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CHARACTER OF ARISTOTLE.*
ARISTOTLE, the disciple of Plato, and tutor to. Alexander the Great. His followers were called peripatetics, from a Greek word which signifies to walk, because he taught his disciples walking. We have not all his works, and some of those which are imputed to him are supposed not genuine. He writ upon logic, or the art of reasoning ; upon moral and natural philosophy; upon oratory, poetry, &c. and seems to be a person of the most comprehensive genius that ever lived.
* This fragment is preserved in the Essay of Deane Swift, Esq. who tells us,
“ he transcribed it without any variation ; and that he found it by accident in a little book of instructions, which Dr Swift was pleased to draw up for the use of a lady, enjoining her to get it all by heart.”
CHARACTER OF HERODOTUS.
The underwritten is copied from Dr Swift's hand-writing, in an edition of Herodotus, by Paul Stephens, the gift of the Earl of Clanricard to the library of Winchester College.
“ Judicium de Herodoto post longum tempus relecto.
“ Ctesias mendacissimus Herodotum mendaciorum arguit, exceptis paucissimis, (ut mea fert sententia,) omnimodo excusandum. Cæterum, diverticulis abundans, hic pater historicorum filum narrationis ad tædium abrumpit : unde oritur (ut par est) legentibus confusio, et exindè oblivio. Quin et forsan ipsæ narrationes circumstantiis nimium pro re scatent. Quod ad cætera, hunc scriptorem inter apprimè laudandos censeo, neque Græcis neque Barbaris plus æquo faventem aut iniquum : in orationibus ferè brevem, simplicem, nec nimis frequentem. Neque absunt dogmata e quibus eruditus lector prudentiam tam moralem quam civilem haurire poterit.
“ J. SWIFT.* “ Julii 6, 1720.”
• “I do hereby certify, that the above is the hand-writing of the late Dr Jonathan Swift, D. S. P. D., from whom I have had many
letters, and printed several pieces from his original MSS.
“ GEORGE FAULKNER. “Dublin, August 21, 1762." VOL. IX.
CHARACTER OF PRIMATE MARSH.*
Marsh has the reputation of most profound and universal learning; this is the general opinion, neither can
* Dr Narcissus Marsh, successively Bishop of Ferns, Dublin, and Armagh. He was promoted to the last see in 1702, and died in 1713. He founded a public library in Dublin, and distinguished himself by other acts of munificence. But he was at variance with Archbishop King, to whom Swift at this time looked up as a patron. The following character is engraved on his tomb-stone. The truth probably lies somewhat between the epitaph and the satire.
Now take the talents of his mind,
Than, all these employments.
By encouraging the learned,
He dedicated his leisure hours
And above all was highly skilled
Endowed with the highest knowledge
Thus he became
A Man born
it be easily disproved. An old rusty iron chest in a banker's shop, strongly locked, and wonderfully heavy, is full of gold; this is the general opinion, neither can it be disapproved, provided the key be lost, and what is in it be wedged so close that it will not by any motion discover the metal by the chinking. Doing good is his pleasure ; and as no man consults another in his pleasures, neither does he in this ; by his awkwardness and unadvisedness disappointing his own good designs. His high station has placed him in the way of great employments, which, without in the least polishing his native rusticity, have given him a tincture of pride and ambition. But these vices would have passed concealed under his natural simplicity, if he had not endeavoured to hide them by art. His disposition to study is the very same with that of a usurer to hoard up money, or of a vicious young fellow to a wench ; nothing but avarice and evil concupiscence, to which his constitution has fortunately given a more innocent turn. He is sordid and suspicious in his domestics, without love or hatred; which is but reasonable, since he has neither friend nor enemy; without joy or grief; in short, without all passions but fear, to which of all others he has least temptation, having nothing to get or to lose; no posterity, relation, or friend, to be solicitous about; and placed by his station above the reach of fortune or envy. He has found out the secret of preferring men without deserving their thanks; and where he dispenses his favours to persons of merit, they are less obliged to him than to fortune. He is the first of human race, that with great advantages of learning, piety, and station, ever escaped being a great man. That which relishes best with him, is mixed liquor and mixed company; and he is seldom unprovided with very bad of both. He is so wise as to value his own health more than other men's noses, so that the most honourable place at his table is much the worst, especially in summer. It has been affirmed, that originally he was not altogether devoid of wit, till it was extruded from his head to make room for other men's thoughts. He will admit a governor, provided it be one who is very officious and diligent, outwardly pious, and one that knows how to manage and make the most of his fear. No man will be either glad or sorry at his death, except his successor.