The Poems of Jonathan Swift, D.D., Volume I (of 2)
by Jonathan Swift
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O Neptune! Neptune! must I still Be here detain'd against my will? Is this your justice, when I'm come Above two hundred miles from home; O'er mountains steep, o'er dusty plains, Half choked with dust, half drown'd with rains, Only your godship to implore, To let me kiss your other shore? A boon so small! but I may weep, While you're like Baal, fast asleep.

[Footnote 1: These verses were no doubt written during the Dean's enforced stay at Holyhead while waiting for fair weather. See Swift's Journal of 1727, in Craik's "Life of Swift," vol. ii, and "Prose Works," vol. xi.—W. E. B.]


Two-faced Janus,[1] god of Time! Be my Phoebus while I rhyme; To oblige your crony Swift, Bring our dame a new year's gift; She has got but half a face; Janus, since thou hast a brace, To my lady once be kind; Give her half thy face behind. God of Time, if you be wise, Look not with your future eyes; What imports thy forward sight? Well, if you could lose it quite. Can you take delight in viewing This poor Isle's[2] approaching ruin, When thy retrospection vast Sees the glorious ages past? Happy nation, were we blind, Or had only eyes behind! Drown your morals, madam cries, I'll have none but forward eyes; Prudes decay'd about may tack, Strain their necks with looking back. Give me time when coming on; Who regards him when he's gone? By the Dean though gravely told, New-years help to make me old; Yet I find a new-year's lace Burnishes an old-year's face. Give me velvet and quadrille, I'll have youth and beauty still.

[Footnote 1: "Matutine pater, seu Jane libentius audis Unde homines operum primos vitaeque labores Instituunt."—HOR., Sat., ii, vi, 20.]

[Footnote 2: Ireland.—H.]



Jason, the valiant prince of Greece, From Colchis brought the Golden Fleece; We comb the wool, refine the stuff, For modern Jasons, that's enough. Oh! could we tame yon watchful dragon,[1] Old Jason would have less to brag on.

[Footnote 1: England.—H.]


The greatest monarch may be stabb'd by night And fortune help the murderer in his flight; The vilest ruffian may commit a rape, Yet safe from injured innocence escape; And calumny, by working under ground, Can, unrevenged, the greatest merit wound. What's to be done? Shall wit and learning choose To live obscure, and have no fame to lose? By Censure[1] frighted out of Honour's road, Nor dare to use the gifts by Heaven bestow'd? Or fearless enter in through Virtue's gate, And buy distinction at the dearest rate.

[Footnote 1: See ante, p. 160, the poem entitled "On Censure."—W. E. B..]


Lesbia for ever on me rails, To talk of me she never fails. Now, hang me, but for all her art, I find that I have gain'd her heart. My proof is this: I plainly see, The case is just the same with me; I curse her every hour sincerely, Yet, hang me but I love her dearly.

[Footnote 1: "Lesbia mi dicit semper mala nec tacet unquam De me: Lesbia me dispeream nisi amat. Quo signo? quia sunt totidem mea: deprecor illam Assidue; verum dispeream nisi amo." Catulli Carmina, xcii.—W. E. B.]


I marched three miles through scorching sand, With zeal in heart, and notes in hand; I rode four more to Great St. Mary, Using four legs, when two were weary: To three fair virgins I did tie men, In the close bands of pleasing Hymen; I dipp'd two babes in holy water, And purified their mother after. Within an hour and eke a half, I preach'd three congregations deaf; Where, thundering out, with lungs long-winded, I chopp'd so fast, that few there minded. My emblem, the laborious sun, Saw all these mighty labours done Before one race of his was run. All this perform'd by Robert Hewit: What mortal else could e'er go through it!


Queen of wit and beauty, Betty, Never may the Muse forget ye, How thy face charms every shepherd, Spotted over like a leopard! And thy freckled neck, display'd, Envy breeds in every maid; Like a fly-blown cake of tallow, Or on parchment ink turn'd yellow; Or a tawny speckled pippin, Shrivell'd with a winter's keeping. And, thy beauty thus dispatch'd, Let me praise thy wit unmatch'd. Sets of phrases, cut and dry, Evermore thy tongue supply; And thy memory is loaded With old scraps from plays exploded; Stock'd with repartees and jokes, Suited to all Christian folks: Shreds of wit, and senseless rhymes, Blunder'd out a thousand times; Nor wilt thou of gifts be sparing, Which can ne'er be worse for wearing. Picking wit among collegians, In the playhouse upper regions; Where, in the eighteen-penny gallery, Irish nymphs learn Irish raillery. But thy merit is thy failing, And thy raillery is railing. Thus with talents well endued To be scurrilous and rude; When you pertly raise your snout, Fleer and gibe, and laugh and flout; This among Hibernian asses For sheer wit and humour passes. Thus indulgent Chloe, bit, Swears you have a world of wit.


Who can believe with common sense, A bacon slice gives God offence; Or, how a herring has a charm Almighty vengeance to disarm? Wrapp'd up in majesty divine, Does he regard on what we dine?

[Footnote 1: A French gentleman dining with some company on a fast-day, called for some bacon and eggs. The rest were very angry, and reproved him for so heinous a sin; whereupon he wrote the following lines, which are translated above: "Peut-on croire avec bon sens Qu'un lardon le mil en colere, Ou, que manger un hareng, C'est un secret pour lui plaire? En sa gloire envelope, Songe-t-il bien de nos soupes?"—H.]


As Thomas was cudgell'd one day by his wife, He took to the street, and fled for his life: Tom's three dearest friends came by in the squabble, And saved him at once from the shrew and the rabble; Then ventured to give him some sober advice— But Tom is a person of honour so nice, Too wise to take counsel, too proud to take warning, That he sent to all three a challenge next morning. Three duels he fought, thrice ventur'd his life; Went home, and was cudgell'd again by his wife.

[Footnote 1: Collated with copy transcribed by Stella.—Forster.]


When Margery chastises Ned, She calls it combing of his head; A kinder wife was never born: She combs his head, and finds him horn.

[Footnote 1: From Stella's copy in the Duke of Bedford's volume.—Forster.]


Joan cudgels Ned, yet Ned's a bully; Will cudgels Bess, yet Will's a cully. Die Ned and Bess; give Will to Joan, She dares not say her life's her own. Die Joan and Will; give Bess to Ned, And every day she combs his head.


Behold, those monarch oaks, that rise With lofty branches to the skies, Have large proportion'd roots that grow With equal longitude below: Two bards that now in fashion reign, Most aptly this device explain: If this to clouds and stars will venture, That creeps as far to reach the centre; Or, more to show the thing I mean, Have you not o'er a saw-pit seen A skill'd mechanic, that has stood High on a length of prostrate wood, Who hired a subterraneous friend To take his iron by the end; But which excell'd was never found, The man above or under ground. The moral is so plain to hit, That, had I been the god of wit, Then, in a saw-pit and wet weather, Should Young and Philips drudge together.


Under this stone lies Dick and Dolly. Doll dying first, Dick grew melancholy; For Dick without Doll thought living a folly.

Dick lost in Doll a wife tender and dear: But Dick lost by Doll twelve hundred a-year; A loss that Dick thought no mortal could bear.

Dick sigh'd for his Doll, and his mournful arms cross'd; Thought much of his Doll, and the jointure he lost; The first vex'd him much, the other vex'd most.

Thus loaded with grief, Dick sigh'd and he cried: To live without both full three days he tried; But liked neither loss, and so quietly died.

Dick left a pattern few will copy after: Then, reader, pray shed some tears of salt water; For so sad a tale is no subject of laughter. Meath smiles for the jointure, though gotten so late; The son laughs, that got the hard-gotten estate; And Cuffe[3] grins, for getting the Alicant plate.

