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140 To divide this Collection into classes, and shew 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 often not to his judgement, but his humour 1.


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 2.

order to place them, so as they may be best understood.' Works, viii. 199, 203. Ante, SWIFT, 114.

The definition of a style in the present age would be 'pretty words in pretty places.'

He wrote in 1732:-'I have been only a man of rhymes, and that upon trifles; never having written serious couplets in my life; yet never any without a moral view.' Works, xvii. 396.

'Nous avons des vers de lui d'une élégance et d'une naïveté dignes d'Horace.' VOLTAIRE, Œuvres, xlii. 43I.

'I am not perhaps the only one who has derived an innocent amusement from the riddles, conundrums, trisyllable lines and the like of Swift and his correspondents in hours of languor.' COLERIDGE, Biog. Lit.

i. 59:

'I am for every man's working upon his own materials, and producing only what he can find within himself, which is commonly a better stock than the owner knows it to be.' SWIFT, Works, ix. 186.

'To steal a hint was never known, But what he writ was all his own.' Ib. xiv. 329. The last line is from Denham's elegy on Cowley :

'To him no author was unknown, Yet what he wrote was all his own.' Ante, COWLEY, 172. For the dislike of Swift and Gay 'to write upon other folks' hints' see ante, GAY, 19 n.

Swift says of himself in The Author's Apology:-'He insists upon it that through the whole book [The Tale of a Tub] he has not borrowed one single hint from any writer in the world.' Ib. x. 25. He read, no doubt, the letter to Mrs. Whiteway in which Dr. King mentioned 'that short character which Cardinal Polignac gave the Dean in speaking to me "Il a l'esprit créateur."' Works, xix. 176.

For the originality of Cowley and Milton see ante, COWLEY, 175; MILTON, 277.

'The greatest is he who has been oftenest aided; and if the attainments of all human minds could be traced to their real sources, it would be found out that the world had been laid most under contribution by the men of most original powers, and that every day of their existence deepened their debt to their race, while it enlarged their gifts to it.' RUSKIN, quoted in Holmes's Emerson, ed. 1885, p. 384.


'In 1752 Dr. Hawkesworth, who was Johnson's warm admirer and a studious imitator of his style, and then lived in great intimacy with him, began The Adventurer.' Boswell's Johnson, i. 233. 'When he had become elated by having risen into some degree of consequence, he, in a conversation with me, had the provoking effrontery to say he was not sensible of it [the imitation].' Ib. p. 252. According to Malone 'he had no literature whatever. By editing Cook's Voyages he made £6,000. Ib. ii. 247 n., v. 282 n.; Prior's Malone, p. 441. Miss Burney recorded of him in 1769:-'Papa calls his talking booklanguage for I never heard a man speak in a style which so much resembles writing.' Early Diary of F. Burney, i. 43.

His Life of Swift, published in 1755, is founded on the fragment of Swift's Autobiography; Lord Orrery's Remarks on the Life and Writings of Dr. Swift, 1751; Dr. Delany's Observations upon Lord Orrery's Remarks, 1754; Deane Swift's Essay upon the Life, &c., of Dr. Swift, 1755. Of Orrery's Remarks Mrs. Delany wrote in 1751 (Auto. iii. 64):-'I fear there are too many truths in the book, but they do not become my Lord Orrery to publish them, who saw him in his most unguarded moments.' 'Lord Orrery,' writes G. Monck Berkeley in his Literary Relics, Preface, pp. xv-xvii, 'was the most assiduous of Swift's visitors, and the most servile of his flatterers. . . . Having one day gained admission to his library, he discovered a letter of his own, written several years before, lying still unopened, on which Swift had written, "This will keep cool." Bishop Berkeley said of him:"My Lord Orrery would be a man of genius, if he knew how to set about it."'


'M'Leod asked if it was not wrong in Orrery to expose the defects of a man with whom he lived in intimacy. JOHNSON. Why no, Sir, after the man is dead; for then it is done historically.' Boswell's Johnson, v. 238. For Orrery's affectation see ib. Lady M. W. Montagu (Letters, iii. 16) described him as 'one of those danglers after wit who, like those after beauty, spend their time in humbly admiring it.' For Scott's criticism of him see Swift's Works, i. 415. See also ante, DORSET, 6.

