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Jonathan Swift

Born 30 November 1667(1667-11-30)
Dublin, Ireland1
Died 19 October 1745 (aged 77)
Ireland
Occupation satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer, poet, priest
Notable work(s) Gulliver's Travels
A Modest Proposal
A Tale of a Tub
Drapier's Letters

Jonathan Swift (30 November 1667 – 19 October 1745) was an Irish[1] satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for the Whigs, then for the Tories), poet and cleric who became Dean of St. Patrick's, Dublin.

He is remembered for works such as Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella, Drapier's Letters, The Battle of the Books, An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity, and A Tale of a Tub. Swift is probably the foremost prose satirist in the English language, and is less well known for his poetry. Swift originally published all of his works under pseudonyms—such as Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff, M.B. Drapier—or anonymously. He is also known for being a master of two styles of satire: the Horatian and Juvenalian styles.

Contents

Biography

Youth

Jonathan Swift was born at No. 7, Hoey's Court, Dublin, and was the second child and only son of Jonathan Swift (a second cousin of John Dryden) and wife Abigail Erick (or Herrick), paternal grandson of Thomas Swift and wife Elizabeth Dryden, daughter of Nicholas Dryden (brother of Sir Erasmus Dryden, 1st Baronet Dryden) and wife Mary Emyley. His father was Irish born and his mother was born in England. Swift arrived seven months after his father's untimely death. Most of the facts of Swift's early life are obscure, confused and sometimes contradictory. It is widely believed that his mother returned to England when Jonathan was still very young, then leaving him to be raised by his father's family. His uncle Godwin took primary responsibility for the young Jonathan, sending him with one of his cousins to Kilkenny College (also attended by the philosopher George Berkeley).

Jonathan Swift at Trinity, Dublin

In 1682 he attended Dublin University (Trinity College, Dublin), receiving his B.A. in 1686. Swift was studying for his Master's degree when political troubles in Ireland surrounding the Glorious Revolution forced him to leave for England in 1688, where his mother helped him get a position as secretary and personal assistant of Sir William Temple at Moor Park, Farnham. Temple was an English diplomat who, having arranged the Triple Alliance of 1668, retired from public service to his country estate to tend his gardens and write his memoirs. Growing into confidence with his employer, Swift "was often trusted with matters of great importance." Within three years of their acquaintance, Temple had introduced his secretary to William III, and sent him to London to urge the King to consent to a bill for triennial Parliaments.

When Swift took up his residence at Moor Park, he met Esther Johnson, then 8 years old, the fatherless daughter of one of the household servants. Swift acted as her tutor and mentor, giving her the nickname "Stella" and the two maintained a close, but ambiguous relationship for the rest of Esther's life.

Swift left Temple in 1690 for Ireland because of his health, but returned to Moor Park the following year. The illness, fits of vertigo or giddiness—now known to be Ménière's disease—would continue to plague Swift throughout his life. During this second stay with Temple, Swift received his M.A. from Hertford College, Oxford in 1692. Then, apparently despairing of gaining a better position through Temple's patronage, Swift left Moor Park to become an ordained priest in the Established Church of Ireland and in 1694 he was appointed to the prebend of Kilroot in the Diocese of Connor, with his parish located at Kilroot, near Carrickfergus in County Antrim.

Swift appears to have been miserable in his new position, being isolated in a small, remote community far from the centres of power and influence. While at Kilroot, however, Swift may well have become romantically involved with Jane Waring. A letter from him survives, offering to remain if she would marry him and promising to leave and never return to Ireland if she refused. She presumably refused, because Swift left his post and returned to England and Temple's service at Moor Park in 1696, and he remained there until Temple's death. There he was employed in helping to prepare Temple's memoirs and correspondence for publication. During this time Swift wrote The Battle of the Books, a satire responding to critics of Temple's Essay upon Ancient and Modern Learning (1690). Battle was however not published until 1704.

On January 27 1699 Temple died. Swift stayed on briefly in England to complete the editing of Temple's memoirs, and perhaps in the hope that recognition of his work might earn him a suitable position in England. However, Swift's work made enemies of some of Temple's family and friends who objected to indiscretions included in the memoirs. His next move was to approach King William directly, based on his imagined connection through Temple and a belief that he had been promised a position. This failed so miserably that he accepted the lesser post of secretary and chaplain to the Earl of Berkeley, one of the Lords Justices of Ireland. However, when he reached Ireland he found that the secretaryship had already been given to another. But he soon obtained the living of Laracor, Agher, and Rathbeggan, and the prebend of Dunlavin in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.

At Laracor, a mile or two from Trim, County Meath, and twenty miles (32 km) from Dublin, Swift ministered to a congregation of about fifteen people, and had abundant leisure for cultivating his garden, making a canal (after the Dutch fashion of Moor Park), planting willows, and rebuilding the vicarage. As chaplain to Lord Berkeley, he spent much of his time in Dublin and traveled to London frequently over the next ten years. In 1701, Swift published, anonymously, a political pamphlet, A Discourse on the Contests and Dissentions in Athens and Rome.

Writer

In February 1702, Swift received his Doctor of Divinity degree from Trinity College, Dublin. That spring he traveled to England and returned to Ireland in October, accompanied by Esther Johnson—now twenty years old—and his friend Rebecca Dingley, another member of William Temple's household. There is a great mystery and controversy over Swift's relationship with Esther Johnson nicknamed "Stella". Many hold that they were secretly married in 1716.

The title page to Swift's 1735 Works, depicting the author in the Dean's chair, receiving the thanks of Ireland. The Horatian motto reads, Exegi Monumentum Ære perennius, "I have completed a monument more lasting than brass." The 'brass' is a pun, for Wood's half-pence (alloyed with brass) is scattered at his feet. Cherubim award Swift a poet's laurel.

During his visits to England in these years Swift published A Tale of a Tub and The Battle of the Books (1704) and began to gain a reputation as a writer. This led to close, lifelong friendships with Alexander Pope, John Gay, and John Arbuthnot, forming the core of the Martinus Scriblerus Club (founded in 1713).

Swift became increasingly active politically in these years. From 1707 to 1709 and again in 1710, Swift was in London, unsuccessfully urging upon the Whig administration of Lord Godolphin the claims of the Irish clergy to the First-Fruits and Twentieths ("Queen Anne's Bounty"), which brought in about £2500 a year, already granted to their brethren in England. He found the opposition Tory leadership more sympathetic to his cause and Swift was recruited to support their cause as editor of the Examiner when they came to power in 1710. In 1711, Swift published the political pamphlet "The Conduct of the Allies," attacking the Whig government for its inability to end the prolonged war with France. The incoming Tory government conducted secret (and illegal) negotiations with France, resulting in the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) ending the War of the Spanish Succession.

Swift was part of the inner circle of the Tory government, and often acted as mediator between Henry St. John (Viscount Bolingbroke) the secretary of state for foreign affairs (1710–15) and Robert Harley (Earl of Oxford) lord treasurer and prime minister (1711–1714). Swift recorded his experiences and thoughts during this difficult time in a long series of letters to Esther Johnson, later collected and published as The Journal to Stella. The animosity between the two Tory leaders eventually led to the dismissal of Harley in 1714. With the death of Queen Anne and ascension of George I that year, the Whigs returned to power and the Tory leaders were tried for treason for conducting secret negotiations with France.

Also during these years in London, Swift became acquainted with the Vanhomrigh family and became involved with one of the daughters, Esther, yet another fatherless young woman and an ambiguous relationship to confuse Swift's biographers. Swift furnished Esther with the nickname "Vanessa" and she features as one of the main characters in his poem Cadenus and Vanessa. The poem and their correspondence suggests that Esther was infatuated with Swift, that he may have reciprocated her affections, only to regret it and then try to break it off. Esther followed Swift to Ireland in 1714, where there appears to have been a confrontation, possibly involving Esther Johnson. Esther Vanhomrigh died in 1723 at the age of 35. Another lady with whom he had a close but less intense relationship, was Anne Long, a toast of the Kit-Cat Club.

Maturity

Bust in St. Patrick's Cathedral

Before the fall of the Tory government, Swift hoped that his services would be rewarded with a church appointment in England. However, Queen Anne appeared to have taken a dislike to Swift and thwarted these efforts. The best position his friends could secure for him was the Deanery of St. Patrick's, Dublin. With the return of the Whigs, Swift's best move was to leave England and he returned to Ireland in disappointment, a virtual exile, to live "like a rat in a hole".

Once in Ireland, however, Swift began to turn his pamphleteering skills in support of Irish causes, producing some of his most memorable works: Proposal for Universal Use of Irish Manufacture (1720), Drapier's Letters (1724), and A Modest Proposal (1729), earning him the status of an Irish patriot.

Also during these years, he began writing his masterpiece, Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts, by Lemuel Gulliver, first a surgeon, and then a captain of several ships, better known as Gulliver's Travels. Much of the material reflects his political experiences of the preceding decade. For instance, the episode in which the giant Gulliver puts out the Lilliputian palace fire by urinating on it can be seen as a metaphor for the Tories' illegal peace treaty; having done a good thing in an unfortunate manner. In 1726 he paid a long-deferred visit to London, taking with him the manuscript of Gulliver's Travels. During his visit he stayed with his old friends, Alexander Pope, John Arbuthnot, and John Gay, who helped him arrange for the anonymous publication of his book. First published in November 1726, it was an immediate hit, with a total of three printings that year and another in early 1727. French, German, and Dutch translations appeared in 1727 and pirated copies were printed in Ireland.

Swift returned to England one more time in 1727 and stayed with Alexander Pope once again. The visit was cut short when he received word that Esther Johnson was dying and Swift rushed back home to be with her. On 28 January 1728, Esther Johnson died, though he prayed at her bedside, even composing prayers for her comfort. Swift could not bear to be present at the end, but on the night of her death he began to write his The Death of Mrs. Johnson. He was too ill to attend the funeral at St. Patrick's. Many years later, a lock of hair, assumed to be Esther Johnson's, was found in his desk, wrapped in a paper bearing the words, "Only a woman's hair."

Death became a frequent feature in Swift's life from this point. In 1731 he wrote Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift, his own obituary published in 1739. In 1732, his good friend and collaborator John Gay died. In 1735, John Arbuthnot, another friend from his days in London, died. In 1738 Swift began to show signs of illness and in 1742 he appears to have suffered a stroke, losing the ability to speak and realizing his worst fears of becoming mentally disabled. ("I shall be like that tree," he once said, "I shall die at the top.") In order to protect him from unscrupulous hangers on, who had begun to prey on the great man, his closest companions had him declared of "unsound mind and memory." However, it was long believed by many that Swift was really insane at this point. In his book Literature and Western Man, author J.B. Priestley even cites the final chapters of Gulliver's Travels as proof of Swift's approaching "insanity".

In part VIII of his series, The Story of Civilization, Will Durant describes the final years of Swift's life as such:

"Definite symptoms of madness appeared in 1738. In 1741 guardians were appointed to take care of his affairs and watch lest in his outbursts of violence he should do himself harm. In 1742 he suffered great pain from the inflammation of his left eye, which swelled to the size of an egg; five attendants had to restrain him from tearing out his eye. He went a whole year without uttering a word."[2]

In 1744, Alexander Pope died. Then, on October 19, 1745, Swift died. After being laid out in public view for the people of Dublin to pay their last respects, he was buried in his own cathedral by Esther Johnson's side, in accordance with his wishes. The bulk of his fortune (twelve thousand pounds) was left to found a hospital for the mentally ill, originally known as St. Patrick’s Hospital for Imbeciles, which opened in 1757, and which still exists as a psychiatric hospital.

Epitaph

Epitaph in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin near his burial site.
Text extracted from the introduction to The Journal to Stella by George A. Aitken and from other sources)

Jonathan Swift wrote his own epitaph:

Hic depositum est Corpus
IONATHAN SWIFT S.T.D.
Hujus Ecclesiæ Cathedralis
Decani,
Ubi sæva Indignatio
Ulterius
Cor lacerare nequit,
Abi Viator
Et imitare, si poteris,
Strenuum pro virili
Libertatis Vindicatorem.
Obiit 19º Die Mensis Octobris
A.D. 1745 Anno Ætatis 78º.

The literal translation of which is: "Here is laid the Body of Jonathan Swift, Doctor of Sacred Theology, Dean of this Cathedral Church, where fierce Indignation can no longer injure the Heart. Go forth, Voyager, and copy, if you can, this vigorous (to the best of his ability) Champion of Liberty. He died on the 19th Day of the Month of October, A.D. 1745, in the 78th Year of his Age."

