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Feb. 16. 1737-30
But I send you what I intend for the inscription on his
There is nothing of-late which I think of more than Mortality, and what you mention, of collecting the best monument we can of our friends, their own ima. ges in their writings: (for those are the best, when their minds are such as Mr Gay's was, and as yours ise) I am preparing also for my own, and have nothing so much at heart, as to shew the lilly world that men of Wit, or even poets, may be the most moral of mankind. A few loose things sometimes fall from thein, by which censorious fools judge as ill of them as possi. bly they can, for their own comfort: and indeed, when such unguarded and triffling Jeux d'Esprit bave once got abroad, all that prudence or repentance can
do, since they cannot be denied, is to put 'em fairly upon that foot; and teach the public (as we have done in the preface to the four volumes of Miscellanies) to distinguish betwixt our studies and our idlenesses, our works and our weaknesses. That was the whole end of the last Vol. of Miscellanies, without which our for. mer declaration in that preface, « That these volumes « contained all that we have ever offended in that « way," would have been discredited. It went indeed to my heart, to omit what you called the libel on Dr D-, and the best Panegyric on myself, that either my own tiines or any other could have afforded, or will ever afford to me. The book as you observe. was printed in great haste; the cause whereof was, that the booksellers here were doing the same, in collecting your pieces, the corn with the chaff; I don't mean thac any thing
is chaff; but with other wit of Ire. land which was so, and the whole in your name. I meant principally to oblige them to separate what you writ seriously from what you write carelessly; and thought my own weeds might pass for a fort of wild Aowers, when bundled up with them.
It was I that sent you those books into Ireland, and fo I did my Epistle to Lord Bathurft even before it was publish'd, and another thing of mine, which is a * Parody from Horace, writ in two mornings. I aever took more care in my life of any thing than of the former of these, nor less than of the latter: yet every friend has forced me to print it, though in truth my own single motive was about twenty lines towards the latter end, which you will find out.
* Sat. i. lib. ii.
I have declined opening to you by letters the whole scheme of my present Work, expecting still to do it in a better manner in perfon: but you will see pretty soon, that the letter to Lord Bathurst is a part of it, and you will find a plain connection between them, if you read them in the order just contrary to that they were publish'd in. I imitate those cunning tradesmen, who show their best filks last; or (to give you a truer idea, tho' it sounds too proudly) my works will in one respect be like the works of Nature, much more to be liked and understood when consider'd in the relation they bear with each other, than when ignorantly look'd upon one by one; and often, those parts which attract molt at first sight, will appear to be not the most, but the least considerable. I am pleas'd and flatter'd by your expression of Or.
The chief pleasure this work can give me, is, that I can in it, with propriety, decency, and justice, insert the name and character of every friend I have, and every inan that deserves to be lov'd or adorn'd. But I smile at your applying that phrase to my visiting you in Ireland; a place where I might have some apprehenfion (from their extraordinary passion for Poetry, and their boundless Hospitality) of being adorned to death, and buried under the weight of garlands, like one I have read of somewhere or other. My Mo. ther lives (which is an answer to that point) and, I thank God, tho' her memory be in a manner gone, is
yet awake and sensible to me, though scarce to any
sincere services to Dr Delany, who, I agree with you, is a man every way esteemable; my Lord Orrery is a most virtuous and good-natur’d Nobleman, whom I thould be happy to know. Lord B. receiv'd your letter thro' my
it is not to be told
you how much he wishes for you: the whole list of persons, to whom you sent your services, return you theirs, with proper sense of the distinction-Your Lady friend is Semper Eadem, and I have written an Epifle to her on that qualification in a female cha
racter; which is thought by my chief Critic in your absence to be my Chef d'Oeuvre : but it cannot be printed perfectly, in an age so fore of Satire, and so willing to misapply Characters.
As to my own health, it is as good as ufual. I have lain ill seven days of a light fever (the complaint here) but recover'd by gentle sweats, and the care of Dr Arbuthnot. The play Mr Gay left fucceeds very well; it is another original in its kind. Adieu. God preserve your life, your health, your limbs, your fpirits, and your friendships !
April 2. 1733. OU say truly, that death is only terrible to us,
as it feparates us from those we love; but I really think those have the worst of it who are left by us, if we are true friends. I have felt more (I fancy) in in the loss of Mr Gay, than I shall fuffer in the thought of going away myself into a state that can feel none of this fort of loffes. I wish'd vehemently to have seen him in a condition of living independent, and to have lived in perfect indolence the rest of our days together, the two most idle, most innocent, undesigning Poets of our age. I now as vehemently wish you and I might walk into the grave together, by as flow steps as you please, but contentedly and chearfully: Whether that ever can be, or in what coantry, I know no more, than into what country we shall walk out of the grave. But it fuffices me to know it will be ex.