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day afford me pleasure and satisfaction. But I beseech you to believe, that I measure not your kindness by your opportunities of writing; nor do suspect that your friendship fruiters, whenever your pen lies a little still. The sincerity you profess, and I am convinced of, has charms in it, against all the little phantoms of ceremony. If it be not so, that true friendship sets one free from a scrupulous observance of all those little circumstances, I (hall be able to give but a very ill account of myself to my friends; to whom when I have given possession of my heart, I am less punctual of making of legs, and kissing my hand, than to other people, to whom that outside civility is all that belongs. 1 received the three books you sent me. That which the author sent me *, deserves my acknowledgments more ways than one: and I must beg you to return it. His demonstrations are so plain, that if this were an age that followed reason, I should not doubt but this would prevail. But to be rational is so glorious a thing, that two-legged creatures generally content themselves with the title; but will not debase so excellent a faculty, about the conduct of so trivial a thing, as they make themselves. There never was a man better suited to your wishes, than I am. You take a pleasure in being troubled with my commissions; and 1 have no other way of commerce with you, but by such importunities, lean only fay, that, were the tables changed, I should, being in your place, have the same satisfaction; and therefore confidently make use of your kind offer. I therefore beg the favour of you to get me Mr. Le Clerc's Harmony of the Evangelists, i:i English, bound very finely in calf, gilt and lettered on the back, and gilt on the leaves; so also I would have Moliere's works (of the best edition you can gee them) bound. These books are for the ladies; and therefore I would have « them fine, and the leaves gilt as well as the back, Moliere, of the Paris edition, I think, is the best, if it can be got in London in qui/cs. You see the
• Reasons again*! restraining the presi, Lon8on, 1704, in quaitc.
liberty I take. I should be glad you could find out something for me to do for you here.
I am perfectly, &c,
§ 104. To the fame.
Oates, May 19, ^ Dear Sir, 1704.
Nothing works so steadily and effectually as friendship, Had I hired a man to have gone to town in my business, and paid him well, my commissions would not have been so soon, nor so well dispatched, as I find by yours of the 16th, they have been by you. You speak of my affairs, and act in them with such an air of interest and satisfaction, that I can hardly avoid thinking, that I oblige you with employing you in them. 'Tis no small advantage to me, to have found such a friend, at the last scene of my life; when I am good for nothing, and am grown so useless, that I cannot but be sure that in every good office you do me, you can propose to yourself no other advantage, but the pleasure of doing it. Every one here finds himself obliged, by your late good company. As for myself, if you had not convinced me by a sensible experiment, I could not have believed, 1 could have had so many happy days together. I shall always pray, that yours may be multiplied. Could I in the least contribute any thing thereto, I should think myself happy in this poor decaying state of my health ; which, though it affords me little in this world to enjoy, yet I find the charms of your company make me not feel the want of strength, or breath, or any thing else.
The bishop of Gloucester came hither the day you went from hence, and in no very good state of health. I find two groaning people make but an uncomfortable concert. He returned yesterday, and went away in somewhat a better state. I hope he got well to town.
Enjoy your health and youth whilst you have it, to all the advantages and improvements of an innocent and pleasent life. ; remembering that merciless old-age is in pursuit of you, nnd when it overtakes you, will not fail, some
way way or other, to impair the enjoyments both of body and mind. You know how apt I am to preach. I believe it is one of the diseases of old age. But my friends will forgive me, when I have nothing to persuade them to, but that they should endeavour to be as happy, as it is possible for them to be: And to you I have no more to fay, but that you go on in the course you are in. I reflect often upon it, with a secret joy, that you promised I should in a short time see you again. You are very good, and I dare not press you. But I cannot but remember how well I passed my time, when you were here. I am, Sec.