William Butler Yeats poetically translated it from the Latin as:

Swift has sailed into his rest.
Savage indignation there
cannot lacerate his breast.
Imitate him if you dare,
world-besotted traveller.
He served human liberty.

Works

Swift was a prolific writer, notable for his satires. The most recent collection of his prose works (Herbert Davis, ed. Basil Blackwell, 1965-) comprises fourteen volumes. A recent edition of his complete poetry (Pat Rodges, ed. Penguin, 1983) is 953 pages long. One edition of his correspondence (David Woolley, ed. P. Lang, 1999) fills three volumes.

Major prose works

Jonathan Swift at the Deanery of St. Patrick's, illus. from 1905 Temple Scott edition of Works

Swift's first major prose play, A Tale of a Tub, demonstrates many of the themes and stylistic techniques he would employ in his later work. It is at once wildly playful and funny while being pointed and harshly critical of its targets. In its main thread, the Tale recounts the exploits of three sons, representing the main threads of Christianity, who receive a bequest from their father of a coat each, with the added instructions to make no alterations whatsoever. However, the sons soon find that their coats have fallen out of current fashion and begin to look for loopholes in their father's will which will allow them to make the needed alterations. As each finds his own means of getting around their father's admonition, they struggle with each other for power and dominance. Inserted into this story, in alternating chapters, Swift includes a series of whimsical "digressions" on various subjects.

In 1690, Sir William Temple, Swift's patron, published An Essay upon Ancient and Modern Learning a defense of classical writing (see Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns) holding up the Epistles of Phalaris as an example. William Wotton responded to Temple with Reflections upon Ancient and Modern Learning (1694) showing that the Epistles were a later forgery. A response by the supporters of the Ancients was then made by Charles Boyle (later the 4th Earl of Orrery and father of Swift's first biographer). A further retort on the Modern side came from Richard Bentley, one of the pre-eminent scholars of the day, in his essay Dissertation upon the Epistles of Phalaris (1699). However, the final words on the topic belong to Swift in his Battle of the Books (1697, published 1704) in which he makes a humorous defense on behalf of Temple and the cause of the Ancients.

In 1708, a cobbler named John Partridge published a popular almanac of astrological predictions. Because Partridge falsely determined the deaths of several church officials, Swift attacked Partridge in Predictions For The Ensuing Year by Isaac Bickerstaff, a parody predicting that Partridge would die on March 29th. Swift followed up with a pamphlet issued on March 30th claiming that Partridge had in fact died, which was widely believed despite Partridge's statements to the contrary.

Drapier's Letters (1724) was a series of pamphlets against the monopoly granted by the English government to William Wood to provide the Irish with copper coinage. It was widely believed that Wood would need to flood Ireland with debased coinage in order make a profit. In these "letters" Swift posed as a shop-keeper--a draper--in order to criticize the plan. Swift's writing was so effective in undermining opinion in the project that a reward was offered by the government to anyone disclosing the true identity of the author. Though hardly a secret (on returning to Dublin after one of his trips to England, Swift was greeted with a banner, "Welcome Home, Drapier") no one turned Swift in. The government eventually resorted to hiring none other than Sir Isaac Newton to certify the soundness of Wood's coinage to counter Swift's accusations. In "Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift" (1739) Swift recalled this as one of his best achievements.

Gulliver's Travels, which Swift wrote a large portion of in Woodbrook House, County Laois was first published in 1726, and is regarded as his masterpiece. As with his other writings, the Travels was published under a pseudonym, the fictional Lemuel Gulliver, a ship's surgeon and later a sea captain. Some of the correspondence between printer Benj. Motte and Gulliver's also-fictional cousin negotiating the book's publication has survived. Though it has often been mistakenly thought of and published in bowdlerized form as a children's book, it is a great and sophisticated satire of human nature based on Swift's experience of his times. Gulliver's Travels is an anatomy of human nature, a sardonic looking-glass, often criticized for its apparent misanthropy. It asks its readers to refute it, to deny that it has not adequately characterized human nature and society. Each of the four books--recounting four voyages to mostly-fictional exotic lands--has a different theme, but all are attempts to deflate human pride. Critics hail the work as a satiric reflection on the failings of Enlightenment modernism.

In 1729, he published A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public, a satire in which the narrator, with intentionally grotesque logic, recommends that Ireland's poor escape their poverty by selling their children as food to the rich: ”I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food...” Following the satirical form, he introduces the reforms he is actually suggesting by deriding them:

Therefore let no man talk to me of other expedients...taxing our absentees...using [nothing] except what is of our own growth and manufacture...rejecting...foreign luxury...introducing a vein of parsimony, prudence and temperance...learning to love our country...quitting our animosities and factions...teaching landlords to have at least one degree of mercy towards their tenants....Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these and the like expedients, 'till he hath at least some glympse of hope, that there will ever be some hearty and sincere attempt to put them into practice.

According to other sources, Richard Steele uses the personae of Isaac Bickerstaff and was the one who wrote about the "death" of John Partridge and published it in The Spectator, not Jonathan Swift.*

Essays, tracts, pamphlets, periodicals

Swift as depicted on the Irish £10 banknote, issued 1976–1993.

Poems

An 1850 illustration of Swift

Correspondence, personal writings

  • "When I Come to Be Old" – Swift's resolutions. (1699): Full text: JaffeBros
  • The Journal to Stella (1710–1713): Full text (presented as daily entries): The Journal to Stella; Extracts: OurCivilisation.com;
  • Letters:
  • 'The Correspondence of Jonathan Swift, D.D'. Edited by David Woolley. In four volumes, plus index volume. Frankfurt am Main ; New York : P. Lang, c1999-c2007.

Sermons, prayers

Miscellany

Legacy

John Ruskin named him as one of the three people in history who were the most influential for him.[3]

Notes

  1. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica: "Anglo-Irish author, who was the foremost prose satirist in the English language".
  2. ^ "The Story of Civilization", V.8., 362.
  3. ^ John Ruskin: Sesame and Lillies

Biographical sources

  • Samuel Johnson's "Life of Swift": JaffeBros. From his Lives of the Poets.
  • William Makepeace Thackeray's influential vitriolic biography: JaffeBros. From his English Humourists of The Eighteenth Century.
  • Bullitt, John M. Jonathan Swift and the Anatomy of Satire: A Study of Satiric Technique, 1953, Cambridge: Harvard U P,
  • Jae Num Lee "Swift and Scatological Satire", 1971, University of New Mexico Press, ISBN 0826301967 jstor review
  • Lee, Jae Num. "Scatology in Continental Satirical Writings from Aristophanes to Rabelais" and "English Scatological Writings from Skelton to Pope." Swift and Scatological Satire. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P, 1971. 7–22; 23–53.
  • Susan Gubar "The Female Monster in Augustan Satire" Signs, Vol. 3, No. 2 (Winter, 1977), pp. 380–394
  • Many other sources are listed here.

See also

External links

E-texts of works


Jonathan Swift
File:Jonathan Swift by Charles Jervas
Born 30 November 1667(1667-11-30)
Dublin, Ireland1
Died 19 October 1745 (aged 77)
Ireland
Pen name M.B. Drapier, Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff
Occupation Satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer, poet, priest
Language English
Alma mater Trinity College, Dublin
Notable work(s) Gulliver's Travels
A Modest Proposal
A Tale of a Tub
Drapier's Letters

Jonathan Swift (30 November 1667 – 19 October 1745) was an Anglo-Irish[1] satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for the Whigs, then for the Tories), poet and cleric who became Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.

He is remembered for works such as Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella, Drapier's Letters, The Battle of the Books, An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity, and A Tale of a Tub. Swift is probably the foremost prose satirist in the English language, and is less well known for his poetry. Swift originally published all of his works under pseudonyms—such as Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff, M.B. Drapier—or anonymously. He is also known for being a master of two styles of satire: the Horatian and Juvenalian styles.

Contents

Biography

Youth

Jonathan Swift was born at No. 7, Hoey's Court, Dublin, and was the second child and only son of Jonathan Swift (a second cousin of John Dryden) and wife Abigail Erick (or Herrick), paternal grandson of Thomas Swift and wife Elizabeth Dryden, daughter of Nicholas Dryden (brother of Sir Erasmus Dryden, 1st Baronet Dryden) and wife Mary Emyley. His father was Irish born and his mother was the sister of the vicar of Frisby-on-the-Wreake, England. Swift arrived seven months after his father's untimely death. Most of the facts of Swift's early life are obscure, confused and sometimes contradictory. It is widely believed that his mother returned to England when Jonathan was still very young, then leaving him to be raised by his father's family. His uncle Godwin took primary responsibility for the young Jonathan, sending him with one of his cousins to Kilkenny College (also attended by the philosopher George Berkeley).

In 1682 he attended Dublin University (Trinity College, Dublin), receiving his B.A. in 1686. Swift was studying for his Master's degree when political troubles in Ireland surrounding the Glorious Revolution forced him to leave for England in 1688, where his mother helped him get a position as secretary and personal assistant of Sir William Temple at Moor Park, Farnham. Temple was an English diplomat who, having arranged the Triple Alliance of 1668, retired from public service to his country estate to tend his gardens and write his memoirs. Gaining the confidence of his employer, Swift "was often trusted with matters of great importance."[cite this quote] Within three years of their acquaintance, Temple had introduced his secretary to William III, and sent him to London to urge the King to consent to a bill for triennial Parliaments.

When Swift took up his residence at Moor Park, he met Esther Johnson, then 8 years old, the fatherless daughter of one of the household servants. Swift acted as her tutor and mentor, giving her the nickname "Stella", and the two maintained a close but ambiguous relationship for the rest of Esther's life.

Swift left Temple in 1690 for Ireland because of his health, but returned to Moor Park the following year. The illness, fits of vertigo or giddiness—now known to be Ménière's disease—would continue to plague Swift throughout his life. During this second stay with Temple, Swift received his M.A. from Hertford College, Oxford in 1692. Then, apparently despairing of gaining a better position through Temple's patronage, Swift left Moor Park to become an ordained priest in the Established Church of Ireland and in 1694 he was appointed to the prebend of Kilroot in the Diocese of Connor, with his parish located at Kilroot, near Carrickfergus in County Antrim.

Swift appears to have been miserable in his new position, being isolated in a small, remote community far from the centres of power and influence. While at Kilroot, however, Swift may well have become romantically involved with Jane Waring. A letter from him survives, offering to remain if she would marry him and promising to leave and never return to Ireland if she refused. She presumably refused, because Swift left his post and returned to England and Temple's service at Moor Park in 1696, and he remained there until Temple's death. There he was employed in helping to prepare Temple's memoirs and correspondence for publication. During this time Swift wrote The Battle of the Books, a satire responding to critics of Temple's Essay upon Ancient and Modern Learning (1690). Battle was however not published until 1704.

On January 27, 1699 Temple died. Swift stayed on briefly in England to complete the editing of Temple's memoirs, and perhaps in the hope that recognition of his work might earn him a suitable position in England. However, Swift's work made enemies of some of Temple's family and friends who objected to indiscretions included in the memoirs. His next move was to approach King William directly, based on his imagined connection through Temple and a belief that he had been promised a position. This failed so miserably that he accepted the lesser post of secretary and chaplain to the Earl of Berkeley, one of the Lords Justices of Ireland. However, when he reached Ireland he found that the secretaryship had already been given to another. But he soon obtained the living of Laracor, Agher, and Rathbeggan, and the prebend of Dunlavin in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.

At Laracor, a mile or two from Trim, County Meath, and twenty miles (32 km) from Dublin, Swift ministered to a congregation of about fifteen people, and had abundant leisure for cultivating his garden, making a canal (after the Dutch fashion of Moor Park), planting willows, and rebuilding the vicarage. As chaplain to Lord Berkeley, he spent much of his time in Dublin and traveled to London frequently over the next ten years. In 1701, Swift published, anonymously, a political pamphlet, A Discourse on the Contests and Dissentions in Athens and Rome.

Writer

In February 1702, Swift received his Doctor of Divinity degree from Trinity College, Dublin. That spring he traveled to England and returned to Ireland in October, accompanied by Esther Johnson—now twenty years old—and his friend Rebecca Dingley, another member of William Temple's household. There is a great mystery and controversy over Swift's relationship with Esther Johnson nicknamed "Stella". Many[who?] hold that they were secretly married in 1716.

During his visits to England in these years Swift published A Tale of a Tub and The Battle of the Books (1704) and began to gain a reputation as a writer. This led to close, lifelong friendships with Alexander Pope, John Gay, and John Arbuthnot, forming the core of the Martinus Scriblerus Club (founded in 1713).

