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all his structures are not exact, yet it is not often that solecisms can be found: and whoever depends on his authority may generally conclude himself safe". His sentences are never too much dilated or contracted ; and it will not be easy to find any embarrassment in the complication of his clauses, any inconse
quence in his connections, or abruptness in his transitions. 113 His style was well suited to his thoughts, which are never
subtilised by nice disquisitions, decorated by sparkling conceits, elevated by ambitious sentences, or variegated by far-sought learning. He pays no court to the passions; he excites neither surprise nor admiration ; he always understands himself, and his
1 reader always understands him : the peruser of Swift wants little previous knowledge; it will be sufficient that he is acquainted with common words and common things; he is neither required to mount elevations nor to explore profundities; his passage is always on a level, along solid ground, without asperities, without
obstruction. 114 This easy and safe conveyance of meaning it was Swift's desire
to attain, and for having attained he deserves praise, though perhaps not the highest praise ? For purposes merely didactick, when something is to be told that was not known before, it is the best mode, but against that inattention by which known truths are suffered to lie neglected it makes no provision; it instructs,
but does not persuade 3. 115
By his political education - he was associated with the Whigs, of it.' Works, x. 57. In writing about produced Franklin. Paine was the his scheme for an Academy (ante, follower of Franklin and the master SWIFT, 40) he says :-*The ministers of Cobbett. Ib. ii. 92. are now too busy to think of anything 3 In his sermon On Sleeping in beside what they have upon the anvil.' Church he says :— Nor are preachers Ib. xvi. 5. Such passages are rare. justly blamed for neglecting human · Post, Swift, 139.
oratory to move the passions, which · For Swift's 'good neat style' see is not the business of a Christian Boswell's Johnson, ii. 191. It has,' orator, whose office it is only to work said Hume, ‘no harmony, no elo- upon faith and reason.' Works, viii. quence, no ornament, and not much 22. In A Letter to a Young Clergycorrectness, whatever the English man he writes : -' Beware of letting may imagine.' Burton's Hume, ü. the pathetic part (of a sermon) swal413. Hume, perhaps, was no judge. low up the rational.' Ib. p. 206. He
His style,' said Johnson, 'is not says of the Brobdingnags : Their English; the structure of his sen- style is clear, masculine and smooth, tences is French. Boswell's John- but not florid; for they avoid nothing son, i. 439. 'Swift is the best writer more than multiplying unnecessary that ever was in his peculiar style.' words, or using various expressions.' MACKINTOSH, Life, ii. 476.
Ib. xi. 167. 'Defoe, and perhaps also Swift, • Under Temple. Ante, SWIFT, 8.
but he deserted them when they deserted their principles, yet without running into the contrary extreme'; he continued throughout his life to retain the disposition which he assigns to the Church-of-England Man,' of thinking commonly with the Whigs of the State, and with the Tories of the Church?.
He was a churchman rationally zealous; he desired the pros- 116 perity and maintained the honour of the Clergy; of the Dissenters he did not wish to infringe the toleration, but he opposed their encroachments 3.
To his duty as Dean he was very attentive. He managed 117 the revenues of his church with exact æconomy; and it is said by Delany that more money was, under his direction, laid out in repairs than had ever been in the same time since its first erection“. Of his choir he was eminently careful; and, though he neither loved nor understood musick, took care that all the singers were well qualified, admitting none without the testimony of skilful judges 5.
In his church he restored the practice of weekly communion, 118 and distributed the sacramental elements in the most solemn and devout manner with his own hand. He came to church
Ante, SWIFT, 36, 39.
care for the choir. Ib. p. 192. * In his Sentiments of a Church of 6 Ib. p. 46. He was not a High England Man (ante, ŚWIFT, 31) he Churchman in the modern sense of writes :-'I should think that, in the term. On March 5, 1711-12, order to preserve the constitution he wrote to Stella :-'I wish you a entire in Church and State, whoever
I hate Lent; I hate has a true value for both would be different diets, ... and sour devout sure to avoid the extremes of Whig, faces of people who only put on refor the sake of the former, and the ligion for seven weeks.' Works, ii. extremes of Tory, on account of the 496. On Saturday, April 4, 1713, he latter.' Works, viii. 270.
wrote:—'This Passion-week people Ante, SWIFT, 32 n. In 1736 he are so demure, especially this last wrote:- All wise Christian govern- day, that I told Dilly I would dine ments always had some established with him, and so I did, faith; and religion, leaving at best a toleration had a small shoulder of mutton of to others.' Works, xviii. 406. The my own bespeaking. Ib. iii. 145. same year he wrote to Alderman See also ante, ADDISON, 122. He Barber:– Long may you live a thus translates a French epigram bridle to the insolence of dissenters, (Works, xiv. 358) : who, with their pupils the atheists, Who can believe with common are now wholly employed in ruining the Church. Ib. xix. 22.
