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shall support his children. I beg a line from you directed to the Post-house in Bath. Poor Parnelle is in an ill state of health.
Pardon me if I add a word of advice in the poetical way. Write something on the King, or Prince, or Princess. On whatsoever foot you may be with the court, this can do no harm----I shall never know where to end, and am confounded in the many things I have to say to you, tho' they all amount but to this, that I am entirely, as ever.
L E T T E R V.
London. Nov. 8, 1717. AM extremely glad to find by a Letter of yours
to Mr Fortescue, that you have received one from me; and I beg you to keep, as the greatest of curiosities, that letter of mine which you received, and I never writ.
But the truth is, that we were made here to expect you in a short time, that I was upon the ramble most part of the Summer, and have concluded the sea. son in grief, for the death of my poor
father. I shall not enter into a detail of my concerns and troubles, for two reasons ; because I am really afflicted and need no airs of grief, and because they are not the concerns and troubles of
any self. But I think you (without too great a compliment) enough my friend, to be pleas'd to know he died easily, without a groan, or the sickness of two
minutes; in a word, as silently and peacefully as he lived.
Sic mihi contingat vivere, ficque mori! I am not in the humour to say gay things, nor in the affectation of avoiding them. I can't pretend to entertain either Mr Pulteney or you, as you have done both my Lord Burlington and me, by your let. ter to Mr Lowndes*. I am only forry you have no greater quarrel to Mr Lowndes, and wish you paid some hundreds a year to the land-tax. That gentleman is lately become an inoffensive person to me too ; so that we may join heartily in our addresses to him, and (like true patriots) rejoice in all that good done to the nation and government, to which we contribute nothing ourselves.
I should not forget to acknowledge your letter sent from Aix; you told me then that writing was not good with the waters, and, I find since, you are of iny opinion, that 'tis as bad without the waters.
But, I fancy, it is not writing but thinking, that is so bad with the waters; and then you might write without any manner of prejudice, if you writ like our brother Poets of these days.
The Duchess, Lord Warwick, Lord Stanhope, Mrs Bellenden, Mrs Lepell, and I can't tell who else, had your letters: Dr Arbuthnot, and I, expect to be treatVol. VI.
B • A Poem intitled, To my ingenious and worthy friend IV. Lowndes, Esq; Author of that celebrated treatise in Folio, called the LAND-TAX BILL.
ed like friends. I would send my services to Mr Pulteney, but that he is out of favour at court; and make Jame compliment to Mrs Pulteney, if she were not a Whig. My Lord Burlington tells me she ha's much out-shin'd all the French ladies, as she did the English before: I am sorry for it, because it will be detrimental to our holy religion, if heretical women should eclipse those Nuns and orthodox Beauties, in whose eyes alone lie all the hopes we can have, of gaining such fine gentlemen as you to our church.
Your, &c. I wish you joy of the birth of the young prince, because he is the only prince we have from whom you have had no expectations and no disappointments.
L ETTER "VI.
From Mr Gay to M. F
Stanton-Harcourt, Aug. 9. 1718. HE only news that you can expect to have
from me here, is news from heaven, for I am quite out of the world, and there is scarce any thing can reach me except the noise of thunder, which undoubtedly you have heard too. We have read in old authors, of high towers levéll'd by it to the ground, while the humble valleys have eIcap'd : the only thing that is proof against it is the laurel, which, however, I take to be no great security to the brains of modern authors. But to let you see that the; contrary to this often happens, I must acquaint you, that the highest and most
extravagant heap of towers in the universe, which is in this neighbourhood, stand still undefaced, while a cock of barley in our next field has been consumed to ashes. Would to God that this heap of barley had been all that had perished ! for unhappily beneath this little shelter fate two much more constant Lovers than ever were found in Romance under the shade of a beechtree. John Hewet was a well-set man of about five and twenty, Sarah Drew might be rather called comely than beautiful, and was about the same age. They had pass’d thro' the various labours of the year together, with the greatest satisfaction ; if she milk’d, 'twas his morning and evening care, to bring the cows to her hand; it was but last fair that he bought her a present of green Glk for her straw hat, and the polie on her filver ring was of his chusing. Their love was the talk of the whole neighbourhood; for scandal never affirined, that they had any other views than the lawful possession of each other in marriage. It was that very morning that he had obtain’d the confent of her parents, and it was but till the next week that they were to wait to be happy. Perhaps in the intervals of their work they were now talking of the wedding cloaths, and John was suiting several sorts of poppies and field flowers to her complexion, to chule her a knot for the wedding-day. While they were thus busied (it was on the last of July between two and three in the afternoon) the clouds grew black, and fuch a storm of lightning and thunder ensued, that all the labourers made the best of their way to what shel
ter the trees and hedges afforded. Sarah was frighted, and fell down in a swoon, on a heap of barley. John who never separated from her, fat down by her side, having raked together two or three heaps, the better to fecure her from the storm. Immediately there was heard so loud a crack, as if heaven had split afunder every one was now folicitous for the safety of his neighbour, and called to one another throughout the field: No answer being returned to those who called to our Lovers, they stept to the place where they lay; they perceived the barley all in a fnoke, and then spied this faithful pair: John with one arm about Sarah's neck, and the other held over her, as to skreen her from the lightning. They were ftruck dead, and stiffend in this tender posture. Sarah's left eye-brow was fing'd, and there appeared a black spot on her breast : her Jover was all over black, but not the least signs of life were found in either. Attended by their melancholy compavions, they were convey'd to the town, and the next day were inter'd in Stanton-Harcourt Churchyard. My Lord Harcourt, at Mr Pope's and my request, has caused a stone to be placed over them, upon condition that we furnish'd the Epitaph, which is as follows;
When Easiern lovers feed the fun’ral fire,