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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 14/Letter: Swift to Pope - 24

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


SEPT. 3, 1735.


THIS letter will be delivered to you by Faulkner the printer, who goes over on his private affairs. This is an answer to yours of two months ago, which complains of that profligate fellow Curll. I heartily wish you were what they call disaffected, as I am, I may say as David did, I have sinned greatly, but what have these sheep done? You have given no offence to the ministry, nor to the lords, nor commons, nor queen, nor the next in power. For you are a man of virtue, and therefore must abhor vice and all corruption, although your discretion holds the reins. "You need not fear any consequence in the commerce that has so long passed between us; although I never destroyed one of your letters. But my executors are men of honour and virtue, who have strict orders in my will to burn every letter left behind me." Neither did our letters contain any turns of wit, or fancy, or politicks, or satire, but mere innocent friendship; yet I am loth that any letters, from you and a very few other friends, should die before me; I believe we neither of us ever leaned our head upon our left hand to study what we should write next; yet we have held a constant intercourse from your youth and my middle age, and from your middle age it must be continued till my death, which my bad state of health makes me expect every month. I have the ambition, and it is very earnest as well as in haste, to have one epistle inscribed to me while I am alive, and you just in the time when wit and wisdom are in the height. I must once more repeat Cicero's desire to a friend; orna me. A month ago were sent me over by a friend of mine, the works of John Hughes, esq., they are in verse and prose. I never heard of the man in my life, yet I find your name as a subscriber too. He is too grave a poet for me, and I think among, the mediocribus in prose as well as verse. I have the honour to know Dr. Rundle; he is indeed worth all the rest you ever sent us, but that is saying nothing, for he answers your character; I have dined thrice in his company. He brought over a worthy clergyman of this kingdom as his chaplain, which was a very wise and popular action. His only fault is, that he drinks no wine, and I drink nothing else.

This kingdom is now absolutely starving, by the means of every oppression that can be inflicted on mankind shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord. You advise me right, not to trouble myself about the world: but, oppression tortures me, and I cannot live without meat and drink, nor get either without money; and money is not to be had, except they will make me a bishop, or a judge, or a colonel, or a commissioner of the revenues.

Adieu.