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The question may, without much regret, be left in the obscurity
in which he delighted to involve it! 3 Whatever was his birth, his education was Irish. He was sent
at the age of six to the school at Kilkenny?, and in his fifteenth
year (1682) was admitted into the University of Dublin. 4 In his academical studies he was either not diligent or not
happy. It must disappoint every reader's expectation that, when at the usual time he claimed the Bachelorship of Arts, he was found by the examiners too conspicuously deficient for regular admission, and obtained his degree at last by special favour 3,
a term used in that university to denote want of merit. 5 Of this disgrace it may be easily supposed that he was much
ashamed, and shame had its proper effect in producing reformation. He resolved from that time to study eight hours a-day, and continued his industry for seven years, with what improvement is sufficiently known. This part of his story well deserves to be remembered; it may afford useful admonition and powerful encouragement to men whose abilities have been made for a time useless by their passions or pleasures, and who, having lost one
my native country,' he wrote on March 23, 1733-4, I happened indeed by a perfect accident to be born here, my mother being left here from returning to her house at Leicester ... and thus I am a Teague, or an Irishman, or what people please, although the best part of my life was in England.' Swift's Works, xviii. 184. See also ib. xix. 73. He distinguishes between the English gentry of this island and the savage old Irish. The English "think it very hard that an American, who is of the fifth generation from England, should be allowed to preserve that title (Englishman)' by a legal fiction, while they are denied it. Ib. xix. 94. He makes the ' Drapier' say:—'Our ancestors reduced this kingdom to the obedience of England.' Ib. vi. 412. For the disadvantage of being born in Ireland' see ib. vii. 31. See also ib. p. 11 for 'the wild Irish.'
It seems to me he was no more an Irishman than a man born of English parents at Calcutta is a Hindoo. Goldsmith was an Irishman, and always an Irishman ; Steele was an Irishman, and always an Irish
man; Swift's heart was English and
("The original seat of the family was
For a Table of Swift's Residences
IT. Sheridan said of this sen-
Swift, writing of himself, says:
Delany's Observations upon Lord
part of life in idleness, are tempted to throw away the remainder in despair
In this course of daily application he continued three years 6 longer at Dublin; and in this time, if the observation and memory of an old companion may be trusted, he drew the first sketch of his Tale of a Tub?.
When he was about one-and-twenty (1688), being by the death 7 of Godwin Swift his uncle, who had supported him3, left without subsistence, he went to consult his mother, who then lived at Leicester, about the future course of his life, and by her direction solicited the advice and patronage of Sir William Temple, who had married one of Mrs. Swift's relations, and whose father, Sir John Temple, Master of the Rolls in Ireland, had lived in great familiarity of friendship with Godwin Swift, by whom Jonathan had been to that time maintained".
Temple received with sufficient kindness the nephew of his 8 father's friend, with whom he was, when they conversed together, have acquired of the learned lan- for civilities to young Deane Swift, he guages — Cras credo, hodie nihil. continues :—'Mrs. Whiteway says he Jortin's Tracts, 1790, ii. 523.
is my cousin; which will not be to i Swift wrote to Pope on April 5, his advantage, for I hate all relations.' 1729:- I am ashamed to tell you, Works, xix. 187. He described them that when I was very young I had. as 'a numerous race, degenerating more desire to be famous than ever from their ancestors, who were of good since.' Pope's Works (Elwin and esteem for their loyalty and sufferings Courthope), vii. 150. On Oct. 31 he in therebellion against King Charles I.' wrote to Bolingbroke of fame: "With Deane's great-grandfather was the age we learn to know the house is so regicide, Admiral Deane. 1b. xix. 194. full that there is no room for above 4. He was forced away,' wrote one or two at most in an age through Temple, ' by the desertion of the Colthe whole world.' Ib. p. 162.
lege of Dublin upon the calamities of The story comes from Swift's the country. Cunningham's Lives of chamber-fellow, Waring, whose the Poets, iii. 160. sister he courted in 1695-6 under the Swift wrote of his mother on her name of Varina. Deane Swift, p. 31. death :- If the way to Heaven be Mr. Forster thinks the story 'may be through piety, truth, justice and true in everything but place and date.' charity, she is there.' Works, xv. Forster, pp. 47, 77.
337. For her birth see N. & l. 6 S. 3 Deane Swift, App. p. 42. 'He xi. 264. gave me,' said Swift, the education 5 Deane Swift (pp. 33, 34, 38) is the of a dog.' Works, i. 11n. Godwin's chief authority for this paragraph. son, Deane, says he had a numerous The relationship between Swist's progeny by four wives.' His mis- mother and Temple had been prefortunes made him cut down his viously asserted by Lord Orrery in nephew's allowance. Deane Swift, his Remarks, p. 15. App. p.41. In 1713, when Swift was Sir John Temple was Master of the made Dean, he had in Ireland nine Rolls both before the Rebellion and cousin-germans (first cousins) living. after the Restoration.