§ IOJ. To the same dircBed thus:
"For Anthony Collins, Esq; to be delivered to him aster my decease:"
Dear Sir, By my will you will fee that I had some kindness for * * *. And I knew no better way to take care of him, than to put him, and what 1 designed for him, into yourhands and management: the knowledge 1 have of your virtue of all kinds, secures the trust, which, by your peimiflion, I have placed in you j and the peculiar esteem and love I have observed in the young man for you, will dispose him to be ruled and influenced by you, so that of that I need say nothing. But there is one thing, which it is neci.ssaiy for me to recommend to your especial care and memory •«»••*,
May you live long and happy, in the enjoyment of health, freedom, conit, and all those blessings which Prohas bestowed on you, and your ■ entitles you to! I know you Ig; and will preserve my now I am dead. All the use s it is, that this life is a at soon passes away; .. tisfaclion, but in doing well, and nier life. This is perience, and ue, when account. with •■■ Locke.
$ 106. Sir William Temple to Mr, Sidney.
Hague, Dec. 13, N. S. Sir, 1675.
Though I did not like the date of your last letter, yet I did all the rest very well. I thought Lyons a little too far off for one I wish always in my reach: but when I remembered it was a place of so great trade, and where you told me yours had been very good in former times, I was contented to think you spent your time to your own advantage and satisfaction, though not to your friends, by keeping at such a distance. I was very well pleased t'other day with a visit made me by Captain Fresheim,who was much in your praises; but I did not like that he mould make you kinder to him than to me: yet I think he deserves it of you, if all be true that he tells; for he pretends to think you le plus hel homme, Cif le plus bonnet! homme, and I know not what more, that never came into my head, as you know very well. However, I was mighty glad to hear him fay, you had the best health that could be, and that you looked as if you would keep it lo, if you did not grow too kind to the place and company you lived in, or they to you. Yet after what you tell me of the French air and Bourbon waters, 1 am much apter to wish myself there, than you in these parts of the world; and though I hear news every day from all sides, yet I have not heard any so good since I came upon this scene,' as what you fend me, of the effects 1 am like to feel by the change, whenever I come upon that where you are. They will be greater and betier than any I can expect by being the busy man, thoughy'ir pounois bitn fairs mer•veilles, with the company I am joined to; and nobody knows to what Sir Kills may raise another ambassador, that has already raised one from the dead. They begin to talk now of our going to Nimeguen, as if it were nearer than I thought it a month ago. When we are there, it will be time enough to tell you what I think of our coming awav. Hitherto, I can only fay, there are lo many splinters in the broken bone, that J? p 4. the
the patient must be very good, as well as the surgeon, if it be a sudden cure. And though I believe, both where you and I are, the disposition) towards it are very well, yet 1 doubt of those who are farther off on both sides of us. For aught any body knows, this great dance may end as others use to do, every man coming to the place where they begun, or near it: only, against all reason and custom, I doubt the poor Swede, that never led the dance, is likeliest to pay the fidlers. I hope you know what passes at home; at least, 'tis pity you should not: but if you don't, you mail not for me at this distance; and since you talk of returning, the matter is not great. In the mean time, pray let me know your motionsand your health, since the want of your cypher keeps me from other things you said you had a mind to tell me. I hear nothing of the letter you say you have sent me by so good a hand; so that all I can say to that is, that by whatsoever it comes, any will be welcome that comes from yours; because nobody loves you better than I, nor can be more than I am, Yours, Sec.
§ 107. Sir William Temple to Lord Arlington.
Brussels, March 2, N. S. My Lord, 1668.
