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some occasion or other, once ventured to address Dr Swift in the style of Dear Swift, and call himself the Doctor's friend. When the Dean opened his letter, which was designed as a compliment, his indignation took instant fire. Dear Swift! faid he ; what monstrous familiarity is here! But when he found the letter-writer had called himself his friend, he was out of all patience. My friend ! my friend !” said he ;
pish, pfha; my friend ! But--" (said he, recollecting himfeif)--" he is a Lord, and fo let it pals."
Swift's spirit was formed with a strong reluctance to fubinison of any kind; and particularly he paid no regard to the monitions of his friends and physicians, who had frequently admonished him of his over-exercise.
This was not owing to his being weary of life. It was from an old fettled principle, confirmed and ria vetted in his mind, when he was in the height of his glory, and the meridian of his life : A principle indecd, which he maintains, or at least endeavours to maintain, with infinite wit and huinour, in a letter to Mrs Johnson, Nov. 3. 1711, who had advised him to take physic upon the fall of the leaf.
“ A fig,” (faith he) “ Madam, for your physic. If I grow worse, I will; other“ wife I will trust to temperance and exercise. CO Your fall of a leaf! What care I when the “ leaves full? I am sorry to see them fall with all
my heart; but why should I take phyfic be
s6 cause leaves fall off from trees? That won't "hinder them from falling. If a man falls oii'
a horse, must I take physic for that? This ar
guing makes you mad ; but it is true right “ reason, not to be disputed.”
He was not only above all tincture of envy in his composition ; but his talents were so great, that he was totally fuperior to the emulation of all inferior wits. They, every one of them, bowed down to him as to the viceroy of Apollo.
The dæmon of malice was also a stranger to his heart : And well it might; for if at any time he was attacked with injurious treatment, he never smothered his revenge, like a way-laying coward, until a fafer opportunity ; but, like a brave and generous fpirit, knocked down his adversary directly on the spot.
The common vices and foibles of human-kind he lashed with great severity, in order to restrain their influence, and, if it were possible, to hinder the contagion from spreading in the community; yet still without making examples of particular persons. But slaves to party, and traitors to the public intereft, he exposed without mercy to the derision of the world. It may be thought, perhaps, that private animosity frequently gave an edge to his fatire. I cannot teil but in some cases it might. But then it should be considered, that Dr Swift never looked upon himself in the character of a private person. He knew that a patriot, like an Afiatic prince, must make himfelf
dreaded. If he be once foiled, his power is at an end. And, without controversy, dominion, abfolute dominion, he had resolved to poflefs over the minds of men, especially over the minds of his countrymen; and accordingly he did poffefs it.
Swift was certainly a man of great ambition, though he denies it in his writings. But his ambition, ever directed by the rules of honour, was of a noble, exalted strain, worthy to be cherished in the breast of an angel.
In his private character, he was a man of fine address, and perfectly well bred. He knew to a point all the modes and variations of complaisance and politeness. And yet his manners were not framed like those of any other mortal ; but, corrected by general obfervation, and adapted to his own peculiar turn of genius, they shone forth, always enlivened more or less with some spirit of dominion, in a blaze of politeness, fo inimitably, and fo determinately in his own, that in effect they seemed to be the result of pure nature, uncopied from any the brightest or the fairest original.
Swift talked a great deal in all companies, without ingrossing the conversation to himself, [above, p. 133.] In the character of a tete a tete companion, he rather excelled himself. Fev that are equal to him in that respect, perhaps none that are his superiors, can be found upon earth. He was by no means in the class with
those who pour down their eloquence like a torrent, driving all before it. Far from any desires of that fort, he equally loved to speak, and loved to hearken. Like Falstaff, he not only had wit himself, but frequently was the caufe of wit in others. However, that universal reverence, which was paid to his great abilities, frequently struck a damp on the spirits of those who were not perfectly well acquainted with him : an effect of modesty, which however did not always happen to be construed to their advantage, unless in the case of very young people. For when such persons were gone, if none but his intimates were present, he would express himself with some degree of emotion, and cry, Such a one, I have heard, is a very great man ; or, Such a one, they say, has abundance of learning; or, Such a one, I have been told, has an excellent understanding; but God deliver me from such companions !
If we consider Swift as a divine and a christia an, we shall find him, although not so grave, yet at least as perfect, as the most famous of his contemporaries. His first setting out in the world, may be thought somewhat singular, in this profane, hypocritical, corrupted age. We are afsured from his own accounts, that his ideas of religion were so extremely delicate, that he could not but entertain some fcruple, notwithstanding his fortune was very small, of entering into the church merely for support ; although it is plain, 03
that he had early separated himself to the work of the ministry. He was of a genius thoroughly well adapted for the improvement of any congregation whatever, his arguments being always clear, cogent, and fatisfactory. But surely those improved, extensive abilities, which rendered him at once the delight and the admiration of the world, were never designed by his Creator to be confined within the narrow liinits of any parish or d'ocese.
In his private character as a man of religion, he appears to have been a great and thining example of Christian faith and morals. In himself, he was chaste, sober, and temperate. I remember he once told me occasionally, that he never had been drunk in his life. In his general behaviour, he was open, free, disengaged, and chearful. In his dealings with the world, he was honest and fincere. In relieving the poor and the distrefied, he was liberal to profusion ; if denying himself, and throwing upon the waters above a third part of his income, will intitle him to the character of being exceedingly generous. With regard to his faith, he was truly orthodox. Moreover, he was regular, exceedingly regular, in all his duties to God, especially in attending the public worship; yet still without any parade, or colour of oftentation. But to crown his whole character as a man of religion, and to thew how much he detefred that satanical vice of hypocrify, I shall transcribe à paragraph from a fer