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In short, I'm perfectly content, Let me but live on this side Trent; Nor cross the Channel twice a year, To spend six months with statesmen here. I must by all means come to town, 'Tis for the service of the crown. "Lewis, the Dean will be of use, Send for him up, take no excuse.' The toil, the danger of the seas; Great ministers ne'er think of these; Or let it cost five hundred pound, No matter where the money's found. It is but so much more in debt, And that they ne'er consider'd yet.
"Good Mr. Dean, go change your gown, Let my lord know you're come to town." I hurry me in haste away,
Not thinking it is levee-day;
Another, in a surly fit,
Tells me I have more zeal than wit,
I own, I'm pleas'd with this rebuke, And take it kindly meant to show What I desire the world should know.
I get a whisper, and withdraw: When twenty fools I never saw Come with petitions fairly penn'd, Desiring I would stand their friend.
This, humbly offers me his case—
"Tis (let me see) three years and more, (October next it will be four,) Since Harley bid me first attend, And chose me for an humble friend; Would take me in his coach to chat,
Where all that passes, inter nos,
'How think you of our friend the Dean? I wonder what some people mean;
My lord and he are grown so great,
Ah, doctor, how you love to jest! "Tis now no secret"-I protest "Tis one to me-" Then tell us, pray, When are the troops to have their pay?" And, though I solemnly declare
I know no more than my lord-mayor, They stand amaz'd, and think me grown The closest mortal ever known.
Thus in a sea of folly toss'd, My choicest hours of life are lost; Yet always wishing to retreat, Oh, could I see my country-seat! There, leaning near a gentle brook, Sleep, or peruse some ancient book, And there in sweet oblivion drown Those cares that haunt the court and town. O charming noons! and nights divine! Or when I sup, or when I dine, My friends above, my folks below, Chatting and laughing all-a-row, The beans and bacon set before 'em, The grace-cup serv'd with all decorum: Each willing to be pleas'd, and please, And ev'n the very dogs at ease! Here no man prates of idle things, How this or that Italian sings,
A neighbor's madness, or his spouse's,
Our friend Dan Prior told (you know)
A frugal mouse upon the whole,
Yet, to his guest though no way sparing,
And cried, "I vow you're mighty neat.
The veriest hermit in the nation
Behold the place, where if a poet
Our courtier walks from dish to dish,
That jelly's rich, this malmsey healing,
ROBERT EARL OF OXFORD AND EARL MORTIMER.
Sent to the Earl of Oxford, with Dr. Parnell's Poems published by our Author, after the said Earl's imprisonment in the Tower, and Retreat into the Country, in the Year 1721.
SUCH were the notes thy once-lov'd poet sung,
Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear, (A sigh the absent claims, the dead a tear,) Recall those nights that clos'd thy toilsome da Still hear thy Parnell in his living lays, Who, careless now of interest, fame, or fate, Perhaps forgets that Oxford e'er was great; Or, deeming meanest what we greatest call Beholds thee glorious only in thy fall.
And sure, if aught below the seats divine Can touch immortals, 'tis a soul like thine: A soul supreme, in each hard instance tried, Above all pain, and passion, and all pride, The rage of power, the blast of public breath, The lust of lucre, and the dread of Death.
In vain to deserts thy retreat is made; The Muse attends thee to thy silent shade: 'Tis hers, the brave man's latest steps to trace, Re-judge his acts, and dignify disgrace. When interest calls off all her sneaking train, And all th' oblig'd desert, and all the vain; She waits, or to the scaffold, or the cell, When the last lingering friend has bid farewell. Ev'n now she shades thy evening-walk with bays, (No hireling she, no prostitute to praise); Ev'n now, observant of the parting ray, Eyes the calm sun-set of thy various day, Through Fortune's cloud one truly great can see, Nor fears to tell, that Mortimer is he.
brought him under the heavy imputation, from which he was never able entirely to free himself, of being a scoffer against revealed religion.
