Jonathan Swift quotes on friendship

Jonathan Swift maintained several close friendships throughout his life. Many of these with rich and powerful figures in 18th century Britain and Ireland, and many with famous writers like William Congreve and Alexander Pope. He also maintained close friendships with several women, although he never married.

As a satirist, his role was to point out people’s faults and failings. His close observations of human nature made him sceptical about people in general, yet as he points out in the first quote below, he made friends of individuals from all walks of life.

Jonathan Swift quote. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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I hate nobody: I am in charity with the world.
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Two friendships in two breasts requires the same aversions and desires.
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Jonathan Swift quote. I love good creditable acquaintance; I love to be the worst of the company. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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I have ever hated all nations, professions, and communities, and all my love is toward individuals: for instance, I hate the tribe of lawyers, but I love Counsellor Such-a-one, and Judge Such-a-one: so with physicians—I will not speak of my own trade—soldiers, English, Scotch, French, and the rest.
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But principally I hate and detest that animal called man, although I heartily love John, Peter, Thomas, and so forth. This is the system upon which I have governed myself many years, but do not tell.
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We are so fond of one another because our ailments are the same.

Jonathan Swift quote. We are so fond of one another because our ailments are the same. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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Jonathan Swift quote. ‘Tis very warm weather when one’s in bed. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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Knock as you please, there’s nobody at home.
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She pays him in his own coin.
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Illustration of Jonathan Swift quote. But a stranger in a strange land, he is no one: men know him not - and to know not is to care not for. Image copyright Ireland Calling
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Your notions of friendship are new to me; I believe every man is born with his quantum, and he cannot give to one without robbing another.
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Jonathan Swift quote. A penny for your thoughts. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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I very well know to whom I would give the first place in my friendship, but they are not in the way, I am condemned to another scene, and therefore I distribute it in pennyworths to those about me, and who displease me least, and should do the same to my fellow prisoners if I were condemned to a jail.
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I thought you and he were hand-in-glove.
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Jonathan Swift quote. The sight of you is good for sore eyes. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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Quotes Cartoon illustration of shamrocks. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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