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fident the author was incapable of imputing any such to one, whose whole life (to use his own expression in print of him) is a continued series of good and generous actions.
I know no man who would be more concerned, if he gave the least pain or offence to any, innocent per. sop; and none who would be less concerned, if the fatire were challenged by any one at whom he would really aim it.
If ever that happens, I dare engage, he will own it, with all the freedom of one whofe cenfures are just, and who fets his name to them.
L E T T E R XXVI.
To the Earl of BURLINGTON.
March 7. 1731. HE clamour rais'd about my Epistle to you,
could not give me so much pain, as ) receiv'd pleasure in seeing the general zeal of the world in the cause of a Great man who is beneficent, and the particular warinth of your Lordship in that of a private man who is innocent.
It was not the Poem that deserv'd this from you; for as I had the honour to be your Friend, I could not treat you quite like a Poet: but sure the writer de. servd more candor, even from those who knew him not, than to promote a report, which in regard to that noble person, was impertinent; in regard to me, villainous. Yet I had no great cause to wonder, that a character belonging to twenty should be applied to
one; înce, by that means, nineteen would escape the ridicule.
I was too well content with my knowledge of that noble person's opinion in this affair, to trouble the public about it. But since Malice and Mistake are fo long a dying, I have taken the opportunity of a third edition to declare his belief, not only of ту
innocence, but of their malignity; of the former of which my own heart is as confcious, as, I fear, some of theirs must be of the latter. His humanity feels a concern for the injury done to me, while his greatness of mind can bear with indifference the insult offer'd to himnfelf*.
However, my Lord, I own, that critics of this fort can intimidate me, nay half incline me to write no more: That would be making the Town a compli. ment which, I think, it deserves; and which fome, I am fure, would take very kindly. This way of Sa. tire is dangerous, as long as slander rais’d by fools of the lowest rank, can find any countenance from those of a higher. Even from the conduct shewn on this occasion, I have learnt there are some who would rather be wicked than ridiculous; and therefore it may be safer to attack Vices than Follies. I will therefore leave my betre:s in the quiet possession of their Idols, their Groves, and their High-places; and change my subject from their pride to their meanness, from their vanities to their miseries : and as the only certain way
* Alludes to the letter the Duke of Ch* wrote to Mr Pope on this occasion,
to avoid mif-constructions, to lessen offence, and pot to multiply ill-natured applications, I may probably, in my next, make use of real names instead of fictitious'
L E T T E R XXVII *.
Cirencester. T is a true saying, that misfortunes alone prove one's
friendships; they show us not only that of other people for us, but our own for them.
We hardly know ourselves any otherwise. I feel my being forced to this Bath-journey as a misfortune ; and to follow my own welfare preferably to those I love, is indeed a new thing to ine: my health has not usually got the better of my tendernesses and affections. I set out with a heavy heart, wishing I had done this thing the last seafon; for every day I defer it, the more I am in danger of that accident which I dread the most, my Mother's death (especially should it happen while I am away.) And another Reflection pains me, that I have never, since I knew you, been so long separated from you, as I now must be. Methinks we live to be more and more strangers, and every year teaches
you to live without me: This abfence may, I fear, make my return less welcome and le's wanted to you, than once it seem'd, even after but a fortnight. Time ought not in reason to diminish friendship, when it confirms the truth of it by experience.
* To Mrs B.
The journey has a good deal disorder'd me, notwithstanding my resting place at Lord Bathurst's. My Lord is too much for me, he walks, and is in spirits all day along: I rejoice to see him fo. It is a right distinction, that I am happier in seeing my friends fo many degrees above me, be it in fortune, health, or pleasures, than I can be in sharing either with them : for in these sort of enjoyments I cannot keep pace with them, any more than I can walk with a stronger man. I wonder to find I am a companion for none but old men, and forget that I am not a young fellow myself. The worst is, that reading and writing, which I have still the greatest relish for, are growing painful to my eyes, But if I can preserve the good opinion of one or two friends, to luch a degree, as to have their indulgence to my weaknesses, I will not complain of life. And if I could live to see
ease and quiet, by becoming independent on those who will never help you to either, I doubt not of finding the latter part of my life pleasanter than the former, or present. My uneasiness of body I can bear; my chief uneasiness of mind is in your regard. You have a temper that would make you easy and beloved (which is all the happiness one needs to wish in this world) and content with moderate things. All your point is not to lose that temper by facrificing yourself to others, out of a mistaken tenderness, which hurts
and profits not them. And this you must do foon, or it will be too late: Habit will make it as hard for you to live independent, as for L- to live out of a Court.
You must excuse me for observing what I think any defect in you: You grow too indolent, and give things up too ealily: which would be otherwise, when you found and felt your self your own : Spirits would come in, as ill usage went out. While you live under a kind of perpetual dejetion and oppression, nothing at all belongs to you, not your own Humour, nor your own Sense.
You can't conceive how much you would find resolution rise, and chearfulness grow upon you, if you'd once try to live independent for two or three months. I never think tenderly of you but this comes across me, and therefore excuse my repeating it; for whene. ver I do not, I dissemble half that I think of you: Adieu, pray write, and be particular about your health.
L E T T E R XXVIII *.
OUR letter, dated at nine o'clock on Tuesday
(night, as I suppose) has funk me quite. Yelterday I hoped ; and yesterday I sent you a line or two for our poor Friend Gay, inclos’d in a few words to you; about twelve or one o'clock you should have had it I am troubled about that, tho' the prelent cause of our trouble be so much greater t. Indeed I want a friend, to help me to bear it better. We want each other. I bear a hearty share with Mrs Howard,
• To the same.
+ Mr Gay's death, which happen'd in Nov. 1732, at the Duke of Queensberry's house in London, aged 46.