JONATHAN SWIFT, a person who has carried one species of poetry, that of humorous satire, to a degree never before attained, was, by his parentage, of English descent, but probably born in Ireland. His prospects of advancement in the political It is known that his father, also called Jonathan, career were abortive, till 1710, when the Tories having married a Leicestershire lady, died at an came into power. His connexion with this party early age, leaving a daughter, and a posthumous son. began in an acquaintance with Harley, afterwards His widow, being left in narrow circumstances, Earl of Oxford, who introduced him to secretary was invited by her husband's brother, Godwin, St. John, afterwards Lord Bolingbroke; and, he who resided in Dublin, to his house; and there, it engaged the confidence of these leaders to such a is supposed, Jonathan was born, on November 30th, degree, that he was admitted to their most secret 1667. After passing some time at a school in Kil- consultations. In all his transactions with them, kɔ kenny, he was removed to Trinity College, Dublin, was most scrupulously attentive to preserve every in his 15th year; in which university he spent seven appearance of being on an equality, and to repress years, and then obtained with difficulty the degree every thing that looked like slight or neglect on of bachelor of arts, conferred speciali gratia. The their parts; and there probably is not another excircumstance affords sufficient proof of the misap-ample of a man of letters who has held his head so plication of his talents to mathematical pursuits; high in his association with men in power. This but he is said to have been at this period engaged was undoubtedly owing to that constitutional pride eight hours a day in more congenial studies. and unsubmitting nature which governed all his actions.
So profuse are the materials for the life of Swift, that it has become almost a vain attempt to give, in A bishopric in England was the object at which a moderate compass, the events by which he was he aimed, and a vacancy on the bench occurring, distinguished from ordinary mortals; and it will he was recommended by his friends in the ministry therefore be chiefly in his character of a poetical to the Queen; but suspicions of his faith, and other composer that we shall now consider him. He was prejudices, being raised against him, he was passed early domesticated with the celebrated statesman, over; and the highest preferment which his patrons Sir William Temple, who now lived in retirement could venture to bestow upon him was the deanery at Moor Park; but having made choice of the of St. Patrick's, in Dublin; to which he was prechurch as his future destination, on parting in sented in 1713, and in which he continued for life. some disagreement from Temple, he went to Ire- The death of the Queen put an end to all contests land, with very moderate expectations, and took among the Tory ministers; and the change termiorders. A reconciliation with his patron brought |nated Swift's prospects, and condemned him to an him back to Moor Park, where he passed his time unwilling residence in a country which he always in harmony till the death of Sir William, who left disliked. On his return to Dublin, his temper was him a legacy and his papers. He then accepted severely tried by the triumph of the Whigs, who an invitation from the earl of Berkeley, one of the treated him with great indignity; but in length of Lords Justices of Ireland, to accompany him time, by a proper exercise of his clerical office, by thither as chaplain and private secretary; and he reforms introduced into the chapter of St. Patrick's, continued in the family as long as his lordship re- and by his bold and able exposures of the abuses mained in that kingdom. Here Swift began to practised in the government of Ireland, he rose to distinguish himself by an incomparable talent of the title of King of the Mob in that capital. writing humorous verses in the true familiar style, His conduct with respect to the female sex was several specimens of which he produced for the not less unaccountable than singular, and certainly amusement of the house. After Lord Berkeley's does no honor to his memory. Early in life he return to England, Swift went to reside at his attached himself to his celebrated Stella, whose real living at Laracor, in the diocese of Meath; and name was Johnson, the daughter of Sir William here it was that ambition began to take possession Temple's steward. Soon after his settlement at of his mind. He thought it proper to increase his Laracor, he invited her to Ireland. She came, acconsequence by taking the degree of doctor of companied by a Mrs. Dingley, and resided near divinity in an English university; and, for the pur- the parsonage when he was at home, and in it when pose of forming connexions, he paid annual visits he was absent; nor were they ever known to lodge to that country. In 1701, he first engaged as a in the same house, or to see each other without a political writer; and, in 1704, he published, though witness. In 1716, he was privately married to her, anonymously, his celebrated Tale of a Tub," but the parties were brought no nearer than before which, while it placed him high as a writer, dis- and the act was attended with no acknowledgment tinguished by wit and humor of a peculiar cast, that could gratify the feelings of a woman who
