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Can hardly tell liow to cry bo to a goose ;
of creating il.lusions, it removes Thera. and stuff, By they don't signify this pinch of the morning, * he shows us the streetsnuff ;
sweepers, the "watchful bailiffs,” and To give a young gentleman right education, imitates the different street cries. The army's the only good school in the When he wishes to paint the rain, f he nation." +
describes “filth of all hues and odors,” This has been seen, and herein lies the the "swelling kennels,” the “dead beauty of Swift's verses: they are per cats," " turnip-tops," "stinking sprats," ronal; they are not developed themes, which “come tumbling down the flood." but impressions felt and observations His long verses whirl all this filth in collected. Read The Journal of a Mod their eddies. We smile to see poetry ern Lady, The Furniture of a Woman's degraded to this use: we seem to be at Mind, and other pieces by the dozen : a masquerade; it is a queen travestied they are dialogues transcribed or opin- into a rough country girl. We stop, ions put on paper after quitting a draw. we look on, with the sort of pleasure ing-room. The Progress of Marriage we feel in drinking a bitter draught. represents a dean of fifty-two married Truth is always good to know, and in to a young, worldly coquette; do we the splendid piece which artists show not see in this title alone all the fears us we need a manager to tell us the of the bachelor of St. Patrick's? What number of the hired applauders and of diary is more familiar and more pun. the supernumeraries. It would be well gent than his verses on his own death ? if he only drew up such a list! Num. “He hardly breathes.' The Dean is dead.' bers look ugly, but they only affect the Before the passing bell begun,
mind; other things, the oil of the The news through half the town has run ; O may we all for death prepare !
lamps, the odors of the side scenes, What' has he left ? and who's his heir?' all that we cannot name, remains to be "I know no more than what the news is; told. I cannot do more than hint at 'Tis all bequeathed to public uses.'
the length to 'which Swift carries us ; To public uses! there's a whim! What had the public done for him?
but this I must do, for these extremes Mere envy, avarice, and pride :.
are the supreme effort of his despair He gave it all-but first he died.
and his genius : we must touch upon And had the Dean in all the nation
them in order to measure and know No worthy friend, no poor relation? So ready to do strangers good,
him. He drags poetry not only through Forgetting his own Hesh and blood ! the mud, but into the filth; he rolls in Poor Pope will grieve a month, and Gay it like a raging madman, he enthrones A week, and Arbuthnot a day. My female friends, whose tender hearts
himself in it, and bespatters all passersHave better learn'd to act their parts,
by. Compared with his, all foul words Receive the news in doleful dumps : are decent and agreeable. In Aretin The Dean is dead (pray what is trumps ?) and Brantôme, in La Fontaine and VolThen, Lord, have mercy on his soul 1° (Ladies, I'll venture for the vole.)
taire, there is a soupçon of pleasure. Six Deans, they say, must bear the pall.
With the first, unchecked sensuality, (I wish I knew what king to call.) with the others, malicious gayety, are ex. Madam, your husband will attend The funeral of so good a friend?
cuses; we are scandalized, not disgust. No, madam, 'vis a shocking sight,
ed; we do not like to see in a man a And he's engaged to-morrow night : bull's fury or an ape's buffoonery; but My Lady Club will take it ill,
the bull is so eager and strong, the ape If he should fail her at quadrille. He lov'd the Dean-(I lead a heart),
so funny and smart, that we end by But dearest friends they say must part.
looking on or being amused. Then, His time was come: he ran his race; again, however coarse their pictures
We hope he's in a better place." 1 may be, they speak of the accompani. Such is the inventory of human ments of love: Swift touches only upon friendships. All poetry exalts the the resrlts of digestion, and that merely mind, but this depresses it: instead of with disgust and revenge ; he pours concealing reality, it unveils it ; instead them out
with horror and sneering at * Ovids, Plutarchs, Homers,
the wretches whom he describes. Ho + The Grand Question Debated, IV 153.