Temple's Most of them were well-to-do people. Works, ed. 1757, Preface, p. 8. Post, 16. p. 350. In 1739, thanking a friend SWIFT, 16 n. 7.
so much pleased that he detained him two years in his house. Here he became known to King William, who sometimes visited Temple when he was disabled by the gout', and, being attended by Swift in the garden, shewed him how to cut asparagus in the
Dutch way? 9 King William's notions were all military, and he expressed his
kindness to Swift by offering to make him a captain of horse 3. 10 When Temple removed to Moor-park he took Swift with him ;
and when he was consulted by the Earl of Portland about the expedience of complying with a bill then depending for making parliaments triennial, against which King William was strongly prejudiced, after having in vain tried to shew the Earl that the proposal involved nothing dangerous to royal power, he sent Swift for the same purpose to the King. Swift, who probably was proud of his employment, and went with all the confidence of a young man, found his arguments and his art of displaying them made totally ineffectual by the predetermination of the King *, and used to mention this disappointment as his first antidote
against vanity 11 Before he left Ireland he contracted a disorder, as he thought, by eating too much fruit. The original of diseases is commonly
6 obscure. Almost every boy eats as much fruit as he can get, without any great inconvenience. The disease of Swift was giddiness with deafness, which attacked him from time to time, began very early, pursued him through life, and at last sent him to the grave deprived of reason?.
* Swift tells us that when Temple, seldom practised that the two Houses at the age of forty-seven, had the are apt to think it a hardship when gout ‘he grew very melancholy. He there is a bill denied.' Burnet's Hist. said a man was never good for any- iii. 118. See also Macaulay's Hist. thing after it. ... Nobody,' he added, vi. 383. In Dec. 1694, a similar bill
should make love after forty, nor be received the royal assent. Ib. vii. 155. in business after fifty, Temple's For the Septennial Act, by which it Works, Pref. p. 27.
was repealed in 1716, see ante, ADDI? Deane Swift, p. 108. See Swift's SON, 94. Works, i. 25 n., for Swift's making his 5 Craik, p. 514. bookseller eat the stalks of asparagus Johnson places this 'surfeit of on his plate, because King William fruit in Ireland, as Swift says it always ate them.
happened before he was twenty. 1b. 3 Deane Swift, p. 108. For the He wrote to Mrs. Howard :-'I got King's indifference to literature see my giddiness by eating a hundred ante, ADDISON, 17.
golden pippins at a time at RichCraik, p. 514. The bill was re- mond.' .Works, xvii. 132. See also jected in March, 1693. "The reject- Mrs. Delany's Auto. i. 550. ing a bill, though an unquestionable ? In 1734 he wrote of his giddiness right of the Crown, has been so and deafness :—'It is only of late
Being much oppressed at Moor-park by this grievous malady, 12 he was advised to try his native air, and went to Ireland; but, finding no benefit, returned to Sir William, at whose house he continued his studies, and is known to have read, among other books, Cyprian and Irenæus ?. He thought exercise of great necessity, and used to run half a mile up and down a hill every two hours 3.
It is easy to imagine that the mode in which his first degree 13 was conferred left him no great fondness for the University of Dublin, and therefore he resolved to become a Master of Arts at Oxford *. In the testimonial which he produced the words of disgrace were omitted, and he took his Master's degree (July 5, 1692) with such reception and regard as fully contented him. years that they have begun to come leaped over the moon. Works, xviii. together.' Mrs. Delany's Auto.p.501. 124. At Letcombe, where he resided
Dr. Bucknill in Brain, Jan. 1882, in 1714 (post, SWIFT, 61), 'there is a proves that these two maladies of hill,' wrote Bowles in 1806, “which giddiness and deafness had their the village tradition says he was in common origin in a disease in the the habit of running up every mornregion of the ear, to which the name ing before breakfast. Pope's Works of Labyrinthine vertigo has been (Elwin and Courthope), vii
. 315. given.... Nothing that could be called * In 1724 Swift wrote from Dubinsanity came on, until this physical lin:- The discipline in Oxford is and local malady produced paralysis, more remiss than here.' Letters to a symptom of which was the not un- Chetwode, p. 155. See also ib. pp. common one of aphasia. ... As a con- 156-9. In 1735, contrasting Dublin sequence of that paralysis, but not with 'Oxford and Cambridge, he before, the brain, already weakened wrote :-'A fellowship is here obby senile decay, at length gave way. tained with great difficulty by the
' Craik, p. 561. See also Letters of number of candidates, the strict exSwift to Chetwode, p. 45, and post, amination in many branches of learnSwift, 106. [In W. R. Wilde's ing, and the regularity of life and Closing Years of Dean Swift's Life, manners.' Works, xviii. 241. See &c., Dublin, 1849, the whole course of
also ib. viii. 229. these symptoms is discussed from the In the March List of Deaths in pathological point of view.]
