The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From John Gay to Jonathan Swift - 1


LONDON, JUNE 8, 1714.

SINCE you went out of the town, my lord Clarendon was appointed envoy extraordinary to Hanover, in the room of lord Paget; and by making use of those friends, which I entirely owe to you, he has accepted me for his secretary. This day, by appointment, I met his lordship at Mr. secretary Bromley's office[2]: he then ordered me to be ready by Saturday. I am quite off from the duchess of Monmouth[3]. Mr. Lewis was very ready to serve me upon this occasion, as were Dr. Arbuthnot and Mr. Ford. I am every day attending my lord treasurer for his bounty, in order to set me out; which he has promised me upon the following petition, which I sent him by Dr. Arbuthnot:

The epigrammatical petition of John Gay.

I'm no more to converse with the swains,
But go where fine people resort:
One can live without money on plains,
But never without it at court ——
If, when with the swains I did gambol,
I array'd me in silver and blue;
When abroad, and in courts I shall ramble,
Pray, my lord, how much money will do?

We had the honour of the treasurer's company last Saturday, when we sat upon Scriblerus[4]. Pope is in town, and has brought with him the first book of Homer.

I am this evening to be at Mr. Lewis's with the provost[5], Mr. Ford, Parnell, and Pope. It is thought my lord Clarendon will make but a short stay at Hanover. If it was possible, that any recommendation could be procured to make me more distinguished than ordinary, during my stay at that court, I should think myself very happy, if you could contrive any method to prosecute it; for I am told, that their civilities very rarely descend so low as to the secretary. I have all the reason in the world to acknowledge this as wholly owing to you. And the many favours I have received from you, purely out of your love for doing good, assures me you will not forget me in my absence. As for myself, whether I am at home or abroad, gratitude will always put me in mind of the man, to whom I owe so many benefits. I am your most obliged humble servant,

  1. Endorsed, "The dean sent Gay abroad."
  2. Bromley was joint secretary with Bolingbroke.
  3. Mr. Gay had been secretary, or domestick steward, to the duchess, widow of the duke of Monmouth, who was beheaded in the first year of king James II.
  4. Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus; a joint work of Pope, Arbuthnot, and others. See Pope's works.
  5. Of Dublin college, Dr. Benjamin Pratt.