Swift became increasingly active politically in these years. From 1707 to 1709 and again in 1710, Swift was in London, unsuccessfully urging upon the Whig administration of Lord Godolphin the claims of the Irish clergy to the First-Fruits and Twentieths ("Queen Anne's Bounty"), which brought in about £2,500 a year, already granted to their brethren in England. He found the opposition Tory leadership more sympathetic to his cause and Swift was recruited to support their cause as editor of the Examiner when they came to power in 1710. In 1711, Swift published the political pamphlet "The Conduct of the Allies," attacking the Whig government for its inability to end the prolonged war with France. The incoming Tory government conducted secret (and illegal) negotiations with France, resulting in the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) ending the War of the Spanish Succession.

Swift was part of the inner circle of the Tory government, and often acted as mediator between Henry St. John (Viscount Bolingbroke) the secretary of state for foreign affairs (1710–15) and Robert Harley (Earl of Oxford) lord treasurer and prime minister (1711–1714). Swift recorded his experiences and thoughts during this difficult time in a long series of letters to Esther Johnson, later collected and published as The Journal to Stella. The animosity between the two Tory leaders eventually led to the dismissal of Harley in 1714. With the death of Queen Anne and accession of George I that year, the Whigs returned to power and the Tory leaders were tried for treason for conducting secret negotiations with France.

Also during these years in London, Swift became acquainted with the Vanhomrigh family and became involved with one of the daughters, Esther, yet another fatherless young woman and another ambiguous relationship to confuse Swift's biographers. Swift furnished Esther with the nickname "Vanessa" and she features as one of the main characters in his poem Cadenus and Vanessa. The poem and their correspondence suggests that Esther was infatuated with Swift, and that he may have reciprocated her affections, only to regret this and then try to break off the relationship. Esther followed Swift to Ireland in 1714, where there appears to have been a confrontation, possibly involving Esther Johnson. Esther Vanhomrigh died in 1723 at the age of 35. Another lady with whom he had a close but less intense relationship was Anne Long, a toast of the Kit-Cat Club.

Maturity

File:St. Patrick's Cathedral Swift
Bust in St. Patrick's Cathedral

Before the fall of the Tory government, Swift hoped that his services would be rewarded with a church appointment in England. However, Queen Anne appeared to have taken a dislike to Swift and thwarted these efforts. The best position his friends could secure for him was the Deanery of St. Patrick's, Dublin. With the return of the Whigs, Swift's best move was to leave England and he returned to Ireland in disappointment, a virtual exile, to live "like a rat in a hole".

Once in Ireland, however, Swift began to turn his pamphleteering skills in support of Irish causes, producing some of his most memorable works: Proposal for Universal Use of Irish Manufacture (1720), Drapier's Letters (1724), and A Modest Proposal (1729), earning him the status of an Irish patriot.

Also during these years, he began writing his masterpiece, Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts, by Lemuel Gulliver, first a surgeon, and then a captain of several ships, better known as Gulliver's Travels. Much of the material reflects his political experiences of the preceding decade. For instance, the episode in which the giant Gulliver puts out the Lilliputian palace fire by urinating on it can be seen as a metaphor for the Tories' illegal peace treaty; having done a good thing in an unfortunate manner. In 1726 he paid a long-deferred visit to London, taking with him the manuscript of Gulliver's Travels. During his visit he stayed with his old friends Alexander Pope, John Arbuthnot and John Gay, who helped him arrange for the anonymous publication of his book. First published in November 1726, it was an immediate hit, with a total of three printings that year and another in early 1727. French, German, and Dutch translations appeared in 1727, and pirated copies were printed in Ireland.

Swift returned to England one more time in 1727 and stayed with Alexander Pope once again. The visit was cut short when Swift received word that Esther Johnson was dying and rushed back home to be with her. On 28 January 1728, Esther Johnson died; Swift had prayed at her bedside, even composing prayers for her comfort. Swift could not bear to be present at the end, but on the night of her death he began to write his The Death of Mrs. Johnson. He was too ill to attend the funeral at St. Patrick's. Many years later, a lock of hair, assumed to be Esther Johnson's, was found in his desk, wrapped in a paper bearing the words, "Only a woman's hair."

[[File:|thumb|left|150px|Swift's death mask]] Death became a frequent feature in Swift's life from this point. In 1731 he wrote Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift, his own obituary published in 1739. In 1732, his good friend and collaborator John Gay died. In 1735, John Arbuthnot, another friend from his days in London, died. In 1738 Swift began to show signs of illness, and in 1742 he appears to have suffered a stroke, losing the ability to speak and realizing his worst fears of becoming mentally disabled. ("I shall be like that tree," he once said, "I shall die at the top.") To protect him from unscrupulous hangers on, who had begun to prey on the great man, his closest companions had him declared of "unsound mind and memory." However, it was long believed by many that Swift was really insane at this point. In his book Literature and Western Man, author J.B. Priestley even cites the final chapters of Gulliver's Travels as proof of Swift's approaching "insanity".

In part VIII of his series, The Story of Civilization, Will Durant describes the final years of Swift's life as such:

"Definite symptoms of madness appeared in 1738. In 1741 guardians were appointed to take care of his affairs and watch lest in his outbursts of violence he should do himself harm. In 1742 he suffered great pain from the inflammation of his left eye, which swelled to the size of an egg; five attendants had to restrain him from tearing out his eye. He went a whole year without uttering a word."[2]

In 1744, Alexander Pope died. Then, on October 19, 1745, Swift died. After being laid out in public view for the people of Dublin to pay their last respects, he was buried in his own cathedral by Esther Johnson's side, in accordance with his wishes. The bulk of his fortune (twelve thousand pounds) was left to found a hospital for the mentally ill, originally known as St. Patrick’s Hospital for Imbeciles, which opened in 1757, and which still exists as a psychiatric hospital.

Epitaph

Text extracted from the introduction to The Journal to Stella by George A. Aitken and from other sources)

Jonathan Swift wrote his own epitaph:

Hic depositum est Corpus
IONATHAN SWIFT S.T.D.
Hujus Ecclesiæ Cathedralis
Decani,
Ubi sæva Indignatio
Ulterius
Cor lacerare nequit,
Abi Viator
Et imitare, si poteris,
Strenuum pro virili
Libertatis Vindicatorem.
Obiit 19º Die Mensis Octobris
A.D. 1745 Anno Ætatis 78º.

The literal translation of which is: "Here is laid the Body of Jonathan Swift, Doctor of Sacred Theology, Dean of this Cathedral Church, where fierce Indignation can no longer injure the Heart. Go forth, Voyager, and copy, if you can, this vigorous (to the best of his ability) Champion of Liberty. He died on the 19th Day of the Month of October, A.D. 1745, in the 78th Year of his Age."

William Butler Yeats poetically translated it from the Latin as:

Swift has sailed into his rest.
Savage indignation there
cannot lacerate his breast.
Imitate him if you dare,
world-besotted traveller.
He served human liberty.

Works

Swift was a prolific writer, notable for his satires. The most recent collection of his prose works (Herbert Davis, ed. Basil Blackwell, 1965-) comprises fourteen volumes. A recent edition of his complete poetry (Pat Rodges, ed. Penguin, 1983) is 953 pages long. One edition of his correspondence (David Woolley, ed. P. Lang, 1999) fills three volumes.

Major prose works

File:Jonathan Swift - Project Gutenberg eText
Jonathan Swift at the Deanery of St. Patrick's, illus. from 1905 Temple Scott edition of Works
File:Swift
The title page to Swift's 1735 Works, depicting the author in the Dean's chair, receiving the thanks of Ireland. The Horatian motto reads, Exegi Monumentum Ære perennius, "I have completed a monument more lasting than brass." The 'brass' is a pun, for Wood's half-pence (alloyed with brass) is scattered at his feet. Cherubim award Swift a poet's laurel.

Swift's first major prose work, A Tale of a Tub, demonstrates many of the themes and stylistic techniques he would employ in his later work. It is at once wildly playful and funny while being pointed and harshly critical of its targets. In its main thread, the Tale recounts the exploits of three sons, representing the main threads of Christianity, who receive a bequest from their father of a coat each, with the added instructions to make no alterations whatsoever. However, the sons soon find that their coats have fallen out of current fashion, and begin to look for loopholes in their father's will that will let them make the needed alterations. As each finds his own means of getting around their father's admonition, they struggle with each other for power and dominance. Inserted into this story, in alternating chapters, the narrator includes a series of whimsical "digressions" on various subjects.

In 1690, Sir William Temple, Swift's patron, published An Essay upon Ancient and Modern Learning a defense of classical writing (see Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns) holding up the Epistles of Phalaris as an example. William Wotton responded to Temple with Reflections upon Ancient and Modern Learning (1694) showing that the Epistles were a later forgery. A response by the supporters of the Ancients was then made by Charles Boyle (later the 4th Earl of Orrery and father of Swift's first biographer). A further retort on the Modern side came from Richard Bentley, one of the pre-eminent scholars of the day, in his essay Dissertation upon the Epistles of Phalaris (1699). However, the final words on the topic belong to Swift in his Battle of the Books (1697, published 1704) in which he makes a humorous defense on behalf of Temple and the cause of the Ancients.

In 1708, a cobbler named John Partridge published a popular almanac of astrological predictions. Because Partridge falsely determined the deaths of several church officials, Swift attacked Partridge in Predictions For The Ensuing Year by Isaac Bickerstaff, a parody predicting that Partridge would die on March 29. Swift followed up with a pamphlet issued on March 30 claiming that Partridge had in fact died, which was widely believed despite Partridge's statements to the contrary.

Drapier's Letters (1724) was a series of pamphlets against the monopoly granted by the English government to William Wood to provide the Irish with copper coinage. It was widely believed that Wood would need to flood Ireland with debased coinage in order make a profit. In these "letters" Swift posed as a shop-keeper—a draper—in order to criticize the plan. Swift's writing was so effective in undermining opinion in the project that a reward was offered by the government to anyone disclosing the true identity of the author. Though hardly a secret (on returning to Dublin after one of his trips to England, Swift was greeted with a banner, "Welcome Home, Drapier") no one turned Swift in. The government eventually resorted to hiring none other than Sir Isaac Newton to certify the soundness of Wood's coinage to counter Swift's accusations. In "Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift" (1739) Swift recalled this as one of his best achievements.

Gulliver's Travels, a large portion of which Swift wrote at Woodbrook House in County Laois, was published in 1726. It is regarded as his masterpiece. As with his other writings, the Travels was published under a pseudonym, the fictional Lemuel Gulliver, a ship's surgeon and later a sea captain. Some of the correspondence between printer Benj. Motte and Gulliver's also-fictional cousin negotiating the book's publication has survived. Though it has often been mistakenly thought of and published in bowdlerized form as a children's book, it is a great and sophisticated satire of human nature based on Swift's experience of his times. Gulliver's Travels is an anatomy of human nature, a sardonic looking-glass, often criticized for its apparent misanthropy. It asks its readers to refute it, to deny that it has adequately characterized human nature and society. Each of the four books—recounting four voyages to mostly-fictional exotic lands—has a different theme, but all are attempts to deflate human pride. Critics hail the work as a satiric reflection on the shortcomings of Enlightenment thought.

In 1729, Swift published A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public, a satire in which the narrator, with intentionally grotesque logic, recommends that Ireland's poor escape their poverty by selling their children as food to the rich: ”I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food...” Following the satirical form, he introduces the reforms he is actually suggesting by deriding them:
Therefore let no man talk to me of other expedients...taxing our absentees...using [nothing] except what is of our own growth and manufacture...rejecting...foreign luxury...introducing a vein of parsimony, prudence and temperance...learning to love our country...quitting our animosities and factions...teaching landlords to have at least one degree of mercy towards their tenants....Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these and the like expedients, 'till he hath at least some glympse of hope, that there will ever be some hearty and sincere attempt to put them into practice.

According to other sources,[citation needed] Richard Steele uses the personae of Isaac Bickerstaff and was the one who wrote about the "death" of John Partridge and published it in The Spectator, not Jonathan Swift.*

Essays, tracts, pamphlets, periodicals

File:CBI - Series B - Ten pound
Swift as depicted on the Irish £10 banknote, issued 1976–1993.