Of Delany's Observations T. Sheridan wrote in 1784, that while Orrery's book went through several editions, it, incomparably superior, still remains unsold.' Swift's Works, 1803, i. 73. Swift in 1733 described Delany as 'absolutely the most hopeful young gentleman I ever saw.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), vii. 198, 304. W. G. Carroll, in his Succession of Clergy in St. Bride's, Dublin, p. 47, says that Delany, in his Dedication of The Life of David to the Countess Granville and Lord Hertford, 'called on "all the host of heaven to say Amen to his prayer that Lord and Lady Hertford might increase and multiply." For Deane Swift's criticism of Delany and Hawkesworth see Nichols's Lit. Hist. v. 375.

Thomas Sheridan's Life of Swift was published in the year of Johnson's death. 'He was paid more for it,' says Nichols, 'than Dr. Johnson received for The Lives.' Swift's Works, 1803, i. 76 n.

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April, 1702-Oct. 1702

Craik, p. 513.

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Ib. pp. 26, 27, 514.

Ib. pp. 27, 47, 515.

Ib. pp. 53, 77, 515.
Ib. pp. 94, 96.

(Swift says that 'he spent near a year there.' Ib. p. 516.)

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Nov. 13, 1703-May 29, 1704
April, 1705-Autumn, 1705
Nov. 30, 1707-June 29, 1709
Sept. 1, 1710-June 8, 1713.
Sept. 1, 1713-Aug. 1714

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March 18, 1725-6-Aug. 20, 1726
April 9, 1727-Oct. 1, 1727

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Craik, p. 516.

Ib. pp. 194, 264, 516.

Ib. pp. 272, 516.

Ib. pp. 370, 386.

Ib. pp. 396, 398.

In all he spent eighteen years in England, of which fourteen were between the ages of twenty-one and forty-six.


On March 4, 1710-1, Swift wrote that he had warned his friends of the Duchess who 'was endeavouring to play the same game' against the Tory ministers 'that has been played' by Mrs. Masham against the Whigs. Works, ii. 189.

'Dec. 8, 1711. The Whigs are all in triumph... this is all your d-d Duchess of Somerset's doings.' Ib. p. 426.

'Dec. 23. I have written a Prophecy [The Windsor Prophecy], which I design to print.' Ib. p. 436. In it he grossly attacked her under the name of Carrots. She had red hair. Ib. xii. 286. This poem finally lost him his bishopric.

'Dec. 24. My prophecy is printed.' Ib. ii. 436.

'Dec. 26. Mrs. Masham desired me not to let the Prophecy be published, for fear of angering the Queen about the Duchess; so I writ to the printer to stop them. They have been given about, but not sold.' Ib. p. 438.

'April 13, 1713. Mr. Lewis [ante, GAY, 13] showed me an order for a warrant for three deaneries; but none of them to me... I told him I had nothing to do but go to Ireland immediately.' Ib. iii. 147. April 18. Lord Treasurer told me the Queen was at last resolved that I should be Dean of St. Patrick's.' Ib. p. 150.

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'April 22. I am not sure of the Queen, my enemies being busy.' Ib. p. 151.

'April 25.

I heard the warrants were gone over.' Ib. p. 153. 'April 26. I was at Court to-day, and a thousand people gave me joy. Ib. p. 154.

On Aug. 3, 1714, John Barber [see Swift's Letters to Chetwode, p. 180] wrote to him on the Queen's death:-'Lord Bolingbroke told me last Friday that he would reconcile you to Lady Somerset, and then it would be easy to set you right with the Queen; and that you should be made easy here, and not go over.' Works, xvi. 174.

The Archbishop-'a very pious man' Burnet calls him-was one of the preachers suspended by James II. Burnet's Hist. ii. 297.


Swift wrote:-'April 23, 1713. The Archbishop, my mortal enemy, has sent me, by a third hand, that he would be glad to see me. April 26. He says he will never more speak against me.' Works, iii. 152, 154.

The same year Swift attacked him, the Queen, and the Duchess in The Author upon Himself. It begins :

It continues:

'By an old


A crazy prelate and a royal prude.'

'Poor York! the harmless tool of others' hate;

He sues for pardon, and repents too late.' Ib. xii. 302.


