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written several letters in vain; and that we were constantly inquiring, of all who have seen Ireland, if they saw you, and that (forgotten as we are) we are every day remembering you in our most agreeable hours. All this is true; as that we are sincerely lovers of you, and deplorers of your absence, and that we form no wish more ardently than that which brings you over to us, and places you in your old seat between us. We have lately had some distant hopes of the Dean's design to revisit England; will not you accompany him? or is England to lose every thing that has any charms for us, and must we pray for banishment as a benediction?—I have once been witness of some, I hope all of your splenetic hours: come, and be a comforter in your turn to me, in mine. I am in such an unsettled state, that I can't tell if I shall ever see you, unless it be this year: whether I do or not, be ever assured, you have as large a share of my thoughts and good wishes as any man, and as great a portion of gratitude in my heart as would enrich a monarch, could he know where to find it. I shall not die without testifying something of this nature, and leaving to the world a memorial of the friendship that has been so great a pleasure and pride to me. It would be like writing my own epitaph, to acquaint you with what I have lost since I saw you, what I have done, what I have thought, where I have lived, and where I now repose in obscurity. My friend Jervas, the bearer of this, will inform you of all particulars concerning me; and Mr Ford is charged with a thousand loves, and a thousand complaints, and a thousand commissions to you on my part. They will both tax you with the neglect of some promises which were too agreeable to us all to be forgot: if you care for any of us, tell them so, and write so to me. I can say no more, but
that I love you, and am, in spite of the longest neglect of
« DEAR SIR,
«Your most faithful affectionate friend,
« A. POPE.
« Gay is in Devonshire, and from thence he goes to Bath. My father and mother never fail to commemorate you.»
Among the number of his most intimate friends was Lord Oxford, whom Pope has so finely complimented upon the delicacy of his choice.
For him thou oft hast bid the world attend,
Pope himself was not only excessively fond of his company, but under several literary obligations to him for his assistance in the translation of Homer. Gay was obliged to him upon another account; for, being always poor, he was not above receiving from Parnell the copy-money which the latter got for his writings. Several of their letters, now before me, are proofs of this; and as they have never appeared before, it is probable the reader will be much better pleased with their idle effusions, than with any thing I can hammer out for his amusement.
Binfield, near Oakingham, Tuesday.
« DEAR SIR,
<< I believe the hurry you were in hindered your giving me
a word by the last post, so that I am yet to learn whether you got well to town, or continue so there? I very much fear both for your health and your quiet; and no man living can be more truly concerned in any thing that touches either than myself. I would comfort myself, however, with hoping, that your business may not be unsuccessful, for your sake; and that at least it may soon be put into other proper hands. For my own, I beg earnestly of you to return to us as soon as possible. You know how very much I want you; and that, however your business may depend upon any other, my business depends entirely upon you; and yet still I hope you will find your man, even though I lose you the mean while. At this time, the more I love you, the more I can spare you; which alone will, I dare say, be a reason to you to let me have you back the sooner. The minute I lost you, Eustathius with nine hun. dred pages, and nine thousand contractions of the Greek characters, arose to view! Spondanus, with all his auxiliaries, in number a thousand pages (value three shillings), and Dacier's three volumes, Barnes's two, Valterie's three, Cuperus, half in Greek, Leo Allatus, three parts in Greek, Scaliger, Macrobius, and (worse than them all) Aulus Gellius! All these rushed upon my soul at once, and whelmed me under a fit of the headach. I cursed them all religiously, damn'd my best friends among the rest, and even blasphemed Homer himself. Dear sir, not only as you are a friend, and a good-natured man, but as you are a Chris tian and a divine, come back speedily, and prevent the increase of my sins; for, at the rate I have begun to rave, I shall not only damn all the poets and commentators who have gone before me, but be damn'd myself by all who come after me. To be serious; you have not only left me to the last degree impatient for your return, who at all
times should have been so (though never so much as since I knew you in best health here), but you have wrought several miracles upon our family; you have made old реоple fond of a young and gay person, and inveterate papists of a clergyman of the Church of England; even Nurse herself is in danger of being in love in her old age, and (for all I know) would even marry Dennis for your sake, because he is your man, and loves his master. In short, come down forthwith, or give me good reasons for delaying, though but for a day or two, by the next post. If I find them just, I will come up to you, though you know how precious my time is at present; my hours were never worth so much money before; but perhaps you are not sensible of this, who give away your own works. You are a generous author; I a hackney scribbler: you a Grecian, and bred at a university; I a poor Englishman, of my own educating: you a reverend parson, I a wag: in short, you are Dr Parnelle (with an e at the end of your name), and I
« Your most obliged and affectionate
« A. POPE.
My hearty service to the Dean, Dr Arbuthnot, Mr Ford, and the true genuine shepherd, J. Gay of Devon. I expect him down with you.»
We may easily perceive by this, that Parnell was not a little necessary to Pope in conducting his translation; however, he has worded it so ambiguously, that it is impossible to bring the charge directly against him. But he is much more explicit when he mentions his friend Gay's obligations in another letter, which he takes no pains to conceal.
« DEAR SIR,
<< I write to you with the same warmth, the same zeal of good-will and friendship, with which I used to converse with you two years ago, and can't think myself absent, when I feel you so much at my heart. The picture of you which Jervas brought me over, is infinitely less lively a representation than that I carry about with me, and which rises to my mind whenever I think of you. I have many an agreeable reverie through those woods and downs where we once rambled together; my head is sometimes at the Bath, and sometimes at Letcomb, where the Dean makes a great part of my imaginary entertainment, this being the cheapest way of treating me; I hope he will not be displeased at this manner of paying my respects to him, instead of following my friend Jervas's example, which, to say the truth, I have as much inclination to do as I want ability. I have been ever since December last in greater variety of business than any such men as you (that is, divines and philosophers) can possibly imagine a reasonable creature capable of. Gay's play, among the rest, has cost much time and long-suffering, to stem a tide of malice and party, that certain authors have raised against it; the best revenge upon such fellows is now in my hands, I mean your Zoilus, which really transcends the expectation I had conceived of it. I have put it into the press, beginning with the poem Batrachom.; for you seem, by the first paragraph of the dedication to it, to design to prefix the name of some particular person. I beg therefore to know for whom you intend it, that the publication may not be delayed on this account, and this as soon as is possible. Inform me also upon what terms I am to deal with the bookseller, and whether you design the copy-money for Gay, as you formerly talked; what number of books you would