Imatges de pàgina

ments in the mot solemn and devout manner with his own hand. He came to church every morning, preached commonly in his turn, and attended the evening anthem, that it might not be negligently performed.

“ He entered upon the clerical state with hope to excel in preaching; but complained, that, from the time of his political controversies, “ he could only preach pamphlets.” This censure of himself, if judgment may be made from those sermons which have been printed, was unreasonably severe.

“ The suspicions of his irreligion proceeded in a great measure from his dread of hypocrisy; instead of wishing to seem better, he delighted in seeming worse than he was. He went in London to early prayers, left he should be seen at church; he read prayers to his servants every morning, with such dexterous secrecy, that Dr. Delany was six months in his house before he knew it. He was not only careful to hide the good which he did, but willingly incurred the suspicion of evil which he did not. He forgot what himself had formerly asserted, that hypocrisy is less mischievous than open impiety. Dr. Delany, with all his zeal for his honour, has justly condemned this part of his character.

“ The person of Swift had not many recommendations. He had a kind of muddy complexion, which, though he washed himself with oriental scrupulofity, did not look clear. He had a counteDance sour and severe, which he feldom softened by any appearance of gaiety. He stubbornly reIsted any tendency to laughter.

“ To his domestics he was naturally rough; and a man of a rigorous temper, with that vigilance of minute attention which his works discover, must have been a master that few could bear. That he was disposed to do his servants good, on important occafions, is no great mitigation : benefaction can be but rare, and tyrannic peevishness is perpetual. He did not spare the servants of others. Once, when he dined alone with the Earl of Orrery, he said, of one that waited in the room, “ That man has, since we sat to the table, committed fifteen faults." What the faults were, Lord Orrery, from whom I heard the story, had not been attentive enough to discover. My number may perhaps not be exact.

“ In his economy, he practised a peculiar and offensive parsimony, without disguise or apology. The pra&ice of saving being once neceffary, became habitual, and grew first ridiculous, and at luft: detestable. But his avarice, though it might exclude pleasure, was never suffered to encroach upon his virtue. He was frugal by inclination, but liberal by principle; and if the purpose to which hę destined his little accumulations be remembered, with his distribution of occasional charity, it will perhaps appear that he only liked one mode of expence better than another, and saved merely that he might have something to give. He did not grow rich by injuring his successors, but left both Laracor and the Deanery more valuable than he found them.-- With all this talk of liis covetousness and generosity, it should be remembered that he was never rich. The revenue of his deanery was Ict much more than 700 l. a-year.

“ His beneficence was not graced with tenderness or civility; he relieved without pity, and allikted without kindness; so that those who were fed by him could hardly love him.

• He made a rule to himself to give but one piece at a time, and therefore always scred liis pocket with coins of different value.

" Whatever he did, he seemed willing to do in a manner peculiar to himself, without fufficiently considering that fingularity, as it implies a contempt of the general practice, is a kind of defiance which juftly provokes the hoftility of ridicule; he therefore who indulges peculiar habits is worse than others, if he be not better.

* In the intercourfe of familiar life, he indulged his disposition so petulence and sarcasm, and thought himself injured if the licentiousness of his raillery, the freedom of his censures, or the petulance of his frolics, was resented or repressed. He predominated over his companions with very high ascendency, and probably would bear none over whom he could not predominate. To give him advice was, in the style of his friend Delany, “ to venture to speak to him." This customary fuperiority foon grew too delicate for truth ; and Swift, with all his penetration, allowed hiiníelf to be delighted with low flattery.

« On all common occasions, he habitually affects a style of arrogance, and dictates rather than persuades. This authoritative and magisterial language he expected to be received as his peculiar mode of jocularity: but he apparently flattered his own arrogance by an assumed impcriouincs, in whxh he was ironical only to be resentful, and to the submislive sufficiently serious. VOL, IX.


" He told stories with great felicity, and delighted in doing what he knew himself to do well; he was therefore captivated by the respectful silence of a steady liftener, and told the same tales too often.

“ He did not, however, claim the right of talking alone; for it was his rule, when he had spoken a minute, to give room by a pause for any other speaker. Of time, on all occasions, he was an exact computer, and knew the minutes required to every common operation.

