Rev. Thomas Parnell

Robert Harley to Alexander Pope, 6 November 1721; Works of Pope, ed. Elwin and Courthope (1871-1889) 8:189.

BRAMPTON CASTLE, Nov. 6, 1721.

SIR, — I received your packet, which could not but give me great pleasure, to see you preserve an old friend in your memory; for it must needs be very agreeable to be remembered by those we highly value. But then how much shame did it cause me, when I read your very fine verses enclosed? My mind reproached me how far short I came of what your great friendship and delicate pen would partially describe me. You ask my consent to publish it: to what straits does this reduce me? I look back indeed to those evenings I have usefully and pleasantly spent, with Mr. Pope, Mr. Parnell, Dean Swift, the doctor, &c. I should be glad the world knew you admitted me to your friendship, and since your affection is too hard for your judgment, I am contented to let the world know how well Mr. Pope can write upon a barren subject. I return you an exact copy of the verses, that I may keep the original, as a testimony of the only error you have been guilty of. I hope very speedily to embrace you in London, and to assure you of the particular esteem and friendship wherewith I am your, &c.