Poems

File:International Mag Jonathan
An 1850 illustration of Swift

Correspondence, personal writings

  • "When I Come to Be Old" – Swift's resolutions. (1699): Full text: JaffeBros
  • The Journal to Stella (1710–1713): Full text (presented as daily entries): The Journal to Stella; Extracts: OurCivilisation.com;
  • Letters:
  • 'The Correspondence of Jonathan Swift, D.D'. Edited by David Woolley. In four volumes, plus index volume. Frankfurt am Main ; New York : P. Lang, c1999-c2007.

Sermons, prayers

Miscellany

Legacy

John Ruskin named him as one of the three people in history who were the most influential for him.[3]

Notes

  1. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica: "Anglo-Irish author, who was the foremost prose satirist in the English language".
  2. ^ "The Story of Civilization", V.8., 362.
  3. ^ John Ruskin: Sesame and Lillies

Biographical sources

  • Samuel Johnson's "Life of Swift": JaffeBros. From his Lives of the Poets.
  • William Makepeace Thackeray's influential vitriolic biography: JaffeBros. From his English Humourists of The Eighteenth Century.
  • Bullitt, John M. Jonathan Swift and the Anatomy of Satire: A Study of Satiric Technique, 1953, Cambridge: Harvard U P,
  • Jae Num Lee "Swift and Scatological Satire", 1971, University of New Mexico Press, ISBN 0826301967 jstor review
  • Lee, Jae Num. "Scatology in Continental Satirical Writings from Aristophanes to Rabelais" and "English Scatological Writings from Skelton to Pope." Swift and Scatological Satire. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P, 1971. 7–22; 23–53.
  • Susan Gubar "The Female Monster in Augustan Satire" Signs, Vol. 3, No. 2 (Winter, 1977), pp. 380–394
  • Many other sources are listed here.

See also

External links

E-texts of works


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Proper words in proper places, make the true definition of a style.

Jonathan Swift (30 November 166719 October 1745) was an Irish writer and satirist. Swift is probably the foremost prose satirist in the English language, although he is also well known for his poetry and essays.

Contents

Sourced

  • When I behold this I sighed, and said within myself, "Surely mortal man is a broomstick!" Nature sent him into the world strong and lusty, in a thriving condition, wearing his own hair on his head, the proper branches of this reasoning vegetable, till the axe of intemperance has lopped off his green boughs, and left him a withered trunk; he then flies to art, and puts on a periwig, valuing himself upon an unnatural bundle of hairs, all covered with powder, that never grew on his head; but now should this our broomstick pretend to enter the scene, proud of those birchen spoils it never bore, and all covered with dust, through the sweepings of the finest lady's chamber, we should be apt to ridicule and despise its vanity. Partial judges that we are of our own excellencies, and other men's defaults!
    • Meditation on a Broomstick (1703-1710)
  • There are certain common privileges of a writer, the benefit whereof, I hope, there will be no reason to doubt; particularly, that where I am not understood, it shall be concluded, that something very useful and profound is couched underneath; and again, that whatever word or sentence is printed in a different character, shall be judged to contain something extraordinary either or wit of sublime."
  • I have one word to say upon the subject of profound writers, who are grown very numerous of late; and I know very well the judicious world is resolved to list me in that number. I conceive therefore, as to the business of being profound, that it is with writers as with wells - a person with good eyes may see to the bottom of the deepest, provided any water be there: and often when there is nothing in the world at the bottom besides dryness and dirt, though it be but a yard and a-half under-ground, it shall pass, however, for wondrous deep upon no wiser reason than because it is wondrous dark.
  • Books, the children of the brain.
    • A Tale of a Tub, Sec. 1 (1704)
  • Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own.
    • The Battle of the Books, preface (1704)
  • Instead of dirt and poison we have rather chosen to fill our hives with honey and wax; thus furnishing mankind with the two noblest of things, which are sweetness and light.
    • The Battle of the Books, preface (1704)
  • Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.
    • A Critical Essay upon the Faculties of the Mind (1707)
  • There is nothing in this world constant, but inconstancy.
    • A Critical Essay upon the Faculties of the Mind (1707)
  • There are few, very few, that will own themselves in a mistake, though all the World sees them to be in downright nonsense.
    • The Tatler No. 63 (September 1709)
  • And surely one of the best rules in conversation is, never to say a thing which any of the company can reasonably wish had been left unsaid…
    • Hints Toward an Essay on Conversation (1709)
  • 'Tis very warm weather when one's in bed.
    • Journal to Stella (November 8, 1710)
  • We are so fond of one another, because our ailments are the same.
    • Journal to Stella (February 1, 1711)
  • I love good creditable acquaintance; I love to be the worst of the company.
    • Journal to Stella (May 17, 1711)
  • …one enemy can do more hurt, than ten friends can do good.
    • Journal to Stella (30 June, 1711)
  • But nothing is so hard for those who abound in riches, as to conceive how others can be in want.
    • A Preface to the Bishop of Sarum's Introduction to the Third Volume of the History of the Reformation of the Church of England (8 December, 1713)
  • 'Tis an old maxim in the schools,
    That flattery's the food of fools;
    Yet now and then your men of wit
    Will condescend to take a bit.
    • Cadenus and Vanessa (1713)
  • Proper words in proper places, make the true definition of a style.
    • Letter to a Young Clergyman (January 9, 1720)
  • ...reasoning will never make a man correct an ill opinion, which by reasoning he never acquired...
    • Letter to a Young Clergyman (January 9, 1720), on proving Christianity to freethinkers
  • If Heaven had looked upon riches to be a valuable thing, it would not have given them to such a scoundrel.
  • So weak thou art, that fools thy power despise;
    And yet so strong, thou triumph'st o'er the wise.
    • To Love
      • found in Miss Vanhom­righ's desk after her death, in Swift's hand­writing
  • For, in reason, all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery: but in fact, eleven men well armed will certainly subdue one single man in his shirt.
  • Libertas et natale solum:
    Fine words! I wonder where you stole 'em.
    • Verses Occasioned by Whitshed's Motto on his Coach (1724)
      • Whitshed was a chief justice enraged by The Drapier's Letters
  • A set of phrases learnt by rote;
    A passion for a scarlet coat;
    When at a play to laugh, or cry,
    Yet cannot tell the reason why:
    Never to hold her tongue a minute;
    While all she prates has nothing in it.
    • The Furniture of a Woman's Mind (1727)
  • For conversation well endued;
    She calls it witty to be rude;
    And, placing raillery in railing,
    Will tell aloud your greatest failing.
    • The Furniture of a Woman's Mind (1727)
  • Those dreams that on the silent night intrude, and with false flitting shapes our minds delude ... are mere productions of the brain. And fools consult interpreters in vain.
    • On Dreams (1727)
  • This evil fortune, which generally attends extraordinary men in the management of great affairs, has been imputed to divers causes, that need not be here set down, when so obvious a one occurs, if what a certain writer observes be true, that when a great genius appears in the world the dunces are all in confederacy against him.
    • Essay on the Fates of Clergymen (1728)
  • I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.
  • A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.
  • Yet malice never was his aim;
    He lashed the vice but spared the name.
    No individual could resent,
    Where thousands equally were meant.
    His satire points at no defect
    But what all mortals may correct;
    For he abhorred that senseless tribe
    Who call it humor when they gibe.
    • Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift, l. 459 (1731)
  • Hobbes clearly proves that every creature
    Lives in a state of war by nature.
    • On Poetry: A Rhapsody (1733)
  • So, naturalists observe, a flea
    Hath smaller fleas that on him prey;
    And these have smaller still to bit 'em;
    And so proceed ad infinitum.
    Thus every poet, in his kind,
    Is bit by him that comes behind.
    • On Poetry: A Rhapsody (1733)
  • Conversation is but carving!
    Give no more to every guest
    Than he's able to digest.
    Give him always of the prime,
    And but little at a time.
    Carve to all but just enough,
    Let them neither starve nor stuff,
    And that you may have your due,
    Let your neighbor carve for you.
    • Conversation
  • Under an oak, in stormy weather,
    I joined this rogue and whore together;
    And none but he who rules the thunder
    Can put this rogue and whore asunder.
    • Marriage Certificate. From the Oxford Book of Literary Anecdotes, James Sutherland, ed. (1975), no. 77
  • Good manners is the art of making those people easy with whom we converse. Whoever makes the fewest persons uneasy is the best bred in the company.
    • A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding (1754, published posthumously)
  • Pedantry is properly the over-rating of any kind of knowledge we pretend to.
    • A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding
  • Pride, ill nature, and want of sense, are the three great sources of ill manners.
    • A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding
  • I can discover no political evil in suffering bullies, sharpers, and rakes, to rid the world of each other by a method of their own; where the law hath not been able to find an expedient.
    • A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding
  • Nothing is so great an instance of ill manners as flattery. If you flatter all the company, you please none; if you flatter only one or two, you affront the rest.
    • Hints on Good Manners
  • It is impossible that any thing so natural, so necessary, and so universal as death, should ever have been designed by Providence as an evil to mankind.
    • Thoughts on Religion (1765, published posthumously)
  • I shall be like that tree; I shall die from the top.
    • Predicting that he would go senile.[1]
  • Ubi saeva indignatio ulterius cor lacerare nequit
    • Translation: Where savage indignation can lacerate his heart no more.
    • Epitaph. Inscribed on Swift's grave, St. Patrick's, Dublin.

Thoughts on Various Subjects from Miscellanies (1711-1726)

  • We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.
  • Every man desires to live long, but no man would be old.
  • A nice man is a man of nasty ideas.
  • Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.
  • What they do in heaven we are ignorant of; what they do not we are told expressly: that they neither marry, nor are given in marriage.
  • The Stoical scheme of supplying our wants by lopping off our desires, is like cutting off our feet when we want shoes.
  • The power of fortune is confessed only by the miserable; for the happy impute all their success to prudence or merit.
  • The latter part of a wise man’s life is taken up in curing the follies, prejudices, and false opinions he had contracted in the former.
  • Positiveness is a good quality for preachers and orators, because he that would obtrude his thoughts and reasons upon a multitude, will convince others the more, as he appears convinced himself.
  • Politics, as the word is commonly understood, are nothing but corruptions, and consequently of no use to a good king or a good ministry; for which reason Courts are so overrun with politics.
  • Men are contented to be laughed at for their wit, but not for their folly.
  • Although men are accused of not knowing their own weakness, yet perhaps as few know their own strength. It is in men as in soils, where sometimes there is a vein of gold, which the owner knows not of.
  • Ambition often puts men upon doing the meanest offices; so climbing is performed in the same posture with creeping.
  • Censure is the tax a man pays to the public for being eminent.
  • Invention is the talent of youth, and judgment of age…
  • I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed.
  • No wise man ever wished to be younger.

Gulliver's Travels (1726)

  • He (the Emperor) is taller by almost the breadth of my nail, than any of his court, which alone is enough to strike an awe into the beholders.
    • Voyage to Lilliput, Ch. 2
  • I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.
    • Voyage to Brobdingnag, Ch. 6
  • And he gave it for his opinion, that whosoever could make two ears of corn or two blades of grass to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.
    • Voyage to Brobdingnag, Ch. 6
  • He had been eight years upon a project for extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers, which were to be put in vials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw inclement summers.
    • Voyage to Laputa, Ch. 5
  • I said the thing which was not. (For they have no word in their language to express lying or falsehood.)
    • Voyage to Houyhnhnms, Ch. 3
  • Poor Nations are hungry, and rich Nations are proud, and Pride and Hunger will ever be at Variance.
    • Voyage to Houyhnhnms, Ch. 5
  • A soldier is a Yahoo (man) hired to kill in cold blood as many of his own species, who have never offended him, as possibly he can.
    • Voyage to Houyhnhnms, Ch. 5
  • I told him...that we ate when we were not hungry, and drank without the provocation of thirst.
    • Voyage to Houyhnhnms, Ch. 6

Polite Conversation (1738?)

Dialogue 1

  • The sight of you is good for sore eyes.
  • 'Tis as cheap sitting as standing.
  • I hate nobody: I am in charity with the world.
  • I won't quarrel with my bread and butter.
  • She's no chicken; she's on the wrong side of thirty, if she be a day.
  • She wears her clothes, as if they were thrown on her with a pitchfork.
  • …promises and pie-crust are made to be broken.

Dialogue 2

  • He was a bold man that first ate an oyster.
  • That's as well said, as if I had said it myself.
  • Fingers were made before forks, and hands before knives.
  • She has more goodness in her little finger, than he has in his whole body.
  • Lord, I wonder what fool it was that first invented kissing!
  • The best doctors in the world are Doctor Diet, Doctor Quiet, and Doctor Merryman.
  • May you live all the days of your life.
  • I always love to begin a journey on Sundays, because I shall have the prayers of the church to preserve all that travel by land, or water.
  • I thought you and he were hand-in-glove.
  • Better belly burst than good liquor be lost.
    • Earlier proverb, quoted in James Howell's English Proverbs (1659)
      • Better belly burst than good drink lost.

