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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 14/Letter: St John to Swift - 2


POPE charges himself with this letter: he has been here two days, he is now hurrying to London, he will hurry back to Twickenham in two days more, and before the end of the week he will be, for ought I know, at Dublin. In the mean time his Dulness[1] grows and flourishes as if he was there already. It will indeed be a noble work: the many will stare at it, the few will smile, and all his patrons, from Bickerstaff to Gulliver, will rejoice, to see themselves adorned in that immortal piece.

I hear that you have had some return of your illness which carried you so suddenly from us, if indeed it was your own illness which made you in such haste to be at Dublin. Dear Swift take care of your health, I will give you a receipt for it, à la Montaigne, or which is better, à la Bruyere. "Nourisser bien votre corps; ne le fatiguer jamais: laisser rouiller l'esprit, meuble inutil, voire outil dangereux: Laisser sonner vos cloches le matin pour éveiller les chanoines, et pour faire dormir le doyen d'un sommeil doux et profond, qui lui procure de beaux songes: Lever vous tard, et aller al' église, pour vous faire payer d' avoir bien dormi et bien déjeûné."

As to myself (a person about whom I concern myself very little) I must say a word or two out of complaisance to you, I am in my farm, and here I shoot strong and tenacious roots: I have caught hold of the earth, (to use a gardener's phrase) and neither my enemies nor my friends will find it an easy matter to transplant me again. Adieu, let me hear from you, at least of you: I love you for a thousand things, for none more than for the just esteem and love which you have for all the sons of Adam.

P. S. According to lord Bolingbroke's account I shall be at Dublin in three days. I cannot help adding a word, to desire you to expect my soul there with you by that time; but as for the jade of a body that is tacked to it, I fear there will be no dragging it after. I assure you I have few friends here to detain me, and no powerful one at court absolutely to forbid my journey. I am told the gynocracy[2] are of opinion, that they want no better writers than Cibber, and the British Journalist[3]; so that we may live at quiet, and apply ourselves to our more abstruse studies. The only courtiers I know, or have the honour to call my friends, are John Gay and Mr. Bowry; the former is at present so employed in the elevated airs of his opera, and the latter in the exaltation of his high dignity (that of her majesty's waterman) that I can scarce obtain a categorical answer from either, to any thing I say to them. But the opera succeeds extremely, to yours and my extreme satisfaction, of which he promises this post to give you a full account. I have been in a worse condition of health than ever, and think my immortality is very near out of my enjoyment: so it must be in you, and in posterity, to make me what amends you can for dying young. Adieu. While I am, I am yours. I Pray love me, and take care of yourself.


  1. The Dunciad.
  2. The petticoat government.
  3. William Arnall, bred an attorney. It appears from the report of the secret committee in the year 1742, for inquiring into the conduct of sir Robert Walpole, that Arnall received for Free Britons, and other writings, in the space of four years, no less than ten thousand nine hundred and ninety-seven pounds, six shillings and eight pence, out of the treasury.