« ZurückWeiter »
of about five and twenty, Sarah Drew might be rather called comely than beautiful, and was about the same age. They had pass’d thro' the various labours of the year together, with the greatest satisfaction; if she milk', 'twas his morning and evening care, to bring the cows to her hand, it was but lait fair that he bought her a present of green filk for her straw hat, and the posie on her filver ring was of his chusing. Their love was the talk of the whole neighbourhood; for scandal never affirm’d, that they had any other views than the lawful posfeffion of each other in marriage. It was that very morning that he had obtained the consent of her parents, and it was but till the next week that they were to wait to be happy. Perhaps in the intervals of their work they were now talking of the wedding cloaths, and John was suiting several sorts of poppies and field flowers to her complexion, to chuse her a knot for the wedding-day. While they were thus bufied, (it was on the last of July between two or three in the afternoon) the clouds grew black, and such a storm of lightning and thunder ensued, that all the labourers made the best of their way to what shelter the trees and hedges afforded. Sarah was frightned, and fell down in a swoon on a heap of barley. John, who never separated from her, sat down by her side, having raked together two or three heaps, the better to secure her from the storm. Immediately there was heard so loud a crack, as if heaven had split asunder; every one was now follicitous for the safety of his neighbour, and called to one another throughout the field : No answer þeing returned to those who called to our Lovers, they stept to the place where they lay; they perceived the barley all in a smoke, and then spied this faithful pair : John with one arm about Sarah's neck, and the other held over her, as to skreen her from the lightning. They were ftruck
dead, and stiffen'd in this tender pofture. Sarah's left eye-brow was fing’d, and there appeared a black spot on her breast : her lover was all over black, but not the least signs of life were found in either. Attended by their melancholy companions, they were convey'd to the town, and the next day were interr'd in Stanton-Harcourt Church-yard. My Lord Harcourt, at Mr. Pope's and my request, has caused a stone to be placed over them, upon condition that we furnish'd the Epitaph, which is as follows;
When Eastern lovers feed the fun'ral fire,
Sent his own lightning, and the victims seiz'd. But my Lord is apprehensive the country people will not understand this, and Mr. Pope says he'll make one with something of Scripture in it, and with as little of poetry as Hopkins and Sternhold *.
The Epitaphi was this,
Near this place lie the bodies of
an induftrious young Man
(with several others)
the last day of July 1713.
A Pair so faithful could expire ;
And snatch'd them in celestial fire.
L E T T E R VII.
. DEAR GAY,
Sept. 11, 1722. Thank you for remembering me; I would do
my best to forget myself, but that, I find, your idea is so closely connected to me, that I must forget both together, or neither, I am sorry I could not have a glympse either of you, or of the Sun (your father) before you went for Bath: But now it pleases me to see him, and hear of you, Pray put Mr. Congreve in mind that he has one on this side of the world who loves him; and that there are more men and women in the universe than Mr. Gay and my Lady Duchess. There are ladies in and about Richmond, that pretend to value him and yourself ; and one of them at least may be thought to do it without affectation, namely Mrs. Howard.
Pray consult with Dr. Arbuthnot and Dr. Chene, to what exact pitch your belly may be fuffered to swell, not to outgrow theirs, who are, yet, your betters. Tell Dr. Arbuthnot that even pigeonpyes and hogs-puddings are thought dangerous by our governors; for those that have been fent to the Bishop of Rochester are open’d and prophanely pry'd into at the Tower: 'Tis the first time dead pigeons have been fuspected of carrying intelligence. To be serious, you and Mr. Congrève and the Doctor will be fensible of my concern and surprize at his commitment, whose welfare is as much my concern as any friend's I have.. I think myfelf a
Live well, and fear no sudden fate ;
Mercy alike to kill or save.
most unfortunate wretch: I no sooner love, and, upon knowledge, fix my esteem to any man ; but he either dies, like Mr. Craggs, or is sent to imprisonment like the Bishop. God send him as well as I with him, manifeft him to be as innocent as I believe him, and make all his enemies know him as well as I do, that they may think of him as well!
If you apprehend this period to be of any danger in being addressed to you, tell Mr. Congreve or the Doctor, it is writ to them. I am
July 13, 1722. Was very much pleas'd, not to say obliged, by
your kind letter, which fufficiently warm’d my heart to have answered it sooner, had I not been deceived a way oné often is deceived) by hearkening to women; who told me that both Lady Burlington and yourself were immediately to return from Tunbridge, and that my Lord was gone to bring you back. The world furnishes us with too many examples of what you complain of in yours, and, I assure you, none of them touch and grieve me so much as what relates to you. I think your sentiments upon it are the very fame I should entertain : I wish those we call great men had the same notions, but they are really the most little creatures in the world, and the most interested, in all but one point; which is, that they want judgment * to know their greatest interest, to encourage and chuse honeft men for their friends.
* Instead of that they want judgment, propriety of expression requires he should have said there where they wart judgment
I have not once seen the person you complain of, whom I have of late thought to be, as the Apostle admonisheth, one flesh with his wife.
Pray make my fincere compliments to Lord Burlington, whom I have long known to have a stronger bent of mind to be all that is good and honourable, than almost
any one of his rank. I have not forgot yours to Lord Bolingbroke, tho' I hope to have speedily a fuller opportunity, he returning for Flanders and France next month.
Mrs. Howard has writ you something or other in a letter, which, she says, she repents. She has as much good nature as if she had never seen
ill nature, and had been bred
lambs and turtledoves, instead of Princes and court-ladies.
By the end of this week, Mr. Fortescue will pass a few days with me: we shall remember you potations, and wish you a fisher with us, on my grass-plat. In the mean time we wish you success as a fisher of women at the Wells, à rejoycer of the comfortless and widow, and a play-fellow of the maiden. I am
LET TER IX.
Sept. II, 1722. Think it obliging in you to desire an account of my
health. The truth is, I have never been in a worse state in my life, and find whatever I have try'd as a remedy so ineffectual, that I give myself entirely over. I wish your health may be fet perfectly right by the waters; and, be assured, I not only wish that, and every thing else for you, as common friends wish, but with a zeal not usual among those we call fo. I am always glad to hear of, and