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acted, I intend to translate again, if my health continue. Some time next week let me heare from you, concerning the Propositions.

INCU

LETTER XV.

TO MR. JACOB TONSON.

cause

' Friday forenoon. [f. Feb. 1695-6.] SIR, I receiv'd your letter very kindly, because indeed I expected none; but thought you as very a tradesman as Bentley,' who has curs’d our Virgil so heartily. I shall loose enough by your bill upon Mr. Knight ; for after having taken it all in silver, and not in half-crowns neither, but shillings and sixpences, none of the money will go; for which reason I have sent it all back again, and as the less loss will receive it in guinneys at 29 shillings each. 'Tis troublesome to be a looser, but it was my own fault to accept it this way, which I did to avoyd more trouble.

I am not sorry that you will not allow any thing towards the Notes; for to make them good, wou'd have cost me half a yeare's time at least. Those I write shall be only marginall, to help the unlearned, who understand not the poeticall fables. The Prefaces, as I intend them, will be somewhat more learned. It wou'd require seaven yeares to

2 Richard Bentley, a bookseller and printer, who lived in Russel Street, Covent Garden.

translate Virgil exactly. But I promise you once more to do my best in the four remaining books, as I have hitherto done in the foregoing.–Upon triall I find all of your trade are sharpers, and you not more than others; therefore I have not wholly left you. Mr. Aston does not blame you for getting as good a bargain as you cou'd, though I cou'd have gott an hundred pounds more : and you might have spared almost all your trouble, if you had thought fit to publish the proposalls for the first subscriptions ; for I have guinneas offer’d me every day, if there had been room;' I believe, modestly speaking, I have refus'd already 25. I mislike nothing in your letter therefore, but onely your upbraiding me with the publique encouragement, and my own reputation concern'd in the notes; when I assure you I cou'd not make them to my mind in less than half a year's time. Get the first half of Virgil transcribed as soon as possibly you can; that I may put the notes to it; and you may have the other four books which lye ready for you, when you bring the former; that the press may stay as little as possibly it can. My Lord Chesterfield has been to visite me, but I durst say nothing of Virgil to him, for feare there shou'd be no void place for him: if there be, let me know; and tell me whether you have made room for the Duke of Devonshire. Haveing no silver by me, I desire my Lord Derby's money, deducting your own. And let it be good, if you

* See p. 40, n.9.

+ See p. 44, n. 6.

desire to oblige me, who am not your enemy, and may be your friend,

John Dryden. Let me heare from you as speedily as you can.

YDEN.

LETTER XVI.

TO MR. JACOB TONSON.

May 26th (1696.) Send word, if you please, Sir, what is the most you will give for my sonn's play,' that I may take the fairest chapman, as I am bound to do for his benefit: and if you have any silver which will go, my wife will be glad of it. I lost thirty shillings or more by the last payment of fifty pounds, lch you made at Mr. Knights.

Yours,

J. Dryden.

Sir Ro: Howard writt me word, that if I cou'd make any advantage by being paid in clipp'd money, he woud change it in the Exchequer.

s See p. 45, n. 1. It was printed for Jacob Tonson, and published in 1696. .. o Sir Robert Howard had been appointed Auditor of the Exchequer, in 1673, and held that office till his death.

? Probably a goldsmith, and well known afterwards as the Cashier of the South-sea Company:

LETTER XVII.

TO MR. JACOB TONSON.

Thursday Morning. [f. Aug. 1696.] MR. TONSON, I HAD yesterday morning two watches sent me by Mr. Tompion, which I am to send my sonnes this week.' I cou'd not persuade him to take gold at any rate: but he will take a goldsmiths bill for two and twenty pounds, which is their price. I desire you wou'd give him such a bill, and abate it out of the next fifty pounds which you are to pay me, when Virgil is finish'd. Ten Eneids are finish'd, and the ninth and tenth written out in my own hand. You may have them with the eight, which is in a foul copy, when you please to call for them, and to bring those which are transcrib’d. Mr. Tompion's man will be with me at four o'clock in the afternoon, and bring the watches, and must be payd at sight. I desire you therefore to procure a goldsmiths bill, and let me have it before that houre, and send an answer by my boy.

Yours,

John DRYDEN.

7 The celebrated watchmaker, who was originally a jacksmith.

. They were at this time at Rome. VOL. I. PART II.

LETTER XVIII.

TO MR. JACOB TONSON.

Wednesday afternoon. From the Coffee-house. Nov. 25th. MR. TONSON, I have the remainder of my Northamptonshyre rents come up this weeke, and desire the favour of you to receive them for me, from the carrier of Tocester, who lodges at the Castle in Smithfield. I suppose it is the same man from whom you lately receiv'd them for my wife. Any time. before ten o'clock to-morrow morning will serve the turne. If I were not deepely ingaged in my studyes, which will be finish'd in a day or two, I wou'd not put you to this trouble. I have inclos'd my tenant's letter to me, for you to shew the carrier, and to testify the summ, which is sixteen pounds and about tenn shillings; which the letter sets down. Pray, Sir, give in an acquit

uch receiv’d, as I suppose you did last time.

I am,
Your very faithfull Servant,

John DRYDEN. · The only circumstance mentioned in this letter, on wliich a conjecture concerning the year when it was written can be grounded, is the writer's intimation that his studies would be finished in a day or two; which per. haps relates to the conclusion of his Virgil. I have therefore supposed it to be written in 1696.

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