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Jonathan Swift

(30 November 1667 – 19 October 1745 / Dublin)

Quotations

  • ''I to such blockheads set my wit!
    I damn such fools!—Go, go, you're bit.'''
    Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish poet, satirist, clergyman. The Day of Judgement (l. 21-22). . . The Complete Poems [Jonathan Swift]. Pat Rogers, ed. (1983) Penguin Books.
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  • ''With a whirl of thought oppressed
    I sink from reverie to rest.
    An horrid vision seized my head,
    I saw the graves give up their dead.''
    Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish poet, satirist, clergyman. The Day of Judgement (l. 1-4). . . The Complete Poems [Jonathan Swift]. Pat Rogers, ed. (1983) Penguin Books.
  • ''Nor do they trust their tongue alone,
    But speak a language of their own;
    Can read a nod, a shrug, a look,
    Far better than a printed book;
    Convey a libel in a frown,
    And wink a reputation down.''
    Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. repr. In The Poems of Jonathan Swift, ed. H. Williams (1958). The Journal of a Modern Lady, l. 188-93 (1729).
  • ''I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of little, odious vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.''
    Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. The king of Brobdingnag to Gulliver, in "A Voyage to Brobdingnag," ch. 6, Gulliver's Travels (1726).
  • ''And he gave it for his opinion, that whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.''
    Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. The king of Brobdingnag to Gulliver, in "A Voyage to Brobdingnag," ch. 7, Gulliver's Travels (1726). The physicist, Henry Augustus Rowland (1848-1901) is quoted in D.S. Greenberg, The Politics of Pure Science (1967), as saying, "He who makes two blades of grass grow where one grew before is the benefactor of mankind, but he who obscurely worked to find the laws of such growth is the intellectual superior as well as the greater benefactor of mankind."
  • ''Where I am not understood, it shall be concluded that something very useful and profound is couched underneath.''
    Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. The Tale of a Tub, preface (1704).
  • ''I never saw, heard, nor read, that the clergy were beloved in any nation where Christianity was the religion of the country. Nothing can render them popular, but some degree of persecution.''
    Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. Thoughts on Religion, published in Works, vol. 15 (1765).
  • ''It is impossible that anything so natural, so necessary, and so universal as death should ever have been designed by Providence as an evil to mankind.''
    Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. Thoughts on Religion (1768).
  • ''I never saw, heard, nor read, that the clergy were beloved in any nation where Christianity was the religion of the country. Nothing can render them popular, but some degree of persecution.''
    Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. Thoughts on Religion, published in Works, vol. 15 (1765).
  • ''The want of belief is a defect that ought to be concealed when it cannot be overcome.''
    Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. Thoughts on Religion (1768).

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A Pastoral Dialogue

DERMOT, SHEELAH

A Nymph and swain, Sheelah and Dermot hight;
Who wont to weed the court of Gosford knight;
While each with stubbed knife removed the roots,
That raised between the stones their daily shoots;
As at their work they sate in counterview,
With mutual beauty smit, their passion grew.
Sing, heavenly Muse, in sweetly flowing strain,

[Hata Bildir]