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had frequently admonished him of his over-exercise. This was not owing to his being weary of life. It was from an old fettled principle, confirmed and rivetted in his mind, when he was in the height of his glory, and the meridian of his life: A principle indeed, which he maintains, or at leaft endeavours to maintain, with infinite wit and humour, in a letter to Mrs Johnfon, Nov. 3. 1711, who had advised him to take phyfic upon the fall of the leaf. "A fig," (faith he), Madam, for your physician. If I grow worse, I will; otherwife I will "truft to temperance and exercife. Your fall of a "leaf? What care I when the leaves fall? I am forry "to fee them fall with all my heart; but why should "I take phyfic because leaves fall off from trees? That "wont hinder them from falling. If a man falls off a "horse, must I take phyfic for that? This arguing "makes you mad; but it is true right reafon, not to "be difputed.".
He was not only above all tincture of envy in his compofition; but his talents were fo great, that he was to tally fuperior to the emulation of all inferior wits. They every one of them bowed down to him as to the vi ceroy of Apollo.
THE dæmon of malice was alfo a stranger to his heart: and well it might; for if at any time he was attacked with injurious treatment, he never fmothered his revenge, like a way-laying coward, until a fafer opportunity; but, like a brave and generous fpirit, knocked down his adverfary directly on the spot.
THE Common vices and foibles of human-kind he lafhed with great feverity, in order to reftrain their influence, and, if it were poffible, to hinder the conta, gion from fpreading in the community; yet ftill without making examples of particular perfons. But flaves to party, and traitors to the public intereft, he expofed without mercy to the derifion of the world. It may be thought perhaps that private animofity frequently gave an edge to his fatire. I cannot tell but in fome cafes it might. But then it fhould be confidered, that Dr Swift never looked upon himfelf in the character of a private perfon. He knew, that a patriot, like an Afiatic prince, muft make himfelf dreaded. If he be once foiled, his
power is at an end. And without controverfy, dominion, abfolute dominion, he had refolved to poflefs over the minds of men, efpecially over the minds of his countrymen; and accordingly he did poffefs it.
SWIFT was certainly a man of great ambition, tho' he denies it in his writings. But his ambition, ever directed by the rules of honour, was of a noble, exalted ftrain, worthy to be cherished in the breast of an angel. [vol. 4. p. 119.]
In his private character he was a man of fine address, and perfectly well bred. He knew to a point all the modes and variations of complaifance and politeness. And yet his manners were not framed like thofe of any other mortal; but, corrected by general obfervation, and adapted to his own peculiar turn of genius, they fhone forth, always enlivened more or lefs with fome fpirit of dominion, in a blaze of politeness, so inimitably and fo determinately his own, that in effect they feemed to be the refult of pure nature, uncopied from any the brightest or the faireft original.
SWIFT talked a great deal in all companies, without ingroffing the converfation to himself, [above, p. lxxxiv.] In the character of a tete à tete companion, he rather excelled himself. Few that are equal to him in that refpect, perhaps none that are his fuperiors, can be found upon earth. He was by no means in the clafs with those who pour down their eloquence like a torrent, driving all before it. Far from any defires of that fort, he equally loved to fpeak, and loved to hearken. Like Falftaff, he not only had wit himself, but frequently was the cause of wit in others. However, that univerfal reverence which was paid to his great abilities, frequently ftruck a damp on the fpirits of those who were not perfectly well acquainted with him: an effect of modesty, which however did not always happen to be construed to their advantage, unlefs in the cafe of very young people. For when fuch perfons were gone, if none but his intimates were prefent, he would exprefs himself with fome degree of emotion, and cry, Such a one, I have heard, is a very great man; or, Such a one, they fay, has abundance of learning; or, Such a one, I have been
told, has an excellent understanding; but God deliver me from fuch companions!
