The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 14/Letter: Pope to Swift - 8

SEPT. 3, 1726.

YOURS to Mr. Gay gave me greater satisfaction than that to me (though that gave me a great deal) for, to hear you were safe at your journey's end, exceeds the account of your fatigues while in the way to it; otherwise believe me, every tittle of each is important to me, which sets any one thing before my eyes that happens to you. I writ you a long letter, which I guess reached you the day after your arrival. Since then I had a conference with sir Robert Walpole, who expressed his desire of having seen you again before you left us; he said he observed a willingness in you to live among us; which I did not deny; but at the same time told him, you had no such design in your coming this time, which was merely to see a few of those you loved: but that indeed all those wished it, and particularly lord Peterborow and myself, who wished you loved Ireland less, had you any reason to love England more. I said nothing but what I think would induce any man to be as fond of you as I, plain truth, did they know either it, or you. I cannot help thinking, (when I consider the whole short list of our friends) that none of them except you and I are qualified for the mountains of Wales. The Dr. goes to cards. Gay to court; one loses money, one loses his time; another of our friends labours to be unambitious, but he labours in an unwilling soil. One[1] lady you like, has too much of France to be fit for Wales: Another[2] is too much a subject to princes and potentates, to relish that wild taste of liberty and poverty. Mr. Congreve is too sick to bear a thin air; and she[3] that leads him too rich to enjoy any thing. Lord Peterborow can go to any climate, but never stay in any. Lord Bathurst is too great a husbandman to like barren hills, except they are his own to improve. Mr. Bethel indeed is too good and too honest to live in the world, but yet it is fit, for its example, he should. We are left to ourselves in my opinion, and may live where we please, in Wales, Dublin, or Bermudas: and for me, I assure you I love the world so well, and it loves me so well, that I care not in what part of it I pass the rest of my days. I see no sunshine but in the face of a friend.

I had a glimpse of a letter of yours lately, by which I find you are (like the vulgar) apter to think well of people out of power, than of people in power; perhaps it is a mistake, but however there is something in it generous. Mr. Pulteney takes it extreme kindly, I can perceive, and he has a great mind to thank you for that good opinion, for which I believe he is only to thank his ill fortune: for if I am not in an errour, he would rather be in power, than out.

To show you how fit I am to live in the mountains, I will with great truth apply to myself an old sentence. "Those that are in, may abide in; and those that are out, may abide out: yet to me, those that are in, shall be as those that are out; and those that are out, shall be as those that are in."

I am indifferent as to all those matters, but I miss you as much as I did the first day, when (with a short sigh) I parted. Wherever you are, (or on the mountains of Wales, or on the coast of Dublin,

Tu mihi, magni superas dum saxa Timavi,
Sive oram Illyrici legis æquoris[4] ——)

I am, and ever shall be,

Yours, &c.

  1. Lady Bolingbroke, a French lady.
  2. Mrs. Howard.
  3. The duchess of Marlborough.
  4. Whether Timavus or the Illyrian coast,
    Whatever land or sea thy presence boast.