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&. 189 I presume you will allow me to take the same liberty, in my answer to so candid, polite, and ingenious a Nobleman, which your Lordship took in yours, to fo grave, religious, and respectable a Clergyman*: As you
answered his Latin in English, permit me to answer your Verse in Prose. And thơ your Lordship's reasons for not writing in Latin, might be stronger than mine for not writing in Verse, yet I may plead Two good ones, for this conduct: the one that I want the Talent of spinning a thousand lines in a Day + (which, I think, is as much Time as this subject deserves) and the other, that I take your Lordship’s Verse to be as much Prose as this letter, But no doubt it was your choice, in writing to a friend, to renounce all the pomp of Poetry, and to give us this excellent model of the familiar.
When I consider the great difference betwixt the rank your Lordfhip holds in the World, and the rank which your writings are like to hold in the learned world, I presume that distinction of style is but neceffary, which you will see observ'd thro' this letter. When I speak of you, my Lord, it will be with al the deference due to the inequality which Fortune has made between you and myself : but when I speak of your writings, my Lord, 'I must, I can do no thing but trifle.
I should be obliged indeed to lefsen this Respect, if all the Nobility (and efpecially the elder brothers) are but so many hereditary fools f, if the privilege of Lords be to want brains l, if noblemen can hard
* Dr. S.
His Lordship Spins a thufand in a day. Epift. p. 6. | That to good blood by old prescriptive i ules
Gives right hereditary to be Fools.
ly write or read *, if all their business is but to dress and vote t, and all their employment in court, to tell lies, Aatter in public, slander in private, be false to each other, and follow nothing but self-interest I. Bless me, my Lord, what an account is this you give of them ? and what would have been said of me, had l'immolated, in this manner, the whole body of the Nobility, at the stall of a well-fed Prebendary?
Were it the mere Excess of your Lordship’s Wit, that carried you thus triumphantly over all the bounds of decency, I might confider your Lordship on your Pegasus, as a sprightly hunter on a mettled horse ; and while you were trampling down all our works, patiently suffer the injury, in pure admiration of the Noble Sport. But should the case be quite otherwise, should your Lordship be only like à Boy that is run away with ; and run away with by a Very Foal; really common charity, as well as respect for a noble family, would oblige me to stop your carreer, and to help you down from this pegasus.
Surely the little praise of a Writer should be a thing below your ambition : You, who were no sooner born, but in the lap of the Graces; no sooner at school, but in the arms of the Muses; no sooner in the World, but you practis'd all the skill of it; no sooner in the Court, but you poffefs'd all the art of it! Unrivalid as you are, in making a figure,
And when you see me fairly write my name ;
For England's sake with all could do the same.
in private satyrize, in public flatter.
and in making a speech, methinks, my Lord, you may well give up the poor talent of turning a Dirtich. And why this fondness for Poetry Profe admits of the two excellencies you most admire, Diction and Fiction: It admits of the talents you chiefly poffefs, a moft fertile invention, and most forid expression; it is with profe, nay the plainest prose, that you best could teach our nobility to vote, which, you justly observe, is half at least of their business * : And, give me leave to prophefy, it is to your talent in prose, and not in verse, to your speaking, not your writing, to your art at court, not your art of poetry, that your Lordship must owe your future figure in the world.
My Lord, whatever you imagine, this is the advice of a Friend, and one who remembers he formerly had the honour of some profession of Friendship from you: Whatever was his real mare in it, whether small or great, yet as your Lordship could never have had the least Loss by continuing it, or the least Interest by withdrawing it; the misfortune of losing it, I fear, must have been owing to his own deficiency or neglect. But as to any actual fault which deserved to forfeit it in such a degree, he protests he is to this day guiltless and ignorant. It could at most be but a fault of omision; but indeed by omiffions, men of your Lordship's uncommon merit may sometimes think themselves so injur'd, as to be capable of an inclination to injure another ; who, tho' very much below their quality, may be above the injury.
I never heard of the least displeasure you had conceived against me, till I was told that an imitation I had made of + Horace had offended fome persons,
* All their bus'ness is to dress, and vole.
+ The firt Satire of the second Book, printed in 1732
and among them your Lordship. I could not have apprehended that a few general strokes about a Lord scribling carelesly *, a Pimp, or a Spy at Court, a Sharper in a gilded chariot, &c. that these, I say, should be ever applied as they have been, by any malice but that which is the greatest in the world, the Malice of Ill people to themselves.
Your Lordship so well knows (and the whole Court and town thro? your means so well know) how far the resentment was carried upon that imagination, not only in the Nature of the Libelt you propagated against me, but in the extraordinary manner, place, and presence in which it was propagated I; that I shall only say, it seem'd to me to exceed the bounds of justice, common sense, and decency.
I wonder yet more, how a Lady, of great wit, beauty, and fame for her poetry (between whom and your Lordship there is a natural, a just, and well-grounded efteem) could be prevaild upon to take a part in that proceeding. Your resentments against me indeed might be equal, as my offence to you both was the same ; for neither had I the least mifunderstanding with that Lady, till after I was the Author of my own misfortune in discontinuing her acquaintance. I may venture to own a truth, which cannot be unpleasing to either of you; I alsure you my reason for so doing, was merely that you had both too much wit for me ll; and that I could
* He should liave added, that he called this Nobleman, who fcribled so carelesly, Lord Funny.,
+ Verses to the Imitator of Horace, afterwards printed by J. Roberts 1732. fol.
# It was for this reason that this Letter, as soon as it was printed, was communicated to the Q.
Once, and but once, his heedless youth was bit,,
And lik'd that dangerous thing a female Wit.
not do, with mine, many things which you could with yours. The injury done you in withdrawing myself could be but finall, if the value you had for me was no greater than you have been pleas'd since to profess. But furely, my Lord, one may fay, neither the Revenge, nor the Language you held, bore any proportion to the pretended offence: The appellations of * Foe to humankind, an Enemy like the Devil to all that have Being ; ungrateful, unjust, deserving to be whipt, blanketed, kicked, nay killed; a Monster, an Affafin, whose conversation every man ought to Shun, and against whom all dsors should be fhut; I beseech you, my Lord, had you the least right to give, or to encourage or justify any other in giving fuch language as this to me? Could I be treated in terms more strong or more atrocious, if, during my acquaintance with you, I had been a Betrayer, a Backbiter, a Whisperer, an Eves-dropper, or an Informer? Did I in all that time ever throw a false Dye, or palm a foul Card upon you? Did I ever borrow, fleal, or accept, either Money, Wit, or Advice from you? Had I ever the honour to join with either of you in one Ballad, Satire, Pamphlet, or Epigram, on any person living or dead? Did I ever do you so great an injury as to put off my own Verses for yours, especially on those Persons whom they might most offend? I am confident you cannot anfwer in the affirmative ; and I can truly affirm, that ever since I lost the happiness of your conversation I have not published or written, one syllable of, or to either of you; never hitch'd your names in a Verse, or trifled with your good names in company. Can I be honestly charged with any other crime but an Omiffion (for the word Neglect, which I us’d before, flip'd my pen unguardedly) to continue my admiration of you all my life, and still to contemplate, face
• See the aforesaid Verses to the Imitator of Horace. VOL. VIII.