The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From William Flower to Jonathan Swift - 4

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DUBLIN, FEB. 2, 1738-9.

SINCE I am forbidden your presence, I think I should be more explicit in my reason of thanks to you for Dr. Delany's obliging present, than I can be in a verbal, crude, ill delivered message by a vant. As I am not acquainted with the doctor, I at first imagined his boundless generosity distributed his book among the lords, and that it was sent me, as a member though an unworthy one, of that august body. I soon found myself mistaken; and as all presents are enhanced in value proportionable to their manner of distribution, I thought it incumbent on me to thank him by letter, for having so obligingly distinguished me. He has honoured me with an answer to it, which highly elates me; for, weak minds are easily made vain; but whose would not be so, on the compliment he makes me, on having read some of my letters to you? They were writ, (as most of mine are) in the wantonness of fancy, without aiming at pomp of expression, or dress of words, lucky methods of gilding nonsense; yet, that he should approve, I will not wonder when I consider the benignity of your friendship. Oh! is it not sometimes too strong bias even for your judgment, that prompted you to think them worth his perusal? What am I now to do? I ought not to be silent; yet must I risk depreciating a favourable opinion he has conceived of me, by making myself farther known to him! Why, in prudence, no; in civility, yes. Under this dilemma give me your advice, as you are the origin of this favour. Or will you yield to what I suggest may not be improper? Take me under your protection (as soon as the weather will permit) in a warm hackney coach, which I shall take care to provide. Let us jumble together to his little paradise, which I long much to see, as well as to pay my debt due to his benevolence.

I am already alarmed with your excuse of deafness and dizziness. Yielding to such a complaint, always strengthens it; exerting against it, generally lessens it. Do not immerge in the sole enjoyment of yourself. Is not a friend the medicine of life? I am sure it is the comfort of it. And I hope you still admit such companions as are capable of administering it. In that number I know I am unworthy of rank: however, my best wishes shall attend you.

I have enclosed some verses. The Latin I believe will please you; one of the translations may have the same fortune, the other cannot. The verses written in the lady's book is, A Lamentable Hymn to Death, from a lover, inscribed to his mistress. I have made the author of it vain (who I am sure had never read Pope's Heloise to Abelard) in telling him his six last lines seem a parody on six of Pope's. They are on the other side, that you may not be at a loss.

Then too, when fate shall thy fair frame destroy,
That cause of all my guilt, and all my joy,
In trance extatick may thy pangs be drown'd,
Bright clouds descend, and angels watch thee round;
From opening skies may streaming glories shine,
And saints embrace thee with a love like mine.

I think the whole letter the most passionate I ever read, except Heloise's own, on the subject of love. I am equally struck with Cadenus to Vanessa. I have often soothed my love with both, when I brave been in a fit.

I will conclude with the above wish, and the assuring you I am, with great sincerity, as well as esteem, sir,

Your most faithful,

affectionate humble servant,

My boy sends you his respects, and would fain pay them in person to you.