Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

The benefit was indeed great; he had rescued Ireland from 81 a very oppressive and predatory invasion: and the popularity which he had gained he was diligent to keep by appearing forward and zealous on every occasion where the publick interest was supposed to be involved. Nor did he much scruple to boast his influence; for when, upon some attempts to regulate the coin, Archbishop Boulter, then one of the Justices ', accused him of exasperating the people, he exculpated himself by saying, 'If I had lifted up my finger, they would have torn you to pieces.'

But the pleasure of popularity was soon interrupted by domestick 82 misery. Mrs. Johnson, whose conversation was to him the great softener of the ills of life, began in the year of the Drapier’s triumph to decline?; and two years afterwards was so wasted with sickness that her recovery was considered as hopeless.

Swift was then in England, and had been invited by Lord 83 Bolingbroke to pass the winter with him in France ; but this call of calamity hastened him to Ireland", where perhaps his

2

291

3

I walk the streets, and so do my Orrery, p. 27. Swift, in a prayer lower friends, from whom, and from written on Oct. 17, 1727, describes whom alone, I have a thousand hats her as'afflicted with a long, constant, and blessings upon old scores, which weakly state of health.' Works, ix. those we call the gentry have forgot.' Works, xix. 33. See also ib. xvii. Pope wrote on March 22, 1725123, xix. 4.

6:– He (Swift) is in perfect health 'A few years after his death Dr. and spirits, the joy of all here who John Lyon was one of the Committee, know him, as he was eleven years along with Judge Marshall and ago. Pope's Works (Elwin and Faulkner the printer, that used to Courthope), viii. 221. meet in Sheridan's house on the Swift wrote on July 8, 1726, that Blind Quay (nearly opposite Stella's he would certainly have accepted the old lodgings) for the purpose of getting invitation, 'if Mrs. Johnson were not up a national memorial to the Dean. so out of order. Works, xvii. 39. The effort came to nothing.' W. G. 5 He did not hasten back at once. Carroll's Succession of Clergy, &c., He knew of her danger by July 15,

on which day he wrote :- I am deFor The Drapier's Triumph, an termined not to go to Ireland, to find allegorical picture by Vertue, see her just dead or dying. I have Letiers to Chetwode, p. 175.

(till I know farther) fixed on August 15 The Lords Justices. Ante, Tic- to set out for Ireland. Ib. xvii. 41. KELL, 16.

Swift's Ay or No. A He started on Aug. 17. Ib. p. 50. Tale from Dublin (1737), ends :- In all his distress he gave a thought 'It is pity a prelate should die with- to scandal. If, during his absence, out law;

she came to Dublin she should be But if I say the word “take care of lodged in some airy healthy part, and

Armagh.' Works, xii. 450. not in the Deanery: which besides,

For Boulter, Archbishop of Armagh, you know, cannot but be a very imsee ib. vi. 420 ; post, A. PHILIPS, 28; proper thing for that house to breathe Craik, p. 363, and Boswell's Johnson, her last in.' 16. p. 40. i. 318.

P. 26.

presence contributed to restore her to imperfect and tottering

health. 84 He was now so much at ease that (1727) he returned to Eng

land", where he collected three volumes of Miscellanies in conjunc

tion with Pope, who prefixed a querulous and apologetical Preface?. 85 This important year sent likewise into the world Gulliver's

Travels 3, a production so new and strange that it filled the reader with a mingled emotion of merriment and amazement. It was received with such avidity that the price of the first edition was raised before the second could be made ; it was read by the high and the low, the learned and illiterate . Criticism was for a while lost in wonder: no rules of judgement were applied to a book written in open defiance of truth and regularity. But when distinctions came to be made the part which gave least pleasure was that which describes the Flying Island, and that which gave most disgust must be the history of the Houyhnhnms5.

3

On April 8 he wrote :-'I am just going for England. Works, xvii. 100.

In the Spiritual Quixote (1773, iii. 217) Wildgoose finds in The George in the Tree, a public-house near Menden (Meriden] on the Chester road, the following inscription on the parlour window-pane :

J. S. D. S. P. D. hospes ignotus, Patriae (ut nunc est) plusquam vellet

notus, Tempestate pulsus, Hic pernoctavit,

A.D. 17Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick's in Dublin, here a stranger unknown, but in his own country (such as it now is) better known than he would wish to be, being driven by a storm, lodged here all night, in the year of our Lord 17

· Post, POPE, 141. Ford described these Miscellanies to Swift in 1733 as

that jumble with Pope, &c., in three volumes, which put me in a rage whenever I meet them. Works, xviii. 158. See also ib. xvii. 88, 98, 117, and Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), vii. 84.