A bacon slice gives God offence; Delany, pp. 201, 207.
Or how a herring has a charm 5 Delany, who reports him as say. Almighty vengeance to disarm? ing: 'I know nothing of music; I Wrapp's up in majesty divine, would not give a farthing for all the Does He regard on what we dine?' music in the universe,' testifies to his
every morning, preached commonly in his turn, and attended the evening anthem, that it might not be negligently per
formed'. 119 He read the service 'rather with a strong nervous voice than
in a graceful manner; his voice was sharp and high-toned, rather
than harmonious ?' 120 He entered upon the clerical state with hope to excel in
preaching, but complained that, from the time of his political controversies,' he could only preach pamphlets 3.' This censure of himself, if judgement be made from those sermons which have
been published, was unreasonably severe. 121 The suspicions of his irreligion * proceeded in a great measure
from his dread of hypocrisy: instead of wishing to seem better, he delighted in seeming worse than he was. He went in London to early prayers lest he should be seen at church 5; he read
- I very
I'St. Patrick's Church is subject Swift:-Tous deux lancèrent plus to the inundation of a little dirty de sarcasmes contre le christianisme river, and is almost perpetually que Molière n'en a prodigué contre damp the whole winter. His phy- la médecine.' Euvres, xlii. 193. See sicians pressed him to forbear at- also ib. xxiv. 132. tending ; nevertheless he continued Of course any man is welcome his old practice until he found by to believe as he likes for me except repeated colds that he could bear it
a parson; and I can't help looking no longer.' Deane Swift, p. 370. In upon Swift and Sterne as a couple Sept. 1735 he wrote: seldom of traitors and renegades ... with a go to church for fear of being seized scornful pity for them, in spite of all with a fit of giddiness in the midst their genius and greatness.' THACKEof the service. Works, xviii. 328. RAY, Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 34,619,
· Delany, p. 42 ; Orrery, p. 5: Swift wrote to St. John :- I will read Bishop Berkeley's grandson verses in your presence until you wrote:—'I have from my cradle been snatch them out of my hands.' Works, taught to consider Swift as a man in XV. 426. He wrote to Stella :-'Mr. whom were united ... inviolable Harley made me read a paper of tegrity and a belief in Revelation verses of Prior's. I read them plain, that was his rule of conduct here, without any fine manner, and Prior and his source of hope hereafter.' swore I should never read any of his G. M. Berkeley's Literary Relics, again ... I said I was famous for Pref. p. liii. reading verses the worst in the world.' Thackeray's condemnation seems 16. ií. 127. For bad readers among to me unjust. Swift was much such the poets see ante, CONGREVE, 7 n. a Christian as South, whose ortho
3. He could, he said, never rise doxy is generally admitted. He higher than preaching pamphlets.' believed, that is to say, with his head, Delany, p. 42 'His sermon On and not with his heart. Christianity Doing Good (Works, viii. 41) con- was summed up for both of them, tains perhaps the best motives to not in the Sermon on the Mount, patriotism that were ever delivered but in the Articles of the Church. within so small a compass.' BURKE, Those Articles they accepted without [Annual Register, 1765, pt. 2, p. 304]. difficulty. * Voltaire says of Rabelais and s Delany, p. 44.
prayers to his servants every morning with such dexterous secrecy that Dr. Delany was six months in his house before he knew it’. He was not only careful to hide the good which he did, but willingly incurred the suspicion of evil which he did not. He forgot what himself had formerly asserted, that hypocrisy is less mischievous than open impiety? Dr. Delany, with all his zeal for his honour, has justly condemned this part of his character 3.
The person of Swift had not many recommendations. He 122 had a kind of muddy complexion, which, though he washed himself with oriental scrupulosity, did not look clear". He had a countenance sour and severe, which he seldom softened by Day, 1710, he wrote:-'I was at self good does much less injury than the church to-day by eight and received undisguised and bold-faced sinner.' the sacrament. Went to Court at Jervas's Don Quixote, 1820, iii. 257. two; but the Queen stayed so long Lamb quotes Fuller's saying about at sacrament that I came back.' a Bishop, that he was a good hypoWorks, ii. 121.
crite, and far more humble than he 1.He read them at a fixed hour appeared.' Lamb's Poems, &c., 1888, every night in his bed-chamber. To which the servants silently resorted
, p. 45. See also ib. pp. at the time appointed ; without any
204, 287. notice except the striking of the "He was one of the cleanliest clock.' Delany, p. 44.
