Page:The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift, Volume 16.djvu/36

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28
HISTORY OF ENGLAND.

Yet there is one instance that might show him to have some sense of religion as well as justice. When two monks were outvying each other in canting the price of an abbey, he observed a third at some distance, who said never a word; the king demanded why he would not offer; the monk said, he was poor, and besides, would give nothing if he were ever so rich; the king replied, then you are the fittest person to have it, and immediately gave it him. But this is, perhaps with reason enough, assigned more to caprice than conscience; for he was under the power of every humour and passion that possessed him for the present; which made him obstinate in his resolves, and unsteady in the prosecution.

He had one vice or folly that seemed rooted in his mind, and of all others, most unbefitting a prince; This was a proud disdainful manner, both in his words and gesture: and having already lost the love of his subjects by his avarice and oppression, this finished the work, by bringing him into contempt and hatred among his servants, so that few among the worst of princes have had the luck to be so ill-beloved, or so little lamented.

He never married, having an invincible abhorrence for the state, although not for the sex.

He died in the thirteenth year of his reign, the forty-third of his age, and of Christ 1100, August 2.

His works of piety were few, but in buildings he was very expensive, exceeding any king of England before or since; among which Westminster-Hall, Windsor castle, the tower of London, and the whole city of Carlisle, remain lasting monuments of his magnificence.

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