« EdellinenJatka »
humble, as not to dare heartily to depise any man who does me an injustice.
I will not value myself upon having ever guarded all the degrees of respect for you: for (to say the truth) all the world speaks well of you, and I should be under a necessity of doing the same, whether I cared for you or not.
As to what you have said of me, I shall never believe that the Author of Cato can speak one thing and think another. As a proof that I account you sincere, I beg a favour of you: it is, that you would look over the two first books2 of my translation of Homer, which are in the hands of my lord Halifax. I am sensible how much the reputation of any poetical work will depend upon the character you give it: 'tis therefore some evidence of the trust I repose in your good-will, when I give you this opportunity of speaking ill of me with justice; and yet expect you will tell me your truest thoughts, at the same that you tell others your most favourable ones.
I have a farther request, which Imust press with earnestness. My bookseller is reprinting the Essay on Criticism, to which you have done too much honour in your Spectator of No. 253. The period in that paper, where you say, "I have admitted some strokes of ill-nature into that Essay," is the only one I could wish omitted of all you have written; but I would not deaire it should be so, unless I had the merit of removing your objection. I beg you but to point3 out those strokes to me, and, you may be assured, they shall be treated without mercy.
1 This must have been a mortifying and an embarrassing request to Addison, if at that time he had actually translated the first book of Homer. This is the last letter to Addison in this collection.
Since we are upon proofs of sincerity (which I am pretty confident will turn to the advantage of us both in each other's opinion) give me leave to name another passage in the same Spectator, which I wish you would alter. It is where you mention an observation upon Homer's Verses of Sisyphus's Stone, as never4 having been made before by any of the Critics: I have happened to find the same in Dionysius of Halicarnassus's Treatise, ILp! awOiatws o'vojudrwv, who treats very largely upon these verses. I know you will think fit to soften your expression, when you see the passage; which you must needs have read, though it be since slipt out of your memory. I am, with the utmost esteem,
* The mention of these two passages in the Spectator must have been displeasing to Addison; especially that relating to Dionysius, whose remark Acldison had adopted and used as his own.
4 These words are since left out in Mr. Tickell's Edition, but were extant in all during Mr. Addison's life. P.
There is a long note of Broome's in the Eleventh Book of the Odyssey, on the first verses of this description being clogged with spondees, and long syllables, and a hiatus; whereas, in the last line, there is but one spondee, not one monosyllable, nor one hiatus.
TO THE HONOURABLE .
June 8, 1714.
The question you ask in relation to Mr. Addison and Philips, I shall answer in a few words. Mr. Philips did express himself with much indignation against me one evening at Button's Coffee-house (as I was told) saying, that I was entered5 into a cabal with Dean Swift and others to write against the Whig-Interest, and in particular to undermine his own reputation, and that of his friends Steele and Addison: but Mr. Philips never opened his lips to my face, on this or any like occasion, though I was almost every night in the same room with him, nor ever offered me any indecorum. Mr. Addison came to me a night or two after Philips had talked in this idle manner, and assured me of his disbelief of what had been said of the friendship we should always maintain, and desired I would say nothing further of it. My Lord Halifax did me the honour to stir in this matter, by speaking to several people to obviate a false aspersion, which might have done me no small prejudice with one party. -However Philips did all he could secretly to continue the report with the Hanover Club, and kept in his hands the subscriptions paid for me to him, as Secretary to that Club. The heads of it have since given him to understand, that they take it ill; but (upon the terms I ought to be with such a man) I would not ask him for this money, but commissioned one of the Players, his equals, to receive it. This is the whole matter; but as to the secret grounds of this malignity, they will make a very pleasant history when we meet. Mr. Congreve and some others have been much diverted with it, and most of the gentlemen of the Hanover Club have made it the subject of their ridicule on their Secretary. It is to this management of Philips that the world owes Mr. Gay's Pastorals. The ingenious author is extremely your servant, and would have complied with your kind invitation, but that he is just now appointed Secretary to my Lord Clarendon, in his embassy to Hanover.
5 I read in Mr. Spence's papers the following account of this quarrel.
"Philips seemed to have been encouraged to abuse me in coffee-houses and conversations: and Gildon wrote a thing about Wycherley, in which he had abused both me and my relations very grossly. Lord War wick'him self told me one day, that it was in vain for me to endeavour to be well with Mr. Addison; that his jealous temper would never admit of a settled friendship between us: and, to convince me of what he had said, assured me that Addison had encouraged Gildon to publish those scandals, and had given him ten guineas after they were published. The next day, while I was heated with what I had heard, I wrote a letter to Mr. Addison, to let him know that I was not unacquainted with this behaviour of his; that if I was to speak severely of him, in return for it, it should be in such a dirty way, that I should rather tell him, himself, fairly of his faults, and allow his good qualities; and that it should be something in the following manner: I then adjoined the first sketch of what has since been called my Satire on Addison: Mr. Addison used me very civilly ever after."
I am sensible of the zeal and friendship with which, I am sure, you will always defend your friend in his absence, from all those little tales and calumnies, which a man of any genius or merit is born to. I shall never complain while I am happy in such noble defenders, and in such contemptible opponents. May their envy and ill-nature ever increase, to the glory and pleasure of those they would injure; may they represent me what they will, as long as you think me, what I am,
You mention the account I gave you some time ago of the things which Philips said in his foolishness; but I can't tell from any thing in your letter, whether you received a long one from me about a fortnight since. It was principally intended to thank you for the last obliging favour you did me; and perhaps for that reason you pass it in silence. I there launched into some account of my temporal affairs, and intend now to give you some hints of my spiritual. The conclusion of your letter draws this upon you, where you tell me you prayed for me. Your proceeding, Sir, is contrary to that of most other friends, who never talk of praying for a man after they have done him a service, but only when they will do him none. Nothing can be more kind than the hint you give me of the vanity of human sciences, which, I assure you, I am daily more convinced of; and indeed I have, for some years past,