• Swift's Works, xiv. 93. t On the Death of Dr. Swift, xiv. 331. t A Description of a City Shomer, xiv.no
must not in this be compared to Rabe- clean and brush it often. The threo lais ; that good giant, that drunken brothers obeyed for some time and doctor, rolls himself joyously about on travelled sensibly, slaying "a reasonhis dunghill, thinking no evil; the able quantity of giants and dragons.”! dunghill is warın, convenient, a fine Unfortunately, having come up to town place to philosophize and sleep off they adopted its manners, fell in love one's wine. Raised to this enormity, with several fashionable ladies, the and enjoyed with this heedlessness, the Duchess d’Argent, Madame de Grands bodily functions become poetical. Titres, and the Countess d'Orgueil, 1 When the casks are emptied down the and to gain their favors, began to live giant's throat, and the viands are gorg- as gallants, taking snuff, swearing od, we sympathize with so much bodily rhyming, and contracting debts, keep comfort; in the heavings of this colos- ing horses, fighting duels, whoring, sal belly and the laughter of this ho- killing bailiffs. A sect was established meric mouth, we see, as through a mist, who the relics of bacchanal religions, the fe
“Held the universe to be a large suit of cundity, the monstrous joy of nature ; clothes, which invests everything that the these are the splendors and disorders earth is invested by the air ; the air is invested of its first births. The cruel positive by the stars, and the stars are invested by the
What is that which mind, on the contrary,clings only to vile- primum mobile.
some call land, but a fine coat faced with ness, it will only see what is behind green?
or the sea, but a waistcoat of water, ; things; armed with sorrow and bold-tabby?... You will find how curious jour ness, it spares no ignoble detail, no ob neyman Nature has been, to trim up the vegescene word. Swift enters the dressing adorns the head of a beech,
and what a fine
table beaux : observe how sparkish a periwig room,
* relates the disenchantments of doubict of white satin is worn by the birch. love, † dishonors it by a medley of drugs . Is not religion a cloak; honesty a pair of and physic, f describes the cosmetics shoes worn out in the dirt; self-love a surtout; and a great many more things. $. He breeches; which, though a cover for lewdness
vanity a shirt; and conscience a pair of takes his evening walk by solitary as well as nastiness, is easily slipt down for the walls, ll and in these pitiable pryings service of both? . . . If certain ermines and has his microscope ever in his hand. furs de placed in a certain position, we style
them a judge ; and so an apt conjunction o! Judge what he sees and suffers ; this is lawn and black satin, we entitle a bishop." + his ideal beauty and his jesting conversation, and we may fancy that he has others held also “ that the soul was for philosophy, as for poetry and poli- the outward, and the body the inward tics, execration and disgust.
clothing. . This last they proved by
Scripture, because in them we live, V.
and move, and have our being." Thus
our three brothers, having only very Swift wrote the Tale of a Tub at Sir simple clothes, were embarrassed. For William Temple's amidst all kind of instance, the fashion at this time was reading, as an abstract of truth and for shoulder-knots, $ and their father's science. Hence this tale is the satire will expressly forbade them to “add of all science and all truth.
to or diminish from their coats one Of religion first. He seems here to thread; defend the Church of England; but what church and what creed are not ately to consult their father's will, read it ove
“In this unhappy case they went immedi involved in his attack? To enliven his and over, but not a word of the shoulder-knot subject, he profanes and reduces ques- After much thought, one of the brothers, tions of dogma to a question of clothes. who happened to be more bouk-learned thas A father had three sons, Peter, Martin, dient. It is true," said he, there is nothing in
the other two, said, he had found an expe and Jack; he left each of them a coat this will, totidem verbis, making mention of at his death, T warning them to wear it
Persécutions and contests of the primitive * The Lady's Dressing room.
church. Strephon and Chloe.