Dialogue 3

  • She watches him, as a cat would watch a mouse.
  • She pays him in his own coin.
  • There was all the world and his wife.

Attributed

  • You beat your pate, and fancy wit will come;
    Knock as you please, there's nobody at home.
    • On a Dull Writer, reported in John Hawkesworth, The Works of Jonathan Swift, D.D., Dean of St. Patrick's, Dublin (1754), p. 265. Alternately attributed to Alexander Pope by Bartlett's Quotations, 10th Edition (1919). Compare: "His wit invites you by his looks to come, But when you knock, it never is at home", William Cowper, Conversation, line 303.

Misattributed

  • There is, indeed, no wild beast more to be dreaded than a communicative man having nothing to communicate.
    • Christian Nestell Bovee, Intuitions and Summaries of Thought
  • As love without esteem is volatile and capricious; esteem without love is languid and cold.

External links

Wikipedia
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

JONATHAN SWIFT (1667-1745), dean of St Patrick's, Dublin, British satirist, was born at No. 7 Hoey's Court, Dublin, on the 30th of November 1667, a few months after the death of his father, Jonathan Swift (1640-1667), who married about 1664 Abigaile Erick, of an old Leicestershire family. He was taken over to England as an infant and nursed at Whitehaven, whence he returned to Ireland in his fourth year. His grandfather, Thomas Swift, vicar of Goodrich near Ross, appears to have been a doughty member of the church militant, who lost his possessions by taking the losing side in the Civil War and died in 1658 before the restoration could bring him redress. He married Elizabeth, niece of Sir Erasmus Dryden, the poet's grandfather. Hence the familiarity of the poet's well-known "cooling-card" to the budding genius of his kinsman Jonathan: "Cousin Swift, you will never be a poet." The young Jonathan was educated mainly at the charges of his uncle Godwin, a Tipperary official, who was thought to dole out his help in a somewhat grudging manner. In fact the apparently prosperous relative was the victim of unfortunate speculations, and chose rather to be reproached with avarice than with imprudence. The youth was resentful of what he regarded as curmudgeonly treatment, a bitterness became ingrained and began to corrode his whole nature; and although lie came in time to grasp the real state of the case he never mentioned his uncle with kindness or regard. At six he went to Kilkenny School, where Congreve was a schoolfellow; at fourteen he entered pensioner at Trinity College, Dublin, where he seems to have neglected his opportunities. He was referred in natural philosophy, including mathematics, and obtained his degree only by a special but by no means infrequent act of indulgence. The patronage of his uncle galled him: he was dull and unhappy We find in Swift few signs of precocious genius. As with Goldsmith, and so many other men who have become artists of the pen, college proved a stepmother to him.

In 1688 the rich uncle, whose supposed riches had dwindled so much that at his death he was almost insolvent, died, having decayed, it would seem, not less in mind than in body and estate, and Swift sought counsel of his mother at Leicester. After a brief residence with his mother, who was needlessly alarmed at the idea of her son falling a victim to some casual coquette, Swift towards the close of 1689 entered upon an engagement as secretary to Sir William Temple, whose wife (Dorothy Osborne) was distantly related to Mrs Swift. It was at Moor Park, near Farnham, the residence to which Temple had retired to cultivate apricots after the rapid decline of his influence during the critical period of Charles II.'s reign (1679-1681), that Swift's acquaintance with Esther Johnson, the "Stella" of the famous Journal, was begun. Stella's mother was living at Moor Park, as servant or dame de compagnie of Temple's strong-minded sister, Lady Giffard. Swift was twenty-two and Esther eight years old at the time, and a curious friendship sprang up between them. He taught the little girl how to write and gave her advice in reading. On his arrival at Moor Park, Swift was, in his own words, a raw, inexperienced youth, and his duties were merely those of accountkeeper and amanuensis: his ability gradually won him the confidence of his employer, and he was entrusted with some important missions. He was introduced to William III. during that monarch's visit to Sir William's, and on one occasion accompanied the king in his walks round the grounds. In 1693 Temple sent him to try and convince the king of the inevitable necessity of triennial parliaments. William remained unconvinced and Swift's vanity received a useful lesson. The king had previously taught him "how to cut asparagus after the Dutch fashion." Next year, however, Swift (who had in the meantime obtained the degree of M.A. ad eundem at Oxford) quitted Temple, who had, he considered, delayed too long in obtaining him preferment. A certificate of conduct while under Temple's roof was required by all the Irish bishops he consulted before they would proceed in the matter of his ordination, and after five months' delay, caused by wounded pride, Swift had to kiss the rod and solicit in obsequious terms the favour of a testimonial from his discarded patron. Forgiveness was easy to a man of Temple's elevation and temperament, and he not only despatched the necessary recommendation but added a personal request which obtained for Swift the small prebend of Kilroot near Belfast (January 1695), where the new incumbent carried on a premature flirtation with a Miss Jane Waring, whom he called "Varina." In the spring of 1696 he asked the reluctant Varina to wait until he was in a position to marry. Just four years later he wrote to her in terms of such calculated harshness and imposed such conditions as to make further intercourse virtually impossible.

In the meantime he had grown tired of Irish life and was glad to accept Temple's proposal for his return to Moor Park, where he continued until Temple's death in January 1699. During this period he wrote much and burned most of what he had written. He read and learned even more than he wrote. Moor Park took him away from brooding and glooming in Ireland and brought him into the corridor of contemporary history, an intimate acquaintance with which became the chief passion of Swift's life. His Pindaric Odes, written at this period or earlier, in the manner of Cowley, indicate the rudiments of a real satirist, but a satirist struggling with a most uncongenial form of expression. Of more importance was his first essay in satiric prose which arose directly from the position which he occupied as domestic author in the Temple household. Sir William had in 1692 published his Essay upon Ancient and Modern Learning, transplanting to England a controversy begun in France by Fontenelle. Incidentally Temple had cited the letters of Phalaris as evidence of the superiority of the Ancients over the Moderns. Temple's praise of Phalaris led to an Oxford edition of the Epistles nominally edited by Charles Boyle. While this was preparing, William Wotton, in 1694, wrote his Reflections upon Ancient and Modern Learning, traversing Temple's general conclusions. Swift's Battle of the Books was written in 1697 expressly to refute this. Boyle's Vindication and Bentley's refutation of the authenticity of Phalaris came later. Swift's aim was limited to co-operation in what was then deemed the well-deserved putting down of xxvi. 8 Bentley by Boyle, with a view to which he represented Bentley and Wotton as the representatives of modern pedantry, transfixed by Boyle in a suit of armour given him by the gods as the representative of the "two noblest of things, sweetness and light." The satire remained unpublished until 1704, when it was issued along with The Tale of a Tub. Next year Wotton declared that Swift had borrowed his Combat des livres from the Histoire poetique de la guerre nouvellement declaree entre les anciens et les modernes (Paris, 1688). He might have derived the idea of a battle from the French title, but the resemblances and parallels between the two books are slight. Swift was manifestly extremely imperfectly acquainted with the facts of the case at issue. Such data as he displays may well have been derived from no authority more recondite than Temple's own essay.

In addition to floc), Temple left to Swift the trust and profit of publishing his posthumous writings. Five volumes appeared in 1700, 1703 and 1709. The resulting profit was small, and Swift's editorial duties brought him into acrimonious relation with Lady Giffard. The dedication to King William was to have procured Swift an English prebend, but this miscarried owing to the negligence or indifference of Henry Sidney, earl of Romney. Swift then accepted an offer from Lord Berkeley, who in the summer of 1699 was appointed one of the lords justices of Ireland. Swift was to be his chaplain and secretary, but upon reaching Ireland Berkeley gave the secretaryship to a Mr Bushe, who had persuaded him that it was an unfit post for a clergyman. The rich deanery of Derry then became vacant and Swift applied for it. The secretary y had already accepted a bribe, but Swift was informed that he might still have the place for 100o. With bitter indignation Swift denounced the simony and threw up his chaplaincy, but he was ultimately reconciled to Berkeley by the presentation to the rectory of Agher in Meath with the united vicarages of Laracor and Rathbeggan, to which was added the prebend of Dunlavin in St Patrick's - the total value being about 230 a year. He was now often in Dublin, at most twenty miles distant, and through Lady Berkeley and her daughters he became the familiar and chartered satirist of the fashionable society there. At Laracor, near Trim, Swift rebuilt the parsonage, made a fish-pond, and planted a garden with poplars and willows, bordering a canal. His congregation consisted of about fifteen persons, "most of them gentle and all of them simple." He read prayers on Wednesdays and Fridays to himself and his clerk, beginning the exhortation "Dearly beloved Roger, the Scripture moveth you and me in sundry places." But he soon began to grow tired of Ireland again and to pay visits in Leicester and London. The author of the Tale of a Tub, which he had had by him since 1696 or 1698, must have felt conscious of powers capable of far more effective exercise than reading-desk or pulpit at Laracor could supply; and his resolution to exchange divinity for politics must appear fully justified by the result. The Discourse on the Dissensions in Athens and Rome (September 1701), written to repel the tactics of the Tory commons in their attack on the Partition Treaties "without humour and without satire," and intended as a dissuasive from the pending impeachment of Somers, Orford, Halifax and Portland, received the honour, extraordinary for the maiden publication of a young politician, of being generally attributed to Somers himself or to Burnet, the latter of whom found a public disavowal necessary. In April or May 1704 appeared a more remarkable work. Clearness, cogency, masculine simplicity of diction, are conspicuous in the pamphlet, but true creative power told the Tale of a Tub. " Good God ! what a genius I had when I wrote that book !" was his own exclamation in his latter years. It is, indeed, if not the most amusing of Swift's satirical works, the most strikingly original, and the one in which the compass of his powers is most fully displayed. In his kindred productions he relies mainly upon a single element of the humorous - logical sequence and unruffled gravity bridling in an otherwise frantic absurdity, and investing it with an air of sense. In the Tale of a Tub he lashes out in all directions. The humour, if less cogent and cumulative, is richer and more varied; the invention, too, is more daringly original and more completely out of the reach of ordinary faculties. The supernatural coats and the quintessential loaf may be paralleled but cannot be surpassed; and the book is throughout a mine of suggestiveness, as, for example, in the anticipation of Carlyle's clothes philosophy within the compass of a few lines. At the same time it wants unity and coherence, it attains no conclusion, and the author abuses his digressive method of composition and his convenient fiction of hiatuses in the original manuscript. The charges it occasioned of profanity and irreverence were natural, but groundless. There is nothing in the book inconsistent with Swift's professed and real character as a sturdy Church of England parson, who accepted the doctrines of his Church as an essential constituent of the social order around him, battled for them with the fidelity of a soldier defending his colours, and held it no part of his duty to understand, interpret, or assimilate them.

