Изображения страниц

stood by them to save themse ves. Some were not man was n ade in vain who has such an looking up towards the Hearins in a thought- eternity reserved for him. I gazed with inex ful posture, and in the midst of a Speculation pressible pleasure on these happy islands. AI stumbled and fell out of sight. Multitudes length, said I, shew me now, I 'beseech thee, were very busy in the pursuit of bubbles that the secrets that lie hid under those dark clouds S..ttered in their eyes ard danced before them; which cover the ocean on the other side of the but often when they thought themselves within rock of Adamant. The Genius making me no the reach of them, their footing failed, and answer, I turned me abuut to address myself to down they sank. In this confusion of objects, him a second time, but I found that he had left I observed some with scimitars in their hands, me; I then turned again to the vision which ! and others with urinals, who ran to and fro upon had been so long contemplating: but instead of the bridge, thrusting several persons on trap the rolling tide, the arched bridge, and the doors which did not seem to lie in their way, happy islands I saw nothing but the iong hol, and which they might have escaped had they low valley of Bagdat, with oxen, sheep, ard aot been thus forced upon them.

camels grazing upon the sides of it." “ I here fetched a deep sigh. Alas, said I, man was made in vain! How is he given away In this ornate moral sketch, this fine to misery and mortality! tortured in life, and reasoning, so correct and so eloquent swallowed up in death!--The Genius, being this ingenious and noble imagination, I moved with compassion towards me, bid me find an epitome of all Addison's charac quit so uncomfortable a prospect. Look no more, said he, on man in the first stage of his teristics. These are the English tints existence, in his setting out for eternity; but which distinguish_this classical age cast thine eye on that thick mist into which the from that of the French : a narrower tide bears the several generations of mortals that fall into it. i directed my sight as I was and more practical argument, a more ordered, and (whether or no the good Genius poetical and less eloquent urbanity, a strengthened it with any, supernatural force, or structure of mind more inventive and dissipated part of the mist that was before too thick for the eye to penetrate) I saw the valley more rich, less sociable and less refined opening at the farther end, and spreading forth into an immense ocean, that had a huge rock of adaniant running through the midst of it, and dividing it into two equal parts. The couds still rested on one half of it, insomuch that I

CHAPTER V. could discover nothing in it: but the other appeared to me a vast ocean planted with innumerable islands, that were covered with fruits

Swift. and flowers, and interwoven with a thousand little shining seas that ran among them. could see persons dressed in glorious habits, IN 1685, in the great hall of Dublin with garlands upon their heads, passing among University, the professors engaged in tains, or resting on beds of flowers; and could beheld a singular spectacle : a poor the trees, lying down by the sides of the foun: examining for the bachelor's degree hear a confused harmony of singing birds, falling waters, human voices, and musical instru- scholar, odd, awkward, with hard blue ments. Gladness grew in me upon the discove eyes, an orphan, friendless, dependent ery of so delightful a scene. I wished for the

on the precarious charity of an uncle, wings of an eagle, that I might fly away to those happy seats; but the Genius told me

having failed once before to take his there was no passage to them, except through degree on account of his ignorance of the gates of death that I saw opening every logic, had come up again without having moment upon the bridge. The islands, said he condescended to read logic. To no that lie so fresh and green before thee, and with which the whole face of the ocean appears purpose his tutor set before him the spotted as far as thou canst see, are more in most respectable_folios-Smiglecius, number than the sands on the sca-shore; there Keckermannus, Burgerdiscius. ;

He ure myriads of islands behind those which thou turned over a few pages, and shut them here discoverest, reaching farther than thine aye, or even thine imagination, can extend it directly. When the argumentation came alt

. These are the mansions of good men af- on, the proctor was obliged to “ reduce per death, who according to the degree and his replies into syllogism.” He was kinds of virtue in which they excelled, are dis- asked how he could reason well without tributed among these several islands, which bound with pleasures of different kinds and rules ; he replied that he did reason degrees, suitable to the relishes and perfections pretty well without them. This folly of those who are settled in them: every island shocked them ; et he was received, is a paradise accommodated to its respective inhabitants. Are not these, o Mirza, habitations, though with some difficulty, speciali worth contending for? Does life appear mis gratia, says the college register, and the erable, that gives thee opportunities of earning professrs went away, doubtiess with such a reward? Is death to be fear »d, that will onvey thee to so happy an existence? Think

Spectator, No. 159.


