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with Arbuthnot and Gay, had engrossed all the understanding and virtue of mankind; that their merits filled the world; or that there was no hope of more. They shew the age involved in darkness, and shade the picture with sullen emulation.
When the queen's death drove him into Ireland, he might be allowed to regret for a time the interception of his views, the extinction of his hopes, and his ejection from gay scenes, important employment, and splendid friendships; but when time had enabled reason to prevail over vexation, the complaints which at first were natural, became ridiculous because they were useless. But querulousness was now grown habitual, and he cried out when he probably had ceased to feel. His reiterated wailings persuaded Bolingbroke that he was really willing to quit his deanery for an English parish; and Bolingbroke procured an exchange, which was rejected; and Swift still retained the pleasure of complaining.
The greatest difficulty that occurs, in analysing his character, is to discover by what depravity of intellect he took delight in revolving ideas, from which almost every other mind shrinks with disgust. The ideas of pleasure, even when criminal, may solicit the imagination; but what has disease, deformity, and filth, upon which the thoughts can be allured to dwell? Delany is willing to think that Swift's mind was not much tainted with this gross corruption before his long visit to Pope. He does not consider how he degrades his hero, by making him at fifty-nine the pupil of turpitude, and liable to the malignant influence of an ascendant
mind. But the truth is that Gulliver had described his Yahoos before the visit; and he that had formed those images had nothing filthy to learn.
I have here given the character of Swift as he exhibits himself to my perception; but now let another be heard who knew him better. Dr. Delany, after long acquaintance, describes him to Lord Orrery in these terms:
"My Lord, when you consider Swift's singular, peculiar, and most variegated vein of wit, always "intended rightly, although not always so rightly "directed; delightful in many instances, and salu"tary even where it is most, offensive: when you "consider his strict truth, his fortitude in resisting "oppression and arbitrary power; his fidelity in
friendship; his sincere love and zeal for religion; "his uprightness in making right resolutions, and "his steadiness in adhering to them; his care of his "church, its choir, its œconomy, and its income; "his attention to all those that preached in his ca
thedral, in order to their amendment in pronun"ciation and style; as also his remarkable atten"tion to the interest of his successors, preferably "to his own present emoluments; his invincible "patriotism, even to a country which he did not "love; his very various, well-devised, well-judged, " and extensive charities, throughout his life; and "his whole fortune (to say nothing of his wife's) "conveyed to the same Christian purposes at his "death; charities, from which he could enjoy no "honour, advantage, or satisfaction of any kind in "this world; when you consider his ironical and "humorous, as well as his serious schemes, for the
"promotion of true religion and virtue; his success "in soliciting for the First Fruits and Twentieths, to "the unspeakable benefit of the Established Church "of Ireland; and his felicity (to rate it no higher) "in giving occasion to the building of fifty new "churches in London:
"All this considered, the character of his life "will appear like that of his writings; they will "both bear to be re-considered and re-examined "with the utmost attention, and always discover "new beauties and excellences upon every exa"mination.
"They will bear to be considered as the sun, in "which the brightness will hide the blemishes; and "whenever petulant ignorance, pride, malice, malignity, or envy interposes to cloud or sully his “fame, I take upon me to pronounce, that the eclipse will not last long.
"To conclude- No man ever deserved better. "of any country, than Swift did of his; a steady, 'persevering, inflexible friend; a wise, a watchful, "and a faithful counsellor, under many severe "trials and bitter persecutions, to the manifest "hazard both of his liberty and fortune.
"He lived a blessing, he died a benefactor, and "his name will ever live an honour to Ireland,"
IN the poetical works of Dr. Swift there is not much upon which the critick can exercise his powers. They are often humorous, almost always light, and have the qualities which recommend such compositions, easiness and gaiety. They are, for the most part, what their author intended. The diction is correct, the numbers are smooth, and the rhymes exact. There seldom occurs a hard-laboured expression, or a redundant epithet; all his verses exemplify his own definition of a good style, they consist of " proper words in proper places."
To divide this collection into classes, and shew how some pieces are gross, and some are trifling, would be to tell the reader what he knows already, and to find faults of which the author could not be ignorant, who certainly wrote often not to his judgment, but his humour.
It was said, in a Preface to one of the Irish editions, that Swift had never been known to take a single thought from any writer, ancient or modern. This is not literally true; but perhaps no writer can easily be found that has borrowed so little, or that in all his excellences and all his defects, has so well maintained his claim to be considered as original.
WILLIAM BROOME was born in Cheshire, as is said, of very mean parents. Of the place of his birth, or the first part of his life, I have not been able to gain any intelligence. He was educated upon the foundation at Eton, and was captain of the school a whole year, without any vacancy, by which he might have obtained a scholarship at King's College. Being by this delay, such as is said to have happened very rarely, superannuated, he was sent to St. John's College by the contributions of his friends, where he obtained a small exhibition.
At his college he lived for some time in the same chamber with the well-known Ford, by whom I have formerly heard him described as a contracted scholar and a mere versifier, unacquainted with life, and unskilful in conversation. His addiction to metre was then such, that his companions familiarly called him Poet. When he had opportunities of mingling with mankind, he cleared himself, as Ford likewise owned, from great part of his scholastick