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Water-tabby : anything water-marked or wavy was so called, as watered silk, moiré antique, etc. ; derived, through the Fr. tabis and the Ital. tabi, from the Persian 'ottāby, a striped and watered cotton-silk, made at Baghdad.
Page 24. I am first sculler, The watermen of the Thames were divided into two classes ; oars, i.e. pair-oars, and scullers, i.e. single rowers, and the latter were paid at half the rate of the former. The point of Swift's waterman's speech appears to be that the brothers could not expect a first-class boat, but must put up with a cheap sculler.
Page 25. The satire upon the schoolmen's methods of interpreting Scripture is rendered the more obvious by the use of their technical terms, such as ex traduce, “by original derivation,” totidem verbis, “in so many words,” &c., and by abbreviations such as Q. V. C., i.e. quibusdam veteribus codicibus, “in some ancient manuscripts.”
Page 29. Between arithmetic and What remains an objectionable paragraph has been excised.
Page 32. After fruitful, more than two pages of Scott's edition have been omitted, in which Swift instances the evil effects of vapour in the wars of Henry IV. and Louis XIV, of France in a manner that will not bear citation. Page 33. clinamina : inclinations or tendencies.
Cicero. The quotation is from Ep. ad Divers, vii. 10, Trebatio; and the allusion as to the hackney coachmen refers to Trebatius' timid avoidance of the British war-chariots, in a subsequent letter (16).
Page 41. [ecclesiastical] was represented by asterisks in the early editions.
Ecce cornuta erat ejus facies : referring to the Vulgate version of Ex. xxxiv. 29, 35: “The skin of his face shone."
The Battle OF THE BOOKS.
See note below, p. 272.
The large castle, boast of mathematics, and the palisadoes and modern way of fortification, are allusions to some of the arguments used to prove the superiority of the moderns in the controversy which Swift satirizes.
Page 53. Regent, i.e. Richard Bentley, the Royal Librarian, and greatest scholar of the day, who had disputed the antiquity of the fables ascribed to Æsop, and had altogether refuted Temple's assumption of the antiquity of the spurious Epistles of Phalaris. He is consequently held up to special (and of course unmerited) ridicule, and is described as the Thersites of the army of the moderns in the battle, where he was useful “ for his talent of railing."
Page 55. The wounded aga. Dr. Harvey, whose discovery of the circulation of the blood was questioned by Temple.
The asterisks are intended in mock-generosity to screen the names of the vanquished.
Page 56. Gondibert, a heroic poem by Sir W. Davenant. Sir John Denham, the author of Cooper's Hill, the inequality of whose poems is alluded to. S. Wesley, “a wretched scribbler," who did the life of Christ into verse. Perrault and Fontenelle, two of the French writers who began the futile discussion on the relative merits of old and modern books.
Page 57. Called him father, an allusion to Dryden's somewhat ambitious view of his own relationship to Virgil. Swift entertained an unreasonable dislike of “Glorious John," perhaps because Dryden had expressed an unflattering opinion of Swift's early Pindarics : “Cousin Swift, you will never be a poet.”
Page 58. Æsculapius turned off the point, because Blackmore's skill as a physician made amends for his weakness as a poet. Swift was curiously indulgent to Blackmore, whose poetic vein was none of the purest. The following lines from Verses to be placed under the Picture of England's Arch-Poet, contained in the Miscellanies of Pope, Arbuthnot, and Gay, 1727, express the current opinion of Blackmore's productions :
See who ne'er was or will be half-read,
Creech, a clergyman, translated Lucretius and Horace.
Page 59. Shield given him by Venus : Cowley's poem “The Mistress,” which Swift seems to have preferred to his Pindarics. It is noteworthy, as Scott has remarked, that Swift entirely ignores Milton among the moderns, and that no dramatists take part in the combat.
Neglected quarter, i.e. the little known, and spurious Epistles of Phalaris. The long-drawn similes here are admirable imitations of the Virgilian manner.
Page 64. Mother, i.e. the goddess Criticism, a "malignant deity," with claws like a cat and the ears and voice of an ass, who lay "extended upon the spoils of numberless volumes," surrounded by her parents and children, Ignorance and Pride, Noise and Impudence, Dulness and Vanity, Positiveness and Pedantry.
Page 65. Boyle entered the controversy out of respect for Temple, clad in armour of the gods, because supported by Aldrich, Atterbury, and the rest of the Christ Church scholars, in his edition of Phalaris new polished and gilt.
ARGUMENT AGAINST ABOLISHING CHRISTIANITY.
