Letter to Brother Samuel, June 17, 1724.

To his Brother Samuel [1]

OXON, June 17, 1724.

DEAR BROTHER, -- I believe I need not use many arguments to show I am sorry for your misfortune, though at the same time I am glad you are in a fair way of recovery. If I had heard of it from any one else, I might probably have pleased you with some impertinent consolations; but the way of your relating it is a sufficient proof that they are what you don’t stand in need of. And indeed, if I understand you rightly, you have more reason to thank God that you did not break both, than to repine because you have broke one leg. You have undoubtedly heard the story of the Dutch seaman who having broke one of his legs by a fall from the main-mast instead of condoling himself, thanked God that he had not broke his neck. [See Spectator, No. 574.]

I scarce know whether your first news vexed me, or your last news pleased me, more; but I can assure you that, though I did not cry for grief at the former, I did for joy at the latter part of your letter. The two things that I most wished for of almost anything in the world were to see my mother and Westminster once again; 'and to see them both together was so far above my expectations that I almost looked upon it as next to an impossibility. I have been so very frequently disappointed when I had set my heart on any pleasure, that I will never again depend on any before it comes. However, I shall be obliged to you if you will tell me as near as you can how soon my uncle is expected in England and my mother in London.

I hope my sister is pretty well recovered by this time, and that all at Westminster are in as good health as

Your loving Brother.

PS.--Pray give my service to Mrs. Harris, and as many as ask after me.

Since you have a mind to see some of my verses, I have sent you some, which employed me above an hour yesterday in the afternoon. There is one, and I am afraid but one, good thing in them--that is, they are short.


As o'er fair Cloe’s rosy cheek,

Careless, a little vagrant passed,

With artful hand around his neck

A slender chain the virgin cast.

As Juno near her throne above

Her spangled bird delights to see,

As Venus has her fav'rite dove,

Cloe shall have her fav'rite flea.

Pleased at his chains, with nimble steps

He o'er her snowy bosom strutted:

Now on her panting breast he leaps,

Now hides between his little head.

Leaving at length his old abode,

He found, by thirst or fortune led,

Her swelling lips, that brighter glowed

Than roses in their native bed.

Cloe, your artful bands undo,

Nor for your captive's safety fear;

No artful bands are needful now

To keep the willing vagrant here.

Whilst on that heav'n 'tis given to stay,

(Who would not wish to be so blest ?)

No force can draw him once away,

Till Death shall seize his destined breast.

If you will excuse my pen and my haste, I shall be once more, Yours.

This is my birthday. [New Style, June 28.]

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