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Jonathan Swift quotes on life and death

Jonathan Swift suffered most of his life from vertigo and dizzy spells caused by Meniere’s Disease. It made him value life all the more and increased his determination to seize every moment.

He started to go senile towards the end of his life. He was aware that his mind was deteriorating but knew there was nothing he could do to stop the decline. In his will, he left most of his money to fund a hospital for the mentally ill. The hospital is still in use in Dublin today.

Cartoon illustration of shamrocks. Image copyright Ireland Calling

No man was ever so completely skilled in the conduct of life, as not to receive new information from age and experience.

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Whoever wishes to win in this game must have patience and money, since the values are so little constant and the rumours so little founded on truth.

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I shall be like that tree; I shall die from the top.

Jonathan Swift quote. I shall be like that tree; I shall die from the top. Image copyright Ireland Calling

Swift wrote this when he realised he was going senile. He feared his mind would deteriorate faster than his body.

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The best doctors in the world are Doctor Diet, Doctor Quiet, and Doctor Merryman.

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I row after health like a waterman.

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I will venture to affirm, that the three seasons wherein our corn has miscarried did no more contribute to our present misery, than one spoonful of water thrown upon a rat already drowned would contribute to his death; and that the present plentiful harvest, although it should be followed by a dozen ensuing, would no more restore us, than it would the rat aforesaid to put him near the fire, which might indeed warm his fur-coat, but never bring him back to life.

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Jonathan Swift quote. May you live all the days of your life. Image copyright Ireland Calling
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Do you think I was born in a wood to be afraid of an owl?

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It is impossible that anything so natural, so necessary, and so universal as death, should ever have been designed by providence as an evil to mankind.

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But you think that it is time for me to have done with the world, and so I would if I could get into a better before I was called into the best, and not die here in a rage, like a poisoned rat in a hole.

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