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invite those whom before it had driven away *. [vol. 4. P. 143.]
Tis complaint of being forfaken by his female friends, fhews, that at this time his houfe was not a constant seraglio of very virtuous women, who attended him from morning till night, as my Lord Crrery has afferted · [vol. 6. p. 4.]; and it feems to imply, that the Obfervator is alfo miftaken, when he fays, that females were rarely admitted into his houfe, and never came but upon very particular invitations. The abfence of perfons whom he kept at fuch distance, and fo rarely admitted, could fcarce be fuppofed to vex him meft; nor is it eafy to conceive, in what fenfe they could be faid to forfake him, who never came but upon particular invitation. However, as to the feraglio, the Obfervator affirms, in the most folemn manner, and from frequent intercourse with the Dean, and long intimacy with his moft intimate friends, that Lord Orrery was grofsly misinformed, and that no fuch ever fubfifted; Mrs Whiteway, a near relation, who came to live with him fome time after Stella's death, being the only female in his family, except fervants.
As he lived much in folitude, he frequently amused himself with writing; as appears by the dates of many of his pieces, which are subsequent to this time: And it is very remarkable, that altho3 his mind was certainly greatly depreffed, and his principal enjoyment at an end, when Mrs Johnson died; yet there is an air of trifling and levity in fome of the pieces which he wrote afterwards, that is not to be found in any other. Such, in particular, are his directions to fervants [vol. 7.], and several of his letters to Dr Sheridan [vol. 4.].
These feveral causes, added to the death of fome, the difperfion of others, and the ingratitude of those who forfook the Doctor's acquaintance, after they had made their fortunes under the fhelter of his patronage, gave occafion to thofe melancholy, thofe tender complaints, of that once great and admired perfon; whofe converfation, even in his latter days, after the vigour and sprightliness of his genius had greatly fubfided, had fomewhat in it strangely uncommon, which was not to be remarked in the reft of hu man kind. D. S. p. 309.
As he was undoubtedly much more tenderly and ftrictly connected with Stella than with any other woman, fo his friendship feems to have been more intimate 'and unreferved with Dr Sheridan than with any other man; his letters to him are evidently the fpontaneous effufions of his heart, whether he was chearful or fad, and feem to imply a perfect acquaintance with every peculiarity of his circumstances *.
DR Sheridan was a clergyman of confiderable parts and great learning. He had in particular an extensive and critical knowledge of the language and hiftory of the ancient Greeks and Romans, which he taught with great fuccefs in a grammar-fchool of which he was mafter; and it was remarked, that his scholars brought to the university, not only much learning, but good morals. This gentleman was by nature fuited to Swift as a companion in the highest degree. He had a vein of humour that was a constant occafion of merriment; he had an abfence of mind, which rendered him a perpetual object of raillery, and an indolent good nature, which made him unapt to take offence; he was always difpofed to be chearful, and therefore readily concurred in the entertainment of Swift's hours of pleafantry; and could, without much pain or difpleafure, give way to his petulance or his coldnefs, in his paroxifms of fretfulness and referve: he alfo greatly contributed to Swift's amusement, by little fprightly pieces of the inferior kind of poetry which he was always writing; and yet more to his employment, by hints and materials which he was every moment throwing out.
WITH this eafy, negligent, contented creature, Swift pafled much of his time, as well during Mrs Johnson's life as afterwards. And tho' there is in general an air of fuperiority in his letters, and might be fometimes, in his behaviour, a want of that complacency which no familiarity fhould exclude; yet it appears that the Dean did not hold Sheridan cheap. Sheridan he loved for his own merit, and was content to have deferved his love by the intereft of another Stella," fays he,
* See his letters on Stella's fickness, and from Sir Arthur Achefon's, in vol. 41
"loved you well; and a great fhare of the little merit "I have with you, is owing to her folicitations." [vol. 4. P. 244. 83, 84.]
In the year 1733, when an attempt was made to repeal the teft-act in Ireland, the diffenters often affected to call themselves brother Proteftants, and fellow Chri ftians, with the members of the established church. Upon this occafion the Dean wrote a fhort copy of verfes [vol. 7. p. 29.1, in which there is a paffage that fo provoked one Bettefworth, a lawyer, and member of the Irish parliament, that he fwore, in the hearing of many perfons, to revenge himself either by murdering or maiming the author: and, for this purpofe, he engaged his footman with two ruffians, to fecure the Dean whereever he could be found. As foon as this oath and attempt of Bettelworth were known, thirty of the nobility and gentry of the liberty of St Patrick's waited upon the Dean in form, and prefented a paper, fubfcribed with their names, in which they folemnly engaged, in behalf of themfelves and the rest of the liberty, to defend his perfon and fortune, as the friend and benefactor of his country. [vol. 4. p. 322.]
