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cious memorial, that in less than an hour, his venerable head was entirely stripped of all its silver ornaments, so that not a hair remained.
He was buried in the most private manner, according to directions in his will, in the great aile of St. Patrick's Cathedral; and by way of monument, a slab of black marble was placed against the wall, on which was engraved the following Latin epitaph, written by himself:
HIC DEPOSITUM EST CORPUS
JONATHAN SWIFT, S. T.P.
ABI, VIATOR, ;
ET IMITARE, SI POTERIS,
OBIIT ANNO (1745);
ÆTATIS ANNO (78)."
Yea beg a hair of him for memory,
PRIVATE MEMOIRS OF SWIPT.
HAVING now conducted Swift from his cradle to his grave, and presented to view, in a regular series, the most remarkable scenes of his publick life; I have purposely reserved to this place the greater part of such private memoirs, as were not meant to meet the publick eye, in order that I might arrange them also in an uninterrupted train. Nothing has more excited the curiosity of mankind at all times, than that desire which prevails of prying into the secret actions of great and illustrious characters; arising in some, from a too general spirit of envy, which hopes to find something in their private conduct that may sully the lustre of their publick fame, and so bring them down more to a level with themselves: and in others, of a more candid disposition, that they might form right judgments of their real characters; as too many, like actors in a theatre, only assume one when they appear on the stage of the world, which they put off, together with their robes and plumes, when retired to the dressing room. But as the readers of the former sort, are infinitely more numerous, in order to gratify their taste, as well, perhaps, as their own congenial disposition, the writers of such memoirs are too apt to lean to the malevolent side, and deal rather in the more saleable commodity of obloquy and scandal, high-seasoned to the taste of vitiated palates, than in the milder and more insipid food of truth and panegyrick. Many have been the misrepresentations made of Swift, from this uncharitable spirit ;
and though most of them have been proved to be such by his defenders, yet there are several still left in a state of doubt and uncertainty; through the want of
proper information. Among these there is no article about which the world is still left so much in the dark, as his amours. A subject, which, in one of his singular character, is more like to excite curiosity than any other. We know there were two ladies, represented by him as the most accomplished of their sex, adorned with all the charms and graces, both of person and mind, that might penetrate the most obdurate breast, whose hearts were wholly devoted to him. We know too that he had a just sense of their value, that he lived on terms of the closest friendship with both, but it does not appear that he ever made a suitable return of love to either.
As his conduct toward these two celebrated ladies, Stella and Vanessa, seems to be wrapped up in the darkest shades of any part of his history, and has given rise to various conjectures, which yet have produced no satisfactory solution of the doubts which it has occasioned; I shall endeavour, by collecting some scattered rays from different parts of his Works, and adding other lights which have come to my knowledge, to disperse the mysterious gloom with which this subject seems to have been enveloped, and put the whole in a clear point of view. In order to tliis
, it will be necessary, in the first place, to form a judgment how Swift stood affected toward the female sex, either from constitution, or reflection. With regard to the foriner, he seems to have been of a very cold habit, and little spurred on by any impulse of desire; and as to the latter, he appears in the early part of his life to have had little inclination to enter into the
married state, and afterward to have had a fixed dislike to it.
His sentiments on this head are fully displayed in a letter to a kinsman of his, the Rev. John Kendall, vicar of Thornton in Leicestershire, dated Feb. 11, 1691-2 *, written in the 24th year of his age.
This letter was an answer to one from Mr. Kendall, in which he informs him of the reports spread at Leicester that he had paid serious addresses there to an unworthy object, and which Swift therefore thought required this explicit answer. Here we see that he had no other idea of gallantry with the sex, than what served for mere amusement; that he had rather a dread of matrimony, and that he had never engaged in illicit amours, from which he claims no merit, but imputes it to his being naturally of a temperate constilution. This ingenuous letter, written at the most vigorous time of life, will serve as a clue to his conduct toward women ever after.
The only instance that appears of his having any serious thoughts of matrimony, was with regard to a miss Waryng, a lady of the North of Ireland, possessed of a moderate fortune. The circumstances
* Dr. Swist was at this time with sir William Temple, at Sheen. S.
+ Swist makes the following mention of this affair in a letier to Mr. Worrall, written on a particular occasion in 1728-9. “When I went a lad to my mother, after the Revolution, she brought me acquainted with a family, where there was a daughter, with whom I was acquainted. My prudent mother was afraid I should be in love with her; but when I went to London, she married an innkeeper in Loughborough, in that county. This woman (my mistress with a pox) left several children, who are all dead but one daughter, Anne by name," &c. What follows is in material to the present subject. S.
of that affair are laid open in a letter to that lady, written by Swift May 4, 1700, when he was in his
From the contents of this letter, it is apparent, that whatever inclination he might formerly have had to a union with this lady, it was now much changed; and his view in writing it, seems evidently to have been to put an end to the connexion, but in such a way, as that the refusal might come from the lady. For it was impossible to suppose that a woman of any spirit (and from some hints in the letter she seemed to have rather more than came to her share) should not highly resent such an unlover-like epistle, written in so dictatorial a style. And it is highly probable that the little stomach which he at all times had to matrimony, was a stronger motive to breaking off the match, than any of the newly discovered faults laid to her charge. His attachment to this lady was in consequence of a juvenile passion commenced when he was in the college. She was sister to his chamber-fellow Mr. Waryng, and a familiar intercourse naturally followed. It is certain a correspondence had been carried on between them for some time in the style of courtship; but a few years
absence cooled the ardour of his flame, which together with some circumstances alluded to in the above letter, made him wish to put an end to the connexion.
I have in my possession a letter of his, which was never yet printed, addressed to the Rev. Mr. Winder, dated from Moor-park, Jan. 13, 1698-9. Wherein some slight mention is made of this affair, and which manifestly shows his indifference at that time, in the following passage: “ I remember these letters to