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about the exercise of it, and the extent of its province. For the deists there stop, and set bounds to their faith, where reason, their only guide, does not lead the way further, and walk along before them. We, on the contrary, as Moses was shown by divine power a true sight of the promised land, though himself could not pass over to it, so we think reason may receive from revelation some further discoveries and new prospects of things, and be fully convinced of the reality of them ; though itself cannot pass on, nor travel those regions ; cannot penetrate the fund of those truths, nor advance to the utmost bounds of them. For there is certainly a wide difference between what is contrary to reason, and what is superior to it and out of its reach.
WILLIAM SOMERVILLE. 1692_1742.
This ardent lover and eulogist of field-sports was born in 1692, and was educated at Oxford. After leaving the university, he settled upon his patri. monial estate in Warwickshire, and occupied his time partly with the duties of a justice of the peace, partly with the active pleasures of the sportsman, and partly with the cultivation of his poetical talents. Hospitable, convivial, and careless of economy, he became involved in debt, and in the latter part of his life, according to the account of his friend Shenstone, the poet, “ drank himself into pains of the body, in order to get rid of the pains of the mind." Thus, most lamentably, was his misery completed, and his end accelerated; and he died in 1742, in the fiftieth year of his age.
Somerville is best known by his poem, entitled the “Chase,” which still has considerable popularity. It is written in blank verse, tolerably harmoni. ous, and his descriptions, always accurate, from his own practical knowledge of his subject, are frequently vivid and beautiful. He has also written an. other rural poem, called “Field-Sports," which describes the amusement of hawking; « Hobbinol, or Rural Games," a mock heroic; and many pieces of a miscellaneous character. Of the latter, the lines to Addison show much good feeling, and just appreciation of the character of that great and good man.
BEGINNING OF A FOX-HUNT.
Ere yet the morning peep,
Press to their standard, hither all repair,
LINES ADDRESSED TO ADDISON.
Her graceful port, and her celestial mien,
Contending nations ancient Homer claim,
JONATHAN SWIFT. 1667-1745. Of the varied life of this eccentric divine, so numerous and able have been the details, that had we room to enter into the consideration of it at length, it would be quite an unnecessary work. We will therefore give but a mere sketch of it, referring the reader for more full biographies to the works mentioned below.1
He was born in Dublin, in 1667, and was educated at Dublin University, At the age of twenty-one he obtained the patronage of Sir William Temple, under whose roof, at Moor Park, in Surrey, he resided as an amanuensis and à companion until the death of his patron in 1698. Here he wrote his cele. brated treatise, entitled “ The Battle of the Books," against Bentley; and whila here he “ took orders in the church." Upon the death of Temple, he was invited by the Earl of Berkeley to Ireland, and after many disappointments he obtained the living of Laracor, where, in 1704, he published, anonymously, that remarkable work, “The Tale of a Tub." It was designed as a burlesque and satire upon the disputes among the Papists, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians, and for keenness and humor it has, perhaps, never been equalled. In 1713 he was rewarded with the deanery of St. Patrick's, in Dublin; but the return of the Whig party into power, on the accession of the House of Hanover, destroyed all his hopes of further preferment. For some years after, he was employed almost entirely in political and occasional writings, full of virulence and bitterness against many of the men and things of his age, and which are now but little read. In 1724 he became almost an object of idolatry to the Irish by publishing a series of letters under the feigned name of M. B. Drapier, against one William Wood. This Wood had obtained a patent for coining half-pence for the use of Ireland, to the enormous amount of £180,000, and Swift, in his « Drapier's Letters,” exposed the fraud, and the ruinous consequences to the nation, with such power of reason, and sarcasm, and invective, that the patent was annulled, and the half-pence withdrawn by the government. The following short extract will give an idea of the style and humor of these “ Letters:"
1 Hawkesworth, Sheridan, and Nichols have all prefixed a life of Swift to their edition of his works. But the best edition is that of Sir Walter Scott, with life, 19 vols. 8vo, of which a second edition has been published. Read also, a life of the same, in the 3d vol. of “Drake's Essays;" Another in "Johnson's Lives," and a very able article in the 27th vol. of the Edinburgh Review.
