Selected English Letters (XV - XIX Centuries)
Part 1 out of 7
Produced by Dave Morgan, Bill Hershey and PG Distributed Proofreaders
SELECTED ENGLISH LETTERS
M. DUCKITT & H. WRAGG
This anthology has been compiled with rather mixed motives. First,
'all for our delight'--a rule that editors sometimes observe, and
occasionally acknowledge; then, with the desire to interest as large
a section of the public as may be. Here is a medley of gay, grave,
frivolous, homely, religious, sociable, refined, philosophic, and
feminine,--something for every mood, and for the proper study
of mankind. We do not hope to satisfy all critics, but we do not
anticipate that we shall please none. Our difficulty has been that
of choice. Many pleasant companions we have had to pass by; to strike
from our list many excellent letters. Those that remain are intended
to present as complete a portrait of the writer as space permits.
Occasionally it was some feature of the age, some nicety of manners,
some contrast in point of view, that obtained inclusion.
Into such an anthology the ordinary reader prefers to dip at random,
looking for old friends or new faces, and has his reward. But if he
is resolute to read letters in chronological order, he will also,
we hope, find in our selection some trace of the development of the
Epistolary art, as, rising through earlier naiveties and formalities
to the grace and _bel air_ of the great Augustans, it slides into the
freer, if less dignified, utterance of an age which, startled by cries
of 'Equality' at its birth, has concerned itself less with form than
with individuality and sincerity of expression.
Three letters are included of which the originals were penned
in Latin. In a few cases the spelling and punctuation have been
Our best thanks are due to Mr. J.C. Smith, whose kind criticism and
inspiring suggestions have been of inestimable service to us in the
preparation of this work.
SIR THOMAS MORE, 1478-1535--
To Margaret Roper. 'Wyth a cole' from prison.
MARGARET ROPER, 1505-1544--
To Sir Thomas More. Reply to the above.
ROGER ASCHAM, 1515-1568--
To Lady Jane Grey. A most accomplished maiden.
To Lady Clarke. An offer of assistance.
FRANCIS BACON, 1561-1626--
To Sir Thomas Bodley. With a copy of his book.
SIR THOMAS BROWNE, 1605-1682--
To his son Thomas. Fatherly commendations.
To his son Edward. Centenarians.
JOHN MILTON, 1608-1674--
To a Cambridge friend. The choice of a profession.
To Leonard Philaras. The blind poet.
JOHN EVELYN, 1620-1706--
To Samuel Pepys. In retirement at Wotton.
To the same. An old man's occupations.
DAME DOROTHY BROWNE, 1621-1685--
To her daughter in London. Three interesting
GEORGE, LORD BERKELEY, 1628-1698--
To Samuel Pepys. Honourable acquittal.
DOROTHY OSBORNE, 1628-1698--
To Sir William Temple. Passing the time.
To the same. Another pretender.
To the same. A disappointing preacher.
To the same. The ideal husband.
To the same. The growth of friendship.
To the same. Wilful woman.
KATHARINE PHILIPS, 1631-1664--
To the Honourable Berenice. Yielding to opinion.
JOHN LOCKE, 1632-1704--
To William Molyneux. A philosopher's confidences.
To Dr. Molyneux. True friendship.
SAMUEL PEPYS, 1633-1703--
To George, Lord Berkeley. An explanation.
To Mrs. Steward. A wedding in the City.
To John Evelyn. Reply to an old friend.
JONATHAN SWIFT, 1667-1745--
To Stella. The Dean at home.
To Lord Treasurer Oxford. The Dean makes his bow.
To Dr. Sheridan. News from the country.
To Alexander Pope. Mostly about _Gulliver_.
To John Gay. Enquiries into Mr. Gay's pursuits.
JOSEPH ADDISON, 1672-1719--
To Alexander Pope. Translation of Homer.
To Mr. Secretary Craggs. A bequest.
SIR RICHARD STEELE, 1672-1729--
To Mary Scurlock. An explicit declaration.
To the same. A pleasing transport.
To the same. A lover betrays himself.
To his wife. He proposes an outing.
To the same. His greatest affliction.
To the same. Four characteristic notes.
To the same. The natural slave of beauty.
JOHN GAY, 1685-1732--
To Jonathan Swift. Concerning _Gulliver_.
ALEXANDER POPE, 1688-1744--
To William Wycherley. Dryden and his critics.
To Joseph Addison. A few thoughts from a rambling head.
To Jonathan Swift. Friends to posterity.
To the same. A farming friend, and _The Dunciad_.
To the same. An invitation to England.
SAMUEL RICHARDSON, 1689-1761--
To Miss Mulso. A discussion on love.
LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU, 1689-1762--
To the Countess of Mar. The Viennese court.
To Miss Sarah Chiswell. Ingrafting for small-pox.
To the Countess of Bristol. The Grand Signior a slave.
To the Countess of Mar. The Grand Vizier's lady.
To the Countess of Bute. Her grand-daughter's education.
To the same. Fielding and Steele.
PHILIP DORMER STANHOPE, EARL OF CHESTERFIELD, 1694-1773--
To his son. Dancing.
To the same. A good enunciation.
To the same. Keeping accounts.
To the same. A father's example.
To the same. Public speaking.
To the same. The new Earl of Chatham.
SAMUEL JOHNSON, 1709-1784--
To Bonnet Langton. Postponement of a visit.
To Miss Porter. A mother's death.
To Joseph Baretti. A letter of counsel.
To Mrs. Thrale. Travel in Scotland.
To the Earl of Chesterfield. Patronage.
To James Boswell. A silent friend.
To Mrs. Thrale. A great man's fortitude.
LAURENCE STERNE, 1713-1768--
To Miss Lumley. The disconsolate lover.
To David Garrick. Le Chevalier Shandy.
To Mr. Foley. An adventure on the road.
THOMAS GRAY, 1716-1771--
To Richard West. Scenery at Tivoli.
To the same. A poet's melancholy.
To Horace Walpole. The fate of Selima.
To the same. Publication of the _Elegy_.
To the same. At Burnham.
To the Rev. William Mason. The Laureateship.
To Dr. Wharton. A holiday in Kent.
HORACE WALPOLE, 1717-1797--
To Richard West. Floods in the Arno.
To Richard Bentley. Pictures, and Garrick.
To Lord Lyttelton. Gray's Odes.
To George Montagu. At Lady Suffolk's.
To Lady Hervey. A quiet life.
To the Rev. William Cole. Gray's death.
To the Rev. William Mason. The quarrel with Gray.
To the Countess of Upper-Ossory. Fashionable intelligence.
To the Rev. William Cole. Antiquaries and authors.
To the Miss Berrys. Their first meeting.
OLIVER GOLDSMITH, 1728-1774--
To his mother. At Cork.
To Robert Bryanton. In Scotland.
To his uncle Contarine. In Holland.
To his brother Henry. Family matters.
WILLIAM COWPER, 1731-1800--
To the Rev. John Newton. Escapade of Puss.
To the Rev. William Unwin. A laugh that hurts nobody.
To the Rev. John Newton. Village politicians.
To the same. Village justice.
To the same. A candidate's visit.
To Lady Hesketh. An acquaintance reopened.
To the same. The kindliness of thanks.
To the same. Arrival of the desk.
To the same. Anticipations of a visit.
To the same. Commissions and thanks.
To Mrs. Bodham. His mother's portrait.
EDMUND BURKE, 1729-1797--
To Matthew Smith. First impressions of London.
To James Barry. A friend's infirmities.
To Lord Auckland. An old stag at bay.
To Mary Leadbeater. His last letter.
EDWARD GIBBON, 1737-1794--
To Mrs. Porten. His daily life.
To Lord Sheffield. A great work.
FRANCES D'ARBLAY, 1752-1840--
To Susan Burney. An excited Unknown.
To Samuel Crisp. Mrs. Thrale and Dr. Johnson.
To Mrs. Lock. A royal commission.
GEORGE CRABBE, 1754-1832--
To Mary Leadbeater. The only survivors.
To the same. Comparisons.
WILLIAM BLAKE, 1757-1827--
To John Flaxman. Friends 'from eternity'.
To Thomas Butts. Trouble in the path.
To the same. The wonderful poem.
To the same. The poet and William Hayley.
MARY LEADBEATER, 1758-1826--
To Edmund Burke. Reply to his last letter.
To George Crabbe. She writes to remind him.
ROBERT BURNS, 1759-1796--
To Miss Chalmers. Marriage with Jean.
To Mr. R. Ainslie. A gauger.
To Francis Grose. Witch tales.
WILLIAM WORDSWORTH, 1770-1850--
To Sir George Beaumont. A brother's character.
To Walter Scott. Dryden.
To Lady Beaumont. The destiny of his poems.
To Sir George Beaumont. The language of poetry.
SIR WALTER SCOTT, 1771-1832--
To his mother. Marriage with Miss Carpenter.
To Miss Seward. _The Lay of the Last Minstrel_.
To Lady Louisa Stuart. An amiable blue-stocking.
To Robert Southey. Congratulations.
To J.B.S. Morritt. A small anonymous sort of a novel.
To the same. Acceptance of a baronetcy.
To Lord Montagu. Prince Leopold's visit.
To Daniel Terry. Progress at Abbotsford.
To J.B.S. Morritt. A brave face to the world.
To Maria Edgeworth. Time's revenges.
SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE, 1772-1834--
To Charles Lamb. A sympathetic reply.
To Joseph Cottle. Literary adventurers.
To Josiah Wade. A public example.
To Thomas Allsop. Himself and his detractors.
To the same. The Great Work described.
To the same. Reminiscences.
ROBERT SOUTHEY, 1774-1843--
To Joseph Cottle. Question of copyrights.
