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the head of one party were Addison, Steele, and Congreve ; at that of the other, Pope, Swift, and Arbuthnot. Parnell was a friend to both sides, and with a liberality becoming a scholar, scorned all those trifling distinctions, that are noisy for the time, and ridiculous to posterity. Nor did he emancipate himself from these without some opposition from home. Having been the son of a commonwealth's man, his tory connexions on this side of the water gave his friends in Ireland great offence; they were much enraged to see him keep company with Pope, and Swift, and Gay; they blamed his undistinguishing taste, and wondered what pleasure he could find in the conversation of men who approved the treaty of Utrecht, and disliked the Duke of Marlborough. His conversation is said to have been extremely pleasing, but in what its peculiar excellence consisted is now unknown." The letters which were written to him by his friends, are full of compliments upon his talents as a companion, and his good-nature as a man. I have several of them now before me. Pope was particularly fond of his company, and seems to regret his absence more than any of the rest.
A letter from him follows thus :
· DEAR SIR,
London, July 29. "I WISH it were not as ungenerous as vain to • complain too much of a man that forgets me, but I ( could expostulate with you a whole day upon your « inhuman silence; I call it inhuman; nor would you 5 think it less, if you were truly sensible of the un• easiness it gives me. Did I know you so ill as to • think you proud, I would be much less concern6 ed than I am able to be, when I know one of the 6 best-natured men alive neglects me; and if you
• know me so ill as to think amiss of me, with regard . to my friendship for you, you really do not deserve • half the trouble you occasion me. I need not tell
you, that both Mr. Gay and myself have written • several letters in vain ; and that we were constantly
inquiring, of all who have seen Ireland, if they saw you, and that, (forgotten as we are, we are every day remembering you in our most agreeable hours. • All this is true; as that we are sincerely lovers of
you, and deplorers of your absence, and that we • form no wish more ardently than that which brings
you over to us, and places you in your old seat between us.
We have lately had some distant • hopes of the Dean's design to revisit England; 6 will not you accompany him? or is England to lose
every thing that has any charms for us, and must we pray for banishment as a benediction ?-I have once been witness of some, I hope all of your splenetic hours: come, and be a comforter in your turn to me, in mine. I am in such an unsettled state, • that I can't tell if I shall ever see you, unless it be this “ year: whether I do or not, be ever assured, you have
as large a share of my thoughts and good wishes as any man, and as great a portion of gratitude in my heart as would enrich a monarch, could he know where to find it. I shall not die without testifying
something of this nature, and leaving to the world a s memorial of the friendship that has been so great a * pleasure and pride to me. It would be like writing
my own epitaph, to acquaint you with what I have o lost since I saw you, what I have done, what I have
thought, where I have lived, and where I now l'e• pose in obscurity. My friend Jervas, the bearer of this, will inform you of all particulars concerning me; and Mr. Ford is charged with a thonsand loves, and a thousand complaints, and a thousand
commissions to you on my part. They will both tax you with the neglect of some promises which
were too agreeable to us all to be forgot; if you care " for any of us tell them so, and write so to me. I
can say no more, but that I love you, and am, in ( spite of the longest neglect of happiness,
6 DEAR SIR,
( A. POPE.
Gay is in Devonshire, and from thence he goes to Bath. My father and mother never fail to com( memorate you.'
Among the number of his most intimate friends was Lord Oxford, whom Pope has so finely complis mented upon the delicacy of his choice.
For him thou oft hast bid the world attend,
Pope hirnself was not only excessively fond of his company, but under several literary obligations to him for his assistance in the translation of Homer. Gay was obliged to him upon another account; for, being always poor, he was not above receiving from Parnell the copy-money which the latter got for his writings. Several of their letters, now before me, are proofs of this; and as they have never appeared before, it is probable the reader will be much better pleased with their idle effusions, than with any thing I cap hammer out for his amusement.
• Binfeld, near Oakinghain, Tuesday. 6 DEAR SIR, • I BELIEVE the hurry you were in hindered your ó giving me a word by the last post, so that I am yet 6 to learn whether you got well to town, or continue so there?
I very much fear both for your health and your quiet; and no man living can be more
truly concerned in any thing that touches either « than myself. I would comfort myself, however, (with hoping that your business may not be unsuc« cessful for your sake; and that at least it may soon « be put into other proper hands. For my own, I beg earnestly of you to return to us as soon as possible. You know how very much I want you, and that, however your business may depend upon any other,
my business depends entirely upon you ; and yet still " I hope you will find your man, even though I lose you the meanwhile. At this time, the more I love
you, the inore I can spare you; which alone will, • I dare say, be a reason to you to let me have you s back the sooner. The minute I lost you, Eusta(thius with nine hundred pages, and nine thousand o contractions of the Greek characters, arose to view!
Spondanus, with all his auxiliaries, in number a
thousand pages, (value three shillings) and Da- cier's three volumes, Barne's two, Valterie's three, • Cuperus, half in Greek, Leo Allatus, three parts in Greek, Scaliger, Macrobius, and, (worse than
them all,) Aulus Gellius! all these rushed upon my soul at once, and whelmed me under a fit of the
headach. I cursed them all religiously, damn'd • my best friends among the rest, and even blas• phemed Homer himself. Dear sir, not only as you « are a friend, and a good-natured man, but as you
are a christian and a divine, come back speedily, " and prevent the increase of my sins; for, at the rate . I have begun to rave, I shall not only damn all the
poets and commentators who have gone before me, . but be damn'd myself by all who come after me. • To be serious; you have not only left me to the last • degree impatient for your return, who at all times I should have been so (though never so much as since "I knew you in best health here, but you have « wrought several miracles upon our family ; you • have made old people fond of a young and gay per• son, and inveterate papists of a clergyman of the
Church of England ; even Nurse herself, is in
danger of being in love in her old age, and (for all • I know) would even marry Dennis for your sake, 6 because he is your man and loves his master. In
short, come down forthwith, or give me good rea6 sons for delaying, though but for a day or two, by ( the next post. If I find them just, I will come up to you, though you know how precious my time is
at present; my hours were never worth so much 6 money before ; but perhaps you are not sensible of
this, who give away your own works. You are a generous author ; I a hackney scribbler; you a Gre
cian, and bred at a University ; I a poor Englishman, " of my own educating ; you a reverend parson, I
wag ; in short, you are Dr. Parnelle, (with an e at • the end of your name) and I
Your most obliged and
• My hearty service to the Dean, Dr. Arbuthnot, Mr. Ford, and the true genuine shepherd, J. Gay, of • Devon. I expect him down with you.'