had so long devoted herself to him. About the humorous and sarcastic was his habitual taste, year 1712, he became acquainted, in London, with which he frequently indulged beyond the bounds of Miss Esther Vanhomrigh, a young lady of fortune, decorum; a circumstance which renders the task with a taste for literature, which Swift was fond of of selection from his works somewhat perplexing. cultivating. To her he wrote the longest and most In wit, both in verse and prose, he stands foremost finished of his poems, entitled Cadenus and in grave irony, maintained with the most plausible Vanessa; and her attachment acquired so much air of serious simplicity, and supported by great strength, that she made him the offer of her hand. minuteness of detail. His "Gulliver's Travels" Even after his marriage to Stella, Swift kept are a remarkable exemplification of his powers in Miss Vanhomrigh in ignorance of this connexion; this kind, which have rendered the work wonder. but a report of it having at length reached her, she fully amusing, even to childish readers, whilst the took the step of writing a note to Stella, requesting keen satire with which it abounds may gratify the to know if the marriage were real. Stella assured most splenetic misanthropist. In general, however, her of the affirmative in her answer, which she his style in prose, though held up as a model of inclosed to Swift, and went into the country without clearness, purity, and simplicity, has only the merit seeing him. Swift went immediately to the house of expressing the author's meaning with perfect of Miss Vanhomrigh, threw Stella's letter on the table, and departed, without speaking a word. She never recovered the shock, and died in 1723. Stella, with her health entirely ruined, languished on till 1728, when she expired. Such was the fate which he prepared for both.
Late in life, Swift fell under the fate which he dreaded: the faculties of his mind decayed before those of his body, and he gradually settled into absolute idiocy. A total silence for some months preceded his decease, which took place in October, Of the poems of Swift, some of the most striking 1744, when he was in his 78th year. He was inwere composed in mature life, after his attainment terred in St. Patrick's cathedral, under a monuof his deanery of St. Patrick; and it will be ad- ment, for which he wrote a Latin epitaph, in which mitted that no one ever gave a more perfect ex- one clause most energetically displays the state of ample of the easy familiarity attainable in the his feelings:-"Ubi sæva indignatio ulterius cor English language. His readiness in rhyme is lacerare nequit." He bequeathed the greatest part truly astonishing; the most uncommon associations of his property to an hospital for lunatics and of sounds coming to him as it were spontaneously, idiots, in words seemingly the best adapted to the occasion. That he was capable of high polish and elegance, some of his works sufficiently prove; but the
CADENUS AND VANESSA.*
WRITTEN AT WINDSOR, 1713.
THE shepherds and the nymphs were seen
Founded on an offer of marriage made by Miss Vonhomrigh to Dr. Swift, who was occasionally her preceptor. The lady's unhappy story is well known.
To show, by one satiric touch,
Against our sovereign lady's peace,
The nymphs with scorn beheld their foes:
Or some worse brute in human shape,
From visits to receive and pay;
Stops thus, and turns with every wind;
Nor are the men of sense to blame,
The pleader, having spoke his best,
But, since the case appear'd so nice, She thought it best to take advice. The Muses, by their king's permission, Though foes to love, attend the session, And on the right hand took their places In order; on the left, the Graces: To whom she might her doubts propose On all emergencies that rose. The Muses oft were seen to frown; The Graces half-asham'd look down; And 'twas observ'd there were but few Of either sex among the crew, Whom she or her assessors knew. The goddess soon began to see, Things were not ripe for a decree : And said she must consult her books, The lovers' Fletas, Bractons, Cokes. First to a dapper clerk she beckon'd, To turn to Ovid, book the second; She then referr'd them to a place In Virgil (vide Dido's case :) As for Tibullus's reports, They never pass'd for law in courts:
For Cowley's briefs, and pleas of Waller, Still their authority was smaller.
There was on both sides much to say:
Now, gentle Clio, sing or say,
In a glad hour Lucina's aid Produc'd on Earth a wondrous maid, On whom the queen of love was bent To try a new experiment.
She threw her law-books on the shelf,
"Since men allege, they ne'er can find Those beauties in a female mind, Which raise a flame that will endure For ever uncorrupt and pure; If 'tis with reason they complain, This infant shall restore my reign. I'll search where every virtue dwells, From courts inclusive down to cells: What preachers talk, or sages write; These I will gather and unite, And represent them to mankind Collected in that infant's mind."
This said, she plucks in heaven's high bowers
The Graces next would act their part,