I am sorry his majesty Ihould meet with any thing he did not look for at the opening of this session of parliament; but confess, I do not fee why his majesty ihould not only consent to, but encourage any enquiries or disquisitions they desire to make into the miscarriages of the late war, as well as he has done already in the matter of accounts; for, if it be not necessary, it is a king's ease and happiness to content his people. 1 doubt, as men will never part willingly with their monies, unless they be well persuaded it will be employed directly to those ends for which they gave it ; so they will never be satisfied with a government, unless they fee men are chosen into offices and employments by being fit for them; continued for discharging them well; rewarded for extraordinary merit, and punished for
remarkable fault*. Besides, in these cafes, his majesty discharges the hardships and severity of all punishments upon the parliament, and commits no force upon the gentleness of his own nature, while his subjects fee that no tenderness of their prince, nor corruption of ministers, can preserve them long from paying what they owe to any forfeits of their duty. Nor indeed can any prince do justice to those that serve him well, without punishing those that serve him ill; since that is to make their conditions equal, whose deserts are different. I mould not fay this to any person but to your lordship to whom I know part of that justice is due. But to fay truth, the progress and end of the last war went so much to my heart, and I have heard so much lately from Monsieur de Wit, concerning the carriage of it on our side, especially what fell under his eye when he was abroad in the fleet, that I cannot but think the parliament may be excused for their warmth in this pursuit. But your lordship can best discern by the course os debates, whether this proceeds from a steady intention upon a general good, or from seme accidental distempers, from which the greatest and best assemblies of men are not always free, especially when they have continued long together. I beg your lordship's pardon for my liberty in these discourses, to which you were pleased to encourage me, by hearing me so obligingly those few minutes I was allowed for such talk or thoughts at my last being with you, and from the sense you then expressed of the absolute necessity there was for his majesty to fall into a perfect intelligence with his parliament, especially being engaged into an appearance of action abroad by the force of this present conjuncture.
I am ever, &c.
§ 108. Sir William Temple to the
Nimeguen, May 21, N. S.
My Lord, 1677.
I am unacquainted with thanks or
praises, having so little deserved any,
that I must judge of them rather by
the the report of others, than by any experience of my own. But if, by either, I Understand any thing of them, all the charm or value they have arises from the esteem a man has of the person that gives them, or the belief in some measure of his own deserving them. The first of these circumstances gave so great an advantage to those I had lately the honour of receiving from your lord (hip, in a letter delivered me by Mr. Dolben, that the want of the other was but necessary to allay the vanity they might otherwise have given me. But where a man can find no ground to flatter himself upon the thanks he receives, he begins to consider whether they are praise or reproach: and so I am sure I have reason to do in the acknowledgments your lordlhip is pleased to make me of any favours to your son, who has never yet been so kind to me, as to give me the least occasion of obliging him. I confess, I should have been glad to meet with any, though I do not remember so much as ever to have told him so; but if he has guessed it from my countenance or conversation, it is a testimony of his observing much, and judging well; which are qualities I have thought him guilty of, among those others that allow me to do him no favour but j ustice only in esteeming him. •Tis his fortune to have been beforehand with me, by giving your lordship an occasion to take notice of me, and thereby furnishing me with a pretence of entering into your service : which gives him a new title to any I can do him, and your lordship a very just one to employ me upon all occasions. Notwithstanding your lordship's favourable opinion, I will assure you, 'tis well for me, that our work here requires little skill, and that we have no more but forms to deal with in this congress, while the treaty is truly in the field, where the conditions of it are yet to be determined. Fata <viam iniienient: which is all I can fay of it: nor shall I increase your lordship's present trouble, beyond the prascffions of my being, My lord, your lor jfhip's most obedient, humble servant.
§ 109. Dr. Garth to Anthont Henley, Esq; inclosing a Poem, called hit " Dispensary."
Sir, A man of your character can no more prevent a dedication, than he would encourage one; for merit, like a virgin's blushes, is still most discovered, when it labours most to be concealed.
'Tis hard, to think well of you should be but justice, and to tell you so should be an offence : thus, rather than violate your modesty, I must be wanting to your other virtues; and to gratify one good quality, do wrong to a thousand.
The world generally measures our esteem by the ardour of our pretences; and will scarce believe that so much zeal in the heart can be consistent with so much faintness in the expression: but when they reflect on-your readiness to do good, and your industry to hide it; on your passion to oblige, and your pain to hear it owned; they will conclude, that acknowledgments would be ungrateful to a person, who even seems to receive the obligations he confers. But though i should persuade myself to be silent upon all occasions, those more polite arts, which, till of late, have languished and decayed, would appear under their present advantages, and own you for one of their generous restorers; insomuch, that sculpture now breathes, painting speaks, music ravishes ; and as you help to refine our taste, you distinguiih your own. Your approbation of this poem is the only exception to the opinion the world has of your judgment, that ought to relish nothing so much as what you write yourself: but you are resolved to forget to be a critic, by remembering you are a friend. To say more, would be uneasy to you; and to say less, would be unjust in ,
Your humble servant.
