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and Priors, the Lady Betty Germains and Duchesses of Queensberry of the brilliant epoch ; we do homage to the daring mind of Bolingbroke ; and catch glimpses of Addison and Steele and Congreve in the distance: but all the while we are conscious of a greater presence, of a master intellect before whom all these lesser luminaries pale and fade; a personality compared to which those others are as moonlight unto sunlight, and as water unto wine."
We see him, in his busy years in London, writing his Examiners all evening, and then in bed scribbling his "little language” to Stella, till his fingers ache with cold, or hurrying away unshorn in the early morning, after a brief postscript to his loved journal, to prepare, at the urgent entreaty of Harley, some fresh broadside in defence of the ministry. He is dining with St. John and the favoured few at the Saturday councils, or dropping in at Will's or the St. James's Coffee House, to chat with Addison, or ask for a letter from Ireland, where he left his heart. Or again he is spending long silent days with Pope at Twickenham, or enjoying stolen visits to the Vanhomrighs, or dispensing what little gaiety and sprightliness he possessed with the charming Lady Betties of the period. We follow him to the quiet and hated retreat of St. Patrick's, and see him defending, as it never before had been defended, the country of his forced adoption, passing his only hours of sympathy with that mysterious partner of his life who was ever near but never close : or watch him reverently as he sets a seal on a life's strange love, in the despairing memorable words, “only a woman's hair,' We tremble at his forced gaiety with the jovial pathetic Sheridan in his
bear-garden at Cavan; and pity his decorous dinners with Delaney ; and note the sign of a disappointed life in his one solace, to write to his English friends and bemoan his fate.
So comes the last sad scene, when the disease that had tormented him through life overcame the till then indomitable will, and the mind that for half à century had known no rest, -that had guided an empire and guarded a stricken land, that had delighted and terrified men with its power and humour and vengeful scorn,-at last found sleep; the torch that had shone with scathing brilliancy upon the dark corners of the earth flickered and died out. 'In every phase and each relation, Swift stands alone and companionless in his unique personality. We feel the tragedy of his lonely life in the midst of its busiest engagements. We feel that, loved as he was by some, and feared and respected by most, he was without an equal to understand him and enter into his heart, that he knew it and had steeled himself to live a life of soli. tude in the midst of a crowd. “No public and private life was more sad and proud ;” none was ever more A affecting. To realize Swift's life is to know human nature in its sternest, gloomiest, most rebellious, most mysterious moods. But to realize it fully is beyond the power of any but a Swift.
The Author's Apology, prefixed to the 5th edition, states that “the greatest part
of the Tale " was finished about thirteen years since, 1696, which is eight years before it was published. The author was then young, his invention at the height, and his reading fresh in his head. By the assistance of some thinking, and much conversation, he had endeavoured to strip himself of as many real prejudices as he could. Thus prepared, he thought the numerous and gross corruptions in religion and learning might furnish matter for a satire that would be useful and diverting. He resolved to proceed in a manner that should be altogether new, the world having been already too long nauseated with endless repetitions upon every subject. The abuses of religion he proposed to set forth in the allegory of the coats and the three brothers, which was to make up the body of the discourse : those in learning he chose to introduce by way of digressions." The title was derived, according to the Author's Preface, from a custom seamen use “when they meet a whale, to throw him out an empty tub by way of amusement, to divert him from laying violent hands upon the ship.” Such a whale is Hobbes's Leviathan, “which tosses and plays with all schemes of religion and government,” and to divert Hobbes's kindred from
tossing and sporting with the commonwealth " Swift Aings them his treatise until such time as a more complete engine of defence shall be set up. The Tale is outwardly a narrative of the career of three brothers, Peter, Martin, and Jack, who represent respectively the Roman Church, the Reformed or Anglican Church, and Protestant Dissent; but the history of their adventures and the diverse modes in which they contrive to interpret their father's will, the New Testament, in accordance with their own desires, and to accommodate the miraculous coats, Christianity, which he had bequeathed to them to the varying fashions of each season, fills but a third of the treatise, and even here the satire reaches much further than ecclesiastical divisions and scholastic hairsplittings. In the several digressions the story is wholly set aside, and the author allows his humour to play unfettered upon cant and hypocrisy of all kinds. Of the eleven sections which, together with sundry prefaces and dedications, and a conclusion, make up the work, the Second, Fourth, Sixth, and Eleventh, alone are occupied with the allegory of the three brothers : the remaining seyen are digressions, though not all so styled, “on critics,” “in the modern kind," " in praise of digressions,” on the Æolists, or pretenders to immediate inspiration, who derive all things from wind," madness," etc. The epistle to Prince Posterity, and Sections I., VII., and IX., together with passages from II. and X., are here selected to represent the work : but there is hardly a line that can well be spared from Swift's masterpiece.
THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY
HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS PRINCE
very few leisure hours, stolen from the short intervals of a world of business, and of an employment quite alien from such amusements as this : the poor production of that refuse of time which has lain heavy upon my hands during a long prorogation of parliament, a great dearth of foreign news, and a tedious fit of rainy weather; for which and other reasons, it cannot choose extremely to deserve such a patronage as that of your highness, whose numberless virtues, in so few years, make the world look upon you as the future example to all princes : for although your highness is hardly got clear of infancy, yet has the universal learned world already resolved upon appealing to your future dictates with the lowest and most resigned submission ; fate having decreed you sole arbiter of the productions of human wit in this polite and most accomplished age. Methinks, the number of appellants were enough to shock and startle any judge of a genius less unlimited