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is querulous and fastidious, arrogant and malignant; he scarcely speaks of himfelf but with indignant lamentations, or of others but with insolent superiority when he is gay, and with angry contempt when he is gloomy. From the Letters that pass between him and Pope it might be inferred that they, with Arbuthnot and Gay, had engrossed all the understanding and virtue of mankind, that their merits filled the world; or that there was no hope of more. They thew the age involved in darkness, and shade the picture with fullen emulation.
When the Queen's death drove him into Ireland, he might be allowed to regret for a time the interception of his
views, the extinction of his hopes; and his ejection from gay scenes, important employment, and splendid friendships; but when tiine had enabled' reason to prevail over vexation, the complaints, which at first were natural, became ridiculous because they were useless. But querulousness was now grown habitual, and he cried out when he probably had ceased to feel. His reiterated wailings persuaded Bolingbroke that he was really willing to quit his deanery for an English parish; and Bolingbroke procured an exchange, which was rejected,' and Swift still retained the pleasure of complaining.
The greatest difficulty that occurs, in analysing his character, is to discover
by what depravity of intellect he took delight in revolving ideas, from which almost every other mind shrinks with disgust. The ideas of pleasure, even when criminal, may folicite the imagination; but what has disease, deformity, and filth, upon which the thoughts can be allured to dwell? Delany is willing to think that Swift's mind was not much tainted with this gross corruption before his long visit to Pope. He does not consider how he degrades his hero, by making him at fifty-nine the pupil of turpitude, and liable to the malignant influence of an ascendant mind. But the truth is, that Gulliver had described his Yahoos before the vifit, and he that had formed those images had nothing filthy to learn..
I have I have here given the character of Swift as he exhibits himself to my perception; but now let another be heard -who know him better; Dr. Delany, after long acquaintance, describes him to Lord Orrery in these terms.
" My Lord, when you consider “ Swift's fingular, peculiar, and most “ variegated vein of wit, always rightly “ intended (although not always. fo. S rightly directed), delightful in many « instances, and salutary, even where it is “ most offensive; when you consider his « ftrict truth, his fortitude in resisting “ oppression and arbitrary power; his “ fidelity in friendship, his fincere love " and zeal for religion, his uprightness « in making right resolutions, and his
. “ steadis
“ steadiness in adhering to them; his “ care of his church, its choir, its eco" nomy, and its income; his attention “ to all those that preached in his ca“ thedral, in order to their amendment “ in pronunciation and style; as also o his remarkable attention to the inte“ rest of his successors, preferably to “ his own present emoluments; invin“ cible patriotism, even to a country " which he did not love; his very va“ rious, well-devised, well-judged, and “ extensive charities, throughout his “ life, and his whole fortune (to say “ nothing of his wife's) conveyed to the “ same christian purposes at his death ; 66 charities from which he could enjoy