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I am pleased with the thoughts of seeing nothing but a general good humour when I come up to town; I rejoice in the universal riches I hear of, in the thought of their having this effect. They tell me you was soon content ; and that you cared not for such an increase as others wished you. By this account I judge you the richest man in the Southsea, and congratulate you accordingly. I can with you only an increase of health, for of riches and fame you have enough.
L E T T E R. VII.
July 20, 1720. OUR kind desire to know the state of my
health had not been unsatisfied so long, had not that ill state been the impediment. Nor should I have seem'd an unconcerned party in the joys of your family, which I heard of from lady Scudamore, whose short Eschantillon of a letter (of a quarter of a page) I value as the short glympse of a vifion afforded to some devout hermit; for it includes (as those revelations do) a promise of a better life in the Elysian groves of Cirencester, whither, I could say almost in the style of a sermon, the Lord bring us all, &c. Thither may we tend, by various ways, to one blissful bower : thither may health, peace, and good humour wait upon us as associates : thither may whole cargoes of nectar (liquor of life and longævity !) by mortals call'd spawwater, be convey'd; and there (as Milton has it) may we, like the deities, On flow'rs repos’d, and with fresh garlands crown'd, Quaft immortality and joy. D4
Wen I speak of garlands, I should not forget the giren vestments and scarfs which your fifters promis d to make for this purpose: I expect you toa in green, with a hunting-horn by your side and a green hat, the model of which you may take from Osborne's defcription of King James the first.
What words, what numbers, what oratory, or what poetry, can suffice, to express how infinitely I efteem, value, love, and desire you all, above all the great ones of this part of the world, above all the Jews, jobbers, bubblers, subscribers, projectors, directors, governors, treasurers, &c. &c. &c. in facula sæculorum.
Turn your eyes and attention from this miferable mercenary period; and turn yourself, in a just contempt of these fons of Mammon, to the contemplation of books, gardens, and marriage : in which I now leave
you, and return (wretch that I am!) to water-gruel and Palladio,
I am, &c.
L E T T ER VIIT.
From Mr. DIGBY.
Sherburne, July 30.
Golden-age, for sure this must be such, in which money is showered down in fuch abundance upon us. I hope this overflowing will produce great and good fruits, and bring back the figurative moral golden-age to us. I have some omens to induce me to believe it may; for when the Mufes delight to be near a Court, when I find you frequently with First-minister, I can't but expect from fuch an intimacy an encouragement and revival of the polite arts. I know, you desire to bring them into ho
nour, above the golden Image which is set up and worshiped, and, if you cannot effect it, adieu to all fuch hopes. You seem to intimate in yours another face of things from this inundation of wealth, as if beauty, wit, and valour would no more engage our passions in the pleasurable pursuit of them, tho' affisted by this encrease : if so, and if monsters only as various as those of Nile arise from this abundance, who that has any spleen about him will not haste to town to laugh? What will become of the play-house? who will go thither, while there is fuch entertainment in the streets ? I hope we shall neither want good Satire nor Comedy; if we do, the age may well be thought barren of genius's, for none has ever produced better subjects.
From Mr. DIBGY.
Coleshill, Nov. 12, 1720, Find in my heart that I have a taint of the cor
rupt age we live in. I want the public Spirit sa much admired in old Rome, of sacrificing every thing that is dear to us to the common-wealth. I even feel a more intimate concern for my friends who have suffered in the S. Sea, than for the public, which is said to be undone by it. But, I hope,
the reason is, that I do not see so evidently the ruin of the public to be a consequence of it, as I do the loss. of my friends., I fear there are few besides yourself that will be persuaded by old Hefiod, that half is. more than the whale. I know not whether I do not
rejoyce in your Sufferings *; since they have shewn me your mind is principled with such a sentiment, I assure you I expect from it a performance greater still than Homer. I have an extreme joy from your communicating to me this affection of your mind;
Quid voveat dulci Nutricula majus alumno ? Believe me, dear Sir, no equipage could shew you to my eye in so much splendor. I would not indulge this fit of philosophy so far as to be tedious to you, elfe I could profecute it with pleasure.
I long to see you, your Mother, and your Villa; till then I will say nothing of Lord Bathurst's wood, which I saw in my return hither. Soon after Christmas I design for London, where I shall miss Lady Scudamore very much, who intends to stay in the country all winter. I am angry with her, as I am like to suffer by this resolution, and would fain blame her, but cannot find a cause. The man is cursed that has a longer letter than this to write with as bad a pen, yet I can use it with pleasure to send my services to your good mother, and to write myself
L ET TER X.
Sept. 1, 1722 Octor Arbuthnot is going to Bath, and will
stay there a fortnight or more: perhaps you would be comforted to have a sight of him, whether you
need him or not. I think him as good a Doctor as any man for one that is ill, and a better Doctor for one that is well. He would do admirably for
See Note on v. 139. of the second Satire, ii. Book of Horace.
Mrs. Mary Digby: she needed only to follow his hints, to be in eternal business and amusement of mind, and even as active as she could desire. But indeed I fear she would out-walk him ; for (as Dean Swift observed to me the very first time I saw the Doctor) “ He is a man that can do every thing but " walk.” His brother, who is lately come into England, goes
also to the Bath; and is a more extraordinary man than he, worth your going thither on purpose to know him. The spirit of Philanthropy, so long dead to our world, is revived in him: he is a philosopher all of fire ; so warmly, nay so wildly in the right, that he forces all others about him to be fo too, and draws them into his own Vortex. He is a star that looks as if it were all fire, but is all benignity, all gentle and beneficial influence. If there be other men in the world that would serve a friend, yet he is the only one, I believe, that could make even an enemy serve a friend.
As all human life is chequered and mixed with acquisitions and losses (tho' the latter are more certain and irremediable, than the former lasting or fatisfactory) so at the time I have gained the acquaintance of one worthy man I have lost another, a very easy, humane, and gentlemanly neighbour, Mr. Stonor. 'Tis certain the loss of one of this character puts us naturally upon setting a greater value on the few that are left, tho' the degree of our efteem may be different. Nothing, fays Seneca, is fo melancholy a circumstance in human life, or so foon reconciles us to the thought of our own death, as the reflection and prospect of one friend after another dropping round us! Who would stand alone, the sole remaining ruin, the last tottering column of all the fabric of friendship; once so large, seemingly so strong, and yet so suddenly funk and buried ?
I am, &c.