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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 12/From Jonathan Swift to Thomas Sheridan - 11

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JULY 27, 1726[1].


I HAVE yours just now of the 19th, and the account you give me, is nothing but what I have some time expected with the utmost agonies; and there is one aggravation of constraint, that where I am, I am forced to put on an easy countenance. It was at this time the best office your friendship could do, not to deceive me. I was violently bent all last year, as I believe you remember, that she should go to Montpellier, or Bath, or Tunbridge. I entreated, if there was no amendment, they might both come to London. But there was a fatality, although I indeed think her stamina could not last much longer, when I saw she could take no nourishment. I look upon this to be the greatest event that can ever happen to me; but all my preparations will not suffice to make me bear it like a philosopher, nor altogether like a christian. There hath been the most intimate friendship between us from her childhood, and the greatest merit on her side, that ever was in one human creature toward another. Nay if I were now near her, I would not see her; I could not behave myself tolerably, and should redouble her sorrow. — Judge in what a temper of mind I write this. — The very time I am writing, I conclude the fairest soul in the world hath left its body. — Confusion! that I am this moment called down to a visitor, when I am in the country, and not in my power to deny myself. —— I have passed a very constrained hour, and now return to say I know not what. I have been long weary of the world, and shall for my small remainder of years be weary of life, having for ever lost that conversation, which could only make it tolerable. — I fear while you are reading this, you will be shedding tears at her funeral: she loved you well, and a great share of the little merit I have with you, is owing to her solicitations.

I writ to you about a week ago[2].


  1. This was written from Mr. Pope's at Twickenham.
  2. Soon after the date of this letter the dean went back to Ireland, but Mrs. Johnson recovering a moderate state of health, he returned again to England the beginning of the year 1727.