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open to the whole Tribe of Informers, the most accursed, and prostitute, and abandoned race, that God ever permitted to plague mankind.

It is true the Romans had a custom of chusing a Dictator, during whose administration the Power of other Magistrates was suspended; but this was done


the greatest emergencies ; à War near their doors, or some civil Diffention : For Armies must be governed by arbitrary power. But when the Virtue of that Commonwealth gave place to luxury and ambition, this very office of Dictator became perpetual in the persons of the Cæsars and their Successors, the most infamous Tyrants that have. any where appeared in story.

These are some of the sentiments I had, relating to public affairs, while I was in the world: what they are at present, is of little importance either to that or myself; neither can I truly say I have any at all, or, if I had, I dare not venture to publish them: For however orthodox they may be while I am now writing, thay may become criminal enough to bring me into trouble before midsummer. And indeed I have often wilhed for some time past, that a political Catechism might be published by authority four times a year, in order to instruct us how we are to speak, write, and act during the current quarter. I have by expe4



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rience felt the want of such an instructer: For; intending to make my court to some people on the prevailing side, by advancing certain old whiggith principles, which, it seems, had been exploded about a month before, I have passed for a disaffected person. I am not ignorant how idle a thing it is, for a man in obscurity to attempt defending his reputation as a Writer, while the spirit of Faction hath so universally poffessed the minds of men, that they are not at leisure to attend to any thing else. They will just give themselves time to libel and accuse me, but cannot spare a minute to hear my defence. So in a plot-discovering age, I have often known an innocent man seized and imprifoned, and forced to lie several months in chains, while the Ministers were not at leisure to hear his petition, until they had prosecuted and hanged the number they proposed.

All I can reasonably hope for by this letter, is to convince my friends, and others who are pleased to wish me well, that I have neither been so ill a Subject nor so stupid an Author, as I have been represented by the virulence of Libellers, whose malice hath taken the same train in both, by fathering dangerous Principles in government upon me, which I never maintained, and infipid Productions, which I am not capable of writing. For, however I


may have been soured by personal ill treatment, or by melancholy prospects for the public, I am too much a politician to expose my own safety by offensive words. And, if my genius and spirit be sunk by encreasing years, I have at least enough discretion left, not to mistake the measure of my own abilities, by attempting subjects where those Talents are necessary, which perhaps I may have lost with my youth.


Dr. Swift to Mr. GAY.



Dublin, Jan. 8, 1722-3. Oming home after a short Christmas ram

ble, I found a letter upon my table, and little expected when I opened it to read your name at the bottom. The best and greatest part of my life, until these last eight years, I spent in England ; there I made my friendships,

; and there I left


desires. I am condemned for ever to another country; what is in prudence to be done? I think, to be cllitusque meorum, obliviscendus esiliis. What can be the design of your letter but inalice, to wake me out of a {curvy sleep, which however is better VOL. IX.



than none? I am towards nine years older

? since I left you, yer that is the least of


alterations ; my business, my diversions, my conversations, are all entirely changed for the worse, and so are my studies and my amusements in writing; yet, after all, this humdrum


of life might be passable enough, if you would let me alone. I shall not be able to relish my wine, my parsons, my horses, nor my garden for three months, until the spirit you have raised thall be dispossessed. I have sometimes wondered that I have not visited you, but I have been stopt by too many reasons, befides years and laziness, and yet these are very good ones. Upon my return after half a year amongst you, there would be to me Defiderio nec pudor nec modus. I was three years reconciling myself to the scene, and the business, to which fortune hash condemned me, and stupidity was what I had recourse to. Besides, what a figure should I make in London, while my friends are in poverty, exile, distress, or imprisonment, and my enemies with rods of iron? Yet I often threaten myself with the journey, and am every summer practising to get health to bear it : The only inconvenience is, that I grow old in the experiment. Although I care not to talk to you as a Divine, yet I hope you have not been author of your colic : do you drink bad wine, or keep


quos mihi

bad company? Are

you not as many years older as I? It will not be always Et tibi dempserit Apponet annos. I am heartily sorry you have any dealings with that ugly distemper, and I believe our friend Arbuthnot will recommend

you to temperance and exercise. I wish they could have as good an effect upon the giddiness I am subject to, and which this moment I am not free from: I should have been glad if you had lengthened your letter by telling me the present condition of many of my old acquaintance, Congreve, Arbuthnot, Lewis, &c. but you mention only mr. Pope, who I believe is lazy, or else he might have added three lines of his own. I am extremely glad he is not in your case of needing great mens favour, and could heartily with that his. I have been considering why Poets have such ill success in making their Court, since they are allowed to be the greatest and best of all flatterers: The defect is, that they flatter only in print or in writing, but not by word of mouth : They will give things under their hand which they make a conscience of speaking, Besides, they are too libertine to haunt antichambers, too poor to bribe Porters and foot

, men, and too proud to cringe to second-hand favourites in a great family. Tell me, are you not under Original sin by the dedication of your D 2


you were in

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