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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 same real service. For, after all, if we could but think a little, self-love might make us philosophers, and convince us quantuli indiget natura! Ourselves are easily provided for; 'tis nothing but the circumstantials, and the Apparatus or equipage of human life, that costs so much the furnishing. Only what a luxurious man wants for horses, and footmen, a good-natur'd man wants for his friends, or the indigent.
I shall see you this winter with much greater pleasure than I could the last ; and, I hope, as much of your time, as your attendance on the Duchess * will allow you to fpare to any friend, will not be thought lost upon one who is as much fo as any
I must also put you in mind, though you are now secretary to this Lady, that you are likewise secretary to nine other Ladies, and are to write sometimes for them too. He who is forced to live wholly upon those Ladies favours, is indeed in as precarious a condition as any He who does what Chaucer says for sustenance; but they are very agreeable companions, like other Ladies, when a only passes a night or fo with them at his leisure, and away. I am
Your, &c. * Duchess of Monmouth, to whom he was just then made Secretary
L E T T E R III.
Aug. 23. 1713. UST as I receiv'd yours, I was fet down to
writc to you, with some shame that I had fo long deferred it. But I can hardly repent my neg. lect, when it gives me the knowledge how little you insist upon ceremony, and how much a greater share in your memory I have, than I deserve. 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 discover beau. ties that were till now imperceptible to me. Every corner of an eye, or turn of a nose or ear,
the smallest degree of light or shade on a cheek, or in a dimple, have charms to distract me. I no longer look
upon Lord Plausible as ridiculous, for admire ing a Lady's fine tip of an ear and pretty elbow (as the Plain Dealer has it) but am in some danger even from the ugly and disagreeable, since they may have their retired beauties, in one trait or other about them. You may guess in how uneasy 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 Duchess of Montague, besides half a dozen Earls, and one knight of the garter. I have crucified Christ over again in effigie, and made a Madona
as old as her mother St Anne. Nay, what is yet more miraculous, I have rivalld St Luke himself in painting, and as, 'tis faid, an angel came and finish'd his piece, so, you would swear, a devil put the last hand to mine, 'tis fo begrim'd and smutted. However, I comfort myself with a Christian 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 should have a light 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 sense of the fair, as long as that agreeable machine shall play in the hands of posterity. I am glad your fan is mounted so soon, but I would have you varnish and glaze it at your leisure, and polish the sticks as much as you
You may then cause it to be borne in the hands of both sexes, no less 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, so intitled.
L E T T E R IV.
Dear MR GAY,
Sept. 23. 1714
returned in glory, blest with court-interest, the love and familiarity of the great, and fill'd with agreeable hopes; or melancholy with dejection, contemplative of the changes of förtune; and doubtful for the future: Whether return'd a triumphant Whig, or a defponding Tory, equally all hail! equally beloved and welcome to nie! If happy, I am to partake in your eleva
if unhappy, you have still a warm corner in my heart, and a retreat at Binfield in the worst of times at your service. If you are a Tory, or thought so by any man, I know it can proceed from nothing but your gratitude to a few people who endeavour'd to serve you, and whose 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 side of Liberty, I know you will be an honest man, and an inoffensive 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
One or two of your old friends complain'd they had heard nothing from you since the Queen's death: I told them no man living lov'd Mr Gay better than
you are, all hail!
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 telJing him so every month. But they had reasons too themselves to alledge in your excuse; as
men who really value one another, will never want such as make their friends and themselves easy. The late Universal concern in public affairs, threw us all into a hurry of spirits: even I, who am more a Philosopher than to expect any thing from any Reign, was borne away with the current, and full of the expectation of the Successor: During your journeys I knew not whither to aim a letter after was a sort 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 con·clusion for this year. Rejoice with me, O my friend, that my labour is over ; come and make merry with me in much feasting: We will feed among the lilies (by the lilies I mean the Ladies.) Are not the Rosalinda's of Britain as charming as the Blousalinda's of the Hague? or have the two great Pastoral poets of our nation renounced love at the same time for Philips, immortal Philips, hath deserted, yea, and in a rustic manner kicked his *Rosalind. Dr Parnelle and I have been inseparable ever since 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