Here quiet they lie, in hopes to rise one day, Both solemnly put in this hole on a Sunday, And here rest——sic transit gloria mundi!

[Footnote 1: Of Kilbrue, in the county of Meath.—F.]

[Footnote 2: Dorothy, dowager of Edward, Earl of Meath. She was married to the general in 1716, and died 10th April, 1728. Her husband survived her but two days.—F. The Dolly of this epitaph is the same lady whom Swift satirized in his "Conference between Sir Harry Pierce's Chariot and Mrs. Dorothy Stopford's Chair." See ante, p.85.—W. E. B.]

[Footnote 3: John Cuffe, of Desart, Esq., married the general's eldest daughter.—F.]


My latest tribute here I send, With this let your collection end. Thus I consign you down to fame A character to praise or blame: And if the whole may pass for true, Contented rest, you have your due. Give future time the satisfaction, To leave one handle for detraction.


Grave Dean of St. Patrick's, how comes it to pass, That you, who know music no more than an ass, That you who so lately were writing of drapiers, Should lend your cathedral to players and scrapers? To act such an opera once in a year, So offensive to every true Protestant ear, With trumpets, and fiddles, and organs, and singing, Will sure the Pretender and Popery bring in, No Protestant Prelate, his lordship or grace, Durst there show his right, or most reverend face: How would it pollute their crosiers and rochets, To listen to minims, and quavers, and crochets!

[The rest is wanting.]


The furniture that best doth please St. Patrick's Dean, good Sir, are these: The knife and fork with which I eat; And next the pot that boils the meat; The next to be preferr'd, I think, Is the glass in which I drink; The shelves on which my books I keep And the bed on which I sleep; An antique elbow-chair between, Big enough to hold the Dean; And the stove that gives delight In the cold bleak wintry night: To these we add a thing below, More for use reserved than show: These are what the Dean do please; All superfluous are but these.


H. S. E.

[*text centered] CAROLUS Comes de BERKELEY, Vicecomes DURSLEY, Baro BERKELEY, de Berkeley Cast., MOWBRAY, SEGRAVE, Et BRUCE, e nobilissimo Ordine Balnei Eques, Vir ad genus quod spectat et proavos usquequaque nobilis Et longo si quis alius procerum stemmate editus; Muniis etiam tarn illustri stirpi dignis insignitus. Siquidem a GULIELMO III ad ordines foederati Belgii Ablegatus et Plenipotentiarius Extraordinarius Rebus, non Britanniae tantum, sed totius fere Europae (Tunc temporis praesertim arduis) per annos V. incubuit, Quam felici diligentia, fide quam intemerata, Ex illo discas, Lector, quod, superstite patre, In magnatum ordinem adscisci meruerit. Fuit a sanctioribus consiliis et Regi GULIEL. et ANNAE Reginae E proregibus Hiberniae secundus, Comitatum civitatumque Glocest. et Brist. Dominus Locumtenens, Surriae et Glocest. Gustos Rot., Urbis Glocest. magnus Senescallus, Arcis sancti de Briavell Castellanus, Guardianus Forestae de Dean. Denique ad Turcarum primum, deinde ad Romam Imperatorem Cum Legatus Extraordinarius designatus esset, Quo minus has etiam ornaret provincias Obstitit adversa corporis valetudo. Sed restat adhuc, prae quo sordescunt caetera, Honos verus, stabilis, et vel morti cedere nescius Quod veritatem evangelicam serio amplexus; Erga Deum pius, erga pauperes munificus, Adversus omnes aequus et benevolus, In Christo jam placide obdormit Cum eodem olim regnaturus una. Natus VIII April. MDCXLIX. denatus XXIV Septem. MDCCX. aetat. suae LXII.



[*text centered] Hic infra situm est corpus FREDERICI DUCIS DE SCHOMBERG. ad BUDINDAM occisi, A.D. 1690. DECANUS et CAPITULUM maximopere etiam atque etiam petierunt, UT HAEREDES DUCIS monumentum In memoriam PARENTIS erigendum curarent: Sed postquam per epistolas, per amicos, diu ac saepe orando nil profecere; Hunc demum lapidem ipsi statuerunt, Saltem[2] ut scias, hospes, Ubinam terrarum SCONBERGENSIS cineres delitescunt "Plus potuit fama virtutis apud alienos, Quam sanguinis proximitas apud suos." A.D. 1731.

[Footnote 1: The Duke was unhappily killed in crossing the River Boyne, July, 1690, and was buried in St. Patrick's Cathedral, where the dean and chapter erected a small monument to his honour, at their own expense.—N.]

[Footnote 2: The words with which Dr. Swift first concluded the epitaph were, "Saltem ut sciat viator indignabundus, quali in cellula tanti ductoris cineres delitescunt."—N.]


As Lord Carteret's residence in Ireland as Viceroy was a series of cabals against the authority of the Prime Minister, he failed not, as well from his love of literature as from his hatred to Walpole, to attach to himself as much as possible the distinguished author of the Drapier Letters. By the interest which Swift soon gained with the Lord-Lieutenant, he was enabled to recommend several friends, whose High Church or Tory principles had hitherto obstructed their preferment. The task of forwarding the views of Delany, in particular, led to several of Swift's liveliest poetical effusions, while, on the other hand, he was equally active in galling, by his satire, Smedley, and other Whig beaux esprits, who, during this amphibious administration, sought the favour of a literary Lord-Lieutenant, by literary offerings and poetical adulation. These pieces, with one or two connected with the same subject, are here thrown together, as they seem to reflect light upon each other.—Scott.


