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patriotism, even to a country which he did not love; his very various, well-devised, well-judged, and extensive charities, throughout his life ; and his whole fortune (to say nothing of his wife's) conveyed to the same Christian purposes at his death; charities, from which he could enjoy no honour, advantage, or satisfaction of any kind in this world : when you consider his ironical and humorous, as well as his serious schemes, for the promotion of true religion and virtue ; his success in soliciting for the First Fruits and Twentieths, to the unspeakable benefit of the Established Church of Ireland ; and his felicity (to rate it no higher) in giving occasion to the building of fifty new churches in London :
“ All this considered, the character of his life will appear like that of his writings ; they will both bear to be reconsidered, and re-examined with the utmost atten. tion, and always discover new beauties and excellences upon every examination.
“They will bear to be considered as the sun, in which the brightness will hide the blemishes ; and whenever petulant ignorance, pride, malignity, or envy interposes to cloud or sully his fame, I take upon me to pronounce, that the eclipse will not last long.
“ To conclude-No man ever deserved better of his country, than Swift did of his ; a steady, persevering, inflexible friend ; a wise, a watchful, and a faithful counsellor, under many severe trials and bitter persecutions, to the manifest hazard both of his liberty and fortune.
“He lived a blessing, he died a benefactor, and his name will ever live an honour to Ireland.”
In the poetical works of Dr. Swift there is not much upon which the critic can exercise his powers. They are often humorous, almost always light, and have the quali. ties which recommend such compositions, easiness and gaiety. They are, for the most part, what their author intended. The diction is correct, the numbers are smooth, and the rhymes exact. There seldom occurs a hardlaboured expression, or a redundant epithet; all his verses exemplify his own definition of a good style ; they consist of "proper words in proper places.”
To divide this collection into classes, and show how some pieces are gross, and some are trifling, would be to tell the reader what he knows already, and to find faults of which the author could not be ignorant, who certainly wrote not often to his judgment, but his humour.
It was said, in a Preface to one of the Irish editions, that Swift had never been known to take a single thought from any writer, ancient or modern. This is not literally true; but perhaps no writer can easily be found that has borrowed so little, or that, in all his excellences and all his defects, has so well maintained his claim to be considered as original.
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