In February 1701 Swift took his D.D. degree at Dublin, and before the close of the year he had taken a step destined to exercise a most important influence on his life, by inviting two ladies to Laracor. Esther, daughter of a merchant named Edward Johnson, a dependant, and legatee to a small amount, of Sir William Temple's (born in March 1680), whose acquaintance he had made at Moor Park in 1689, and whom he has immortalized as "Stella," came over with her companion Rebecca Dingley, a poor relative of the Temple family, and was soon permanently domiciled in his neighbourhood. The melancholy tale of Swift's attachment will be more conveniently narrated in another place, and is only alluded to here for the sake of chronology. Meanwhile the sphere of his intimacies was rapidly widening. He had been in England for three years together, 1701 to 1704, and counted Pope, Steele and Addison among his friends. The success of his pamphlet gained him ready access to all Whig circles; but already his confidence in that party was shaken, and he was beginning to meditate that change of sides which has drawn down upon him so much but such unjustifiable obloquy. The true state of the case may easily be collected from his next publications - The Sentiments of a Church of England Man, and On the Reasonableness of a Test (1708). The vital differences among the friends of the Hanover succession were not political, but ecclesiastical. From this point of view Swift's sympathies were entirely with the Tories. As a minister of the Church he felt his duty and his interest equally concerned in the support of her cause; nor could he fail to discover the inevitable tendency of Whig doctrines, whatever caresses individual Whigs might bestow on individual clergymen, to abase the Establishment as a corporation. He sincerely believed that the ultimate purpose of freethinkers was to escape from moral restraints, and he had an unreasoning antipathy to Scotch Presbyterians and English Dissenters. If Whiggism could be proved to entail Dissent, he was prepared to abandon it. One of his pamphlets, written about this time, contains his recipe for the promotion of religion, and is of itself a sufficient testimony to the extreme materialism of his views. Censorships and penalties are among the means he recommends. His pen was exerted to better purpose in the most consummate example of his irony, the Argument to prove that the abolishing of Christianity in England may, as things now stand, be attended with some inconveniencies (1708). About this time, too (November 1707), he produced his best narrative poem, Baucis and Philemon, while the next few months witnessed one of the most amusing hoaxes ever perpetrated against the quackery of astrologers. In his Almanac for 1707 a Protestant alarmist and plot vaticinator styled John Partridge warned customers against rivals and impostors. This notice attracted Swift's attention, and in January 1708 he issued predictions for the ensuing year by Isaac Bickerstaff, written to prevent the people of England being imposed upon by vulgar almanac makers. In this brochure he predicts solemnly that on the 29th of March 1 The name "Stella" is simply a translation of Esther. Swift may have learned that Esther means "star" from the Elementa linguae persicae of John Greaves or from some Persian scholar; but he is more likely to have seen the etymology in the form given from Jewish sources in Buxtorf's Lexicon, where the interpretation takes the more suggestive form "Stella Veneris." at 1 i o'clock at night Partridge the almanac maker should infallibly die of a raging fever. On the 30th of March he issued a letter confirming Partridge's sad fate. Grub Street elegies on the almanac maker were hawked about London. Partridge was widely deplored in obituary notices and his name was struck off the rolls at Stationers' Hall. The poor man was obliged to issue a special almanac to assure his clients and the public that he was not dead: he was fatuous enough to add that he was not only alive at the time of writing, but that he was also demonstrably alive on the day when the knave Bickerstaff (a name borrowed by Swift from a sign in Long Acre) asserted that he died of fever. This elicited Swift's most amusing Vindication of Isaac Bickerstaff Esq. in April 1709. The laughter thus provoked extinguished the Predictions for three years, and in 1715 Partridge died in fact; but the episode left a permanent trace in classic literature, for when in 2709 Steele was to start the Tatler, it occurred to him that he could secure the public ear in no surer way than by adopting the name of Bickerstaff.

From February 1708 to April 1709 Swift was in London, urging upon the Godolphin administration the claims of the Irish clergy to the first-fruits and twentieths ("Queen Anne's Bounty"), which brought in about £2500 a year, already granted to their brethren in England. 2 His having been selected for such a commission shows that he was not yet regarded as a deserter from the Whigs, although the ill success of his representations probably helped to make him one. By November 1710 he was again domiciled in London, and writing his Journal to Stella, that unique exemplar of a giant's playfulness, "which was written for one person's private pleasure and has had indestructible attractiveness for every one since." In the first pages of this marvellously minute record of a busy life we find him depicting the decline of Whig credit and complaining of the cold reception accorded him by Godolphin, whose penetration had doubtless detected the precariousness of his allegiance. Within a few weeks he had become the lampooner of the fallen treasurer, the bosom friend of Oxford and Bolingbroke, and the writer of the Examiner, a journal established as the exponent of Tory views (November 1710). He was now a power in the state, the intimate friend and recognized equal of the first writers of the day, the associate of ministers on a footing of perfect cordiality and familiarity. "We were determined to have you," said Bolingbroke to him afterwards; "you were the only one we were afraid of." He gained his point respecting the Irish endowments; and, by his own account, his credit procured the fortune of more than forty deserving or undeserving clients. The envious but graphic description of his demeanour conveyed to us by Bishop Kennet attests the real dignity of his position no less than the airs he thought fit to assume in consequence. The cheerful, almost jovial, tone of his letters to Stella evinces his full contentment, nor was he one to be moved to gratitude for small mercies. He had it, in fact, fully in his own power to determine his relations with the ministry, and he would be satisfied with nothing short of familiar and ostentatious equality. His advent marks a new era in English political life, the age of public opinion, created indeed by the circumstances of the time, but powerfully fostered and accelerated by him. By a strange but not infrequent irony of fate the most imperious and despotic spirit of his day laboured to enthrone a power which, had he himself been in authority, he would have utterly detested and despised. For a brief time he seemed to resume the whole power of the English press in his own pen and to guide public opinion as he would. His services to his party as writer of the Examiner, which he quitted in July 1711, were even surpassed by those which he rendered as the author of telling pamphlets, among which The Conduct of the Allies and of the Late Ministry, in beginning and carrying on the Present War, and Remarks on the Barrier Treaty (November and December 1711) hold the first rank. In truth, however, he was lifted by the wave he seemed to command. Surfeited with glory, 2 The grant of the first-fruits was to be made contingent on a concession from the Irish clergy in the shape of the abolition of the sacramental test. This Swift would not agree to. He ultimately won his point from Harley, and his success marks his open rupture with the Whigs.

which it began, after Malplaquet, to think might be purchased at too heavy a cost, the nation wanted a convenient excuse for relinquishing a burdensome war, which the great military genius of the age was suspected of prolonging to fill his pockets. The Whigs had been long in office. The High Church party had derived great strength from the Sacheverell trial. Swift did not bring about the revolution with which, notwithstanding, he associated his name. There seems no reason to suppose that he was consulted respecting the great Tory strokes of the creation of the twelve new peers and the dismissal of Marlborough (December 1711), but they would hardly have been ventured upon if The Conduct of the Allies and the Examiners had not prepared the way. A scarcely less important service was rendered to the ministry by his Letter to the October Club, artfully composed to soothe the impatience of Harley's extreme followers. He had every claim to the highest preferment that ministers could give him, but his own pride and prejudice in high places stood in his way.

Generous men like Oxford and Bolingbroke cannot have been unwilling to reward so serviceable a friend, especially when their own interest lay in keeping him in England. Harley by this time was losing influence and was becoming chronically incapable of any sustained effort. Swift was naturally a little sore at seeing the see of Hereford slipping through his fingers. He had already lost Waterford owing to the prejudice against making the author of the Tale of a Tub a bishop, and he still had formidable antagonists in the archbishop of York, whom he had scandalized, and the duchess of Somerset, whom he had satirized. Anne was particularly amenable to the influence of priestly and female favourites, and it must be considered a proof of the strong interest made for Swift that she was eventually persuaded to appoint him to the deanery of St Patrick's, Dublin, vacant by the removal of Bishop Sterne to Dromore. It is to his honour that he never speaks of the queen with resentment or bitterness. In June 1713 he set out to take possession of his dignity, and encountered a very cold reception from the Dublin public. The dissensions between the chiefs of his party speedily recalled him to England. He found affairs in a desperate condition. The queen's demise was evidently at hand, and the same instinctive good sense which had ranged the nation on the side of the Tories, when Tories alone could terminate a fatiguing war, rendered it Whig when Tories manifestly could not be trusted to maintain the Protestant succession. In any event the occupants of office could merely have had the choice of risking their heads in an attempt to exclude the elector of Hanover, or of waiting patiently till he should come and eject them from their posts; yet they might have remained formidable could they have remained united. To the indignation with which he regarded Oxford's refusal to advance him in the peerage the active St John added an old disgust at the treasurer's pedantic and dilatory formalism, as well as his evident propensity, while leaving his colleague the fatigues, to engross for himself the chief credit of the administration. Their schemes of policy diverged as widely as their characters: Bolingbroke's brain teemed with the wildest plans, which Oxford might have more effectually discountenanced had he been prepared with anything in their place. Swift's endeavours after an accommodation were as fruitless as unremitting. His mortification was little likely to temper the habitual virulence of his pen, which rarely produced anything more acrimonious than the attacks he at this period directed against Burnet and his former friend Steele. One of his pamphlets against the latter (The Public Spirit of the Whigs set forth in their Generous Encouragement of the Author of the Crisis, 1714) was near involving him in a prosecution, some invectives against the Scottish peers having proved so exasperating to Argyll and others that they repaired to the queen to demand the punishment of the author, of whose identity there could be no doubt, although, like all Swift's writings, except the Proposal for the Extension of Religion, the pamphlet had been published anonymously. The immediate withdrawal of the offensive passage, and a sham prosecution instituted against the printer, extricated Swift from his danger.

Meanwhile the crisis had arrived, and the discord of Oxford and Bolingbroke had become patent to all the nation. Foreseeing, as is probable, the impending fall of the former, Swift retired to Upper Letcombe, in Berkshire, and there spent some weeks in the strictest seclusion. This leisure was occupied in the composition of his remarkable pamphlet, Some Free Thoughts on the Present State of Affairs, which indicates his complete conversion to the bold policy of Bolingbroke. The utter exclusion of Whigs as well as Dissenters from office, the remodelling of the army, the imposition of the most rigid restraints on the heir to the throne - such were the measures which, by recommending, Swift tacitly admitted to be necessary to the triumph of his party. If he were serious, it can only be said that the desperation of his circumstances had momentarily troubled the lucidity of his understanding; if the pamphlet were merely intended as a feeler after public opinion, it is surprising that he did not perceive how irretrievably he was ruining his friends in the eyes of all moderate men. Bolingbroke's daring spirit, however, recoiled from no extreme, and, fortunately for Swift, he added so much of his own to the latter's MS. that the production was first delayed and then, upon the news of Anne's death, immediately suppressed. This incident but just anticipated the revolution which, after Bolingbroke had enjoyed a three days' triumph over Oxford, drove him into:exile and prostrated his party, but enabled Swift to perform the noblest action of his life. Almost the first acts of Bolingbroke's ephemeral premiership were to order him a thousand pounds from the exchequer and despatch him the most flattering invitations. The same post brought a letter from Oxford, soliciting Swift's company in his retirement; and, to the latter's immortal honour, he hesitated not an instant in preferring the solace of his friend to the offers of St John. When, a few days afterwards, Oxford was in prison and in danger of his life, Swift begged to share his captivity; and it was only on the offer being declined that he finally directed his steps towards Ireland, where he was very ill received. The draft on the exchequer was intercepted by the queen's death.

These four busy years of Swift's London life had not been entirely engrossed by politics. First as the associate of Steele, with whom he quarrelled, and of Addison, whose esteem for him survived all differences, afterwards as the intimate comrade of Pope and Arbuthnot, the friend of Congreve and Atterbury, Parnell and Gay, he entered deeply into the literary life of the period. He was treasurer and a leading member of the Brothers, a society of wits and statesmen which recalls the days of Horace and Maecenas. He promoted the subscription for Pope's Homer, contributed some numbers to the Tatler, Spectator, and Intelligencer, and joined with Pope and Arbuthnot in establishing the Scriblerus Club, writing Martinus Scriblerus, his share in which can have been but small, as well as John Bull, where the chapter recommending the education of all blue-eyed children in depravity for the public good must surely be his. His miscellanies, in some of which his satire made the nearest approach perhaps ever made to the methods of physical force, such as A Meditation upon a Broomstick, and the poems Sid Hamet's Rod, The City Shower, The Windsor Prophecy, The Prediction of Merlin, and The History of Vanbrugh's House, belong to this period. A more laboured work, his Proposal for Correcting, Improving and Ascertaining the English Tongue (1712), in a letter to Harley, suggesting the regulation of the English language by an academy, is chiefly remarkable as a proof of the deference paid to French taste by the most original English writer of his day. His History of the Four Last Years of the Reign of Queen Anne is not on a level with his other political writings. To sum up the incidents of this eventful period of his life, it was during it that he lost his mother, always loved and dutifully honoured, by death; his sister had been estranged from him some years before by an imprudent marriage, which, though making her a liberal allowance, he never forgave.