† Covetousness, ambition, and pride; the A Love Poem from a Physician.
three vices that the ancient fatheis inveigher į The Progress of Beauty.
against. The Problem, and The Examination of 1 A Tale of a Twb. i. sec. 3, 79, 81. Certain Abuses. 1 Christian truth. $ Innovations.
shoulder-knots, but I dare conjecture,, we | authorized by tradition the fashion may find them inclusive, or totidem syllabis.? which became him, and having con This distinction was immediately approved by all; and so they fell again to examine ; but trived to be left a legacy, styled him their evil star had so directed the matter, that self My Lord Peter. His brothers, the first syllable was not to be found in the treated like servants, were discarded whole writings. Upon which disappointment, from his house; they reopered the he, who found the former evasion, took heart and said : Brothers, there are yet hopes,
for will of their father, and began to un. though we cannot find them totidem verbis, derstand it. Martin (Luther), to re. nor totidem syllabis, I dare engage we shall duce his clothes to the primitive sim. make them ort tertio modo or totidem litteris." This discovery was also highly com- plicity, brought off a large handful of ended ; upon which they fell once more to points, stripped away ten dozen yards 2.e scrutiny, and picked out s, H, O, U, !, D, 6,F; of fringe, rid his coat of a huge quantity when the same planet, enemy to their repose, of gold-lace, but kept a few embroideries had wonderfully contrived that a x was not to which could not "be got away without on found. Here was a weighty difficulty ; but the distinguishing brother ... now his hand damaging the cloth." Jack (Calvin) was in, proved by a very good argument, that tore off all in his enthusiasm, and was k was a modern illegitimate letter, unknown to found in tatters, besides being envious the learned ages, nor anywhere to be found in of Martin and half mad. ancient manuscripts.
He then Upon this all farther difficulty vanished ; shoulder-knots were made joined the Æolists, or inspired admir. clearly out to be jure paterno, and our three ers of the wind, who pretend that the gentlemen swaggered with as large and flaunt- spirit, or breath, or wind, is heavenly, ing ones as the best." +
and contains all knowledge : Other interpretations admitted gold lace, and a codicil authorized flame-col- “ First, it is generally affirmed or confessed ored satin linings : 1
that learning puffeth men up; and secondly
they proved it by the following syllogism : words “ Next winter a player, hired for the purpose words ; ergo learning is nothing but wind. .
are but wind ; and learning is nothing but by the corporation of fringemakers, acted his part in a new comedy, all covered with silver This, when blown up to its perfection, ought fringe, and according to the laudable custom
not to be covetously hoarded up, stifled, or hid gave rise to that fashion. Upon which the under a bushel, but freely communicated to brothers consulting their father's will, to their mankind. Upon these reasons, and others of great astonishment found these words: Item, equal weight,
the wise Æolists affirm the gift of I charge and command my said three sons to belching to be the noblest act of a rational
At certain seasons of the year, wear no sort of silver-fringe upon or about their said coats,' etc. However, after some
you might behold the priests among them in pause, the brother so often mentioned for his
vast number . . . linked together in a circular erudition, who
was well skilled in criticisms, chain, with every man a pair of bellows applied had found in a certain author, which he said
to his neighbour's breech, by which they blew should be nameless, that the same word, which for that reason with great propriety of speech,
each other to the shape and size of a tun ; and in the will is called fringe, does also signify a broomstick: and doubtless ought to have the did usually call their bodies their vessels."* same interpretation in this paragraph. This
After this explanation of theology, another of the brothers disliked, because of that epithet silver, which could not, he humbly con- religious quarrels, and mystical inspi. ceived, in propriety of speech, be reasonably rations, what is left, even of the Angli. applied to a broomstick ; but it was replied upon can Church? She is a sensible, use. him that this epithet was understood in a my: ful, political cloak, but what else ? thological and allegorical sense. However, he ohjected again, why their father should forbid Like a stiff brush used with too strong them to wear a broomstick on their coats, a a hand, the buffoonery has carried bution that seemed unnatural and impertinent; away the cloth as well as the stain. apon which he was taken up short, as one who Rok: irreverently of a mystery, which doubt. Swift has put out a fire, I allow; but, less was very useful and significant, but ought like Gulliver at Lilliput, the people not to be over-curiously pried into, or nicely saved by him must hold their nose, to reasoned upon." s
admire the right application of the In the end the scholastic brother grew liquid, and the energy of the engine weary of searching further “evasions,” that saves them. locked up the old will in a strong box, Religion being drowned, Swift turns • The Will.
against science; for the digressions A Tale of a Tub, xi. sec. 3, 83
with which he interrupts his story to Purgatory. A Tale of a Tub. 88.
imitate and mock the modern sages aro i The prohibition of the laity's reading the Scripturos.
