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have died with dis ontent, and was a month without sleeping, and five horribly melancholy while they were men were needed to prevent his tear installing me.”* He found tears, dis- ing out the eye with his nails. One of trust, resentment, cold silence, in place his last words was, “I am a fool." of familiarity and tenderness. He When his will was opened, it was married Miss Johnson from a feeling found that he left his whole fortune to of duty, but in secret, and on condition build a madhouse. that she should only be his wife in She was twelve years dying ;
II. Swift went away to England as often These passions and these miseriet as he could. His house was a hell to were necessary to inspire Gulliver's him; it is thought that some secret Travels and the Tale of a Tub. physical cause had influenced his A strange and powerful form of loves and his marriage. Delany, his mind, too, was necessary, as English biographer, having once found him as his pride and his passions. Swift talking witi. Archbishop King, saw the has the style of a surgeon and a judge, archbishop in tears, and Swift rushing cold, grave, solid, unadorned, without by, with a countenance full of grief, vivacity or passion, manly and practiand a distracted air. “Sir," said the cal. He desired neither to please, nor prelate, “ you have just met the most to divert, nor to carry people away, nor unhappy man upon earth ; but on the to move the feelings; he never hesi. subject of his wretchedness you must tated, nor was redundant, nor was ex. never ask a question.”. Esther John- cited, nor made an effort. He expressed son died. Swift's anguish, the spectres his thoughts in a uniform tone, wich by which he was haunted, the remem- exact, precise, often harsh terms, wit.? brance of the two women, slowly ruined familiar comparisons, levelling a: and killed by his fault, continually en- within reach of his hand, even the compassed him with such horrors, that loftiest things - especially the lofties: only his end reveals them. “It is time with a brutal and always haughty for me to have done with the world coolness. He knows life as a banker
and so I would . . . and not die knows accounts; and his total once here in a rage, like a poisoned rat in a made up, he scorns or knocks down bole.” + Overwork and excess of emo- the babblers who dispute it in his tion had made him ill from his youth; presence. he was subject to giddiness; he lost He knows the items as well as the his hearing. He had long felt that sum total, He not only familiarly and reason was deserting him. One day vigorously seized on every object, but he was observed “gazing intently at he also decomposed it, and kept an inthe top of a lofty elm, the head of ventory of its details. His imagination which had been blasted. Upon his was as minute as it was energetic. He friend's approach, he pointed to it, could give you a statement of dry facts significantly adding, 'I'shall be like on every event and object, so connected that tree, and die first at the top.'” and natural as to deceive any man. His memory left him; he received the Gulliver's Travels read like a log-book. attentions of others with disgust, some- Isaac Bickerstaff's predictions were times with rage. He lived alone, taken literally by the inquisition in gloomy, unable to read. It is said that Portugal. His account of M. du Bauhe passed a whole year without utter- drier seems an authentic translation ing a word, hating the sight of a hu- He gives to an extravagant romance the man being, walking ten hours a day, a air of a genuine history. . By this maniac, then an idiot. A tumor came thorough knowledge of details he imon one of his eyes, so that he continued ports into literature the positive spirit
1 These words are taken from a letter to of men of business and experience. Miss Vanhomrigh, 8th July, 1713, and cannot Nothing could be more vigorous, nar. refer to her death, which took place in 1721.- row, unhappy, for nothing could be * Letter to Bolingbroke, Dublin, March 21,
more destructive. No greatness, falso 1728, xvii. 276.
or true, can stand before him ; whatso * Roscoe's Life of Swift, 1. 80.
