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the Res angufta domi, I have never found any other, than the inability of giving people of merit the only certain proof of our value for them, in doing them fome real fervice. For, after all, if we could but think a little, felf-love might make us philofophers, and convince us quantuli indiget natura! Ourfelves are easily provided for; 'tis nothing but the circumftantials, and the Apparatus or equipage of human life, that cofts fo much the furnishing. Only what a luxurious man wants for horfes, and footmen, a good-natur'd man wants for his friends, or the indigent.
I fhall fee you this winter with much greater pleasure than I could the laft; and, I hope, as much of your time, as your attendance on the Duchefs * will allow you to fpare to any friend, will not be thought loft upon one who is as much fo as any man. I muft alfo put you in mind, though you are now fecretary to this Lady, that you are likewife fecretary to nine other Ladies, and are to write fometimes for them too. He who is forced to live wholly upon thofe Ladies favours, is indeed in as precarious a condition as any He who does what Chaucer fays for fuftenance; but they are very agreeable companions, like other Ladies, when a man only paffes a night or fo with them at his leisure, and away.
Duchefs of Monmouth, to whom he was just then made Secretary.
Aug. 23. 1713.
UST as I receiv'd yours, I was fet down to write to you, with fome fhame that I had fo long deferred it. But I can hardly repent my neg lect, when it gives me the knowledge how little you infift upon ceremony, and how much a greater share in your memory I have, than I deferve. I have been near a week in London, where I am like to remain, till I become, by Mr Jervas's help, Elegans Formarum Spectator. I begin to difcover beauties that were till now imperceptible to me. Every corner of an eye, or turn of a nose or ear, the fmallest degree of light or fhade on a cheek, or in a dimple, have charms to diftract me. I no longer look upon Lord Plaufible as ridiculous, for admiring a Lady's fine tip of an ear and pretty elbow (as the Plain Dealer has it) but am in fome danger even from the ugly and difagreeable, fince they may have their retired beauties, in one trait or other about them. You may guess in how uneafy a state I am, when every day the performances of others appear more beautiful and excellent, and my own more defpicable. I have thrown away three Dr Swifts, each of which was once my vanity, two Lady Bridgwaters, a Duchefs of Montague, befides half a dozen Earls, and one knight of the garter. I have crucified Chrift over again in effigie, and made a Madona
as old as her mother St Anne. Nay, what is yet more miraculous, I have rivall'd St Luke himself in painting, and as, 'tis faid, an angel came and finish'd his piece, fo, you would fwear, a devil put the laft hand to mine, 'tis fo begrim'd and fmutted. However, I comfort myself with a Chriftian reflection, that I have not broken the commandment; for my pictures are not the likeness of any thing in heaven above, or in earth below, or in the water under the earth. Neither will any body adore or worship them, except the Indians fhould have a fight of them, who, they tell us, worship certain idols purely for their ugliness.
I am very much recreated and refreshed with the news of the advancement of the Fan*, which, I doubt not, will delight the eye and fenfe of the fair, as long as that agreeable machine fhall play in the hands of pofterity. I am glad your fan is mounted fo foon, but I would have you varnish and glaze it at your leisure, and polish the sticks as much as you can. You may then cause it to be borne in the hands of both fexes, no lefs in Britain, than it is in China; where it is ordinary for a Mandarine to fan himself cool after a debate, and a Statesman to hide his face with it when he tells a grave lie.
I am, &c.
* A Poem of Mr Gay's, fo intitled.
DEAR MR GAY,
Sept. 23. 1714.
Elcome to your native foil! welcome to your friends! thrice welcome to me! whether returned in glory, bleft with court-intereft, the love and familiarity of the great, and fill'd with agreeable hopes; or melancholy with dejection, contemplative of the changes of fortune, and doubtful for the future: Whether return'd a triumphant Whig, or a defponding Tory, equally all hail! equally beloved and welcome to me! If happy, I am to partake in your elevation; if unhappy, you have still a warm corner in my heart, and a retreat at Binfield in the worst of times at your fervice. If you are a Tory, or thought fo by any man, I know it can proceed from nothing but your gratitude to a few people who endeavour'd to ferve you, and whofe politics were never your If you are a Whig, as I rather hope, and, as I think, your principles and mine (as brother poets) had ever a bias to the fide of Liberty, I know you will be an honest man, and an inoffenfive one. Upon the whole, I know, you are incapable of being fo much of either party, as to be good for nothing. Therefore once more, whatever you are, or in whatever state you are, all hail!
One or two of your old friends complain'd they had heard nothing from you fince the Queen's death: I told them no man living lov'd Mr Gay better than
I, yet I had not once written to him in all his voyage. This I thought a convincing proof, how truly one may be a friend to another without telling him fo every month. But they had reafons too themselves to alledge in your excufe; as men who really value one another, will never want fuch as make their friends and themselves easy. The late Univerfal concern in public affairs, threw us all into a hurry of fpirits: even I, who am more a Philofopher than to expect any thing from any Reign, was borne away with the current, and full of the · expectation of the Succeffor: During your journeys I knew not whither to aim a letter after you; that was a fort of shooting flying: add to this the demand Homer had upon me, to write fifty verses a day, besides learned notes, all which are at a conclufion for this year. Rejoice with me, O my friend, that my labour is over; come and make merry with me in much feafting: We will feed among the lilies (by the lilies I mean the Ladies.) Are not the Rofalinda's of Britain as charming as the Bloufalinda's of the Hague? or have the two great Pastoral poets of our nation renounced love at the fame time? for Philips, immortal Philips, hath deferted, yea, and in a rustic manner kicked his Rofalind. Dr Parnelle and I have been infeparable ever fince you went. We are now at the Bath, where (if you are not, as I heartily hope, better engaged) your coming would be the greatest pleasure to us in the world. Talk not of expences: Homer