The copy-right money was divided between Pope, Arbuthnot, Gay and Swift; but Swift's portion was sent to

the widow of a Dublin bookseller.' N. & l. I S. xii. 198. See also post, POPE, 141 n.

See Appendix H. 4. It has been the conversation of the whole town,' wrote Gay. 16. xvii. 81. See ante, GAY, 31.

s Arbuthnot wrote to Swift :-'I tell you freely, the part of the projectors is the least brilliant.' 16. xvii. 71. Gay and Pope wrote :-'As to other critics, they think the flying island is the least entertaining ;- it is agreed that part was not writ by the same hand, though this has its defenders.' ib. p. 83; Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), vii. 90.

Voltaire wrote from England on Feb. 2, 1726–7:—'Le second tone roule sur des choses particulières à l'Angleterre et indifférentes à la France. ... Le premier tome est fait pour plaire à toutes les nations.' Euvres, xlvi. 157.

Dr. Young wrote of it:~'Before a character is established merit makes fame; afterwards fame makes merit. Swift is not commended for this piece, but this piece for Swift.' Young's Works, 1770, iv. 283. 'I wondered to hear Johnson say of it:-“When once you have thought of big men

While Swift was enjoying the reputation of his new work the 86 news of the King's death arrived ; and he kissed the hands of the new King and Queen three days after their accession"

By the Queen, when she was Princess, he had been treated 87 with some distinction, and was well received by her in her exaltation ; but whether she gave hopes which she never took care to satisfy, or he formed expectations which she never meant to raise, the event was that he always afterwards thought on her with malevolence, and particularly charged her with breaking her promise of some medals which she engaged to send him.

I know not whether she had not in her turn some reason for 88 complaint. A letter was sent her, not so much entreating as requiring her patronage of Mrs. Barber, an ingenious Irishwoman, who was then begging subscriptions for her Poenis. To this letter was subscribed the name of Swift, and it has all the appearances of his diction and sentiments; but it was not written in his hand, and had some little improprieties. When he was charged with this letter he laid hold of the inaccuracies, and urged the improbability of the accusation, but never denied it: he shuffles between cowardice and veracity, and talks big when he says nothing ?

He seemed desirous enough of recommencing courtier, and 89 endeavoured to gain the kindness of Mrs. Howard, remembering what Mrs. Masham had performed in former times, but his flatteries were, like those of the other wits, unsuccessful ; the lady either wanted power, or had no ambition of poetical immortality 3.

3

1

and little men it is very easy to do all the rest." Boswell's Johnson, ii. 319.

in N. & 2.6 S. iv. 404 it is shown that the storm in the voyage to Brobdingnag is copied almost verbatim from Sturmy's Compleat Mariner, 1669.'

George I died on the road to Hanover on June 11, 1727. was just ready to go to France when the news arrived.' Works, xvii. 111. Bolingbroke begged him not to think of such an unmeaning journey, when the opportunity for quitting Ireland for England is, I believe, fairly before you.' Ib. p. 113. On June 24 Swift wrote:-1 prevailed with a dozen

Swift

that we should go in a line to kiss the
King's and Queen's hands.' 16. p.
II. For his hopes of Walpole's fall
and of his getting a settlement in
England see Letters to Chetwode, p.
214.
· See Appendix 1.

Ante, GAY, 17. Swift wrote to Gay on June 29, 1731 :—'Ap- on Mrs. Howard for hindering me from going to France, where I might have recovered my health ; and she did it in a most treacherous manner, when I laid it on her honour. Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), vii. 231. Gay replied on July 18:—I am still so much a dupe that I think you mistake her. Works, xvii. 364.

[ocr errors]

90 He was seized not long afterwards by a fit of giddiness', and

again heard of the sickness and danger of Mrs. Johnson'. He then left the house of Pope, as it seems, with very little ceremony, finding that 'two sick friends cannot live together 3, and

did not write to him till he found himself at Chester. 91 He returned to a home of sorrow: poor Stella was sinking

into the grave, and, after a languishing decay of about two months, died in her forty-fourth year on January 28, 1728". How much he wished her life his papers shew; nor can it be doubted that he dreaded the death of her whom he loved most, aggravated by

the consciousness that himself had hastened it. 92 Beauty and the power of pleasing, the greatest external advan

Ib. p.

312, 406.