ever he fathoms and takes in hand loser
at once its prestige and value. Whilst mind and superiority of intelligence he decomposes he displays the real the one for the public and the fools, the ugliness, and removes the fictitious other for artists and philosophers : the beauty of objects. Whilst he brings one consists in seeing nothing, the them to the level of common things, other in seeing all. We will respect he suppresses their real beauty, and the respectable, if we see only the surgives them a fictitious ugliness. He face-if we take them as they are, if we presents all their gross features, and let ourselves be duped by the fine show nothing but their gross features. Look which they never fail to present. We with him into the physical details of will revere the gold-embroidered sar. science, religion, state, and with him ments with which our masters bedizer: reduce science, religion, state, to the themselves, and we will never dream of low standing of every-day events; with examining the stains hidden under the him you will see here a Bedlam of embroidery. We will be moved by the shrivelled-up dreamers, narrow and big words which they pronounce in a chimerical brains, busy in contradicting sublime voice, and we will never see in each other, picking up meaningless their pockets the hereditary phrasephrases in mouldy books, inventing book from which they have taken them. conjectures, and crying them up for We will punctiliously bring them our truth; there, a band of enthusiasts, money and our services; the custom mumbling phrases which they do not will seem to us just, and we will accept understand, adoring figures of rhetoric the goose-dogma, that a goose is bound as mysteries, attaching ideas of holiness to be roasted. But, on the other hand, or impiety to lawn-sleeves or postures, we will tolerate and even love the spending in persecutions or genuflex- world, if, penetrating to its nature, we ions the surplus of sheepish or ferocious take the trouble to explain or imitate folly with which an evil fate has its mechanism. We will be interested crammed their brains; there, again, in passions by an artist's sympathy or a filocks of idiots pouring out their blood philosopher's comprehension; we will and treasure for the whims or plots of find them natural whilst admitting their a carriage-drawn aristocrat, out of force, or we will find them necessary respect for the carriage which they whilst computing their connection; we themselves have given him. What will cease to be indignant against the part of human nature or existence can powers which produce fine spectacles continue great and beautiful, before a or will cease to be roused by the remind which, penetrating all details, bounds which the law of cause and perceives men eating, sleeping, dress- effect had foretold. We will admire ing, in all mean and low actions, de the world as a grand drama, or as an grading every thing to the level of invincible development; and we will vulgar events, trivial circumstances of be preserved by imagination or by logic dress and cookery? It is not enough from slander or disgust. We will ex. for the positive mind to see the springs, tract from religion the lofty truths pulleys, lamps, and whatever there is which dogmas hide, and the generous objectionable in the opera at which he instincts which superstition conceals is present; he makes it more objection. We will perceive in the state the infi. able by calling it a show. It is not nite benefits which no tyranny abolishes enough not to ignore any thing ; we and the sociable inclinations which no must
also refuse to admire. He treats wickedness uproots. We will dis. things like domestic utensils; after tinguish in science the solid doctrines reckoning up their materials, he gives which discussion never shakes, the them a vile name. Nature for him is liberal notions which the shock of but a caldron, and he knows the pro- systems purifies and unfolds, the splenportion and number of the ingredients did promises which the progress of the simmering in it. In this power and present time opens up to the ambition this weakness we see beforehand the of the future. We can thus escape misanthropy and the talent of Swift. hatred by the nullity or the greatness
There are, 'ndeed, but two modes of of the prospect, by the inability to dis grecing with the world: mediocrity of cover contrasts, or by the power dis
cover the han iony of contrasts. Raised standards or as a balance, a sort of above the first, sunk beneath the last, secondary States, which, like he two seeing evil and disorder, ignoring good old orders in Rome, legally endeavor ness and harmony, excluded from love to monopolize the government. So, the and calmness, given up to indignation English constitution was never more and bitterness, Swift found neither a than a transaction between distinct cause to cherish, nor a doctrine to es. powers, compelled to tolerate each tablish;* he employs the whole force other, disposed to encroach on each of an excellently armed mind and a other, occupied in treating with each thoroughly trained character in decry other. Politics for them are a domes. ing and destroying: all his works are tic interest, for the French an occupapamaphlets
tion of the mind; Englishmen make III.
them a business, the French a dis.
cussion. At this time, and in his hands, the Thus their pamphlets, notably Swift's newspaper in England attained its seem to us only half literary. For ar proper character and its greatest force. argument to be literary, it must not ad. Literature entered the sphere of poli- dress itself to an interest or a faction, tics. To understand what the one be- but to the pure mind : it must be based came, we must understand what the on universal truths, rest on absolute other was : art depended upon polit-justice, be able to touch all human ical business, and the spirit of parties reasons; otherwise, being local, it is made the spirit of writers.
simply useful : nothing is beautiful but In France a theory arises-cloquent, what is general. It must also be deharmonious, and generous ; the young veloped regularly by analysis, and with are enamoured of it, wear a cap and exact divisions ; its distribution must sing songs in its honor: at night, the give a picture of pure reason; the orcitizens, while digesting their dinner, der of ideas must be inviolable ; every read it and delight in it; some, hot mind must be able to draw thence with headed, accept it, and prove to them. ease a complete conviction ; its method, selves their strength of mind by ridi- its principles, must be sensible throughculing those who are behind the times. out, in all places and at all times. The On the other hand, the established desire to prove well must be added to people, prudent and timid, are mistrust the art of proving well; tłe writer ful : being well off, they find that every must announce his proof, recall it, pre thing is well, and demand that things sent it under all its faces, desire to shall continue as they are. Such are penetrate minds, pursue them persist. the two parties in France, very old, as ently in all their retreats ; but at the we all know ; not very earnest, as same time he must treat his hearers everybody can see. They must talk, like men worthy of comprehending and be enthusiastic, reason on speculative applying general truths; his discourse opinions, glibly, about an hour a day, must be lively, noble, polished, and indulging but outwardly in this taste; fervid, so as to suit such subjects and but these parties are so equally levelled such minds. It is thus that classical that they are at bottom all the same: prose and French prose are eloquent, hec we understand them rightly, we and that political dissertations or re. will find in France only two partics, the ligious controversies have endured as men of twenty and the men of forty models of art. English parties, on the other hand, This good taste and philosophy are were always compact and living bodies, wanting in the positive mind; it united by interests of money, rank, and wishes to attain not eternal beauty conscience receiving theories only as but present success. Swift does no. . In his Thoughts on Religion (viii. 173) he address men in general, but certain “The want of belief is a defect that men.
