I gave, as you beg, your most humble respects:
The rest of your compliment I dare not tell her,
For she never descends so low as the cellar;
But before you can put yourself under her banners,
She declares from her throne you must learn better manners.
If once in your cellar my Phoebus should shine,
I tell you I’d not give a fig for your wine;
So I’ll leave him behind, for I certainly know it, What he ripens above ground, he sours below it. But why should we fight thus, my partner so dear With three hundred and sixty-five poems a-year? Let’s quarrel no longer, since Dan and George Rochfort Will laugh in their sleeves: I can tell you they watch for’t. Then George will rejoice, and Dan will sing highday: Hoc Ithacus velit, et magni mercentur Atridae.
Written, signed, and sealed, five minutes and eleven seconds after the receipt of yours, allowing seven seconds for sealing and superscribing, from my bed-side, just eleven minutes after eleven, Sept. 15, 1718.
Erratum in your last, 1. antepenult, pro “fear a Dun” lege “fear a Dan:” ita omnes MSS. quos ego legi, et ita magis congruum tam sensui quam veritati.
Dec. 14, 1719, Nine at night.
It is impossible to know by your letter whether the wine is to be bottled to-morrow, or no.
If it be, or be not, why did not you in plain English tell us so?
For my part, it was by mere chance I came to sit with the ladies this night.
And if they had not told me there was a letter from you; and your man Alexander had not gone, and come back from the deanery; and the boy here had not been sent, to let Alexander know I was here, I should have missed the letter outright.
Truly I don’t know who’s bound to be sending for corks to stop your bottles, with a vengeance.
Make a page of your own age, and send your man Alexander to buy corks; for Saunders already has gone above ten jaunts.
Mrs. Dingley and Mrs. Johnson say, truly they don’t care for your wife’s company, though they like your wine; but they had rather have it at their own house to drink in quiet.
However, they own it is very civil in Mrs. Sheridan to make the offer; and they cannot deny it.
I wish Alexander safe at St. Catherine’s to-night, with all my heart and soul, upon my word and honour:
But I think it base in you to send a poor fellow out so late at this time of year, when one would not turn out a dog that one valued; I appeal to your friend Mr. Connor.
I would present my humble service to my Lady Mountcashel; but truly I thought she would have made advances to have been acquainted with me, as she pretended.
But now I can write no more, for you see plainly my paper is ended.