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* ternoon :" Dr Raymond accepted the wager; and immediately both run as fast as they could towards the church. Raymond, who was much nimbler than Swift, arrived first at the door; and when he entered the church, walked decently towards the reading-desk. Swift never flackened his pace, but, running up the ifle, left Dr Raymond behind him in the middle of it, and stepping into the desk, without putting on a surplice, or opening the prayer book, began the service in an audible voice, and thus won his wager. [0. let. 16.]
It has been common among pretenders to wit, to affect great contempt for every kind of regularity; to live, or pretend to live, in a state of continual diflipation, without regard to the return of those seasons which have been generally allotted to particular purposes, without sleeping or waking, or eating or drinking, like the rest of mankind. To recover these unhappy wretches from a condition fo deplorable as to suppress indignation, and yet fo contemptible as scarce to excite pity, it is here recorded, that the life of Swift was in the highest degree uniform and regular ; his hours of walking and reading, of exercise and amusement, never varied;
and that he might keep the revolution of his employments with greater exactness, his watch was al. most constantly either in his hånd, or on the table before him.
As his abhorrence of hypocrisy exempted him from affectation, the natural equity of his mind secured him against envy. Envy seems to be a defire of equality, gratified by degrading others; as emulation is a defire of equality, gratified by advancing ourselves. It does not appear that Swift upon a supposition that he had no superior, was without emulation; but by his ready asfistance to advance the reputation and circumstances of others, he appears to have been free from envy.
He cultivated genius where ever he found it, and in whatever degree, with great zeal and afliduity, and would chearfully spend much time in correcting and improving any literary composition that had the least appearance of ingenuity. Nor was this kindness confined to those whose parts could never come in competition with his own. He started many hints to Mr Gay,
which he pursued with great success; and he recommended Congreve, Addison, Parnel, and many others, to those whole favour was most likely to render them conspicuous.
Among his fingularities, were his resolutions never to wear spectacles; and his obftinate perseverance in the use of too much exercise. His want of spectacles made it difficult to read, and his immoderate exercise wasted his flesh, and produced a poorness in his blood, as he was often told by his friends and physicians, Dr Helsham and Dr Grattan, and as afterwards appeared by experiment; for when he was reduced to a state of idiotism, and ceased from walking, he recovered his felh in a short time
He was cleanly even to superstition; his nails were always pared to the quick, to prevent the least gathering of dirt under them; and he never dressed without a balon of water by him, with which he carefully cleansed his feet. In his person he was robuft and masculine, his deportment was commanding, and his walk erect. His voice was sharp and high-toned, especially when he read prayers, but not effeminate; and there was a natural severity in his aspect, which even his smiles could scarce soften. nor his utmost gaiety relax. [O. let. 9.]
His manner was without ceremony, but not rustic ; for he had a perfect knowledge of all the modes and variations of politeness and complaisance, which he practised in a manner peculiar to himself; and the respect that was due to him by these rules, he took care to exact without the least abatement. [D. S. P. 360, 65.]
It will readily be admitted, that every man has some appetite, affection, or disposition, which either in kind or in degree is irregular, and which it is the province of reason to order and restrain As it will always happen, that in some instances paflion will predominate, and reason in others, it follows, that there must be some dissimilitude in every character; from which Swift's could not therefore be exempt : but, upon the whole, it will be found uncommonly steady and uniform; tho' some, to screen their own scattered and inconsistent representations of it from cenfure, have pretended, that it was capricious, various and contradictory.
Dr SW I F T xcvii Swift appears to have been naturally temperate and chafte, it was therefore easy for him to be frugal; but he was also naturally high-spirited : and therefore, as wealth is the pledge of independence, it is not strange his frugality should verge towards excess. However, as he acted upon principles, not only of general virtue, but of the noblest moral system of Christianity, he did not deliver himself up to natural propensities, when they were contrary to his duty; and therefore his love of money did not contract his charity to the poor, or defraud bis successors to enrich himself. The same spirit which secured his integrity, by disdaining the meanness of a lie, produced that dread of hypocrisy which concealed his piety, and betrayed him into appearances of evil : and the same want of natural tenderness, which made him appear obdurate and austere, transferred the distribution of his liberality from instinct to religion, and made that, which in others is an exercise of self-love, in him an act of obedience to God.
