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the part of the Confederates, and his Theatrical Majesty on his own part. Of this you may expect a copy as soon as it shall be transmitted to us from a good hand. As for the late Congress, it is here reported, that it has not been wholly ineffectual; but this wants confirmation; yet we cannot but hope the concurring prayers and tears of so many wretched ladies may induce this haughty prince to reason. I am, etc.
I MAY truly say I am more obliged to you this summer than to any of my acquaintance, for had it not been for the two kind letters you sent me, I had been perfectly oblitusque meorum, obliviscendus et illis. The only companions I had were those Muses, of whom Tully says, Adolescentiam alunt, senectutem oblectant, secundas res ornant, adversis perfugium ac solatium prabent, delectant domi, non impediunt foris, pernoctant nobiscum, peregrinantur, rusticantur: which indeed is as much as ever I expected from them : for the Muses, if you take them as companions, are very pleasant and agreeable, but whoever should be forced to live or depend upon them, would find himself in a very bad condition. That Quiet, which Cowley calls the Companion of Obscurity, was not wanting to me, unless it was interrupted by those fears you so justly guess I had for our friend's welfare. 'Tis extremely kind in you to tell me the news you heard of him, and you have delivered me from more anxiety than he imagines me capable of on his account, as I am convinced by his long silence. However, the love of some things rewards itself, as of virtue, and of Mr. Wycherley. I am surprised at the danger you tell me he has been in, and must agree with you, that our nation would have lost in him as much wit and probity, as would have remained (for ought I know) in the rest of it. My concern for his friendship will excuse me (since I know you honour him so much, and since you know I love him above all men) if I vent part of my uneasiness to you, and tell you, that there has not been wanting one, to insinuate malicious untruths of me to Mr. Wycherley, which, I fear, may have had some effect upon him. If so, he will have a greater punishment for his credulity than I could wish him, in that fellow's acquaintance. The loss of a faithful creature is something, though of ever so contemptible a one; and if I were to change my dog for such a man as the aforesaid, I should think my dog undervalued: who follows me about as constantly here in the country, as I was used to do Mr. Wycherley in the town.
Now I talk of my dog, that I may not treat of a worse subject, which my spleen tempts me to, I will give you some account of him; a thing not wholly unprecedented, since Montaigne (to whom I am but a dog in comparison) has done the same thing of his cat. Die mihi quid melius desidiosus agam? You are to know then, that as 'tis likeness begets affection, so my favourite dog is a little one, a lean one, and none of the finest shaped. He is not much a spaniel in his fawning, but has (what might be worth any man's while to imitate him in) a dumb surly sort of kindness, that rather shews itself when he thinks me ill-used by others, than when we walk quietly and peaceably by ourselves. If it be the chief point of friendship to comply with a friend's motions and inclinations, he possesses this in an eminent degree; he lies down when I sit, and walks when I walk, which is more than many good friends can pretend to, witness our walk a year ago in St. James's Park.
Histories are more full of examples of the fidelity
of dogs than of friends, but I will not insist upon many of .them, because it is possible some may be almost as fabulous as those of Pylades and Orestes, etc. I will only say for the honour of dogs, that the two most ancient and esteemable books, sacred and prophane, extant, (viz. the Scripture and Homer,) have shewn a particular regard to these animals. That of Toby is the more remarkable, because there seemed no manner of reason to take notice of the dog, besides the great humanity of the author. Homer's account of Ulysses's dog Argus is the most pathetic imaginable, all the circumstances considered, and an excellent proof of the old bard's good-nature. Ulysses had left him at Ithaca when he embarked for Troy, and found him at his return after twenty years; (which by the way is not unnatural, as some critics have said, since I remember the dam of my dog was twenty-two years old when she died: may the omen of longevity prove fortunate to her successors). You shall have it in verse:
When wise Ulysses, from his native coast
Plutarch relating how the Athenians were obliged to abandon Athens in the time of Themistocles, steps back again out of the way of his history, purely to describe the lamentable cries and bowlings of the poor dogs they left behind. He makes mention of one that followed his master across the Sea to Salamis, where he died, and was honoured with a tomb by the Athenian, who gave the name of the Dog's Grave to that part of the island where he was buried. This respect to a dog in the most polite people in . the world, is very observable. A modern instance
I know not sweeter lines in our language than these four; Prior says well in Solomon, b. i.
And dying licks his long-lov'd master's feet. Which my friend Dobson admirably translated,
Et lambit carum lingua moriente magistrtmi.
of gratitude to a dog (though we have few such) is, that the chief order of Denmark (now injuriously called the order of the Elephant) was instituted in memory of the fidelity of a dog named Wild-brat( to one of their Kings who had been deserted by his subjects; he gave his Order this motto, or to this effect, (which still remains,) Wild-brat was faithful. Sir William Trumbull has told me a story7, which he heard from one that was present: King Charles I. being with some of his court during his troubles, a discourse arose what sort of dogs deserved pre-eminence, and it being on all hands agreed to belong either to the spaniel or grey-hound, the king gave his opinion on the part of the grey-hound, because (said he) it has all the good-nature of the other, without fawning. A good piece of satire upon his courtiers, with which I will conclude my discourse of dogs. Call me a cynic, or what you please, in revenge for all this impertinence, I will be contented; provided you will but believe me, when I say a bold word for a Christian, that, of all dogs, you will find none more faithful than
April 10, 1710.
I Had written to you sooner, but that I made some scruple of sending profane things to you in Holy
7 Sir Philip Warwick tells us this story in his Memoirs. W. VOL. VII. I