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Sunday night, though he did not understand music, to see that the choir did not neglect their duty. [D. 3. P. 370, 1.]
As to his employment at home, he seems to have had no heart to apply himself to study of any kind, but to have resigned himself wholly to such amusements as offered, that he might not think of his situation, the milfortune of his friends, and the disappointment of his hope. Such at least is the account that he gives to Mr Gay, in his letter dated January 8. 1722-3. " I was “ three years," fays he,“ reconciling myself to the “ scene and business to which fortune hath condemned
me; and stupidity was what I had recourse to *.'' (vol. 4. p. 33.]
It has been suggested, that the acquaintance he fell into with men of learning, made it necessary for him about this time to review his Greek and Latin, and obtain some acquaintance with church history. (7. R. P: 101.) But surely he who had tudied eight hours aday for seven years, or, according to Mr Deane Swift, [D. S. p. 271, 272, 276.) ten hours a day for nine years ;
he who had read and extracted the fathers more than fixteen years before, had little occasion to review his Latin and Greek, or acquaint himself with churchhistory, lest he should not sustain his character among learned men: for except it be pretended that others were able to acquire more knowledge in less time and with less labour, it must be allowed that Swift was likely to be always the most knowing of his company,
* From the 1714, till he appçared, in 1720, a champion for Ireland against Wood's halfpence, his spirit of politics and of patriotism was kept almost closely confined within his own breast. Idleness and trifles ingrossed too many of his hours; fools and fycophants too much of his conversation. However, it may be observed, that the treatment which he received after the death of Q. Anne, was almost a sufficient reason to justify a contempt, if not an abhorrence, of the human race. He had bravely withstood all hostile indignities during the lifetime of that princess; but when the whole army of his friends were not only routed, but taken prisoners, he dropt his sword, and retired into his fortification at Dublin, from whence he seldom stirred beyond the limits of his own garden, unless in great indulgence to some particular favourites. 0. let. 6.
Lord Orrery says, that he was little acquainted with the mathematics, and never confidered the fcience except as an object of ridicule *: but the author of the Observations affirms, on the contrary, that he had acquired considerable mathematical knowledge; and that he had seen him more than once undertake to folve an algebraic problem by arithmetic. (J. R. P. 101.]
The first remarkable event of his life that occurred after his fettlement at the deanery, was his marriage to Mrs Johnson, after a most intimate friendship of more than fixteen years. This was in the year 1716; and the ceremony was performed by Dr Athe, then Bishop of Clogher, to whom the Dean had been a pupil in Trinity college, Dublin t. [val. 4. p. 14.) But whatever were the motives of this marriage, the Dean and the Lady continued to live afterwards just in the same manner as they had lived before 1. Mrs Dingley was
See the notes, above, p. xiii. + Tho' it is admitted, that Dr Swift was married to Mrs John Pon in 1916, yet it may be afferred with great truth, that he never had any serious thoughts of marriage after he was one and twenty. Some time indeed before, while he was a strippling in the university of Dublin, he had a passion for Miss Warren, the sister of his chamber fellow. But whatever attachments he had to that lady, upon his going to live in England, where he applied himself close to politics and learning at Sir William Temple's, his passion quickly fublided, and he forgot his amour. Neither do I believe, further than common forms, that he lever paid his court, throughout his whole life, to any woman besides, in the character of a professed lover. D. S. p. 93, 94.-Sec Swift's letter to Mr Kendall, vol.
# Mrs Johnson, with regard to her manners, her virtues, her 'mind, and her person, was not undeserving to have been married to the greatest prince in Europe: but her descent was from a fervant of Sir William Temple; and therefore he was by no means worthy to have been the acknowledged wife of Dr Swift.--If Dr Swift had acknowledged his marriage
e even with this improved, this adorable creature, he would, in spite of his genius, and all the reputation he had acquired in the days of K. William and Q. Anne, have immediately sunk in the eleem of
world. For among the rest of his enemies, (and these were not few), there were some that were not unacquainted with the atory of Mrs Johnson's birth and education, who, on account of some particular disobligations they had received froin the Doctor, would have been glad of an
still the inseparable companion of Stella where ever the went; and the never refided at the deanery, except when the Dean was seized with violent fits of giddiness, which sometimes lasted near a month *.