A lady, wise as well as fair, Whose conscience always was her care, Thoughtful upon a point of moment, Would have the text as well as comment: So hearing of a grave divine, She sent to bid him come to dine. But, you must know he was not quite So grave as to be unpolite: Thought human learning would not lessen The dignity of his profession: And if you'd heard the man discourse, Or preach, you'd like him scarce the worse. He long had bid the court farewell, Retreating silent to his cell; Suspected for the love he bore To one who sway'd some time before; Which made it more surprising how He should be sent for thither now. The message told, he gapes, and stares, And scarce believes his eyes or ears: Could not conceive what it should mean, And fain would hear it told again. But then the squire so trim and nice, 'Twere rude to make him tell it twice; So bow'd, was thankful for the honour; And would not fail to wait upon her. His beaver brush'd, his shoes, and gown, Away he trudges into town; Passes the lower castle yard, And now advancing to the guard, He trembles at the thoughts of state; For, conscious of his sheepish gait, His spirits of a sudden fail'd him; He stopp'd, and could not tell what ail'd him. What was the message I received? Why certainly the captain raved? To dine with her! and come at three! Impossible! it can't be me. Or maybe I mistook the word; My lady—it must be my lord. My lord 's abroad; my lady too: What must the unhappy doctor do? "Is Captain Cracherode[1] here, pray?"—"No." "Nay, then 'tis time for me to go." Am I awake, or do I dream? I'm sure he call'd me by my name; Named me as plain as he could speak; And yet there must be some mistake. Why, what a jest should I have been, Had now my lady been within! What could I've said? I'm mighty glad She went abroad—she'd thought me mad. The hour of dining now is past: Well then, I'll e'en go home and fast: And, since I 'scaped being made a scoff, I think I'm very fairly off. My lady now returning home, Calls "Cracherode, is the Doctor come?" He had not heard of him—"Pray see, 'Tis now a quarter after three." The captain walks about, and searches Through all the rooms, and courts, and arches; Examines all the servants round, In vain—no doctor's to be found. My lady could not choose but wonder; "Captain, I fear you've made some blunder; But, pray, to-morrow go at ten; I'll try his manners once again; If rudeness be th' effect of knowledge, My son shall never see a college." The captain was a man of reading, And much good sense, as well as breeding; Who, loath to blame, or to incense, Said little in his own defence. Next day another message brought; The Doctor, frighten'd at his fault, Is dress'd, and stealing through the crowd, Now pale as death, then blush'd and bow'd, Panting—and faltering—humm'd and ha'd, "Her ladyship was gone abroad: The captain too—he did not know Whether he ought to stay or go;" Begg'd she'd forgive him. In conclusion, My lady, pitying his confusion, Call'd her good nature to relieve him; Told him, she thought she might believe him; And would not only grant his suit, But visit him, and eat some fruit, Provided, at a proper time, He told the real truth in rhyme; 'Twas to no purpose to oppose, She'd hear of no excuse in prose. The Doctor stood not to debate, Glad to compound at any rate; So, bowing, seemingly complied; Though, if he durst, he had denied. But first, resolved to show his taste, Was too refined to give a feast; He'd treat with nothing that was rare, But winding walks and purer air; Would entertain without expense, Or pride or vain magnificence: For well he knew, to such a guest The plainest meals must be the best. To stomachs clogg'd with costly fare Simplicity alone is rare; While high, and nice, and curious meats Are really but vulgar treats. Instead of spoils of Persian looms, The costly boast of regal rooms, Thought it more courtly and discreet To scatter roses at her feet; Roses of richest dye, that shone With native lustre, like her own; Beauty that needs no aid of art Through every sense to reach the heart. The gracious dame, though well she knew All this was much beneath her due, Liked everything—at least thought fit To praise it par maniere d'acquit. Yet she, though seeming pleased, can't bear The scorching sun, or chilling air; Disturb'd alike at both extremes, Whether he shows or hides his beams: Though seeming pleased at all she sees, Starts at the ruffling of the trees, And scarce can speak for want of breath, In half a walk fatigued to death. The Doctor takes his hint from hence, T' apologize his late offence: "Madam, the mighty power of use Now strangely pleads in my excuse; If you unused have scarcely strength To gain this walk's untoward length; If, frighten'd at a scene so rude, Through long disuse of solitude; If, long confined to fires and screens, You dread the waving of these greens; If you, who long have breathed the fumes Of city fogs and crowded rooms, Do now solicitously shun The cooler air and dazzling sun; If his majestic eye you flee, Learn hence t' excuse and pity me. Consider what it is to bear The powder'd courtier's witty sneer; To see th' important man of dress Scoffing my college awkwardness; To be the strutting cornet's sport, To run the gauntlet of the court, Winning my way by slow approaches, Through crowds of coxcombs and of coaches, From the first fierce cockaded sentry, Quite through the tribe of waiting gentry; To pass so many crowded stages, And stand the staring of your pages: And after all, to crown my spleen, Be told—'You are not to be seen:' Or, if you are, be forced to bear The awe of your majestic air. And can I then be faulty found, In dreading this vexatious round? Can it be strange, if I eschew A scene so glorious and so new? Or is he criminal that flies The living lustre of your eyes?"

[Footnote 1: The gentleman who brought the message.—Scott.]



Gratior et pulcro veniens in corpore virtus.—VIRG., Aen., v, 344.

Once on a time, a righteous sage, Grieved with the vices of the age, Applied to Jove with fervent prayer— "O Jove, if Virtue be so fair As it was deem'd in former days, By Plato and by Socrates, Whose beauties mortal eyes escape, Only for want of outward shape; Make then its real excellence, For once the theme of human sense; So shall the eye, by form confined, Direct and fix the wandering mind, And long-deluded mortals see, With rapture, what they used to flee!" Jove grants the prayer, gives Virtue birth, And bids him bless and mend the earth. Behold him blooming fresh and fair, Now made—ye gods—a son and heir; An heir: and, stranger yet to hear, An heir, an orphan of a peer;[2] But prodigies are wrought to prove Nothing impossible to Jove. Virtue was for this sex design'd, In mild reproof to womankind; In manly form to let them see The loveliness of modesty, The thousand decencies that shone With lessen'd lustre in their own; Which few had learn'd enough to prize, And some thought modish to despise. To make his merit more discern'd, He goes to school—he reads—is learn'd; Raised high above his birth, by knowledge, He shines distinguish'd in a college; Resolved nor honour, nor estate, Himself alone should make him great. Here soon for every art renown'd, His influence is diffused around; The inferior youth to learning led, Less to be famed than to be fed, Behold the glory he has won, And blush to see themselves outdone; And now, inflamed with rival rage, In scientific strife engage, Engage; and, in the glorious strife The arts new kindle into life. Here would our hero ever dwell, Fix'd in a lonely learned cell: Contented to be truly great, In Virtue's best beloved retreat; Contented he—but Fate ordains, He now shall shine in nobler scenes, Raised high, like some celestial fire, To shine the more, still rising higher; Completely form'd in every part, To win the soul, and glad the heart. The powerful voice, the graceful mien, Lovely alike, or heard, or seen; The outward form and inward vie, His soul bright beaming from his eye, Ennobling every act and air, With just, and generous, and sincere. Accomplish'd thus, his next resort Is to the council and the court, Where Virtue is in least repute, And interest the one pursuit; Where right and wrong are bought and sold, Barter'd for beauty, and for gold; Here Manly Virtue, even here, Pleased in the person of a peer, A peer; a scarcely bearded youth, Who talk'd of justice and of truth, Of innocence the surest guard, Tales here forgot, or yet unheard; That he alone deserved esteem, Who was the man he wish'd to seem; Call'd it unmanly and unwise, To lurk behind a mean disguise; (Give fraudful Vice the mask and screen, 'Tis Virtue's interest to be seen;) Call'd want of shame a want of sense, And found, in blushes, eloquence. Thus acting what he taught so well, He drew dumb merit from her cell, Led with amazing art along The bashful dame, and loosed her tongue; And, while he made her value known, Yet more display'd and raised his own. Thus young, thus proof to all temptations, He rises to the highest stations; For where high honour is the prize, True Virtue has a right to rise: Let courtly slaves low bend the knee To Wealth and Vice in high degree: Exalted Worth disdains to owe Its grandeur to its greatest foe. Now raised on high, see Virtue shows The godlike ends for which he rose; For him, let proud Ambition know The height of glory here below, Grandeur, by goodness made complete! To bless, is truly to be great! He taught how men to honour rise, Like gilded vapours to the skies, Which, howsoever they display Their glory from the god of day, Their noblest use is to abate His dangerous excess of heat, To shield the infant fruits and flowers, And bless the earth with genial showers. Now change the scene; a nobler care Demands him in a higher sphere:[3] Distress of nations calls him hence, Permitted so by Providence; For models, made to mend our kind, To no one clime should be confined; And Manly Virtue, like the sun, His course of glorious toils should run: Alike diffusing in his flight Congenial joy, and life, and light. Pale Envy sickens, Error flies, And Discord in his presence dies; Oppression hides with guilty dread, And Merit rears her drooping head; The arts revive, the valleys sing, And winter softens into spring: The wondering world, where'er he moves, With new delight looks up, and loves; One sex consenting to admire, Nor less the other to desire; While he, though seated on a throne, Confines his love to one alone; The rest condemn'd with rival voice Repining, do applaud his choice. Fame now reports, the Western isle Is made his mansion for a while, Whose anxious natives, night and day, (Happy beneath his righteous sway,) Weary the gods with ceaseless prayer, To bless him, and to keep him there; And claim it as a debt from Fate, Too lately found, to lose him late.

