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Swift's Disappointment

"I remember when I was a little boy, (writes Swift in a letter to

Bolingbroke,) I felt a great fish at the end of my line, which I

drew up almost on the ground, but it dropt in, and the disappointment

vexes me to this day; and I believe it was the type of all my future


"This little incident," writes Percival, "perhaps gave the first wrong

bias to a mind predisposed to such impressions; and by operating with

so much strength and permanency, it might possibly lay the foundation

of the Dean's subsequent peevishness, passion, misanthropy, and final


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