« AnteriorContinuar »
HE author of Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift, was born in Dublin, Ireland, November 30, 1667. His father died seven months before the birth of his famous son, leaving a widow and an infant daughter in extreme penury. Through the help of an uncle, Swift entered Trinity College, Dublin, in 1685, where three years later he graduated. He then joined his mother in England, where she was living on the bounty of relatives, one of them the wife of Sir William Temple, whose
secretary he became. He graduated from Oxford in 1692. In 1695 he went over to Ireland, and succeeded, not without difficulty, in gaining holy orders, and the prebend of Kilroot, worth $500 a year. He returned to the service of Temple, where his position was greatly improved. Here he frequently met King William III, who declared he should some day have an English prebend. On Temple's death he returned to Ireland, where he soon after received the vicarages of Laracor, and Rathbeggan, and the prebend of Dunlavin, in all worth about $1800 yearly. In 1701 he made his essay as a political writer in defence of the Whig leaders. He was received with great favor by the political and literary chiefs of the party, but no preferment was offered to him which he thought worth his acceptance, and in 1708 he went directly over to the Tories, who then came into power. He had set his heart upon an English bishopric, but his Tale of a Tub had offended Queen Anne, who refused to do anything for him, and in 1713 he returned to Ireland, where he was subsequently made dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral.
The Travels of Lemuel Gulliver were published anonymously in 1726, in which and the next year he visited London and renewed his intimacy with his old friends. For several years he wrote with all his old vigor and bitterness upon matters connected with Ireland, and composed many verses, and epigrams. In 1736 he was attacked with vertigo, which forced him to abandon his literary labors. By 1740 his memory had almost entirely failed and he sank into that state of complete idiocy which he had long anticipated. He died October 19, 1745, and was
buried in his Cathedral. He left the bulk of his fortune ($50,000) to erect an hospital for lunatics. He was unfortunate in many of his friendships and the disappointment of his ambitious hopes soured a character which was never a lovely one, but which was by no means ever so base as depicted by Macaulay, and others of his political opponents and associates.
The Tale of a Tub is his wittiest production. His. poetical pieces are lively, but coarse-but in these he merely followed the tendencies of his times. The first two parts of Gulliver's Travels, which are here presented, are inimitable as satires upon the period in which he lived.
The Author gives some Account of Himself and Family-His First Inducements to Travel-He is Shipwrecked, and Swims for his Life-Gets safe on Shore in the Country of LilliputIs made a Prisoner, and carried up the Country.
Y father had a small estate in Nottinghamshire,
MY England: I was the third of five sons.
sent me to college in Cambridge at fourteen years old, where I resided three years, and applied myself close to my studies; but the charge of maintaining me, although I had a very scanty allowance, being too great for a narrow fortune, I was bound apprentice to Mr. James Bates, an eminent surgeon