[Footnote 1: See Swift's "Vindication of Lord Carteret," "Prose Works," vii, 227; and his character as Lord Granville in my "Wit and Wisdom of Lord Chesterfield."—W. E. B.]

[Footnote 2: George, the first Lord Carteret, father of the Lord Lieutenant, died when his son was between four and five years of age.—Scott.]

[Footnote 3: Lord Carteret had the honour of mediating peace for Sweden, with Denmark, and with the Czar.—H.]


As a thorn bush, or oaken bough, Stuck in an Irish cabin's brow, Above the door, at country fair, Betokens entertainment there; So bays on poets' brows have been Set, for a sign of wit within. And as ill neighbours in the night Pull down an alehouse bush for spite; The laurel so, by poets worn, Is by the teeth of Envy torn; Envy, a canker-worm, which tears Those sacred leaves that lightning spares. And now, t'exemplify this moral: Tom having earn'd a twig of laurel, (Which, measured on his head, was found Not long enough to reach half round, But, like a girl's cockade, was tied, A trophy, on his temple-side,) Paddy repined to see him wear This badge of honour in his hair; And, thinking this cockade of wit Would his own temples better fit, Forming his Muse by Smedley's model, Lets drive at Tom's devoted noddle, Pelts him by turns with verse and prose Hums like a hornet at his nose. At length presumes to vent his satire on The Dean, Tom's honour'd friend and patron. The eagle in the tale, ye know, Teazed by a buzzing wasp below, Took wing to Jove, and hoped to rest Securely in the thunderer's breast: In vain; even there, to spoil his nod, The spiteful insect stung the god.

[Footnote 1: For particulars of this publication, the work of two only, Swift and Sheridan, see "Prose Works," vol. ix, p. 311. The satire seems To have provoked retaliation from Tighe, Prendergast, Smedley, and even from Delany. Hence this poem.—W. E. B.]


Credis ob haec me, Pastor, opes fortasse rogare, Propter quae vulgus crassaque turba rogat. MART., Epig., lib. ix, 22.

Thou wise and learned ruler of our isle, Whose guardian care can all her griefs beguile; When next your generous soul shall condescend T' instruct or entertain your humble friend; Whether, retiring from your weighty charge, On some high theme you learnedly enlarge; Of all the ways of wisdom reason well, How Richelieu rose, and how Sejanus fell: Or, when your brow less thoughtfully unbends, Circled with Swift and some delighted friends; When, mixing mirth and wisdom with your wine, Like that your wit shall flow, your genius shine: Nor with less praise the conversation guide, Than in the public councils you decide: Or when the Dean, long privileged to rail, Asserts his friend with more impetuous zeal; You hear (whilst I sit by abash'd and mute) With soft concessions shortening the dispute; Then close with kind inquiries of my state, "How are your tithes, and have they rose of late? Why, Christ-Church is a pretty situation, There are not many better in the nation! This, with your other things, must yield you clear Some six—at least five hundred pounds a-year." Suppose, at such a time, I took the freedom To speak these truths as plainly as you read 'em; You shall rejoin, my lord, when I've replied, And, if you please, my lady shall decide. "My lord, I'm satisfied you meant me well, And that I'm thankful, all the world can tell; But you'll forgive me, if I own the event Is short, is very short, of your intent: At least, I feel some ills unfelt before, My income less, and my expenses more." "How, doctor! double vicar! double rector! A dignitary! with a city lecture! What glebes—what dues—what tithes—what fines—what rent! Why, doctor!—will you never be content?" "Would my good Lord but cast up the account, And see to what my revenues amount;[2] My titles ample; but my gain so small, That one good vicarage is worth them all: And very wretched, sure, is he that's double In nothing but his titles and his trouble. And to this crying grievance, if you please, My horses founder'd on Fermanagh ways; Ways of well-polish'd and well-pointed stone, Where every step endangers every bone; And, more to raise your pity and your wonder, Two churches—twelve Hibernian miles asunder: With complicated cures, I labour hard in, Beside whole summers absent from—my garden! But that the world would think I play'd the fool, I'd change with Charley Grattan for his school.[3] What fine cascades, what vistoes, might I make, Fixt in the centre of th' Iernian lake! There might I sail delighted, smooth and safe, Beneath the conduct of my good Sir Ralph:[4] There's not a better steerer in the realm; I hope, my lord, you'll call him to the helm."— "Doctor—a glorious scheme to ease your grief! When cures are cross, a school's a sure relief. You cannot fail of being happy there, The lake will be the Lethe of your care: The scheme is for your honour and your ease: And, doctor, I'll promote it when you please. Meanwhile, allowing things below your merit, Yet, doctor, you've a philosophic spirit; Your wants are few, and, like your income, small, And you've enough to gratify them all: You've trees, and fruits, and roots, enough in store: And what would a philosopher have more? You cannot wish for coaches, kitchens, cooks—" "My lord, I've not enough to buy me books— Or pray, suppose my wants were all supplied, Are there no wants I should regard beside? Whose breast is so unmann'd, as not to grieve, Compass'd with miseries he can't relieve? Who can be happy—who should wish to live, And want the godlike happiness to give? That I'm a judge of this, you must allow: I had it once—and I'm debarr'd it now. Ask your own heart, my lord; if this be true, Then how unblest am I! how blest are you!" "'Tis true—but, doctor, let us wave all that— Say, if you had your wish, what you'd be at?" "Excuse me, good my lord—I won't be sounded, Nor shall your favour by my wants be bounded. My lord, I challenge nothing as my due, Nor is it fit I should prescribe to you. Yet this might Symmachus himself avow, (Whose rigid rules[5] are antiquated now)— My lord; I'd wish to pay the debts I owe— I'd wish besides—to build and to bestow."

[Footnote 1: Delany, by the patronage of Carteret, and probably through the intercession of Swift, had obtained a small living in the north of Ireland, worth about one hundred pounds a-year, with the chancellorship of Christ-Church, and a prebend's stall in St. Patrick's, neither of which exceeded the same annual amount. Yet a clamour was raised among the Whigs, on account of the multiplication of his preferments; and a charge was founded against the Lord-Lieutenant of extravagant favour to a Tory divine, which Swift judged worthy of an admirable ironical confutation in his "Vindication of Lord Carteret." It appears, from the following verses, that Delany was far from being of the same opinion with those who thought he was too amply provided for.—Scott. See the "Vindication," "Prose Works," vii, p. 244.—W. E. B.]

[Footnote 2: Which, according to Swift's calculation, in his "Vindication of Lord Carteret," amounted only to L300 a year. "Prose Works," vol. vii, p. 245.—W. E. B.]

[Footnote 3: A free school at Inniskillen, founded by Erasmus Smith, Esq.—Scott.]

[Footnote 4: Sir Ralph Gore, who had a villa in the lake of Erin.—F.]

[Footnote 5: Symmachus, Bishop of Rome, 499, made a decree, that no man should solicit for ecclesiastical preferment before the death of the incumbent.—H.]



