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here, for if you would see Lord C* or any body else, I have another chariot, besides that little one you laugh’d at when you compar'd me to Homer in a nut-shell. But if you would be entirely private, .no body shall know any thing of the matter. Believe me (my Lord) no man is with more perfect acquiescence, nay with more willing acquiescence (not even any your own Sons of the Church)
Your obedient, &c.
L E T T E R. XVI.
From the Bishop of ROCHESTER.
April 6, 1722. NDER all the leisure in the world, I have
no leisure, no stomach to write to you : The gradual approaches of death are before my eyes; I am convinced that it must be so; and yet make a shift to flatter myself sometimes with the thought, that it may possibly be otherwise. And that very thought, tho' it is directly contrary to my reason, does for a few moments make me easy-however not easy enough in good earnest to think of any thing but the melancholy object that employs them. Therefore wonder not that I do not answer your kind letter: I shall answer it too soon, I fear, by accepting your friendly invitation. When I do fó, no conveniencies will be wanting: for I'll see no body but you and your mother, and the servants. Visits to statesmen always were to me (and are now more than ever) infipid things; let the men that expect, that wish to thrive by them, pay them that homage; I am free. When I want them, they shall hear of me at their doors : and when they want me, I shall be sure to hear of them at mine.
But probably they will despise me so much, and I shall court them so little, that we shall both of us keep our distance.
When I come to you, 'tis in order to be with you only ; a president of the council, or a star and garter will make no more impression upon my mind, at such a time, than the hearing of a bag-pipe, or the fight of a puppet-shew. I have said to Greatness sometime ago–Tuas tibi res habeto, Egomet curabo meas.
The time is not far off when we shall all be upon the level: and I am resolv’d, for my part, to anticipate that time, and be upon the level with them now: for he is so, that neither seeks nor wants them. Let them have more virtue and lefs pride: and then I'll court them as much as any body : but till they resolve to distinguish themselves fome way else than by their outward trappings, I am determined (and, I think, I have a right) to be as proud as they are: tho' I trust in God, my pride is neither of só odious a nature as theirs, nor of fo mischievous a consequence.
I know not how I have fallen into this train of thinking—when I sat down to write I intended only to excufe myself for not writing, and to tell you that the time drew nearer and nearer, when I must dislodge; I am preparing for it: For I am at this moment building a vault in the Abby for me and mine. 'Twas to be in the Abby, because of my relation to the place; but 'tis at the west door of it: as far from Kings and Cæsars as the space will admit of.
I know not but I may step to town to-morrow, to see how the work goes forward; but, if I do, I shall return hither in the evening. I would not have given you the trouble of this letter but that they tell me it will cost you nothing, and that our
privilege of Franking (one of the most valuable we have left) is again allow'd us.
From the Bishop of ROCHESTER.
Bromley, May 25, 1722. Had much ado to get hither last night, the water
being so rough that the ferry-men were unwilling to venture. The firft thing I saw this morning after
my eyes were open, was your letter, for the freedom and kindness of which I thank you. Let all compliments be laid aside between us for the futurę; and depend upon me as your faithful friend in all things within my power, as one that truly values you, and wishes you all manner of happiness. I thank you and Mrs. Pope for my kind reception, which has left a pleasing impression upon me that will not soon be effaced.
Ļord * has press’d me terribly to see him at * and told me in a manner betwixt kindness and resentment, that it is but a few miles beyond Twitenham.
I have but a little time left, and a great deal to do in it, and muft expect that ill health will render a good share of it useless; and therefore what is likely to be left at the foot of the account, ought by me to be cherish'd, and not thrown away in compliments. You know the Motto of my sune dial, Vivite, ait, fugio. I will, as far as I am able, follow its advice, and cut off all unnecessary avocations and amusements. There are those that intend to employ me this winter in a way I do not like ; If they persist in their intentions, I must ap
ply myself to the work they cut out for me, as well as I can. But withal, that shall not hinder me from employing myself also in a way which they do not like. The givers of trouble one way shall have their share of it another ; that at last they may be induced to let me be quiet, and live to myself, with the few (the very few) friends I like; for that is the point, the single point, I now aim at; tho', I know, the generality of the world who are unacquainted with my intentions and views, think the very reverse of this character belongs to me. I don't know how I have rambled into this account of myfelf; when I sat down to write, I had no thought of making that any part of my letter.
You might have been fure without my telling you, that my right hand is at ease; else I should not have overflow'd at this rate. And
I have not done, for there is a kind intimation in the end of yours, which I understood, becaufe it feems to tend towards employing me in fomething that is agreeable to you. Pray explain yourself, and believe that you have not an acquaintance in the world that would be more in earnest on such an occasion than I, for I love you, as well as esteem you.
All the while I have been writing, Pain, and á fine Thrush have been severally endeavouring to call off my attention; but both in vain, nor fhould I yet part with you, but that the turning over a new leaf frights me a little, and makes me resolve to break thro’a new temptation, before it has taken too fast hold on me,
I am, &c.
LET TER XVIII.
From the fame.
June 15, 1722. OU have generally written first, after our parting; I will now be before-hand with
you in my enquiries, how you got home and how you do, and whether you met with Lord *, and deliver'd my civil reproach to him, in the manner I desir’d? I suppose you did not, because I have heard nothing either from you, or from him on that head; as, I suppose, I might have done, if you had found him.
I am sick of these Men of quality ; and the more so, the oft'ner I have any business to transact with them. They look upon it as one of their distinguishing privileges, not to be punctual in any business, of how great importance soever ; nor to set other people at ease, with the loss of the least part of their own. This conduct of his vexes me; but to what purpose? or how can I alter it?
I long to see the original MS. of Milton : but don't know how to come at it, without your repeated assistance.
I hope you won't utterly forget what pass’d in the coach about Samson Agonistes. I shall not press you aš to time, but some time or other, I with you would review, and polish that piece. If upon a new perufal of it (which I desire you to make) you think as I do, that it is written in the very spirit of the Ancients; it deserves your care, and is capable of being improved, with little trouble, into a perfect model and standard of Tragic poetry-always allowing for its being a story taken