“ It may be justly supposed, that there was in his conversation, what appears so frequently in his letters, an affectation of familiarity with the great, an ambition of momentary equality sought and enjoyed by the neglect of those ceremonies which custom has established as the barriers between one order of society and another. This transgression of regularity was, by himself and his admirers, termed greatness of foul. But a great mind disdains to hold any thing by courtesy, and therefore Bever usurps what a lawful claimant may take away. He then encroaches on another's dignity, puts himself in his power; he is either repelled with helpless indignity, or endured by clemency and condescension.

« Of Swift's general habits of thinking, if his letters can be supposed to afford any evidence, he was not a man to be either loved or envied. He seems to have wasted life in discontent, by the sage of neglected pride, and the languishment of unsatisfied desire. He is querulous and fastidious, arrogant and malignant; he scarcely speaks of himself but with indignant lamentations, or of others but with insolent superiority when he is gay, and with angry contempt when he is gloomy. From the letters that pass between him and Pope, it might be inferred that they, with Arbuthnot and Gay, had engrossed all the understanding and virtue of mankind; that their merits filled the world; or that there was no hopes of more. They show the age involved in darkness, and shade the picture with fullen emulation.

" When the Queen's death drove him into Ireland, he might be allowed to regret for a time the isterception of his views, the extinction of his hopes, and his cjection from gay scenes, important employment, and splendid friendships; but when time had enabled reason to prevail over vexation, the complaints, which at first were natural, became ridiculous because they were useless. But querulousness was now grown habitual, and he cried out when he probably had ceased to feel. His reiterated wailings persuaded Bolingbroke that he was really willing to quit his deanery for an EngMh parish ; and Bolingbroke procured an exchange, which was rejected; and Swift ftill retained the pleasure of complaining.

“ The greatest difficulty that occurs, in analysing his character, is to discover by what depravity a intelle& he took delight in revolving ideas, from which almost every other mind fhrinks with difguft. The ideas of pleasure, even when criminal, may folicit the imagination ; but what has discare, defcrmity, and filth, upon which the thoughts can be allured to dwell? Delany is willing to think that Swist's mind was not much tainted with this gross corruption before his long visit to Pope. He does not consider how he degrades his hero, by making him at fifty-nine the pupil of turpitude, and liable to the malignant influence of an afcendant mind. But the truth is, that Gula liver had described his Yahoos before the visit ; and he that had formed those images had nothing filtlıy to learn.

“ In the poetical works of Dr. Swift there is not much upon which the critic can exercise his powers. They are often humorous, almost always light, and have the qualities which recommend such compofitions, easiness and gaiety. They are, for the most part, what their author intended. The diction is correct, the numbers are smooth, and the rhymes exact. There seldom occurs a hard. laboured expression, or a redundant epithet; all his verses exemplify his own definition of a good style, they consist of “ proper words in proper places.”

« To divide this collection into classes, and show how some pieces are gross, and some are trifling, Fould be to tell the reader what he knows already, and to find faults of which the author could not be inorant, who certainly wrote not often to his judgment, but his humour.

“ It was said, in a preface to one of the Irish editions, that Swift had never been known to take a fingle thought from any writer, ancient or modern. This is not literally true; but perhaps no writer can easily be found that has borrowed so little, or that in all his excellencies and all his defacts has so well maintained his claim to be considered as original.".



And, fick with dregs of knowledge grown, TO THE

Which greedily they swallow down, HONOURABLE SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE.

Still cast it up, and nauseate company.

Curst be the wreteh! nay, doubly curst ! Written at Moor-Park, June 1689.

(If it may lawful be

To curse our greatest enemy) VIRTOthe greatest of all monarchies !

Who learnt himself that heresy first Till, its firit emperor rebellious man

(Which since has feiz'd on all the rest) Depos'd from off his feat,

That knowledge forfeits all humanity; It fell

, and broke with its own weight toto small states and principalities,

Taught us, like Spaniards, to be proud and poor,

And Aling our scraps before our door! By many a petty lord poffefs'd,

Thrice happy you have 'scap'd this general pest; But De'er since seated in one single breast !

