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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From Alexander Pope to Jonathan Swift - 2


OCTOBER 12, 1738.

I COULD glady tell you every week the many things that pass in my heart, and revive the memory of all your friendship to me; but I am not so willing to put you to the trouble of showing it (though I know you have it as warm as ever) upon little or trivial occasions. Yet, this once, I am unable to refuse the request of a very particular and very deserving friend; one of those whom his own merit has forced me to contract an intimacy with, after I had sworn never to love a man more, since the sorrow it cost me to have loved so many, now dead, banished, or unfortunate. I mean Mr. Lyttleton, one of the worthiest of the rising generation. His nurse has a son, whom I would beg you to promote to the next vacancy in your choir. I loved my own nurse, and so does Lyttleton: he loves and is loved, through the whole chain of relations, dependants, and acquaintance. He is one who would apply to any person to please me, or to serve mine: I owe it to him to apply to you for this man, whose name is William Lamb; and he is the bearer of this letter. I presume he is qualified for that which he desires; and I doubt not, if it be consistent with justice, you will gratify me in him.

Let this, however, be an opportunity of telling you —— What? —— what I cannot tell; the ness I bear you, the affection I feel for you, the hearty wishes I form for you, my prayers for your health of body and mind, or (the best sotfenings of the want of either) quiet and resignation. You lose little by not hearing such things as this idle and base generation has to tell you: you lose not much by forgetting most of what now passes in it. Perhaps, to have a memory that retains the past scenes of our country, and forgets the present, is the means to be happier and better contented. But, if the evil of the day be not intolerable (though sufficient, God knows, at any period of life) we may, at least we should, nay we must (whether patiently or impatiently) bear it, and make the best of what we cannot make better, but may make worse. To hear that this is your situation and your temper, and that peace attends you at home, and one or two true friends who are tender about you, would be a great ease to me to know, and know from yourself. Tell me who those are whom you now love or esteem, that I may love and esteem them too; and if ever they come into England, let them be my friends. If, by any thing I can here do, I can serve you, or please you, be certain it will mend my happiness; and that no satisfaction any thing gives me here will be superiour, if equal to it.

My dear dean, whom I never will forget, or think of with coolness, many are yet living here who frequently mention you with affection and respect. Lord Orrery, lord Bathurst, lord Bolingbroke, lord Oxford, lord Masham, Lewis, Mrs. P. Blount, allow one woman to the list, for she is as constant to old friendships as any man. And many young men there are, nay all that are any credit to this age, who love you unknown, who kindle at your fire, and learn by your genius. Nothing of you can die, nothing of you can decay, nothing of you can suffer, nothing of you can be obscured, or locked up from esteem and admiration, except what is at the deanery; just as much of you only as God made mortal. May the rest of you (which is all) be as happy hereafter as honest men may expect, and need not doubt; while (knowing nothing more) they know that their Maker is merciful! Adieu.

Yours ever,