While you converse with lords and dukes,
I have their betters here, my books:
Fix’d in an elbow-chair at ease,
I choose companions as I please.
I’d rather have one single shelf
Than all my friends, except yourself;
For, after all that can be said,
Our best acquaintance are the dead.
Excerpt from a letter written in 1726 by Thomas Sheridan (1687-1738), an Anglican cleric, essayist, poet, and schoolmaster, to his close friend, Jonathan Swift (author of Gulliver’s Travels) who was at that time the Dean (senior cleric) of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland. The letter appears in The Poems of Thomas Sheridan edited by Robert Hogan.