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invite those whom before it had driven away * (vol. 4.

p. 143.]

Tis complaint of being forsaken by his female friends, shews, that at this time his house was not a constant feTaglio of very virtuous women, who attended him from

morning till night, as my Lord Crrery has asserted · (vol. 6. p. 4.]; and it seems to imply, that the Obser

vator is also mistaken, when he says, that females were Tarely admitted into his house, and never came but upon very particular invitations. The absence of persons whom he kept at fuch distance, and fo rarely admitted, could fcarce be supposed to c'ex him mif: nor is it easy to con. ceive, in what sense they could be said to forsake him, who never came but upon particular invitation. However, as to the seraglio, the Observator affirms, in the most folemn manner, and from frequent intercourse with the Dean, and long intimacy with his most intimate friends, that Lord Orrery was grossly misinformed, and that no fuch ever subfifted; 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 fubsequent to this time: And it is very remarkable, that altho his mind was certainly greatly depressed, and his principal enjoyment at an end, when Mrs Johnson died; yet there is an air of trifling and levity in some of the pieces which he wrote afterwards, that is not to be found in any other. Such, in particular, are his directions to servants (vol. 7.], and several of his letters to Dr Sheridan (vol. 4.).


These several causes, added to the death of fome, the difperfion of others, and the ingratitude of those who forfook the Doc. tur's acquaintance, after they had made their fortunes under the Shelter of his patronage, gave occasion to those melancholy, thosc tender complaints, of that once great and admired person; whose conversation, even in his latter days, after the vigour and Sprightliness of his genius had greatly fübfided, had somewhat in it strangely uncommon, which was not to be remarked in the reft of human kind. D. S. p. 309.

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As he was undoubtedly much more tenderly and ftri&tly connected with Stella than with any other woman, so his friendship seems to have been more intimate 'and unreserved with Dr Sheridan than with any other man; his letters to him are evidently the spontaneous 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 history of the ancient Greeks and Romans, which he taught with great success in a grammar-fchool of which he was master; and it was-remarked, that his fcholars brought to the university, not only much learning, but good morals. This gentleman was by nature suited to Swift as a companion in the higheft degree." He had a vein of humour that was a constant occasion of merriment; he had an absence 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 disposed to be chearful, and therefore readily concurred in the entertainment of Swife's hours of pleasantry; and could, without much pain or difpleasure, give way to his petulance or his coldness, in his paroxisms of fretfulness and reserve: he also greatly contributed to Swift's ao musement, by little sprightly 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 easy, negligent, "contented creature, Swift passed 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, à want of that complacency which 'no familiarity-should exclude; yet it appears that the Dean did not hold Sheridan chéap! Sheridan he loved for his own merit, and was content to have deserved his love by the interest of another Stella,” fays he,

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* See his letters on Stella's sickness, and from Sir Arthur Achefon's, in vol. 41

“ loved you well; and a great share 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 diflenters often affected to call themselves brother Proteltants, and fellow Chri, ftians, with the members of the established church. Upon this occasion the Dean wrote a short copy of verses (vol. 7. p. 29.), in which there is a passage that so provoked one Bettesworth, a lawyer, and member of the Irish parliament, that he swore, in the hearing of many persons, to revenge himself either by murdering or maim, ing the author : and, for this purpose, he engaged his footinan with two ruffians, to secure the Dean whereever he could be found. As foon as this oath and at tempt of Bettelworth were kņown, thirty of the nobis lity and gentry of the liberty of St Patrick's waited up on the Dean in form, and presented a paper, fubfcribed with their names, in which they folemnly engaged, in behalf of themfelves and the rest of the liberty, to defend his person 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 forcane, 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 past; fuch gratitude as was never yet excited bet by characters very different from actual misanthropy, or fordid felfilhness.

When this paper was delivered, Swift was jn beds 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 babitual pre-eminence, and all the resignation of humble piety. Though he acknowledged the kindness of his friends, yet he declared his trust to be in God. He bewailed his incapacity to Feceive and thank them, as in justice and gratitude he ought; aed concluded with a hort but pathetic prayer


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for their temporal and eternal happinefs. (vol. 4. p. 322, 323.]

These fits of giddiness and deafness, which were the effects of his furfeit before he was twenty years ald, became more frequent and more violent in proportion as he

years. And-in 1736, while he was wrie ting a satire on the Irish parliament, which he called The legion-club (vol. 7. p. 45.] he was seized with one of these fits; the effect of which was fo dreadful, that he left the poem unfinished, and never afterwards at: tempted a compofition, either in verse or profe, that required a course 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 pallions to pervert his underitanda ing ; a calamity to which many particulars seem to have concurred.

His folitude, which has been already accounted for, prevented the diversion of his mind by conversation from brooding over his disappointments, and aggravating e. very injury that he had suffered, by all the circumstances which ingenious resentment, if it does not find, is apt to create ; a resolution which he had taken, and to which he obftinately adhered, not to wear spectacles, precluded the entertainment which he might otherwise have found in books; and his giddiness, though it was à mere corporal disorder, prevented the employment of his mind in compofition. In this situation, his thoughts seem to have been confined to the contemplation of his own misery, which he felt to be great, and which in this world he knew to be hopeless. The sense of his prefent condition was neceffarily complicated with regret of the paft, and with resentment both against those 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 should by degrees become the victim of outrageous madne fs.

That he was weary of life, appears by many partages

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in his letters and expreffions to his friends. In 1739, three years after his memory first declined, he had been ftanding with a clergyman under a very large heay pier glass, 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 escaped, 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 wilhed the glass 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 conversation was ftill sprightly and fent fible, but mingled with more fácire, and that fatire was more bitter. He also continued to correspond by letter with his friends in England; particularly Mr Pope, with whoin he had contracted an early friendship, which con tinued till his death. It has been said, that towards the end of their lives it grew cold : bat the Dean, in a letter to Lord Ofrery, which he wrote a short time befare his incapacity, says, “When you fee my deat “ friend Pope, tell him, I will answer his letter Toon; " I love him above all the rest of mankind." (vol. 4. p. 3:). He has also called Mr Pope, his dearesi friend in his will (vol. 4. p. 339.); and Mr Pope, in a letter which was written about the fame time, makes this request. 1 AC"s sure him (the Dean), the world has nothing in it I admire so much, nothing the loss of which I should

regret so much, as his GENIUS and his 'VIRTUÈS." [vol. 4. P. 3.)

In the beginning of the year 1741, his understanding was so much impaired, and his paifions so much increr fed, that he was utterly incapable of conversation.

Strangers It was, for many years before the Doctor had loft his memc. ry, a common saying 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 Mall never see you again.". In this manner he would frequently express the desire he had to get rid of the world, after a day spent in chearfulness, without any provocation from anger, melancholy, or disappointment. D. S. p. 219.

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