• A Tale of Tub, soc. & iube
most closely connected with his tale. in the western part of Libya there were ASSIM The book opens with introductions, with horns."* prefaces, dedications, and other appen- Then follow a multitude of pitiless dices generally employed to swell sarcasms. Swift has the gerjus of inbooks-violent caricatures heaped up sult; he is an inventor of irony, as against the vanity and prolixity of au- Shakspeare of poetry; and as beseems thors. He professes himself one of an extreme force, he goes to extremes them, and announces their discoveries. in his thought and art. He lashes Admirable discoveries! The first of reason after science, and leaves nothing their commentaries will be on
of the whole human mind. With a “ Tom Thumb, whose author was a Pytha- medical seriousness he establishes that gorean philosopher. This dark treatise con- vapors are exhaled from the whole tains the
whole scheme of the Metempsychosis body, which, getting possession of the deducing the progress of the soul through all brain," leave it healthy if they are not her stages. Whittington and his Cat is the work of that mysterious rabbi Jehuda Hannasi, abundant, but excite it if they are ; that containing a defence of the gemara of the Jeru- in the first case they make peaceful indisalem misna, and its just preference to that of viduals, in the second great politicians, Babylon, contrary to the vulgar opinion." *
founders of religions, and deep philosoHe himself announces that he is going phers, that is, madmen, so that madto publish “A Panegyrical Essay upon ness is the source of all human genius the Number Three; a General His- and all the institutions of the universe. tory of Ears; a Modest Defence of the This is why it is very wrong to keep Proceedings of the Rabble in all Ages; men shut up in Bedlam, and a commisan Essay on the Art of Canting, phi- sion appointed to examine them would losophically, physically, and musically find in this academy many imprisoned considered;" and he engages his read-geniuses “which might produce admirers to try by their entreaties to get from able instruments for the several offices him these treatises, which will change in a state ecclesiastical, civil, and milithe appearance of the world. Then, I tary.” turning against the philosophers and “ Is any student tearing his straw in piece the critics, sifters of texts, he proves to meal, swearing and blaspheming, biting his them, according to their own fashion, grate, foaming at the mouth?. . let the right that the ancients mentioned them. a regiment of dragoons, and send him into Flan
worshipful commissioners of inspection give him Can we find anywhere a more biting ders among the rest. ... You will find a third parody on forced interpretations : gravely taking the dimensions of his kennel ; a
person of foresight and insight, though kept * The types are so apposite and the applica- quite in the dark. ... He walks duly in one tions so necessary and natural, that it is not pace
talks much of hard times and taxes easy to conceive how any reader of a modern and the whore of Babylon; bars up the wooder eye or taste could overlook them.
window of his cell constantly at eight o'clock, first; Pausanias is of opinion, that the perfec- dreams of fire. • . . Now what a figure would tion of writing correct was entirely owing to the all those acquirements amount to if the owner institution of critics; and, that he can possibly were sent into the city among his brethren! mean no other than the true critic, is, I think,
Now is it not amazing to think the society manifest enough from the following description of Warwick-lane should have no more concern He says, they were a race of men, who delight for the recovery of so useful a member?.. ed to nibble at the superfluities and excres
I shall not descend so minutely, as to insist cences of books; which the learned at length upon the vast number of beaux, fiddlers, poeten observing, took warning, of their own accord, and politicians that the world might recover by to lop the luxuriant, the rotten, the dead, the such a reformation. . . . Even I myselt, the sapless, and the overgrown from their works. author of these momentous truths, am a person But now, all this he cunningly shades under the whose imaginations are hard-mouthed, and ex. following allegory; that the Nauplians in Argos ceedingly disposed to run away with his reason, learned the art of pruning their
vines, by observ- which I have observed, from long experience, ing that when an ass had browsed upon one of to be a very light rider, and easily shaken off ; them, it thrived the better and bore fairer fruits. upon which account my friends will never trast But Herodotus, holding the very same hiero
me alone, without a solemn promise to vent my glyph, speaks much plainer, and almost in ter speculations in this, or the like manner, for the minis. He has been so bold as to tax the true universal benefit of mankind." + critics of ignorance and malice ; telling us openly, for I think nothing can be plainer, that
* A Tale of a Tub, sec. 3 ; A Dipression concerning Critics, 99.
| A Tale of a Tub; À Digression comert • A Tale of a Timut Introduction. 7. ing Madness, sec. 11, 167.