He does not speak to reasoners, ought to be concealed, when it cannot be over- but to a party; he does not care to
"I look upon myself, in the capacity teach a truth, but to make an impres. d a clergyman, to be one appointed by Provision; his aim is not to enlighter that dence for defending a post assigned me, and for gaining over as many enemies as I can." isolated part of man, caled his mind
but to stir up the mass of feelings and every common secessa: y of life depeni umo prejudices which constitute the actual it. Therefore I do most earnestly exhort you Whilst he writes, his public is of your country, to read this paper with the
as men, as Christians, as parents, and as lovers before his eyes : fat squires, puffed utmost attention, or get it read to you by others; out with port wine and beef, accus- which that you may do at the less expence, ton.ed at the end of their meals to bawl have ordered the printer to sell it at the lowest loyally for church and king; gentlemen farmers, bitter against London luxury We see popular distrust spring up at a and the new importance of merchants; glance; this is the style which reachce clergymen bred on pedantic sermons, I workmen and peasants; this simplic und old-established hatred of dissensity, these details, are necessary to rers and papists. These people have penetrate their belief. The author is not mind enough to pursue a fine de- like a draper, and they trust only men duction or understand an abstract of their own condition. Swift goes or. principle. A writer must calculate to accuse Wood, declaring that his the facts they know, the ideas they copper pieces are not worth one-eighth have received, the interests that move their nominal value. There is no them, and recall only these facts, reason trace of proof: no proofs are required only from these ideas, set in motion to convince the people; it is enough to only these interests. It is thus Swift repeat the same accusation again and speaks, without development, without again, to abound in intelligible exam. logical hits, without rhetorical effects, ples, to strike eye and ear.
The imag. but with extraordinary force and suc- ination once gained, they will go on cess, in phrases whose accuracy his shouting, convincing themselves by contemporaries inwardly felt, and which their own cries, and incapable of rea they accepted at once, because they sim- soning. Swift says to his adversaries : ply told them in a clear form and open- “Your paragraph relates further that Sir ly, what they murmured obscurely and Isaac Newton reported an assay taken at the to themselves. Such was the power of Tower of Wood's metal ; by which it appears the Examiner, which in one year
that Wood had in all respects performed his
With whom? Was transformed the opinion of three king- it with the Parliament or people of Ireland ? doms; and particularly of the Dra. Are not they to be the purchasers ? But they pier's Letters, which made a govern detest, abhor, reject it as corrupt, fraudulent, ment withdraw one of their measures.
mingléd with dirt and trash.” 1 Small change was lacking in Ireland, And a little further on: and the English ministers had given a certaia William Wood a patent to coin tent to coin no more (than forty thousand
“ His first proposal is, that he will be con. one hundred and eight thousand pounds pounds), unless the exigencies of the trade ro of copper money. A commission, of quire it, although his patent empowers him to which Newton was a member, verified coin a far greater quantity: : : . To which it i
were to answer, it should be thus : let Mr. the pieces made, found them good, and Wood and his crew of founders and tinkers several competent judges still think coin on, till there is not an old kettle left in the that the measure was loyal and ser- kingdom ; let them coin old leather,
tobaccoviceable to the land. Swift roused the pipe clay, or the dirt in the street, and call their
trumpery by what name they please from a people against it, spoke to them in an guinea to a farthing; we are not under any con'ntelligible style, and triumphed over cern to know how he and his tribe of accom common sense and the state.*
plices think fit to employ themselves. But
hope and trust that we are all, to a man, fully * Brethren, friends, countrymen, and fellow determined to have nothing to do with him
or his ware." 1 subjects, what I intend now to say to you is, next to your duty to God and the care of your Swift gets angry and does not answer salvation, of the greatest concern to you and In fact, this is the best way to answer your coildren; your bread and clothing, and
His contract ?
to move such hearers we must stir up • Whatever has been said, I do not think their blood and their passions ; then that he wrote the Drapier's Letters, whilst shopkeepers and farmers will turn up thinking the introduction of small copper, coin their sleeves, double their fists; and an advantage for Ireland. It was possibl., for Swift more than for another, to believe in a Dragic's Letters, vii. ; Letter 1, 97. ministerial job. He seems to me to have been # Ibid. Letter 2, 114. at bottom an honest man.