To John May. Waterloo.
To Henry Taylor. Anastasius Hope.
To Edward Moxon. Recollections of the Lambs.
CHARLES LAMB, 1775-1834--
To Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Temporary frenzy.
To the same. A friend in need.
To the same. The tragedy.
To William Wordsworth. The delights of London.
To Thomas Manning. At the Lakes.
To the same. Dissuasion from Tartary.
To Mrs. Wordsworth. Friends' importunities.
To Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The famous pigling.
To Bernard Barton. A blessing in disguise.
To the same. A cold.
WILLIAM HAZLITT, 1778-1830--
To Miss Sarah Stoddart. A love-letter.
To his son. Marriage, and the choice of a profession.
To Charles Cowden Clarke. The _Life of Napoleon_.
LEIGH HUNT, 1784-1859--
To Joseph Severn. A belated letter.
To Percy Bysshe Shelley. Outpourings of gratitude.
To Horace Smith. Shelley's death.
To Mrs. Procter. Accepting an invitation.
To a friend. Offence and punishment.
GEORGE GORDON NOEL, LORD BYRON, 1788-1824--
To Mr. Hodgson. Travel in Portugal.
To Thomas Moore. Announces his engagement.
To John Murray. No bid for sweet voices.
To the same. The cemetery at Bologna.
To the same. In rebellious mood.
To Percy Bysshe Shelley. A trio of poets.
To Lady Byron. A plain statement of facts.
To Mr. Barff. Sympathy with the Greeks.
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, 1792-1822--
To T.J. Hogg. His first marriage.
To William Godwin. An introduction.
To Thomas Hookham. A subscription for Hunt.
To Mr. Ollier. An article by Southey.
To Mrs. Hunt. Keats and some others.
To Leigh Hunt. A literary collaboration.
JOHN KEATS, 1795-1821--
To John Hamilton Reynolds. Burns's cottage.
To Richard Woodhouse. The poetic character.
To Percy Bysshe Shelley. Returning advice.
To Charles Brown. A despairing cry.
THOMAS HOOD, 1799-1845--
To Charles Dickens. _American Notes_.
To the _Manchester Athenaeum_. The uses of literature.
To Dr. Moir. A humourist to the last.
To Sir Robert Peel. A farewell letter.
ROBERT BROWNING, 1812-1889, and
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING, 1806-1861--
To Leigh Hunt. A joint epistle.
CHARLOTTE BRONTE, 1816-1855--
To a friend. Trials of a governess.
To William Wordsworth. Thanks for advice.
To a friend. At school abroad.
To a friend. Curates to tea.
To George Henry Lewes. Herself and Miss Austen.
To the same. The argument continued.
To a friend. Illness and death of Emily Bronte.
To Mr. G. Smith. Thackeray and _Esmond_
To the same. _Esmond_ again.
SELECTED ENGLISH LETTERS
SIR THOMAS MORE
To MARGARET ROPER
_'Wyth a cole' from prison_
Myne owne good doughter, our lorde be thanked I am in good helthe of
bodye, and in good quiet of minde: and of worldly thynges I no more
desyer then I have. I beseche hym make you all mery in the hope of
heaven. And such thynges as I somewhat longed to talke with you all,
concerning the worlde to come, our Lord put theim into your myndes, as
I trust he dothe, and better to, by his holy spirite: who blesse
you and preserve you all. Written wyth a cole by your tender loving
father, who in his pore prayers forgetteth none of you all, nor
your babes, nor your nurses, nor your good husbandes, nor your good
husbandes shrewde wyves, nor your fathers shrewde wyfe neither, nor
our other frendes. And thus fare ye hartely well for lack of paper.
THOMAS MORE, knight.
Our Lorde kepe me continuallye true, faithfull and playne, to the
contrarye whereof I beseche hym hartelye never to suffer me live. For
as for longe life (as I have often tolde the Megge) I neyther looke
for, nor long for, but am well content to goe, yf God call me hence
to morowe. And I thanke our lorde, I knowe no person living, that I
woulde had one philippe for my sake: of whiche minde I am more gladde
then of all the worlde.
Recommend me to your shrewde wil, and mine other sonnes, and to John
Harris my frende, and your selfe knoweth to whome els, and to my
shrewde wife above all, and God preserve you all and make and kepe you
his servantes all.
TO SIR THOMAS MORE
_Reply to the above_
Myne owne moste entierelye beloved father, I thynke my self never
hable to geve you sufficiente thankes, for the inestimable coumforte
my poore hearte received in the readyng of youre moste lovynge and
godlye letter, representing to me, the cleare shynyng bryghtenesse
of youre soule, the pure temple of the holy spirite of God, which I
doubte not shall perpetuallye reste in you and you in hym. Father, if
all the worlde hadde bene geven to me, as I be saved it hadde bene
a small pleasure, in comparison of the pleasure I conceived of the
treasure of youre letter, whiche thoughe it were written with a cole,
is woorthye in myne opinion to be wrytten in letters of golde. Father,
what moved them to shytte you uppe againe, we can nothynge heare.
But surelye I coniecture that when they considered that you wer of so
temperate mind, that you were contented to abyde there all your lyfe
with suche libertie, they thought it wer never possible to enclyne you
to theyr will, excepte it were by restrayning you from the church, and
the companye of my good mother youre deare wyfe and us youre chyldren
and bedesfolke. But father this chaunce was not straunge to you. For
I shal not forgeat howe you tolde us when we were with you in the
gardeyne, that these thinges wer like ynoughe to chaunce you shortlye
after. Father I have manye tymes rehearsed to myne owne coumfort and
dyvers others, your fashyon and wordes ye hadde to us when we were
laste with you: for which I trust by the grace of god to be the better
while I live, and when I am departed oute of this frayle life, which
I praye God I maye passe and ende in his true obedient service, after
the wholesome counsayle and fruitful exaumple of living I have had
(good father) of you, whom I pray god geve me grace to folowe: which
I shal the better thorow the assistaunce of your devoute prayers,
the speciall staye of my frayltie. Father I am sory I have no lenger
laysure at this time to talke with you, the chief comfort of my life,
I trust to have occasion to write again shortly. I trust I have your
daily prayer and blessing.
Your most loving obedient daughter and bedeswoma Margaret Roper, which
daily and howrely is boude to pray for you, for whom she prayeth
in this wise, that our lord of his infinite mercye geve you of hys
hevenly comfort, and so to assist you with hys speciall grace, that ye
never in any thing declyne from hys blessed will, but live and dye his
true obedient servaunt. Amen.
To Lady Jane Grey
_A most accomplished maiden_
Augsberg, 18 _Jan_. 1551.
Most Illustrious Lady,
In this long travel of mine, I have passed over wide tracts of
country, and seen the largest cities, I have studied the customs,
institutes, laws, and religion of many men and diverse nations, with
as much diligence as I was able: but in all this variety of subjects,
nothing has caused in me so much wonder as my having fallen upon you
last summer, a maiden of noble birth, and that too in the absence of
your tutor, in the hall of your most noble family, and at a time
when others, both men and women, give themselves up to hunting and
pleasures, you, a divine maiden, reading carefully in Greek the
_Phaedo_ of the divine Plato; and happier in being so occupied than
because you derive your birth, both on your father's side, and on your
mother's, from kings and queens! Go on then, most accomplished maiden,
to bring honour on your country, happiness on your parents, glory to
yourself, credit to your tutor, congratulation to all your friends,
and the greatest admiration to all strangers!
O happy Elmar in having such a pupil, and happier still you, in having
such a tutor ... I ask two things of you, my dear Elmar, for I suppose
you will read this letter, that you will persuade the Lady Jane to
write me a letter in Greek as soon as possible; for she promised she
would do so ... I have also lately written to John Sturm, and told him
that she had promised. Take care that I get a letter soon from her as
well as from you. It is a long way for letters to come, but John Hales
will be a most convenient letter-carrier and bring them safely....
To LADY CLARKE
_An offer of assistance_
[London], 15 _Jan_. 1554.
Your remarkable love of virtue and zeal for learning, most illustrious
lady, joined with such talents and perseverance, are worthy of great
praise in themselves, and greater still because you are a woman, but
greatest of all because you are a lady of the court; where there are
many other occupations for ladies, besides learning, and many other
pleasures besides the practice of the virtues. This double praise
is further enhanced by the two patterns that you have proposed to
yourself to follow, the one furnished you by the court, the other
by your family. I mean our illustrious queen Mary, and your noble
grandfather, Thomas More--a man whose virtues go to raise England
above all other nations....
I am led to write thus not altogether by my admiration of you, but
partly by my own wish and more from the nature of my own office. It
was I who was invited some years ago from the University of Cambridge
by your mother, Margaret Roper--a lady worthy of her great father,
and of you her daughter--to the house of your kinsman, Lord Giles
Alington, to teach you and her other children the Greek and Latin
tongues; but at that time no offers could induce me to leave the
University. It is sweet to me to bear in mind this request of your
mother's, and I now not only remind you thereof, but would offer you,
now that I am at court, if not to fulfil her wishes, yet to do my
best to fulfil them, were it not that you have so much learning
in yourself, and also the aid of those two learned men, Cole and
Christopherson, so that you need no help from me, unless in their
absence you make use of my assistance, and if you like, abuse it.