§110. Mr. Drydbn to Mr. Dennis.
My dear Mr. Dennis, When I read a letter so full of my commendations as your last, I cannot but consider you as the master of a vail treasure, who, having more than enough for yourself, are forced to flow out upon
your your friends. You have indeed the best right to give them, since you have them in propriety: but they are no more mine, when I receive them, than the light of the moon can be allowed to be her own, who shines but by the reflection of her brother. Your own poetry is a more powerful example, to prove that the modern writers may enter into comparison with the ancients, than any which Perrault could producein France; yet neither he nor you, who are a better critic, can persuade me that there is any room left for a solid commendation, at this time of day at least, for me. If I undertake the translation of Virgil, the little which I can perform will (hew, at least, that no man is fit to write after him, in a barbarous modern tongue: neither will his machines be of any service to a Christian poet. We see how ineffectually they have been tried by Tasso and by Ariosto. 'Tis using them too dully, if we only make devils of his gods: as if, for example, I would raise a storm, and make use of Æolus, with thi3 only difference, of calling him Prince of the Air, what invention of mine would there be in this? or who would not fee Virgil through me, only the fame trick played over again by a bungling juggler? Boileau has well observed, that it is an easy matter, in a Christian poem, for God to bring the tlevil to reason. I think I have given a better hint for new machines in my preface to Juvenal, where I have particularly recommended two subjects, one of king Arthur's conquest of the Saxons, and the other of the Black Prince, in his conquest of Spain. But the guardian angels of monarchies and kingdoms are not to be touched by every hand. Aman must be deeplyconversant in the Platonic philosophy to deal with them,: and therefore 1 may reasonably expect, that no poet of our age will presume to handle those machines, for fear of discovering his own ignorance; or, if he should, he might, perhaps, be ungrateful enough not to own me for }ii.< benefactor. After I have confessed thus much of ojrmodern heroic poetry, J cannot but conclude with Mr. Rym—, th:.t our F.pglifh comedy is far beyond jinv thing o) the ancients. And, not
withstanding our irregularities, so is our tragedy. Shakespeare had a genius for it; and we know, in spite os
Mr. R , that genius alone is a
greater virtue (if Imayfocallit) than all other qualifications put together. Vou fee what success this learned critic has found in the world, after his blaspheming Shakespeare. Almost all the faults which he has discovered are truly there;
yet who will read Mr. Rym , or
not read Shakespeare? For my owa part, I reverence Mr. Rym——'s learning, but I detest his ill-nature and his arrogance. I, indeed, and such as I, have reason to be afraid of him, but Shakespeare has not. There is another part of poetry in which the English stand almost upon an equal footing with the ancients; and 'tis that which we call Pindarique, introduced, but not perfected, by our famous Mr. Cowley: and of this, Sir, you are certainly one of the greatest masters: you have the sublimity of sense as well as sound, and know how far the boldness of a poet may lawfully extend. I could wish you would cultivate this kind of ode, and reduce it either to the fame mea, sure which Pindar used, or give new measures of your own. For, as it is, it looks like a vast tract of land newly discovered. The soil is wonderfully fruitful, but unmanured; overstocked with inhabitants, but almost all savages, without laws, arts, arms, or policy. I remember poor Nat. Lee, who was then upon the verge of madness, yet made a sober and witty answer to a bad poet, who told him, "It was an easy "thing to write like a madman."—, "No," said he, "it is very difficult "to write like a madman ; but it is a << vcty eafy matter to write like a fool." Otway and he are safe by death from all attacks, but we poor poets militant (to use Mr. Cowley's expressions) are at the mercy of wretched scribblers; end when they cannot fasten upon our verses, they fall upon our morals, our principles of state, and religion. For my principles of religion, I will not justify them to you; I know yours are far different. For the fame reason, I shall say nothing osmy principles of state: I believe you in yours follow the dictates