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author are a paraphrase on Psal. xxiii. On Lessius, Epitaph on Mr. Ashton, Wishes to his supposed mistress, and the Dies
December 30, 1710.
I Resume my old liberty of throwing out myself upon paper to you, and making what thoughts float uppermost in my head, the subject of a letter. They are at present upon laughter, which (for aught I know) may be the cause you might sometime sthink me too remiss a friend, when I was most entirely so: for I am never so inclined to mirth as when I am most pleased and most easy, which is in the company of a friend like yourself.
As the fooling and toying with a mistress is a proof of fondness, not disrespect, so is raillery with a friend. I know there are prudes in friendship, who expect distance, awe, and adoration; but I know you are not of them; and I for my part am no idol-worshipper, though a Papist. If I were to address Jupiter himself in a heathen way, I fancy I should be apt to take hold of his knee in a familiar manner, if not of his
Eloisa to Abelard that many expressions and thoughts of Crashaw chiefly occur; particularly his description of a religious house, from Barclay; the situation of the Paraclete; and also line 347, from the complaint of Alexias, the forsaken wife of JElexis, though much heightened and improved. Cowley wrote a poem on Crashaw's death, whom he highly celebrates. He died of a fever at Loretto, being newly chosen canon of that church.
beard like Dionysius; I was just going to say, of his buttons; but I think Jupiter wore none (however I won't be positive to so nice a critic as you, but his robe might be subnected with a Fibula). I know some philosophers define laughter, A recommending ourselves to our own favour, by comparison with the weakness of another: but I am sure I very rarely laugh with that view, nor do I believe children have any such consideration in their heads, when they express their pleasure this way: I laugh full as innocently as they, for the most part, and as sillily. There is a difference too betwixt laughing about a thing, and laughing at a thing: one may find the inferior man (to make a kind of casuistical distinction) provoked to folly at the sight or observation of some circumstances of a thing, when the thing itself appears solemn and august to the superior man, that is, our judgment and reason. Let an ambassador speak the best sense in the world, and deport himself in the most graceful manner before a Prince, yet if the tail of his shirt happen (as I have known it to happen to a very wise man) to hang outbehind, more people shall laugh at that than attend to the other; till they recollect themselves, and then they will not have a jot the less respect for the minister. I must confess the iniquity of my countenance before you; several muscles of my face sometimes take an impertinent liberty with my judgment, but then my judgment soon rises, and sets all right again about my mouth: and I find I value no man so much, as him in whose sight I have been playing the fool. I cannot be sub persona before a man I love; and not to laugh with honesty, when nature prompts, or folly (which is more a second nature than any thing I know), is but a knavish hypocritical way of making a mask of one's own face.—To conclude, those are my friends / laugh with, and those that are not / laugh at; so am merry in company, and if ever I am wise, it is all by myself. You take just another course, and to those that are not your friends, are very civil: and to those that are, very endearing and complaisant; thus when you and I meet, there will be the Risus 8$ Blanditice united together in conversation, as they commonly are inverse. But without laughter on the one side, or compliment on the other, I assure you I am, with real esteem,
FROM MR. CROMWELL.
October 16, 1711.
Mil. Wycherley visited me at Bath in my sickness, and expressed much affection to me: hearing from me how welcome his letters would be, he presently writ to you; in which I inserted my scrall, and after a second. He went to Gloucester in his way to Salop, but was disappointed of a boat, and so returned to the Bath; then he shewed me your answer to his letters, in which you spoke of my goodnature, but, I fear, you found me very froward at Reading; yet you allow for my illness. I could not
possibly be in the same house with Mr. Wycherley, though I sought it earnestly; nor come up to town with him, he being engaged with others; but, whenever we met, we talked of you. He praises your 2 Poem, and even outvies me in kind expressions of you. As if he had not wrote two letters to you, he was for writing every post; I put him in mind he had already. Forgive me this wrong; I know not whether my talking so much of your great humanity and tenderness to me, and love to him; or whether the return of his natural disposition to you, was the cause; but certainly you are now highly in his favour: now he will come this winter to your house, and I must go with him; but first he will invite you speedily to town.—I arrived on Saturday last much wearied, yet had wrote sooner, but was told by Mr. Gay (who has writ a pretty poem to Lintot, and who gives you his service) that you was gone from home. Lewis shewed me your letter, which set me right, and your next letter is impatiently expected from me. Mr. Wycherley came to town on Sunday last, and kindly surprised me with a visit on Monday morning. We dined and drank together; and I saying, To our loves, he replied, 'TisMr. Pope's health. He said he would go to Mr. Thorold's and leave a letter for you. Though I cannot answer for the event of all this, in respect of him: yet I can assure you, that, when you please to come, you will be most desirable to me, as always by inclination, so now by duty, who shall ever be
'Essay on Criticism. P.
I Received the entertainment of your letter the day after I had sent you one of mine, and I am but this morning returned hither. The news you tell me of the many difficulties you found in your return from Bath, gives me such a kind of pleasure as we usually take in accompanying our friends in their mixed adventures; for, methinks, I see you labouring through all your inconveniences of the rough roads, the hard saddle, the trotting horse, and what not. What an agreeable surprize would it have been to me, to have met you by pure accident (which I was within an ace of doing), and to have carried you off triumphantly, set you on an easier pad, and relieved the wandering knight with a night's lodging and rural repast, at our castle in the forest! But these are only the pleasing imaginations of a disappointed lover, who must suffer in a melancholy absence yet these two months. In the mean time, I take up with the Muses for want of your better company,« the Muses, quce nobiscum pernoctant, peregrinantur, rusticantur. Those aerial ladies just discover enough to me of their beauties to urge my pursuit, and draw me on in a wandering maze of thought, still in hopes (and only in hopes) of attaining those favours from them, which they confer on their more happy admirers. We grasp some more beautiful idea in our own brain, than our endeavours to express it can set to