Home  »  Volume IX: English FROM STEELE AND ADDISON TO POPE AND SWIFT  »  § 4. The Phalaris Controversy

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IX. From Steele and Addison to Pope and Swift.

IV. Swift

§ 4. The Phalaris Controversy

Temple took part in the controversy on ancient and modern learning, and in an essay he quoted the spurious “Epistles of Phalaris” as evidence of the superiority of the ancients. He was answered by William Wotton, and, in 1697, Swift wrote his contribution to the controversy, the clever Battle of the Books, which, however, was not published till 1704. By his will, Temple had left Swift £100 and any profit that was to be made by the publication of his posthumous works. Unfortunately, this task led to a protracted quarrel with Lady Giffard. Swift was “as far to seek as ever.” An application to the king came to nothing, and he thought it well to accept an invitation to be chaplain and secretary to Lord Berkeley, one of the lords justices in Ireland; but a rival persuaded Lord Berkeley that the post was not fit for a clergyman, and Swift departed in dudgeon.