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{uit of a two-legged vixin, who only flies the whole loud pack to be singled out by one dog, who runs mute to catch her up the fooner from the rest, as they are making a noise to the loss of their game. In fine, this is the time for all sorts of sport in the town, when those of the country cease; therefore leave your

forest of beasts for ours of brutes, called men, who now in in full cry (pack'd by the court or country) run down in the house of commons a deserted horned beast of the Court, to the satisfaction of their spectators : Belides (more for your diversion) you may fee not only the two great play-houses of the nation, those of the lords and commons, in dispute with one another ; but the other two play-houses in high contest, because the members of one house are remov'd up to t'other, as it is often done by the court for reasons of state. Insomuch that the lower houses, I mean the playhouses, are going to act tragedies on one another without doors, and the Sovereign is put to it (as it often happens in the other two houses) to silence one or both, to keep peace between them. Now I have told you all the news of the town.

I am, &c.

LETTER X.

From Mr W Y C H ERLE Y.

Feb. 5. 1703-6. Have received your kind Letter, with my paper

to Mr Dryden corrected. I own you liave made • The same which was printed in the bear 1717, in a miscellany of Bern. Lintot's, and in the Pofthumous Works of Mr Wycherley. VOL. V.

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more of it by inaking it less, as the Dutch are said to burn half the spices they bring home, to enhance the price of the remainder, so to be greater gainers by their lofs (which is indeed my cale now.) You have prun'd my fading lawrels of some superfluous, fapless, and dead branches, to make the remainder live the longer ; thus, like your master Apollo, you are at once a poet and a physician.

Now, Sir, as to my impudent invitation of you to the town, your good nature was the first cause of my confident request; but excuse me, I must (I fee) say no more upon this subject, since I find you a little too nice to be dealt freely with; tho' you have given me fome encouragement to hope, our friendship might be without shynels, or criminal modesty ; for a friend, like a mistress, tho' lie is not to be mercenary, to be true, yet ought not to refuse a friend's kindness because it is finall or trivial : I have told you (I think) what a Spanish lady said to her poor poetical gallant, that a Queen, if she had to do with a groom, would expect a mark of his kindness from him, tho' it were but his curry-comb. But you and I will dispute this matter when I am so happy as to see you here; and perhaps 'tis the only dispute in which I might hope to have the better of you. Now, Sir, to make you another excuse for

my

boldness in inviting you to town, I design’d to leave with you some more of my papers, (lince these return fu maruch better out of your hands than they went from mnine) for I intended (as I told you formerly) to spend a month or fix weeks, this summer, near you in the

country. You

may be assured there is nothing I defire fo much, as an improvement of your friendship.

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L E T T E R XI.

April 10 1906. of yours

of the last month, you desire me to select, if possible, fome things from the first volume of

your
Miscellanies, which

may

be alter d fo as to appear again. I doubted your meaning in this ; wlrether it was to pick out the best of those verses (as those on the Idleness of business, on Ignorance, on Laziness, &c.) to make the method and numbers exact, and avoid repetitions? For though (upon reading 'em on this occasion) I believe, they might receive such an alteration with advantage; yet they would not be changed so much, but any one would know 'em for the same at first light. Or if you mean to improve the worst pieces ! which are fuch, as, to render them very good, would require great addition, and almost the entire new writing of them. Or, lastly, if you mean the middle sort, as the Songs and Love.verses ? For these will need only to be shortened, to omit repetition; the words remaining very little different from what they were before. Pray let me know your mind in this, for I am utterly at a loss. Yet I have try'd what I could do to some of the songs, and the poems on Laziness and Ignorance ; but can't (even in my own partial judgment) think my alterations much to the purpose. So that I must needs desire you would apply your care wholly at present to those which are yet unpublished, of which there are more than enough to

*Printed in folio, in the year 1704. .

make a confiderable volume, of full as good ones, nay, I believe, of better than any in Vol. I. wlich I could wish you would defer, at least 'till you have finish'd these that are yet unprinted.

I send you a sample of some few of these: namely, the verses to Mr Waller in his old age ; your new ones on the Duke of Marlborough, and two others. I have done all that I thought could be of advantage to them: fome I have contracted, as we do fun beams, to improve their energy and force : fome I have taken quite away, as we take branches from a tree, to add to the fruit; others I have entirely new express’d, and turnd more into poetry. Donne (like one of his fuccessors) had infinitely more wit than he wanted versification ; for the great dealers of wit, like thofe in trade, take leaft pains to set off their goods; while the haberdashers of small wit, spare for no decorations or ornaments. You have commission'd, me to paint your shop, and I have done my best to bruh you up like your neighbours. But I can no more pretend to the merit of the production, than a midwife to the virtues and good qualities of the child she helps into the light.

The few things I have entirely added, you will excuse ; you may take them lawfully for your own, because they are no more than fparks lighted up by your fire : and you inay omit them at last, if you think them but fquibs in your triumphs.

L E T T E R XII.

From Mr WyčHERLEY.

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Nov. II. 1707. Received yours of the 9th yesterday, which has

(like the rest of your letters) at once pleas’d and instructed me;

so that, I assure you, you can no more write too much to your absent friends, than speak too much to the present. This is a truth, that all men own who have either seen your writings, or heard your discourse; enough to make others show their judgment, in ceasing to write or talk, especially to you, or in your company. However, I speak or write to you, not to please you, but myself; since I provoke your answers ; which whilst they humble me, give me vanity; tho’ I am lessen’d by you even when you commend me : since you commend

my

little sense with so much more of yours, that you put me out of countenance, whilst you would keep me in it. So that you have found a way (against the custom of great wits) to shew even a great deal of good nature with a great deal of good sense. I thank

you

for the book you proinis'd me, by which I find you would not only correct my lines, but my life.

As to the damn'd verses I entrusted you with, I hope you will let them undergo your purgatory, to save them from other people's damning them: since the critics, who are generally the first damnd in this life, like the damn'd below, never leave to bring those above them under their own circumstances. I beg you

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