I write thus not because of any talents I possess (for I know they are
very small) but because of my will (which I know is very great), and
because of the opportunity long wished for and now granted me. For
by favour of that great bishop the Lord Stephen of Winchester, I have
been fetched away from the University to serve our illustrious queen
at court, and that too in such a post, that I can there follow the
same mode of life for the discharge of my duties as I did at the
University for study. My office is to write Latin letters for the
queen, and I hope I shall fulfil that office, if not with ability,
yet faithfully, diligently, and unblameably ... Farewell, most
SIR FRANCIS BACON
To Sir Thomas Bodley
_With a copy of his book_
I think no man may more truly say with the Psalm _Multum incola
fuit anima mea_, than myself. For I do confess, since I was of any
understanding, my mind hath in effect been absent from that I have
done; and in absence are many errors which I do willingly acknowledge;
and amongst the rest this great one that led the rest; that knowing
myself by inward calling to be fitter to hold a book than to play a
part, I have led my life in civil causes; for which I was not very fit
by nature, and more unfit by the preoccupation of my mind. Therefore
calling myself home, I have now for a time enjoyed myself; whereof
likewise I desire to make the world partaker. My labours (if I may so
term that which was the comfort of my other labours) I have dedicated
to the King; desirous, if there be any good in them, it may be as the
fat of a sacrifice, incensed to his honour: and the second copy I have
sent unto you, not only in good affection, but in a kind of congruity,
in regard of your great and rare desert of learning. For books are the
shrines where the saint is, or is believed to be; and you having built
an Ark to save learning from deluge, deserve propriety in any new
instrument or engine, whereby learning should be improved or advanced.
SIR THOMAS BROWNE
To HIS SON THOMAS
I Receaved yours, and would not deferre to send vnto you before you
sayled, which I hope will come vnto you; for in this wind, neither can
Reare-admirall Kempthorne come to you, nor you beginne your voyage.
I am glad you like Lucan so well. I wish more military men could read
him; in this passage you mention, there are noble straynes; and such
as may well affect generous minds. Butt I hope you are more taken with
the verses then the subject, and rather embrace the expression then
the example. And this I the rather hint unto you, because the like,
though in another waye, is sometimes practised in the king's shipps,
when, in desperate cases, they blowe up the same. For though I know
you are sober and considerative, yet knowing you also to be of great
resolution; and having also heard from ocular testimonies with what
vndaunted and persevering courage you have demeaned yourself in great
difficulties; and knowing your captaine to bee a stout and resolute
man; and with all the cordiall friendshippe that is between you; I
cannot omitt my earnest prayers vnto God to deliver you from such a
temptation. Hee that goes to warre must patiently submitt vnto the
various accidents thereof. To bee made prisoner by an vnequall and
overruling power, after a due resistance, is no disparagement; butt
upon a carelesse surprizall or faynt opposition; and you have so good
a memorie that you cannot forgett many examples thereof, even of the
worthiest commanders in your beloved Plutark. God hath given you a
stout, butt a generous and mercifull heart withall; and in all your
life you could never behold any person in miserie butt with compassion
and relief; which hath been notable in you from a child: so have you
layd up a good foundation for God's mercy; and, if such a disaster
should happen, Hee will, without doubt, mercifully remember you. How
euer, let God that brought you in the world in his owne good time,
lead you through it; and in his owne season bring you out of it; and
without such wayes as are displeasing vnto him. When you are at Cales,
see if you can get a box of the Jesuits' powder at easier rate, and
bring it in the bark, not in powder. I am glad you haue receaued the
bill of exchange for Cales; if you should find occasion to make vse
thereof. Enquire farther at Tangier of the minerall water you told
mee, which was neere the towne, and whereof many made use. Take notice
of such plants as you meet with, either upon the Spanish or African
coast; and if you knowe them not, putt some leaves into a booke,
though carelessely, and not with that neatenesse as in your booke at
Norwich. Enquire after any one who hath been at Fez; and learne what
you can of the present state of that place, which hath been so famous
in the description of Leo and others. The mercifull providence of God
go with you. _Impellant animae lintea Thraciae_.
TO HIS SON EDWARD
15 _Dec_. [1679.]
Some thinck that great age superannuates persons from the vse of
physicall meanes, or that at a hundred yeares of age 'tis either a
folly or a shame to vse meanes to liue longer, and yet I haue knowne
many send to mee for their seuerall troubles at a hundred yeares of
age, and this day a poore woeman being a hundred and three yeares
and a weeke old sent to mee to giue her some ease of the colick. The
_macrobii_ and long liuers which I haue knowne heere haue been of
the meaner and poorer sort of people. Tho. Parrot was butt a meane or
rather poore man. Your brother Thomas gaue two pence a weeke to John
More, a scauenger, who dyed in the hundred and second yeare of his
life; and 'twas taken the more notice of that the father of Sir John
Shawe, who marryed my Lady Killmorey, and liueth in London, I say that
his father, who had been a vintner, liued a hundred and two yeares, or
neere it, and dyed about a yeere agoe. God send us to number our dayes
and fitt ourselves for a better world.
TO A CAMBRIDGE FRIEND
_The choice of a profession_
Besides that in sundry other respects I must acknowledge me to profit
by you whenever we meet, you are often to me, and were yesterday
especially, as a good watchman to admonish that the hours of the night
pass on (for so I call my life, as yet obscure and unserviceable to
mankind), and that the day with me is at hand, wherein Christ commands
all to labour, while there is light. Which because I am persuaded you
do to no other purpose than out of a true desire that God should be
honoured in every one, I therefore think myself bound, though unasked,
to give you account, as oft as occasion is, of this my tardy moving,
according to the precept of my conscience, which I firmly trust is not
without God. Yet now I will not strain for any set apology, but only
refer myself to what my mind shall have at any time to declare herself
at her best ease.
But if you think, as you said, that too much love of learning is in
fault, and that I have given up myself to dream away my years in the
arms of studious retirement, like Endymion with the moon, as the tale
of Latmus goes; yet consider that if it were no more but the mere
love of learning--whether it proceed from a principle bad, good,
or natural--it could not have held out thus long against so strong
opposition on the other side of every kind. For, if it be bad, why
should not all the fond hopes that forward youth and vanity are fledge
with, together with gain, pride, and ambition, call me forward more
powerfully than a poor, regardless, and unprofitable sin of curiosity
should be able to withhold me; whereby a man cuts himself off from all
action, and becomes the most helpless, pusillanimous, and unweaponed
creature in the world, the most unfit and unable to do that which
all mortals most aspire to--either to be useful to his friends or to
offend his enemies? Or, if it be to be thought a natural proneness,
there is against that a much more potent inclination inbred, which
about this time of a man's life solicits most--the desire of house and
family of his own; to which nothing is esteemed more helpful than the
early entering into credible employment, and nothing more hindering
than this affected solitariness. And though this were enough, yet
there is to this another act, if not of pure, yet of refined nature,
no less available to dissuade prolonged obscurity--a desire of honour
and repute and immortal fame, seated in the breast of every true
scholar; which all make haste to by the readiest ways of publishing
and divulging conceived merits--as well those that shall, as those
that never shall, obtain it. Nature, therefore, would presently work
the more prevalent way, if there were nothing but this inferior bent
of herself to restrain her. Lastly, the love of learning, as it is the
pursuit of something good, it would sooner follow the more excellent
and supreme good known and presented, and so be quickly diverted from
the empty and fantastic chase of shadows and notions, to the solid
good flowing from due and timely obedience to that command in the
Gospel set out by the terrible seasing of him that hid the talent.
It is more probable, therefore, that not the endless delight of
speculation, but this very consideration of that great commandment,
does not press forward, as soon as many do, to undergo, but keeps
off, with a sacred reverence and religious advisement how _best_ to
undergo--not taking thought of being _late_, so it give advantage
to be more _fit_; for those that were latest lost nothing, when the
master of the vineyard came to give each one his hire. And here I am
come to a stream-head, copious enough to disburden itself, like Nilus,
at seven mouths into an ocean. But then I should also run into a
reciprocal contradiction of ebbing and flowing at once, and do that
which I excuse myself for not doing--'preach and not preach.' Yet,
that you may see that I am something suspicious of myself, and do take
notice of a certain belatedness in me, I am the bolder to send you
some of my nightward thoughts some while since, because they come in
not altogether unfitly, made up in a Petrarchian stanza, which I told
How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
Stol'n on his wing my three-and-twentieth year!
My hasting days fly on with full career,
But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th.
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth
That I to manhood am arrived so near;
And inward ripeness doth much less appear
That some more timely-happy spirits endu'th.
Yet be it less, or more, or soon, or slow,
It shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot, however mean or high,
Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heaven.
All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great taskmaster's eye.
By this I believe you may well repent of having made mention at all of
this matter; for, if I have not all this while won you to this, I
have certainly wearied you of it. This, therefore, alone may be a
sufficient reason for me to keep me as I am, lest having thus tired
you singly, I should deal worse with, a whole congregation, and spoil
all the patience of a parish; for I myself do not only see my own
tediousness, but now grow offended with it, that has hindered me thus
long from coming to the last and best _period_ of my letter, and
that which must now chiefly work my pardon, that I am your true and
TO LEONARD PHILARAS, THE ATHENIAN
_The blind poet_
Westminster, 28 _Sept_. 1654.
I have always been devotedly attached to the literature of Greece, and
particularly to that of your Athens; and have never ceased to cherish
the persuasion that that city would one day make me ample recompense
for the warmth of my regard. The ancient genius of your renowned
country has favoured the completion of my prophecy in presenting me
with your friendship and esteem. Though I was known to you only by my
writings, and we were removed to such a distance from each other, you
most courteously addressed me by letter; and when you unexpectedly
came to London, and saw me who could no longer see, my affliction,
which causes none to regard me with greater admiration, and perhaps
many even with feelings of contempt, excited your tenderest sympathy
and concern. You would not suffer me to abandon the hope of recovering
my sight; and informed me you had an intimate friend at Paris, Dr.
