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286 A GREY-HAIRED MADMAN.
than love to Ireland. It took the fancy of the Irish people, a fancy which was kindled into flames of enthusiastic admiration, when the same pen produced in a Dublin newspaper a series of Letters signed M. B. Drapier, in which the Irish were warned against exchanging their gold and silver for the bad half1724 pence and farthings of Wolverhampton Wood, who had A.D. obtained a patent empowering him to coin £180,000 worth of copper for circulation in Ireland. No one would take the bad money; all attempts to bring the writer to trial were unsuccessful, though everybody knew that the Drapier and the Dean were the same man. Swift became the idol of the nation, possessed of unbounded influence over the rabble. “If,” said he to an archbishop who blamed him for kindling a riotous flame, “if I had lifted up my finger, they would have torn you to pieces.” Who has not read Gulliver's Travels? and what young reader has not been startled to learn, when its fascinating pages were devoured, that it is a great political and social satire, filled with the mad freaks of a furious, fantastic, and cankered genius. Great. mess and wisdom mark every page of the wonderful fiction; but such greatness and wisdom are often the attributes of a 1726 fiend. The dwarfs of Lilliput, the giants of Brobdignag, A.D. the philosophers of Laputa, the magicians of Glubbdubdrib, afford much amusement, although we can never get entirely rid of the harsh and iron laugh of the narrator, whose mockery chills us as we read. Of the last voyage we may shortly say, that none but a bad man could have imagined its events, and none but impure minds can enjoy such revolting pictures. Hatred of men has never, in any age or land, so polluted the current of a literature as when Swift committed to paper his foul and monstrous conception of the Yahoo. The strange, wild book, published anonymously in 1726, had great success, and was read by high and low. Long ago, sitting over his books on a garden-seat at Moor Park, he had caught a giddiness and deafness, which afflicted him at intervals through all his life. The attacks became more frequent
SPECIMEN OF Swift's PROSE. 287
after Stella's death. His temper, always sullen, grew ferocious. Yet he continued to write until 1736. Avarice and his savage moods thinned the circle of his visitors by quick degrees; and, when deafness shut him out from the world of human talk, his mind, flung in upon itself, darkened into madness. What a terrific picture the lonely grey-haired lunatic hurrying for ten hours a day up and down his gloomy chamber, as if it were a cage and he a chained wild beast; never sitting even to eat, but devouring, as he walked, the plateful of cut meat which his keeper left for him at meal-time. Such were Swift's last sad days. Stella was well avenged. After three years of almost total silence, he died in October 1745. A pile of black marble marks his burial-place in St. Patrick's; but a more striking monument of the wrecked and wretched genius stands in one of Dublin streets—Swift's Hospital for idiots and incurable madmen, for the building and endowment of which he bequeathed nearly all his fortune. Swift's fame rests on his pure and powerful prose. He seems to have hated foreign words as he hated men, and has given us such nervous, bare, unadorned, genuine English, as we get from no other pen. But he wrote verses too—coarse, strong, and graphic. Morning, The City Shower, a Rhapsody on Poetry, and Verses on my Own Death are amongst his best poetic compositions.
GULLIVER'S BOATING IN BROBDIGNAG.
The queen, who often used to hear me talk of my sea-voyages, and took all occasions to divert me when I was melancholy, asked me whether I understood how to handle a sail or an oar, and whether a little exercise of rowing might not be convenient for my health. I answered, that I understood both very well; for although my proper employment had been to be surgeon or doctor to the ship, yet often upon a pinch I was forced to work like a common mariner. But I could not see how this could be done in their country, where the smallest wherry was equal to a first-rate man-of-war among us, and such a boat as I could manage would never live in any of their rivers. Her majesty said, if I would contrive a boat, her own joiner should make it, and she would provide a place for me to sail in. The fellow was an ingenious workman, and, by my instructions, in ten days finished a pleasure-boat, with all its tackling, able conveniently to hold eight Europeans. When it was finished, the queen was so delighted, that ãhe ran with it in her lap to the king, who ordered it to be put in a cistern full of water with me in it by way of trial; where I could not manage my two sculls, 288 SPECIMEN OF SWIFT's PROSE.
