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L E T T E R IX.
The Bishop of ROCHESTER to Mr. Pope.
Sept. 27, 1721. Am now confined to my bed-chamber, and to
the matted room, wherein I am writing, seldom venturing to be carried down even into the parlour to dinner unless when company to whom I cannot excuse myself, comes, which I am not ill pleas’d to find is now very seldom. This is my case in the funny part of the year: what must I expect, when
inversum contriftat Aquarius annum? “ If these things be done in the green tree, what « shall be done in the dry?” Excuse me for employing a sentence of Scripture on this occasion; I apply it very seriously. One thing relieves me a little under the ill prospect I have of spending my time at the Deanry this winter ; that I shall have the opportunity of seeing you oftener; tho', I am afraid, you will have little pleasure in seeing me there. So much for my ill state of health, which I had not touched on, had not your friendly letter been so full of it. One civil thing, that you say in it, made me think you had been reading Mr. Waller; and possess’d of that image at the end of his copy, à la malade, had you not bestow'd it on one who has no right to the least part of the character. If not read the verses lately, I am sure you remember them because you forget nothing.
With such a grace you entertain,
I mention them not on the account of that couplet, but one that follows; which ends with the very fame rhymes and words (appear and clear) that
the couplet but one after that does--and therefore in my Waller there is a various reading of the firft of these couplets; for there it runs thus,
So lightnings in a stormy air
Scorch more, than when the sky is fair. You will say that I am not very much in pain, nor very busy, when I can relish these amusements, and you will say true : for at present I am in both these respects very easy.
I had not strength enough to attend Mr. Prior to his grave, else I would have done it, to have shew'd his friends that I had forgot and forgiven what he wrote on me. He is buried, as he desired, at the feet of Spencer, and I will take care to make good in every respect what I said to him when living ; particularly as to the Triplet he wrote for his own Epitaph; which while we were in good terms, I. promis'd him should never appear on his tomb while I was Dean of Westminster.
I am pleas’d to find you have so much pleasure, and (which is the foundation of it) so much health at Lord Bathurst's: may both continue till I see you! may my Lord have as much fatisfaction in building the house in the wood, and using it when built, as you have in designing it! I cannot send a wish after him that means him more happiness, and yet, I am sure, I wish him as much as he wishes himself.
I am, &c.
L E T T E R X.
From the same.
Bromley, Oct. 15, 1721. Otwithstanding I write this on Sunday even,
to acknowledge the receipt of yours this morning: yet, I foresee, it will not reach you till Wednesday morning. And before fet of fun that day I hope to reach my winter quarters at the Deanry. I hope, did I say? I recall that word, for it implies desire : and, God knows, that is far from being the case. For I never part with this place but with regret, tho' I generally keep here what Mr. Cowley calls the worst of company in the world, niy own; and fee either none beside, or what is worse than none, fome of the Arrii, or Sebosi of my neighbourhood : Characters, which Tully paints so well in one of his Epiftles, and complains of the too civil, but impertinent interruption they gave him in his retirement. Since I have named those gentlemen, and the book is not far from me, I will turn to the place, and by pointing it out to you, give you the pleafure of perusing the epistle, which is a very agreeable one, if my memory does not fail
I am furpriz'd to find that my Lord Bathurft and you are parted fo foon; he has been fick, I know, of some late transactions, but should that sickness continue still in some measure, I prophesy, it will be quite off by the beginning of November: a letter or two from his London-friends, and a surfeit of folitude will soon make him change his resolution and his quarters. I vow to you, I could live here with pleasure all the winter, and be contented with hearing no more news than the London Journal, or
some fuch trifling paper, affords me, did not the duty of my place require, absolutely require my attendance at Westminster ; where, I hope, the Prophet will now and then remember he has a bed and a candlestic. In short, I long to see you, and hope you will come, if not a day, at least an hour fooner to town than you intended, in order to afford me that satisfaction. I am now, I thank God! as well as ever I was in my life, except that I can walk scarce at all without crutches : And I would willingly compound the matter with the gout, to be no better, could I hope to be no worse; but that is a vain thought, I expect a new attack long before Christmas. Let me see
I am in a condition to relish you, before the days (and the nights) come, when I shall (and must) say, I have no pleasure in them.
I will bring your small volume of Pastorals along with me, that you may not be discouraged from lending me books, when you find me so punctual in returning them. Shakespear shall bear it company, and be put into your hands as clear and as fair as it came out of them, tho' you, I think, have been dabbling here and there with the text: I have had more reverence for the writer and the printer, and left every thing standing just as I found it. However, I thank you for the pleasure you have given me in putting me upon reading him once more before I die.
I believe I shall scarce repeat that pleasure any, more, having other work to do, and other things to think of, but none that will interfere with the offices of friendship, in the exchange of which with you, Sir, I hope to live and die
P. S. Addison's works came to my hands yefterday. I cannot but think it a very odd set of inci
dents, that the book should be dedicated by a * dead man to ta dead man; and even that the new $patron to whom Tickle chose to inscribe his verses, should be dead also before they were published. Had I been in the Editor's place I should have been a little apprehensive for myself, under a thought that every one who had
hand in that work was to die before the publication of it. You see, when I am conversing with you, I know not how to give over, till the very bottom of the paper
admonishes me once more to bid
you adieu !
LET TER XI.
Feb. 8, 1721-2. T is so long since I had the pleasure of an hour
with your Lordship, that I should begin to think myself no longer Amicus omnium horarum, but for finding myself so in my constant thoughts of you. In those I was with you many hours this very day, and had you (where I wish
and hope one day to see you really) in my garden at Twitnam. When I went last to town, and was on wing for the Deanry, I heard your Lordship was gone the day before to Bromley, and there you continued till after my return hither. I sincerely wish you whatever you wish yourself, and all you wish your friends or family. All I mean by this word or two, is just to tell you so, till in person I find you as I desire, that is, find you well : easy, refign'd, and happy you will make yourself, and (I believe) every body that converses with you; if I may judge of your power
* Mr. Addison. + Mr. Craggs. Lord Warwick.