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V OU will find me more troublesome than ever
1 Brutus did his evil Genius; I shall meet you in more places than one, and often refresh your memory before you arrive at your Philippi. These shadows of me (my letters) will be haunting you from time to time, and putting you in mind of the man who has really suffer'd •very much from you, and whom you have robb’d of the most valuable of his enjoyments, your conversation. The advantage of hearing your sentiments by discovering mine, was what I always thought a great one, and even worth the risque I generally run of manifesting my own indiscretion. You then rewarded my trust in you the moment it was given, for you pleas'd or inform’d me the minute you answer'd. I must now be contented with more flow returns. However’ris some pleasure, that your thoughts upon paper will be a more lasting possession to me, and that I shall no longer have cause to complain of a loss I have so often regretted, that of any thing you said, which I happen'd to forget. In earnest, Madam, if I were to write to you as often as I think of you, it must be every day of my life. I attend you in spirit thro' all your ways, I follow you through every stage in books of travels, and fear for you thro'whole folio's ; you make me Mrink at the past dangers of dead travellers; and if I read of a delightful prospect, or agreeable place, I hope it yei subfifts to please you. I enquire the roads, the amusements, the company, of every town and country thro' which you pass, with as much diligence, as if I were to set out next week
to overtake you. In a word, no one can have you more constantly in mind, not even your Guardian-angel (if you have one) and I am willing to indulge so much Popery as to fancy some Being takes care of you, who knows your value better than you do your self: I am willing to think that heaven never gave so much self. neglect and resolution to a woman, to occasion her calamity, but am pious enough to believe those qualities muit be intended to conduce to her benefit and her glory.
Your first short letter only serves to show me you are alive : it puts me in mind of the first dove that return'd to Noah, and just made him know it had found no rest abroad. . . There is nothing in it that pleases me, but when you tell me you had no sea-sickness. I beg your next may give ine all the pleasure it can, that is, tell me any that you receive. You can make no discoveries that will be half so valuable to me as those of your own mind. Nothing that regards the states or kingdoms you pass thro', will engage so much of my curiofity or concern, as what relates to your self: Your welfare, to say truth, is more at my heart than that of Christendom.
I am sure I may defend the truth, tho perhaps not the virtue, of this declaration. One is ignorant, or doubtful at bcít, ofthe merits of differing religions and governments : but private virtues one can be sure of. I therefore know what particular Person has desert enough to merit being happier than others, but not what Nation deserves to conquer or oppress another. You will say, I am not publick-spirited ; let it be so, I may have too many tendernesles, particular regards, or narrow views ; but at the same time I am certain hat whoever wants these, cin never have a Publick
spirit; for (as a friend of mine says) how is it possible for that man to love twenty thousand people, who never loved one?
I communicated your letter to Mr. C-, he thinks of you and talks of you as he ought, I mean as I do, and one always thinks that :o be just as it ought. His health and mine are now so good, that we wilh with all our souls you were a witness of it. We never meet but we lament over you: we pay a kind of weekly rites to your memory, where we strow flowers of rhetorick, and offer such libations to your name as it would be profane to call Toafting. The Duke of
m is sometimes the High Priest of your praises ; and upon the whole, I believe there are as few men that are not sorry at your departure, as women that are ; for you know most of your lex want good sense, and therefore must want generosity: You have so much of both, that I am sure you pardon them; for one cannot but forgive whatever one despises. For my part I hate a great many women for your sake, and undervalue all the rest. 'Tis you are to blame, and may God revenge it upon you, with all those blessings and earthly prosperities which the Divines tell us asa the cause of our perdition; for if he makes you happy in this world, I dare trust your own virtue to do it in the other. I am,
LETTER LETTER XXIII.
To Mrs. Arabella Fermor on her Marriage.
V OU are by this time satisfy'd how much the
1 tenderness of one man of merit is to be preferr'd to the addresses of a thousand. And by this time the Gentleman you have made choice of is sensible, how great is the joy of having all those charms and good qualities which have pleas’d so many, now apply'd to please one only. It was but just, that the same Virtues which gave you reputation, should give you happiness ; and I can wish you no greater than that you may receive it in as high a degree yourself, as so much good humour must infallibly give it to your hus. band.
It may be expected perhaps, that one who has the title of Poet should say something more polite on this occasion: But I am really more a well-wisher to your felicity, than a celebrater of your beauty. Besides, you are now a married woman, and in a way to be a great many better things than a fine lady; such as an excellent wife, a faithful friend, a tender parent, and at last as the consequence of them all, a faint in heaven. You ought now to hear nothing but that, which was all you ever desired to hear (whatever others may have spoken to you) I mean Truth: and it is with the utmost that I assure you, no friend you have can more rejoice in any good that befalls you, is more fincerely delighted with the prospect of your future happiness, or more unfeignedly desires a long continuance of it.
I hope you will think it but just, that a man who will certainly be spoken of as your admirer, after he is dead, may have the happiness to be efteem'd while he is living
Besides these Letters to Ladies, the surreptitious Editions of Mr. Pope's Literary Correspondence have four in his name to Miss Blount, which he never writ, nor fae faw. The Imposture has been fince discover'd to be a literal Translation of four Letters of Voiture, taken verbatim from an old English Version.