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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 14/Letter: Swift to Pope - 10

< The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift‎ | Volume 14


DUBLIN, OCT. 12, 1727.


I HAVE been long reasoning with myself upon the condition I am in, and in conclusion have thought it best to return to what fortune has made my home; I have there a large house, and servants and conveniences about me. I may be worse than I am, and have no where to retire. I therefore thought it best to return to Ireland, rather than go to any distant place in England. Here is my maintenance, and here my convenience. If it pleases God to restore me to my health, I shall readily make a third journey; if not, we must part as all human creatures have parted. You are the best and kindest friend in the world, and I know no body alive or dead to whom I am so much obliged; and if ever you made me angry, it was for your too much care about me. I have often wished that God Almighty would be so easy to the weakness of mankind, as to let old friends be acquainted in another state; and if I were to write a Utopia for Heaven, that would be one of my schemes. This wildness you must allow for, because I am giddy and deaf.

I find it more convenient to be sick here, without the vexation of making my friends uneasy; yet my giddiness alone would not have done, if that unsociable comfortless deafness had not quite tired me. And I believe I should have returned from the inn, if I had not feared it was only a short intermission, and the year was late, and my license expiring. Surely beside all other faults, I should be a very ill judge, to doubt your friendship and kindness. But it has pleased God that you are not in a state of health, to be mortified with the care and sickness of a friend. Two sick friends never did well together; such an office is fitter for servants and humble companions, to whom it is wholly indifferent whether we give them trouble or not. The case would be quite otherwise if you were with me; you could refuse to see any body, and here is a large house where we need not hear each other if we were both sick. I have a race of orderly elderly people of both sexes at command, who are of no consequence, and have gifts proper for attending us; who can bawl when I am deaf, and tread softly when I am only giddy and would sleep.

I had another reason for my haste hither, which was changing my agent, the old one having terribly involved my little affairs; to which however I am grown so indifferent, that I believe I shall lose two or three hundred pounds rather than plague myself with accompts: so that I am very well qualified to be a lord, and put into Peter Walter's hands.

Pray God continue and increase Mr. Congreve's amendment, though he does not deserve it like you, having been too lavish of that health which nature gave him.

I hope my Whitehall landlord is nearer to a place than when I left him; as the preacher said, "the day of judgment was nearer, than ever it had been before."

Pray God send you health, det salutem, det opes, animam æquam ipse tibi parabis[1]. You see Horace wishes for money as well as health; and I would hold a crown he kept a coach; and I shall never be a friend to the court, till you do so too.

Yours, &c.


  1. Let Jove give health, give riches, you shall find
    An inward treasure in an equal mind.