SUCH was the reverence and affection with which Swift was treated in his old age; not by domeftics or depen dents, whom the hope of fome future advantage might induce to diffemble; but by persons of rank and fortune, with whom he had no connection, but as a benefactor to the public, and who, as they had nothing future to hope, could be prompted only by gratitude for the paft; fuch gratitude as was never yet excited but by characters very different from actual mifanthropy, or fordid felfithness.
WHEN this paper was delivered, Swift was in bed, giddy and deaf, having been fame time before seized with one of his fits; but he dictated an answer in which there is all the dignity of habitual pre-eminence, and all the refignation of humble piety. Though he acknowledged the kindness of his friends, yet he declared his truft to be in God He bewailed his incapacity to receive and thank them, as in justice and gratitade he ought; and concluded with a short but pathetic prayer
for their temporal and eternal happiness, [vol. 4. p. 322, 823.000
THESE fits of giddiness and deafness, which were the effects of his furfeit before he was twenty years old, became more frequent and more violent in proportion as he grew into years. And in 1736, while he was writing a fatire on the Irish parliament, which he called The legion-club [vol. 7. p. 45.] he was feized with of these fits; the effect of which was fo dreadful, that he left the poem unfinished, and never afterwards attempted a compofition, either in verfe or profe, that re quired a courfe of thinking, or perhaps more than one fitting to finish. [vol. 4. p. 346.]
FROM this time his memory, was perceived gradually to decline, and his paffions to pervert his understanding; a calamity to which many particulars seem to have concurred.
His folitude, which has been already accounted for, prevented the diverfion of his mind by conversation from brooding over his disappointments, and aggravating every injury that he had fuffered, by all the circumstances which ingenious refentment, if it does not find, is apt to create; a refolution which he had taken, and to which he obftinately adhered, not to wear fpectacles, precluded the entertainment which he might otherwife have found in books; and his giddinefs, though it was a mere corporal diforder, prevented the employment of his mind in compofition. In this fituation, his thoughts seem to have been confined to the contemplation of his own mifery, which he felt to be great, and which in this world he knew to be hopeless. The fenfe of his prefent condition was neceffarily complicated with regret of the past, and with resentment both against thofe by whom he had been banished, and those who had deferted him in his exile. A fixed attention to one object, long continued, is known to destroy the balance of the mind; and it is not therefore ftrange, that Swift fhould by degrees become the victim of outrageous madnefs.
THAT he was weary of life, appears by many paffages
in his letters and expreffions to his friends *. In 1739, three years after his memory firft declined, he had been ftanding with a clergyman under a very large heay pier glafs, which, just as they moved to another part of the room, fell down, and broke to pieces. The clergyman, ftruck with a fenfe of the danger from which they had efcaped, turned to Swift, and cried out, “What a mercy "it is that we moved the moment we did! for if we "had not, we should certainly have been killed." The Dean replied, that, as to himself, he was forry he had changed ground, and wished the glafs had fallen upon him. [D. S. p. 217.]
TILL about the time of this accident, though his me mory was become very defective, and his paffions more violent, yet his converfation was ftill fprightly and fen! fible, but mingled with more fatire, and that fatire was more bitter. He alfo continued to correfpond by letter with his friends in England; particularly Mr Pope, with whom he had contracted an early friendship, which continued till his death. It has been faid, that towards the end of their lives it grew cola: but the Dean, in a letter to Lord Orrery, which he wrote a short time before his incapacity, fays, When you fee my dear "friend Pope, tell him, I will anfwer his letter foon; "I love him above all the rest of mankind." [vol. 4. p. 3]. He has also called Mr Pope, his dearest friend in his will [vol. 4. p. 339.]; and Mr Pope, in a letter which was written about the fame time, makes this request." Af"fure him [the Dean], the world has nothing in it I "admire fo much, nothing the lofs of which I should "regret fo much, as his GENIUS and his VIRTUÈS.' [vol. 4. p. 3.]
In the beginning of the year 1741, his understanding was fo much impaired, and his paffions fo much increa fed, that he was utterly incapable of conversation. Strangers
It was, for many years before the Doctor had loft his memery, a common faying of his, at the time of his parting in the evening with an intimate friend, that used to visit him twice or thrice a-week," Well; God bless you; good night to you; but I hope "i fhall never fee you again.' In this manner he would frequently express the defire he had to get rid of the world, after a day spent in chearfulness, without any provocation from anger, melancholy, or difappointment. D. S. p. 217.