What a wretched man is he who knows | omitang no trivial ar a positive detail himself and mocks himself! What explaining cookery, stabling, politics madman's laughter, and what a sob in in this he has no equal but De Foe. this hoarse gayety! What remains for the loadstone machine which sustains him but to slaughter the remainder of the flying island, the entrance of Gulhuman invention? Who does not see liver into Lilliput, and the inventory here the despair from which sprang of his property, his arrival and mainthe academy of Lagado? Is there not tenance among the Yahoos, carry us here a foretaste of madness in this in- with them; no mind knew better the tense meditation of absurdity? His ordinary laws of nature and h iman mathematician, who, to teach geometry, life; no mind shut itself up more nakes his pupils swallow wafers on strictly in this knowledge ; none was which he writes his theorems; his ever more exact or more limited. moralist, who, to reconcile political But what a vehemence underneatk parties, proposes to saw off the occiput this aridity! How ridiculous our inand brain of each “opposite party- terests and passions seem, degraded to man,” and “ to let the occiputs thus cut the littleness of Lilliput, or compared off be interchanged;" his economist to the vastness of Brobdingnag? What again, who tries to reduce human ex- is beauty, when the handsomest body, crement to its original food.” Swift is seen with piercing eyes, seems horrible? akin to these, and is the most wretched What is our power when an insect, of all, because he nourishes his mind, king of an ant-hill, can be called, like like them, on the filth and folly, and our princes, "sublime majesty, delight because he possesses what they have and terror of the universe ? What not, knowledge and disgust.
is our homage worth, when a pigmy It is sad to exhibit human folly, it is “is taller, by almost the breadth of a sadder to exhibit human perversity : nail, than any of his court, which alone the heart is more a part of ourselves is enough to strike an awe into his bethan reason: we suffer less in seeing holders? Three-fourths of our senextravagance and folly than wickedness timent are follies, and the weakness or baseness, and I find Swift more of our organs is the only cause of our agreeable in his Tale of a Tub than in veneration or love. Gulliver.
Society repels us still more than All his talent and all his passions are man. At Laputa, at Lilliput, amongst assembled in this book; the positive the horses and giants, Swift rages mind has impressed upon it its form against it, and is never tired of abusing and force. There is nothing agreeable and reviling it. In his eyes, “igno in the fiction or the style. It is the rance, idleness, and vice are the proper diary of an ordinary man, a surgeon, ingredients for qualifying a legislator ; then a captain, who describes coolly laws are best explained, interpreted, and sensibly the events and objects and applied by those whose interes! which he has just seen, but who has and abilities lie in perverting, con: no feeling for the beautiful, no appear founding, and eluding them."* A ance of admiration or passion, no de noble is a wretch, corrupted body and livery. Sir Joseph Banks and Captain soul, combining in himself all the Cook relate thus. Swift only seeks diseases and vices transmitted by ren the natural, and he attains it. His art generations of rakes and rascals. A consists in taking an absurd supposi- lawyer is a hired liar, wont by twenty tion, and deducing seriously the effects years of roguery to pervert the truth if which it produces. It is the logical and he is an advocate, and to sell it if he is technical mind of a mechanician, who, a judge. A minister of state is a go imagining the decrease or increase in between, who, having disposed of his a wheelwork, perceives the result of the wife,” or brawled for the public good, changes, and writes down the record. is master of all offices; and who, in His whole pleasure is in seeing these order better to rob the money of the results clearly, and by a solid reasoning. nation, buys members of the House of He marks the dimensions, and so forth,
* Swift's Works, xii. Dalimer's Travels. ike a good engineer and a statistician, Part 2, ch. 6 p. 171.