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all his merits towards him, and that he left him in the high road to preferment *
Before we accompany Swift into the world, let us review the manner of his passing his life, from the time that we stopped to survey him on his way to Leicester, when, forlorn and hopeless as his condition was, the unseen hand of Providence was guiding him to the means of all his future greatness, in placing him under the hospitable roof of Sir William Temple. However bounteous nature had been, in bestowing on Swift extraordinary talents, yet were they of such a kind, as required much time and application to bring them to perfection, and fit them to answer their destined ends. He had missed the usual season of cultivating those talents, but at the same time he had escaped the danger of their being perverted and misapplied. His mind had not been strait-laced into that fashionable shape which seemed most beautiful to the eyes of pedantry, but was suffered to reach its full growth according to the course of nature. Thus did it attain an unusual size, vigour, and ease. He did not enter seriously upon his studies till his understanding was mature; thus all that he read was to some useful end, nor was his memory charged with those important trifles, about which the scholastic world is generally so busy. He read the classics at a time when he could penetrate into their profoundest depths, and enrich himself with the spoils of their hidden treasures; not at the usual season of boyishness, when the weak sight can be regaled only
* Such was the love and attention which Swift shewed to this great' man, that in his last illness he kept a daily register of the variations which appeared in his conftitution, from July 1, 1698, to the 27th of the January following ; when he concludes with this note, “ He died at one o'clock in the morning, and with him all that was great and good among men.”
with such frowery beauties as are pointed out to it on the surface. Thinking for himself as a man, he soon saw that no science was so valuable to man, as that of human nature. He judged that the best way to obtain a general knowledge of that, was from history; and a more particular view of it, from studying mankind. He could not possibly have been better situated than at Moor-Park, to have made observations on the higher and more refined life ; and he studiously fought all opportunities during his little excursions and journies, to make himself acquainted with low life; often preferring the conveyance of waggons, and their inns, to those of coaches. Scenes of middling life must, of course, often fall into his way, and where, to a boundless curiosity, there was added from nature an uncommon penetration, it is no wonder he became such an adept in the knowledge of man, and of the world. A science essentially necessary to him to make that figure
which he afterwards did in life. His situation at Sir William Temple's was indeed in every respect the happiest that could have been chosen, to prepare this great genius for the complicated part he was to act in the world.' Swift was to figure as a Writer, as a Politician, as a Patriot. And where could a young man have found such a director and assillant in fitzing him for the performance of these several parts, as Sir William Temple; who was himself one of the finest writers, one of the ableft statesmen, and the trueft lover of his country, that had been produced in that, or perhaps in any other age?
It was from the frequent revisal of that great man's works, under his own inspection, that Swift acquired his first lights with regard to propriety and purity of style, which he was afterwards allowed to carry to a greater degree of perfection than any English writer whatsoever. The high opinion he entertained of Sir William's Works in this respect, was known to me from the following circumstance. When I was an undergraduate in the College, he recommended it to me to lay aside some portion of time every day for the study of English; and when I ask'd him what authors he would advise me to read, he immediately replied, Sir William Temple; not, said he, his latter Works, written during or after his long residence abroad, for his style became then somewhat corrupted by the introduction of newfangled foreign words and phrases, which he fell into by conversing and writing so much in foreign languages; but such of his works as were written before his going Ambassador to Nimeguen. And after him, added he, I do not know any writer in our language that I would recommend to you as a model. I had upon this occasion a fair opportunity of paying him a just compliment; but I knew his detestation of any thing that carried the appearance of flattery with it, too well, to make mention of his own Works to him.
With respect to Politicks, it must be allowed that there was no man of that age better qualified than Sir William Temple, not only to instruct Swift in the ge. neral system of Politicks pursued in the several States of Europe, but likewise to lay open to him all the arcana of state, all the most secret fprings of action, with regard to public affairs, both foreign and domestic, during his time; in which he himself had borne fo principal a part: and with regard to Patriotisin, Sir William Temple must be allowed to have been the most fhining example of that noblest of virtues, produced in that age; as he passed all the vigorous part of his life in the most indefatigable endeavours for the good of his country, upon the most disinterested principles ;
never having received any reward, nor seeming solici. tous about any, for a long series of the most important services rendered to his King and Country, often at his own expence; and at last nobly declining the highest ftation to which a subject could be raised, when offered to him, as it was at a time of life, when he found the vigour of his mind so far abated, that he did not think himself equal to the arduous employment of first Minister. And with respect to private virtue, there could not have been a more illustrious example placed before the eyes of a young man, than that of an old Courtier, who during the diffolute reign of CharlesII. had singly at Court maintained his integrity unshaken, and his miorals untainted.
Under the direction of such a tutor, such a guide, under the influence of such an example; how happily was the most dangerous season of life passed in studious retirement, far from the dangers and temptations of a corrupt world.
When we reflect that Swift was first brought up in the school of Adversity, (who though she be a severe mistress, yet does the generally make the best scholars) and that he was thence removed to another Lyceum, where presided a sage, in whom were blended Socratic wisdom, Stoical virtue, and Epicurean elegance; we must allow his lot to have been most happily cast for forming a great and distinguished character in life. Nor did he fail to answer the high expectation that might be raised of a young man endowed by nature with uncommon talents, which were improved to the utmost by a singular felicity of situation, into which fortune had thrown him.
Let us now accompany Swift into the world, from entering into which he was happily detained till his thirty-first year. His mind was now stored with va
riety of useful knowledge ; his understanding had arrived at its utmost maturity and strength; his fancy was in its prime; and his heart, long filled with the noblest affections towards God, and towards man, swelled with impatience for proper opportunities of discharging his duty to both. With such abilities, and such dispositions, behold him now entering on the great stage of the world, to perform the character allotted to him in the drama of life, that of an able, bold, and unwearied champion, in the cause of religion, liberty, and virtue,
From the Death of Sir William Temple to the Time of
bis Introduction to Lord OXFORD.
UPON the death of Sir William Temple, Swift immediately removed to London; where his first care was to discharge the trust reposed in him, that of publishing a correct edition of Sir William Temple's Works; which he effected as speedily as possible, and presented them to King William, with a short Dedication written by himself, as publisher. He thought he could not pay a more acceptable compliment to the King, than by dedicating to him the posthumous works of a man, for whom, from his earliest days, when Prince of Orange, he had professed the highest friendship and esteem ; and with whom he lived, after his arrival at the Crown of England, on the most intimate footing; frequently visiting Sir William in his retreat, after he had found his endeavours vain to draw him out of it, by the tempting offer of making him his first Minister. There was another reason too, which must have made the publication of these works peculiarly acceptable to the King;