Those mighty epithets, learn'd, good, and great, 'Tis you who must this land subdue,

Which we ne'er join'd before, but in romances The mighty conquest's left for you,

We find in you at last united grown. meet,
The conqueft and discovery too ;

You cannot be compar'd to one :
Search out this Utopian ground,

I must, like him that painted Venus' face,
Virtue's Terra Incognita,

Borrow from every one a grace ;
Where none ever led the way,

Virgil and Epicurus will not do,
Nor ever fince but in descriptions found,

Their courting a retreat like you,
Like the philosopher's stone,

Unless I put in Cæsar's learning too :
With rules to search it, yet obtain’d by none.

Your happy frame at once controls
We have too long been led astray;

This great triumvirate of souls.
Too long have our misguided souls been taught

Let not old Rome boast Fabius' fate;
With rules from musty morals brought,

He sav'd his country by delays,
"Tis you must put us in the way;

But you by peace.
Let us (for shame!) no more be fed

You bought it at a cheaper rate;
With antique relics of the dead,

Nor has it left the usual bloody scar, The gleanings of philosophy,

To show it cost its price in war; Philosophy, the lumber of the schools,

War! that mad game the world so loves to play: The roguery of alchemy;

And for it does so dearly pay ;
And we, the bubbled fools,
Spend all our present life in hopes of golden rules. For, though with loss or victory a while

Fortune the gamesters does beguile,
But what does our proud ignorance learning call? Yet at the last the box sweeps all away.
We oddly Plato's paradox make good,

Only the laurel got by peace Our knowledge is but mere remembrance all;

No thunder e'er can blast: Remembrance is our treasure and our food;

Th'artillery of the skies Nature's fair table-book our tender souls,

* Shoots to the earth, and dies; Ve fcrawl all o'er with old and empty rules,

Nor ever green and flourishing 't will last, Stale memorandums of the schools :

Nor dipt in blood, nor widow's tears nor orphan's For learning's mighty treasures look

crics. In that deep grave a book ;

About the head crown'd with these bays, Think that she there does all her treasures hide,

Like lambent fire the lightning plays; And that ber troubled ghoft ftill haunts there since

Nor, its triumphal cavalcade to grace, fbe dy'd. Confide her walks to colleges and schools;

Makes up its solemn train with death;

It melts the sword of war, yet keeps it in the
Her priests, her train, and followers show

As if they all were spectres too!
They purchase knowledge at th' expence The wily shifts of state, those juggler's tricks,
Of common breeding, common sense, Which we call deep designs and politics
And grow at once scholars and fools ; (As in a theatre the ignorant fry,
Affect ill-manner'd pedantry,

Because the cords escape their eye,
Radidels, ill-nature, incivility,

Wonder to see the motions fiy);


Methin:, when you expose the scene, Whatever moves our wonder, or our sport,
Down the ill-organ'd engines fall;

Whatever ferves for innocent emblems of the court Off fly the vizards, and discover all :

How that which we a kernel see
How plain I see through the deceit! (Whofc well-compacted forms escape the light,

How shallow, and how gross, the cheat ! Unpierc'd by the blunt rays of sight)
Look where the pully's tied above !

Shall ere long grow into a tree; Great God! (said I) what have I seen! Whence takes it its increasc, and whence its birth, On what poor engines move

Or from the sun, or from the air, or from the earth, The thoughts of monarchs, and designs of fates.!

Where all the fruitful atoms lie; What petty motives rule their fates!

How some go downward to the root, How the mouse makes the mighty mountain shake! Some more ambitiously upwards fly, The mighty mountain labours with its birth, And form the leaves, the branches and the fruit. Away the frighten'd peafants fly,

You strove to cultivate a barren court in vain, Scar'd at th' unheard-of prodigy,

Your garden's better worth your noble pain, Expect some great gigantic son of earth; Here mankind fell, and hence must rise again.

Lo! it appears!
See how they tremble ! how they quake!

Shall I believe a spirit so divine

Was cast in the same mould with mine? Out starts the little beast, and mocks their idle

Why then does nature so unjustly share fears.

Among her elder sons the whole eftate, Then tell, dear favourite mufe !

