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stood by them to save themse ves. Some were looking up towards the Heavens in a thoughtful posture, and in the midst of a Speculation stumbled and fell out of sight. Multitudes were very busy in the pursuit of bubbles that g..ttered in their eyes and danced before them; but often when they thought themselves within the reach of them, their footing failed, and down they sunk. In this confusion of objects, I observed some with scimitars in their hands, and others with urinals, who ran to and fro upon the bridge, thrusting several persons on trapdoors which did not seem to lie in their way, and which they might have escaped had they not been thus forced upon them.
"I here fetched a deep sigh. Alas, said I, man was made in vain! How is he given away to misery and mortality! tortured in life, and wallowed up in death!-The Genius, being moved with compassion towards me, bid me quit so uncomfortable a prospect. Look no more, said he, on man in the first stage of his existence, in his setting out for eternity; but cast thine eye on that thick mist into which the tide bears the several generations of mortals that fall into it. I directed my sight as I was ordered, and (whether or no the good Genius strengthened it with any supernatural force, or dissipated part of the mist that was before too thick for the eye to penetrate) I saw the valley opening at the farther end, and spreading forth into an immense ocean, that had a huge rock of adamant running through the midst of it, and dividing it into two equal parts. The clouds still rested on one half of it, insomuch that I could discover nothing in it: but the other appeared to me a vast ocean planted with innumerable islands, that were covered with fruits and flowers, and interwoven with a thousand little shining seas that ran among them. I could see persons dressed in glorious habits, with garlands upon their heads, passing among the trees, lying down by the sides of the fountains, or resting on beds of flowers; and could hear a confused harmony of singing birds, falling waters, human voices, and musical instruments. Gladness grew in me upon the discovery of so delightful a scene. I wished for the wings of an eagle, that I might fly away to those happy seats; but the Genius told me there was no passage to them, except through the gates of death that I saw opening every moment upon the bridge. The islands, said he, that lie so fresh and green before thee, and with which the whole face of the ocean appears spotted as far as thou canst see, are more in number than the sands on the sea-shore; there are myriads of islands behind those which thou here discoverest, reaching farther than thine eye, or even thine imagination, can extend it elf. These are the mansions of good men afser death, who according to the degree and kinds of virtue in which they excelled, are distributed among these several islands, which abound with pleasures of different kinds and degrees, suitable to the relishes and perfections of those who are settled in them: every island is a paradise accommodated to its respective inhabitants. Are not these, O Mirza, habitati ›ns, worth contending for? Does life appear miserable, that gives thee opportunities of earning such a reward? Is death to be feard, that will convey thee to so happy an existence? Think
not man was n ade in vain who has such as eternity reserved for him. I gazed with inex pressible pleasure on these happy islands. Αν length, said I, shew me now, I beseech thee, the secrets that lie hid under those dark clouds which cover the ocean on the other side of the rock of Adamant. The Genius making me no answer, I turned me about to address myself to him a second time, but I found that he had left me; I then turned again to the vision which I had been so long contemplating: but instead of the rolling tide, the arched bridge, and the happy islands, I saw nothing but the long hol low valley of Bagdat, with oxen, sheep, ard camels grazing upon the sides of it.” * In this ornate moral sketch, this fine reasoning, so correct and so eloquent this ingenious and noble imagination, I find an epitome of all Addison's charac teristics. These are the English tints which distinguish_this_classical age from that of the French: a narrower and more practical argument, a more poetical and less eloquent urbanity, a structure of mind more inventive and more rich, less sociable and less refined
IN 1685, in the great hall of Dublin University, the professors engaged in examining for the bachelor's degree beheld a singular spectacle: a poor scholar, odd, awkward, with hard blue eyes, an orphan, friendless, dependent on the precarious charity of an uncle, having failed once before to take his degree on account of his ignorance of logic, had come up again without having condescended to read logic. To no purpose his tutor set before him the most respectable folios-Smiglecius, Keckermannus, Burgerdiscius. turned over a few pages, and shut them directly. When the argumentation came on, the proctor was obliged to "reduce his replies into syllogism." He was asked how he could reason well without rules; he replied that he did reason pretty well without them. This folly shocked them; et he was received, though with some difficulty, speciali gratiâ, says the college register, and the professrs went away, doubtless with
* Spectator, No. 159.
pitying smiles, lamenting the feeble swered, it could not be, for he had not made brain of Jonathan Swift.