As Jove will not attend on less, When things of more importance press: You can't, grave sir, believe it hard, That you, a low Hibernian bard, Should cool your heels a while, and wait Unanswer'd at your patron's gate; And would my lord vouchsafe to grant This one poor humble boon I want, Free leave to play his secretary, As Falstaff acted old king Harry;[1] I'd tell of yours in rhyme and print, Folks shrug, and cry, "There's nothing in't." And, after several readings over, It shines most in the marble cover. How could so fine a taste dispense With mean degrees of wit and sense? Nor will my lord so far beguile The wise and learned of our isle; To make it pass upon the nation, By dint of his sole approbation. The task is arduous, patrons find, To warp the sense of all mankind: Who think your Muse must first aspire, Ere he advance the doctor higher. You've cause to say he meant you well: That you are thankful, who can tell? For still you're short (which grieves your spirit) Of his intent: you mean your merit. Ah! quanto rectius, tu adepte, Qui nil moliris tarn inepte?[2] Smedley,[3] thou Jonathan of Clogher, "When thou thy humble lay dost offer To Grafton's grace, with grateful heart, Thy thanks and verse devoid of art: Content with what his bounty gave, No larger income dost thou crave." But you must have cascades, and all Ierne's lake, for your canal, Your vistoes, barges, and (a pox on All pride!) our speaker for your coxon:[4] It's pity that he can't bestow you Twelve commoners in caps to row you. Thus Edgar proud, in days of yore,[5] Held monarchs labouring at the oar; And, as he pass'd, so swell'd the Dee, Enraged, as Ern would do at thee. How different is this from Smedley! (His name is up, he may in bed lie) "Who only asks some pretty cure, In wholesome soil and ether pure: The garden stored with artless flowers, In either angle shady bowers: No gay parterre with costly green Must in the ambient hedge be seen; But Nature freely takes her course, Nor fears from him ungrateful force: No shears to check her sprouting vigour, Or shape the yews to antic figure." But you, forsooth, your all must squander On that poor spot, call'd Dell-ville, yonder; And when you've been at vast expenses In whims, parterres, canals, and fences, Your assets fail, and cash is wanting; Nor farther buildings, farther planting: No wonder, when you raise and level, Think this wall low, and that wall bevel. Here a convenient box you found, Which you demolish'd to the ground: Then built, then took up with your arbour, And set the house to Rupert Barber. You sprang an arch which, in a scurvy Humour, you tumbled topsy-turvy. You change a circle to a square, Then to a circle as you were: Who can imagine whence the fund is, That you quadrata change rotundis? To Fame a temple you erect, A Flora does the dome protect; Mounts, walks, on high; and in a hollow You place the Muses and Apollo; There shining 'midst his train, to grace Your whimsical poetic place. These stories were of old design'd As fables: but you have refined The poets mythologic dreams, To real Muses, gods, and streams. Who would not swear, when you contrive thus, That you're Don Quixote redivivus? Beneath, a dry canal there lies, Which only Winter's rain supplies. O! couldst thou, by some magic spell, Hither convey St. Patrick's well![6] Here may it reassume its stream, And take a greater Patrick's name! If your expenses rise so high; What income can your wants supply? Yet still you fancy you inherit A fund of such superior merit, That you can't fail of more provision, All by my lady's kind decision. For, the more livings you can fish up, You think you'll sooner be a bishop: That could not be my lord's intent, Nor can it answer the event. Most think what has been heap'd on you To other sort of folk was due: Rewards too great for your flim-flams, Epistles, riddles, epigrams. Though now your depth must not be sounded, The time was, when you'd have compounded For less than Charley Grattan's school! Five hundred pound a-year's no fool! Take this advice then from your friend, To your ambition put an end, Be frugal, Pat: pay what you owe, Before you build and you bestow. Be modest, nor address your betters With begging, vain, familiar letters. A passage may be found,[7] I've heard, In some old Greek or Latian bard, Which says, "Would crows in silence eat Their offals, or their better meat, Their generous feeders not provoking By loud and inharmonious croaking, They might, unhurt by Envy's claws, Live on, and stuff to boot their maws."

[Footnote 1: "King Henry the Fourth," Part I, Act ii, Scene 4.—W. E. B.]

[Footnote 2: Adapted from Hor., "Epist. ad Pisones," 140.—W. E. B.]

[Footnote 3: See the "Petition to the Duke of Grafton," post, p. 345.—W. E. B.]

[Footnote 4: Alluding to Dr. Delany's ambitious choice of fixing in the island of the Lake of Erin, where Sir Ralph Gore had a villa.—Scott.]

[Footnote 5: When residing at Chester, he obliged eight of his tributary princes to row him in a barge upon the Dee. Hume's "History of England," vol. i, p. 106.—W. E. B.]

[Footnote 6: Which had suddenly dried up. See post, vol. ii, "Verses on the sudden drying up of St. Patrick's Well, near Trinity College, Dublin."—W.E.B.]

[Footnote 7: Hor., "Epist.," lib. I, xvii, 50. "Sed tacitus pasci si corvus posset, haberet Plus dapis, et rixae multo minus invidiaeque." I append the original, for the sake of Swift's very free rendering.—W. E. B.]


Deluded mortals, whom the great Choose for companions tete-a-tete; Who at their dinners, en famille, Get leave to sit whene'er you will; Then boasting tell us where you dined, And how his lordship was so kind; How many pleasant things he spoke; And how you laugh'd at every joke: Swear he's a most facetious man; That you and he are cup and can; You travel with a heavy load, And quite mistake preferment's road. Suppose my lord and you alone; Hint the least interest of your own, His visage drops, he knits his brow, He cannot talk of business now: Or, mention but a vacant post, He'll turn it off with "Name your toast:" Nor could the nicest artist paint A countenance with more constraint. For, as their appetites to quench, Lords keep a pimp to bring a wench; So men of wit are but a kind Of panders to a vicious mind Who proper objects must provide To gratify their lust of pride, When, wearied with intrigues of state, They find an idle hour to prate. Then, shall you dare to ask a place, You forfeit all your patron's grace, And disappoint the sole design, For which he summon'd you to dine. Thus Congreve spent in writing plays, And one poor office, half his days: While Montague,[1] who claim'd the station To be Maecenas of the nation, For poets open table kept, But ne'er consider'd where they slept: Himself as rich as fifty Jews, Was easy, though they wanted shoes; And crazy Congreve scarce could spare A shilling to discharge his chair: Till prudence taught him to appeal From Paean's fire to party zeal; Not owing to his happy vein The fortunes of his later scene, Took proper principles to thrive: And so might every dunce alive.[2] Thus Steele, who own'd what others writ, And flourish'd by imputed wit, From perils of a hundred jails, Withdrew to starve, and die in Wales. Thus Gay, the hare with many friends, Twice seven long years the court attends: Who, under tales conveying truth, To virtue form'd a princely youth:[3] Who paid his courtship with the crowd, As far as modest pride allow'd; Rejects a servile usher's place, And leaves St. James's in disgrace.[4] Thus Addison, by lords carest, Was left in foreign lands distrest; Forgot at home, became for hire A travelling tutor to a squire: But wisely left the Muses' hill, To business shaped the poet's quill, Let all his barren laurels fade, Took up himself the courtier's trade, And, grown a minister of state, Saw poets at his levee wait.[5] Hail, happy Pope! whose generous mind Detesting all the statesman kind, Contemning courts, at courts unseen, Refused the visits of a queen. A soul with every virtue fraught, By sages, priests, or poets taught; Whose filial piety excels Whatever Grecian story tells;[6] A genius for all stations fit, Whose meanest talent is his wit: His heart too great, though fortune little, To lick a rascal statesman's spittle: Appealing to the nation's taste, Above the reach of want is placed: By Homer dead was taught to thrive, Which Homer never could alive; And sits aloft on Pindus' head, Despising slaves that cringe for bread. True politicians only pay For solid work, but not for play: Nor ever choose to work with tools Forged up in colleges and schools, Consider how much more is due To all their journeymen than you: At table you can Horace quote; They at a pinch can bribe a vote: You show your skill in Grecian story; But they can manage Whig and Tory; You, as a critic, are so curious To find a verse in Virgil spurious; But they can smoke the deep designs, When Bolingbroke with Pulteney dines. Besides, your patron may upbraid ye, That you have got a place already; An office for your talents fit, To flatter, carve, and show your wit; To snuff the lights and stir the fire, And get a dinner for your hire. What claim have you to place or pension? He overpays in condescension. But, reverend doctor, you we know Could never condescend so low; The viceroy, whom you now attend, Would, if he durst, be more your friend; Nor will in you those gifts despise, By which himself was taught to rise: When he has virtue to retire, He'll grieve he did not raise you higher, And place you in a better station, Although it might have pleased the nation. This may be true—submitting still To Walpole's more than royal will; And what condition can be worse? He comes to drain a beggar's purse; He comes to tie our chains on faster, And show us England is our master: Caressing knaves, and dunces wooing, To make them work their own undoing. What has he else to bait his traps, Or bring his vermin in, but scraps? The offals of a church distrest; A hungry vicarage at best; Or some remote inferior post, With forty pounds a-year at most? But here again you interpose— Your favourite lord is none of those Who owe their virtues to their stations, And characters to dedications: For, keep him in, or turn him out, His learning none will call in doubt; His learning, though a poet said it Before a play, would lose no credit; Nor Pope would dare deny him wit, Although to praise it Philips writ. I own he hates an action base, His virtues battling with his place: Nor wants a nice discerning spirit Betwixt a true and spurious merit; Can sometimes drop a voter's claim, And give up party to his fame. I do the most that friendship can; I hate the viceroy, love the man. But you, who, till your fortune's made, Must be a sweetener by your trade, Should swear he never meant us ill; We suffer sore against his will; That, if we could but see his heart, He would have chose a milder part: We rather should lament his case, Who must obey, or lose his place. Since this reflection slipt your pen, Insert it when you write again; And, to illustrate it, produce This simile for his excuse: "So, to destroy a guilty land An [7]angel sent by Heaven's command, While he obeys Almighty will, Perhaps may feel compassion still; And wish the task had been assign'd To spirits of less gentle kind." But I, in politics grown old, Whose thoughts are of a different mould, Who from my soul sincerely hate Both kings and ministers of state; Who look on courts with stricter eyes To see the seeds of vice arise; Can lend you an allusion fitter, Though flattering knaves may call it bitter; Which, if you durst but give it place, Would show you many a statesman's face: Fresh from the tripod of Apollo, I had it in the words that follow: Take notice to avoid offence, I here except his excellence: "So, to effect his monarch's ends, From hell a viceroy devil ascends; His budget with corruptions cramm'd, The contributions of the damn'd; Which with unsparing hand he strews Through courts and senates as he goes; And then at Beelzebub's black hall, Complains his budget was too small." Your simile may better shine In verse, but there is truth in mine. For no imaginable things Can differ more than gods and kings: And statesmen, by ten thousand odds, Are angels just as kings are gods.

