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heart when I reflect, that my friendship is so much less effectual than theirs ; nay fo utterly useless that it cannot give you any thing, not even a dinner at this distance, nor help the General whom I greatly love, to catch one fith. My only consolation is to think you happier than myself, and to begin to envy you, which is next to hating you (an excellent remedy for love.) How comes it that Providence has been so unkind to me (who am a greater object of compassion than any fat man alive) that I am forced to drink wine, while you riot in water, prepar'd with oranges by the hand of the Duchess of Queensberry ? that I am condemnd to live by a high-way fide, like an old Patriarch, receiving all guests, where my portico (as Virgil has it)
Mane falutantum totis vomit ædibus undam, while you are wrapt into the Idalian Groves, sprink. led with rose-water, and live in burrage, balm, and burnet up to the chin, with the Duchess of Queenfberry ? that I am doom'd to the drudgery of dining at court with the ladies in waiting at Windfor, while you are happily banish'd with the Duchess of Queensberry? So partial is fortune in her dispensations ! for I deserved ten times more to be banith'd than you, and I know some ladies who merit it better than even her Grace. After this I must not name any, who dare do so much for you as to send you their services. But one there is, who exhorts me often to write to you, I suppose, to prevent or excuse her not doing it herself; The seems (for that is all I'll say for a courtier) to with you mighty well. Another, who is no courtier, frequently mentions you, and does certainly with you well — I fancy, after all, they both do so.
I writ to Mr. Fortescue and told him the pains, you took to see him, The Dean is well; I have Vol. VIII.
had many accounts of him from Irish evidencen but only two letters these four months, in both which you are mentioned kindly : he is in the north of Ireland, doing I know not what, with I know not whom. Mr. Cleland always fpeaks of you: he is at Tunbridge, wondering at the superior carnivoracity of our friend: he plays now with the old Duchess, nay dines with her, after the has won all his money. Other news I know not, but that Counsellor Bickford has hurt himself, and has the strongest walking-staff I ever saw. He intends speedily to make you a visit with it at Amesbury. I am my Lord Duke's, my Lady. Duchess's, Mr. Dormer's, General Dormer's, and
Sept. 11, 1730
think of you daily; oftener indeed than is confiftent with the character of a reasonable man, who is rather to make himself easy with the things and men that are about him, than uneafy for thofe which he wants. And you, whose abfence is in a manner perpetual to me, ought rather to be remembred as a good man gone, than breathed after as one living. You are taken from us here, to be laid up in a more blessed state with fpirits of a higher kind: fuch I reckon his Grace and her Grace, since their banishment from an earthly court to a heavenly one, in each other and their friends ; for, I conclude, none but true friends will confort or af sociate with them afterwards. ' I can't but look upon myself (fo unworthy as a man of Twitnam
feems, to be rank'd with such rectify'd and fublimated beings as you) as a separated spirit too from Courts and courtly fopperies. But, I own, not altogether so divested of terrene matter, nor altogether fo fpiritualized, as to be worthy admiffion to your depths of retirement and contentment. I am tugg’d back to the world and its regards too often ; and no wonder, when my retreat is but ten miles from the capital. I am within ear-shot of reports, within the vortex of lies and censures. I hear sometimes of the lampooners of beauty, the calumniators of virtue, the jokers at reason and religion. I presume these are creatures and things as unknown to you, as we of this dirty orb are to the inhabitants of the planet Jupiter ; except a few fervent prayers reach you on the wings of the post, from two or three of your zealous votaries at this distance; as one Mrs. H, who lifts up her heart now and then to you, from the midst of the Colluvies and fink of human greatness at W---r; one Mrs. B. that fancies you may remember her while you liv'd in your mortal and too transitory state at Petersham; one Lord B. who admir'd' the Duchess before she grew a Goddess; and a few others.
To descend now to tell you what are our wants, our complaints, and our miseries here ; I must feriously fay, the loss of any one good woman is too
great to be born easily: and poor Mrs. Rollinson, tho' a private woman, was such. Her husband is gone into Oxfordshire very melancholy, and thence to the Bath, to live on, for such is our fate, and duty. Adieu. Write to me as often as you will, and (to encourage you) I will write as seldom as if you did not. Believe me
LET TÉR XX.
O&t. 1, 1730.
drawing from the world, but meaning it mighty well, and resolving to shine whenever I can again. But I fear the clouds of a long winter will overcome me to fuch a degree, that any body will take a farthing candle for a better guide, and more ferviceable companion. My friends may remember my brighter days, but will think (like the Irishman) that the moon is a better thing when once I am gone.
I don't say this with any allusion to my poetical capacity as a fon of Apollo, but in my companionable one (if you'll suffer me to use a phrase of the Earl of Clarendon's) for I shall see or be seen of few of you this winter. I am grown too faint to do any good, or to give any pleafure. I not only, as Dryden finely says, feel my notes de cay as a poet, but feel my spirits flag as a compa nion, and Thall return again to where I first began,
books. I have been putting my library in order, and enlarging the chimney in it, with equal intention to warm my mind and body (if I can) to fome life. A friend (a woman-friend, God help me !) with whom I have spent three or four hours a day these fifteen years, advised me to pass more time in my studies : I reflected, the must have found fome reason for this admonition, and concluded fhe would complete all her kindnesses to me by returning me to the employment I am fittest for; converfation with the dead, the old, and the wormeaten.
Judge therefore if I might not treat you as a beatify'd spirit, comparing your life with my stupid ftate. For as to my living at Windsor with
the ladies, &c. it is all a dream; I was there but two nights, and all the day out of that company. I shall certainly make as little court to others as they do to me ; and that will be none at all. My Fair-weather friends of the summer are going away for London, and I shall see them and the butter flies together, if I live till next year; which I would not desire to do, if it were only for their fakes. But we that are writers, ought to love posterity, that pofterity may love us; and I would willingly live to see the children of the present race, merely in hope they may be a little wifer than their parents.
T is true that I write to you very seldom, and
have no pretence of writing which satisfies me, because I have nothing to say that can give you much pleasure: only merely that I am in being, which in truth is of little consequence to one from whose conversation I am cut off by such accidents or engagements as separate us. I continue, and ever shall, to wish you all good and happiness: I with that some lucky event might set you in a state of ease and independency all at once! and that I might live to see you as happy, as this filly world and fortune can make any one.
Are we never to live together more, as once we did ? I find
my life ebbing
apace, and my affections strengthening as my age encreases; not that I am worfe, but better, in my health than laft winter; but my mind finds no amendment nor improvement, nor support to lean upon, from those about me; and so I feel myself leaving the world, as fast as it leaves me, K 3