Thursday, 1 March 2012

When I come to be old

Irish author and cleric Jonathan Swift is best known for Gulliver’s Travels, a biting satricial novel first published in 1726 that went on to sell millions of copies. It was only after Swift’s death, in 1745, that a list of resolutions was found amongst his personal papers, written in 1699 when he was 32 and comprising of advice directed at his future self.

A much-needed transcript follows. This list can be found in the Lists of Note book, alongside 124 other fascinating lists from throughout the ages. More info over at Books of Note.

When I come to be old. 1699.

Not to marry a young Woman.
Not to keep young Company unless they reely desire it.
Not to be peevish or morose, or suspicious.
Not to scorn present Ways, or Wits, or Fashions, or Men, or War, &c.
Not to be fond of Children, or let them come near me hardly.
Not to tell the same story over and over to the same People.
Not to be covetous.
Not to neglect decency, or cleenlyness, for fear of falling into Nastyness.
Not to be over severe with young People, but give Allowances for their youthfull follyes and weaknesses.
Not to be influenced by, or give ear to knavish tatling servants, or others.
Not to be too free of advise, nor trouble any but those that desire it.
To desire some good Friends to inform me wch of these Resolutions I break, or neglect, and wherein; and reform accordingly.
Not to talk much, nor of my self.
Not to boast of my former beauty, or strength, or favor with Ladyes, &c.
Not to hearken to Flatteryes, nor conceive I can be beloved by a young woman, et eos qui hereditatem captant, odisse ac vitare.
Not to be positive or opiniative.
Not to sett up for observing all these Rules; for fear I should observe none.