The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 12/From Matthew Prior to Jonathan Swift - 9



HAVING spent part of my summer very agreeably in Cambridgeshire with dear lord Harley, I am returned without him to my own palace in Duke-street, whence I endeavour to exclude all the tumult and noise of the neighbouring court of requests, and to live aut nihil agendo aut aliud agendo, till he comes to town. But there is worse than this yet. I have treated lady Harriot[1] at Cambridge; (Good God! a fellow of a college treat!) and spoke verses to her[2] in a gown and cap! What! the plenipotentiary so far concerned in the damned peace at Utrecht; the man, that makes up half the volume of terse prose, that makes up the report of the committee, speaking verses! Sic est, homo sum; and am not ashamed to send those very verses to one, who can make much better. And now let me ask you, How you do? and what you do? How your Irish country air agrees with you, and when you intend to take any English country air? In the spring I will meet you where you will, and go with you where you will; but I believe the best rendezvous will be Duke street, and the fairest field for action Wimple[3]; the lords of both those seats agreeing, that no man will be more welcome to either than yourself.

It is many months since the complaints of my subscribers are redressed, and that they have ceased to call the bookseller a blockhead, by transferring that title to the author. We have not heard from Mr. Hyde; but expect that at his leisure he will signify to Tonson what may relate to that whole matter, as to the second subscriptions. In the mean time, I hope the books have been delivered without any mistake; and shall only repeat to you, that I am sensible of the trouble my poetry has given you, and return you my thanks in plain prose. Earl of Oxford, pro more suo, went late into the country, and continues there still. Our friends are all well; so am I, nisi cum pituita molesta est; which is at this present writing, and will continue so all the winter. So, with weak lungs, and a very good heart, I remain always, sir, your most obedient humble servant,

Service to Matthew Pennyfeather, and all friends. Adieu.

  1. Lady Harriot Harley, only daughter of Edward, lord Harley; afterward duchess of Portland.
  2. They are printed in what is called by the editor, Samuel Humphreys, esq., the third volume of Prior's Works; and are entitled, "Verses spoken to lady Henrietta Cavendish Holles Harley, in the library of St. John's College, Cambridge, Nov. 9, 1719."
  3. The seat of lord Harley.