The Works of Jonathan Swift, D D , Dean of St Patrick's, Dublin, Volume 15

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Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012 - 228 pages
Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: A N ENQUIRY Into the BEHAVIOUR of the QJJEEN's LAST MINISTRY, With Relation to their Qjjarrels among themfelVes, and the Defign charged upon them of altering the Succeflion of the Crown. June Mdccxv. SINCE the death of the Queen, it was reafonable enough for me to conclude that I had done with all public affairs and fpeculations: Befides, the fcene and ftation I am in have reduced my thoughts into a narrow compafs: And being wholly excluded from any view of favour under the prefent adminiflration, upon that invincible reafon of having been in fome degree of truft and confidence with the former; I have not found the tranfition very difficult into a private life, for which I am better qualified both by nature and education. The reading and enquiring after news not being one of my diverfions, having alii, z waysways difliked a mixed and general converfa- tion, which, however it fell to my lot, is now in my power to avoid; and being placed by the duties of my function at a great diflance from the feat of bulinefs; I am altogether ignorant of many common events which happen in the world: Only, from. the little I know and hear, it is manifefl that the hearts of mofl men are filled with doubts, fears, and jealoufies, or elfe with hatred and rage, to a degree that there feems to be an end of all amicable commerce between people of different parties; and what the confequences of this may be, let thofe confider who have contributed to the caufes; which, I thank God, is no concern of mine. There are two points, with reference to the conduct of the late Miniftry, much infifted on, and little underftood by thofe who write or talk upon that fubjecl: wherein I am fufficiently qualified to give fatisfaction; and would gladly do it, be- caufe I fee very much weight laid...

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About the author (2012)

Apparently doomed to an obscure Anglican parsonage in Laracor, Ireland, even after he had written his anonymous masterpiece, A Tale of a Tub (c.1696), Swift turned a political mission to England from the Irish Protestant clergy into an avenue to prominence as the chief propagandist for the Tory government. His exhilaration at achieving importance in his forties appears engagingly in his Journal to Stella (1710--13), addressed to Esther Johnson, a young protegee for whom Swift felt more warmth than for anyone else in his long life. At the death of Queen Anne and the fall of the Tories in 1714, Swift became dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. In Ireland, which he considered exile from a life of power and intellectual activity in London, Swift found time to defend his oppressed compatriots, sometimes in such contraband essays as his Drapier's Letters (1724), and sometimes in such short mordant pieces as the famous A Modest Proposal (1729); and there he wrote perhaps the greatest work of his time, Gulliver's Travels (1726). Using his characteristic device of the persona (a developed and sometimes satirized narrator, such as the anonymous hack writer of A Tale of a Tub or Isaac Bickerstaff in Predictions for the Ensuing Year, who exposes an astrologer), Swift created the hero Gulliver, who in the first instance stands for the bluff, decent, average Englishman and in the second, humanity in general. Gulliver is a full and powerful vision of a human being in a world in which violent passions, intellectual pride, and external chaos can degrade him or her---to animalism, in Swift's most horrifying images---but in which humans do have scope to act, guided by the Classical-Christian tradition. Gulliver's Travels has been an immensely successful children's book (although Swift did not care much for children), so widely popular through the world for its imagination, wit, fun, freshness, vigor, and narrative skill that its hero is in many languages a common proper noun. Perhaps as a consequence, its meaning has been the subject of continuing dispute, and its author has been called everything from sentimental to mad. Swift died in Dublin and was buried next to his beloved "Stella.

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