Gent. Mag. 1734, p. 164, is the follow'Craik, p. 514. On Feb. 14, 1691-2, ing :—'The Rev. Mr. Edward Ford, he wrote :- 1 returned from Ireland M.A., jun. Fellow of Trinity College, about half a year ago.' Works, xv. 243. Dublin, being shot by the Schollars,
2 'I have lying before me a book having render'd himself unacceptable of extracts from St. Cyprian and St. to them, tho'a very pious Man.' Irenaeus taken by Swift in 1697.' 5 .These words were never entered Deane Swift, p. 276. 'A sort of cant in any testimonium, which merely or jargon of certain heretics,'found in states the fact of a degree being Irenaeus, is quoted on the title-page of taken.' Johnson's Works, viii. 194 n. The Tale of a Tub.' Works, x. 170 n. Orrery foolishly asserts that it was
3 'This exercise he performed in thought at Oxford that the words about six minutes ; backwards and signified a degree conferred in reward forwards it was about half a mile.' of extraordinary diligence or learning.' Deane Swift, p. 272. In 1733 he Remarks, p. 12. wrote to Pope, who was forty-five :- 6 He entered Hart Hall, Craik, At your time of life I could have p. 515. This Hall had been also
14 While he lived with Temple he used to pay his mother at
Leicester an yearly visit. He travelled on foot', unless some violence of weather drove him into a waggon”, and at night he would go to a penny lodging, where he purchased clean sheets for sixpence. This practice Lord Orrery imputes to his innate love of grossness and vulgarity*: some may ascribe it to his desire of surveying human life through all its varieties; and others, perhaps with equal probability, to a passion which seems to have been
deep fixed in his heart, the love of a shillings. 15 In time he began to think that his attendance at Moor-park
deserved some other recompence than the pleasure, however mingled with improvement, of Temple's conversation; and grew
so impatient that (1694) he went away in discontentó. 16 Temple, conscious of having given reason for complaint, is
said to have made him Deputy Master of the Rolls in Ireland', which, according to his kinsman's account, was an office which he knew him not able to discharge 8. Swift therefore resolved to enter into the Church', in which he had at first no higher hopes
known as Hertford or Hert Hall. that he often bribed the maid with a For its transformations into Hertford tester for a single bed and clean College, Magdalen Hall, and, a second sheets. Delany, p. 73. time, into Hertford College, see The Orrery, p. 33. University Calendar under HERT- Post, SWIFT, 124. 'Swift told his FORD COLLEGE, Swift wrote to his friends that, whatever money he saved uncle, William Swift :-'I never was by this manner of travelling, he threw more satisfied than in the behaviour it away, as soon as he went to London, of the University of Oxford to me.' upon a fine waistcoat, or some adWorks, xv. 244.
ditional gaiety upon a suit of clothes.' " Swift wrote from London in Deane Swift, p. 101. 1711:— The young fellows here have 6 Works, xv. 246. begun a kind of fashion to walk, and ? Charles II gave Temple_"the many of them have got swinging reversion of the Master of the Rolls' strong shoes on purpose ; it has got place in Ireland, after his father (Sir as far as several young lords.' Works, John Temple).' Temple's Works, ii. 395. In 1728 the Wesleys, who Preface, p. 27. [The patent bears began to perform their journeys on date April 7, 1664. He received the foot, thought it a discovery that four actual appointment on Nov. 23, 1677, or five and twenty miles are an easy exercising it by deputy until 1689, and safe day's journey.' Southey's when he was removed. Liber Hiber. Wesley, 1846, i. 52.
niae, vol. i, The Establishments of 2 Roderick Random and Strap, in Ireland, pt. 2, p. 20.] Swift says that one day's quick walking, overtook the post in the Rolls Office offered the Newcastle and London wagon, him was worth about £120 a year. though it had two days' start. Rode
Craik, p. 515. rick Random, ch. x.
8 Deane Swift, App. p. 49 3 "I have often heard him say that 9 He wrote to Lord Peterborough he took particular care to keep clear in 1711:—My ambition is to live in of being lodged in the same bed with England, and with a competency to the clowns he conversed with; and support me with honour. The minis