« ZurückWeiter »
LET TER XLV.
Aug. 9, 1733 OU might well think me negligent or for
getful of you, if true friendship and sincere esteem were to be measured by common forms and compliments. The truth is,' I could not write then, without saying something of my own condi-. tion, and of my loss of so old and so deserving a parent, which really would have troubled you ; or. I must have kept a filence upon that head, which would not have suited that freedom and sincere opening of the heart which is due to you from me. I am now pretty well; but my home is uneasy to me ftill, and I am therefore wandering about all this summer, I was but four days at Twickenham since the occasion that made it so melancholy. I have been a fortnight in Effex, and am now at Dawley (whose master is your servant) and going to Cirencester to Lord Bathurst. I shall also see Southampton with Lord Peterborow. The Court and Twit'nam I shall forsake together. I wish I did not leave our friend *, who deferves more quiet, and more health and happiness, that can be found in such a family. The rest of my acquaintance are tolerably happy in their various ways of life, whether court, country, or town; and Mr. Cle: land is as well in the Park, as if he were in Paradise. I heartily hope, Yorkshire is the same to you ; and that no evil, moral or physical, may come near you.
I have now but too much melancholy leisure, and no other care but to finish my Essay on Man:
* Mrs. B.
There will be in it one line that may offend you (I fear) and yet I will not alter or omit it, unless you come to town and prevent me before I print it, which will be in a fortnight in all probability. In plain truth, I will not deny myself the greatest pleafure I am capable of receiving, because another may have the modesty not to share it. It is all a poor poet can do, to bear testimony to the virtue he cannot reach: besides, that, in this age,
I see too few good Examples not to lay hold on any I can find. You see what an interested man I am. Adieu.
Sept. 7, 1733 OU cannot think how melancholy this place
makes me; every part of this wood puts into my mind poor Mr. Gay, with whom I past once a great deal of pleasant time in it, and another friend who is near dead, and quite loft to us, Dr. Swift. I really can find no enjoyment in the place; the same fort of uneasiness as I find at Twit'nam, whenever I pass near my Mother's room.
I've not yet writ to Mrs. * I think I should, but have nothing to say that will answer the character they consider me in, as a Wit; besides, my eyes grow very bad (whatever is the cause of it) I'll put them out for no body but a friend ; and, Í protest, it brings tears into them almost to write to you, when I think of your state and mine. I long
to write to Swift, but cannot. The greatest pain I know, is to say things so very short of one's meaning, when the heart is full.
I feel the going out of life fast enough, to have little appetite left to make compliments, at best useless, and for the most part unfelt, speeches. 'Tis but in a very narrow circle that Friendship walks in this world, and I care not to tread out of it more than I needs must; knowing well, it is but to two or three (if quite so many) that any man's welfare, or memory, can be of consequence : The rest, I believe, I may forget, and be pretty certain they are already even, if not before-hand with
Life, after the first warm heats are over, is all down-hill: and one almost wishes the journey's end, provided we were sure but to lie down easy, whenever the Night shall overtake us.
I dream'd all last night of_She has dwelt (a little more than perhaps is right) upon my spirits : faw a very deserving gentleman in my travels, who has formerly, I have heard, had much the fame misfortune ; and (with all his good breeding and senfe) still bears a cloud and melancholy cast, that never can quite clear up, in all his behaviour and conversation. I know another, who, I believe, could promise, and easily keep his word, never to laugh in his life. But one must do one's best, not to be used by the world as that poor lady was by her sister; and not seem too good, for fear of being thought affected, or whimsical.
It is a real truth, that to the last of my moments, the thought of you, and the best of my wishes for you, will attend you, told or untold: I could with you had once the constancy and resolution to act for yourself, whether before, or after I leave you . (the only way I ever shall leave you) you must determine; but reflect, that the first would make me,
as well as yourself, happier; the latter could make you only so. Adien.
LET TER XLVII:
From Dr. ARBUTHNOT.
Hampstead, July 17, 1734: Little doubt of your kind concern for me, nor
of that of the Lady you mention. I have nothing to repay my friends with at present, but prayers and good wishes. I have the satisfaction to find that I am as officiously serv'd by my friends, as he that has thousands to leave in legacies ; besides the assurance of their fincerity. God almighty has made my bodily distress as easy as a thing of that nature can be. I have found some relief, at least sometimes, from the air of this place. My nights are bad, but many poor creatures have worse.
As for you, my good friend, I think since our first acquaintance there have not been any, of those little suspicions or jealousies that often affect the fincerest friend hips: I am sure, not on my side. I must be, so sincere as to own, that though I could not help valuing you for those Talents which the world prizes, yet they were not the foundation of my friendships; they were quite of another fort ; nor shall I at present offend you by enumerating them : And I make it my Last Request, that you will continue that Noble Disdain and Abhorrence
of Vice, which you seem naturally endued with; but still with a due regard to your own safety; and study more to reform than chastise, tho' the one cannot be effected without the other.
Lord Bathurst I have always honour'd, for every good quality that a person of his rank ought to have : Pray, give my respects and kindest wilhes to the family. My venison ftomach is gone, but I have thofe about me, and often with me, who will be very glad of his present. If it is left at my house, it will be transmitted safe to me.
A recovery in my case, and at my age, is impoffible; the kindest with of my friends is Euthanasia. Living or dying, I shall always be
To Dr. ARBUTHNOT.
July 26, 1734. Thank you for your letter, which has all thofe
genuine marks of a good mind by which have ever diftinguifh'd yours, and for which I have fo long loved you. Our friendship has been conftant; because it was grounded on good principles, and therefore not only uninterrupted by any Diftruft, but by any Vanity, much lefs any Interest.
What you recommend to me with the folemnity of a Laft
' Request, shall have its due weight with me. That disdain and indignation against Vice, is (I thank God) the only disdain and indignation I have : It is fincere, and it will be a lasting one. But fure it is as impoffible to have a juft abhorrence of Vice, without hating the Vicious, as to bear a true love for Virtue, without loving the Good. To reform and not to chastife, I am afraid, iş impossible; and that the best Precepts, as well