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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 14/Letter: Swift to Pope - 12

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DUBLIN, MAY 10, 1728,


I HAVE with great pleasure shown the New England newspaper with the two names Jonathan Gulliver; and I remember Mr. Fortescue[1] sent you an account from the assizes, of one Lemuel Gulliver who had a cause there, and lost it on his ill reputation of being a liar. These are not the only observations I have made upon odd strange accidents in trifles, which in things of great importance would have been matter for historians. Mr. Gay's opera has been acted here twenty times, and my lord lieutenant tells me it is very well performed; he has seen it often, and approves it much.

You give a most melancholy account of yourself, and which I do not approve. I reckon that a man subject like us to bodily infirmities, should only occasionally converse with great people, notwithstanding all their good qualities, easinesses, and kindnesses. There is another race which I prefer before them, as beef and mutton for constant diet before partridges: I mean a middle kind both for understanding and fortune, who are perfectly easy, never impertinent, complying in every thing, ready to do a hundred little offices that you and I may often want, who dine and sit with me five times for once that I go to them, and whom I can tell without offence, that I am otherwise engaged at present. This you cannot expect from any of those, that either you, or I, or both are acquainted with on your side; who are only fit for our healthy seasons, and have much business of their own. God forbid I should condemn you to Ireland (Quanquam O!) and for England I despair: and indeed a change of affairs would come too late at my season of life, and might probably produce nothing on my behalf. You have kept Mrs. Pope longer, and have had her care beyond what from nature you could expect; not but her loss will be very sensible whenever it shall happen. I say one thing, that both summers and winters are milder here than with you; all things for life in general better for a middling fortune: you will have an absolute command of your company, with whatever obsequiousness or freedom you may expect or allow. I have an elderly housekeeper, who has been my Walpole above thirty years, whenever I lived in this kingdom. I have the command of one or two villas near this town: you have a warm apartment, in this house, and two gardens for amusement. I have said enough, yet not half. Except absence from friends, I confess freely that I have no discontent at living here, beside what arises from a silly spirit of liberty, which as it neither sours my drink, nor hurts my meat, nor spoils my stomach, farther than in imagination, so I resolve to throw it off.

You talk of this Dunciad, but I am impatient to have it volare per ora[2] there is now a vacancy for fame; the Beggar's Opera has done its task, discedat uti conviva satur[3]. Adieu.


  1. A gentleman of the law, author of Stradling versus Styles.
  2. Fly abroad.
  3. Let it depart like a satiated guest,