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Grace After Dinner
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Countess Of Burlington

Irish Humour Home




Swift was dining one day with the Earl of Burlington soon after his
lordship's marriage, when that nobleman, expecting some diversion from
Swift's oddities of behavior, purposely neglected to name him to his
lady, who was entirely ignorant of the Dean's person. The Dean
generally wore his gowns till they were quite rusty, which being the
case, she supposed him to be some clergyman of no great consequence.
After dinner, the Dean said to her, Lady Burlington, I hear you can
sing; come, sing me a song. The Lady, disgusted with this unceremonious
way of asking such a favor, positively refused him. He said she could
sing, or he would make her. What, madam, I suppose you take me for one
of your poor paltry English hedge-parsons; sing, when I bid you! As the
Earl did nothing but laugh at his freedom, the lady was so vexed that
she burst into tears, and retired. His first compliment when he saw her
a little time afterwards was, Pray, madam, are you as proud and
ill-natured now as when I saw you last? To which she replied with the
greatest good humor, No, Mr. Dean; I will sing for you now, if you
please. From this time he conceived the greatest esteem for her, and
always behaved with the utmost respect. Those who knew Swift, took no
offence at his bluntness of behavior. It seems Queen Caroline did not,
if we may credit his words in the verses on his own death.





Next: Swift's Political Principles

Previous: Swift's Behavior At Table



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