Swift wrote to her on July 24:-'You be only a couple of link-boys.' well know that when I had an inten- * Works, xvii. 130. On Aug. 19, tion to go to France, about the time 1727, he wrote:--' I have a hundred that the late King died, I desired oceans rolling in my ears, into which your opinion (not as you were a no sense has been poured this fortcourtier) whether I should go or not; night. Ib. p. 133. and that you absolutely forbid me...; · On Aug. 29, 1727, he wrote of her wherein I confess I was your dupe, from Pope's house :-'I expect the as well as somebody else's; and for most fatal news that can ever come want of that journey I fell sick, and to me, unless I should be put to death was forced to return hither to my for some ignominious crime.' unenvied home.' Works, xvii. p. 371. 134. She replied on Sept. 25:—'If I cannot On Oct. 12 he wrote to Pope, not justify the advice I gave you from the from Chester but Dublin : 'Two sick success of it, I gave you my reasons friends never did well together. 1b. for it, and it was your business to p. 144. This same year he wrote to have judged of my capacity by the

him : solidity of my arguments.' ib. p. 392. 'Pope has the talent well to speak, See also ib. pp. 107, 124, 131, 221,

But not to reach the ear;

His loudest voice is low and weak, Horace Walpole mentions Lady The Dean too deaf to hear. Betty Germain's defence of Lady Suffolk (Mrs. Howard] 'against that

A while they on each other look, brute who hated everybody that he

Then different studies choose; hoped would get him a mitre, and

The Dean sits plodding on a book, did not.' Letters, iv. 505. For her Pope walks, and courts the Muse.' defence in a letter to Swift see Works,

1b. xiv. 198. xviii. 74.

For his Journal from Chester to Lady M. W. Montagu wrote of

Holyhead see Craik, p. 537. Swift:-—'We see him making a servile He began a brief account of her court where he had any interested

life and character' with the following views, and meanly abusive when

entry :- This day, being Sunday, they were disappointed.' Letters,

Letters, January 28, 1727-8, about eight o'clock 1837, iii. 18. She had the insolence at night, a servant brought me a note to add that 'had it not been for the with an account of the death of the good nature of these very mortals truest, most virtuous, and valuable they (Swift and Pope) contemn, these

friend that I, or perhaps any other

blessed with.' two superior beings were entitled by person, their birth and hereditary fortune to

Works, ix. 274.

was

ever

tages that woman can desire or possess, were fatal to the unfortunate Stella. The man whom she had the misfortune to love was, as Delany observes, fond of singularity', and desirous to make a mode of happiness for himself, different from the general course of things and order of Providence. From the time of her arrival in Ireland he seems resolved to keep her in his power, and therefore hindered a match sufficiently advantageous by accumulating unreasonable demands and prescribing conditions that could not be performed? While she was at her own disposal he did not consider his possession as secure ; resentment, ambition, or caprice might separate them; he was therefore resolved to make 'assurance double sure 3,' and to appropriate her by a private marriage, to which he had annexed the expectation of all the pleasures of perfect friendship, without the uneasiness of conjugal restraint“. But with this state poor Stella was not satisfied ; she never was treated as a wife, and to the world she had the appearance of a mistress S. She lived sullenly on, in hope that in time he would own and receive her, but the time did not come till the change of his manners and depravation of his mind made her tell him, when he offered to acknowledge her,

[ocr errors]

4

[ocr errors]

and easy. .

36 Delany, p. 62.

But yet

I'll make assurance double ? An Irish clergyman, Dr. William sure.' Macbeth, iv. 1. 83. Tisdall, informed Swift that he was Ante, SWIFT, 70. He wrote about a suitor for her hand. He replied on her to a friend, when she was thought April 20, 1704:- If my fortunes and to be dying :-*Dear Jim, pardon humour served me to think of that me, I know not what I am saying ; state (marriage), I should certainly, but believe me that violent friendship among all persons on earth, make is much more lasting, and as much your choice. He added :-'I did not engaging, as violent love.' Works, conceive you were then rich enough xvii. 44. to make yourself and her happy Bolingbroke wrote to him in

But the objection of 1724: Set your foot on the contiyour fortune being removed, I de- nent; I dare promise that you will in clare I have no other. Works, xv. a fortnight have gone back the ten 274.

years you lament so much. ... With According to Deane Swift, he in- what pleasure should I hear you sisted that Tisdall should live in “ Inter vina fugam Stellae moerere Dublin, keep a coach for his wife, and protervae *"!' 16. xvi. 442. settle £100 a year on her for pin- In 1725 he wrote:-'Your star will money. [Essay upon Swift's life, probably hinder you'from coming to 1755, p. 89.] The match, writes England. 16. p. 464. Sheridan, was not broken off by A year before her death he wrote:any artifice of Swift's. The refusal . My wife sends you some fans came from Mrs. Johnson.' Swift's which you will dispose of to the Works, 1803, ii, 10. See also Craik, present Stella, whoever she be.' 16.

[ocr errors]

.

P. 116.

xvii. 95.

* Inter vina fugam Cynarae,' &c. HORACE, Epis. i. 7. 28.

« AnteriorContinuar »