Open main menu

Page:Samuel Johnson (1911).djvu/203

This page needs to be proofread.


Ireland, he might be allowed to regret for a time the interception of his views, the ex- tinction of his hopes, and his ejection from gay scenes, important employment, and splen- did friendships ; but when time had enabled reason to prevail over vexation, the complaints which at first were natural became ridiculous because they were useless. But querulous- ness was now grown habitual, and he cried out when he probably had ceased to feel. His reiterated wailings persuaded Bolingbroke that he was really willing to quit his deanery for an English parish ; and Bolingbroke pro- cured an exchange, which was rejected ; and Swift still retained the pleasure of complaining. The greatest difficulty that occurs, in analys- ing his character, is to discover by what de- pravity of intellect he took delight in revolving ideas from which almost every other mind shrinks with disgust. The ideas of pleasure, even when criminal, may solicit the imagina- tion ; but what has disease, deformity and filth, upon which the thoughts can be allured to dwell? Delany is willing to think that Swift's mind was not much tainted with this gross corruption before his long visit to Pope. He does not consider how he degrades his hero, by making him at fifty-nine the pupil of turpitude, and liable to the malignant in-

�� �