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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 inconsequence 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 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.



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 2. 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.

By his political education he

of it.' Works, x. 57. In writing about his scheme for an Academy (ante, SWIFT, 40) he says:- The ministers are now too busy to think of anything beside what they have upon the anvil.' Ib. xvi. 5. Such passages are rare.

Post, SWIFT, 139.

2 For Swift's 'good neat style' see Boswell's Johnson, ii. 191. It has,' said Hume, 'no harmony, no eloquence, no ornament, and not much correctness, whatever the English may imagine.' Burton's Hume, ii. 413. Hume, perhaps, was no judge.

His style,' said Johnson, 'is not English; the structure of his sentences is French.' Boswell's Johnson, i. 439. 'Swift is the best writer that ever was in his peculiar style.' MACKINTOSH, Life, ii. 476.

'Defoe, and perhaps also Swift,

was associated with the Whigs,

produced Franklin. Paine was the follower of Franklin and the master of Cobbett.' Ib. ii. 92.

3 In his sermon On Sleeping in Church he says:-Nor are preachers justly blamed for neglecting human oratory to move the passions, which is not the business of a Christian orator, whose office it is only to work upon faith and reason.' Works, viii. 22. In A Letter to a Young Clergyman he writes: - Beware of letting the pathetic part [of a sermon] swallow up the rational.' Ib. p. 206. He says of the Brobdingnags:-' Their style is clear, masculine and smooth, but not florid; for they avoid nothing more than multiplying unnecessary words, or using various expressions.' Ib. xi. 167.

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 2.

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 œconomy; 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

1 Ante, SWIFT, 36, 39.

In his Sentiments of a Church of England Man (ante, SWIFT, 31) he writes:-'I should think that, in order to preserve the constitution entire in Church and State, whoever has a true value for both would be sure to avoid the extremes of Whig, for the sake of the former, and the extremes of Tory, on account of the latter.' Works, viii. 270.

3 Ante, SWIFT, 32 n. In 1736 he wrote: All wise Christian governments always had some established religion, leaving at best a toleration to others.' Works, xviii. 406. The same year he wrote to Alderman Barber:-'Long may you live a bridle to the insolence of dissenters, who, with their pupils the atheists, are now wholly employed in ruining the Church.' Ib. xix. 22.

4 Delany, pp. 201, 207.

5 Delany, who reports him as saying: 'I know nothing of music; I would not give a farthing for all the music in the universe,' testifies to his

care for the choir. Ib. p. 192.

Ib. p. 46. He was not a High
Churchman in the modern sense of
the term. On March 5, 1711-12,
he wrote to Stella:-'I wish you a
merry Lent. I hate Lent; I hate
different diets,... and sour devout
faces of people who only put on re-
ligion for seven weeks.' Works, ii.
496. On Saturday, April 4, 1713, he
wrote:This Passion-week people
are so demure, especially this last
day, that I told Dilly I would dine
with him, and so I did, faith; and
had a small shoulder of mutton of
my own bespeaking.' Ib. iii. 141.
See also ante, ADDISON, 122.
thus translates a French epigram
(Works, xiv. 358):—


Who can believe with common


A bacon slice gives God offence;
Or how a herring has a charm
Almighty vengeance to disarm?
Wrapp'd up in majesty divine,
Does He regard on what we dine? '


every morning, preached commonly in his turn, and attended the evening anthem, that it might not be negligently performed'.

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 2.'

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.

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; he read

''St. Patrick's Church is subject to the inundation of a little dirty river, and is almost perpetually damp the whole winter. His physicians pressed him to forbear attending; nevertheless he continued his old practice until he found by repeated colds that he could bear it no longer.' Deane Swift, p. 370. In Sept. 1735 he wrote:-'I very seldom go to church for fear of being seized with a fit of giddiness in the midst of the service. Works, xviii. 328.

2 Delany, p. 42; Orrery, p. 5. Swift wrote to St. John :-'I will read verses in your presence until you snatch them out of my hands.' Works, xv. 426. He wrote to Stella :-' Mr. Harley made me read a paper of verses of Prior's. I read them plain, without any fine manner, and Prior swore I should never read any of his again... I said I was famous for reading verses the worst in the world.' Ib. ii. 127. For bad readers among the poets see ante, CONGREVE, 7 n.

3 He could, he said, never rise higher than preaching pamphlets.' Delany, p. 42. 'His sermon On Doing Good (Works, viii. 41) contains perhaps the best motives to patriotism that were ever delivered within so small a compass.' BURKE, [Annual Register, 1765, pt. 2, p. 304].

Voltaire says of Rabelais and

Swift:Tous deux lancèrent plus de sarcasmes contre le christianisme que Molière n'en a prodigué contre la médecine.' Œuvres, xlii. 193. See also ib. xxiv. 132.

'Of course any man is welcome to believe as he likes for me except a parson; and I can't help looking upon Swift and Sterne as a couple of traitors and renegades ... with a scornful pity for them, in spite of all their genius and greatness.' THACKERAY, Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 34,619, f. 233.

Bishop Berkeley's grandson wrote: I have from my cradle been taught to consider Swift as a man in whom were united... inviolable integrity and a belief in Revelation that was his rule of conduct here, and his source of hope hereafter.' G. M. Berkeley's Literary Relics, Pref. p. liii.


Thackeray's condemnation seems to me unjust. Swift was much such a Christian as South, whose orthodoxy is generally admitted. believed, that is to say, with his head, and not with his heart. Christianity was summed up for both of them, not in the Sermon on the Mount, but in the Articles of the Church. Those Articles they accepted without difficulty.

