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his two eldest were married, without his consent, to young lads who had nothing to settle on them. However, he had one son, whom the doctor sent to Westminster school, although he could ill afford it. The boy was there immediately taken notice of, upon examination : although a mere stranger, he was, by pure merit, elected a king's scholar. It is true, their maintenance falls something short: the doctor was then so poor, that he could not add fourteen pounds to enable the boy to finish the year; which if he had done, he would have been removed to a higher class, and, in another year, would have been sped off (that is the phrase) to a fellowship in Oxford or Cambridge: but the doctor was forced to recall him to Dublin, and had friends in our university to send him there, where he has been chosen of the foundation ; and, I think, has gotten an exhibition, and designs to stand for a fellowship. *
The doctor had a good church living, in the south parts of Ireland, given him by Lord Carteret; who, being very learned himself, encourages it in others. A friend of the doctor's prevailed on his excellency to grant it. The living was well worth 150l. per annum. He changed it very soon for that of Dunboyn; which, by the knavery of the farmers, and power of the gentlemen, fell so very low, that he could never get 80l. He then changed that living for the free school of Cavan, where he might have lived well in so cheap a country, on 80l. salary per annum, besides his scholars; but the air, he said, was too moist and unwholesome, and he could not bear the company of some persons in that neighbourhood. Upon this he sold the school for about 4001., spent the money, grew into disease, and died.*
* This was Thomas Sheridan, an actor of considerable celebrity, and who afterwards distinguished himself by Lectures on Elocution, and an excellent Life of Swift. He was, however, still more remarkable, as the father of the celebrated and highly-gifted Richard Brinsley Sheridan, M.P., one of the most gifted men of a period when talents were the profuse attribute of those who dedicated themselves to the public service.
It would be very honourable, as well as just, in those many persons of quality and fortune, who had the advantage of being educated under Dr Sheridan, if they would please to erect some decent monument over his body, in the church where it is deposited.
*“ Dr Sheridan's friend and physician, Dr Helsham, foretold the manner, and almost the very time of his death. He said his disorder was a polypus in the heart, which was so far advanced, that it would probably put an end to his existence in a short time, and so suddenly as to give him no warning of it; and therefore recommended it to him to settle his affairs. The doctor, upon this, retired to a house of one of his scholars, Mr O’Callaghan, at Rathfarnham, three miles from Dublin. In a few days he sent for his friend and namesake, Counsellor Sheridan, to draw his will; and when that was done he seemed cheerful and in good spirits. The counsellor, and a brother of Mr O’Callaghan's, who lent him his house, upon being called away to another part of the kingdom, dined with him that day. Soon after dinner the conversation happened to turn on the weather, and one of them observed that the wind was easterly. The doctor upon this said, “Let it blow, east, west, north, or south, the immortal soul will take its flight to the destined point.' These were the last words he ever spoke, for he immediately sunk back in his chair, and expired without a groan, or the smallest struggle. His friends thought he had fallen asleep, and in that belief retired to the garden, that they might not disturb his repose ; but, on their return, after an hour's walk, to their great astonishment, they found he was dead. Upon opening the body, Dr Helsham's sagacious prognostic proved to be true, as the polypus in the heart was discovered to be the immediate cause of his death. I know not whether it is worth mentioning, that the surgeon said he never saw so large a heart in a human body.”—Sheridan's Life of Swift.
THE SECOND SOLOMON.* 1729.
Among all the painful circumstances attendant upon
the dissolus tion of a long and affectionate intercourse between friends of ancient standing, there is none more bitter than when, before a final rupture has taken place, one party avails himself of all the freedom and familiarity of their former relation, to express himself concerning his friend's foibles, with more bitterness than he could pretend to treat those of an enemy. In these moments, every trivial circumstance of untimely raillery, and effusion of temporary resentment, is eagerly mustered and arraigned as an article of indictment against the offender; and former disputes, which, when they happened, were only considered as matter of jest, are then arrayed as grounds of accusation. The following character of Dr Sheridan, in which bis foibles are treated so unmercifully, and where some slight instances of disrespect, occurring in the course of familiar and jocular intercourse, are preferred as charges of ingratitude, argues that state of mind in the author, which could not long consist with intimacy. There is, besides, an assumption of superiority through the whole, which seems to place the “ Person distinguished for poetical and other writings,” and occupying " an eminent station,” in contrast, very degrading to his more humble, and, one would almost suppose, his dependent friend. This is one of the pieces in which Swift has indulged his irritable temperament, at the expense of his head and heart.
He became acquainted with a person distinguished for poetical and other writings, and in an eminent station, who treated him with great kindness on all occasions, and he became familiar in this person's house. * In three months time, Solomon, without the least provocation, writ a long poem, describing that person's muse to be dead, and making a funeral solemnity with asses, owls, &c. and gave the copy among all his acquaintance.f
* Dr Sheridan, D. S.
Solomon became acquainted with a most deserving lady, an intimate friend of the above person, who entertained him also as she would a brother; and, upon giving him a little good advice in the most decent manner, with relation to his wife, he told her, “ She was like other women, as bad as she was; and that they were all alike.”
Although his wife be, in every regard, (except gallantry, which no creature would attempt,) the most disagreeable beast in Europe, he lets his wife (whom he pretends to hate as she deserves) govern, insult, and ruin him, as she pleaseth. Her character is this: Her person is detestably disagreeable ; a most filthy slut; lazy, and slothful, and luxurious, ill-natured, envious, suspicious; a scold, expensive on herself, covetous to others: She takes thieves and whores, for cheapness, to be her servants, and turns them off every week; posi
* Dean Swift. D. S.
+ This does not seem to occur, even in the Whimsical Miscellany, the grand repository of the jeux d'esprit that passed between Swift and Sheridan. However seriously the Dean seems here to regard it, the verses were probably at the time considered as mere food for laughter.
# Stella. D. S.
§ The Doctor's best defence may be, that it was hardly possible to give advice in a decent, at least delicate manner, upon such a subject.
tive, insolent, an ignorant, prating, overweening fool; a lover of the dirtiest, meanest company : an abominable tattler, affecting to be jealous of her husband, with ladies of the best rank and merit, and merely out of affectation, for perfect vanity.
Solomon has no ill design upon any person but himself, and he is the greatest deceiver of himself on all occasions.
His thoughts are sudden, and the most unreasonable always comes uppermost; and he constantly resolves and
his first thoughts, and then asks advice, but never once before.
The person above mentioned, whom he lampooned in three months after their acquaintance, procured him a good preferment from the Lord-lieutenant :* upon going down to take possession, Solomon preached, at Corke, a sermon on King George's birth-day, on this text, “ Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof." Solomon having been famous for a High Tory, and suspected as a Jacobite, it was a most difficult thing to get anything for him: but that person, being an old friend of Lord Carteret, prevailed against all Solomon's enemies, and got him made likewise one of his excellency's chaplains. But, upon this sermon, he was struck out of the list, and forbid the castle, until that same person brought him again to the lieutenant, and made them friends.
A fancy sprung in Solomon's head, that a house near Dublin would be commodious for him and his boarders, to lodge in on Saturdays and Sundays; immediately, without consulting with any creature, he takes a lease