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A Modest Proposal

A Modest Proposal

by Jonathan Swift

Analysis: Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

If you're on a Swift satire kick, you'll definitely want to check out Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift. That's right—Swift really did write his own obituary. He also predicts the public response to his founding of St. Patrick's Hospital, Ireland's first mental asylum.

It might not surprise you that Swift's tombstone is one more example of his satire. Translated from Latin, it reads: Here is laid the body of Jonathan Swift, Doctor of Divinity, Dean of this Cathedral Church, where fierce indignation can no longer rend the heart. Go traveller, and imitate if you can this earnest and dedicated champion of liberty. He died on the 19th day of October 1745 AD. Aged 78 years. (Source.)

You can read more about Swift's love life in Gulliver's Travels Trivia. While writing to former student and longtime lady friend Esther Johnson, Swift developed a secret language for her eyes only. He also sent Esther annual birthday poems. Who knew that bitter Swift could be sweet once in a while? (Source.)

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