WHAT will you think of your friend Mr. Brown, when I tell your Lordship he has absolutely made love to me, and wrote a sonnet in my praise? He conjured me not to mention a syllable of it to Lord Kingsborough, from which moment I have been ready to die with impatience to let your Lordship into the secret; and after transcribing some of his stanzas, I desire the favour of your Lordship's determination, whether his style is Platonic or otherwise.
Fortune's malice I defy,
While my beauteous fair one's nigh;
Let Euphrosyne incline,
Are not both the Indies mine?
Oh! were both the Indies mine,
From the Ganges to the Rhine,
With a world what should I do,
But give all to purchase you.
Riches, honour, health and ease,
All without you cannot please;
But with you the world's my own,
And an humble turf a throne.
Smile, then smile, my favourite fair,
Crown a passion so sincere:
Oh! reward me, and 'tis odds,
But you lift me to the gods.
I need not tell Lord Kingsborough where Mr. Brown has borrowed his last sentiment, because I know he is too conversant with Horace not to find it readily out; but I can't imagine how my smiling could raise our author so high, even if I was young and handsome. Upon the whole, My Lord, I fancy it was written more to show our friend's wit and politeness, than to make a conquest of an old woman. One thing indeed renders it something uncommon, that a gentleman, who owns himself he expects to receive sentence of death in a short time, should be so very volatile; but this may serve as a proof, that his conscience does not accuse him of murdering his antagonist, who I really believe from all accounts, had as much fair play for his life, as gentlemen usually have who fight duels: I could myself aver, from what I know of Mr. Brown;
That he would place honour on one hand, and death on t'other,
And look on both indifferently
Nay, I'll venture to affirm,
That he loves the name of honour more than he fears death.
Don't imagine, my Lord, I speak thus of Mr. Brown because he has written in my praise; for I assure your Lordship, I have received compliments of the kind from men whom I very heartily despise, particularly A——w F——t, Esq, who, since I have removed to Fownes's street, is placed directly opposite to my window every morning, and whose presence is sufficient to damp the genial inspirations of the muse, when it brings incest and murder so strongly in view. This worthy gentleman, whose amour with his sister must render him detestable to all posterity, supposed, that by a few fulsome panegyrics, he could silence my pen upon that subject: but really, my Lord, there was not the least occasion for all this, because I never meddle with those who don't meddle with me; and though I ever looked on F——t as the last abject wretch upon earth, yet I thought him too incorrigible for the lash, and his crime of too heinous a nature to be even thought of without freezing the blood.
I presented your Lordship's commands to Mr. Brown; and though he was pleased to find his adversity had not divested him of your Lordship's good wishes, yet he was sadly mortified at not receiving a letter.—Upon this a controversy arose between us, whether Lord Kingsborough loved him or myself best. The contest was very warm, but a nobleman just happening to come in, kindly ended the dispute, by advising both parties to appeal to your Lordship for a decision of this debate; so, my Lord, it lies in suspense, till I am favoured with your answer.—In the meantime, I fear my visits here will be seriously attended with one very bad consequence; for there is a lady distinguished by the name of Dirty Daly, who, I am told, will pull my cap: however, there is no virtue without enduring persecution, and if the gentlewoman should fall foul of my head-cloths, she won't soil her hands; but I shan't venture to return the compliment, lest I should dirty mine: for by all accounts, she has not had a clean cap on these twelve months.
The person who came to our friend brought a very uncommon piece of news with him; namely, that Leeson, the brewer's son, was actually going to be created a peer of this realm. Having Mr. Brown's diamond pencil in my hand at that instant, a fine pane of glass in the window was spoiled with this inscription:
The son of a brewer created a Peer,
Wine makes Lords, I've been told, and pray why should not beer?
But when I get leave to prate this way to your Lordship, I never know when to leave off. 'Tis now full time to close all this with two lines that are very applicable to my wishes,
Blessed be the father from whose loins you sprung,
And blest the mother at whose breast you hung.
Dublin, May 13, 1748.