[ocr errors]


pityir:g smiles, lamenting the feeble swered, it could not be, for le had not made brain of Jonathan Swift.

sufficient advances. Then the Duke of Shrewy bury said, he thought the Duke was not used

to make advances. I said, I could not help I.

that ; for I always expected advances in pro This was his first humiliation and his portion to nuen's, quality, and more from a duka

than other men."* first rebellion. His whole life was like " Saw Lord Halifax at court, and we joined this moment, overwhelmed and made and talked, and the Duchess of Shrewsbury wretched by sorrow and hatred. To

came up and reproached me tor not dining with

her: I said thao was not so soon done ; for I what excess they rose, his portrait and expected more advances from ladies, especially his history alone can show. He foster- duchesses: She promised to comply. Lady ed an exaggerated and terrible pride, Oglethorp brought me and the Duchess a and made the haughtiness of the most

Hamilton together to-day in the drawing-room, powerful ministers and greatest lords

and I have given her some encouragement, tut

not much." + bend beneath his arrogance. Though He triumphed in his arrogance, and only a literary man, possessing nothing said with a restrained joy, full of ven. but a small' Irish living, he treated them on a footing of equality. Harley, with about thirty in the drawing-room,

geance : “ I generally am acquainted the prime minister, having sent him a bank-bill of fifty pounds for his first and am so proud that I make all the

lords come up to me. One passes half articles, he was offended at being taken for a hack writer, returned the money, his triumph to the verge of brutality

an hour pleasant enough." He carried demanded an apology, received it, and and tyranny; writing to the Duchess wrote in his journal : “I have taken Mr. Harley into favor again."

of Queensberry, he says : On

I am glad another occasion, having observed that you know your duty; for it has been a

known and established rule above the Secretary of State, St. John, looked ipon him coldly, rebuked him for it :

twenty years in England, that the first

advances have been constantly made “One thing I warned

him of, never to appear me by all ladies who aspired to my cold to me, for I would not be treated like a school-boy; that I expected every great minis- acquaintance, and the greater their ter who honoured me with his acquaintance, it quality, the greater were their adhe heard or saw anything to my disadvantage, vances.” The famous General Webb, would let me know in plain words, and not put with his crutch and cane, limped up two me in pain to guess by the change or coldness of his countenance or behaviour ; for it was Aights of stairs to congratulate him and what I would hardly bear from a crowned head; | invite him to dinner ; Swift accepted, and I thought po subject's favour was worth it: then an hour later withdrew his consent, and that I designed to let my Lord Keeper and

He Mr.

Harley know the same thing, that they preferring to dine elsewhere. might use me accordingly." +

seemed to look upon himself as a su. St. John approved of this, made excuses, perior being, exempt from the necessity said that he had passed several nights of showing his respects to any one, at“ business, and one night at drink- entitled to homage, caring neither for ing,” and that his fatigue might have sex, rank, nor fame, whose business it seemed like ill-humor. In the minis- was to protect and destroy, distributing ter's drawing-room Swift went up and favors, insults, and pardons. Addison, spoke to some obscure person, and and after him Lady Gifford, a friend * compelled the lords to come and speak twenty years' standing, having offended to him :

him, he refused to take them back into Mr. Secretary told me the Duke of Buck- his favor until they had asked his pas ingham had been talking to him much about don. Lord Lansdown, Secretary for me, and desired my acquaintance. I an- War, being annoyed by an expression

in the Examiner, Swift says :

in This ) • In Swift's Works, ed. W. Scott, 19 vols. resented highly that he should complain 1814 Journal to Stella, ii. Feb. 13, (1710-11). of me before he spoke to me. He says also (Feb. 6 and 7): “I will not see

I seit bim (Mr. Harley) till he makes amends. him a peppering letter, and would noi I was deaf to all entreaties, and have desired

[ocr errors]

summon him by a note, as I did the Lewis to go to him, and let him know that I expect farther satisfaction. If we let these * Swift's Works, Journal to Stella, ii. May great ministers pretend too much, there will be

1 Ibid. Oct. 7. 1718. Do governing them.” | Ibid. April 3, 1911.

ibid. xvii. p. 393.