men that ever lived ... to even Whilst the power of speech re- feminine nicety. . . . As he walked mained he continued constant in his much, he rarely dressed himself withprivate devotions; as his memory out a bason of water by his side, in failed they were gradually shortened, which he dipt a towel, and cleansed till at last he could only repeat the
his feet with the utmost exactness.' Lord's Prayer. That, however, he Ib. p. 173. He wrote to Miss Waryng continued to do' till the power of (Varina), whom he had wished to utterance for ever ceased. This in- marry, that, provided she had cerformation I had from the servant tain qualities, he would not regard who attended him.' G.M. Berkeley's whether your person be beautiful, Lit. Relics, Preface, p. xxvii.
or your fortune large. Cleanliness in For An Evening Prayer, in MS., the first and competency in the other by Swift see Works, ix. 294.
is all I look for. Works, xv. 265. ‘Hypocrisy is much more eligible For scrupulosity see ante, ADDIthan open infidelity and vice; it SON, 144; Boswell's Johnson, iv. 5; wears the livery of religion; it ac- Johnson's Letters, ii. 144. knowledges her authority, and is 5 [That picture of Dr. Swift (by cautious of giving scandal. ...I Jervas) is very like him ; though his believe it is often with religion as face has a look of dulness in it, he it is with love, which, by much has very particular eyes ; they are dissembling, at last grows real.' quite azure as the heavens, and there Works, viii. 97. 'Bolingbroke is a very uncommon archness in them.' summed up Swift's character in this POPE, 1735, Spence's Anec. ed. Marespect by saying that he was a lone, p. 135. Jervas's portrait of hypocrite reversed. Works, 1803, Swift in his prime (now in the Bodi. 66.
leian), painted in 1708 but retouched Don Quixote says :-'Even at the two years later, hardly bears out worst, the hypocrite who feigns him- Johnson's description.]
any appearance of gaiety'. He stubbornly resisted any tendency
to laughter? 123 To his domesticks he was naturally rough ; and a man of
a rigorous temper, with that vigilance of minute attention which his works discover, must have been a master that few could bear. That he was disposed to do his servants good on important occasions is no great mitigation ; benefaction can be but rare, and tyrannick peevishness is perpetuals. He did not spare the servants of others. Once, when he dined alone with the Earl of Orrery, he said, of one that waited in the room, * That man has, since we sat to the table, committed fifteen faults. What the faults were Lord Orrery, from whom I heard the story, had not been attentive enough to discover. My number may perhaps not be exact.
''He was sour and severe, but post, POPE, 266. not absolutely ill-natured. Orrery, Johnson is replying to Delany, p. 4. That sourness of temper which who (p. 185) tries to show that Swift his disappointments first created in churlish only in appearance, him. Delany, p. 144. That it was for he was, in truth, one of the best not inborn in him is shown by the masters in the world.' He certainly following entries :- June 30, 1711. bore long with an Irish servant in Pox of these speculations! they give England. On Aug. 1, 1711, he reme the spleen; and that is a disease corded :-'I have been now five days I was not born to.'
Works, ii. 290. at Windsor, and Patrick has been *Sept. 18, 1712. If I had not a drunk three times that I have seen, spirit naturally cheerful I should be and oftener I believe.' Works, ii. very much discontented at a thousand 312. On the following March 29 the things. Ib. iii. 50.
man's hand shook so from drinking Berkeley wrote on March 27, that he could not shave his master. 1712–3:-*I think Dr. Swift one of Ib. iii. 22. Nevertheless he was not the best-natured and agreeable men turned off, but left of his own accord in the world.' Hist. MSS. Com. vii. - 'to my great satisfaction,' wrote App: p. 238.
Swift. Ib. 29. Mrs. Delany (Auto. ii. 398) wrote For Swift's attack on Irish serjust after his death :-'He was in vants in a sermon see ib. viii. 8; his person a very venerable figure, Letters to Chetwode, p. 11. For hiş with long silver hair and a comely epitaph on a servant—the first good countenance ; for being grown fat, one I ever had, and I am sure will the hard lines which gave him a be the last'- see ib. pp. 122, 125. harsh look before were filled up.' [On the tomb of this servant is the
? I do not know Johnson's au- following inscription—Here lieth the thority for this. [In The Journal to body oi Alexander Magee, servant to Stella there are many passages of Doctor Swift, Dean of St. Patrick's. ‘gaiety,' and laughter is several times His grateful master caused this monumentioned.- Oct. 28, 1710, 'We were ment to be erected in memory of his very merry talking of old things'; discretion, fidelity, and diligence in Dec. 31, 1710, 'So we laughed'; that humble station. The original Feb. 25, 1711, “So we laughed. ... draft in Swift's handwriting And we were so merry : I vow they * His grateful friend and master.' are pure good company.'] For Pope's Delany, p. 194.) never being 'excited to laughter' see * Swift wrote to Chetwode:–Did