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his studies. He was ungrateful for his uncle's charity, ambitious of power, and probably contemptuous of the pedantry and antiquated learning of the universities. During the Irish troubles which succeeded the Revolution of 1688, Swift was forced to take refuge in England. There he became secretary to his mother's kinsman,

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Sir William Temple, a retired statesman with literary tastes. Most men in Swift's circumstances would have considered this position a stroke of good fortune, as Temple showed an interest in his young kinsman's career by acts of substantial kindness. But Swift saw a slight in every careless word. His mind was fixed upon what was due to him, rather than on what he

owed to others, and (as he said defiantly in later life) he would not be treated as a schoolboy." He availed himself of Temple's kindness and good offices, and repaid them with petulance and suspicion.

Enters the Church. - Young, brilliant, and ambitious, Swift's natural bent was towards a political career; but circumstances, if not inclination, led him to turn to the Church, and he was ordained in 1694. The Church was one of the great avenues of advancement, but Swift's choice of a profession seems to have been a miserable error. It is true that he performed his clerical duties with scrupulous fidelity; he held frequent services; he identified himself with the Church of England as a political institution, he fought for her privileges, and believed in her as a promoter of sound morals. He gave freely out of his little to the poor, and did many an unostentatious act of kindness; but his nature was earthly and essentially unspiritual, his ruling passion was for worldly power, and as he grew older he came more and more to hate and despise his fellow-men.

The Tale of a Tub. — Swift was nearly thirty before he showed the world the strength that was in him. He had written and burned much when, between 1696 and 1698, he wrote two prose works which suddenly revealed to the full the vigor, the ingenuity, the ease, and the robustness of the great satirist. These works, which were not published until 1704, were The Tale of a Tub and The Battle of the Books. In old times a rambling or fictitious story was sometimes called “a tale of a tub." Swift adopts this old expression for his title, explaining that as seamen sometimes throw an empty tub to a whale to divert his attack from the ship, so he throws out this idle story this “tale of a tub" -- to divert the attention of the wits, or skeptics,

from their attack upon the ship of state. The book is a satire upon the corruptions and abuses which have crept into Christianity, and upon the differences and disputes which divide Christendom. Its avowed purpose was to show the superiority of the Church of England, but we feel that the satire has a wider application. These petty religious squabbles (so Swift seems to imply) are but one of the manifestations of the pettiness and inherent depravity of man. At the heart of the book is the truly awful belief that the very springs of life are tainted at their source, that even those feelings which we are accustomed to regard as the glory of man are rooted in selfishness and corruption. Shakespeare, with his deeper and wider vision, could write that there was “a soul of goodness in things evil.” Swift in his malevolence would reverse this saying, and thus take away our hope and reverence, and destroy for us the worth and dignity of human life.

The Battle of the Books. In the Battle of the Books, Swift took his share in a current controversy on the comparative merits of the literature of the classic and modern times. It tells of a contest between the ancient and the modern books in the King's Library, and is a clever burlesque in prose of the Homeric or epic style. The Battle of the Books sneers at the shams of pedantry; the Tale of a Tub at shams in religion; Pope's Rape of the Lock at the shams of fashion.

Laracor. -- Shortly after the death of Sir William Temple in 1699, Swift was given a parish at Laracor, a small village about twenty miles from Dublin. His income was small, his congregation often but "half a score," his church "dilapidated," and his parsonage miserably out of repair. It was indeed a dreary and contracted sphere for an ambitious man of genius; and

Swift was not content to settle down at thirty into the humble routine of an obscure country parish. He came often to London, and joined in the political and literary life of the capital. His ability as a pamphleteer was recognized by the Tory leaders who came into power in 1710; and for three years Swift became not only the adviser but really the dictator of Tory policies. Fully aware of his intellectual supremacy, Swift lorded it over great and small. His very looks struck terror. He was contemptuous of the insincerity and shams that he found on all sides, and attacked them with savage irony or brutal directness. Yet to Addison and one or two others with whom he was in close intellectual sympathy, he was "the most agreeable companion, the truest friend.”

Journal to Stella. — But these years of his triumphs, when he 'carried his head high among the highest, are also the years in which the gentler and more playful side of his complex nature is revealed in his Journal to Stella. This is made up of letters in the form of a journal, written to his former pupil Hester Johnson, whom he had met as a child in the household of Sir William Temple. He called her “Stella," the "star" of his darkness. Scribbled hastily, with no thought beyond the desire to give pleasure to “Stella” and the little group of friends in Ireland, these letters move us, as no other writings of Swift do, to tenderness, awe, and pity.

They warn us that even Swift had “two soul-sides," and remind us that when we cannot understand we should be cautious how we judge.

Political Reverses. In 1713, as a reward for his political services, Swift was made Dean of Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin; but in the year following, with the downfall of the Tory Government and the death


of Queen Anne, Swift's political fortunes were ruined. Thereafter his life was one of disappointment and disgust at the injustice and shallowness of the world. He retired to Ireland, and there devoted himself to the cause of the Irish poor; he wrote bitter satires against the petty and corrupt statecraft that made such poverty possible, and against the selfishness of mankind.

Gulliver's Travels. — It was during these years that Swift wrote Gulliver's Travels (published 1726), a story of one Lemuel Gulliver, ship's surgeon and afterward captain, who makes four remarkable voyages to strange lands. In the first he visits Lilliput, a land inhabited by pigmies; in the second the land of the Brobdingnagians, a race of enormous giants; in the third, Laputa, a land of charlatans and sorcerers; and in the fourth, the land of the Houyhnhnms, a race of horses endowed with

Aside from its deeper purpose, Gulliver's Travels is first of all a fascinating story. Unbelievable as the strange adventures of Gulliver are, they have that air of careful veracity which places them with the adventures of Robinson Crusoe. But Gulliver's Travels is also a great satire — the greatest prose satire in the language. It was Swift's purpose in telling of the life and government of the pigmies and giants to belittle England and the efforts of his fellow-man. “ From what you tell me of your country," says the gigantic King of Brobdingnag to Gulliver, I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the face of the earth.” This is the motive passion of the book. It is not merely a satire upon the passing phases of English politics, or upon particular systems, or persons; beyond all this it is a satire on our race, on “that hated and detestable animal called man."

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