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CHAPTER VIII.

SWIFT'S WORKS AND PRIVATE LIFE.

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HIS FIRST WORKS SUPPOSED TO LAY THE FOUNDATIONS OF HIS SUBSEQUENT FORTUNES.-HIS 'PINDARIC ODES.'-ANECDOTE OF DRYDEN. HIS POLITICAL WORKS. ANECDOTE OF LORD CARTERET. - SWIFT'S 'GULLIVER'S TRAVELS.'- -HIS DEATH. CONNECTION WITH THE SOUTH SEA SCHEME.

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GAY; HIS ORIGIN.

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HIS

HIS FABLES. HIS 'BEGGAR'S

HIS FRIENDSHIP FOR POPE. POPE'S RAPE OF THE LOCK.'

SWIFT'S FIRST VERSES.

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CHAPTER VIII.

DEAN SWIFT, like most successful men in every age, was well known to a circle of literati as a clever and original writer previously to the period when he came before the public as an author. Even in 1691, when he could only have been twenty-four years of age, he announced to his friend, Mr. Kendal, that he had written and burned and written again upon all manner of subjects, more than perhaps any man in England.' He was acquainted with Cowley and other men of letters. His first printed work was allowed to be a masterpiece; it was political, and entitled 'A Discourse upon the Contests and Dissentions between the Nobles and Commons in Athens and Rome.' This book, it is said, laid the foundation of his fortune as a political writer.

At Oxford, Swift produced his first verses. They were written in a period of leisure, when he went up to take his Master's degree, and the poems are symptomatic of the place, being a version of Horace, Book II., Ode 18, and beginning:

'Tis true, my cottage, mean and low,
Not built for grandeur, but for ease;
No ivory cornices can show,

Nor ceilings rough with gold displays.'

His Pindaric Odes' were afterwards published, and were

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THE TALE OF A TUB.'

a failure. His friends, Sir William and Lady Temple, were ardent admirers of Cowley, and pressed upon Swift the expediency of adopting the metaphysical style of poetry in imitation of that mistaken genius. A little sincerity on the part of Dryden saved Swift from a life of mortification; the two authors were related to each other by the marriage of Swift's grandfather with Mistress Elizabeth Dryden, the poet's aunt. Dryden dared, therefore, to be honest. When Swift showed him some of his high flights in the style of Cowley, glorious John simply remarked: Cousin Swift, you will never be a poet,' and Swift abandoned the Muse, and had the good fortune to discover the true vein in which the ore of his fertile genius was concealed. Satire was indeed natural to him; and he soon showed the world in what perfection he could lash its failings, and expose its foibles. We have already referred to his 'Tale of a Tub,' which was one of his earliest works. It was strictly anonymous; nevertheless, Swift, when told that it was ascribed to his cousin Thomas Swift, who published a key to it, expressed great indignation, and said he should be very happy to see how far the impudence of a dunce could go.'

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It was during the close of his career that he unconsciously revealed the authorship to Mrs. Whiteway, his relative and friend. She observed him looking over the Tale of a Tub,' when, suddenly, he let the book drop, and heard him mutter, as if .unconscious of her presence, 'Good heavens! what a genius I had when I wrote that book!' Mrs. Whiteway then begged for the book, which he refused, but on her birthday he presented it to her, inscribed,-'From her affectionate cousin.' 'I wish, sir,' said Mrs. Whiteway, 'you had said from the author.' The Dean bowed and smiled, and then replied with a significant smile, 'No, I thank you.'

We find him, at one time, meditating the publication of a 'Book of Miscellanies.' It was interrupted by the death of

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'GULLIVER'S TRAVELS.'

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his mother, after a long illness. I have now,' he exclaimed, lost my barrier between me and death. God grant I may live to be as well prepared for it as I confidently believe her to have been! If the way to heaven be through piety, truth, justice, and charity she is there.'

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The Whig Examiner,' projected in order to support Harley's administration; the Public Spirit of the Whigs; his History of the Peace of Utrecht;' his 'Last Four Years of the Reign of Queen Anne,' are all connected with the politics of the day, as well as his famous 'Letters in the Character of a Draper.' An amusing anecdote is told of Swift, when, after the publication of the fourth letter of a Draper, he paid his respects to Lord Carteret, then LordLieutenant of Ireland. Being kept waiting a long time, he wrote on the window-pane of the chamber of audience these lines:

'My very good lord, 'tis a very bad task

For a man to wait here, who has nothing to ask.' Lord Carteret to this wrote a reply:

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'My very good Dean, there are few who come here

But have something to ask, or something to fear.'

Another time, when Lord Carteret was puzzled by some of Swift's wishes, or suggestions, he exclaimed: What in the name of heaven do you do here? Get back to your own country, and send us our boobies here again.'

His Travels of Gulliver' were written to give expression to his disappointment at the coldness of Queen Caroline to his hopes of preferment, and to portray, under the most ingenious frame-work ever employed, the bitter feelings of a mind which was becoming hourly more and more misanthropic. To Pope, who rejoiced at a projected visit on the part of the Dean to England, he wrote regarding the scheme and purport of his travels.

Gulliver's Travels' were once pronounced by a great authority, Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, to be the worst book

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