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crossed the sea, except from England to Ireland, was out of all possibility of a personal correspondence with Sir William Temple, till some years after her son's
who, as before observed, was born in 1667. [O. let. 1.)
Ar about the age of fix years (1673) he was sent to the school of Kilkenny; and having continued there eight years, he was at the age of fourteen (1681] admitted into the university of Dublin, and became a student in Trinity college. There he lived in perfect regularity, and obeyed the statutes with the utmost exactness. But the moroseness of his temper often rendered him very unacceptable to his companions ; so that he was little regarded, and less beloved : and he was so much depressed by the disadvantages of his situation, deriving his present subsistence merely from the precarious bounty of an uncle, and having no other object of hope but the continuance of it *, that he could not resist the temptation to neglect many necessary objects of acade
While Swift was at the university, one day as he was looking out of his window, pensive and melancholy, his pockets being then at the lowest ebb, he spied a master of a ship gazing about in the college-courts. Lord, thought he, if that person should now be inquiring and staring about for my chamber, in order to bring me fome present from my cousin Willoughby Swift, what a happy creature should I be! He had scarce amused himself with this pleasing imagination, when behold the shipmaster having come into his chamber, asked him if his name was Jonathan Swift? who havi told him it was; Why then, said the other, I have something for you that was sent to you by Mr Willoughby Swift. Whereupon he drew out of his pocket a large greasy leather bag, and poured him out all the money that it contained on the table. As this fum was greater than ever Swift had been master of at any one time ben fore, he pushed over, without reckoning them, a good number of the silver cobs (for it was all in that specie) to the honeft sailor, and desired he would accept of them for his trouble. But the sailor would not touch a farthing. No, no, Master, said he, l'fe take nothing for my trouble; I would do more than that comes to for Mr Willoughby Swift. Whereupon Mr Swift gathered up the money as fast as he could, and thrust it into his pocket : for, by the Lord Harry, faid he when relating this story, I was afraid if the money had lain much longer upon the table, he might have repented his generosity, and taken a good part of it. But from that time forward, he declared that he became a better economist, and never was without Some little money in his pocket. D. S. p. 54. 55.
mic study, to which he was not by nature much inclined, and apply himself wholly to books of history and poetry; by which he could, without intellectual labour, fill his mind with pleasing images, and for a while suspend the sense of his condition *. The sacrifice of the future to the present, whether it be a folly or a fault, is seldom unpunished; and Swift foon found himself in the fituation of a man who had burned his bed to warm his hands; for, at the end of four years, in the 1685, he was refused his degree of Bachelor of Arts for infufficiency, and was at last admitted Speciali gratia, which is there confidered as the higheft degree of reproach and dishonour. It is (says Lord Orrery) a kind of dishonourable degree; and the record of it, notwithstanding Dr Swift's present established character throughout the learned world, must for ever remain against him in the academical register at Dublin +.
But upon Swift this punishment was not ineffectual. He dreaded the repetition of such a disgrace as the last evil that could befal him, and therefore immediately set about to prevent it as the principal business of his life. During seven years from that time he studied eight hours a day [J. R. P. 50.] and by such an effort of such a mind so long continued, great knowledge muft neceflarily have been acquired. He commenced these studies at the university in Dublin, where he continued them three years, till 1688 ; and during this time he also drew the first sketch of his Tale of a Tub. I. Vol. I. b
* He held logic and metaphysics in the utmost contempt, and scarce considered mathematics and natural philosophy, unless to
uthem into ridicule. Orrery, let. I. + Ambition could scarce have met with a severer blow. Hercules found himself set aside for want of strength, or, if admitted among the wrestlers, admitted only by favour and indulgence; yet still he must be conscious that he was Hercules. Disappointments, the earlier they happen in life, the deeper imrpeflion they make upon the heart. Swift was full of indignation at the treatment which he had received in Ireland, and therefore resolved to pursue his studies at Oxford. Orrery, let. 1.
+ Waffendon Warren, Efq; a gentleman of fortune near Belfast, in the north of Ireland, who was chamber-fellow with Dr Swift, declared, that he then faw a copy of the Tale of a Tub in Swift's own hand-writing. D. S. p.31,
IN 1688, when he was about twenty-one, and had been seven years at the college, his uncle Godwin was seized with a lethargy, and soon after totally deprived both of his speech and his memory. As by this accident Swift was left without support, he took a journey to Leicester, that he might consult with his mother what course of life to pursue. At this time Sir William Temple was in high reputation, and honoured with the confidence and familiarity of K. William. [D. S. p. 33. 34.). His father, Sir John Temple, had been Matter of the Rolls in Ireland, and contracted an intimate friendship with Godwin Swift, which continued till his death 3 and Sir William, who inherited his title and estate, had married a lady to whom Mrs Swift was related. She therefore advised her son to communicate his situation to Sir William, and folicit his direction what to do. This advice, which perhaps only confirmed a resolution that Swift had secretly taken before he left Ireland, he immediately resolved to pursue.
