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sister-in-law, but Godwin, who was supposed to be wealthy, was her chief support; and, upon the 30th of November, 1667, being St Andrew's day, she was delivered of the celebrated Jonathan Swift. The place of his birth was a small house, now called No.7, in Hoey's Court, Dublin, which is still pointed out by the inhabitants of that quarter. His infancy was marked by a chance as singular as that of his father, whose cradle had been plundered of the bedding by Kirle’s troopers. The nurse to whom he was committed was a native of Whitehaven, to which town she was recalled, by the commands of a dying relation, from whom she expected a legacy. She actually stole away her charge, out of mere affection, and carried him to Whitehaven, where he resided three years ; for his health was so delicate, that, rather than hazard a second voyage, his mother chose to fix his residence for a time with the female who had given such a singular proof of her attachment. The nurse was so careful of the child's education, that when he returned to Dublin he was able to spell, and when five years old he could read any chapter of the Bible.

Swift was now to share the indigence of a mother whom he tenderly loved, and to subsist upon the support afforded by his uncle Godwin. It seems probable, that these irritating and degrading circumstances sunk deep into his haughty temper, even at an early period of life, and that even then commenced that war of his spirit with the world,

1 The antiquity of its appearance seems to vindicate the truth of the tradition. In 1809 it was occupied by Mrs Jackson, a dealer in earthen-ware.

which only ended when his faculties were utterly subdued by disease. Born a posthumous child, and bred up as an object of charity, he early adopted the custom of observing his birthday, as a term, not of joy, but of sorrow, and of reading, when it annually recurred, the striking passage of Scripture, in which Job laments and execrates the day upon which it was said in his father's house, “ that a man child was born.” The narrowness of the allowance afforded for his maintenance and education, added to his unhappiness, and was naturally imputed by him to the sordid parsimony of his uncle. It is true, that subsequent events showed that Godwin Swift was under the necessity of regulating this allowance by the real state of his embarrassed circumstances, rather than by the opinion which his nephew, in common with the rest of the world, entertained of his wealth. But although it was afterwards discovered that his liberality had borne full proportion to the former criterion, Swift appears never to have lost the unfavourable impression which had once been made, and certainly held Godwin Swift's remembrance neither in love nor veneration."

· He mentions him with disrespect in the anecdotes of the family, and elsewhere; and I have the following remarkable anecdote from Theophilus Swift, Esq. the grandson of Godwin, and grand-nephew of the Dean, to whom it was often related by Mrs Whiteway. The Rev. Dr Whittingham, Archdeacon of Dublin, a bold and ready talker, used to be forward to show his colloquial courage where few would have chosen to exercise it, by attacking Dean Swift, and that with great rudeness and severity. At a visitation dinner, they chanced to be placed nearly opposite to each other at table, when Dr Whittingham suddenly asked, “ Pray, Mr Dean, was it not Meanwhile his education proceeded apace. At the

age of six years, he was sent to the school of Kilkenny, endowed and maintained by the Ormond family, where his name, cut in schoolboy fashion, upon

his desk or form, is still shown to strangers. Here he learned to say, latino-anglicè, the words Mi dux et amasti lux, the first


of the numerous jeux d'esprit of that nature which passed between him and Sheridan, during his declining years.

From Kilkenny, Swift was removed, at the age of 14, and admitted into Trinity College, Dublin, where, as appears from the book of the senior lecturers, he was received as a pensioner under the tuition of St George Ashe, on 24th April, 1682. His cousin, Thomas Swift,' was admitted at the same time, and the mention of the two names throughout the College records, without the Chris

your uncle Godwin who educated you ?”_Swift affected not to hear this insulting question. At length it was twice repeated, with a loud and bitter accent, when the Dean answered abruptly, “ Yes ! He gave me the education of a dog."“Then," answered Whittingham, grinning, and clenching his hand, “ you have not the gratitude of a dog.” The instant interposition of the Bishop prevented the personal violence which was likely to follow on this colloquy. The story is alluded to by Dr Delany, in his sixteenth letter to Lord Orrery, but the circumstances are concealed and altered. Notwithstanding the violence of this altercation, the Dean and Archdeacon Whittingham were reconciled by the interference of the Bishop, and became afterwards good friends.

i Son to his uncle Thomas, who had been bred at Oxford. Swift's college-companion afterwards became Rector of Puttenham in Surrey, and affected to have a share in the original concoction of the Tale of a Tub. Swift used to call bim in contempt, his “ parson-cousin."

tian appellative, has thrown uncertainty upon some minute points of the Dean's biography.

When Swift was entered at the University, the usual studies of the period were required of him, and of these, some were very ill suited to his genius. Logic, then deemed a principal object of learning, was in vain presented to his notice; for his disposition altogether rejected the learned sophistry of Smiglecius, Keckermannus, Burgersdicius, and other ponderous worthies now hardly known by name; nor could his tutor ever persuade him to read three pages in one of them, though some acquaintance with the commentators of Aristotle was absolutely necessary at passing examination for his degrees. Neither did he pay regular attention to other studies more congenial to his disposition. He read and studied rather for amusement, and to divert melancholy reflections, than with the zeal of acquiring knowledge. But his reading, however desultory, must have been varied and extensive, since he is said to have already drawn a rough sketch of the Tale of a Tub, which he communicated to his companion Mr Waryng. We must conclude then, that a mere idler of the 17th century might acquire, in his hours of careless and irregular reading, a degree of knowledge which would startle a severe student of the present age.

We have few means of judging of the extent of Swift's real learning; it cannot perhaps be termed profound, but it was certainly extensive. His writings evince great general acquaintance with history and poetry, both

1 This fact Mr Waryng often mentioned to Mr Whiteway.

ancient and modern; nor is he ever at a loss for such classical allusions and quotations as most aptly illustrate the matter of which he treats. Yet although he thought so lightly of his own acquisitions, that he talked of having lost degree for dulness and insufficiency, and although he used with great vehemence to rebuke those who bestowed the name of scholar on any one whom they could not prove to have spent most of his days in study, the character of a mere plodding student did not stand high in his estimation. Bentley, whom he unjustly ranked in this dull and laborious class, used to be honoured with the epithets of Jubar Anglicanum, Lux Britannie, Sidus Britannicum, &c., by the foreign literati. This Swift could not bear, and in the predictions of Isaac Bickerstaff, he launches some satirical shafts at the heavy politeness of the High-Dutch illustrissimi, and their extravagant compliments to each other.

While Swift, however, was pursuing his studies in this vague and desultory manner, they would have been altogether interrupted by the death of his uncle Godwin and the derangement of his affairs, which then first became public, had he not

1 « If I had leave to have printed the Latin letters transmitted to me from foreign parts, they would fill a volume, and be a full defence against all that Mr Partridge and all his accomplices of the Portugal Inquisition will be ever able to object; which, by the way, are the only enemies my predictions have ever met with at home or abroad. The most learned Monsieur Leibnitz thus addresses to me his third letter : Illustrissimo Bickerstaffio astrologiæ instauratori, &c. Monsieur Le Clerc, quoting my predictions in a treatise he published last year, is pleased to say, Ita nuperrime Bickerstaffus magnum illud Angliæ sidus."-Swift's Life and Works, vol. viii., p. 492.


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