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JONATHAN SWIFT was, acr cording to an account said to be written by himself, the son of Jonathan Swift, an attorney, and was born at Dublin on St. Andrew'sday, 1667: according to hisown report, as delivered by Pope to Spence, he was born at Leicester, the son of a clergymnan, who was minister of a parifh in Herefordshire *. During his life the place of his birth was undetermined. He was contented to be called an Irishman by the Irish; but would occasionally call himself an Englishman. The question may, without much regret, be left in the obscurity in which he delighted to involve it.
* Spence's Anecdotes, vol. II. p. 273.
Whatever was his birth, his education was Irish. He was sent at the age of fix to the school at Kilkenny, and in his fifteenth year (1682) was admitted into the University of Dublin.
In his academical studies he was either not diligent or not happy. It must disappoint every reader's expectation, that, when at the usual time he elaimed the Bachelorship of Arts, he was found by the examiners too confpicuously deficient for regular admission, and obtained his degree at last by Special favour ; a term used in that University to denote want of merit.
Of this disgrace it may be casily supposed that he was much ashamed, and hame had its proper effect in producing A 2
reformation. He resolved from that time to study eight hours a-day, and continued his industry for seven years, with what improvement is sufficiently known. This part of his story well deserves to be remembered; it may afford useful admonition and powerful enzcouragement to many men, whose abilities have been made for a time useless by their passions or pleasures, and who, having lost one part of life in idleness, are tempted to throw away the remainder in despair.
In this course of daily application he continued three years longer at Dublin; and in this time, if the observation and memory of an old companion may be
trusted, he drew the first sketch of his Tale of a Tube
When he was about one and twenty (1688), being by the death of Godwin Swift liis uncle, who had supported him, left without subsistence, he went to confult his mother, who then lived at Leicester, about the future course of his life, and by her direction solicited the advice and patronage of Sir William Temple, who had married one of Mrs. Swift's relations, and whose father Sir John Temple, Master of the Rolls in Ireland, had lived in great familiarity of friendship with Godwin Swift, by whom Jonathan had been to that time maintained.
Temple received with sufficient kind. ness the nephew of his father's friend, with whom he was, when they conversed together, so much pleased, that he detained him two years in his house. Here he became known to King William, who sometimes visited Temple when he was disabled by the gout, and, being attended by Swift in the garden, thewed him how to cut asparagus in the Dutch way.
King William’s notions were all military; and he expressed his kindness to Swift by offering to make him a captain of horse.
When Temple removed to Mcor-park, he took Swift with him; and when he was consulted by the Earl of Portland