This was his first humiliation and his first rebellion. His whole life was like this moment, overwhelmed and made wretched by sorrow and hatred. To what excess they rose, his portrait and his history alone can show. He fostered an exaggerated and terrible pride, and made the haughtiness of the most powerful ministers and greatest lords bend beneath his arrogance. Though only a literary man, possessing nothing but a small írish living, he treated them on a footing of equality. Harley, the prime minister, having sent him a bank-bill of fifty pounds for his first articles, he was offended at being taken for a hack writer, returned the money; demanded an apology, received it, and wrote in his journal: "I have taken Mr. Harley into favor again." * On another occasion, having observed that the Secretary of State, St. John, looked ipon him coldly, rebuked him for it :
One thing I warned him of, never to appear cold to me, for I would not be treated like a school-boy; that I expected every great minister who honoured me with his acquaintance, if he heard or saw anything to my disadvantage, would let me know in plain words, and not put me in pain to guess by the change or coldness of his countenance or behaviour; for it was what I would hardly bear from a crowned head; and I thought no subject's favour was worth it: and that I designed to let my Lord Keeper and Mr. Harley know the same thing, that they might use me accordingly." t
St. John approved of this, made excuses, said that he had passed several nights at "business, and one night at drinking," and that his fatigue might have seemed like ill-humor. In the minister's drawing-room Swift went up and spoke to some obscure person, and compelled the lords to come and speak
to him :
"Mr. Secretary told me the Duke of Buckingham had been talking to him much about me, and desired my acquaintance. I an
*In Swift's Works, ed. W. Scott, 19 vols.
1814, Journal to Stella, ii. Feb. 13 (1710-11). He says also (Feb. 6 and 7): "I will not see him (Mr. Harley) till he makes amends.
I was deaf to all entreaties, and have desired Lewis to go to him, and let him know that I expect farther satisfaction. If we let these great ministers pretend too much, there will be no governing them." ↑ Ibid. April 3, 1711.
sufficient advances. Then the Duke of Shrews bury said, he thought the Duke was not used to make advances. I said, I could not help that; for I always expected advances in pro portion to men's quality, and more from a duke than other men.' """#
"Saw Lord Halifax at court, and we joined and talked, and the Duchess of Shrewsbury came up and reproached me for not dining with her: I said tha was not so soon done; for I expected more advances from ladies, especially duchesses: She promised to comply.. . Lady Hamilton together to-day in the drawing-room, Oglethorp brought me and the Duchess a and I have given her some encouragement, tui not much." t
said with a restrained joy, full of venHe triumphed in his arrogance, and with about thirty in the drawing-room, geance: I generally am acquainted and am so proud that I make all the lords come up to me. One passes half his triumph to the verge of brutality an hour pleasant enough." He carried and tyranny; writing to the Duchess of Queensberry, he says: "I am glad you know your duty; for it has been a known and established rule above twenty years in England, that the first advances have been constantly made me by all ladies who aspired to my acquaintance, and the greater their quality, the greater were their adwith his crutch and cane, limped up two vances." The famous General Webb, flights of stairs to congratulate him and invite him to dinner; Swift accepted, then an hour later withdrew his consent, preferring to dine elsewhere. seemed to look upon himself as a superior being, exempt from the necessity of showing his respects to any one, entitled to homage, caring neither for sex, rank, nor fame, whose business it was to protect and destroy, distributing favors, insults, and pardons. Addison, and after him Lady Gifford, a friend twenty years' standing, having offended him, he refused to take them back into his favor until they had asked his par don. Lord Lansdown, Secretary for War, being annoyed by an expression in the Examiner, Swift says: "This I of me before he spoke to me. resented highly that he should complair I ser t him a peppering letter, and would no summon him by a note, as I did the * Swift's Works, Journal to Stella, ii. May 19, 1711. Ibid. Oct. 7. 1718.
Ibid. xvii. p. 35a.
rest; nor ever will have any thing_to | ill-usage.”* And soon after: "Rot Bay to him, till he begs my pardon." * them, for ungrateful dogs; I will make He treated art like man, writing a thing them repent their usage before I leave off, scorning the wretched necessity of this place." ↑ He is satiated and has reading it over, putting his name to glutted his appetite; like a wolf or a nothing, letting every piece make its lion, he cares for nothing else. way on its own merits, unassisted, with- This impetuosity led him to ever out the prestige of his name, recom- sort of madness and violence. His mended by none. He had the soul of Drapier's Letters had roused Ireland a dictator, thirsting after power, and against the government, and the govern saying openly: "All my endeavors, ment had issued a proclamation offering from a boy, to distinguish myself were a reward to any one who would denounce only for want of a great title and for- the Drapier. Swift came suddenly into tune, that I might be treated like a lord the reception-chamber, elbowed the whether right or wrong, it is no groups, went up to the lord-lieutenant, great matter; and so the reputation of with indignation on his countenance, wit or great learning does the office of and in a thundering voice, said: "So, a blue ribbon, or of a coach and six my lord, this is a glorious exploit that horses." But he thought this power you performed yesterday, in suffering a and rank due to him; he did not ask, proclamation against a poor shopkeeper, but expected them. "I will never beg whose only crime is an honest endeavor for myself, though I often do it for to save his country from ruin." And others." He desired ruling power, and he broke out into railing amidst genera! acted as if he had it. Hatred and mis-silence and amazement. The lord lieufortune find a congenial soil in these tenant, a man of sense, answered calmly. despotic minds. They live like fallen Before such a torrent men turned aside. kings, always insulting and offended, This chaotic and self-devouring heart having all the miseries but none of the could not understand the calmness of consolations of pride, unable to relish his friends; he asked them: "Do not either society or solitude, too ambitious the corruptions and villanies of men eat to be content with silence, too haughty your flesh, and exhaust your spirits?"§ to use the world, born for rebellion and defeat, destined by their passions and impotence to despair and to talent.