Sir William received him (in 1690) with great kindness, and Swift's first visit continued two years. Sir William had been ambassador and mediator of a general peace at Nimeguen before the revolution. In this chafacter he became known to the Prince of Orange, who afterwards when King frequently visited him at Sheen, and took his advice in affairs of the utmost importance. Sir William being then lame with the gout, Swift used to attend his Majesty in his walks about the garden; who admitted him to such familiarity, that he Thewed him how to cut asparagus after the Dutch manner, and once offered to make him a captain of horse. [D. S. p. 108.] Swift appears to have fixed his mind very early upon an ecclefiaftical life; and it is therefore probable, that, upon declining this offer, he obtained a promise of preferment in the church; for in a letter to his uncle William Swift, dated in 1692, (in vol. 4. p. 197.] he says, “ I am not to take orders till " the King gives me a prebend.”
Sir William becoming still more infirm, and wishing to retire farther from London, bought an estate at Farnham in Surrey, called Moorpark, whither he was
accompanied by Swift. About this time a bill was brought into the house for triennial parliaments; against which the King, who was a ftranger to the English conftitution, was very averse, by the advice of some weak people, who persuaded the Earl of Portland, that Charles I. loft his crown and life by consenting to such a bill. Upon this occasion the Earl was by the King dispatched to Moorpark, for Sir William's advice ; who said much to thew him the mistake, but without effect; and therefore he foon afterwards dispatched Swift to Kensington, with the whole account in writing, to convince the King and the Earl how ill they were informed. Swift, though he was then very young, was yet well acquainted with the English history, and gave the King a compendious account of the matter, which he amplified to the Earl. But the measure was at last rejected ; and thus ended Swift's first embassy to court, so much to his dissatisfaction, that he then declared it was the first incident that helped to cure him of vanity. Soon after this transaction he was seized with the return of a disorder which he had contracted in Ireland by eating a great quantity of fruit; and upon
this occasion returned thither by the advice of his phy· ficians, who hoped that his native air would contribute
to the recovery of his health. But from this journey he received no benefit ; and therefore in a short time returned to Sir William, being ever afterwards subject to that giddiness, which gradually increased, though with irregular intermiffions, till it terminated in total debility of body and mind *.
But he was still indefatigable in his ftudies; and to: prevent the loss of health in the acquisition of know: ledge, by the want of bodily exercise, it was his conftant practice to run up an hill that was near the house
and To this furfeit (fays Lord Orrery) I have often heard him ascribe that giddiness in his head, which, with intermissions fometimes of a longer, and sometimes of a sorter continuance, pursued bim till it seemed to compléat its conquest, by rendering him the exact image of one of his own Struldbruggs, a miserable spectacle, devoid of every appearance of human nature, except the outward form. (vol. 2. p. 212.]
and back again every two hours. The distance backwards and forwards was about half a mile, and he used to run it in about fix minutes. [D. S. p. 272.] By what books his studies were principally directed, cannot certainly be known. But several copious extracts from Cyprian, Irenæus, Sleidan's Commentaries, and Padre Paolo's history of the council of Trent, were found among his papers, which appear, by memorandums in his own hand-writing, to have been made while he lived with Sir William Temple. [ D. S. p. 276.]
ABOUT a year after his return from Ireland, he thought it expedient to take his degree of Master of Arts at Oxford. With this view he appears to have written to his uncle William Swift, to procure and send him the testimonium of his Bachelor's degree. With this teftimonium, which is dated May 3. 1692, he went to Oxford ; where having received many civilities, he was admitted ad eundem June 14. and took his Matter's degree July 5. following:
It has been said, that the civilities which he received at Oxford, proceeded from a misunderstanding of the phrase speciali gratia, which was there supposed to be a compliment paid to uncommon merit. (D. S. P. 30.440. let. 1.) But these words are not to be found in that copy of the testimonium which is entered in the congregation-book at Oxford *; and not to have inferted them there, when they were thought a compliment, would have been an affront. It is therefore probable, that, by the influence of Swift's uncle, they were omitted in the copy which he procured and sent; especially as fome such favour seems to be intimated in Swift's let. ter to him, [in vol. 4. p. 197.) after he had received it : “ I am still,” says he,“ to thank you for your care in my
teftimonium ; and it was to very good purpose, for “I was never more satisfied than in the behaviour of
* The certificate of his degree is as follows.
Omnibus quorum intereft falutem. Nos prepofitus fociique seniores Collegii Sacro- fanéte et Individuæ Trinitatis juxta Dublin, teftumur JONATHAN SWIFT die decimo quinto Februarii 1685 gradum Baccalaureatûs in artibus fufcepille, prestito prius fidelitatis erga Regiam Majetatem juramento; quod de predišlo teftimonium, subjcriptis fingu