insanity by which he had been all his life haunted, and which may account for and perhaps partly excuse some of the least justifiable portions of his conduct, pressed more and more upon him. He became increasingly morose and savage in his misanthropy, and though he had a rally in which he produced some of his most brilliant, work -- the Rhapsody on Poetry, Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift, and; the Modest Proposal (a horrible but masterly piece of irony) -- he gradually sank into almost total loss of his facilities, and d. on October 19, 1745.
The character of S. is one of the gloomiest and least attractive among English writers. Intensely proud, he suffered bitterly in youth and early manhood from the humiliations of poverty and dependence, which preyed upon a mind in which the seeds of insanity were latent until it became dominated by a ferocious misanthropy. As a writer he is our greatest master of grave irony, and while he presents the most humorous ideas, the severity of his own countenance never relaxes. The Tale of a Tub and Gulliver's Travels are the greatest satires in the English language, although the concluding part of the latter is a savage and almost insane attack upon the whole human race. His history is a tragedy darkening into catastrophe, and as Thackeray has said, "So great a man he seems that thinking of him is like thinking of an Empire falling."
S. was tall and powerfully made. His eyes, blue and flashing under excitement, were the most remarkable part of his appearance.
Summary.—B. 1667, ed. at Trinity Coll., Dublin, entered household of Sir W. Temple at Moor Park 1692, and became his sec., became known to William III., and met E. Johnson (Stella), left T. in 1694 and returned to Ireland, took orders and wrote Tale of a Tub and Battle of Books (pub. 1704), returned to Sir W.T. 1698, and on his death in 1699 pub. his works, returned to Ireland and obtained some small preferments, visits London and became one of the circle of Addison, etc., deserts the Whigs and joins the Tories 1710, attacking the former in various papers and pamphlets, Dean of St. Patrick's 1713, death of Anne and ruin of Tories destroyed hopes of further preferment, and he returned to Ireland and began his Journal to Stella, Drapier's Letters appeared 1724, visits England, and joins with Pope and Arbuthnot in Miscellanies 1726, pub. Gulliver's Travels 1727, "Stella" d. 1728, gradually lost his faculties and d. 1745.