Till this time he had continued his visits to Vaneffa ; who, though she had suffered very great pecuniary lofies, had yet preserved her reputation, and her friends for the was visited by many persons of rank, character, and fortune, of both sexes; particularly Mrs Conolly, a Lady of very high reputation; Dr Berkeley, the late most excellent Bishop of Cloyne ; the late Judge Lindsay t, and the Lord Chief Justice Marley. [D. S. p. 262.] The Dean appears still to have preserved the character of her preceptor, to have directed her progress in literature, and explained and illustrated the authors: she had read. But soon after his marriage he visited her on another account; he went as an advocate for Mr Dean Winter,
opportunity of exposing him to contempt and ridicule for the mean-
See vol. 4. p. 291, 292.
whom he took with him, a gentleman who was a professed admirer of Vanessa, and had made her some over.. tures of marriage: but though he had an estate of near 800 l. a-year, befides 300 l. a-year preferment in the church ; yet Vanessa rejected the proposal in such terms, as that it was never repeated. She was also addressed by Dr Price, who was afterwards Archbishop of Calhell, but without success. [D. S. p. 263. 265.] From this time the Dean's visits were much less frequent. In the year 1717 her fifter died ; and the whole remains of the family-fortune being then centered in Vanessa, she retired to Selbridge,' a small house and estate, about twelve miles distance from Dublin, which had been purchased by her father,
From this place fhe wrote frequently to the Dean, and he answered her letters. In these letters she ftill, pressed him to marry her; and in his answers he ftill rallied, and still avoided a positive denial. At length, however, she infifted with great ardour, and great tenderness, upon his positive and immediate acceptance or refusal of her as a wife. The Dean wrote an answer, and delivered it with his own hand.
As this letter of Vaneffa's, which was written in 1723, is a demonstration that she was then utterly ignorant of the Dean's marriage with Stella,' and as she appears to have known it almost immediately afterwards, it is probable that the Dean's answer communicated the fatal fecret, which at once precluded all her hopes, and accounted for his former conduct : it is probable too, that the resentment which he felt at having it thus extorted from him, was the cause of the manner in which he delivered the letter; for having thrown it down upon her table, he hasted back to his horse, and returned immediately to Dublin. [D. S. p. 264. 0. let. 9.]
This letter the unhappy lady did not survive many weeks. However, she was sufficiently composed to cancel a will that she had made in the Dean's favour, and to make another, in which she left her fortune, which long retirement and frugality had in a great measure reftored, to her two executors, Dr Berkeley, the Bifhop of Cloyne, and Mr Marshall, one of the King's serjeants
at law, gentlemen whose characters are excellent in the highest degree t.
Such was the fate of Vanessa. And, surely, those whom pity could not restrain from being diligent to load her memory with reproach, to conftrue appearances in the worst sense, to aggravate folly into vice, and distress into infamy, have not much exalted their own character, or strengthened their claim to the candour of others. If Vanessa, by her fondness for the gaieties of life, encouraged by the example, and perhaps influenced by the authority of a mother, lessened her fortune at an age when few have been discreet; it cannot be denied, that she retrieved it by prudence and economy, at an age when many have continued diffolute; and was frugal, after the habit of expence had made frugality difficult. If she could not subdue a passion which has tyrannized over the strongest and purelt minds, she does not appear to have known that it was criminal, or to have desired that it might be unlawfully gratified. She pressed a person whom she believed single, to marry her. but it does not therefore follow, that the was his concubine; much less that she desired to be reputed fo, and was then solicitous to incur the infamy which has been since thrown upon her. It cannot surely be believed, that the sameless and reputed concubine, even of Swift, would have been visited by ladies of credit and fashion, or solicited in marriage by two clergymen of eminence and fortune, to whom her story and character must have been well known. Besides, Dr Berkeley, after having carefully perused all the letters that passed between them, which Vanessa directed to be published, with the poem, found, that they contained nothing that could bring the least disgrace upon the Dean. Hers, indeed, were full of passionate declarations of her love; his contained only compliments, excuses, apologies, and thanks for trifling presents. There was not in either the least trace of a criminal commerce ; which, if there had been any such, it would, in so long an intercourse, have been extremely difficult to avoid : and if the desiVOL. I.
+ Sce vol. 6, p. 12. 13.