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the Tatler, which I suppofe you have soen. This is the newest thing I can tell you of, except it be of the Peace, which now (most people say) is draw. ing to such a conclufion, as all Europe is, or must be satisfy'd with ; so Poverty you see, which makes peace in Westminster-hall, makes it likewise in the campor field, throughout the world. Peace then be to you, and to me, who am now grown peaceful, and will have no contest with any man, but him who says he is more your friend or humble servant, than
L E T T E R
May 20, 1709. I Am glad you receiv'd the * Miscellany, if it were
I only to how you that there are as bad poets in this nation as your servant, This modern custom of appearing in miicellanies, is very useful to the poets, who like other thieves, escape by getting into a crowd, and herd together like Banditti, fafe only in their multitude. Methinks Strada has given 'a good description of these kind of collections; Nullus bodie mortalium aut nafcitur, aut moritur, aut præliatur, aut rusticatur, aut abit peregrè, aut redit, aụt nubit, aut eft, aut non eft, (nam etiam mortuis ifti canunt) cui non illi extemplò cudant Epicædia, Ge
* Jacob Tonson's fixth Vel, of Miscellany Poems.
nethliaca, nethliaca, Protreprica, Panegyrica, Fipithalamia, Vaticinia, Propemptica, Soterica, Parænetica, Nærias, Nugas. As to the fuccess which you say may part has met with, it is to be attributed to what you was pleas'd to say of me to the world; which you do well to call your prophecy, since whatever is said in my favour, must be a prediction of things that are not yet ; you, like a true Godfather, engage on my part for much more than ever I can perform. My pastoral muse, like other country girls, is but put out of countenance, by what you courtiers say to her ; yet I hope you would not deceive me too far, as knowing that a yoang scribbler's vanity needs no recruits from abroad: for nature like an indulgent mother kindly takes care to supply her sons with as much of their own, as is necessary for their fatisfa
tion. If my verses should meet with a few flying commendations, Virgil has taught me that a young author has not too much reason to be pleas'd with them, when he considers that the natural confe. quence of praise is envy and calumny.
-Si ultra placitum laudarit, Baccare fronter
When once a man has appear'd as a poet, he may give up his pretensions to all the rich and thriving arts: those who have once made their court to thole mistresses without portions, the muses, are never like to set up for fortunes. But for my part, I thall be satisfy'd if I can lose my time agreeably this way, without losing my reputation : as for gaining any, I am as indifferent in the matter as Falītaffe was, and may say of fame as he did of honour, “ If it comes, “ it comes unlook'd for; and there's an end on't." I
can be content with a bare saving game, without be. ing thought an eminent hand, (with which title Jacob has graciously dignify'd his adventurers and voluntiers in poetry.) Jacob creates poets, as Kings sometimes do kuights, not for their honour, but for their money. Certainly he ought to be esteem'd a worker of miracles, who is grown rich by poetry.
What Authors lose, their Booksellers have won,
I am your, &c.
L E T T E R XX.
May 26, 1709. T HE last I receivd from you was dated the 22d
1 of May. I take your charitable hint to me very kindly, wherein you do like a true friend, and a true christian, and I fall endeavour to follow your advice, as well as your example.--As for your wishing to see your friend an Hermit with you, I cannot be said to leave the world, since I shall enjoy in your con versation all that I can desire of it ; nay, can learn more from you alone, than from my long experience of the great, or little vulgar in it.
As to the success of your poems in the late mis. cellany, which I told you of in my last; upon my word I made you no compliment, for you may be assurd that all sort of readers like them, except they are writers too; but for them, (I 'must needs say) the more they like them, they ought to be the less pleas'd
with 'em : so that you do not come off with a bare Saving game (as you call it) but have gain'd so much credit at first, that you must needs support it to the last : fince you fet up with so great a stock of good sense, judgment and wit, that your judgment ensures all that your wit ventures at. The salt of your wit has been enough to give a relish to the whole infipid hotch-poth it is mingled with; and you will make Jacob's Ladder raise you to immortality, by which others are turn'd off lamefully to their damnation (for poetick thieves as they are) who think to be sav'd by others good works, how faulty soever their own are: but the coffee house wits, or rather anti-wits the criticks, prove their judgments by approving your wit; and even th news-mongers and poets will own, you have more invention than they; nay, the detracters or the envious, who never speak well of any body, (not even of those they think well of in their absence) yet will give you even in your absence their good word, and the criticks only hate you, for being forc'd to speak well of you whether they will or no: All this is true, upon the word of
Aug. 11, 1709. Y letters, so much inferior to yours, can only I make up their scarcity of fense by their number of lines ; which is like the Spaniards paying a debe of gold with a load of brass money. But to be a plain dealer, I must tell you, I will revenge the
raillery of your letters by printing them, (as Dennis did mine) without your knowledge too, which wou'd be a revenge upon your judgment for the raillery of your wit; for some dull rogues (that is the moft in the world) might be such fools as to think what you said of me was in earneft : It is not the first time, you great wits have gain'd reputation by their paradoxical or ironical praises; your forefathers have done it, Erasmus and others. For all mankind who know me muft confess, he must be no ordinary genius, or little friend, who can find out any thing to commend in me seriously; who have given no sign of my judgement but my opinion of yours, nor mark of my wit, but my leaving off writing to the publick now you are beginning to thew the world what you can do by yours: whose wit is as spiritual as your judgment infallible: in whose judgment I have an implicit faith, and thall always subscribe to it to save my worlas, in this world, from the flames and damnation. Pray present my most humble service to Sir William Trumbull; for whom and whose judgment I have so profound a respect, that his example had almof made me marry, more than my Nephew's ill carriage to me ; having once resolvid to have reveng'd my self upon him by my marriage, but now am resolv'd to make my revenge greater upon him by His marriage.