The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From John Boyle to Jonathan Swift - 1

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FROM THE EARL OF ORRERY.


DEAR SIR,

CORK, MARCH 15, 1736-7.


I RECEIVED your commands, by Faulkner, to write to you. But what can I say? The scene of Cork is ever the same; dull, insipid, and void of all amusement. His sacred majesty was not under greater difficulty to find out diversions at Helvoetsluys, than I am here. The butchers are as greasy, the quakers as formal, and the presbyterians as holy, and full of the Lord, as usual: all things are in statu quo; even the hogs and pigs gruntle in the same cadence as of yore. Unfurnished with variety, and drooping under the natural dulness of the place, materials for a letter are as hard to be found, as money, sense, honesty, or truth. But I will write on; Ogilby, Blackmore, and my lord Grimstone[1], have done the same before me.

I have not yet been upon the Change; but am told, that you are the idol of the court of aldermen. They have sent you your freedom. The most learned of them having read a most dreadful account, in Littleton's dictionary, of Pandora's gold box, it was unanimously agreed, not to venture so valuable a present in so dangerous a metal. Had these sage counsellors considered, that Pandora was a woman, (which, perhaps, Mr. Littleton forgets to mention) they would have seen, that the ensuing evils arose from the sex, and not from the ore. But I shall speak with more certainty of these affairs, when I have taken my seat among the graybeards.

My letters from England speak of great combustions. Absalom continues a rebel to royal David: the Achitophels of the age are numerous and highspirited. The influence of the comet seems to have strange effects already. In the mean time, here live we, drones of Cork, wrapped up in our own filth, procul a Jove et procul a fulmine. Heaven, and all good stars protect you! For let the thunder burst where it will, so that you are safe, and unsinged, who cares whether Persia submits its government to the renowned Kouli khan, or that beardless unexperienced youth, the sophi. At least the vicar of Bray and I shall certainly be contented.


  1. Author of "Love in a Hollow Tree."