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Critic, but only in some little raillery; not in defence of you, but in contempt of him. * But indeed your opinion that 'tis intirely to be neglected, would have been my own had it been my own case: but I felt more warmth here than I did when first I saw his book against myself, (tho' indeed in two minutes it made me heartily merry.) He has written against every thing the world has approv'd these many years. I apprehend but one danger from Dennis's disliking our sense, tha: it may make us think so very well of it, as to become proud and conceiced, upon his disapprobation.
I must not here omit to do justice to Mr. Gay, whose zeal in your concern is worthy a friend and honourer of you. He writ to me in the most pressing terms about it, though with that just contempt of the Critic that he deserves. I think in these days one honeft man is obliged to acquaint another who are his friends; when so many mischievous infects are daily at work to make people of merit suspicious of each other; that they may have the satisfaction of seeing them look'd upon no better than themselves. I am.
* This relates to the Paper occasion'd by Dennis's Remarks upon Cato, calld, Dr. Norris's Narrative of the Frenzy of Jobn Dennis.
LE TT ER LET TE R XI.
Mr. Addison to Mr. Pope.
October 26, 1713. I Was extreamly glad to receive a letter from you, I but more so upon reading the contents of it. The * Work you mention will I dare fay very fufficiently recommend itself when your name appears with the Proposals: And if you think I can any way contri. bute to the forwarding of them, you cannot lay a greater obligation upon me than by employing me in such an office. As I have an ambition of having it known that you are my friend, I shall be very proud of showing it by this, or any other instance. I question not but your Translation will enrich our Tongue and do honour to our Country; for I conclude of it al. ready from those performances with which you have oblig'd the publick. I would only have you consider how it may most turn to your advantage. Excuse my impertinence in this particular, which proceeds from my zeal for your ease and happiness. The work would cost you a great deal of Time, and unless you undertake it, will I am afraid never be executed by any other; at least I know none of this age that is equal to it besides yourself.
I am at present wholly immersed in country bufi. ness, and begin to take delight in it. I wish I might hope to see you here some time, and will not de.
* The Translation of the Iliad.
spair of it, when you engage in a work that will require solitude and retirement. I am
Nov. 2, 1713 Have received your letter, and am glad to find I that you have laid fo good a scheme for your great undertaking. I question not but the Prose will require as much care as the Poetry, but the variety will give your self some relief, and more pleasure to your readers.
You gave me leave once to take the liberty of a friend, in advising you not to content yourself with one half of the Nation for your admirers when you might command them all. If I inight take the freedom to repeat it, I would on this occasion. I think you are very happy that you are out of the Fray, and I hope all your undertakings will turn to the better account for it.
You see how I presume on your friendship in taking all this freedom with you: But I already fancy that we have lived many years together, in an unreserved conversation, and that we may do so many more, is the fincere will of
V OUR last is the more obliging, as it hints at
I fome little niceries in my conduct, which your candor and affection prompt you to recommend to me, and which (so trivial as things of this nature feem) are yet of no flight consequence, to people whom every body talks of, and every body as he pleases. 'Tis a sort of Tax that attends an estate in Parnassus, which is often rated much higher than in proportion to the small possession an author holds. For indeed an author, who is once come upon the town, is enjoy'd without being thank'd for the pleafure, and sometimes ill-treated by those very persons that first debauched him. Yet to tell you the bottom of my heart, I am no way displeased that I have of. fended the violent of all parties already ; and at the fame time I assure you conscientiously, I feel not the least malevolence or resentment against any of those who misrepresent me, or are dissatisfied with me. This frame of mind is so easy, that I am perfectly content with my condition.
As I hope, and would flatter myself, that you know me and my thoughts so entirely as never to be mistaken in either, fo 'is a pleasure to me that you guess'd fo right in regard to the author of that Guardian you mentioned. But I am sorry to find it has taken air that I have fume hand in those papers, because I write so very few as neither to deserve the credit of such a report with some people, nor the disrepute of it with others. An honest Jacobite spoke to me the sense or nonsense of the weak part of his party very fairly, that the good people took it ill of me, that I writ with Steele, tho' upon never so indifferent subjects. This I know you will laugh at as well as I do; yet I doubt not but many little calumniators and persons of fower dispositions will take occasion hence to beSpatter me. I confess I scorn narrow fouls, of all parties, and if I renounce my reason in religious matters, I'll hardly do it in any other.
I can't imagine whence it comes to pass that the few Guardians I have written are so generally known for mine : that in particular which you mention I never discovered to any man but the publisher, till very lately : yet almost every body told me of it.
As to his taking a more Politick turn, I cannot any way enter into that secret, nor have I been let into it, any more than into the rest of his politicks. Tho’’tis faid, he will take into these papers also several subjects of the politer kind, as before : But I assure you as to myself, I have quite done with 'em for the future.
The little I have done, and the great respect I bear Mr. Steele as a man of wit, has rendered me a suspected Whig to some of the violent, but (as old Dryden said before me. 'tis not the violent I design to please.
I generally employ the mornings in painting with Mr. Jervas*; and the evenings in the conversation of such as I think can most improve my mind, of what. ever denomination they are. I ever' mult set the highest value upon men of truly great, that is honest principles, with equal capacities. The best way I know of overcoming calumny and misconstruction, is by a
* See the Epistle to him in Verse, writ about this time.