[Footnote 1: Earl of Halifax; see Johnson's "Life of Montague."—W. E. B.]

[Footnote 2: The whole of this paragraph is unjust both to Halifax and Congreve; for immediately after the production of Congreve's first play, "The Old Bachelor," Halifax gave him a place in the Pipe Office, and another in the Customs, of L600 a year. Ultimately he had at least four sinecure appointments which together afforded him some L1,200 a year. See Johnson's "Lives of the Poets," edit. Cunningham.—W. E. B.]

[Footnote 3: William, Duke of Cumberland, son to George II, "The Butcher."]

[Footnote 4: See ante, p. 215, note.—W. E. B.]

[Footnote 5: See Johnson's "Life of Addison."—W. E. B.]

[Footnote 6: See "Prologue to the Satires," 390 to the end.—W. E. B.]

[Footnote 7: "So when an angel by divine command," etc. ADDISON'S Campaign.]


—Tanti tibi non sit opaci Omnis arena Tagi quodque in mare volvitur aurum.—Juv. iii, 54.

As some raw youth in country bred, To arms by thirst of honour led, When at a skirmish first he hears The bullets whistling round his ears, Will duck his head aside, will start, And feel a trembling at his heart, Till 'scaping oft without a wound Lessens the terror of the sound; Fly bullets now as thick as hops, He runs into a cannon's chops. An author thus, who pants for fame, Begins the world with fear and shame; When first in print you see him dread Each pop-gun levell'd at his head: The lead yon critic's quill contains, Is destined to beat out his brains: As if he heard loud thunders roll, Cries, Lord have mercy on his soul! Concluding that another shot Will strike him dead upon the spot. But, when with squibbing, flashing, popping, He cannot see one creature dropping; That, missing fire, or missing aim, His life is safe, I mean his fame; The danger past, takes heart of grace, And looks a critic in the face. Though splendour gives the fairest mark To poison'd arrows in the dark, Yet, in yourself when smooth and round, They glance aside without a wound. 'Tis said, the gods tried all their art, How pain they might from pleasure part: But little could their strength avail; Both still are fasten'd by the tail; Thus fame and censure with a tether By fate are always link'd together. Why will you aim to be preferr'd In wit before the common herd; And yet grow mortified and vex'd, To pay the penalty annex'd? 'Tis eminence makes envy rise; As fairest fruits attract the flies. Should stupid libels grieve your mind, You soon a remedy may find; Lie down obscure like other folks Below the lash of snarlers' jokes. Their faction is five hundred odds, For every coxcomb lends them rods, And sneers as learnedly as they, Like females o'er their morning tea. You say the Muse will not contain And write you must, or break a vein. Then, if you find the terms too hard, No longer my advice regard: But raise your fancy on the wing; The Irish senate's praises sing; How jealous of the nation's freedom, And for corruptions how they weed 'em; How each the public good pursues, How far their hearts from private views; Make all true patriots, up to shoe-boys, Huzza their brethren at the Blue-boys;[1] Thus grown a member of the club, No longer dread the rage of Grub. How oft am I for rhyme to seek! To dress a thought I toil a week: And then how thankful to the town, If all my pains will earn a crown! While every critic can devour My work and me in half an hour. Would men of genius cease to write, The rogues must die for want and spite; Must die for want of food and raiment, If scandal did not find them payment. How cheerfully the hawkers cry A satire, and the gentry buy! While my hard-labour'd poem pines Unsold upon the printer's lines. A genius in the reverend gown Must ever keep its owner down; 'Tis an unnatural conjunction, And spoils the credit of the function. Round all your brethren cast your eyes, Point out the surest men to rise; That club of candidates in black, The least deserving of the pack, Aspiring, factious, fierce, and loud, With grace and learning unendow'd, Can turn their hands to every job, The fittest tools to work for Bob;[2] Will sooner coin a thousand lies, Than suffer men of parts to rise; They crowd about preferment's gate, And press you down with all their weight; For as of old mathematicians Were by the vulgar thought magicians; So academic dull ale-drinkers Pronounce all men of wit free-thinkers. Wit, as the chief of virtue's friends, Disdains to serve ignoble ends. Observe what loads of stupid rhymes Oppress us in corrupted times; What pamphlets in a court's defence Show reason, grammar, truth, or sense? For though the Muse delights in fiction, She ne'er inspires against conviction. Then keep your virtue still unmixt, And let not faction come betwixt: By party-steps no grandeur climb at, Though it would make you England's primate; First learn the science to be dull, You then may soon your conscience lull; If not, however seated high, Your genius in your face will fly. When Jove was from his teeming head Of Wit's fair goddess[3] brought to bed, There follow'd at his lying-in For after-birth a sooterkin; Which, as the nurse pursued to kill, Attain'd by flight the Muses' hill, There in the soil began to root, And litter'd at Parnassus' foot. From hence the critic vermin sprung, With harpy claws and poisonous tongue: Who fatten on poetic scraps, Too cunning to be caught in traps. Dame Nature, as the learned show, Provides each animal its foe: Hounds hunt the hare, the wily fox Devours your geese, the wolf your flocks Thus Envy pleads a natural claim To persecute the Muse's fame; On poets in all times abusive, From Homer down to Pope inclusive. Yet what avails it to complain? You try to take revenge in vain. A rat your utmost rage defies, That safe behind the wainscot lies. Say, did you ever know by sight In cheese an individual mite! Show me the same numeric flea, That bit your neck but yesterday: You then may boldly go in quest To find the Grub Street poet's nest; What spunging-house, in dread of jail, Receives them, while they wait for bail; What alley are they nestled in, To flourish o'er a cup of gin; Find the last garret where they lay, Or cellar where they starve to-day. Suppose you have them all trepann'd, With each a libel in his hand, What punishment would you inflict? Or call them rogues, or get them kickt? These they have often tried before; You but oblige them so much more: Themselves would be the first to tell, To make their trash the better sell. You have been libell'd—Let us know, What fool officious told you so? Will you regard the hawker's cries, Who in his titles always lies? Whate'er the noisy scoundrel says, It might be something in your praise; And praise bestow'd in Grub Street rhymes, Would vex one more a thousand times. Till critics blame, and judges praise, The poet cannot claim his bays. On me when dunces are satiric, I take it for a panegyric. Hated by fools, and fools to hate, Be that my motto, and my fate.