19, 1711.



[ocr errors]

rest ; nor ever will have any thing to ill-usage.”* And soon after : “ Rot bay to him, till be 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 Irelard 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 Resignation was repulsive to him. defeat, destined by their passions and His actions, abrupt and strange, broke impotence to despair and to talent. out amidst his silent moods like flashes

Sensitiveness in Swift's case aggra- of lightning. He was eccentric and vated the stings of pride. Under this violent in every thing, in his pleasantry, outward calmness of countenance and in his private affairs, with his friends, style raged furious passions. There with unknown people; he was often was within him a ceaseless tempest of taken for a madman. Addison and wrath and desire : “A person of great his friends had seen for several days bonor in Ireland (who was pleased to at Button's coffee-house a singular par stoop so low as to look into my mind) son, who laid his hat on the table, used to tell me that my mind was liks walked for half-an-hour backward and a conjured spirit, that would do mis- forward, paid his money, and left, hav. :hief, if I would not give it employment.” ing attended to nothing and said nothResentment sunk deeper in him than ing. They called hiin the mad parson. in other men. Listen to the profcand One day this parson perceives a gen: sigh of joyful hatred with which he tleman “just come out of the country.' Jees his enemies under his feet : “ The went straight up to him, “and in a whigs were ravished to see me, and very abrupt manner, without any, pie would lay hold on me as a twig while vious salute, asked him, ‘Fray, sir, do they are drowning; and the great men you remember any good weather in the making me their clumsy apologies,” world?' The country gentleman, after “ It is good to see what a lamentable staring a little at the singularity of his confession the whigs all make of my (Swift's) manner and the oddity of the

Journal to Stella, ii. March 27, 1711-12. * Ibid. Sept. 30, 1710. Ibid. Nov. 8, 17ko + Letter to Bolingbroke, Dublin, April 5, Swift's Life, by Roscoe i. 56.

yornal to Stella, ii., Sept. % 1710. 1 Swift's Life, by W. Scott, i. 279.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


question, answered, 'Yes, sir, I thank | twenty-one, as secretary to Sir William God, I remember a great deal of good Temple, he had twenty founds a year weather in my time.' • That is more,' salary, sat at the same table with the said Swift, ‘than I can say; I never re- upper servants, * wrote Pir daric odes member any weather that was not too in honor of his master, sper.t ten years hot, or too cold, too wet or too dry; amidst the humiliations of servitude but, however God Almighty contrives and the familiarity of the servants' hall, it, at the end of the year "tis all very obliged to adulate a gouty and flattered

Another day, dining with courtier, to submit to my lady his sis the Earl of Burlington, the Dean said ter, acutely pained “when Sir William to the mistress of the house, “Lady Temple would look cold and out of Burlington, I hear you can sing ; sing humor,” | lured by false hopes, forced me a song." The lady looked on this after an attempt at independence to re. unceremonious manner of asking a sume the livery which was choking favor with distaste, and positively re- him. “When you find years coming fused. He said, “she should sing, or on, without hopes of a place at court, he would make her. Why, madam, 1:.. I directly advise you to go upon suppose you take me for one of your the road, which is the only post of honpoor Engiish hedge-parsons; sing when or left you; there you will meet many I bid you!” As the earl did nothing of your old comrades, and live a short but laugh at this freedom, the lady was life and a merry one.” | This is followed so vexed, that she burst into tears and by instructions as to the conduct serretired. His first compliment to her vants ought to display when led to the when he saw her again, was, “Pray, gallows. Such are his Directions to madam, are you as proud and as ill Servants ; he was relating what he had natured now as when I saw you last ?" suffered. At the age of thirty-one, exPeople were astonished or amused at pecting a place from William III., he these outbursts ; I see in them sobs edited the works of his patron, dedi. and cries, the explosion of long, over- cated them to the sovereign, sent him whelming and bitter thoughts; they are a memorial, got nothing, and fell back starts of a mind unsubdued, shudder. upon the post of chaplain and private ing, rebelling, breaking the barriers, secretary to the Earl of Berkeley. He wounding, crushing, or bruising every soon remained only chaplain to that one on its road, or those who wish to nobleman, feeling all the disgust which stop it. Swift became mad at last; he the part of ecclesiastical valet must infelt this madness coming on, he has de- spire in a man of feeling. scribed it in a horrible manner; before

“ You know I honour the cloth," hand he has tasted all the disgust and bitterness of it; he showed it on his trag- Says the chambermaid in the well. ic face, in his terrible and wan eyes. known Petition : This is the powerful and mournful

“I design to be a parson's wife, . genius which nature gave up as a prey And over and above, that I may nave yo! to society and life; society and life excellency's letter poured all their poisons into him.

