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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From William King to Jonathan Swift - 21

DUBLIN, NOV. 1, 1711.

I HAVE considered that part of your letter that relates to your own concerns. I find you, in earnest, very indifferent as to making your fortune; but you ought not to be so, for a weighty reason you insinuate yourself, that you cannot, without a settlement, be master of your time in such manner, as to apply yourself to do something that may be useful to the church. I know it is not in your power to do it when you please; but yet something may be done toward it. Get but a letter to the government, from my lord treasurer, for the first good preferment; and you will, at the same time, fill it with a good man, and perhaps prevent a bad one from getting into it. Sure there is no immodesty in getting such a recommendation. Consider that years grow upon you; and, after fifty, both body and mind decay. I have several things on the anvil, and near finished, that perhaps might be useful, if published: but the continual avocation by business, the impositions on me by impertinent visits, and the uneasiness of writing, which grows more intolerable to me every day, I doubt, will prevent my going any farther. Therefore lose no time; qui non est hodie, eras minus aptus erit. I am sure, you are able to do good service; and give me leave to be importunate with you to go about it. Cæsar wrote his Commentaries under the hurry and fatigues of a general; and perhaps a man's spirit is never more awakened, nor his thoughts better, than in the intervals of a hurry of business. Read Erasmus's life, and you'll find it was almost a continual journey. You see how malicious some are toward you, in printing a parcel of trifles, falsely, as your works. This makes it necessary that you should shame those varlets, by something that may enlighten the world, which, I am sure your genius will reach, if you set yourself to it. If I had the honour to have any correspondence with my lord treasurer, I would certainly complain of you to him, and get his lordship to join in this request, which, I persuade myself, he would readily do, if put in mind. I do not in the least fear that you will be angry with me for this, since you cannot suspect my sincerity and kindness in it: and though I shall be angry with you, if you neglect yourself and interest, yet it shall go no farther, than to be a trouble to myself, but no abatement of the real friendship of

Your's, &c.