The change from London to Dublin can seldom be an agreeable one. To Swift it meant for the time the fall from unique authority to absolute insignificance. All share in the administration of even Irish affairs was denied him; every politician shunned him; and his society hardly included a single author or wit. He "continued in the greatest privacy" and "began to think of death." At a later period he talked of "dying of rage, like a poisoned rat in a hole"; for some time, however, he was buoyed up by feeble hopes of a restoration to England. So late as 1726 he was in England making overtures to Walpole, but he had no claim on ministerial goodwill, and as an opponent he had by that time done his worst. By an especial cruelty of fate, what should have been the comfort became the bane of his existence. We have already mentioned his invitation of Esther Johnson and Mrs Dingley to Ireland. Both before and after his elevation to the deanery of St Patrick's these ladies continued to reside near him, and superintended his household during his absence in London. He had offered no obstacle in 1704 to a match proposed for Stella to Dr William Tisdall of Dublin, and, with his evident delight in the society of the dark-haired, brighteyed, witty beauty - a model, if we may take his word, of all that woman should be - it seemed unaccountable that he did not secure it to himself by the expedient of matrimony. A constitutional infirmity has been suggested as the reason, and the conjecture derives support from several peculiarities in his writings. But, whatever the cause, his conduct proved none the less the fatal embitterment of his life and Stella's and yet another's. He had always been unlucky in his relations with the fair sex. In 1695 he had idealized "Varina." Varina was avenged by Vanessa, who pursued Swift to far other purpose. Esther Vanhomrigh (b. February 14, 1690), the daughter of a Dublin merchant of Dutch origin, who died in 1703 leaving 16,000, had become known to Swift at the height of his political influence. He lodged close to her mother, was introduced to the family by Sir A. Fountaine in 1708 and became an intimate of the house. Vanessa insensibly became his pupil, and he insensibly became the object of her impassioned affection. Her letters reveal a spirit full of ardour and enthusiasm, and warped by that perverse bent which leads so many women to prefer a tyrant to a companion. Swift, on the other hand, was devoid of passion. Of friendship, even of tender regard, he was fully capable, but not of love. The spiritual realm, whether in divine or earthly things, was a region closed to him, where he had never set foot. As a friend he must have greatly preferred Stella to Vanessa. Marriage was out of the question with him, and, judged in the light of Stella's dignity and womanliness, this ardent and unreasoning display of passion was beyond comprehension. But Vanessa assailed him on a very weak side. The strongest of all his instincts was the thirst for imperious domination. Vanessa hugged the fetters to which Stella merely submitted. Flattered to excess by her surrender, yet conscious of his binding obligations and his real preference, he could neither discard the one beauty nor desert the other. It is humiliating to human strength and consoling to human weakness to find the Titan behaving like the least resolute of mortals, seeking refuge in temporizing, in evasion, in fortuitious circumstance. He no doubt trusted that his removal to Dublin would bring relief, but here again his evil star interposed. Vanessa's mother died (1714), and she followed him to Ireland, taking up her abode at Celbridge within ten miles of Dublin. Unable to marry Stella without destroying Vanessa, or to openly welcome Vanessa without destroying Stella, he was ' thus involved in the most miserable embarrassment; he continued to temporize. Had the solution of marriage been open Stella would undoubtedly have been Swift's choice. Some mysterious obstacle intervened. It was rumoured at the time that Stella was the natural daughter of Temple, and Swift himself at times seems to have been doubtful as to his own paternity. There is naturally no evidence for such reports, which may have been fabrications of the anti-deanery faction in Dublin. From the same source sprang the report of Swift's marriage to Stella by Bishop Ashe in the deanery garden at Clogher in the summer of 1716. The ceremony, it is suggested, may have been extorted by the jealousy of Stella and have been accompanied by the express condition on Swift's side that the marriage was never to be avowed. The evidence is by no means complete and has never been exhaustively reviewed. John Lyon, Swift's constant attendant from 1735 onwards, disbelieved the story. It was accepted by the early biographers, Deane Swift, Orrery, Delany and Sheridan; also by Johnson, Scott, Dr Garnett, Craik, Dr Bernard and others. The arguments against the marriage were first marshalled by Monck Mason in his History of St Patrick's, and the conjecture, though plausible, has failed to convince Forster, Stephen, Aitken, Hill, Lane Poole and Churton Collins. Never more than a nominal wife at most, the unfortunate Stella commonly passed for his mistress till the day of her death (in her will she writes herself spinster), bearing her doom with uncomplaining resignation, and consoled in some degree by unquestionable proofs of the permanence of his love, if his feeling for her deserves the name. Meanwhile his efforts were directed to soothe Miss Vanhomrigh, to whom he addressed Cadenus [Decanus] and' Vanessa, the history of their attachment and the best example of his serious poetry, and for whom he sought to provide honourably in marriage, without either succeeding in his immediate aim or in thereby opening her eyes to the hopelessness of her passion. In 1720, on what occasion is uncertain, he began to pay her regular visits. Sir Walter Scott found the Abbey garden at Celbridge still full of laurels, several of which she was accustomed to plant whenever she expected Swift, and the table at which they had been used to sit was still shown. But the catastrophe of her tragedy was at hand. Worn out with his evasions, she at last (1723) took the desperate step of writing to Stella or, according to another account, to Swift himself, demanding to know the nature of the connexion with him, and this terminated the melancholy history as with a clap of thunder. Stella sent her rival's letter to Swift, and retired to a friend's house. Swift rode down to Marley Abbey with a terrible countenance, petrified Vanessa by his frown, and departed without a word, flinging down a packet which only contained her own letter to Stella. Vanessa died within a few weeks. She left the poem and correspondence for publication. The former appeared immediately, the latter was suppressed until it was published by Sir Walter Scott.

Five years afterwards Stella followed Vanessa to the grave. The grief which the gradual decay of her health evidently occasioned Swift is sufficient proof of the sincerity of his attachment, as he understood it. It is a just remark of Thackeray's that he everywhere half-consciously recognizes her as his better angel, and dwells on her wit and her tenderness with a fondness he never exhibits for any other topic. On the 28th of January 1728, she died, and her wretched lover sat down the same night to record her virtues in language of unsurpassed simplicity, but to us who know the story more significantly for what it conceals than for what it tells. A lock of her hair is preserved, with the inscription in Swift's handwriting, most affecting in its apparent cynicism, "Only a woman's hair!" "Only a woman's hair," comments Thackeray; "only love, only fidelity, purity, innocence, beauty, only the tenderest heart in the world stricken and wounded, and passed away out of reach of pangs of hope deferred, love insulted and pitiless desertion; only that lock of hair left, and memory, and remorse, for the guilty, lonely wretch, shuddering over the grave of his victim." The more unanswerable this tremendous indictment appears upon the evidence the greater the probability that the evidence is incomplete. Tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner. Between the death of Vanessa and the death of Stella came the greatest political and the greatest literary triumph of Swift's life. He had fled to Ireland a broken man, to all appearance politically extinct; a few years were to raise him once more to the summit of popularity, though power was for ever denied him. Consciously or unconsciously he first taught the Irish to rely upon themselves and for many generations his name was the most universally popular in the country. With his fierce hatred of what he recognized as injustice, it was impossible that he should not feel exasperated at the gross misgovernment of Ireland for the supposed benefit of England, the systematic exclusion of Irishmen from places of honour and profit, the spoliation of the country by absentee landlords, the deliberate discouragement of Irish trade and manufactures. An Irish patriot in the strict sense of the term he was not; he was proud of being an Englishman, who had been accidentally "dropped in Ireland"; he looked upon the indigenous population as conquered savages; but his pride and sense of equity alike revolted against the stay-at-home Englishmen's contemptuous treatment of their own garrison, and he delighted in finding a point in which the triumphant faction was still vulnerable. His Proposal for the Universal Use of Irish Manufactures, published anonymously in 1720, urging the Irish to disuse English goods, became the subject of a prosecution, which at length had to be dropped. A greater opportunity was at hand. One of the chief wants of Ireland in that day, and for many a day afterwards, was that of small currency adapted to the daily transactions of life. Questions of coinage occupy a large part of the correspondence of the primate, Archbishop Boulter, whose anxiety to deal rightly with the matter is evidently very real and conscientious. There is no reason to think that the English ministry wished otherwise; but secret influences were at work, and a patent for supplying Ireland with a coinage of copper halfpence was accorded to William Wood on such terms that the profit accruing from the difference between the intrinsic and the nominal value of the coins, about 40%, was mainly divided between him and George I.'s favourite duchess of Kendal, by whose influence Wood had obtained the privilege. Swift now had his opportunity, and the famous six letters signed M. B. Drapier (April to Dec. 1724) soon set Ireland in a flame. Every effort was used to discover, or rather to obtain legal evidence against, the author, whom, Walpole was assured, it would then have taken ten thousand men to apprehend. None could be procured; the public passion swept everything before it; the patent was cancelled; Wood was compensated by a pension; Swift was raised to a height of popularity which he retained for the rest of his life; and the only real sufferers were the Irish people, who lost a convenience so badly needed that they might well have afforded to connive at Wood's illicit profits. Perhaps, however, it was worth while to teach the English ministry that not everything could be done in Ireland. Swift's pamphlets, written in a style more level with the popular intelligence than even his own ordinary manner, are models alike to the controversialist who aids a good cause and to him who is burdened with a bad one. The former may profit by the study of his marvellous lucidity and vehemence, the latter by his sublime audacity in exaggeration and the sophistry with which he involves the innocent halfpence in the obloquy of the nefarious patentee.

The noise of the Drapier Letters had hardly died away when Swift acquired a more durable glory by the publication of Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World, in four parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, first a surgeon and then a captain of several ships (Benjamin Motto, October 1726). The first hint came to him at the meetings of the Scriblerus Club in 1714, and the work was well advanced, it would seem, by 1720. Allusions show that it was circulated privately for a considerable period before its actual (anonymous) publication, on the 28th of October 1726. Pope arranged that Erasmus Lewis should act as literary agent in negotiating the manuscript. Swift was afraid of the reception the book would meet with, especially in political circles. The keenness of the satire on courts, parties and statesmen certainly suggests that it was planned while Swift's disappointments as a public man were still rankling and recent. It is Swift's peculiar good fortune that his book can dispense with the interpretation of which it is nevertheless susceptible, and may be equally enjoyed whether its inner meaning is apprehended or not. It is so true, so entirely based upon the facts of human nature, that the question what particular class of persons supplied the author with his examples of folly or misdoing, however interesting to the commentator, may be neglected by the reader. It is also fortunate for him that in three parts out of the four he should have entirely missed "the chief end I propose to myself, to vex the world rather than divert it." The world, which perhaps ought to have been vexed, chose rather to be diverted; and the great satirist literally strains his power ut pueris placeat. Few books have added so much to the innocent mirth of mankind of the first two parts of Gulliver; the misanthropy is quite overpowered by the fun. The third part, equally masterly in composition, is less felicitous in invention; and in the fourth Swift has indeed carried out his design of vexing the world at his own cost. Human nature indignantly rejects her portrait in the Yahoo as a gross libel, and the protest is fully warranted. An intelligence from a superior sphere, bound on a voyage to the earth, might actually have obtained a fair idea of average humanity by a preliminary call at Lilliput or Brobdingnag, but not from a visit to the Yahoos. While Gulliver is infinitely the most famous and popular of Swift's works, it exhibits no greater powers of mind than many others. The secret of success, here as elsewhere, is the writer's marvellous imperturbability in paradox, his teeming imagination and his rigid logic. Grant his premises, and all the rest follows; his world may be turned topsy-turvy, but the relative situation of its contents is unchanged. The laborious attempts that have been made, particularly in Germany, to affiliate the Travels only serve to bring Swift's essential originality into stronger relief. He had naturally read Lucian and Rabelais - possibly Crusoe and the Arabian Nights. He had read as a young man the lunary adventure of Bishop Wilkins, Bishop Godwin and Cyrano de Bergerac. He had read contemporary accounts of Peter the Wild Boy, the History of Sevarambes by D'Alais (1677) and Foligny's Journey of Jacques Sadeut to Australia (1693). He may have read Joshua Barnes's description of a race of "Pygmies" in his Gerania of 1675. He copied the account of the storm in the second voyage almost literally from Sturmy's Compleat Mariner. Travellers' tales were deliberately embalmed by Swift in the amber of his irony. Something similar was attempted by Raspe in his Munchausen sixty years later.

