Imatges de pÓgina

been like the loss of a limb. Besides, as he seems to have had nothing so much at heart in the latter part of his life, as the leaving behind him a corrected copy of all his writings, done under his own inspection, he could not bear the thought that Swift should leave him, till that point was accomplished. He had already experienced the use that he was of to him in that respect, and knew that his place was not easily to be supplied. And his ill state of health occasioned the work to advance but slowly, as it was only during the more lucid intervals he applied to it. On these accounts, Sir William was in no haste to procure any preferment for his young friend, to the great mortification of Swift. In this uneasy state he continued at Moor Park two years longer, and then, quite wearied out with fruitless expectation, * he determined at all events to leave Sir William, and take his chance in the world. When this his resolution was made known to Sir William, he received it with evident marks of displeasure; but that he might seem to fulfil his promise to Swift, of making some provision for him, he coldly told him, “that since he was so impatient, it was not at that time in his power to do any thing more for him, than to give him an employment, then vacant in the office of the Rolls in Ireland, to the value of somewhat more than a hundred pounds a year.” Swift immediately replied, “that since he had now an opportunity of living, without being driven into the church for a maintenance, he was resolved to go to Ireland to take holy orders." To comprehend the full force of this reply, it will be necessary to know that Sir William was well acquainted with Swift's intention of going into the church, from

* He received frequent remittances from his uncle William and his cousin William Swift, during his residence at Moor Park. N.

+ See his account of this, in his letter to his cousin Deane Swift, dated June 3, 1694. S.

which he had been hitherto restrained only by a scruple of appearing to enter upon that holy office, rather from motives of necessity, than choice. He therefore saw through Sir William's design, in making him the offer of an employment which he was sure would not be accepted by Swift. With great readiness and spirit therefore, he made use of this circumstance, at once to show a proper resentment of the indelicacy of Sir William's behaviour toward him; and to assign an unanswerable motive for. immediately carrying his long-formed resolution into act. Their parting on this occasion was not without manifest displeasure on the side of Sir William, and some degree of resentment, not ill-founded, on the part of Swift.

He procured a recommendation to Lord Capel, then lord deputy of Ireland, from whom is uncertain, but it may be presumed, from the smallness of the provision made for him in consequence of it, that it was not a powerful one; and therefore, that Sir William Temple had no share in it. He went over to Ireland, and was ordained in September, 1694, being then almost 27 years old. Soon after this, Lord Capel gave him the prebend of Kilroot, in the diocese of Connor, worth about one hundred pounds a year.* To this place Swift immediately repaired, in order to reside there, and discharge the duties of his office. He now for the first time enjoyed the sweets of independence; but these sweets were not of long duration, as he soon saw that the scene of his independence could not possibly afford him any other satisfaction in life. He found himself situate in an obscure corner of an obscure country, ill accommodated with the conveniences of life, without a friend, a companion, or any conversation that he could relish. What a contrast was

* This preferment, in 1786, was worth about 1701. a year. N.

this to the delightful scene at Moor Park!t replete with all the beauties, and adorned with every elegance, that could charm the senses, or captivate the fancy; and where the mind had a continual feast of the most rational and refined conversation. But still the spirit of Swift so far prized liberty above all other blessings in life, that had he had no other alternative, he would certainly have preferred that uncomfortable situation, to any state of dependence. But he now began to feel his own strength, and, conscious of his powers, could not conceive they were meant for so narrow a sphere as that of a small country living. He felt an irresistible impulse once more to launch into the world, and make his way to a station more suited to his disposition. In this temper of mind, he received accounts from his friends, that Sir William Temple's ill-founded resentment had subsided soon after his departure, and that he was often heard to lament the loss of his company. Soon after, upon receiving a kind letter from Sir William himself, with an invitation to Moor Park, his resolution was at once fixed. He determined upon returning to England, but first resolved to resign his living. As there were some singular circumstances attending this resignation, I shall relate them exactly as I received them from a gentleman of veracity, who declared he had the account from Swift himself. He said, that soon after he had come to this determination, he was taking his customary walk, and met an elderly clergyman riding along the road. After the usual salutation, he fell into discourse with him; and was so pleased with what passed between them, that he invited him to dinner, and easily prevailed on him to be his guest for a day or two. During this time Swift found that he was a man of great simplicity of

# In one of his letters, vol. II. p. 453, Sir William Temple says, “ I spend all the time I possibly can at Sheen, and never saw ary thing pleasanter than my garden,” N.

manners, good sense, some learning, and unaffected piety. And upon inquiring into his circumstances, learned that he had only a curacy of forty pounds a year, for the maintenance of a wife and eight children. Swift la. mented his situation, and told him “ that he had some interest which he would exert in his behalf, and endeavour to procure him a living, if he would only lend him his black mare to carry him to Dublin;" for Swift was not at that time possessed of a horse. The clergyman readily consented, and went home on foot; promising to meet him any time he should appoint on his return. Swift went to town, and represented the poor curate's case to his patron in such strong terms, as soon prevailed on him to consent that Swift's living should, upon his resignation, which was proposed at the same time, be made over to him. Nor was this a difficult point to accomplish, as, beside motives of humanity, it was for the interest of the patron to accept of an old incumbent of near sixty years of age, in the room of a young one of twenty-seven. Swift, having despatched this business, returned as soon as possible to the country, and gave notice to the old clergyman to meet him. He found him at his door on his arrival, and immediately upon their going into the parlour, put the presentation into his hand, desiring him to read it. Swift said, that while he was doing so, he kept his eyes steadily fixed on the old man's face, in which the joy of finding that it was a presentation to a living, was visibly expressed: but when he came to that part of the writing which mentioned the name of the living, and found that it was Swift's own which he had resigned in his favour, he looked at him for some time in silence, with such a mixed emotion of astonishment and gratitude in his counte-“ Dance, as presented to Swift one of the most striking pictures of the mind expressed in the face, he had ever seen;

and he said, that he never before had felt such exquisite pleasure of mind as he did in that hour. Nor is this to be wondered at, since it was the first opportunity he ever had of letting loose that spirit of generosity and benevolence, whose greatness and vigour, when pent up in his own breast by poverty and dependence, served only as an evil spirit to torment him. And when we consider the nature of this action in all its circumstances, that the object of it was the worthy father of a numerous family, for whom it was impossible he could make any provision from so poor an income as he then possessed ; that the motive to it was pure disinterested benevolence, without any alloy, as the man was a stranger to him, and therefore there could be no incentive to it from ties of blood or friendship; that the gift was such as would brighten the latter days of a well-spent life, though hitherto clouded with indigence, and make a whole family happy; and lastly, that this gift was not like that of a wealthy man, who might easily spare it without feeling the loss, but the whole visible income Swift possessed for present and future support, the sole means in his power of preserving that independence which he had so long sighed for, and at last with difficulty obtained: it is no wonder, I say, all these circumstances considered, that the great mind of Swift should have exulted in so glorious an opportunity, of paying off at once, the large debt, which, from the narrowness of his circumstances, he had been contracting all his life, to benevolence.

After seeing his successor established in the living, he soon settled his affairs, and set out for Dublin, in his way to England. The old man, before his departure, pressed him to accept of his black mare, which was the most valuable of his possessions, as a small token of his gratitude; and Swift was too well acquainted with the sensir

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