assured me you would not leave us this whole winter, unless your health grew better, and I don't find it did so. "I never comply'd so unwillingly in my life with any friend as with you, in staying so intirely from you: nor could I have had the constancy to do it, if you had not promised that before you went, we fou'd meet, and you
would send to us all to come. I have given your remembrances to thofe you mention in yours: we are quite sorry for you, I mean for ourselves. I hope, as you do, that we shall meet in a more durable and more satisfactory state; but the less fure I am of that, the more I would indulge it in this. We are to believe, we shall have something better than even a friend, there, but certainly here we have nothing fo good. Adieu for this time; may you find every friend you go to as pleas'd and happy, as every friend you went from is forry and troubled."
. Dublin, Oct. 12, 1727. T Have been long reasoning with myself upon the I condition I am in, and in conclufion have thought it beft to return to what fortune hath made my home; I have there a large house, and ser-' vånts and conveniencies about me. I may be worse than I am, and I have no where to retire. I therefore thought it best to return to Ireland, rather than go to any diftant place in England. Here is my maintainánce, and here my convenience. If it pleafes God to restore me to my health, I shall readily make a 'third journey; if not, we must part as all human creatures have párted. You are the best and kindest friend in the world, and I know no-body alive or dead to whom I am so much obliged; and if ever you made me angry, it was for your too much care about me. I have often wish'd that God almighty would be so easy to the 'Vol. IX.
new body, or being : paullo minus ab angelis. I have often imagined to myself, that if ever all of us meet again, after so many varieties and changes, after fo much of the old world and of the old man in each of us has been altered, that scarce a single thought of the one, any more than a single atome of the other, remains just the same; I've fancy'd, I fay, that 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 employ'd 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. iii : I won't tell you what designs 'I have in my head (besides 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 tinie mentioned in this Letter, and he de. serves to be always mentioned in every thing that is address’d to you, or comes from you) expečts you: That ought to be enough to bring you hither ; 'tis 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
* This was only faid as an oblique reproof of the horrid misanthropy in the foregoing Letter; and which he supposed, might be chiefly occafioned by the Dean's fondness for Rochefoucault, whose Maxims are founded on the principle of an universal selfishness in human nature.
way to have a public spirit is first to have a private one; for who can believe (faid a friend of mine) that any man can care for a hundred thousand people, who never cared for one? No ill-humour'd 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 touch'd 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 Berkley is well, and happy in the prosecution of his Scheme. Lord Oxford and Lord Bolingbroke in health, Duke Difney fo 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 an one as yours, and hated by all bad Poets, from Hopkins and Sternhold to Ġildon and Cibber. The first pray'd against me with the Turk; and a modern Imitator of theirs (whom I leave you to find out) has added the Chriftian to 'em, 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 Pow.
Nov. 26, 1725. T Should sooner have acknowledged yours, if a I feverish disorder and the relics of it had not difabled 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 express’d 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 were banish'd 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 wish'd it in the sea : I hope I was more afficted than his Lordship. 'Tis hard that Parsons and Beggars should be over-run with bratts, while so great and good a family wants an heir to continue it. I have receiv'd his father's picture, but I lament (sub sigillo confesionis) 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 for its Despisers, where one might act with safety, and it need not be a large building, only I would have it well endow'd. P** is fort chancellant whether he shall turn Parson or no.