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a kind letter from Sir William himself, with an invitation to Moor-Park, his refolution was at once fixed. He determined upon returning to England, but first refolved to refign his living. As there were fome fingular circumstances attending this refignation, I fhall relate them exactly as I received them from a Gentleman of veracity, who declared he had the account from Swift himfelf. He faid, that foon after he had come to this determination, he was taking his customary walk, and met an elderly clergyman riding along the road. After the ufual falutation, he fell into difcourfe with him; and was so pleased with what paffed between them, that he invited him to dinner, and easily prevailed on him to be his gueft for a day or two. During this time Swift found that he was a man of great fimplicity of manners, good fenfe, fome learning, and unaffected piety: and, upon enquiring into his circumftances, learned, that he had only a curacy of forty pounds a year, for the maintenance of a wife and eight children. Swift lamented his situation, and told him that he had fome intereft which he would exert in his behalf, and endeavour to procure him a living, if he would only lend him his black mare to carry him to Dublin; for Swift was not at that time poffeffed of a horfe. The clergyman readily confented, and went home on foot; promifing to meet him at any time he should appoint on his return. Swift went to town, and reprefented the poor curate's cafe to his patron in fuch ftrong terms, as foon prevailed on him to confent that Swift's living fhould, upon his refignation, which was propofed at the fame time, be made over to him. Nor was this a difficult point to accomplish, as, befide motives of humanity, it was for the intereft of the patron to accept of an old incumbent of near fixty years of age, in the room of a young one of twenty-feven.
Swift, having difpatched this bufinefs, returned as foon as poffible to the country, and gave notice to the old clergyman to meet him. He found him at his door on his arrival, and immediately upon their going into the parlour put the presentation into his hand, defiring him to read it. Swift faid, that while he was doing so, he kept his eyes fteadily fixed on the old man's face, in which the joy of finding that it was a prefentation to a living, was vifibly expreffed: but when he came to that part of the writing which mentioned the name of the living, and found that it was Swift's own which he had refigned in his favour, he looked at him for fome time in filence, with fuch a mixed emotion of aftonishment and gratitude in his countenance, as prefented to Swift. one of the most striking pictures of the mind expreffed in the face, he had ever feen; and he faid that he never before had felt fuch exquifite pleasure of mind as he did in that hour. Nor is this to be wondered at, fince it was the first opportunity he ever had of letting loose that spirit of generofity and benevolence, whofe greatnefs and vigour, when pent up in his own breaft by poverty and dependance, ferved only as an evil spirit to torment him. And when we confider the nature of this action in all its circumstances, that the object of it was the worthy father of a numerous family, for whom it was impoffible he could make any provifion from fo poor an income as he then poffeffed; that the motive to it was pure difinterested benevolence, without any alloy, as the man was a ftranger to him, and therefore there could be no incentive to it from ties of blood or friendfhip; that the gift was fuch as would brighten the latter days of a well-spent life, though hitherto clouded with indigence, and make a whole family happy; and lastly, that this gift was not like that of a wealthy man, who might easily spare it without feeling the lofs, but the
whole vifible income Swift poffeffed for prefent and fu ture fupport, the fole means in his power of preferving that independence which he had fo long fighed for, and at last with difficulty obtained: it is no wonder, I fay, all these circumftances confidered, that the great mind of Swift fhould have exulted in fo glorious an opportunity of paying off at once the large debt which, from the narrowness of his circumftances, he had been contracting all his life, to benevolence.
After feeing his fucceffor established in the living, he foon fettled his affairs, and fet out for Dublin, in his way to England. The old man, before his departure, preffed him to accept of his black mare, which was the moft valuable of his poffeffions, as a small token of his gratitude; and Swift was too well acquainted with the fenfibility of a generous heart, under obligations, to hurt him by a refusal.
With about fourfcore pounds in his pocket, which by his own account was all his worldly wealth at that time, Swift once more embarked for England, and arrived at Moor-Park in the year 1695, after fomewhat more than a year's abfence.
To all appearance he had but little bettered his condition by his journey to Ireland. He was now returned to the fame ftate of dependance, which had before proved fo irkfome to him, that he determined to break away from it, at all hazards. But there were several circumstances which contributed to make his present ftate, though ftill dependant, of a very different nature from the former. In the first place, his fituation now was not the effect of neceffity or constraint, but the object of his choice. In the next, he was highly gratified with an opportunity of fhewing his regard and attachment to Sir William, by returning voluntarily to him, when it was in his power to have lived independently,
ently, though he fcorned to be compelled into it from motives of neceffity. Then, by fo readily complying with Sir William's requeft, and giving up all his visible support in order to do fo, he had laid him under fuch an obligation as entitled him to all future favours, which might be in his power to beftow. Accordingly we find, that Swift's mind being now perfectly at ease, and Sir William confidering his return, with all its circumstances, in the moft obliging light, thefe two great men lived together to the time of Sir William's death, in the most perfect harmony, and with marks of mutual confidence and efteem. Nor do we find during that fpace, which was almost four years, that Swift was at all preffing on the fcore of preferment promised him; which, had he been fo, he would certainly have obtained; but, from a true generosity of mind, he feemed determined to stay with his friend, in order to cheer his latter days, which were embittered by illness and pain, and required fuch a cordial to make life fupportable; and to lay aside all views with regard to himself, till his friend's death fhould release him from the benevolent task, and leave him at liberty to pursue his own intereft.
During this space Swift's time was fully and usefully employed. He devoted eight hours a day, as before, to the profecution of his ftudies. His function as a clergyman was confined to a private family, but hẹ was regular in the discharge of it, having ftated times in the morning and evening for their meeting together at prayers. He took upon himself the office of preceptor to a young Lady, niece to Sir William Temple,
* As many may be curious to know of what nature his ftudies were, the following account of the books which he read in one year, preferved in his own hand-writing, may afford fome fatisfaction.
refiding in his house, teaching her English, and directing her in a proper courfe of reading. At the fame time Mifs Johnfon, afterwards fo well known by the name of Stella, was a fellow ftudent with the other young Lady, and partook of the benefit of the fame inftruction. Mifs Johnfon was daughter to Sir William Temple's steward, and was at that time about fourteen years of age; beautiful in her perfon, and poffeffed of fuch fine talents, as made Swift take great delight in cultivating and forming her mind. At this time too he writ his famous Digreffions to be found in the Tale of a Tub; and the Battle of the Books, in honour of his great and learned friend.
In the year 1699, Sir William Temple died, leaving Swift a legacy, and the care, truft, and advantage, of publishing his pofthumous writings. As he had aifo obtained a promife from King William, that he would give Swift a prebend, either of Canterbury or Westminster, he thought he had made a fufficient return for
From Jan. 7, 1696-7,
Lord Herbert's Harry VIII. fol.
Council of Trent, abilracted, fol. Hiftoire d'Ethiopie
Horace, 9 vols.
Sir William Temple's Memoirs
Sir John Davis, of the Soul
Hiftoire de Mr. Conftance
Hiftoire de Chypre
Voyage de Syam
Memoires de Maurier
Lucius Florus, ter.
Hiftoire de Cotes, de A°.
Homer, Iliad, & Odyff,
Bernier's Grand Mcgol, 2 vols.
Oeuvres Melées, 5 vols.