53. Swift, Jonathan, 1667-1745.

"Predictions for the year 1708", and "The accomplishment of the first of Mr. Bickerstaff’s predictions, 1708", in Miscellanies in prose and verse. 2nd ed. (London : Morphew, 1713)

553. Swift, Jonathan, 1667-1745. Predictions for the year 1708

Swift hated charlatans, among them astrologers and almanac-makers. John Partridge, compiler of Merlinus Liberatus, was one of the best-known. Swift, in the person of Isaac Bickerstaff, published a mock almanac including predictions for 1708, beginning,

My first prediction is but a trifle yet I will mention it to shew how ignorant these sottish pretenders to Astrology are in their own concerns: It relates to Partrige the Almanack-Maker; I have consulted the star of hui nativity by my own rules’ and find he will infallibly die upon the 29th of March next, about eleven at Night, of a raging Fever: Therefore I advise him to consider of it, and settle his affairs in time.

He followed this up with a pamphlet on 1 April 1708, writing as one who was curious to see if Bickerstaff’s prediction had come true. He visits Partridge’s home and finds him "past hopes".

I then asked him why he had not calculated his own Nativity, to see if it agreed with Bickerstaff’s predictions? At which he shook his head and said, O! Sir, this is no time for jesting, but for repenting those Fooleries.

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