On an abandoned wretch by hopes forsook ; He knew what poverty and scorn Forsook by hopes, ill fortune's last relief, were, even at that age when the mind Assign'd for life to unremitting grief ; ·xpands, when the heart is full of To thee I owe that fatal bent of mind pride, t when he was hardly maintained Still to unhappy, restless thoughts inclined ; by the alms of his family, gloomy and

To thee, what oft I vainly strive to bide,

That scorn of fools, by fools mistook in without hope, feeling his strength and pride. the dangers of his strength. $ At

• These assertions have been denied. * Sheridan's Life of Swift.

Roscoe's Life of Swift, i. 14.-TR. W. Scott's Life of Swift. i. 477.,

†“Don't you remember how I used to be in 1. At that time he had already begun the pain when Sir William Ten ble would look :old Tale of a Tub.

and out of humour for thret or four days, ind § He addresses his muse

thus, in Verses or I used to suspect a hundred reasons ? I Lave casioned by Sir William Temple's late illness plucked up my spirit since then, faith; he snd recovery, xiv. 45:

spoiled a fine gentleman.”- Journal to Sella w Wert thou right woman, thou should'st scorn

April 4, 1710-11: to looks

* Directions to Servants, xii. ch. ii. 43


With an order for the chaplain aforesaid, of the pleasure of fighting and wounding instead of him a better.".

he suffered there to the c:ad, soured by The earl, having promised him the the advance of years, by the spectacle deanery of Derry, gave it to another. of oppression and misery, by the feelDriven to politics, he wrote a Whig ing of his own impotence, enraged to pamphlet, À Discourse on the Contests have to live amongst “an enslaved and Dissensions in Athens and Rome, people," chained and vanquished. Jle received from Lord Halifax and the says: “I find myself disposed every party leaders a score of fine promises, year, or rather every month, to be more and was neglected. Twenty years of angry and revengeful; and my rage is insi.ts without revenge, and humilia- so ignoble, that it descends even to retions without respite; the inner tempest sent the folly and baseness of the en of fostered and crushed hopes, vivid slaved people among whom I live.” * and briliant dreams, suddenly with. This cry is the epitome of his pubered by the necessity of a mechani- lic life; these feelings are the matecal duty; the habit of suffering and rials which public life furnished to his hatred, the necessity of concealing talent. 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 in. thel 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 cante. 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 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 hársh- impassioned, so unhappy, that her letness that he hindered his own career ; t ters might have broken a harder heart : and that of so many high places for “ If you continue to treat me as you do which he stretched out his hands, there you will not be made uneasy by me remained for him only a deanery in long. I am sure I could have poor Ireland. The accession of borne the rack much better than those George I. exiled him thither; the ac. killing, killing words of you. • .. Oh cession of George II., on which he had that you may have but so much regard counted, confined him there. He con for me left, that this complaint may tended there first against popular touch your soul with pity!”+ She pined hatred, then against the victorious and died. Esther Johnson, who had minister, then against entire humanity, so long possessed Swift's whole heart. in sanguinary pamphlets, des pairing suffered still more. All was changed satires ; f he tasted there once more in Swift's house. “At my first com: • Mrs. Ilarris' Petition, xiv. 52.

ing (at Laracor) I thought I should By the Tale of a Tub with the clergy, and country, and for making them beneficial to the by the Prophesy of Windsor with the queen. public, and several pamphlets on Ireland.

The Drapier's Letters, Gulliver's Travels, * Letter to Lord Bolingbroke, Dublin, March Rhapsody on Poetry, A modest Proposal for 21, 1728, xvii. 274. preventing the Children of poor people in Ire "Letter of Miss Van:omrigh. Dublin, 1714 land from being a burden to their parents or xix. 428.



[ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »