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siasm, and the Yahoos, who are mere beasts in passion and appetite. The first and second voyages are characterized by great humor and delightful wit. The third and fourth are terrible by reason of the gloom and misanthropy which pervade them.
Swift's character has, perhaps, been more misunderstood than that of any other eminent man. In truth it was a strange mixture of pride, avarice, charity, and kindness. There was nothing really miraculous about him except his extraordinary ability. Perhaps his most noteworthy characteristics were his appalling sincerity and his tyrannical disposition. He seems almost always, both in his conversation and in his writings, to have said exactly what he thought. His early poverty made him resolve to be a free man and to practise rigid economy. He asserted this freedom both among men and women with a frankness that bordered on brutality. Yet such were the force of his character and the charm of his conversation that he made both his slaves. There is reason to believe that at least three ladies broke their hearts on account of their affection for him and it is recorded that in his later days a whole regiment of old Irishwomen were his staunch admirers and slaves. He browbeat men of genius and ministers of state with the finest disregard of consequences. There is no record that he ever confessed to any fault except that of being too virtuous. Somebody said that he had the Napoleonic absence of magnanimity. Somebody described him as a divine who is hardly suspected of being a Christian. Yet there was a softer side to his character. It is said that of his income he spent only one-third. He gave one-third to charity and he saved one-third for the purpose of founding a hospital. The sum which he actually left for this purpose was about twelve thousand pounds. Yet even this deed of charity he mockingly ascribed to his love of sarcasm, saying:
“He gave the little wealth he had
No nation needed it so much." His life indeed has been called a sort of inverted hypocrisy. He appears habitually to have represented himself as worse than he was, the underlying cause probably being a kind of shyness which he took this means of concealing.
It is probable also that some of his peculiarities were due to disease. As early as 1712 he was attacked by giddiness. In 1717 he said to Edward Young, the author of the“ Night Thoughts,” as they passed a tree which had been struck by lightning and was withered at the top: “ I shall be like that tree. I shall die at the top first." His later years, that is, from 1727 to 1745, seem to have been passed almost altogether in the shadow of this fear, yet the picture which we get of his life during this time is not altogether melancholy. We see him in his capacity of Dean, fighting with the Bishop and subduing his subordinates. We see him dispensing a munificent charity. We see him on friendly terms with great men, with the Elder Sheridan, for instance, who spoiled all his chances of promotion in the church by preaching a sermon on the day of the accession of George II with the text,“ Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof,” and with Carteret, Viceroy of Ireland, who, upon being asked how he had succeeded in Ireland replied, “I pleased Dr. Swift.” We see him taking possession of the country homes of noble friends, supervising their studies, making them read to him, giving them good advice, bullying their servants, and cutting down their trees. We see him writing reams of the most arrant nonsense, an occupation of which he seems to have been inordinately fond. We see him bidding good-night to one of his friends with the words, “ I hope I shall never see you again.” We see the Bible on his table always lying open at the chapter in which Job curses the hour of his birth. We see him sinking gradually into a state of senility in which he was a burden both to himself and to the world. He died October 19, 1745. He was buried in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. On his tombstone was inscribed the last and most terrible of the phrases which are associated with his name,
“Ubi sæva indignatio
Cor ulterius lacerare nequit.”
So, naturalists observe a flea
"And he gave it for his opinion, that whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.”
“It is a maxim, that those to whom everybody allows the second place have an undoubted title to the first.”
Bread is the staff of life.” “He made it a part of his religion never to say grace to his meat.”
The two noblest things, which are sweetness and light.”
“The reason why so few marriages are happy is because young ladies spend their time in making nets, not in making cages.”
Censure is the tax a man pays to the public for being eminent.”
The best doctors in the world are Doctor Diet, Doctor Quiet, and Doctor Merryman.”
QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES 1. What prompted Swift to write “ The Battle of the Books "? 2. In what way may Swift's relations with Sir William Temple have
affected his life? 3. What did Swift do for Ireland ? 4.
“ Gulliver's Travels are read by young and old. Why? 5. Would Swift have made a pleasant companion ? State your reasons. 6. Were Swift and his contemporaries the first literary men of genius to
use their pens for political purposes ? 7. Who was Stella? 8. Have the greatest writers been wide readers? 9. Who wrote “Night Thoughts”? 10. Compare the character of Dryden with that of Swift.
Suggested Readings.-Of Swift's works “Gulliver's Travels,” “The Battle of the Books,” and “The Tale of a Tub," appeal most strongly to the modern taste. Leslie Stephen's “Swift” in the English Men of Letters Series is the best short life. Thackeray's lecture on Swift is capital.
Your obediend humle
JOSEPH ADDISON (1672–1719)
-Sir R. Steele.
-Tickell. In 1660, with the Restoration of the House of Stuart to the English throne, there was a revolt in literature against the severe morality of the Puritans. As a result of this change, the fashionable literature of the period became deeply tainted with immorality. The drama especially sank to depths which it had never before touched and which it has since avoided down to, but not including, our own day. Even John Dryden, the greatest poet of the age, was infected by the epidemic until he was sharply reprimanded by Jeremy Collier, a clergyman. Collier's“ Short View of the English Stage " indeed did much to improve these conditions, but it was left to a greater and a wiser man to render decency popular.
Joseph Addison was born May 1, 1672, at Milston, near Amesbury, in Wiltshire. His father, Lancelot Addison, was Dean of Lichfield Cathedral and an author of some note. He had three brothers and three sisters, all clever. He went to school successively at Amesbury, Lichfield, and the Charter House. At Amesbury, he ran away and hid in a hollow tree; at Lichfield, he distinguished himself by being the ring leader in a “barring out,” whatever that may be; and at the Charter House he devoted himself with much success to the study of the classics. He became so proficient, indeed, in the writing of Latin verse that one critic said that he was superior poet since Virgil.
In 1687, he entered Queen's College, Oxford, where he remained until 1689. Dr. Lancaster, who had read some of his Latin poems, then secured him the position of Demy at Magdalen College, a Demyship being probably, as the name signifies, half a scholarship. His studies throughout this period were chiefly directed toward prepara
tion for holy orders, but circumstances arose which turned his attention toward literature.
In 1693, he published an account of the great English poets
written in heroic couplets and remarkable chiefly because of the outrageous conception of Spenser which they contained. He also busied himself somewhat with translating Virgil and Ovid. The most important result of these exercises was that he was introduced to Dryden, who was himself busy at the time on his translation of