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. As a King's Favourite, or as a King. This proceeding, join'd to that natural vạnity which firft makes a man an author, is certainly enough to render him a coxcomb for life, But I must grant it is a just judgment upon poets, that they whose chief pretence is Wit, Mou'd be treated as they themselves treat Fools, that is, be cajoll’d with praises. And I believe, Poets are the only poor fellows in the 'world whom any body will flatter.
I would not be thought to say this, as if the obliging letter, you fent me deserv'd this imputation, only it put me in mind of it; and I fancy one may apply to one's friend what Cæsar said of his wife. " It “ was not sufficient that he knew her to be chaft him. “ self, but she shou'd not be so much as suspected."
As to the wonderful discoveries, and all the good news you are pleas'd to tell me of my self; I treat. it, as you who are in the secret treat common news, as groundless reports of things at a distance; which I. who look into the true springs of the affair, in my own breast, know to have no foundation at all. For Fame, tho' it be (as Milton finely calls it) the Laft infirmity of noble minds, is scarce so strong a temptation as to warrant our loss of time here: it can never make us lie down contentedly on a death-bed, (as some of the Ancients are faid to have done with that thought.) You Sir have your self taught me, that an easy situation at that hour, can procced from no ambition less noble than that of an eternal felicity, which is unattainable by the strongest endeavours of the wit, but may be gain'd by the fincere intentions of the heart only. As in the next world, so in this, the only solid bleflings are owing to the goodness of M 3
the mind, not the extent of the capacity : friendship here is an emanation from the fame source as beati. tude there : the same benevolence and grateful disposition that qualifies us for the one, if extended far. ther, makes us partakers of the other. The utmost point of my desires in my present state terminates in the society and good-will of worthy men, which I look upon as no ill earnest and foretaste of the society and alliance of happy fouls hereafter.
The continuance of your favours to me is what not only makes me happy, but causes me to set fome value upon my self as a part of your care. The it stances I daily meet with of these agreeable awakenings of friendship, are of too pleasing a nature not to be acknowledged whenever I think of you. I am.
April 30, 1715. | Have been almost every day employ'd in following I your advice and amusing my self in painting, in which I am most particularly obliged to Mr. Jervas who gives me daily instructions and examples. As to poetical affairs, I am content at present to be a bare looker-on, and from a practitioner turn an admirer, which is (as the world goes) not very usual. Cato was not so much the wonder of Rome in his days, as he is of Britain in ours; and tho'all the fool. ith industry poslible has been used to make it thought a party-play, yet what the author once said of another
may the most properly in the world be apply'd to him, on this occasion.
Envy itself is dumb, in wonder loft,
The numerous and violent claps of the Whig-party on the one side of the theatre, were eccho'd back by the T'ories on the other; while the author sweated be. hind the scenes with concern to find their applause proceeding more from the hand than the head. This was the case too of the prologue writer, who was clapp'd into a stanch whig, at almost ev'ry two lines. I believe you have heard, that after all the applauses of the opposite faction, my lord Bolingbroke sent for Booth who play'd Cato, into the box, between one of the acts, and presented him with fifty guinea's ; in acknowledgment (as he expreft it) for defending cha cause of liberty so well against a Perpetual Dictator. The whigs are unwilling to be distanc'd this way, and therefore design a present to the fame Cato very dpeedily ; in the mean time they are getting ready as good a sentence as the former on their side: so betwixt them, 'tis probable that Cato (as Dr. Garth expreft it) may have fomething to live upon, after he dies. I am
Easthampstead, Feb. 22, 1714:15: T Am sensibly oblig'd, dear Sir, by your kind present 1 of the Temple of Fame, into which you are already enter'd, and I dare prophecy for once (tho' I am not much given to it) that you will continue there, with those,
Who ever new, nct subje&t to decays,
Spread and grow brighter with the length of days. There was nothing wanting to compleat your obliging remembrance of me, but your accompanying it with your poem ; your long absence being much the severeit part of the winter. I am truly sorry that your time, which you can imploy so much better, should be spent in the drudgery of correcting the printers ; for as to what you have done your self, there will nothing of that nature be necessary. I wish you could find a few minutes leisure to let me hear from you sometimes, and to acquaint me how your Homer draws on towards a publication, and all things relating thereunto. , I intreat you to return my humble service to Mr.
Jervas. I still flatter my self that he will take an opportunity, in a proper season, to see us, and review his picture, and then to alter some things, so as to please himself; which I know will not be, till every thing in it is perfect; no more than I can be, till you believe me to be with that sincerity and esteem
that I am, and will ever continue, your most faithful friend.
Decemb. 16, 1715. T T was one of the Enigma's of Pythagoras, “When 1 «the winds rise, worship the Éccho.” A modera « writer explains this to signify," when popular tumults 66 begin, retire to solitudes, or such places where Ec. “ cho's are commonly found, rocks, woods, &c.” I am rather of opinion it should be interpreted,” when « rumours increase, and when there is abundance of “ noise and elamour, believe the second report:" This I think agrees more exactly with the eccho, and is the more natural application of the symbol. However it be, either of these precepts is extreamly proper to be followed at this season; and I cannot but applaud your resolution of continuing in what you call your cave in the forest, this winter; and preferring the noise of breaking ice to that of breaking statelmen, the rage of storms to that of parties, the fury and ravage of foods and tempests, to the precipitancy of fome, and the ruin of others, which I fear will be our daily prospects in London.
I sincerely with my self with you, to contemplate the wonders of God in the firmament, rather than the madness of man on the earth. But I never had so much cause as now to complain of my poetical ftar, that fixes me at this tumultuous time, to attend the gingling of rymes and the measuring of syllables : to be almost the only trifer in the nation ; and as ri