[Footnote 1: The Irish Parliament met at the Blue-Boys Hospital, while the new Parliament-house was building.—Swift.]

[Footnote 2: Sir Robert Walpole.]

[Footnote 3: Pallas.]


To form a just and finish'd piece, Take twenty gods of Rome or Greece, Whose godships are in chief request, And fit your present subject best; And, should it be your hero's case, To have both male and female race, Your business must be to provide A score of goddesses beside. Some call their monarchs sons of Saturn, For which they bring a modern pattern; Because they might have heard of one,[1] Who often long'd to eat his son; But this I think will not go down, For here the father kept his crown. Why, then, appoint him son of Jove, Who met his mother in a grove; To this we freely shall consent, Well knowing what the poets meant; And in their sense, 'twixt me and you, It may be literally true.[2] Next, as the laws of verse require, He must be greater than his sire; For Jove, as every schoolboy knows, Was able Saturn to depose; And sure no Christian poet breathing Would be more scrupulous than a Heathen; Or, if to blasphemy it tends. That's but a trifle among friends. Your hero now another Mars is, Makes mighty armies turn their a—s: Behold his glittering falchion mow Whole squadrons at a single blow; While Victory, with wings outspread, Flies, like an eagle, o'er his head; His milk-white steed upon its haunches, Or pawing into dead men's paunches; As Overton has drawn his sire, Still seen o'er many an alehouse fire. Then from his arm hoarse thunder rolls, As loud as fifty mustard bowls; For thunder still his arm supplies, And lightning always in his eyes. They both are cheap enough in conscience, And serve to echo rattling nonsense. The rumbling words march fierce along, Made trebly dreadful in your song. Sweet poet, hired for birth-day rhymes, To sing of wars, choose peaceful times. What though, for fifteen years and more, Janus has lock'd his temple-door; Though not a coffeehouse we read in Has mention'd arms on this side Sweden; Nor London Journals, nor the Postmen, Though fond of warlike lies as most men; Thou still with battles stuff thy head full: For, must thy hero not be dreadful? Dismissing Mars, it next must follow Your conqueror is become Apollo: That he's Apollo is as plain as That Robin Walpole is Maecenas; But that he struts, and that he squints, You'd know him by Apollo's prints. Old Phoebus is but half as bright, For yours can shine both day and night. The first, perhaps, may once an age Inspire you with poetic rage; Your Phoebus Royal, every day, Not only can inspire, but pay. Then make this new Apollo sit Sole patron, judge, and god of wit. "How from his altitude he stoops To raise up Virtue when she droops; On Learning how his bounty flows, And with what justice he bestows; Fair Isis, and ye banks of Cam! Be witness if I tell a flam, What prodigies in arts we drain, From both your streams, in George's reign. As from the flowery bed of Nile"— But here's enough to show your style. Broad innuendoes, such as this, If well applied, can hardly miss: For, when you bring your song in print, He'll get it read, and take the hint; (It must be read before 'tis warbled, The paper gilt and cover marbled.) And will be so much more your debtor, Because he never knew a letter. And, as he hears his wit and sense (To which he never made pretence) Set out in hyperbolic strains, A guinea shall reward your pains; For patrons never pay so well, As when they scarce have learn'd to spell. Next call him Neptune: with his trident He rules the sea: you see him ride in't; And, if provoked, he soundly firks his Rebellious waves with rods, like Xerxes. He would have seized the Spanish plate, Had not the fleet gone out too late; And in their very ports besiege them, But that he would not disoblige them; And make the rascals pay him dearly For those affronts they give him yearly. 'Tis not denied, that, when we write, Our ink is black, our paper white: And, when we scrawl our paper o'er, We blacken what was white before: I think this practice only fit For dealers in satiric wit. But you some white-lead ink must get And write on paper black as jet; Your interest lies to learn the knack Of whitening what before was black. Thus your encomium, to be strong, Must be applied directly wrong. A tyrant for his mercy praise, And crown a royal dunce with bays: A squinting monkey load with charms, And paint a coward fierce in arms. Is he to avarice inclined? Extol him for his generous mind: And, when we starve for want of corn, Come out with Amalthea's horn:[3] For all experience this evinces The only art of pleasing princes: For princes' love you should descant On virtues which they know they want. One compliment I had forgot, But songsters must omit it not; I freely grant the thought is old: Why, then, your hero must be told, In him such virtues lie inherent, To qualify him God's vicegerent; That with no title to inherit, He must have been a king by merit. Yet, be the fancy old or new, Tis partly false, and partly true: And, take it right, it means no more Than George and William claim'd before. Should some obscure inferior fellow, Like Julius, or the youth of Pella,[4] When all your list of Gods is out, Presume to show his mortal snout, And as a Deity intrude, Because he had the world subdued; O, let him not debase your thoughts, Or name him but to tell his faults.— Of Gods I only quote the best, But you may hook in all the rest. Now, birth-day bard, with joy proceed To praise your empress and her breed; First of the first, to vouch your lies, Bring all the females of the skies; The Graces, and their mistress, Venus, Must venture down to entertain us: With bended knees when they adore her, What dowdies they appear before her! Nor shall we think you talk at random, For Venus might be her great-grandam: Six thousand years has lived the Goddess, Your heroine hardly fifty odd is; Besides, your songsters oft have shown That she has Graces of her own: Three Graces by Lucina brought her, Just three, and every Grace a daughter; Here many a king his heart and crown Shall at their snowy feet lay down: In royal robes, they come by dozens To court their English German cousins: Beside a pair of princely babies, That, five years hence, will both be Hebes. Now see her seated in her throne With genuine lustre, all her own: Poor Cynthia never shone so bright, Her splendour is but borrow'd light; And only with her brother linkt Can shine, without him is extinct. But Carolina shines the clearer With neither spouse nor brother near her: And darts her beams o'er both our isles, Though George is gone a thousand miles. Thus Berecynthia takes her place, Attended by her heavenly race; And sees a son in every God, Unawed by Jove's all-shaking nod. Now sing his little highness Freddy Who struts like any king already: With so much beauty, show me any maid That could resist this charming Ganymede! Where majesty with sweetness vies, And, like his father, early wise. Then cut him out a world of work, To conquer Spain, and quell the Turk: Foretel his empire crown'd with bays, And golden times, and halcyon days; And swear his line shall rule the nation For ever—till the conflagration. But, now it comes into my mind, We left a little duke behind; A Cupid in his face and size, And only wants, to want his eyes. Make some provision for the younker, Find him a kingdom out to conquer; Prepare a fleet to waft him o'er, Make Gulliver his commodore; Into whose pocket valiant Willy put, Will soon subdue the realm of Lilliput. A skilful critic justly blames Hard, tough, crank, guttural, harsh, stiff names The sense can ne'er be too jejune, But smooth your words to fit the tune. Hanover may do well enough, But George and Brunswick are too rough; Hesse-Darmstadt makes a rugged sound, And Guelp the strongest ear will wound. In vain are all attempts from Germany To find out proper words for harmony: And yet I must except the Rhine, Because it clinks to Caroline. Hail, queen of Britain, queen of rhymes! Be sung ten hundred thousand times; Too happy were the poets' crew, If their own happiness they knew: Three syllables did never meet So soft, so sliding, and so sweet: Nine other tuneful words like that Would prove even Homer's numbers flat. Behold three beauteous vowels stand, With bridegroom liquids hand in hand; In concord here for ever fix'd, No jarring consonant betwixt. May Caroline continue long, For ever fair and young!—in song. What though the royal carcass must, Squeezed in a coffin, turn to dust? Those elements her name compose, Like atoms, are exempt from blows. Though Caroline may fill your gaps, Yet still you must consult your maps; Find rivers with harmonious names, Sabrina, Medway, and the Thames, Britannia long will wear like steel, But Albion's cliffs are out at heel; And Patience can endure no more To hear the Belgic lion roar. Give up the phrase of haughty Gaul, But proud Iberia soundly maul: Restore the ships by Philip taken, And make him crouch to save his bacon. Nassau, who got the name of Glorious, Because he never was victorious, A hanger-on has always been; For old acquaintance bring him in. To Walpole you might lend a line, But much I fear he's in decline; And if you chance to come too late, When he goes out, you share his fate, And bear the new successor's frown; Or, whom you once sang up, sing down. Reject with scorn that stupid notion, To praise your hero for devotion; Nor entertain a thought so odd, That princes should believe in God; But follow the securest rule, And turn it all to ridicule: 'Tis grown the choicest wit at court, And gives the maids of honour sport; For, since they talk'd with Dr. Clarke,[5] They now can venture in the dark: That sound divine the truth has spoke all, And pawn'd his word, Hell is not local. This will not give them half the trouble Of bargains sold, or meanings double. Supposing now your song is done, To Mynheer Handel next you run, Who artfully will pare and prune Your words to some Italian tune: Then print it in the largest letter, With capitals, the more the better. Present it boldly on your knee, And take a guinea for your fee.