Thevenot, who was particularly celebrated in disorders of the eyes,
whom you would consult about mine, if I would enable you to lay before
him the causes and the symptoms of the complaint. I will do what you
desire, lest I should seem to reject that aid which perhaps may be
offered me by Heaven. It is now, I think, about ten years since I
perceived my vision to grow weak and dull; and at the same time I
was troubled with pain in my kidneys and bowels, accompanied with
flatulency. In the morning, if I began to read, as was my custom,
my eyes instantly ached intensely, but were refreshed after a little
corporeal exercise. The candle which I looked at, seemed as it were
encircled with a rainbow. Not long after the sight in the left part of
the left eye (which I lost some years before the other) became quite
obscured, and prevented me from discerning any object on that
side. The sight in my other eye has now been gradually and sensibly
vanishing away for about three years; some months before it had
entirely perished, though I stood motionless, everything which I
looked at seemed in motion to and fro. A stiff cloudy vapour seemed
to have settled on my forehead and temples, which usually occasions a
sort of somnolent pressure upon my eyes, and particularly from dinner
till the evening. So that I often recollect what is said of the poet
Phineas in the _Argonautics_:
A stupor deep his cloudy temples bound,
And when he walked he seemed as whirling round,
Or in a feeble trance he speechless lay.
I ought not to omit that while I had any sight left, as soon as I lay
down on my bed and turned on either side, a flood of light used to
gush from my closed eyelids. Then, as my sight became daily more
impaired, the colours became more faint and were emitted with a
certain inward crackling sound; but at present, every species of
illumination being, as it were, extinguished, there is diffused around
me nothing but darkness, or darkness mingled and streaked with an
ashy brown. Yet the darkness in which I am perpetually immersed seems
always, both by night and day, to approach nearer to white than black;
and when the eye is rolling in its socket, it admits a little particle
of light, as through a chink. And though your physician may kindle
a small ray of hope, yet I make up my mind to the malady as quite
incurable; and I often reflect, that as the wise man admonishes,
days of darkness are destined to each of us, the darkness which I
experience, less oppressive than that of the tomb, is, owing to the
singular goodness of the Deity, passed amid the pursuits of literature
and the cheering salutations of friendship. But if, as is written,
'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth
from the mouth of God,' why may not any one acquiesce in the privation
of his sight, when God has so amply furnished his mind and his
conscience with eyes? While He so tenderly provides for me, while
He so graciously leads me by the hand, and conducts me on the way, I
will, since it is His pleasure, rather rejoice than repine at being
blind. And, my dear Philaras, whatever may be the event, I wish you
adieu with no less courage and composure than if I had the eyes of a
[Footnote 1: From the Latin.]
To SAMUEL PEPYS
_In retirement at Wotton_
Wotton, 2 _Aug_. 1692.
I have been philosophizing and world-despising in the solitudes of
this place, whither I am retired to pass and mourn the absence of my
worthiest friend. Here is wood and water, meadows and mountains, the
Dryads and Hamadryads; but here's no Mr. Pepys, no Dr. Gale. Nothing
of all the cheer in the parlour that I taste; all's insipid, and all
will be so to me, till I see and enjoy you again. I long to know what
you do, and what you think, because I am certain you do both what
is worthy the knowing and imitation. On Monday next will Mr. Bentley
resume his lecture, I think, at Bow Church: I fear I shall hardly
get through this wilderness by that time. Pray give him your wonted
confidence if you can, and tell him how unhappily I am entangled. I
hope, however, to get home within this fortnight, and about the end of
October to my hyemation in Dover Street. My son is gone with the Lord
Lieutenant, and our new relation, Sir Cyril Wych, into Ireland: I look
they should return wondrous statesmen, or else they had as well have
stayed at home. I am here with Boccalini, and Erasmus's _Praise of
Folly_, and look down upon the world with wondrous contempt, when
I consider for what we keep such a mighty bustle. _O fortunate_ Mr.
Pepys! who knows, possesses, and enjoys all that's worth the seeking
after. Let me live among your inclinations, and I shall be happy.
To THE SAME
_An old man's occupations_
Wotton, 22 _July_, 1700.
I could no longer suffer this old servant of mine to pass and repass
so near Clapham without a particular account of your health and all
your happy family. You will now inquire what I do here? Why, as the
patriarchs of old, I pass the days in the fields, among horses and
oxen, sheep, cows, bulls, and sows, _et cetera pecora campi_. We have,
thank God! finished our hay harvest prosperously. I am looking after
my hinds, providing carriage and tackle against reaping time and
sowing. What shall I say more? _Venio ad voluptates agricolarum_,
which Cicero, you know, reckons amongst the most becoming diversions
of old age; and so I render it. This without: now within doors, never
was any matron more busy than my wife, disposing of our plain
country furniture for a naked old extravagant house, suitable to
our employments. She has a dairy, and distaffs, for _lac, linum, et
lanam_, and is become a very Sabine. But can you thus hold out? Will
my friend say; is philosophy, Gresham College, and the example of Mr.
Pepys, and agreeable conversation of York Buildings, quite forgotten
and abandoned? No, no! _Naturam expellas furca tamen usque recurret_.
Know I have been ranging of no fewer than thirty large cases of books,
destined for a competent standing library, during four or five days
wholly destitute of my young coadjutor, who, upon some pretence of
being much engaged in the mathematics, and desiring he may continue
his course at Oxford till the beginning of August, I have wholly left
it to him. You will now suspect something by this disordered hand;
truly I was too happy in these little domestic affairs, when, on the
sudden, as I was about my books in the library, I found myself sorely
attacked with a shivering, followed by a feverish indisposition, and
a strangury, so as to have kept, not my chamber only, but my bed, till
very lately, and with just so much strength as to scribble these lines
to you. For the rest, I give God thanks for this gracious warning, my
great age calling upon me _sarcinam componere_ every day expecting it,
who have still enjoyed a wonderful course of bodily health for forty
DAME DOROTHY BROWNE
TO HER DAUGHTER IN LONDON
_Three interesting postscripts_
[Norfolk, 28 _June, c_. 1679.]
I have received all the things, to the great content of the owners,
who returne you many thankes. Thay ar indeed very well chose things of
all sorts: and I give you many thanks for the troble you have had with
them: I sent you Tomey's scurt and long slevs of his ould cott; I hope
you have them. On Mr. Felden it seemes took it last Wadinsday, and
sayd hee would deliver it him selfe. Wee dayly wish for the new
cloths; all our linen being worne out but shefts, and Tomey would give
all his stock to see his briches. I bless God wee ar all well as
I hope you ar. Tomey presents his dutty, your sisters all love and
I must troble you once more abought my cosen Tenoson. She would
macke a manto gown of the grene and whight silke you sent down for a
peticot, but she wants two yards, and as much slit grene sarsinat as
will line it in sight. I pray send nurs to gett it and lett mee
know what it com to, and I will send you the mony. I sayes my Cossen
Cradock might send it me by the choch for she would have it as sonne
as possible. I bless God wee ar all in helth, and Tomey much longing
for his briches.
Tomey have received his cloues, and is much delighted, and sends you
and his mother and grandmother dutty and thanckes, and meanes to war
GEORGE, LORD BERKELEY
To SAMUEL PEPYS
Berkeley House, 23 _Feb_. 1677-8.
GOOD MR. PEPYS,
Though I thank you for the favour of your letter, yet I confess myself
both much surprised and troubled to receive a letter from you upon
such an occasion: so is my wife, who professes herself wholly innocent
of any crime of charging you in thought, word, or deed, and hopes you
will do her that right to believe so of her. My daughter Berkeley says
she expressed some trouble that the friend she recommended had not
success, and that she was told the Commissioners of the Navy did
report they had given the same recommendations of the person she
proposed, as they did of him that was accepted, for the lieutenant's
place; which my daughter, supposing to be true, wondered the more he
lost the preferment: but, by the copies enclosed in your's, it appears
her Ladyship was very much misinformed. As for Mrs. Henrietta, she
is extremely troubled in saying any thing that gave you offence; and
though she did not in the least intend it, yet she begs your pardon.
And now, my good friend, though I am not under any accusation, and
therefore need not say any thing to vindicate myself, yet give me
leave, upon this occasion, to assure you, that there is no person
has a better opinion of you than myself, nor is more sensible of your
particular civilities to me; which I should be very glad to make a
return of when in my power to serve you: and give me leave to add
further, without flattery to you, and with great sincerity, that I
believe our gracious master, His Majesty, is so fortunate in employing
you in his service, that, if he should lose you, it would be very
difficult for His Majesty to find a successor so well qualified in
all respects for his service, if we consider both your integrity, vast
abilities, industry, and zealous affections for his service; and,
if His Majesty were asked the question, I will hold ten to one His
Majesty declares himself of my opinion; so will I believe all that
know you, more especially our fellow-traders that are so conversant
with you and obliged by you.
This is asserted as a great truth by, Sir, your very affectionate and
hearty friend and Servant.
[Footnote 1: Cf. Letter on p. 45.]
To SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE
_Passing the time_
[No date; c. 1653.]
I have been reckoning up how many faults you lay to my charge in your
last letter, and I find I am severe, unjust, unmerciful, and unkind!