And all her jewels and her plate ? What serpent's that which still resorts,

Poor we! cadets of heaven not worth her care, Still lurk; in palaces and courts ?

Take up at best with lumber and the leavings of a fair: Take thy unwonted flight,

Some she binds 'prentice to the fpade,
And on the terrace light.

Sone to the drudgery of a trade,
See where she lies!

Some she does to Egyptian bondage draw,
Se: how she rears her head,

Bids us make bricks, yet fends us to look out for And rolls about her dreadful eyes,

Some she condemns for life to try (Araw: 'To drive all virtue out, or look it dead! To dig the leaden mines of deep philosophy : 'Twas fure this basilisk fent Temple thence, Me she has to the musc's gallies tied, And though as some ('tis faid) for their defence In vain I strive to crofs this spacious main, Have worn a casement o'er their skin,

In vain I tug and pull the oar,
So he wore his within,

And, when I almost reach the shore,
Made up of virtue and transparent innocence ; Straight the muse turns the heln, and I launch
And though he oft renew'd the fight,

out again : And almost got priority of sight,

And yet, to feed my pride, He ne'er could overcome her quite Whene'er I mourn, stops my complaining breath, (In pieces cut, the viper still did re-unite), With promise of a mad reversion after death.

Till, at last, tir'd with loss of time and ease, Rcfolv'd to give himself, as well as country, peace.

Then, Sir, accept this worthless verse,

The tribute of an humble mufe,
Sing belov'd muse! the pleasures of retreat, 'Tis all the portion of my niggard stars;

And in some untouched virgin strain Nature the hidden fpark did at my birth infuse,
Show the delights thy lifter nature yields ; And kindled first with indolence and case ;
Sing of thy vales, fing of thy woods, fing of thy And, since too oft' debauch'd by praise,
fields ;

'Tis now grown an incurable disease : Go publish o'er the plain

In vain to quench this foolish fire I try How mighty a profelyte you gain!

In wisdon and philofophy;
How noble a reprisal on the great!

In vain all wholesome herbs I low,
How is the muse luxuriant grown!

Where nought but weeds will grow.
Whene'er flie takes this flight,

Whate'er I plant (like corn on barren earth)
She foars clear out of sight.

By an equivocal birth These are the paradises of her own:

Seeds and runs up to poetry.
(The Pegalus, like an unruly horse,
Though ne'er so gently led

To the lov'd pasture wirere he us'd to feed,
Runs violently o'er his usual course.)

On bis Success in Ireland.
Wake from thy wanton dreams,
Come from thy dear-lov'd streams,

To purchase kingdoms, and to buy renown, The crooked paths of wandering Thames !

Are arts peculiar to dissembling France ;
Fain the sair nympho would lay,

You, mighty monarch, nobler actions crown,
Oft she looks back in vain,

And solid virtue does your name advance. Oft ’gainst her fountain does complain, Your matchless courage with your prudence joins,

And softly steals in many windings down, The glorious structure of your fame to raise ;

As loath to fee the liated court and town, With its own light your dazzling glory shines, And murmurs as she glides away.

And into adoration turns our praise. In this new happy Icene

Had you by dull succession gain'd your crown Are nobler subjects for your learned pen ; (Cowards are monarchs by that title made), Here we exped from you

Part of your merit chance would call her own, More than your predeceffor Adam knew ; And half your virtues had becu lost in shade.

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Sot now your worth its jaft reward shall have : When the bright fun of peace began to fine,

What trophies and what triumphs are your due ; And for a while in heavenly contemplation fut Who could so well a dying nation fave,

On the high top of peaceful Ararat ;
Ac mnce deserve a crown, and gain it too! And pluck'd a laurel branch (for laurel was the

first that grew, Yon law how near we were to ruin brought,

The first of plantsafter the thunder, storm,andrain);
You saw th' impetuous torrent rolling on; And thence, with joyful nimble wing,
And tinely on the coming danger thought,

Flew dutifully back again,
Which we could neither obviate nor shun.

