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can now no more doubt of the greatness of it, than I hope you do of the greatness of any affection, or of the fincerity with which I am, &c.
LET T E R XXV.
From Mr. Wycherley.
· April 27, 1710. V OU give me an account in your letter of
I the trouble you have undergone for me, in.comparing my papers you took down with you, with the old printed volume, and with one another, of that bundle you have in your hands; amongst which (you say) you find numerous Repetitions of the same thoughts and subjects; all which I must confess my want of memory has prevented me from imagining, as well as made me capable of committing: fince, of all 'figures, that of Tautology is the lait I would use, or least forgive my self for. But seeing is believing, wherefore I will take some pains to examine and compare those papers in your hands with one another, as well as with the former printed copies or books of my damn'd Miscellanies ; al which (as bad a memory as I have) with a little more pains and care I think I can remedy. Therefore I would not have you give your self more trouble about them, which may prevent the pleasure you have and may give the world in writing upon new subjects of your own, whereby you will much better entertain your self and others. Now as to your re. marks upon the whole volume of my papers; all that
I desire of you is to mark in the margin (without de. facing the copy at all) either any repetition of words, matter, or sense, or any thoughts, or words too much repeated; which if you will be so kind as to do for me, you wiil supply my want of Memory with vour good one, and my deficiencies of sense, with the infallibility of yours; which if you do you will most infinitely oblige me, who almost repent the trouble I have given you, since so much. Now as to what you call freedom with me, (which you desire me to forgive) you may be assur’d I would not forgive you unless you did ule it ; for I am so far from thinking your plainness an offence to me, that I think it a charity and an obligation ; which I shall always acknowledge, with all sort of gratitude to you for it; who am, &c.
All the rews I have to send you, is, that poor Mr. Betterton is going to make his Exit from the flage of this world, the Gout being gotten up into his head, and (as the Physicians say) will certainly carry him off suddenly.
L ET TER XXVI. .
May 2, I7o. Am sorry you persift to take ill my not accept
ing your invitation, and to find (if I miitake not) your exception not unmixt with some suspicion. Be certain I Mall molt carefully observe your requeit, not to cross over, or deface the copy of your papers for the future, and only to mark in the margin the Repetitiops. But as this can serve no further than to get rid of those repetitions, and no way rectify the Method, nor connect the Matter, nor improve the
Poetry in expression or numbers, without further blotting, adding, and altering; so it really is my opinion and desire, that you lhould take your papers out of my hands into your own, and that no alterations may be made but when both of us are present; when you may be satisfied with every blot, as well as every addition, and nothing be put upon the papers but what you shall give your own sanction and assent to, at the same time.
Do not be so unjust, as to imagine from hence that I would decline any part of this task : on the contrary you know, I have been at the pains of transcribing some pieces, at once to comply with your desire of not defacing the copy, and yet to lose no time in proceeding upon the correction. I will go on the same way if you please; tho' truly it is (as I have often told you) my sincere opinion, that the greater part would make a much better figure as Single Maxims and Reflections in prose, after the manner of your favourite Rochefoucaut, than in verse : * And this, when nothing more is done but marking the repetitions in the margin, will be an easy task to proceed upon, notwithitanding the bad Memory you complain of.
I am unfeignedly, dear Sir,
* Mr.Wycherley lived five years after, to December 1715, but little progress was made in this design, thro' bis old age, and the increase of his infirmities. How
ever fome of the Verses which had been touch'd by Mr. P. with 308 of these Maxims in Prose were found amung bis papers, which having the misfortune to fall into the hands of a Mercenary, were published in 1728 in octavo, under the Title of The posthumous Works of William Wycherley, Esq;
TO and FROM
W. WALSH, Esq;*
From 1705, to 1707.
* LETTER. I.
Apr. 20. 1705 T Return you the † Papers you favour'd me with,
and had sent them to you yesterday morning, but that I thought to have brought them to you last night my self. I have read them over several times with great fatisfaction. The Preface is very judicious and very learned ; and the Verses very tender and easy.
* Of Abberley in Worcestershire, Gentleman of the Horse in Queen Anne's reign, Author of several beautiful pieces in Prose and Verje, and in the opinion of Mr. Dryden, (in his Postscript to Virgil,) the befit Critic of our Nation in his time. + Mr. Pope's Pastorals.