O me! how should one do to mend all those! 'Tis work for an age, and
I fear that I shall be so old before I am good, that 'twill not be
considerable to any body but myself whether I am so or not.... You ask
me how I pass my time here. I can give you a perfect account, not only
of what I do for the present, but what I am likely to do this seven
years if I stay here so long. I rise in the morning reasonably early,
and before I am ready I go round the house till I am weary of that,
and then into the garden till it grows too hot for me. I then think of
making me ready; and when that's done I go into my father's chamber;
from thence to dinner, where my cousin Molle and I sit in great state
in a room and at a table that would hold a great many more. After
dinner we sit and talk till Mr. P. comes in question, and then I am
gone. The heat of the day is spent in reading or working; and about
six or seven o'clock I walk out into a common that lies hard by the
house, where a great many young wenches keep sheep and cows, and
sit in the shade singing of ballads; I go to them, and compare their
voices and beauty to some ancient shepherdesses that I have read of,
and find a vast difference there; but, trust me, I think these are
as innocent as those could be. I talk to them, and find _they
want nothing to make them the happiest people in the world but the
knowledge that they are so_. Most commonly, while we are in the middle
of our discourse, one looks about her, and spies her cows going into
the corn, and then away they all run as if they had wings at their
heels. I that am not so nimble stay behind, and when I see them
driving home their cattle think it is time for me to return too. When
I have supped I go into the garden, and so to the side of a small
river that runs by it, where I sit down and wish you with me (you
had best say this is not kind, neither). In earnest, it is a pleasant
place, and would be more so to me if I had your company, as I sit
there sometimes till I am lost with thinking; and were it not for some
cruel thoughts of the crossness of my fortune, that will not let me
sleep there, I should forget there were such a thing to be done as
going to bed. Since I writ this, my company is increased by two, my
brother Harry, and a fair niece, my brother Peyton's daughter. She is
so much a woman that I am almost ashamed to say I am her aunt, and so
pretty, that if I had any design to gain a servant I should not like
her company; but I have none, and therefore I shall endeavour to keep
her here as long as I can persuade her father to spare her, for she
will easily consent to it, having so much of my humour (though it
be the worst thing in her) as to like a melancholy place, and little
company.... My father is reasonably well, but keeps his chamber still;
but will hardly, I am afraid, ever be so perfectly recovered as to
come abroad again.
TO THE SAME
[No date; c. 1653.]
I could tell you such a story (it is too long to be written), as would
make you see what I never discovered in my life before, that I am
a valiant lady. In earnest, we have had such a skirmish and upon so
foolish an occasion, as I cannot tell which is strangest. The Emperor
and his proposals began it; I talked merrily on it till I saw my
brother put on his sober face, and could hardly then believe he was
in earnest. It seems he was; for when I had spoke freely my meaning it
wrought so with him, as to fetch up all that lay upon his stomach: all
the people that I had ever in my life refused were brought again upon
the stage, like Richard the Third's ghosts, to reproach me withal, and
all the kindness his discoveries could make I had for you was laid to
my charge; my best qualities, if I have any that are good, served
but for aggravations of my fault, and I was allowed to have wit, and
understanding, and discretion, in all other things, that it might
appear I had none in this. Well, 'twas a pretty lecture, and I grew
warm with it after a while. In short, we came so near to an absolute
falling out that 'twas time to give over, and we said so much then
that we have hardly spoken a word together since. But 'tis wonderful
to see what courtesies and legs pass between us, and as before we were
thought the kindest brother and sister, we are certainly now the most
complimental couple in England: it is a strange change, and I am very
sorry for it, but I'll swear I know not how to help it....
TO THE SAME
_A disappointing preacher_
[No date; c. 1653.]
... God forgive me, I was as near laughing yesterday where I should
not: would you believe that I had the grace to go to hear a sermon
upon a week-day? In earnest, 'tis true, and Mr. Marshall was the man
that preached, but never any body was so defeated. He is so famed that
I expected rare things from him, and seriously I listened to him at
first with as much reverence and attention as if he had been St. Paul.
And what do you think he told us? why, that if there were no kings, no
queens, no lords, no ladies, no gentlemen or gentlewomen in the world,
it would be no loss at all to God Almighty: this he said over some
forty times, which made me remember it, whether I would or not.
The rest was much at this rate, entertained with the prettiest odd
phrases, that I had the most ado to look soberly enough for the place
I was in that ever I had in my life. He does not preach so always,
sure; if he does, I cannot believe his sermons will do much towards
the bringing anybody to heaven more than by exercising their patience;
yet I'll say that for him, he stood stoutly for tithes, though in
my opinion few deserve them less than he, and it may be he would be
better without them. Yet you say you are not convinced that to be
miserable is the way to be good; to some natures I think it is not;
but there are many of so careless and vain a temper that the least
breath of good fortune swells them with so much pride, that if they
were not put in mind sometimes by a sound cross or two that they are
mortal, they would hardly think it possible; and though it is a sign
of a servile nature, when fear produces more of reverence in us
than love, yet there is more danger of forgetting one's self in a
prosperous fortune than in the contrary; and affliction may be the
surest though not the pleasantest guide to heaven. What think you,
might I not preach with Mr. Marshall for a wager?...
TO THE SAME
_The ideal husband_
[No date; _c_. 1653.]
There are a great many ingredients must go to the making me happy in
a husband. My cousin F. says our humours must agree, and to do that he
must have that kind of breeding that I have had, and used to that kind
of company; that is, he must not be so much a country gentleman as to
understand nothing but hawks and dogs, and be fonder of either than of
his wife; nor of the next sort of them, whose time reaches no farther
than to be justice of peace, and once in his life high sheriff, who
reads no book but statutes, and studies nothing but how to make a
speech interlarded with Latin, that may amaze his disagreeing poor
neighbours, and fright them rather than persuade them into quietness.
He must not be a thing that began the world in a free school, was sent
from thence to the university, and is at his farthest when he reaches
the inns of court; has no acquaintance but those of his form in those
places; speaks the French he has picked out of old laws, and admires
nothing but the stories he has heard of the revels that were kept
there before his time. He must not be a town gallant neither, that
lives in a tavern and an ordinary; that cannot imagine how an hour
should be spent without company unless it be in sleeping; that makes
court to all the women he sees, thinks they believe him, and laughs
and is laughed at equally. Nor a travelled Monsieur, whose head is
feathered inside and outside, that can talk of nothing but of dances
and duels, and has courage enough to wear slashes, when every body
else dies with cold to see him. He must not be a fool of no sort, nor
peevish, nor ill-natured, nor proud, nor courteous; and to all this
must be added, that he must love me, and I him, as much as we are
capable of loving. Without all this his fortune, though never so
great, would not satisfy me, and with it a very moderate one would
keep me from ever repenting my disposal....
TO THE SAME
_The growth of friendship_
[No date; c. 1653.]
... I must find you pleased and in good humour; merry as you were
wont to be, when we first met, if you will not have me show that I am
nothing akin to my cousin Osborne's lady. But what an age it is since
we first met, and how great a change it has wrought in both of us!
if there had been as great a one on my face, it would be either very
handsome or very ugly. For God's sake, when we meet, let us design one
day to remember old stories in, to ask one another by what degrees
our friendship grew to this height 'tis at. In earnest, I am lost
sometimes in thinking of it, and though I can never repent of the
share you have in my heart, I know not whether I gave it you willingly
or not at first. No; to speak ingenuously, I think you got an interest
there a good while before I thought you had any, and it grew so
insensibly and yet so fast, that all the traverses it has met with
since have served rather to discover it to me than at all to hinder
TO THE SAME.
[No date; c. 1653.]
I was carried yesterday abroad to a dinner that was designed for
mirth, but it seems one ill-humoured person in the company is enough
to put all the rest out of tune, for I never saw people perform what
they intended worse, and could not forbear telling them so; but to
excuse themselves and silence my reproaches they all agreed to say
that I spoiled their jollity by wearing the most unseasonable looks
that could be put on for such an occasion. I told them I knew no
remedy but leaving me behind them; that my looks were suitable to
my fortune though not to a feast. Fie, I am got into my complaining
humour that tires myself as well as every body else, and which (as you
observe) helps not at all; would it would leave me and that I should
not always have occasion for it, but that's in nobody's power, and my
Lady Talmash, that says she can do whatever she will, cannot believe
whatsoever she pleases. 'Tis not unpleasant, methinks, to hear her
talk how at such a time she was sick, and the physicians told her she
would have the small-pox and showed her where they were coming out
upon her, but she bethought herself that it was not at all convenient
for her to have them at that time; some business she had that required
her going abroad, and so she resolved she would not be sick nor was
not. Twenty such stories as these she tells, and then falls into
discourses of the strength of reason and power of philosophy till she
confounds herself and all that hear her. You have no such ladies in
Ireland.... My poor Lady Vavasor is carried to the Tower, and her
situation could not excuse her, because she was acquainted by somebody
that there was a plot against the Protector, and did not discover it.
She has told now all that was told her, but vows she will never say
from whence she had it; we shall see whether her resolutions are as
unalterable as those of my Lady Talmash. I wonder how she behaved
herself when she was married; I never yet saw anybody that did not
look simply and out of countenance, nor ever knew a wedding well
designed but one, and that was of two persons who had time enough I
confess to contrive it, and nobody to please in it but themselves. He
came down into the country where she was upon a visit, and one morning
married her; as soon as they came out of the church, they took coach
and came for the town, dined at an Inn by the way, and at night came
into lodgings that were provided for them, where nobody knew them,
and where they passed for married people of seven years' standing. The
truth is I could not endure to be Mrs. Bride in a public wedding, to
be made the happiest person on earth; do not take it ill, for I would
endure it if I could, rather than fail, but in earnest I do not think
it were possible for me; you cannot apprehend the formalities of a
treaty more than I do, nor so much the success of it. Yet in earnest
your father will not find my brother Peyton wanting in civility
(though he is not a man of much compliment unless it be in his letters
to me), nor an unreasonable person in any thing so he will allow him,
out of his kindness to his wife, to set a higher value upon his
sister than she deserves. I know not how he may be prejudiced upon the
business, but he is not deaf to reason when it is civilly delivered,
and is as easily gained with compliance and good usage as any body
I know, but no other way; when he is roughly used he is like me ten
times the worse for it. I make it a case of conscience to discover my
faults to you as fast as I know them, that you may consider what you
have to do: my aunt told me no longer ago than yesterday, that I was
the most wilful woman that ever she knew, and had an obstinacy of
spirit nothing could overcome. Take heed, you see I give you fair
warning. I have missed a letter this Monday, what is the reason?
