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dear horses, which carried him in triumph to the ring. The poor distressed Roman Catholics, now unhorsed and uncharioted, cry out with the Psalmist, Some in Chariots and some on Horses, but we will invocate the name of the Lord.
· I am, etc.
The weather is too fine for any one that loves the country to leave it at this season : when every smile of the sun, like the smile of a coy lady, is as dear as it is uncommon: and I am so much in the taste of rural pleasures, I had rather see the sun than any thing he can shew me, except yourself. I despise every fine thing in town, not excepting your new gown, till I see you dressed in it (which by the way I don't like the better for the red; the leaves, I think, are very pretty.) I am growing fit, I hope, for a better world, of which the light of the sun is but a shadow: for I doubt not but God's works here are what come nearest to his works there: and that a true relish of the beauties of nature is the most easy preparation and gentlest transition to an enjoyment of those of heaven: as on the contrary, a true town-life of hurry, confusion, noise, slander, and dissention, is a sort of apprenticeship to hell and its furies. I am .endeavouring to put my mind into as quiet a situation as I can, to be ready to receive that stroke which, I believe, is coming upon me, and have fully resigned myself to yield to it. The separation of my soul and body is what I could think of with less pain; for I am very sure he that made it will take care of it, and in whatever state he pleases it shall be, that state must be right: but I cannot think without tears of being separated from my friends, when their condition is so doubtful, that they may want even such assistance as mine. Sure, it is more merciful to take from us after death all memory of what we loved or pursued here: for else what a torment would it be to a spirit, still to love those creatures it is quite divided from ? Unless we suppose, that in a more exalted life, all that we esteemed in this imperfect state will affect us no more, than what we loved in our infancy concerns us now..
This is an odd way of writing to a lady, and, I am sensible, would throw me under a great deal of ridicule, were you to shew this letter among your acquaintance. But perhaps you may not yourself be quite a stranger to this way of thinking. I heartily wish your life may be so long and so happy, as never to let you think quite so far as I am now led to do; but to think a little towards it, is what will make you the happier, and the easier at all times.
There are no pleasures or amusements that I do not wish you, and therefore 'tis no small grief to me that I shall for the future be less able to partake with you in them. But let fortune do her worst, whatever she makes us lose, as long as she never makes us lose our honesty and our independance; I despise from
my heart whoever parts with the first, and pity from my soul whoever quits the latter.
I am grieved at Mr. Gay's condition in this last respect of dependance. He has Merit, Good-nature, and Integrity, three qualities, that I fear are too often lost upon great men; or at least are not all three a match for one which is opposed to them, Flattery. I wish it may not soon or late displace him from the favour he now possesses, and seems to like. I am sure his late action deserves eternal favour and esteem : Lord Bathurst was charmed with it, who came hither to see me before his journey. He asked and spoke very particularly of you. To-morrow Mr. Fortescue comes to me from London about B-_'s suit in forma pauperis. That poor man looks starved: he tells me you have been charitable to him. Indeed 'tis wanted; the poor creature can scarce stir or speak; and I apprehend he will die, just as he gets something to live upon. Adieu.
This is a day of wishes for you, and I hope you have long known, there is not one good one which I do not form in your behalf. Every year that passes, I wish some things more for my friends, and some things less for myself. Yet were I to tell you what I wish for you in particular, it would be only to repeat in prose, what I told you last year in rhyme (so sincere is my poetry): I can only add, that as I then
wished you a friend', I now wish that friend were Mrs.
Absence is a short kind of death; and in either, one can only wish, that the friends we are separated from may be happy with those that are left them. I am therefore very solicitous that you may pass much agreeable time together : I am sorry to say I envy you no other companion; though I hope you have others that you like; and I am always pleased in that hope, when it is not attended with any fears on your own account.
I was troubled to leave you both, just as I fancied we should begin to live together in the country. 'Twas a little like dying the moment one had got all one desired in this world. Yet I go away with one generous sort of satisfaction, that what I part with, you are to inherit.
I know you would both be pleased to hear some certain news of a friend departed; to have the adventures of his passage, and the new regions through which he travelled, described; and, upon the whole, to know that he is as happy where he now is, as while he lived among you. But indeed I (like many a poor unprepared soul) have seen nothing I like so well as what I left: no scenes of Paradise, no happy bowers, equal to those on the banks of the Thames. Where-ever I wander, one reflection strikes me: I wish you were as free as I; or at least had a tie as tender, and as reasonable as mine, to a relation that
9 To Mrs. Blount on her Birth-day. “ O be thou blest with all that Heav'n can send, Long health, long youth, long pleasure, and a friend. W.
as well deserved your constant thought, and to whom you would be always pulled back (in such a manner as I am) by the heart-string. I have never been well since I set out : but don't tell my mother so; it will trouble her too much : and as probably the same reason may prevent her sending a true account of her health to me, I must desire you to acquaint me. I would gladly hear the country air improves your own; but don't flatter me when you are ill, that I may be the better satisfied when you say you are well: for these are things in which one may be sincerer to a reasonable friend, than to a fond and partial parent. Adieu.
You cannot be surprized to find him a dull correspondent whom you have known so long for a dull companion. And though I am pretty sensible, that if I have any wit, I may as well write to show it, as not; yet I will content myself with giving you as plain a history of my pilgrimage, as Purchas himself, or as John Bunyan could do of his walking through the wilderness of this world, etc.
First then I went by water to Hampton-Court, unattended by all but my own virtues ; which were not of so modest a nature as to keep themselves, or me, concealed : for I met the Prince with all his ladies on horseback, coming from hunting. Mrs. B * and Mrs. L * took me into protection, (contrary to the