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and own the folly of expecting punctuality from the poor.
His asperity continully increasing, condemned him to folitude ; and his resentment of solitude sharpened his asperity. He was not, however, totally deserted ; fome men of learning, and some women of elegance, often visited him; and he wrote from time to time either verfe or prose; of his verses he willingly gave copies, and is supposed to have felt no discontent when he saw them printed. His favourite maxim was vive la bagatelle ; he thought trifles a necessary part of life, and perhaps found them necessary to himself. It seems impossible to him to be idle, and his disorders made it difficult or dangerous to be long seriously studious, or laboriously diligent. The love of ease is always gaining upon age, and he had one temptation to petty amusements peculiar to himself; whatever he did, he was sure to hear applauded ; and fuch was his predominance over all that approached, that all their applauses were probably sincere. He that is much flattered, soon learns to flatter himself: we are commonly taught our duty by fear or shame, and how can they act upon the man who hears nothing but his own praises ?
As his years increased, his fits of giddiness and deafness grew more frequent, and his deafness made conversation difficult ; they grew likewise more severe, till in 1736, as he was writing a poem called The Legion Club, he was seized with a fit so painful, and so long continued, that he never after thought it proper to attempt any work of thought or labour.
He was always careful of his money, and was therefore no liberal entertainer ; but was lefs frugal of his
wine than of his meat. When his friends of either sex came to him, in expectation of a dinner, his cuftom was to give every one a shilling, that they might please themselves with their provision. At last his åvarice grew too powerful for his kindness; he would refuse a bottle of wine, and in Ireland no man vifits where he cannot drink.
Having thus excluded conversation, and desisted from study, he had neither business nor amusement for having, by fome ridiculous resolution or mad vow, determined never to wear spectacles, he could make little use of books in his later years : his ideas therefore, being neither renovated by discourse, nor incréased by reading, wore gradually away, and left his mind vacant to the vexations of the hour, till at last his anger was heightened into madness.
He however permitted one book to be published, which had been the production of former years ; Po. lite Conversation, which appeared in 1738. The Directions for Servants was printed soon after his death. These two performances shew a mind incessantly attentive, and, when it was not employed upon great things, busy with minute occurrences. It is apparent that he must have had the habit of noting whatever he observed ; for such a number of particulars could never have been assembled by the power of recollection.
He grew more violent; and his mental powers declined till (1741) it was found necessary that legal guardians should be appointed of his person and for
He now loft diftin&tion. His madness was compounded of rage and fatuity. The last face that he knew was that of Mrs. Whiteway, and her he ceased VOL. III.
to know in a little time. His meat was brought him cut into mouthfuls; but he would never touch it while the servant staid, and at last, after it had stood perhaps an hour, would eat it walking; for he continued his old habit, and was on his feet ten hours 2-day.
Next year (1742) he had an inflammation in his left eye, which swelled it to the size of an egg, with boils in other parts; he was kept long waking with the pain, and was not easily restrained by five attendants from tearing out his eye. .
The tumour at last subsided ; and a short interval of reafon ensuing, in which he knew his physician and his family, gave hopes of his recovery ; but in a few days he sunk into lethargick stupidity, motionless, heedless, and speechless. But it is said, that, after a year of total silence, when his housekeeper, on the zoth of November, told him that the usual bonfires and illuminations were preparing to celebrate his birthday, he answered, It is all folly; they bad better let it alone.
It is remembered that he afterwards spoke now and then, or gave some intimation of a meaning ; but at last funk into perfect silence, which continued till about the end of October 1744, when, in his seventyeighth year, he expired without a struggle.
WHEN Swift is considered as an author, it is just to estimate his powers by their effects. In the reign of Queen Anne he turned the stream of popularity against the Whigs, and must be confessed to have dictated for a time the political opinions of the English nation. In the succeeding reign he delivered Ireland from
plunder and oppression; and thewed that wit, confederated with truth, had such force as authority was unable to resist. He said truly of himself, that Ireland was bis debtor. It was from the time when he first began to patronize the Irish, that they may date their riches and prosperity. He taught them first to know their own interest, their weight, and their strength, and gave them fpirit to asset that equality with their fellow-subjects to which they have ever since been making vigorous advances, and to claim those rights which they have at last established. Nor can they be charged with ingratitude to their benefactor; for they reverenced him as a guardian, and obeyed him as a dictator.
In his works, he has given very differant specimens both of sentiment and expression. His Tale of a Tub has little resemblance to his other pieces. It exhibits a vehemence and rapidity of mind, a copiousness of images, and vivacity of diction, such as he afterwards never possessed, or never exerted. It is of a mode so distinct and peculiar, that it must be considered by itself; what is true of that, is not true of any thing else which he has written.
In his other works is found an equable tenour of easy language, which rather trickles than flows. His delight was in fimplicity. That he has in his works no metaphor, as has been said, is not true; but his few metaphors seem to be received rather by necessity than choice. He studied purity; and though perhaps all his strictures are not exact, yet it is not often that solecisms can be found; and whoever depends on his authority may generally conclude himself safe. His sentences are never too much dilated or contra ted; Dd 2
and it will not be easy to find any embarrasment in the complication of his clauses, any inconsequence in his connections, or abruptness in his transitions.
His style was well suited to his thoughts, which are never subtilised by nice disquisitions, decorated by sparkling conceits, elevated by ambitious fentences, or variegated by far-sought learning. He pays no court to the paffions; he excites neither surprise nor admiration; he always understands himself: and his reader always understands himn : the peruser of Swift wants little previous knowledge; it will be sufficient that he is acquainted with common words and common things ; he is neither required to mount elevations, nor to explore profundities; his passage is always on a level, along solid ground, without afperities, without obstruction.
This easy and fafe conveyance of meaning it was Swift's desire to attain, and for having attained he deserves praise, though perhaps not the highest praiseFor purposes merely didactick, when something is to be told that was not known before, it is the best mode, but against that inattention by which known truths are suffered to lie neglected, it makes no provision; it instruets, but does not persuade.
By his political education he was associated with the Whigs; but he deserted them when they deserted their principles, yet without running into the contrary extreme; he continued throughout his life to retain the disposition which he assigns to the Church-of-England Man, of thinking commonly with the Whigs of the State, and with the Tories of the Church.
He was a churchman rationally zealous; he desired the prosperity, and maintained the honour of the