By the next I shall be gone into Kent, and my other journey is laid
aside, which I am not displeased at, because it would have broken our
intercourse very much. Here are some verses of Cowley's; pray tell me
how you like them. It is only a piece taken out of a new thing of
his. The whole is very long, and is a description of, or rather a
paraphrase upon, the friendships of David and Jonathan. 'Tis I think
the best I have seen of his, and I like the subject because it is that
I would be perfect in. Adieu!
ORINDA TO THE HONOURABLE BERENICE
_Yielding to opinion_
Priory of Cardigan, _25 June_
Your Ladyship's last favour from Coll. P----'s was truly obliging,
and carried so much of the same great soul of yours, which loves to
diffuse itself in expressions of friendship to me, that it merits
a great deal more acknowledgement than I am able to pay at my best
condition, and am less now when my head aches, and will give me no
leave to enlarge, though I have so much subject and reason; but really
if my heart ached too, I could be sensible of a very great kindness
and condescension in thinking me worthy of your concern, though
I visibly perceive most of my letters have lost their way to your
Ladyship. I beseech you be pleased first to believe I have written
every post; but, secondly, since I came, and then to enquire for them,
that they may be commended into your hands, where alone they can hope
for a favourable residence; I am very much a sharer by sympathy, in
your Ladyship's satisfaction in the converse you had in the country,
and find that to that ingenious company Fortune hath been just, there
being no person fitter to receive all the admiration of persons best
capable to pay them, than the great _Berenice_....
And now (madam) why was that a cruel question, When will you come to
_Wales_? 'Tis cruel to me, I confess, that it is yet in question, but
I humbly beg your Ladyship to unriddle that part of your letter, for
I cannot understand why you, madam, who have no persons alive to whom
your birth hath submitted you, and have already by your life secured
to yourself the best opinion the world can give you, should create an
awe upon your own actions, from imaginary inconveniences: Happiness,
I confess, is two-faced, and one is opinion; but that opinion is
certainly _our own_; for it were equally ridiculous and impossible
to shape our _actions_ by others' _opinions_. I have had so much (and
some sad) reason to discuss this principle, that I can speak with some
confidence, That _none will ever be happy, who make their happiness to
consist in, or be governed by the votes of other persons._ I deny
not but the approbation of wise and good persons is a very necessary
satisfaction; but to forbear innocent contentments, only because it's
possible some fancies may be so capricious as to dispute whether I
should have taken them, is, in my belief, neither better nor worse
than to fast always, because there are some so superstitious in the
world, that will abstain from meat, upon some score or other, upon
every day in the year, that is, some upon some days, and others
upon others, and some upon all. You know, madam, there is nothing so
various as _vulgar opinion_, nothing so untrue to itself. Who shall
then please since none can fix it? 'Tis heresy (this of submitting to
every blast of popular extravagancy) which I have combated in persons
very dear to me; _Dear madam_, let them not have your authority for a
relapse, when I had almost committed them; but consider it without a
bias, and give sentence as you see cause; and in that interim put me
not off (_Dear madam_) with those chimeras, but tell me plainly what
inconvenience is it to come? If it be one in earnest, I will submit,
but otherwise, I am so much my own friend, and my friend's friend,
as not to be satisfied with your Ladyship's taking measure of your
actions by others' opinion, when I know too that the severest could
find nothing in this journey that they could condemn, but your excess
of charity to me, and that censure you have already supported with
patience, and (notwithstanding my own consciousness of no ways
deserving your sufferance upon that score) I cannot beg you to recover
the reputation of your judgement in that particular, since it must be
my ruin. I should now say very much for your most obliging commands to
me, to write, and should beg frequent letters from your Ladyship with
all possible importunity, and should by command from my _Lucasia_
excuse her last rudeness (as she calls it) in giving you account of
her honour for you under her own hand, but I must beg your pardon now,
and out-believing all, I can say upon every one of these accounts, for
really, madam, you cannot tell how to imagine any person more to any
one, than I am,
most faithful servant,
and passionate friend_,
TO WILLIAM MOLYNEUX
_A philosopher's confidences_
Oates, 26 _April_, 1695.
You look with the eyes, and speak the language of friendship, when you
make my life of much more concern to the world than your own. I take
it, as it is, for an effect of your kindness, and so shall not accuse
you of compliment; the mistakes and over-valuings of good-will being
always sincere, even when they exceed what common truth allows. This
on my side I must beg you to believe, that my life would be much more
pleasant and useful to me, if you were within my reach, that I might
sometimes enjoy your conversation, and, upon twenty occasions, lay
my thoughts before you, and have the advantage of your judgement. I
cannot complain that I have not my share of friends of all ranks, and
such, whose interest, assistance, affection, and opinions too, in fit
cases, I can rely on. But methinks, for all this, there is one place
vacant, that I know nobody that would so well fill as yourself; I want
one near me to talk freely with, _de quolibet ente_; to propose to
the extravagancies that rise in my mind; one with whom I would debate
several doubts and questions, to see what was in them. Meditating by
one's self, is like digging in the mine; it often, perhaps, brings up
maiden earth, which never came near the light before; but whether it
contains any metal in it, is never so well tried as in conversation
with a knowing judicious friend who carries about with him the true
touchstone, which is love of truth in a clear-thinking head. Men of
parts and judgement the world usually gets hold of, and by a great
mistake (that their abilities of mind are lost, if not employed in the
pursuit of wealth or power) engages them in the ways of fortune and
interest, which usually leave but little freedom or leisure of thought
for pure disinterested truth. And such who give themselves up frankly,
and in earnest to the full latitude of real knowledge, are not
everywhere to be met with. Wonder not, therefore, that I wish so much
for you in my neighbourhood; I should be too happy in a friend of your
make, were you within my reach. But yet I cannot but wish that some
business would once bring you within distance; and it is a pain to me
to think of leaving the world without the happiness of seeing you.
I do not wonder that a kinsman of yours should magnify civilities that
scarce deserve the name; I know not wherein they consisted, but in
being glad to see one that was in any way related to you, and was
himself a very ingenious man; either of those was a title to more than
I did, or could show him. I am sorry I have not yet had an opportunity
to wait on him in London; and I fear he should be gone before I am
able to get thither. This long winter, and cold spring, has hung very
heavy upon my lungs, and they are not yet in a case to be ventured in
London air, which must be my excuse for not waiting upon him and Dr.
The third edition of my essay has already, or will be speedily, in the
press. But what perhaps will seem stranger, and possibly please you
better, an abridgement is now making (if it be not already done) by
one of the university of Oxford, for the use of young scholars, in the
place of the ordinary system of logic. From the acquaintance I had of
the temper of that place I did not expect to have it get much footing
there. But so it is, I some time since received a very civil letter
from one, wholly a stranger to me there, concerning such a design; and
by another from him since, I conclude it near done. He seems to be an
ingenious man, and he writes sensibly about it, but I can say nothing
of it till I see it; and he, of his own accord, has offered that it
shall be wholly submitted to my opinion, and disposal of it. And thus,
sir, possibly that which you once proposed may be attained to, and I
was pleased with the gentleman's design for your sake.
You are a strange man, you oblige me very much by the care you take
to have it well translated, and you thank me for complying with your
offer. In my last, as I remember, I told you the reason why it was
so long before I writ, was an expectation of an answer from London,
concerning something I had to communicate to you: it was in short
this; I was willing to know what my bookseller would give for a good
latin copy; he told me, at last, twenty pounds. His delay was, because
he would first have known what the translator demanded. But I forced
him to make his proposal, and so I send it to you, to make what use of
it you please. He since writ me word, that a friend of his at Oxford
would, in some time, be at leisure to do it, and would undertake it. I
bid him excuse himself to him, for that it was in hands I approved of,
and some part of it now actually done. For I hope the essay (he was to
show you the next week after you writ to me last) pleased you. Think
it not a compliment, that I desire you to make what alterations you
think fit. One thing particularly you will oblige me and the world in,
and that is, in paring off some of the superfluous repetitions, which
I left in for the sake of illiterate men, and the softer sex, not used
to abstract notions and reasonings. But much of this reasoning will
be out of doors in a latin translation. I refer all to your judgement,
and so am secure it will be done as is best.
What I shall add concerning enthusiasm, I guess, will very much agree
with your thoughts, since yours jump so right with mine, about the
place where it is to come in, I having designed it for chap. 18, lib.
iv, as a false principle of reasoning often made use of. But, to give
an historical account of the various ravings men have embraced for
religion, would, I fear, be besides my purpose, and be enough to make
an huge volume.
My opinion of P. Malebranche agrees perfectly with yours. What I
have writ concerning 'seeing all things in God', would make a little
treatise of itself. But I have not quite gone through it, for fear
I should by somebody or other be tempted to print it. For I love not
controversies, and have a personal kindness for the author. When I
have the happiness to see you, we will consider it together, and you
shall dispose of it.
I think I shall make some other additions to be put into your latin
translation, and particularly concerning the 'connection of ideas',
which has not, that I know, been hitherto considered, and has, I
guess, a greater influence upon our minds than is usually taken notice
of. Thus, you see, I make you the confident of my reveries; you would
be troubled with a great many more of them, were you nearer.
TO DR. MOLYNEUX
Oates, 27 _Oct._ 1698.
