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less. But it is said, that, after a year of total filence, when his housekeeper, on the 30th of November, told him that the usual bonfires and illuminations were preparing to celebrate his birthday, he answered, It is all folly; they had better let it alone.
It is remembered that he afterwards spoke now and then, or gave some intimation of a meaning ; but at last sunk into perfect filence, which continued till about the end of O&tober 1744, when, in his seventy-eighth year, he expired without a firuggle.
WHEN Swift is considered as an author, it is just to estimate his powers by their effects. In the reign of Queen Anne he turned the stream of popularity against the Whigs, and must be confessed to have dictated for a time the political opinions of the English nation. In the succeeding reign he delivered Ireland from plunder and oppreffion; and shewed that wit, confederated with truth, had such force as authority was unable to resist. He said truly of himself, that Ireland was his debtor. It was from the time when he first began to patronize the Irish, that they may F 2
date their riches and prosperity. He taught them first to know their own intereft, their weight, and their strength, and gave them spirit to affert that equality with their fellow-subjects to which they have ever since been making vigorous 'advances, and to claim those rights which they have at last established. Nor can they be charged with ingratitude to their benefactor; for they reverenced him as a guardian, and obeyed him as a dictator.
In his works, he has given very different specimens both of sentiment and expresion. His Tale of a Tub has little resemblance to his other pieces. It exhibits a vehemence and rapidity of mind, a copiousness of images, and vivacity
of diction, such as he afterwards never poffessed, or never excrted. It is of a mode so distinct and peculiar, that it must be considered by itself; what is true of that, is not true of any thing else which he has written.
In his other works is found an equable tenour of easy language, which rather trickles than flows. His delight was in fimplicity. That he has in his works no me taphor, as has been said, is not true; but his few metaphors seem to be received rather by necessity than choice. He studied purity; and though perbaps all his structures are not exact, yet it is not often that folecisms can be found ;. and whoever depends on his authority may generally conclude hiinself safe. His senF3
tences are never too much dilated or contracted; and it will not be easy to find any embarrassment in the complication of his clauses, any inconfequence in his connections, or abruptness in his transitions. · His style was well suited to his thoughts, which are never subtilised by nice disquisitions, decorated by sparkling. conceits, elevated by ambitious sentences, or variegated by far-fought learning. He pays no court to the passions ; he excites neither surprize nor adniiration; he always understands himself, and his reader always understands him: the peruser of Swift wants little previous knowledge; it will be sufficient that he is acquainted with common words and!