Deane Swift was persuaded of the marriage (Essay, p. 92); so was Delany (Observations, p. 52), and Orrery (Remarks, p. 22). G. M. Berkeley (Lit. Relics, Preface, p. xxxvi) says 'the Bishop [Dr. Ashe, Bishop of Clogher] related the circumstance to Bishop Berkeley, by whose relict the story was communicated to me.' (For the difficulty in believing this story see Craik, p. 526.) Mr. Sheridan also asserts the marriage. Swift's Works, 1803, ii. 29. On the other hand, it is not easy to believe that Swift, in the three prayers written by him for her in her last sickness, written evidently with deep feeling and a strong sense of religion, would have kept hidden, as it were, from his God that he and the poor sufferer were husband and wife. Nor would she, for whom he prayed that God would grant to her such a true sincere repentance as is not to be repented of,' have in her last will described herself as spinster. For the prayers see Works, ix. 289, and for the will see Craik, p. 546. See also N. & Q. 8 S. ii. 302, for 'two memorials of assignment executed by her in favour of Swift,' one in 1718, the other in 1721, in which she is styled 'spinster.' It is not perhaps of great importance that Swift wrote in 1730:-'Those who have been married may form juster ideas of that estate than I can pretend to do,' and that in 1739 he called himself an 'old bachelor.' Letters to Chetwode, p. 237; Works, xix. 192.

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Of Swift's later biographers Scott believed in the marriage. Ib. i. 217. Mr. Forster (Life of Swift, p. 140) 'could find no evidence of a marriage that is at all reasonably sufficient.' Mr. Leslie Stephen writes:-' On the whole, though the evidence has weight, it can hardly be regarded as conclusive.' Dict. Nat. Biog.

Sir Henry Craik, who examines the question at length (Life of Swift, pp. 523-33), sides with Johnson and Scott. My opinion inclines the other way.


In her will, dated May 1, 1723, and proved on June 6 (Works, xix. 372), this order is not given. Sheridan says that she had laid a strong injunction on her executors that they should publish all the letters that passed between Swift and her, with the poem. They were put to the press,' but Dr. Sheridan got 'the printed copy cancelled. The poem was, however, sent abroad [in MS.].' Works, 1803, ii. 36. Some extracts from the letters 'found their way to the public' (Works, xix. 310); but none, I think, in Swift's lifetime. The correspondence was first published in full by Scott. Ib. xix. 311-69. Cadenus and Vanessa was first published in 1726. The earliest edition in the British Museum is of that year. It had been previously circulated in MS. Swift wrote to Chetwode on April 19, 1726 (Letters, p. 189):-'Printing cannot make it more common than it is.' He adds that 'by the baseness of particular malice it is made public.' See also Works, xix. 283.

Horace Walpole, who read one of these letters in 1766 (in Hawkesworth's Swift Letters, ii. 214), but does not quote it accurately, drew from it a certain proof of guilty intimacy between Swift and Vanessa. 'He says he can drink coffee but once a week, and I think you will see very clearly what he means by coffee.' Walpole's Letters, iv. 505. The references to coffee in Swift's part of the correspondence are numerous- Works, xix. 313, 314, 315, 322, 343, 351 (thrice), 355 (twice), 361, 362, 363, and 365 (twice) (see also p. 369 for 'the Sluttery,' and compare it with pp. 313, 315); once also in a letter to Mrs. Vanhomrigh, p. 320. Coffee' certainly in all the letters to the daughter had a hidden meaning. For instance he wrote on June 1, 1722 :-' Remember that riches are nine parts in ten of all that is good in life, and health is the tenth; drinking coffee comes long after, and yet it is the eleventh; but without the two former you cannot drink it right.' Ib. p. 363. On the other hand it is worth noticing that after the three earliest mentions of 'coffee' he wrote to Stella:-'I don't sleep well, and therefore never dare to drink coffee or tea after dinner.' Ib. iii. 71. In the following lines in Cadenus and Vanessa (ib. xiv. 452) he covers himself with suspicion :

'But what success Vanessa met,

Is to the world a secret yet.

Whether the nymph, to please her swain,
Talks in a high romantic strain;

Or whether he at last descends
To act with less seraphic ends;
Or to compound the business, whether
They temper love and books together;
Must never to mankind be told,
Nor shall the conscious Muse unfold.'

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