Death has, with a violent hand, hastily snatched from you a dear
brother. I doubt not but, on this occasion, you need all the
consolation can be given to one unexpectedly bereft of so worthy and
near a relation. Whatever inclination I may have to alleviate your
sorrow, I bear too great a share in the loss, and am too sensibly
touched with it myself, to be in a condition to discourse with you on
this subject, or do any thing but mingle my tears with yours. I have
lost, in your brother, not only an ingenious and learned acquaintance,
all that the world esteemed; but an intimate and sincere friend, whom
I truly loved, and by whom I was truly loved: and what a loss that is,
those only can be sensible who know how valuable, and how scarce,
a true friend is, and how far to be preferred to all other sorts of
treasure. He has left a son, who I know was dear to him, and deserved
to be so as much as was possible, for one of his age. I cannot think
myself wholly incapacitated from paying some of the affection and
service that was due from me to my dear friend, as long as he has a
child, or a brother, in the world. If, therefore, there be any thing,
at this distance, wherein I, in my little sphere, may be able to serve
your nephew or you, I beg you, by the memory of our deceased friend,
to let me know it, that you may see that one who loved him so well,
cannot but be tenderly concerned for his son, nor be otherwise than I
am, Sir, etc.
TO GEORGE, LORD BERKELEY
Derby House, 22 _Feb._ 1677-8
I am greatly owing to your Lordship for your last favour at St.
John's, and did, till now, reckon myself under no less a debt to my
Ladies for the honour at the same time done me, in their commands
touching Mr. Bonithan. But, my Lord, I have lately had the misfortune
of being undeceived in the latter, by coming to know the severity with
which some of my Ladies are pleased to discourse of me in relation
thereto. I assure your Lordship, I was so big with the satisfaction of
having an opportunity given me by my Ladies at once of obliging them,
paying a small respect to you, and doing a good office to a deserving
gentleman, that I did not let one day pass before I had bespoke and
obtained His Majesty's and Royal Highness's promise of favour in Mr.
Bonithan's behalf: and was so far afterwards from failing him in my
further assistances with Captain Trevanion and others, that I took
early care to secure him a lieutenancy, by a commission actually
signed for him by the King, in the ship _Stavereene_, relying upon the
character Captain Trevanion had given me of his capacity to abide
the examination, established by the King, upon the promotion of
lieutenants; which was not only the most I should have done in the
case of a brother, but more than ever I did in any man's case before,
or, for his sake, do think I shall ever do again. True it is, my Lord,
that when, upon his examination by the officers of the Navy, he was
found not so fully qualified for the office of lieutenant as was
requisite, I did with all respect, and to his seeming satisfaction,
advise him to pass a little longer time in the condition he was
then in, under a stricter application of himself to the practice of
navigation. And, in pursuance of my duty to the King, I did acquaint
him also with Mr. Bonithan's present unreadiness; and had, therefore,
a command given me for conferring the commission prepared for him upon
another, who, upon examination, at the same time with Mr. Bonithan,
was found better qualified for it. As to what I understand my Ladies
are pleased to entertain themselves and others with, to my reproach,
as if money had been wanting in the case, it is a reproach lost upon
me, my Lord, who am known to be so far from needing any purgation in
the point of selling places, as never to have taken so much as my fee
for a commission or warrant to any one officer in the Navy, within
the whole time, now near twenty years, that I have had the honour of
serving His Majesty therein--a self-denial at this day so little in
fashion, and yet so chargeable to maintain, that I take no pride,
and as little pleasure, in the mentioning it, further than it happily
falls in here to my defence against the mistake the Ladies seem
disposed to arraign me by on this occasion. Besides that, in the
particular case of this gentleman, Lieut. Beele, who enjoys the
commission designed for Mr. Bonithan, he is one whose face I never
saw either before or since the time of his receiving it, nor know one
friend he has in the world to whom he owes this benefit, other than
the King's justice and his own modest merit: which, having said, it
remains only that I assure your Lordship what I have so said, is not
calculated with any regard to, much less any repining at, the usage
the Ladies are pleased to show me in this affair, for 'tis fit I bear
it, but to acquit myself to your Lordship in my demeanour towards
them, as becomes their and, my Lord,
Your Lordship's most obedient Servant.
TO MRS. STEWARD
_A wedding in the city_
20 _Sept._ 1695.
You are very good, and pray continue so, by as many kind messages as
you can, and notices of your health, such as the bearer brings you
back my thanks for, and a thousand services. Here's a sad town, and
God knows when it will be a better, our losses at sea making a very
melancholy exchange at both ends of it; the gentlewomen of this, to
say nothing of the other, sitting with their arms across, without a
yard of muslin in their shops to sell, while the ladies, they tell
me, walk pensively by, without a shilling, I mean a good one, in their
pockets to buy. One thing there is indeed, that comes in my way as a
Governor, to hear of, which carries a little mirth with it, and indeed
is very odd. Two wealthy citizens that are lately dead, and left their
estates, one to a Blue Coat boy, and the other to a Blue Coat girl, in
Christ's Hospital. The extraordinariness of which has led some of
the magistrates to carry it on to a match, which is ended in a public
wedding; he in his habit of blue satin, led by two of the girls, and
she in blue, with an apron green and petticoat yellow, all of sarsnet,
led by two of the boys of the house, through Cheapside to Guildhall
Chapel, where they were married by the Dean of St. Paul's, she given
by my Lord Mayor. The wedding dinner, it seems, was kept in the
Hospital Hall, but the great day will be tomorrow, St Matthew's; when,
so much I am sure of, my Lord Mayor will be there, and myself also
have had a ticket of invitation thither, and if I can, will be there
too, but, for other particulars, I must refer you to my next, and so,
Dear madam, Adieu.
Bow Bells are just now ringing, ding dong, but whether for this, I
cannot presently tell; but it is likely enough, for I have known them
ring upon much foolisher occasions, and lately too.
TO JOHN EVELYN
_Reply to an old friend_
Clapham, 7 _Aug._ 1700.
I have no herds to mind, nor will my Doctor allow me any books here.
What then, will you say, too, are you doing? Why, truly, nothing that
will bear naming, and yet I am not, I think, idle; for who can, that
has so much of past and to come to think on, as I have? And thinking,
I take it, is working, though many forms beneath what my Lady and you
are doing. But pray remember what o'clock it is with you and me; and
be not now, by overstirring, too bold with your present complaint, any
more than I dare be with mine, which, too, has been no less kind in
giving me my warning, than the other to you, and to neither of us,
I hope, and, through God's mercy, dare say, either unlooked for or
unwelcome. I wish, nevertheless, that I were able to administer any
thing towards the lengthening that precious rest of life which God has
thus long blessed you, and, in you, mankind, with; but I have always
been too little regardful of my own health, to be a prescriber to
others. I cannot give myself the scope I otherwise should in talking
now to you at this distance, on account of the care extraordinary I am
now under from Mrs. Skinner's being suddenly fallen very ill; but ere
long I may possibly venture at entertaining you with something from
my young man in exchange--I don't say in payment, for the pleasure you
gratify me with from yours, whom I pray God to bless with continuing
but what he is! and I'll ask no more for him.
_The Dean at home_
London, 16 _Jan._ 1710-11.
O faith, young women, I have sent my letter N. 13, without one crumb
of an answer to any of MD's; there is for you now; and yet Presto
ben't angry faith, not a bit, only he will begin to be in pain next
Irish post, except he sees MD's little handwriting in the glass frame
at the bar of St. James's Coffee-house, where Presto would never go
but for that purpose. Presto's at home, God help him, every night from
six till bed time, and has as little enjoyment or pleasure in life at
present as anybody in the world, although in full favour with all the
ministry. As hope saved, nothing gives Presto any sort of dream of
happiness, but a letter now and then from his own dearest MD. I love
the expectation of it, and when it does not come, I comfort myself,
that I have it yet to be happy with. Yes faith, and when I write to
MD, I am happy too; it is just as if methinks you were here, and I
prating to you, and telling you where I have been: Well, says you,
Presto, come, where have you been to-day? come, let's hear now. And so
then I answer; Ford and I were visiting Mr. Lewis, and Mr. Prior, and
Prior has given me a fine Plautus, and then Ford would have had me
dine at his lodgings, and so I would not; and so I dined with him at
an eating-house; which I have not done five times since I came here;
and so I came home, after visiting Sir Andrew Fountaine's mother and
sister, and Sir Andrew Fountaine is mending, though slowly.
17. I was making, this morning, some general visits, and at twelve I
called at the coffee-house for a letter from MD; so the man said he
had given it to Patrick; then I went to the Court of requests and
treasury to find Mr. Harley, and after some time spent in mutual
reproaches, I promised to dine with him; I stayed there till seven,
then called at Sterne's and Leigh's to talk about your box, and to
have it sent by Smyth; Sterne says he has been making inquiries,
and will set things right as soon as possible. I suppose it lies at
Chester, at least I hope so, and only wants a lift over to you....
Well, so I came home to read my letter from Stella, but the dog
Patrick was abroad; at last he came, and I got my letter; I found
another hand had superscribed it; when I opened it, I found it written
all in French, and subscribed Bernage: faith, I was ready to fling
it at Patrick's head. Bernage tells me, he had been to desire your
recommendation to me to make him a captain; and your cautious answer,
'That he had as much power with me as you,' was a notable one; if you
were here, I would present you to the ministry as a person of ability.
Bernage should let me know where to write to him; this is the second
letter I have had without any direction; however, I beg I may not have
a third, but that you will ask him, and send me how I shall direct
to him. In the meantime, tell him, that if regiments are to be raised
here, as he says, I will speak to George Granville, secretary at war,
to make him a captain; and use what other interest I conveniently can.