5 Delany, p. 44. On Christmas

prayers to his servants every morning with such dexterous secrecy that Dr. Delany was six months in his house before he knew it1. 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 2. 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 5, which he seldom softened by

Day, 1710, he wrote:-'I was at church to-day by eight and received the sacrament.... Went to Court at two; but the Queen stayed so long at sacrament that I came back.' Works, ii. 121.


'He read them at a fixed hour every night in his bed-chamber. To which the servants silently resorted at the time appointed; without any notice except the striking of the clock.' Delany, P. 44.

'Whilst the power of speech remained he continued constant in his private devotions; as his memory failed they were gradually shortened, till at last he could only repeat the Lord's Prayer. That, however, he continued to do' till the power of utterance for ever ceased. This information I had from the servant who attended him.' G. M. Berkeley's Lit. Relics, Preface, p. xxvii.

For An Evening Prayer, in MS., by Swift see Works, ix. 294.

Hypocrisy is much more eligible than open infidelity and vice; it wears the livery of religion; it acknowledges her authority, and is cautious of giving scandal. . . . I believe it is often with religion as it is with love, which, by much dissembling, at last grows real.' Works, viii. 97. 'Bolingbroke summed up Swift's character in this respect by saying that he was a hypocrite reversed.' Works, 1803, i. 66.

Don Quixote says:-'Even at the worst, the hypocrite who feigns him

self good does much less injury than the
undisguised and bold-faced sinner.'
Jervas's Don Quixote, 1820, iii. 257.

Lamb quotes Fuller's saying about
a Bishop, that he was 'a good hypo-
crite, and far more humble than he
appeared.' Lamb's Poems, &c., 1888,
p. 264.

3 Delany, p. 45. See also ib. pp. 204, 287.

'He was one of the cleanliest
men that ever lived . . . to even
feminine nicety. . . . As he walked
much, he rarely dressed himself with-
out a bason of water by his side, in
which he dipt a towel, and cleansed
his feet with the utmost exactness.'
Ib. p. 173. He wrote to Miss Waryng
(Varina), whom he had wished to
marry, that, provided she had cer-
tain qualities, he would not regard
'whether your person be beautiful,
or your fortune large. Cleanliness in
the first and competency in the other
is all I look for.' Works, xv. 265.

For scrupulosity see ante, ADDI-
SON, 144; Boswell's Johnson, iv. 5;
Johnson's Letters, ii. 144.


['That picture of Dr. Swift (by Jervas) is very like him; though his face has a look of dulness in it, he has very particular eyes; they are quite azure as the heavens, and there is a very uncommon archness in them.' POPE, 1735, Spence's Anec. ed. Malone, p. 135. Jervas's portrait of Swift in his prime (now in the Bodleian), painted in 1708 but retouched two years later, hardly bears out Johnson's description.]


any appearance of gaiety'. He stubbornly resisted any tendency to laughter 2.

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 perpetual3. 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 not absolutely ill-natured.' Orrery, p. 4. That sourness of temper which his disappointments first created in him.' Delany, p. 144. That it was not inborn in him is shown by the following entries:-'June 30, 1711. Pox of these speculations! they give me the spleen; and that is a disease I was not born to.' Works, ii. 290. 'Sept. 18, 1712. If I had not a spirit naturally cheerful I should be very much discontented at a thousand things.' Ib. iii. 50.

Berkeley wrote on March 27, 1712-3-I think Dr. Swift one of the best-natured and agreeable men in the world.' Hist. MSS. Com. vii. App. p. 238.

Mrs. Delany (Auto. ii. 398) wrote just after his death:-'He was in his person a very venerable figure, with long silver hair and a comely countenance; for being grown fat, the hard lines which gave him a harsh look before were filled up.'

2 I do not know Johnson's authority for this. [In The Journal to Stella there are many passages of 'gaiety,' and laughter is several times mentioned.-Oct. 28, 1710, 'We were very merry talking of old things'; Dec. 31, 1710, 'So we laughed'; Feb. 25, 1711, 'So we laughed.... And we were so merry: I vow they are pure good company.'] For Pope's never being 'excited to laughter' see

post, POPE, 266.

3 Johnson is replying to Delany, who (p. 185) tries to show that Swift was "churlish only in appearance, for he was, in truth, one of the best masters in the world.' He certainly bore long with an Irish servant in England. On Aug. 1, 1711, he recorded:-'I have been now five days at Windsor, and Patrick has been drunk three times that I have seen, and oftener I believe.' Works, ii. 312. On the following March 29 the man's hand shook so from drinking that he could not shave his master. Ib. iii. 22. Nevertheless he was not turned off, but left of his own accord 'to my great satisfaction,' wrote Swift. Ib. 29.

For Swift's attack on Irish servants in a sermon see ib. viii. 8; Letters to Chetwode, p. 11. For his epitaph on a servant-'the first good one I ever had, and I am sure will be the last-see ib. pp. 122, 125.

[On the tomb of this servant is the following inscription-'Here lieth the body of Alexander Magee, servant to Doctor Swift, Dean of St. Patrick's. His grateful master caused this monument to be erected in memory of his discretion, fidelity, and diligence in that humble station.' The original draft in Swift's handwriting ran— His grateful friend and master.' Delany, p. 194.]

* Swift wrote to Chetwode:-'Did

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