And made an humble chaplet for the king *. Britannia Atripp'd from her sole guard the laws, And the dove-mufe is fled once more Ready to fall Rome's bloody facrifice;

(Glad of the victory, yet frighten'd at the war); You ftraight Itepp'd in, and from the monster's jaws And now discovers from afar Did bravely snatch che lovely helpless prize. A peaceful and a flourishing shore :

No sooner did she land
Nor this is all; as glorious is the care

On the delightful ftrand,
To preferve conquests, as at first to gain :

Than straight she sees the country all around, In this your virtue claims a double share,

Where fatal Neptune rui'd erewhile,
Which, what it bravely won, does all maintain.

Scatter'd with flowery vales, with fruitful gardens Your arm has now your rightful title show'd,

And many a plealant wood ! (crown'd, An arm on which all Europe's hopes depend, As if the universal Nile To which they look as to some guardian god,

Had rather water'd it than drown'd:
That must their doubtful liberty defend. It seems some floating piece of paradise,
Amaz'd, thy action at the Boyne we see !

Preserv'd by wonder from the food,
When Schomberg started at the vast design:

Long wandering through the deep, as we are told The boundless glory all redounds to thee, (thine.

Fam'd Delos did of old,
Th' impuise, the fight, th' event, were wholly

And the transported muse imagin'd it

To be a fitter birth-place for the god of wit, The brave attempt does all our focs difarm ;

Or the much talk'd oracular grove ; You need but now give orders and command, When with amazing joy she hears Your name shall the remaining work perform, An unknown music all around

And spare the labour of your conquering hand. Charming her greedy ears France does in vain her feeble arts apply,

With many a heavenly song To interrupt the fortune of your course : Of nature and of art, of deep philofophy and love, Your influence does the vain attacks defy

Whilft angels tune the voice, and God inspires the O: kecret malice, or of open force.


In vain the catches at the empty sound,
Boldly we hence the brave commencement date
Oi glorious deeds, that must all tongues employ:

In vain pursues the music with her longing eye, Willar's the pledge and earnest given by fate

And courts the wanton echoes as they fly.
Oi England's glory, and her lasting joy. Pardon, ye great unknown, and far-exalted men,

The wild excursions of a youthful pen;

Forgive a young, and (almost) virgin-muse, ODE TO THE ATHENIAN SOCIETY.

Whom blind and eager curiosity

(Yet curiosity, they say,

Is in her fer a crime needs no excuse)
Moor-Park, Feb. 14. 1691.'

Has forc'd to grope her uncouth way As when the deluge first began to fall

After a mighty light that leads her wandering eye. That mighty ebb never to flow again

No wonder then she quits the narrow path of sense (Whea this huge body's moisture was so great,

For a dear ramble through impertinence; It quite o'ercame the vital heat);

Impertinence! the scurvy of mankind. That mountain which was highest, first of all

And all we fools, who are the greater part of it, Appear'd above the universal main,

Though we be of two differant factions still, To bless the princtive failor's weary fight!

Both the good natur'd and the ill, And 'twas perhaps Parnassus, if in height

Yet whercioe'er you look, you'll always find It be as yreat as 'tis in fame,

We join, like flies and wasps, in buzzing about wit. Ard nigh to heaven as is its name :

In me, who am of the first fect of these, So aiter th' inundation of a war,

Ali merit, that transcends the humble rules When learning's little household did embark

Of my own dazzled scanty fente, With her world's fruitful system in her sacred ark, Begets a kinder folly and impertinence Ar the firft ebb of noise and fears,

Of admiration and of praise. Philofophy's exalted herd appears;

And our goos! brethren of the suriy sect And the dove-mufe will now no longer stay,

Muit e'en all herd us with their kindred fools: But plures her filver wings and flies away;

For though, poffefs’d of present vogue, they've And now a laurel wreath she brings from far,

Railing a rule of wit, and obloquy a trade; (made To crown the happy conqueror,

Yet the same want of brains produces cach effect. To show the food begins to cense,

And you, whom Pluto's helm docs wisely shroud

From us the blind and thoughtless crowd, And brings the dear reward of victory and peace. Like the fam'd hero in his mother's cloud, The eager matfe took wing upon the waves' decline, When war her cloudy aspect just withdrew, * The ode I writ to tbe King in Ireland.

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