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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From Jonathan Swift to John Boyle - 1

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JANUARY, 1732-3.

IT is some time since Mrs. Ball gave me, enclosed and directed to me, your lordship's verses, in your own hand, with the alterations you were pleased to make, for which I have long deferred my acknowledgments; and if I were to follow the course of my own nature, the delay should be longer: because, although I believe no man has a more grateful sense of a real honour done him than myself, yet no man is in more confusion how to express it. Although I had not the least hand in publishing those verses (which would have ill become me) yet I will not be so affected as to conceal the pride I have in seeing them abroad, whatever enmity they may procure against your lordship, for publickly favouring one so obnoxious to present powers, and turning their hatred into envy; which last, as it is more tormenting to the owners, will better gratify my revenge. And of this advantage I shall make the proper use, leaving your lordship to shift for yourself, without the least grain of pity for what you may suffer.

In the mean time, I beg you to accept my most humble thanks for the honour done me by so excellent a performance, on so barren a subject; by which words I wisely anticipate the censure of all those who love me not: in spite of whom it will be said, in future ages, That one of lord Orrery's first essays in poetry were these verses on Dr. Swift. That your lordship may go on to be the great example, restorer, and patron, of virtue, learning, and wit, in a most corrupt, stupid, and ignorant age and nation, shall be the constant wish, hope, and prayer of, my lord, your most obedient, obliged, and most humble servant,