I am very sensible that such a work as I have undertaken might have worthily employed a much better pen: but when a house is attempted to be robbed, it often happens that the weakest in the family runs first to stop the door. All the assistance I had were some informations from an eminent person, whereof I am afraid I have spoiled a few, by endeavoring to make them of a piece with my own productions ; and the rest I was not able to manage. I was in the case of David, who could not move in the armor of Saul, and therefore I rather chose to attack this uncircumcised Philistine (Wood I mean) with a sling and a stone. And I may say for Wood's honor, as well as my own, that he resembles Goliath in many circumstances very applicable to the present purpose : for Goliath had a helmet of BRASS upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of BRASS ; and he had greaves of BRASS upon his legs, and a target of BRASS between his shoulders. In short he was, like Mr. Wood, all over BRASS, and he defied the armies of the living God.—Goliath's conditions of combat were likewise the same with these of Wood: if he prevail against us, then shall we be his servants. But if it happens that I prevai] over him, I renounce the other part of the condition; he shall never be a servant of mine ; for I do not think him fit to be trusted in any honest man's shop.
1 In the county of Meath, north-west of Dublin. While here, he appointed the reading of prayers every Wednesday and Friday. Upon the first Wednesday, after the bell had ceased ringing for some time, finding that the congregation consisted only of himself and his clerk, Roger, he began : “Dearly beloved Roger, the Scripture moveth you and me in sundry places," &r and then proceeded regularly through the whole service.
--In 1726 appeared the most perfect of the larger compositions of Swift, and that by which he will probably be longest remembered Gulliver's Travels." It is a production entirely unique in English literature. Its main design is, under the form of fictitious travels, to satirize mankind and the institutions of civilized countries; but the scenes and nations which it describes are so wonderful and amusing, that the book is as great a favorite with children as with those misanthropic spirits who delight in contemplating the imperfections of human nature. In the latter part of his life, he published another burlesque on the social world, entitled “ Polite Conversation,” being an almost exact representation of the unpremeditated talk of ordinary persons. A still more ludicrous and satirical work appeared after his death, under the title of “ Directions to Servants." His most important political tracts were, « The Conduct of the Allies," "The Public Spirit of the Whigs,” and “A History of the Four last Years of Queen Anne."
In 1736 Swift was seized with a violent fit of giddiness, while writing a satirical poem called the “ Legion Club," which he never finished. From that time he grew worse and worse, till, in 1741, his friends found his passions so violent and ungovernable, his memory so decayed, and his reason so depraved, that they were obliged to keep all strangers from him. In 1742, after a week of indescribable bodily suffering, he sank into a state of quiet idiocy, in which he continued till the 19th of October, 1745, when he gently breathed his last. · As a writer, the prose works of Swift are among the best specimens we possess of a thorough English style. “He knew," says Dr. Blair, “ beyond almost any man, the purity, the extent, the precision of the English language; and, therefore, to such as wish to attain a pure and correct style, he is one of the most useful models. But we must not look for much ornament and grace in his language. His haughty and morose genius made him despise any embellishment of this kind, as beneath his dignity. He delivers his sentiments in a plain, downright, positive manner, like one who is sure he is in the right, and is very indifferent whether you are pleased or not. His sentences are commonly negligently arranged; distinctly enough as to sense, but without any regard to smoothness of sound; often without much regard to compactness or elegance." The following selections are given as specimens of his best style : :
COUNTRY HOSPITALITY. Those inferior duties of life, which the French call les petites morales, or the smaller morals, are with us distinguished by the name of good manners or breeding. This I look upon, in the general notion of it, to be a sort of artificial good sense, adapted to the meanest capacities, and introduced to make mankind easy in their commerce with each other. Low and little understandings, without some rules of this kind, would be perpetually wandering into a thousand indecencies and irregularities in behavior; and in their ordinary conversation, fall into the same boisterous familiarities that one observes among them where intemperance has quite taken away the use of their reason. In other instances it is odd to consider, that for want of common discretion, the very end of good breeding is wholly perverted; and civility, intended to make us easy, is employed in laying chains and fetters upon us, in de