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L E T TER XXXII.
To the same.
June 17, 1728. Fter the publishing my Boyish Letters to Mr.
Cromwell, you will not wonder if I should forfwear writing a letter again while I live; since I do not correspond with a friend upon the terms of any other free subject of this kingdom. But to you I can never be filent, or reserved ; and, I am sure, my opinion of your heart is such, that I could open mine to you in no manner which I could fear the whole world should know. I could publish my own heart too, I will venture to say, for any mischief or malice there is in it: but a little too much folly or weakness might (I fear) appear, to make such a fpectacle either instructive or agreeable to others.
I am reduced to beg of all my acquaintance to fecure me from the like usage for the future, by refurning me any letters of mine which they may have preserved; that I may not be hurt, after my death, by that which was the happiness of my life, their partiality and affection to me.
I have nothing of myfelf to tell you, only that I have had but indifferent health. I have not made a visit to London : Curiosity and the love of Diffipation die apace in me. I am not glad nor forry for it, but I am very sorry for thofe who have nothing else to live on.
I have read much, but writ no more. I have small hopes of doing good, no vanity in writing, and little ambition to please a world not very candid or deferving. If I can preserve the good opinion of a few friends, it is all I can expect, considering how little good I can do even to them to merit it. Few
people have your candour, or are so willing to think well of another from whom they receive no benefit, and gratify no vanity. But of all the soft sensations, the greatest pleasure is to give and receive mutual Trust. It is by Belief and firm Hope, that men are made happy in this life, as well as in the other. My confidence in your good opinion, and dependance upon that of one or two more, is the chief cordial drop I taste, amidst the Infipid, the Disagreeable, the Cloying, or the Dead-sweet, which are the common draughts of life. Some pleasures are too pert, as well as others too flat, to be relish'd long: and vivacity in some cases is worse than dulness. Therefore indeed for many years I have not chosen my companions for any of the qualities in fashion, but almost entirely for that which is the most out-of-fashion, sincerity. Before I am aware of it, I am making your panegyric, and perhaps my own too, for next to poffeffing the best qualities is the esteeming and distinguishing those who possess them. I truly love and value you, and so I stop short.
L E T T E R XXXIII,
To the Earl of PETERBOROW,
Aug. 24, 1728, Presume you may before this time be returned,
from the contemplation of many Beauties, animal and vegetable, in Gardens; and poffibly some rational, in Ladies; to the better enjoyment of your own at Bevis-Mount. I hope, and believe, all you have seen will only contribute to it. not fo fond of making compliments to Ladies as I was twenty years ago, or I would say there are some very reasonable, and one in particular there. I
think you happy, my Lord, in being at least half the year almost as much your own master as I am mine the whole year : and with all the disadvantugeous incumbrances of quality, parts, and honour, as meer a gardener, loiterer, and labourer, as he who never had Titles, or from whom they are taken. I have an eye in the last of these glorious appellations to the style of a Lord degraded or attainted : methinks they give him a better title than they deprive him of, in calling him Labourer : Agricultura, says Tully, proxima Sapientia, which is more than can be said, by most modern Nobility, of Grace or Right Honourable, which are often proxima Stultitia. The Great Turk, you know, is often a Gardener, or of a meaner trade: and are there not (my Lord) some circumstances in which you would resemble the Great Turk?
The two Paradises are not ill connected, of Gardens and Gal. lantry; and some there are (not to name my Lord B.) who pretend they are both to be had, even in this life, without turning Musselmen.
We have as little politics here within a few miles of the Court (nay perhaps at the Court) as you at Southampton, and our Ministers, I dare fay, have less to do. Our weekly histories are only full of the feasts given to the Queen and Royal Family by their servants, and the long and laborious walks her Majesty takes every morning. Yet if the graver Historians hereafter shall be filent of this year's events, the amorous and anecdotical may make posterity fome amends, by being furnished with the gallantries of the Great at home; and 'tis fome comfort, that if the Men of the next age do not read of us, the Women may.
From the time you have been absent, I've not been to wait on a certain great man, thro' modesty, thro' idleness, and thro' respect. But for my com
fort I fancy, that any great man will as soon forget one that does him no harm, as he can one that has done him any good. Believe me, my Lord, yours.
LET TER XXXIV.
From the Earl of PETERBOROW.
Must confess that in going to Lord Cobham's, I
was not led by curiosity: I went thither to see what I had seen, and what I was sure to like.
I had the idea of those gardens fo fix'd in my imagination by many descriptions, that nothing surprized me; Immensity and Van Brugh appear in the whole, and in every part. Your joining in your letter animal and vegetable beauty, makes me use this expression: I confess the stately Sacharilla at Stow, but am content with my little Amoret.
I thought you indeed more knowing upon the subject, and wonder at your mistake: why will you imagine women insensible to Praise, much less to yours? I have seen them more than once turn from their Lover to their Flatterer. I am sure the Farmeress at Bevis in her highest mortifications, in the middle of her Lent*, would feel emotions of vanity, if the knew you gave her the character of a reasonable woman.
You have been guilty again of another mistake, which hinder'd me showing your letter to a friend; when you join two ladies in the same compliment, tho' you gave to both the beauty of Venus and the wit of Minerva, you would please neither.
If you had put me into the Dunciad, I could not have been more disposed to criticise your letter.
* The Countess of Peterborow, a Roman-catholic.
What, Sir, do you bring it in as a reproach, or as a thing uncommon to a Court, to be without Politics? With politics indeed the Richlieu's and fuch folks have brought about great things in former days; but what are they, Sir, who, without policy, in our times, can make ten Treaties in a year, and fecure everlasting peace?
I can no longer disagree with you, tho' in jest. Oh how heartily I join with you in your contempt for Excellency and Grace, and in your Efteem of that most noble title, Loiterer. If I were a man of many plums, and a good heathen, I would dedicate a Temple to Laziness : No man sure could blame my choice of such a Deity, who confiders, that, when I have been fool enough to take pains, I always met with some wise man able to undo my labours.
LET TER XXXV.
OU were in a very polemic humour when
you did me the honour to answer my last. I always understood, like a true controvertist, that to answer is only to cavil and quarrel : however, I forgive you ; you did it (as all Polemics do) to shew your parts. Else was it not very vexatious, to deny me to commend two women at a time? It is true, my Lord, you know women as well as men : but fince you' certainly love them better, why are you so uncharitable in your opinion of them ? Surely one Lady may allow another to have the thing she herself least values, Reason, when Beauty is uncontested. Venus herself could allow Minerva to be Goddess of Wit, when Paris gave her the apple (as the fool herself thought) on a