If we confider Swift as a divine and a Chriftian, we fhall find him, altho' not fo grave, yet at least as perfect, as the most famous of his contemporaries. His first setting out in the world may be thought fomewhat fingular, in this profane, hypocritical, corrupted age. We are affured from his own accounts, that his ideas of religion were fo extremely delicate, that he could not but entertain fome fcruple, notwithstanding his fortune was very finall, of entering into the church merely for fupport; altho' it is plain, that he had early, feparated himfelf to the work of the miniftry. He was of a genius thoroughly well adapted for the improvement of any congregation whatever, his arguments being always clear, cogent, and fatisfactory. But furely thofe improved, extenfive abilities, which rendered him at once the delight and the admiration of the world, were never defigned by his Creator to be confined within the narrow limits of any parish or diocese.
In his private character as a man of religion, he ap pears to have been a great and shining example of Chriftian faith and morals. In himself, he was chafte, fober, and temperate. I remember he once told me occafionally, that he never had been drunk in his life. In his general behaviour, he was open, free, difengaged, and cheerful. In his dealings with the world, he was honeft and fincere. In relieving the poor and the diftreffed, he was liberal to profufion; if denying himself, and throwing upon the waters above a third part of his income, will intitle him to the character of being exceedingly generous. With regard to his faith, he was truly orthodox. Moreover, he was regular, exceedingly regular, in all his duties to God, efpecially in attending the public worship; yet ftill without any parade, or colour of oftentation. But to crown his whole character as a man of religion, and to fhew how much he detefted that fatanical vice of hypocrify, I fhall tranfcribe a paragraph from a fermon of his, not yet published, On the excellency of the Chriftian religion, opposed to Heathen philofophy. "Chriftian wisdom (faith he) is without
partiality. It is not calculated for this or that nation
"or people, but the whole race of mankind; not to "the philofophical schemes, which were narrow and "confined, adapted to their peculiar towns, govern"ments, or fects; but in every nation, he that feareth "God, and worketh righteoufnefs, is accepted with "him. Lastly, It is without hypocrify: it appears to "be what it really is; it is all of a piece. By the doc"trines of the gospel, we are so far from being allowed "to publish to the world thofe virtues we have not, "that we are commanded to hide even from ourselves "those we really have, and not to let our right hand "know what our left hand does; unlike feveral "branches of the Heathen wifdom, which pretended
to teach infenfibility and indifference, magnanimity "and contempt of life, while at the fame time in other 64 parts it belied its own doctrines."
SEVERAL other particulars in Swift's character, and various anecdotes concerning him, will be found in the notes throughout all the eight volumes, particularly in the Criticifis prefixed to vols 1. 6. & 4.
SOME Particulars concerning Dr SWIFT.
Taken from Mrs PILKINGTON's Memoirs.
RS Pilkington's acquaintance with Dr Swift com
M menced from fending him the lines on his birth
day, vol. 7. p. 161. Thefe the Dean received very kindly, and faid, he would fee her whenever the pleased.
A few days after, fhe was introduced to the Dean in Dr Delany's garden at Delville, by a gentlewoman. He faluted her, and asked the lady, if she was her daughter? The lady fmiled, and faid, fhe was Mrs Pilkington. What," fays he, this poor little child "married! God help her, fhe is early engaged to "trouble." The Dean engaging Mr Pilkington to preach for him at the cathedral next Sunday, invited her, with the reft of the company, to dinner. communion is adminiftred every Sunday in St Patrick's church, Mrs Pilkington was charmed to fee with what a becoming piety, the Dean performed that holy fervice, which he had fo much at heart, that he wanted not the affiftance of the liturgy, but went quite thro' it without ever looking in the book. He bowed at the table; which behaviour was cenfured, as favouring of Popery. But this circumftance may vindicate him from the wicked afperfion of being deemed an unbeliever, fince it is plain he had the utmost reverence for the eucharift. Service being ended, the Dean was furrounded at the church-door, by a croud of poor; to all of whom he gave charity, except an old woman, who held out a very dirty hand to him. He told her, very gravely, That tho' fhe was a beggar, water was not fo fcarce but fhe might have washed her hands. When they came to the deanery, the Dean kindly faluted Mrs Pilkington, and, without allowing her time to fit down, bade her come and fee his library; but merrily told Mr Pilking ton, who was for following them, that he did not defire his company. Well," faid he to her, "I have brought you here to fhew you all the money I got "when I was in the ministry; but don't it." "I won't indeed, Sir," said she.
fteal any of So opening a cabinet,