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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 14/Letter: Swift to Pope - 22

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


NOV. 1, 1734.


I HAVE yours with my lord Bolingbroke's Postscript of September 15, it was long on its way, and for some weeks after the date I was very ill with my two inveterate disorders, giddiness and deafness. The latter is pretty well off, but the other makes me totter towards evenings, and much dispirits me. But I continue to ride and walk, both of which, although they be no cures, are at least amusements. I did never imagine you to be either inconstant, or to want right notions of friendship, but I apprehend your want of health; and it has been a frequent wonder to me how you have been able to entertain the world so long, so frequently, so happily, under so many bodily disorders. My lord Bolingbroke says you have been three months rambling, which is the best thing you can possibly do in a summer season; and when the winter recalls you, we will for our own interests leave you to your speculations. God be thanked I have done with every thing, and of every kind, that requires writing, except now and then a letter; or, like a true old man, scribbling trifles only fit for children or schoolboys of the lowest class at best, which three or four of us read and laugh at to day, and burn to morrow. Yet, what is singular, I never am without some great work in view, enough to take up forty years of the most vigorous healthy man: although I am convinced that I shall never be able to finish three treatises, that have lain by me several years, and want nothing but correction. My lord B. said in his postscript that you would go to Bath in three days; we since heard that you were dangerously ill there, and that the newsmongers gave you over. But a gentleman of this kingdom, on his return from Bath, assured me he left you well, and so did some others whom I have forgot. I am sorry at my heart that you are pestered with people who come in my name, and I profess to you, it is without my knowledge. I am confident I shall hardly ever have occasion again to recommend, for my friends here are very few, and fixed to the freehold, from whence nothing but death will remove them. Surely I never doubted about your Essay on Man; and I would lay any odds, that I would never fail to discover you in six lines, unless you had a mind to write below or beside your self on purpose. I confess I did never imagine you were so deep in morals, or that so many new and excellent rules could be produced so advantageously and agreeably in that science, from any one head. I confess in some few places I was forced to read twice; I believe I told you before what the duke of Dorset said to me on that occasion, how a judge here, who knows you, told him, that on the first reading those essays, he was much pleased, but found some lines a little dark: on the second, most of them cleared up, and his pleasure increased: on the third, he had no doubt remained, and then he admired the whole. My lord Bolingbroke's attempt of reducing metaphysicks to intelligible sense and usefulness, will be a glorious undertaking; and as I never knew him fail in any thing he attempted, if he had the sole management, so I am confident he will succeed in this. I desire you will allow that I write to you both at present, and so I shall while I live: it saves your money, and my time; and he being your genius, no matter to which it is addressed. I am happy that what you write is printed in large letters; otherwise between the weakness of my eyes, and the thickness of my hearing, I should lose the greatest pleasure that is left me. Pray command my lord Bolingbroke to follow that example, if I live to read his metaphysicks. Pray God bless you both. I had a melancholy account from the doctor of his health. I will answer his letter as soon as I can, I am ever entirely yours.