This treatise, as Mr. Garnett has discovered, was reprinted in 1765, without Swift's name, with many mutilations, and under the title of A Modest Address to the Wicked Authors of the Present Age, by H. F. (Peter Annet); but a footnote, in which he expresses his dissent from “ the Dean,” shows that this worthy field-preacher did not intend to appropriate the authorship himself.
Page 72. Between profound judgment and upon a thorough examination, appears in the original a redundant who.
Page 73. Asgil, Toland, Tindal, and Coward, were leaders of the deistical writers of the time. Swift devoted several treatises, notably the Remarks on Tindal's Rights of the Christian Church, and the Abstract of Mr. Collins's Discourse, to the refutation of a school that was peculiarly obnoxious to him as a sound churchman.
Page 74. Empson and Dudley : the well-known extortionate lawyers of Henry VII.'s reign.
Page 77. Margaritians, Toftians, and Valentininns : after the names of three famous opera singers of the day, Mrs. Tofts, first of prime donne, Francisca Margherita de l'Epine, who married the well-known musician Dr. Pepusch, and the alto Valentino Urbini. The Italian opera was then not long introduced to England. Among the performances was that of Camilla, in 1707, “to be sung after the Italian manner. The parts of Latinus by Mr. Turner, Prenesto by Signiora Margarita, part in Italian, Turnus by Signior Valentino, in Italian, Metius by Mr. Ramondon, Linco by Mr. Leveridge, Camilla by Mrs. Tofts, Lavinia by the Baroness, most in Italian, Tullia by Mrs. Lindsey.”—Daily Courant, Dec. 6, 1707; Ashton's Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne, ii. 29.
Swift himself had no taste for the Italian opera, or for music generally. “We have a music meeting in our town to-night," he writes to Stella. “I went to a rehearsal of it, and there was Margarita and her sister, with another drab, and a parcel of fiddlers; I was weary, and would not go to the meeting.”
Page 81. Daggled-tail, and not draggled, is the correct orthography.
In Lilliput and Brobdingnag Swift satirizes the government of England of the day, with its “violent faction at home and the danger of invasion from abroad” (p. 108), and many of the allusions are to contemporary events and persons. In the present selection, however, passages consisting mainly of such temporary and particular allusions have been avoided as far as possible, and those which apply almost to any society or government at any time have been preferred. Such passages call for little explanation; the point of the humour is for the most part visible enough ; but among the allusions that have a special application it may be well to remark that the high and low heels (p. 109) represent the high and low church parties, between which the heir to the Crown, George II., is seen to hobble ; that the Big endians and Little-endians (p. 110) stood originally for Papists
and Protestants, though they would apply quite as well to any two sects that differed in points of detail ; and that Blefuscu (p. 111) was intended for France.
In an interesting paper in Notes and Queries, and series, vol. vi. p. 124, the eminent mathematician, Prof. A. de Morgan, notices the skill with which Swift has concealed the elementary nature of his calculations: the Lilliputian being to man as i to 12, and man to the Brobdingnagian as 1 to 12. Once this is perceived, all the dimensions in the two voyages are obvious. But Swift takes peculiar care that the proportion should not be so evident at first sight. He describes the miniature men as
not six inches high," which does not necessarily suggest that an average man is " not six feet high." So in Brobdingnag, the farmer's stride is measured at “about ten yards, as near as I could guess," when the proportion to the human stride of 1% yard, or 30 inches, is not immediately perceived. Yet the relative size is accurately maintained throughout. The hedges are 120 feet high, i.e. 10 feet; the corn 40 feet, i.e. 3 feet, 4 inches; the step of the stile 6 feet, i.e. 6 inches, etc. Even in cubic contents Swift keeps carefully to his scale. The largest Lilliputian hogshead holds only half-a-pint : } pint X 12 X 12 X 12
1,728 half pints, or 108 gallons, which is the cubit contents of a butt of ale, which is probably what Swift meant by the “largest hogshead.” Prof. de Morgan thinks that the only instance in which Swift has overshot the mark is when he makes Gulliver, up to his neck in water, drag by a rope fifty line-ofbattle ships, which had held 30,000 men. This is equivalent to drawing togths of a line-of-battle ship of Swift's own time, which would be a somewhat heavy pull for a man up to his neck in water. This mathematical investigation of Gulliver is, of course, immaterial to the point of the satire : but it is interesting to see how carefully Swift worked out his theory. Prof. de Morgan believed that he must have been assisted by some mathematician, Arbuthnot for instance: but this view is hardly borne out by the blunders which Swift made in the voyage to Laputa, which was specially directed against the Royal Society and scientific men generally. Prof. de Morgan was, however, somewhat hypercritical in objecting to the tailor's taking Gulliver's altitude by a quadrant, on the ground that such an observation would obtain an angle and not a linear measure ; and it is surely carrying criticism too far to denounce Swift for