Swift's grave humour and power of enforcing momentous truth by ludicrous exaggeration were next displayed in his Modest Proposal for Preventing the' Children of Poor People from being a Burden to their Parents or the Country, by fattening and eating them (1729), a parallel to the Argument against Abolishing Christianity, and as great a masterpiece of tragic as the latter is of comic irony. The Directions to Servants (first published in 1745) in like manner derive their overpowering comic force from the imperturbable solemnity with which all the misdemeanours that domestics can commit are enjoined upon them as duties. The power of minute observation displayed is most remarkable, as also in Polite Conversation (written in 1731, published in 1738), a surprising assemblage of the vulgarities and trivialities current in ordinary talk. As in the Directions, the satire, though cutting, is good-natured, and the piece shows more animal spirits than usual in Swift's latter years. It was a last flash of gaiety. The attacks of giddiness and deafness to which he had always been liable increased upon him. Already in 1721 he complains that the buzzing in his ears disconcerts and confounds him. After the Directions he writes little beyond occasional verses, not seldom indecent and commonly trivial. He sought refuge from inferior society often in nonsense, occasionally in obscenity. An exception must be made in the case of the delightful Hamilton's Bawn, and still more of the verses on his own death (1731), one of the most powerful and also one of the saddest of his poems. In The Legion Club of 1736 he composed the fiercest of all his verse satires. He hated the Irish parliament for its lethargy and the Irish bishops for their interference. He fiercely opposed Archbishop Boulter's plans for the reform of the Irish currency, but admitted that his real objection was sentimental: the coins should be struck as well as circulated in Ireland. His exertions in repressing robbery and mendicancy were strenuous and successful. His popularity remained as great as ever (he received the freedom of Dublin in 1729), and, when he was menaced by the bully Bettesworth, Dublin rose as one man to defend him. He governed his cathedral with great strictness and conscientiousness, and for years after Stella's death continued to hold a miniature court at the deanery. But his failings of mind were exacerbated by his bodily infirmities; he grew more and more whimsical and capricious, morbidly suspicious and morbidly parsimonius; old friends were estranged or removed by death, and new friends did not come forward in their place. For many years, nevertheless, he maintained a correspondence with Pope and Bolingbroke, and with Arbuthnot and Gay until their deaths, with such warmth as to prove that an ill opinion of mankind had not made him a misanthrope, and that human affection and sympathy were still very necessary to him. The letters become scarcer and scarcer with the decay of his faculties; at last, in 1740, comes one to his kind niece, Mrs Whiteway, of heartrending pathos: "I have been very miserable all night, and to-day extremely deaf and full of pain. I am so stupid and confounded that I cannot express the mortification I am under both of body and mind. All I can say is that I am not in torture; but I daily and hourly expect it. Pray let me know how your health is and your family: I hardly understand one word I write. I am sure my days will be very few; few and miserable they must be. I am, for those few days, yours entirely - Jonathan Swift.

" If I do not blunder, it is Saturday, July 26, 1740.

"If I live till Monday I shall hope to see you, perhaps for the last time." Account book entries continue until 1742.

In March 1742 it was necessary to appoint guardians of Swift's person and estate. In September of the same year his physical malady reached a crisis, from which he emerged a helpless wreck, with faculties paralysed rather than destroyed - "He never talked nonsense or said a foolish thing." The particulars of his case have been investigated by Dr Bucknill and Sir William Wilde, who have proved that he suffered from nothing that could be called mental derangement until the "labyrinthine vertigo" from which he had suffered all his life, and which he erroneously attributed to a surfeit of fruit, produced paralysis, "a symptom of which was the not uncommon one of aphasia, or the automatic utterance of words ungoverned by intention. As a consequence of that paralysis, but not before, the brain, already weakened by senile decay, at length gave way, and Swift sank into the dementia which preceded his death." In other words he retained his reason until in his 74th year he was struck down by a new disease in the form of a localized left-sided apoplexy or cerebral softening. Aphasia due to the local trouble and general decay then progressed rapidly together, and even then at 76, two more years were still to elapse before "he exchanged the sleep of idiocy for the sleep of death." The scene closed on the 10th of October 1745. With what he himself described as a satiric touch, his fortune was bequeathed to found a hospital for idiots and lunatics, now an important institution, as it was in many respects a pioneer bequest. He was interred in his cathedral at midnight on the 22nd of October, in the same coffin as Stella, with the epitaph, written by himself, "Hic depositum est corpus Jonathan Swift, S.T.P., hujus ecclesiae cathedralis decani; ubi saeva indignatio cor ulterius lacerare nequit. Abi, viator, et imitare, si poteris, strenuum pro virili libertatis vindicem." The stress which Swift thus laid upon his character as an assertor of liberty has hardly been ratified by posterity, which has apparently neglected the patriot for the genius and the wit. Not unreasonably; for if half his patriotism sprang from an instinctive hatred of oppression, the other half was disappointed egotism. He utterly lacked the ideal aspiration which the patriot should possess: his hatred of villany was far more intense than his love of virtue. The same cramping realism clings to him everywhere beyond the domain of politics - in his religion, in his fancies, in his affections. At the same time, it is the secret of his wonderful concentration of power: he realizes everything with such intensity that he cannot fail to be impressive. Except in his unsuccessful essay in history, he never, after the mistake of his first Pindaric attempts, strays beyond his sphere, never attempts what he is not qualified to do, and never fails to do it. His writings have not one literary fault except their occasional looseness of grammar and their frequent indecency. Within certain limits, his imagination and invention are as active as those of the most creative poets. As a master of humour, irony and invective he has no superior; his reasoning powers are no less remarkable within their range, but he never gets beyond the range of an advocate. Few men of so much mental force have had so little genius for speculation, and he is constantly dominated by fierce instincts which he mistakes for reasons. As a man the leading note of his character is the same - strength without elevation. His master passion is imperious pride - the lust of despotic dominion. He would have his superiority acknowledged, and cared little for the rest. Place and profit were comparatively indifferent to him; he declares that he never received a farthing for any of his works except Gulliver's Travels, and that only by Pope's management; and he had so little regard for literary fame that he put his name to only one of his writings. Contemptuous of the opinion of his fellows, he hid his virtues, paraded his faults, affected some failings from which he was really exempt, and, since his munificent charity could not be concealed from the recipients, laboured to spoil it by gratuitous surliness. Judged by some passages of his life he would appear a heartless egotist, and yet he was capable of the sincerest friendship and could never dispense with human sympathy. Thus an object of pity as well as awe, he is the most tragic figure in our literature - the only man of his age who could be conceived as affording a groundwork for one of the creations of Shakespeare. "To think of him," says Thackeray, "is like thinking of the ruin of a great empire." Nothing finer or truer could be said.

Swift inoculated the Scriblerus Club with his own hatred of pedantry, cant and circumlocution. His own prose is the acme of incisive force and directness. He uses the vernacular with an economy which no other English writer has rivalled. There is a masculinity about his phrases which makes him as clear to the humblest capacity as they are capable of being made to anyone. Ironist as he is, there is no writer that ever wrote whose meaning is more absolutely unmistakable. He is the grand master of the order of plain speech. His influence, which grew during the 18th century in spite of the depreciation of Dr Johnson, has shared in the eclipse of the Queen Anne wits which began about the time of Jeffrey. Yet as the author of Gulliver he is still read all over the world, while in England discipleship to Swift is recognized as one of the surest passports to a prose style. Among those upon whom Swift's influence has been most discernible may be mentioned Chesterfield, Smollett, Cobbett, Hazlitt, Scott, Borrow, Newman, Belloc.

Authorities

- Among the authorities for Swift's life the first place is still of course occupied by his own writings, especially the fragment of autobiography now at Trinity College, Dublin, and his Correspondence, which still awaits an authoritative annotated edition. The most important portion is contained in the Journal to Stella. Twenty-five of these letters on Swift's death became the property of Dr Lyon. Hawkesworth bought them for his 1766 edition of the Works and eventually gave them to the British Museum. Forty additional letters were published by Dean Swift in 1768 (of these only No. 1 survives in the British Museum). Sheridan brought out the complete Journal in 1784 in a mangled form, but the text has as far as possible been restored by modern editors such as Forster, Rylands and Aitken. A full annotated edition is in course of preparation by H. Spencer Scott. The Vanessa correspondence was used by Sheridan, but first published in full by Sir Walter Scott, and Swift's letters to his friend Knightley Chetwode of Woodbrook between 1714 and 1731, over fifty in number, were first issued by Dr Birkbeck Hill in 1899. The more or less contemporary lives of Swift, most of which contain a certain amount of apocrypha, are those of Lord Orrery (1751); Dr Delany's Observations on Orrery (1754); Dean Swift's Essay upon the Life of Swift (1755); and Thomas Sheridan's Life (of 1785). Dr. Hawkesworth, in the life prefixed to his edition of the Works in 1755, adds little of importance. Dr Johnson's Life is marred by manifest prejudice. Dr Barrett produced an Essay upon the Early Life of some value (in 1808). Six years later came the useful biography of Sir Walter Scott, and (in 1819) appeared the elaborate Life by W. Monck Mason in the form of an appendix to his ponderous History of St Patrick's. A new epoch of investigation was inaugurated by John Forster, who began a new scrutiny of the accumulated material and published his first volume in 1875. Invaluable in many respects, it exhibited the process as well as the result of biography, and never got beyond 1711. The Life by Sir Henry Craik (1882 and reissues) now holds the field. Valuable monographs have been produced by Sir Leslie Stephen (Men of Letters and the Memoirs, in the Diet. Nat. Biog.), by Thackeray, in his English Humourists, by W. R. Wilde, in his Closing Years of Dean Swift's Life, by Lecky, in his Leaders of Public Opinion, by G. P. Moriarty, J. Churton Collins (1893), Max Simon (1893), Henriette Cordelet (1907) and Sophie Shilleto Smith (1910). The anecdotes of Swift related in Spence, Laetitia Pilkington, Wilson's Swiftiana, Delany's Autobiography, &c., though often amusing, can hardly be accepted as authentic.

The collective editions of Dr Hawkesworth (various issues, 1 7551779), T. Sheridan (1785), John Nichols (1801, 1804, 1808), Scott (1814 and 1821) and Roscoe (2 vols., 1849) have been in most respects superseded by the edition in Bohn's Standard Library in fourteen volumes (including the two subsequently issued volumes of Poems) (1897-1910); arranged as follows: L Biog. Introduction by W. E. H. Lecky; Tale of a Tub; Battle of the Books; Critical Essay upon the Faculties of the Mind; The Bickerstaff Pamphlets, &c., ed. Temple Scott. II. Journal to Stella, ed. F. Ryland (two portraits of Stella). III. and IV. Writings on Religion and the Church, ed. Temple Scott. V. Historical and Political Tracts - English, ed. Temple Scott. VI. Historical and Political Tracts - Irish, ed. Temple Scott. VII. The Drapier's Letters, ed. Temple Scott. VIII. and XI. Literary Essays, including Gulliver's Travels (ed. G. R. Dennis); A Proposal for Correcting, Improving and Ascertaining the English Tongue; Hints towards an Essay on Conversation; Character; Directions to Servants; and Autobiographical Fragment, ed. Temple Scott. IX. Contributions to the Examiner, Tatler, Spectator, &c., ed. Temple Scott. X. Historical Writings, including the Four Last Years; Abstract of English History; and Remarks on Burnet, ed. Temple Scott. XI I. Essays on the Portraits, &c., Bibliography by W. Spencer Jackson, and Index. Twelve portraits of Swift are included in the work, in addition to two portraits of Stella and one of Vanessa. XIII. and XIV. Poems, ed. W. Ernst Browning.

Translations and editions of Gulliver's Travels have been numerous. "Valuable Notes for a Bibliography of Swift" were published by Dr S. Lane Poole in The Bibliographer (November 1884).

(R. G.; T. SE.)


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Jonathan Swift
File:Jonathan Swift by Charles Jervas
Occupation satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer, poet, priest

Jonathan Swift (30 November 1667 – 19 October 1745) was an Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for Whigs then for the Tories), poet and cleric.[1] He became Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin.

He is remembered for books and poems he wrote like: Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella, Drapier's Letters, The Battle of the Books, An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity, and A Tale of a Tub. Swift is probably the most well known prose satirist in the English language. He is less well known for his poetry.

Swift originally published all of his works under pseudonyms — such as Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff, M.B. Drapier — or anonymously. He is known for being a master of two styles of satire; the Horatian and Juvenalian styles.

near his burial site.]]

Contents

Works

Wikisource has original text related to this article:

Swift was a good writer, famous for his satires. The most recent collection of his prose works (Herbert Davis, ed. Basil Blackwell, 1965-) comprises fourteen volumes. A recent edition of his complete poetry (Pat Rodges, ed. Penguin, 1983) is 953 pages long. One edition of his correspondence (David Woolley, ed. P. Lang, 1999) fills three volumes.

Legacy

John Ruskin named him as one of the three people in history who were the most influential for him.[2]

References

  1. Merriman, C.D.. "Jonathan Swift - Biography and Works" (in English). The Literature Network. http://www.online-literature.com/swift/. Retrieved 2010-02-23. 
  2. John Ruskin: Sesame and Lillies

Other websites

Persondata
NAME Swift, Jonathan
ALTERNATIVE NAMES
SHORT DESCRIPTION Anglo-Irish writer
DATE OF BIRTH 30 November 1667
PLACE OF BIRTH No. 7, Hoey's Court, Dublin, Ireland
DATE OF DEATH 19 October 1745
PLACE OF DEATH Dublin, Ireland








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