or little oars, for want of room. But the queen had before contrived another project. She ordered the joiner to make a wooden trough of three hundred feet long, fifty broad, and eight deep, which being well pitched, to prevent leaking, was placed on the floor along the wall in an outer room of the palace. It had a cock near the bottom to let out the water, when it began to grow stale; and two servants could easily fill it in half an hour. Here I often used to row for my own diversion, as well as that of the queen and her ladies, who thought them. selves well entertained with my skill and agility. Sometimes I would put up my sail, and then my business was only to steer, while the ladies gave me a gale with their fans; and when they were weary, some of the pages would blow my sail forward with their breath, while I showed my art by steering starboard or larboard, as I pleased. When I had done, Glumdalclitch always carried back my boat into her closet, and hung it on a nail to dry.
NICHOLAS ROWE, born about 1673 in Bedfordshire, was educated for the law, his father's profession. His plays, of which, the chief are The Fair Penitent and Jane Shore, won for the young lawyer the notice of the great. His social qualities endeared him to his literary friends. Upon the accession of George I. he was made Poet-laureate, and held other more lucrative public offices. Rowe died in 1718, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. Pope, Swift, and Addison were prominent among his friends. He is also remembered as the first editor of Shakspere worthy of the
ISAAC WATTs, born in 1674 at. Southampton, became at twentyfour assistant minister of an Independent congregation at Stoke Newington. But his weak health prevented him from retaining this position. The last thirty-six years of his long life were spent in Abney House, whose kind owner, Sir Thomas Abney, was his warmest friend. Here he wrote the beautifully simple Hymns, which have made his name familiar to childhood. His works on Logic, and The Improvement of the Mind, show that he could write English prose also with clearness and force. He died in 1748.
AMBROSE PHILIPS, born in 1675 in Shropshire, received his education at St. John's, Cambridge. He was the real original (15)
290 PARNELL, TICKELL, RAMSAY.
Namby Pamby, a nickname which was given to him on account of the complimentary versicles he was fond of addressing to his friends and their babies. His Pastorals, though much praised in his own day, have not held their place in public favour. Philips was bitterly satirized by Pope. He died in 1749. THOMAS PARNELL, of English descent, but born in Dublin in 1679, became archdeacon of Clogher, and, through the influence of his friend Swift, vicar of Finglas. He lived chiefly in London. The Hermit is the poem for which he now lives among the great names of English literature. He died and was buried at Chester in 1718. THOMAS TICKELL, one of Addison's most intimate friends, born near Carlisle in 1686, wrote the pathetic ballad of Colin and Lucy. He undertook that translation of the Iliad which deepened Pope's feeling towards Addison into something akin to hatred. Tickell served Addison as secretary, and in 1724 went to Ireland as Secretary to the Lords-Justices. He died at Bath in 1740. He wrote an allegorical poem called Kensington Gardens, besides many papers in the Spectator and the Guardian. ALLAN RAMSAY, who was born in 1686 and died in 1758, was a native of Leadhills, a Lanarkshire village. Most of his long life was passed in Edinburgh, where he was a wig-maker, and then a bookseller. His circulating library was the first that was established in Scotland. The small quaint house, on the slope of the Castle Hill, called Ramsay, Lodge, was his residence during his last twelve years. Allan's shop was a favourite lounge of the poet Gay, when he came to Edinburgh. Ramsay's pastoral drama, The Gentle Shepherd, first published in 1725 and written in the strong broad Doric of North Britain, is the finest existing specimen of its class. His songs, too, have endeared him to the Scottish heart. The Yellow-haired Laddie and Lochaber no More are two of his most popular lyrics. JoHN GAY, a Devonshire man of good family, born in 1688, was at first apprenticed to a silk-mercer in the Strand. But his wishes soared higher, especially after he took up the poet's pen. As domestic secretary to the Duchess of Monmouth, he found