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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 12/From Alexander Pope to Thomas Sheridan - 2


I THANK you kindly for your news of the dean of St. Patrick's, for your Persius, for every thing in your letter. I will use my warmest endeavours to serve Dr. Whaley. Beside his own merit, the demerit of his antagonist goes into the scale, and the dean tells me he is a coadjutant of that fool Smedley. You must have seen, but you cannot have read, what he has lately published against our friend and me. The only pleasure a bad writer can give me, he has given, that of being abused with my betters and my friends. I am much pleased with most of the Intelligencers, but I am a little piqued at the author of them for not once doing me the honour of a mention upon so honourable an occasion as being slandered by the dunces, together with my friend the dean, who is properly the author of the Dunciad: it had never been writ but at his request, and for his deafness: for had he been able to converse with me, do you think I had amused my time so ill? I will not trouble you with amendments to so imperfect an edition as is now published; you will soon see a better, with a full and true commentary, setting all mistakes right, and branding none but our own cattle. Some very good epigrams on the gentlemen of the Dunciad have been sent me from Oxford, and others of the London authors: if I had an amanuensis (which is a thing neither I nor my common trifles are worth) you should have them with this. If your university or town have produced any on this subject, pray send them me, or keep them at least together, for another day they may all meet.

I have writ to the dean just now by Mr. Elrington, who charges himself with this, and have inserted a hint or two of his libelling the lady of the family; in as innocent a manner as he does it, he will hardly suspect I had any information of it.

Though I am a very ill correspondent, I shall at all times be glad to have the favour of a line from you. My eyesight is bad, my head often in pain, my time strangely taken up. Were I my own master (which, I thank God, I yet am, in all points but one, where humanity only constrains me) I would infallibly see Ireland before I die. But whether that, or many other of my little, though warm designs, will ever take effect,

Caliginosa nocte premit Deus!

I am (wherever I am) the dean's, and the dean's friends, and consequently faithfully, sir,

Your affectionate servant,