網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

In accounts of this kind a few single incidents are set against the general tenour, of behaviour. No man, however, çan: pay a more servile tribute to the Great, than by suffering his liberty in their presence to aggrandize him in his own: esteem. Between different ranks of the community there is necessarily some dil-, tance : he who is called by his superior, to pass the interval, may very properly accept the invitation ;. but petulance: and obtrusion are rarely produced by magnanimity; nor have ofter any. nobler cause than the pride of importance, and the malice of inferiority. He who knows himself necessary may set, while that necessity lasts, a high value upon himself; as, in a lower con

C 3

dition,

dition, a servant eminently skilful may be saucy; but he is faucy only because he is servile. Swift appears to have preserved the kindness of those that wanted hiin no longer; and therefore it must be allowed, that the childish freedom, to which he seems enough inclined, was overpowered by his better qualities.

His difinterestednefs has been likewise mentioned ; a strain of heroism, which would have been in his condition romantick and superfluous. Ecclefiaftical benefices, when they become vacant, must be given away; and the friends of Power may, if there be no inherent disqualification, reasonably expect them. Swift accepted (1713) the deanery of St. Patrick, the best preferment that his friends could venture to give him. That Ministry was in a great degree supported by the Clergy, who were not yet reconciled to the author of the Tale of a Tub, and would not without much discontent and indignation have borne to see him installed in an English Cathedral.

He refused, indeed, fifty pounds from Lord Oxford; but he accepted afterwards a draught of a thousand upon the Exchequer, which was intercepted by the Queen's death, and which he refigned, as he says himself, multa gemens, with many a groan.

In the midst of his power and his politicks, he kept a journal of his visits, his walks, his interviews with Ministers, C4

and

and quarrels with his servant, and tranfmitted it to Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Dingley, to whom he knew that whatever befel him was interesting, and to whom no accounts could be too minute. Whether these diurnal trifles were properly exposed to eyes which had never received any pleasure from the presence of the Dean, may be reasonably doubted: they have, however, some odd attraction; the reader, finding frequent mention of names which he has been used to consider as important, goes on in hope of information ; and, as there is nothing to fatigue attention, if he is disappointed he can hardly complain. It is easy to pérceive, from every page, that though ambition prefied Swift into a life

of

of bustle, the wish was always returning for a life of ease. * He went to take possession of his deanery, as soon as he had obtained it ; but he was not suffered to stay in Ireland more than a fortnight before he was recalled to England, that he might reconcile Lord Oxford and Lord Bolingbroke, who began to look on one' another with malevolence, which every day increased, and which Bolingbroke ap. peared to retain in his last years.

Swift contrived an interview, from which they both departed discontented : he procured a second, which only convinced him that the feud was irreconcilable; he told thein his opinion, that all was loft. This denunciation was con

tradicted

« 上一頁繼續 »