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which you desire, would require a volume, were I to enumerate the many projects, difficulties, vicissitudes, and various fates attending that important part of my life: much more, should I describe the many Draughts, Elevations, Profiles, Perspectives, etc. of every Palace and Garden proposed, intended, and happily raised, by the strength of that faculty wherein all great Genius's excel, Imagination. At last, the Gods and fate have fixed me on the borders of the Thames, in the districts of Richmond and Twickenham: it is here I have passed an intire year of my life, without any fixed abode in London, or more than casting a transitory glance (for a day or two at most in a month) on the pomps of the Town. It is here I hope to receive you, Sir, returned from eternizing the Ireland of this age. For you my structures rise; for you my Colonades extend their wings; for you my groves aspire, and roses bloom. And, to say truth, I hope posterity (which, no doubt, will be made acquainted with all these things) will look upon it as one of the principal motives of my Architecture, that it was a mansion prepared to receive you, against your own should fall to dust, which is destined to be the tomb -of poor Frank and Betty, and the immortal monument of the Fidelity of two such Servants, who have excelled in constancy the very Rats of your family.
What more can I tell you of myself? so much, and yet all put together so little, that I scarce care or know how to do it. But the very reasons that are against putting it upon paper, are as strong for telling it you in person; and I am uneasy to be so long denied the satisfaction of it.
At present I consider you bound in by the Irish sea, like the ghosts in Virgil,
Tristi palus inamabilis unda
and I can't express how I long to renew our old intercourse and conversation, our morning conferences in bed in the same room, our evening walks in the park, our amusing voyages on the water, our philosophical suppers, our lectures, our dissertations, our gravities, our reveries, our fooleries, or what not ?— This awakens the memory of some of those who have made a part in all these. Poor Parnelle, Garth, Rowe! You justly reprove me for not speaking of the death of the last: Parnelle was too much in my mind, to whose memory I am erecting the best monument I can. What he gave me to publish, was but a small part of what he left behind him; but it was the best, and I will not make it worse by enlarging it. I'd fain know if he be buried at Chester, or Dublin; and what care has been, or is to be taken for his monument, etc. Yet I have not neglected my devoirs to Mr. Rowe; I am writing this very day his Epitaph for Westminster-Abbey.—After these, the best-natured of Men, Sir Samuel Garth, has left me in the truest concern for his loss. His death was very heroical, and yet unaffected enough to have made a saint or a Philosopher famous. But ill tongues, and worse hearts have branded even his last moments, as wrongfully as they did his life, with Irreligion. You must have heard many tales on this subject; but if ever there was a good Christian without knowing himself to be so1, it was Dr. Garth.
TO MR. * * * *
The gaiety of your letter proves you not so studious of Wealth as many of your profession are, since you can derive matter of mirth from want of business. You are none of those Lawyers who deserve the motto of the devil, Circuit qucerens quern devoret. But your Circuit will at least procure you one of the greatest temporal blessings, Health. What an advantageous circumstance is it, for one that loves rambling so well, to be a grave and reputable rambler! while (like your fellow Circuiteer, the Sun) you travel the round of the earth, and behold all the iniquities under the heavens! You are much a superior genius to me in rambling: you, like a Pigeon, (to which I would sooner compare a Lawyer than to a Hawk,) can fly some hundred leagues at a pitch: I, like a poor squirrel, am continually in motion indeed, but it is about a cage of three foot;
1 This supposes rather an absolute ignorance of Christianity than a rejection of it; and seems to be the more inexcusable condition of the two. For nothing but a very faulty negligence could be the occasion of the first; whereas, an understanding ill fitted to judge of the nature of evidence, might betray him into the latter. W.
my little excursions are but like those of a shopkeeper, who walks every day a mile or two before his own door, but minds his business all the while. Your letter of the Cause lately before you, I could not but communicate to some ladies of your acquaintance. I am of opinion, if you continued a correspondence of the same sort during a whole Circuit, it could not fail to please the sex, better than half the novels they read; there would be in them what they love above all things, a most happy union of Truth and Scandal. I assure you the Bath affords nothing equal to it: it is on the contrary full of grave and sad men, Mr. Baron S. Lord Chief Justice A. Judge P. and Counsellor B. who has a large pimple on the tip of his nose, but thinks it inconsistent with his gravity to wear a patch, notwithstanding the precedent of an eminent judge.
I am, dear Sir,
TO THE EARL OF BURLINGTON. My Lord,
If your Mare could speak2, she would give an account of what extraordinary company she had on the road; which since she cannot do, I will.
* The account of this journey is given with the most exquisite humour. I know of nothing in our language that equals it, except, perhaps, Mr. Colman's description, in a Terras Filius, of an expedition of his bookseller and his wife to Oxford.
It was the enterprising Mr. Lintot, the redoubtable rival of Mr. Tonson, who, mounted on a stonehorse, (no disagreeable companion to your Lordship's mare,) overtook me in Windsor-forest. He said, he heard I designed for Oxford, the seat of the Muses, and would, as my bookseller, by all means, accompany me thither.
I asked him where he got his horse? He answered he got it of his Publisher: "For that rogue my Printer (said he) disappointed me: I hoped to put him in a good humour by a treat at the tavern, of a brown fricassee of rabbits, which cost two shillings, with two quarts of wine, besides my conversation. I thought myself cock-sure of his horse, which he readily promised me, but said that Mr. Tonson had just such another design of going to Cambridge, expecting there the copy of a new kind of Horace from Dr. , and if Mr. Tonson went, he was preengaged to attend him, being to have the printing of the said copy.
"So in short, I borrowed this stonehorse of my Publisher, which he had of Mr. Oldmixon for a debt; he lent me too the pretty boy you see after me: he was a smutty dog yesterday, and cost me near two hours to wash the ink off his face; but the Devil is a fair-conditioned Devil, and very forward in his catechise: if you have any more bags, he shall carry them."
I thought Mr. Lintot's civility not to be neglected, so gave the boy a small bag, containing three shirts and an Elzevir Virgil; and mounting in an instant proceeded on the road, with my man before, my