Jonathan Swift's father and mother were very poor, so poor indeed that their friends said it was folly for them to marry.
It was a position something between that of a servant and a friend, and in it Swift's haughty soul suffered torments.
This little book is a satire, and, like all Swift's famous satires, is in prose not in poetry.
And yet it is the book above all others which one must read, and read with understanding, if one would get even a little knowledge of Swift's special genius.
The strange friendship between these two, between Esther Johnson and Swift, is one of the puzzles in Swift's life.
This was Swift's proper sphere; in the realization and exercise of power he took a fierce and deep delight.
In Swift's personal life there were now events in which he again showed to very little advantage.
Over against this conduct, so far as it goes, may be set Swift's quixotic but extensive and constant personal benevolence and generosity to the poor.
In general, this last period of Swift's life amounted to thirty years of increasing bitterness.
In 1726 (seven years after 'Robinson Crusoe') appeared Swift's masterpiece, the only one of his works still widely known, namely, 'The Travels of Lemuel Gulliver.
The complexity of Swift's character and the great difference between the viewpoints of his age and of ours make it easy at the present time to judge him with too great harshness.
It seems, indeed, that throughout his life Swift's mind was positively abnormal, and this may help to excuse the repulsive elements in his writings.