1 Ibid. Letter 2, 1g.
the good argumerits of their opponents terrible rancor. Vast passion and will only increase their desire to knock pride, like the positive "Drapier's ” them down.
mind just now described, have given Now see how a mass of examples all the blows their force. We should makes a gratuitous assertion probable: read his Public Spirit of the Whigs, “ Your Newsletter says that an assay was
against Steele. Page by page Steele made of the coin. How impudent and ins.p is torn to pieces with a calmness and portable is this! Wood takes care to coi a a scorn never equalled. Swift approaches dozen or two halfpence of good metal, sends regularly, leaving no part untouched, them to the ower, and they are approved; heaping wound on wound, every blow end these must answer all that he has already crined, or shall coin for the future. It is true, sure, knowing beforehand their reach indeed, that a gentleman often sends to my shop
and depth. Poor Steele, a vain for a pattern of stuff ; I cut it fairly off, and if thoughtless fellow, is in his hands ae likes it, he comes or sends and compares the like Gulliver amongst the giants; it is pattern with the whole piece, and probably we come to a bargain. But if I were to buy a a pity to see a contest so unequal; hundred sheep, and the grazier should bring me and this contest is pitiless. Swift one single wether, fat, and well fleeced, by way crushes him carefully and easily, like of pattern, and expect the same price round for the whole hundred, without suffering me to
an obnoxious animal. The unfortu. see them before he was paid, or giving me good nate man, formerly an officer and a security to restore my money for those that were semi-literary man, had made awkward lein, or shorn, or scabby, I would be none of
use of constitutional words : his customer. I have heard of a man who had a mind to sell his house, and therefore carried Upon this rock the author ... is perpetua piece of brick in his pocket, which he showed ally splitting, as often as he ventures out be as a pattern to encourage purchasers; and this yond the narrow bounds of his literature. He is directly the case in point with Mr. Wood's has a confused remembrance of words since he assay.
left the university, but has lost half their meanA burst of laughter follows; butchers ing, and puts them together with no regard,
except to their cadence, as I remember a fellow and bricklayers were gained over. As nailed up maps in a gentleman's closet, some a finish, Swift showed them a practical sidelong, others upside down, the better to expedient, suited to their understand adjust them to the pannels.” * ing and their rank in life :
When he judges he is worse than " The common soldier, when he goes to the when he proves; witness his Short market or ale-house, will offer his money; and Character of Thomas Earl of Wharton. if it be refused, perhaps he will swagger and hector, and threaten to beat the butcher or ale- official politeness; only an Englishman
He pierces him with the formulas of wite, or take the goods by force, and throw them the bad half-pence. In this and the like is capable of such phlegm and such cases, the shopkeeper or victualler, or any other haughtiness : tradesman, has no more to do than to demand
“I have had the honour of much conversation ten times the price of his goods, if it is to be paid in Wood's money; for example, twenty- how indifferent he is to applause, and how in.
with his lordship, and am thoroughly convinced pence of that money for a quart of ale, and so
sensible of reproach. .. He is without the in all things else, and never part with his goods till he gets the money." +
sense of shame, or glory, as some men are
without the sense of smelling; and therefore, Public clamor overcame the English a good name to him is no more than a precious Government; they withdrew the mon
ointment would be to these. Whoever, for tho ey and paid Wood a large indemnity. serpent, a wolf, a crocodile or a fox, must
sake of others, were to describe the nature of a Such is the merit of Swift's argu- understood to do it without any personal love nents; good cools, trenchant and han- or hatred for the animals themselves. In the ly, neither elegant nor bright, but neither personally love nor hate. I see hin at
same manner his excellency is one whon ! whose value is proved by their
court, at his own house, and sometimes at mine, The whole beauty of these pam- for I have the honour of his visits;
and wher phlets is in their tone. They have these papers are public, it is odds but he wil
tell me, as he once did won a like occasion, neither the generous fi:e of Pascal, nor
" that he is damnably mauled," and the with the bewildering gayety of Beaumar: the easiest transition in the world, ask as at the chais, nor the chiselled delicacy of Paul Louis Courier, but an overwhelm
* The Public Spirit of the Whigs, iv. 405.
See also in the Examiner the pamphlet against ing air of superiority and a bitter and Marlborough under the name of Crassus, and
• Drapier's Letters, vii. ; Letter 2, 104. the comparison between Roman generosity and * Ibid. Letter 1, 108.