Open main menu

The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 12/From John Gay to Jonathan Swift - 11


BATH, MAY 16, 1728.

I HAVE been at the Bath about ten days, and I have played at no game but once, and that at backgammon with Mr. Lewis, who is very much your humble servant. He is here upon account of the ill state of health of his wife, who has as yet found very little benefit from the waters. Lord and lady Bolingbroke are here; I think she is better than when I came here: they stay, as I guess, only about a fortnight longer. They both desired me to make their compliments; as does Mr. Congreve[1], who is in a very ill state of health, but somewhat better since he came here. Mr. Lewis tells me, that he is promised to receive a hundred pounds upon your account at his return to London; he having (upon request) complied to stay for the payment till that time. The two hundred pounds you left with me are in the hands of lord Bathurst, together with some money of mine, all which he will repay at Midsummer, so that we must think of some other way of employing it; and I cannot resolve what to do. I do not know how long I shall stay here, because I am now, as I have been all my life, at the disposal of others. I drink the waters, and am in hopes to lay in a stock of health; some of which I wish to communicate to you. Dr. Delany told me you had been upon a journey, and I really fancy, taking horse is as good as taking the waters: I hope you have found benefit by it. The Beggar's Opera is acted here; but our Polly has got no fame, though the actors have got money. I have sent by Dr. Delany the opera, Polly Peachum and captain Macheath. I would have sent you my own head (which is now engraving to make up the gang,) but it is not yet finished. I suppose you must have heard that I have had the honour to have had a sermon preached against my works by a court chaplain[2], which I look upon as no small addition to my fame. Direct to me here when you write; and the sooner that is, the sooner you will make me happy.

  1. He died 19th January, 1728-9.
  2. Dr. Thomas Herring, then preacher to the society in Lincoln's Inn, and afterward archbishop of Canterbury. Dr. Swift, in the Intelligencer, No. III, published in Ireland, speaks with great asperity of Dr. Herring, on account of his sermon against the Beggar's Opera.