Countess Of Burlington





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.





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