Jonathan Swift Quotes

Now hardly here and there an hackney coach Appearing, showed the ruddy morn's approach. Now Betty from her master's bed had flown, And softly stole to discompose her own; The slipshod 'prentice from his master's door Had pared the dirt, and sprinkled round the floor.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish poet, satirist, clergyman. A Description of the Morning (l. 1-6). . . The Complete Poems [Jonathan Swift]. Pat Rogers, ed. (1983) Penguin Books.
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For the rest, whatever we have got has been by infinite labour, and search, and ranging through every corner of nature; the difference is that instead of dirt and poison, we have rather chosen to fill our hives with honey and wax, thus furnishing mankind with the two noblest of things, which are sweetness and light.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. Aesop, in The Battle of the Books (1704). Aesop, representing the Ancients, likened them to a bee, as opposed to the spider which stood for the Moderns. The phrase "sweetness and light" was taken up by critic Matthew Arnold in Culture and Anarchy, ch. 5 (1869), from which it has passed into general usage.
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Whatever we have got has been by infinite labour, and search, and ranging through every corner of nature; the difference is that instead of dirt and poison, we have rather chosen to fill our hives with honey and wax, thus furnishing mankind with the two noblest of things, which are sweetness and light.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. repr. in Jonathan Swift: A Critical Edition of the Major Works, eds. Angus Ross and David Woolley (1984). Aesop, in The Battle of the Books (written 1697, published 1704). Aesop, representing the Ancients, likened them to a bee, as opposed to the spider which stood for the Moderns. The phrase "sweetness and light" was taken up by critic Matthew Arnold in Culture and Anarchy (see perfection).
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I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child, well nursed, is at a year old, a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. repr. In The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, vol. 12, ed. Herbert Davies (1955). A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or the Country (1729). This ironic pamphlet subverted current Whig notions of people being "the wealth of the nation" in the context of the poverty and hunger in Ireland. See also Swift under "famine" for a related comment.
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I will venture to affirm, that the three seasons wherein our corn has miscarried did no more contribute to our present misery, than one spoonful of water thrown upon a rat already drowned would contribute to his death; and that the present plentiful harvest, although it should be followed by a dozen ensuing, would no more restore us, than it would the rat aforesaid to put him near the fire, which might indeed warm his fur-coat, but never bring him back to life.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. repr. In The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, vol. 12, ed. Herbert Davies (1955). A Proposal that all the Ladies and Women of Ireland Should Appear Constantly in Irish Manufactures (1729). Swift argued that the chronic situation in Ireland was principally due to the harsh policies carried out by the English over a prolonged period.
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Come hither, all ye empty things, Ye bubbles rais'd by breath of Kings; Who float upon the tide of state, Come hither, and behold your fate. Let pride be taught by this rebuke, How very mean a thing's a Duke; From all his ill-got honours flung, Turn'd to that dirt from whence he sprung.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish poet, satirist, clergyman. A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General (l. 25-32). . . The Complete Poems [Jonathan Swift]. Pat Rogers, ed. (1983) Penguin Books.
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He had been eight years upon a project for extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers, which were to be put into vials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw, inclement summers.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. A scientist at the Grand Academy of Lagado, in "A Voyage to Laputa," ch. 5, Gullivers Travels (1726).
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In the school of political projectors, I was but ill entertained, the professors appearing, in my judgment, wholly out of their senses; which is a scene that never fails to make me melancholy. These unhappy people were proposing schemes for persuading monarchs to choose favourites upon the score of their wisdom, capacity, and virtue; of teaching ministers to consult the public good; of rewarding merit, great abilities, and eminent services, of instructing princes to know their true interest, by placing it on the same foundation with that of their people; of choosing for employment persons qualified to exercise them; with many other wild impossible chimeras, that never entered before into the heart of man to conceive; and confirmed in me the old observation, that there is nothing so extravagant and irrational which some philosophers have not maintained for truth.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. "A Voyage to Laputa," pt. 3, ch. 6, Gulliver's Travels (1726).
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Poor nations are hungry, and rich nations are proud; and pride and hunger will ever be at variance.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. "A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms," pt. 4, ch. 5, Gulliver's Travels (1726).
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He gathers all the parish there; Points out the place of either yew, Here Baucis, there Philemon, grew. Till once a parson of our town, To mend his barn, cut Baucis down; At which, 'tis hard to be believed How much the other tree was grieved, Grew scrubby, died a-top, was stunted: So the next parson stubbed and burnt it.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Ango-Irish poet, satirist, clergyman. Baucis and Philemon; Imitated from the Eighth Book of Ovid (l. 170-178). . . Oxford Anthology of English Literature, The, Vols. I-II. Frank Kermode and John Hollander, general eds. (1973) Oxford University Press (Also published as six paperback vols.: Medieval English Literature, J. B. Trapp, ed.; The Literature of Renaissance England, John Hollander and Frank Kermode, eds.; The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century, Martin Price, ed.; Romantic Poetry and Prose, Harold Bloom and Lionel Trilling, eds.; Victorian Prose and Poetry, Lionel Trilling and Harold Bloom, eds.; Modern British Literature, Frank Kermode and John Hollander, eds.).
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