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Temple, he quarrelled with and left him in 1694. He then walked down 'to his mother, a't Leicester, and remained there till, by means of Lord Capel, thien viceroy of Ireland, he obtained the prebend of Kilroot, in the diocese of Connor, worth about one hundred pounds a-year.
But Sir William Temple feeling the want of his conversation, prevailed with him to resign the prebend, and return to Moor Park. Ilere Swift resided till the death of Sir William, who left bim a legacy, and his posthumous works. These he dedicated to King William, in hopes of obtaining thereby a stall in the cathedral of St. Paul's, or in that of Westminster. Being disappointed in his expectation, he quitted the court in dudgeon, and could never afterwards endure the name of William.
It was during his abode with Sir William Temple, that he made some attempts at poetry, in three wretched odes, which he termed pindarics. These he shewed to his relation, Dryden, who, on returning them, candidly said, “Cousin Swift, you will never be a poet.” This opinion, which was perfectly justified by the miserable perforinances it was founded upon, kindled in Swift's morbid disposition, a rancorous hatred against the veteran bard, whose writings he never after mentioned without ridicule.
In 1699 Swift was instituted to the united livings of Laracor and Rathbeggio, with the rectory of Augher, in the diocese of Meath, to
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which, the year following, was added a prebend in the cathedral of St. Patrick, Dublin.
On receiving these preferments, he determined to fix his residence at Laracor, to which place he journied on foot, and the following is the description of his cquipage. A decent suit of black, with coarse worsted stockings, of which he had a second pair, with a shirt in bis pocket, a round · slouched hat on his head, and a long pole, bigher than himself, in his hand.
On his arrival at Laracor, the fourth day, he found the curate, a very worthy man, sitting at the door of his house, smoking his pipe. Swift, on approaching him, very abruptly demanded bis name, and the old gentleman had scarcely said Jones, when he exclaimed, “ Well then, I am your master!”
Mr. Jones, having recovered from his surprise, bowed, and conducted him into the best room in his cottage, when he introduced him to his wife, , saying, “ My dear, this is our master, the new vicar.” The good woman was shocked, as she well might, at the harshness of the phrase, but she was still more so, when Swift, pulling a bundle out of his pocket, handed it to her with this command, “ Madam, if you are not too proud, put that into your drawer, if you have one." Mrs. Jones silently obeyed the surly injunction, and Swift, throwing himself carelessly into a chair, asked if they had any thing to eat. This somewhat relicved the curate and his wife; and,
luckily for them, both the food, and the manner of serving it up, gave Swift satisfaction, and put hiin into a good humour.
On settling at Laracor, Swift laudably repaired the church, which was left in a very miserable plight by his predecessor. He also formed the resolution of reading prayers on Wednesdays and Fridays, of which due notice was given the Sunday before; but on the first of those days, when Swift entered the church, he found no one there but Roger Cox, the parish clerk. The rector, however, ascended the desk, and rising up very gravely, began —“Dearly beloved Roger, the scripture moveth you and me in sundry places,
This circumstance comes down too well attested to be denied, and it shews that the levity of Swift's disposition was not to be restrained even in the most solemn services, and on occasions that required peculiar awe and reverence.
It is said, that at this time his ambition was to be esteemed the best preacher in the country, and that it was his wish that the sexton might sometimes be asked on a Sunday morning, “ Does the doctor preach to-day.” If Swift had not been Cast into the vortex of politicks, it is not improbable, but that he might have figured away at the head of a sect.
About this time the celebrated Stella arrived in Ireland, and became his neighbour. Her name was Johnson, and her father was steward to Sir 2 HS
William Temple; she was a woman of great accomplishments, and of sterling merit. She was married privately to Swift,' by Dr. Ashe, bishop of Clogher, but never assumed his name; and when she requested, on her death-bed, that he would acknowledge her as his wife, he inhumanly quitted her in silence. She literally died of a broken heart, in 1727.
Before his connection with Stella, Swift paid his addresses to a Miss Waryng, whom he called Varina. His letters to this lady are written in the highest stile of romantic affectation, with vows of eternal fidelity; but after meeting with Stelia, his attachment to Varina coolled, and she treated him as he deserved.
Some years after his promotion to the deanry of St. Patrick's, a merchant's daughter, of independent fortune, fell in love with, and followed him to Ireland. Her name was Van Homrigh, which he, in his epistles, altered to Vanessa. After sporting with the feelings of this lady a long time, he coolly told her that he was married; the intelligence threw her into à fit of despair, and after cancelling a will, which she had made in favour of Swift, she expired.
Whatever resolutions Swist might have formed at his first settling in Laracor, were soon broken. Ambition was the ruling passion of his soul, and this was not to be gratified by the applause of a score or two of families, and the reverence of the parish clerk and rusticks of his village.
Accordingly, at the expiration of a year, he returned to London, then distracted by the contentions of opposite parties. This was a scene jast suited to his disposition, and in 1701, he published a “Discourse on the Contests and Dissensions in Athens and Rome,” 'a performance of considerable ability, and well applied to the state of English politicks at that time.
When this tract came out, Swift carefully concealed his name, and was first betrayed to avow himself the author of it, in the course of a warm argument with an Irisli prelate, who strenuously contended that it was written by Burnet, Bishop of Salisbury, for whom Swift through life entertained the most sovereign contempt.
But by far the principal work of Swift, was his “Tale of a Tub,” which he published anonymously; not, however, with so much secresy as to prevent its being ascribed openly to him. One reason for not putting his name to the book, was, no doubt, lest that it might hinder his advancement in the church, there being many passages in it seemingly calculated to turn religion itself into ridicule. , Bishop Atterbury, in one of his letters, says-" The author of the Tale of a Tub will not as yet be known, and if he be the man I guess, he hath reason to conceal himself, because of the profane strokes in that piece, which would do his reputation and interest in the world more harm, than his wit can do him good.” Dr. Johnson had so high an opinion of this book, and so 2 H 4