Sensitiveness in Swift's case aggravated the stings of pride. Under this outward calmness of countenance and style raged furious passions. There was within him a ceaseless tempest of wrath and desire: "A person of great honor in Ireland (who was pleased to stoop so low as to look into my mind) used to tell me that my mind was like a conjured spirit, that would do mischief, if I would not give it employment." Resentment sunk deeper in him than in other men. Listen to the profc and sigh of joyful hatred with which he ees his enemies under his feet: "The whigs were ravished to see me, and would lay hold on me as a twig while they are drowning; and the great men making me their clumsy apologies " ‡ "It is good to see what a lamentable confession the whigs all make of my
Journal to Stella, iii. March 27, 1711-13. + Letter to Bolingbroke, Dublin, April 5, 1729. + Journal to Stella, ii., Sept. 9, 1710.
Resignation was repulsive to him. His actions, abrupt and strange, broke out amidst his silent moods like flashes of lightning. He was eccentric and violent in every thing, in his pleasantry, in his private affairs, with his friends. with unknown people; he was often taken for a madman. Addison and his friends had seen for several days at Button's coffee-house a singular par son, who laid his hat on the table, walked for half-an-hour backward and forward, paid his money, and left, having attended to nothing and said noth ing. They called hiin the mad parson. One day this parson perceives a gen. tleman "just come out of the country,' went straight up to him, "and in a very abrupt manner, without any pie vious salute, asked him, 'Fray, sir, do you remember any good weather in the world?' The country gentleman, after staring a little at the singularity of his (Swift's) manner and the oddity of the *Ibid. Sept. 30, 1710. Ibid. Nov. 8, 1710 + Swift's Life, by Roscoe i. 56. + Swift's Life, by W. Scott, i. 279.
twenty-one, as secretary to Sir William Temple, he had twenty pounds a year salary, sat at the same table with the upper servants, wrote Pir daric odes in honor of his master, spent ten years amidst the humiliations of servitude and the familiarity of the servants' hall, obliged to adulate a gouty and flattered courtier, to submit to my lady his sis ter, acutely pained “when Sir William Temple would look cold and out of humor," + lured by false hopes, forced after an attempt at independence to re sume the livery which was choking him. "When you find years coming on, without hopes of a place at court, I directly advise you to go upon the road, which is the only post of honor left you; there you will meet many of your old comrades, and live a short life and a merry one." This is followed by instructions as to the conduct servants ought to display when led to the gallows. Such are his Directions to Servants; he was relating what he had suffered. At the age of thirty-one, expecting a place from William III., he edited the works of his patron, dedi
question, answered, 'Yes, sir, I thank | God, I remember a great deal of good weather in my time.' That is more,' said Swift, 'than I can say; I never remember any weather that was not too hot, or too cold, too wet or too dry; but, however God Almighty contrives it, at the end of the year 'tis all very Another day, dining with the Earl of Burlington, the Dean said to the mistress of the house, "Lady Burlington, I hear you can sing; sing me a song. The lady looked on this unceremonious manner of asking a favor with distaste, and positively refused. He said, "she should sing, or he would make her. Why, madam, I suppose you take me for one of your poor English hedge-parsons; sing when bid you!" As the earl did nothing but laugh at this freedom, the lady was so vexed, that she burst into tears and retired. His first compliment to her when he saw her again, was, "Pray, madam, are you as proud and as illnatured now as when I saw you last?" People were astonished or amused at these outbursts; I see in them sobs and cries, the explosion of long, over-cated them to the sovereign, sent him whelming and bitter thoughts; they are starts of a mind unsubdued, shuddering, rebelling, breaking the barriers, wounding, crushing, or bruising every one on its road, or those who wish to stop it. Swift became mad at last; he felt this madness coming on, he has described it in a horrible manner; beforehand he has tasted all the disgust and bitterness of it; he showed it on his tragic face, in his terrible and wan eyes. This is the powerful and mournful genius which nature gave up as a prey to society and life; society and life poured all their poisons into him.