Such was Dr Jonathan Swift, whose writings either stimulate mankind to sustain their dignity as rational and moral beings, by shewing how low they stand in mere animal nature ; or fright them from indecency, by holding up its picture before them in its native deformity : and whose life, with all the advantages of genius and learning, was a scale of infelicity gradually ascending, till pain and anguish destroyed the faculties by which they were felt: while he was viewed at a distance with envy, he became a burden to himself; he was forsaken by his friends, and his memory has been loaded with unmerited reproach: his life therefore does not afford less instruction than his writings, since to the wise it may teach humility, and to the simple content.
Some particulars in Dr Swift's CĦA
RACTER, extracted from Lord OR-
From LORD ORRERY.
R Swift was in the decline of life when I knew
him. His friendthip was an honour to me ; and, to say the truth, I have even drawn advantage from his
I have beheld him in all humours and dispofitions; and I have formed various speculations from the several weaknesses to which I observed him liable. His capacity and strength of mind were undoubtedly equal to any tak whatever. His pride, his fpirit, or his ambition, call it by what name you please, was boundless: but his views were checked in his younger years, and the anxiety of that disappointment had a visible effect upon all his actions. He was four and severe, but not abfolutely ill-natured. He was fociable only to particular friends, and to them only at particular hours. He knew politeness more than he practised it. He was a mixture of avarice and generosity: the former was frequently prevalent; the latter seldom appeared, unless excited by contpaffion. He was open to adulation; and could not, or would not distinguish between low flattery, and just applause. His abilities rendered him fuperior to envy. He was undisguised, and perfectly fincere. I am induced to think, that he entered into orders, more from some private and fixed resolution, than from absolute choice. Be that as it may, he performed the duties of the church with great punctuality, and a de. cent degree of devotion. He read prayers rather in a strong nervous voice, than in a graceful manner: and altho he has been often accused of irreligion, nothing of that kind appeared in his conversation or behaviour. His cast of mind induced him to think and speak more of politics than of religion. His perpetual views were directed towards power; and his chief aim was to be
removed into England: but when he found himfelf entirely disappointed, he turned his thoughts to opposition, and became the patron of Ireland.
Few characters have afforded so great a variety of faults and beauties. Few men have been more known and admired, or more envied and censured, than Dr Swift. From the gifts of nature he had great powers, and from the imperfection of humanity he had many failings. I always confidered him as an abstract and brief chronicle of the times ; no man being better acquainted with human nature, both in the highest and in the lowest scenes of life. His friends and correspondents were the greatest and moft eminent men of the age. The fages of antiquity were often the companions of his closet : and altho' he industriously avoided an oftentation of learning, and generally chofe. to draw his materials from his own Atore ; yet his knowledge in the ancient authors evidently appears from the strength of his sentiments, and the classic correctness of his style.
His attendance upon the public service of the church was regular and uninterrupeed. And indeed regularity was peculiar to him in all his actions, even in the greateft trifles. His hours of walking and reading never vazied. His motions were guided by his watch, which was so constantly held in his hand, or placed before him upon his cable, that he feldom deviated many minutes, in the daily revolution of his exercises and employments.
From Mr Deane SwifT. The character of Dr Swift is fo exceedingly ftrange, various and perplexed, that it can dever be drawn up with any degree of accuracy.
I Ihall however remark fome few particulars, without venturing to attempt the delineation of a character, which hath entirely baffled all endeavours hitherto made, either by friends or enemies.
Swift's natural temper seems to have been a miraculous compound of the placid and the severe. The placid frequently had the fuperiority in his breaft; and the severe in its turn, when excited by the follies and cor