1714 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Gay

Thomas Parnell to John Gay, 4 May 1714; Additions to the Works of Alexander Pope (1776) 2:82-83.



Binfield, May 4, 1714.

DEAR GAY,

Since by your letter we find you can be content to breathe in smoke, to walk in crouds, and divert yourself with noise, nay, and to make fine pictures of this way of life, we should give you up as one abandon'd to a wrong choice of pleasures. We have, however, so much compassion on you, as to think of inviting you to us, where your taste for books, friendship, and ease may be indulg'd. But if you do not come, pray leave to tempt us with your description of the court; for indeed humanity is frail, and we cannot but remember some particular honours which we have enjoy'd in conversation; bate us this one point, and we stand you, still untir'd with one another, and fresh to the pleasures of the country. If you wou'd have any news from us, know that we are all well at present: this I am sure wou'd have been allow'd by you as news from either of us a fortnight ago. In return to this, send us every thing you imagine diverting, and pray, forget not my commissions. Give my respects to the Dean, Dr. Arbuthnot, Mr. Ford, and the Provost. Dear Gay, adieu.

Your affectionate friend,

And humble servant,

THO. PARNELLE.