He knew what poverty and scorn were, even at that age when the mind expands, when the heart is full of pride,t when he was hardly maintained by the alms of his family, gloomy and without hope, feeling his strength and the dangers of his strength. § At Sheridan's Life of Swift. + W. Scott's Life of Swift. i. 477• ̧ At that time he had already begun the Tale of a Tub.
He addresses his muse thus, in Verses occasioned by Sir William Temple's late illness and recovery, xiv. 45:
"Wert thou right woman, thou should'st scorn to look
a memorial, got nothing, and fell back
Says the chambermaid in the well-
"I design to be a parson's wife.. And over and above, that I may nave yo excellency's letter
On an abandoned wretch by hopes forsook ;
These assertions have been denied. Sea
"Don't you remember how I used to be in pain when Sir William Tei. ple would look old and out of humour for three or four days, and I used to suspect a hundred reasons? I Lave plucked up my spirit since then, faith; he spoiled a fine gentleman."-Journal to Stella April 4, 1710-11.
Directions to Servants, xii. ch. iii. 43
With an order for the chaplain aforesaid, or instead of him a better." *
the pleasure of fighting and wounding he suffered there to the end, soured by the advance of years, by the spectacle of oppression and misery, by the feeling of his own impotence, enraged to have to live amongst "an enslaved people," chained and vanquished. He says: "I find myself disposed every year, or rather every month, to be more angry and revengeful; and my rage is so ignoble, that it descends even to resent the folly and baseness of the en slaved people among whom I live."* This cry is the epitome of his public life; these feelings are the materials which public life furnished to his talent.
The earl, having promised him the deanery of Derry, gave it to another. Driven to politics, he wrote a Whig pamphlet, A Discourse on the Contests and Dissensions in Athens and Rome, received from Lord Halifax and the party leaders a score of fine promises, and was neglected. Twenty years of insuits without revenge, and humiliations without respite; the inner tempest of fostered and crushed hopes, vivid and brilliant dreams, suddenly withered by the necessity of a mechanical duty; the habit of suffering and hatred, the necessity of concealing these, the baneful consciousness of He experienced these feelings also superiority, the isolation of genius and in private life, more violent and more pride, the bitterness of accumulated inwardly. He had brought up and wrath and pent-up scorn,-these were purely loved a charming, well inthe goads which pricked him like a formed, modest young girl, Esther bull More than a thousand pamph-Johnson, who from infancy had loved let. in four years, stung him still more, and reverenced him alone. She lived with such designations as renegade, with him, he had made her his confi traitor, and atheist. He crushed them dante. From London, during his politi. all, set his foot on the Whig party, cal struggles, he sent her the full journal solaced himself with the poignant pleas of his slightest actions; he wrote to ure of victory. If ever a soul was sa- her twice a day, with extreme ease and tiated with the joy of tearing, outraging familiarity, with all the playfulness, and destroying, it was his. Excess of vivacity, petting and caressing names scorn, implacable irony, crushing logic, of the tenderest attachment. Yet anthe cruel smile of the foeman, who other girl, beautiful and rich, Miss sees beforehand the spot where he will Vanhomrigh, attached herself to wound his enemy mortally, advances him, declared her passion, received towards him, tortures him deliberately, from him several marks of his own, eagerly, with enjoyment,-such were the followed him to Ireland, sometimes feelings which had leavened him, and jealous, sometimes submissive, but so which broke from him with such harsh-impassioned, so unhappy, that her letness that he hindered his own career; † and that of so many high places for which he stretched out his hands, there remained for him only a deanery in poor Ireland. The accession of George I. exiled him thither; the accession of George II., on which he had counted, confined him there. He contended there first against popular hatred, then against the victorious minister, then against entire humanity, in sanguinary pamphlets, despairing satires; he tasted there once more * Mrs. Harris' Petition, xiv. 52.
By the Tale of a Tub with the clergy, and by the Prophesy of Windsor with the queen.
The Drapier's Letters, Gulliver's Travels, Rhapsody on Poetry, A modest Proposal for preventing the Children of poor people in Ireand from being a burden to their parents or
ters might have broken a harder heart : "If you continue to treat me as you do you will not be made uneasy by me long. I am sure I could have borne the rack much better than those killing, killing words of you.. Oh that you may have but so much regard for me left, that this complaint may touch your soul with pity!" She pined and died. Esther Johnson, who had so long possessed Swift's whole heart. suffered still more. All was changed in Swift's house. "At my first com. ing (at Laracor) I thought I should country, and for making them beneficial to the public, and several pamphlets on Ireland.
* Letter to Lord Bolingbroke, Dublin, March 21, 1728, xvii. 274.
Letter of Miss Vantomrigh, Dublin, 1714 xix. 421.