I think that is enough, and so tell him, and do not trouble me with
his letters when I expect them from MD; do you hear, young women,
write to Presto.
18. I was this morning with Mr. Secretary St. John, and we were to
dine at Mr. Harley's alone, about some business of importance; but
there were two or three gentlemen there. Mr. Secretary and I went
together from his office to Mr. Harley's, and thought to have been
very wise; but the deuce a bit: the company stayed, and more came,
and Harley went away at seven, and the secretary and I stayed with the
rest of the company till eleven; I would then have had him come away,
but he was in for it; and though he swore he would come away at that
flask, there I left him. I wonder at the civility of these people;
when he saw I would drink no more, he would always pass the bottle by
me, and yet I could not keep the toad from drinking himself, nor he
would not let me go neither, nor Masham, who was with us. When I
got home, I found a parcel directed to me, and opening it, I found
a pamphlet written entirely against myself, not by name, but against
something I writ: it is pretty civil, and affects to be so, and I
think I will take no notice of it; it is against something written
very lately; and indeed I know not what to say, nor do I care; and so
you are a saucy rogue for losing your money to-day at Stoyte's; to let
that bungler beat you, my Stella, are not you ashamed? well, I forgive
you this once, never do so again; no, noooo. Kiss and be friends,
sirrah.--Come, let me go sleep, I go earlier to bed than formerly; and
have not been out so late these two months; but the secretary was in a
drinking humour. So good night, myownlittledearsaucyinsolentrogues.
19. Then you read that long word in the last line, no faith have not
you. Well, when will this letter come from our MD? to-morrow or next
day without fail; yes faith, and so it is coming. This was an insipid
snowy day, and I dined gravely with Mrs. Vanhomrigh, and came home,
and am now got to bed a little after ten; I remember old Culpepper's
Would you have a settled head,
You must early go to bed:
I tell you, and I tell it again,
You must be in bed at ten.
20. And so I went to-day with my new wig, o hoao, to visit Lady
Worsley, whom I had not seen before, although she was near a month in
town. Then I walked in the Park to find Mr. Ford, whom I had promised
to meet, and coming down the Mall, who should come towards me but
Patrick, and gives me five letters out of his pocket. I read the
superscription of the first, Pshoh, said I; of the second, pshoh
again; of the third, pshah, pshah, pshah; of the fourth, a gad, a gad,
a gad, I am in a rage; of the fifth and last, O hoooa; ay marry
this is something, this is our MD, so truly we opened it, I think
immediately, and it began the most impudently in the world, thus; Dear
Presto, we are even thus far. Now we are even, quoth Stephen, when he
gave his wife six blows for one. I received your ninth four days after
I had sent my thirteenth. But I'll reckon with you anon about that,
young women. Why did not you recant at the end of your letter when you
got your eleventh? tell me that, huzzies base, were we even then, were
we, sirrah? but I will not answer your letter now, I will keep it for
another time. We had a great deal of snow to-day, and it is terrible
21. _Morning_. It has snowed terribly all night, and is vengeance
cold. I am not yet up, but cannot write long; my hands will freeze. Is
there a good fire, Patrick? Yes, sir, then I will rise; come take away
the candle. You must know I write on the dark side of my bedchamber,
and am forced to have a candle till I rise, for the bed stands between
me and the window, and I keep the curtains shut this cold weather.
So pray let me rise, and, Patrick, here, take away the candle.--_At
night._ We are now here in high frost and snow, the largest fire can
hardly keep us warm. It is very ugly walking, a baker's boy broke his
thigh yesterday. I walk slow, make short steps, and never tread on my
heel. It is a good proverb the Devonshire people have:
Walk fast in snow,
In frost walk slow,
And still as you go,
Tread on your toe:
When frost and snow are both together,
Sit by the fire and spare shoe leather.
22. _Morning_. Starving, starving, uth, uth, uth, uth, uth.--Do not
you remember I used to come into your chamber, and turn Stella out of
her chair, and rake up the fire in a cold morning, and cry uth, uth,
uth? O faith, I must rise, my hand is so cold I can write no more....
26, 27, 28, 29, 30. I have been so lazy and negligent these last four
days, that I could not write to MD. My head is not in order, and yet
it is not absolutely ill, but giddyish, and makes me listless; I walk
every day, and hope I shall grow better. I wish I were with MD; I long
for spring and good weather, and then I will come over. My riding in
Ireland keeps me well. I am very temperate, and eat of the easiest
meats as I am directed, and hope the malignity will go off; but
one fit shakes me a long time. I dined to-day with Lord Mountjoy,
yesterday at Mr. Stone's in the city, on Sunday at Vanhomrigh's,
Saturday with Ford, and Friday I think at Vanhomrigh's, and that's all
the journal I can send MD; for I was so lazy while I was well that I
could not write. I thought to have sent this to-night, but it is ten,
and I'll go to bed, and write on the other side to Parsivol to-morrow,
and send it on Thursday; and so good night my dears, and love Presto,
and be healthy, and Presto will be so too.
To LORD TREASURER OXFORD
_The Dean makes his bow_
1 _July_, 1714.
When I was with you, I have said more than once, that I would never
allow quality or station made any real difference between men. Being
now absent and forgotten, I have changed my mind: you have a thousand
people who can pretend they love you, with as much appearance of
sincerity as I, so that, according to common justice, I can have but
a thousandth part in return of what I give. And this difference is
wholly owing to your station. And the misfortune is still the greater,
because I always loved you just so much the worse for your station:
for, in your public capacity, you have often angered me to the heart,
but, as a private man, never once. So that, if I only look toward
myself, I could wish you a private man to-morrow: for I have nothing
to ask; at least nothing that you will give, which is the same thing:
and then you would see whether I should not with much more willingness
attend you in a retirement, whenever you please to give me leave, than
ever I did at London or Windsor. From these sentiments I will never
write to you, if I can help it, otherwise than as to a private person,
or allow myself to have been obliged to you in any other capacity.
The memory of one great instance of your candour and justice, I will
carry to my grave; that having been in a manner domestic with you
for almost four years, it was never in the power of any public or
concealed enemy to make you think ill of me, though malice and envy
were often employed to that end. If I live, posterity shall know that,
and more; which, though you, and somebody that shall be nameless, seem
to value less than I could wish, is all the return I can make you.
Will you give me leave to say how I would desire to stand in your
memory? As one, who was truly sensible of the honour you did him,
though he was too proud to be vain upon it; as one, who was neither
assuming, officious, nor teasing; who never wilfully misrepresented
persons or facts to you, nor consulted his passions when he gave
a character; and lastly, as one, whose indiscretions proceeded
altogether from a weak head, and not an ill heart. I will add one
thing more, which is the highest compliment I can make, that I never
was afraid of offending you, nor am now in any pain for the manner
I write to you in. I have said enough; and, like one at your levee,
having made my bow, I shrink back into the crowd.
TO DR. SHERIDAN
_News from the country_
25 _Jan._ 1724-5.
I have a packet of letters, which I intended to send by Molly, who has
been stopped three days by the bad weather; but now I will send them
by the post to-morrow to Kells, and enclosed to Mr. Tickell there is
one to you, and one to James Stopford.
I can do no work this terrible weather; which has put us all seventy
times out of patience. I have been deaf nine days, and am now pretty
well recovered again.
Pray desire Mr. Stanton and Worral to continue giving themselves some
trouble with Mr. Pratt; but let it succeed or not, I hope I shall be
Mrs. Johnson swears it will rain till Michaelmas. She is so pleased
with her pick-axe, that she wears it fastened to her girdle on her
left side, in balance with her watch. The lake is strangely overflown,
and we are desperate about turf, being forced to buy it three miles
off: and Mrs. Johnson (God help her!) gives you many a curse. Your
mason is come, but cannot yet work upon your garden. Neither can I
agree with him about the great wall. For the rest, _vide_ the letter
you will have on Monday, if Mr. Tickell uses you well.
The news of this country is, that the maid you sent down, John
Farelly's sister, is married; but the portion and settlement are yet a
secret. The cows here never give milk on midsummer eve.
You would wonder what carking and caring there is among us for small
beer and lean mutton, and starved lamb, and stopping gaps, and driving
cattle from the corn. In that we are all-to-be-Dingleyed.
The ladies' room smokes; the rain drops from the skies into the
kitchen; our servants eat and drink like the devil, and pray for rain,
which entertains them at cards and sleep; which are much lighter than
spades, sledges, and crows. Their maxim is,
Eat like a Turk,
Sleep like a dormouse;
Be last at work,
At victuals foremost.
Which is all at present; hoping you and your good family are well, as
we are all at this present writing &c.
Robin has just carried out a load of bread and cold meat for
breakfast; this is their way; but now a cloud hangs over them, for
fear it should hold up, and the clouds blow off.
I write on till Molly comes in for the letter. O, what a draggletail
will she be before she gets to Dublin! I wish she may not happen to
fall upon her back by the way.
I affirm against Aristotle, that cold and rain congregate homogenes,
for they gather together you and your crew, at whist, punch, and
claret. Happy weather for Mrs. Maul, Betty, and Stopford, and all true
lovers of cards and laziness.
THE BLESSINGS OF A COUNTRY LIFE.
Far from our debtors,
No Dublin letters,
Not seen by our betters.
THE PLAGUES OF A COUNTRY LIFE.
A companion with news,
A great want of shoes;
Eat lean meat, or choose;
A church without pews.
Our horses astray,
No straw, oats, or hay;
December in May,
Our boys run away,
All servants at play.
Molly sends for the letter.
TO ALEXANDER POPE
_Mostly about Gulliver_
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