[Footnote 1: Alluding to the disputes between George I, and his son, while the latter was Prince of Wales.—Scott.]

[Footnote 2: The Electress Sophia, mother of George II, was supposed to have had an intrigue with Count Konigsmark.—Scott.]

[Footnote 3: The name of the goat with whose milk Jupiter was fed, and one of whose horns was placed among the stars as the Cornu Amaltheae, or Cornu Copiae. Ovid, "Fasti," lib. v.—W. E. B.]

[Footnote 4: The ancient city in Macedonia, the birthplace of Alexander the Great.—W. E. B.]

[Footnote 5: A famous Low Church divine, a favourite with Queen Caroline, distinguished as a man of science and a scholar. He became Rector of St. James', Piccadilly, but his sermons and his theological writings were not considered quite orthodox. See note in Carruthers' edition of Pope, "Moral Essays," Epist. iv.—W. E. B.]


—quis iniquae Tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se?—-Juv. i, 30.

In ancient times, as bards indite, (If clerks have conn'd the records right.) A peacock reign'd, whose glorious sway His subjects with delight obey: His tail was beauteous to behold, Replete with goodly eyes and gold; Fair emblem of that monarch's guise, Whose train at once is rich and wise; And princely ruled he many regions, And statesmen wise, and valiant legions. A pheasant lord,[1] above the rest, With every grace and talent blest, Was sent to sway, with all his skill, The sceptre of a neighbouring hill.[2] No science was to him unknown, For all the arts were all his own: In all the living learned read, Though more delighted with the dead: For birds, if ancient tales say true, Had then their Popes and Homers too; Could read and write in prose and verse, And speak like ***, and build like Pearce.[3] He knew their voices, and their wings, Who smoothest soars, who sweetest sings; Who toils with ill-fledged pens to climb, And who attain'd the true sublime. Their merits he could well descry, He had so exquisite an eye; And when that fail'd to show them clear, He had as exquisite an ear; It chanced as on a day he stray'd Beneath an academic shade, He liked, amidst a thousand throats, The wildness of a Woodlark's[4] notes, And search'd, and spied, and seized his game, And took him home, and made him tame; Found him on trial true and able, So cheer'd and fed him at his table. Here some shrewd critic finds I'm caught, And cries out, "Better fed than taught"—Then jests on game and tame, and reads, And jests, and so my tale proceeds. Long had he studied in the wood, Conversing with the wise and good: His soul with harmony inspired, With love of truth and virtue fired: His brethren's good and Maker's praise Were all the study of his lays; Were all his study in retreat, And now employ'd him with the great. His friendship was the sure resort Of all the wretched at the court; But chiefly merit in distress His greatest blessing was to bless.— This fix'd him in his patron's breast, But fired with envy all the rest: I mean that noisy, craving crew, Who round the court incessant flew, And prey'd like rooks, by pairs and dozens, To fill the maws of sons and cousins: "Unmoved their heart, and chill'd their blood To every thought of common good, Confining every hope and care, To their own low, contracted sphere." These ran him down with ceaseless cry, But found it hard to tell you why, Till his own worth and wit supplied Sufficient matter to deride: "'Tis envy's safest, surest rule, To hide her rage in ridicule: The vulgar eye she best beguiles, When all her snakes are deck'd with smiles: Sardonic smiles, by rancour raised! Tormented most when seeming pleased!" Their spite had more than half expired, Had he not wrote what all admired; What morsels had their malice wanted, But that he built, and plann'd, and planted! How had his sense and learning grieved them, But that his charity relieved them! "At highest worth dull malice reaches, As slugs pollute the fairest peaches: Envy defames, as harpies vile Devour the food they first defile." Now ask the fruit of all his favour— "He was not hitherto a saver."— What then could make their rage run mad? "Why, what he hoped, not what he had." "What tyrant e'er invented ropes, Or racks, or rods, to punish hopes? Th' inheritance of hope and fame Is seldom Earthly Wisdom's aim; Or, if it were, is not so small, But there is room enough for all." If he but chance to breathe a song, (He seldom sang, and never long,) The noisy, rude, malignant crowd, Where it was high, pronounced it loud: Plain Truth was Pride; and, what was sillier, Easy and Friendly was Familiar. Or, if he tuned his lofty lays, With solemn air to Virtue's praise, Alike abusive and erroneous, They call'd it hoarse and inharmonious. Yet so it was to souls like theirs, Tuneless as Abel to the bears! A Rook[5] with harsh malignant caw Began, was follow'd by a Daw;[6] (Though some, who would be thought to know, Are positive it was a crow:) Jack Daw was seconded by Tit, Tom Tit[7] could write, and so he writ; A tribe of tuneless praters follow, The Jay, the Magpie, and the Swallow; And twenty more their throats let loose, Down to the witless, waddling Goose. Some peck'd at him, some flew, some flutter'd, Some hiss'd, some scream'd, and others mutter'd: The Crow, on carrion wont to feast, The Carrion Crow, condemn'd his taste: The Rook, in earnest too, not joking, Swore all his singing was but croaking. Some thought they meant to show their wit, Might think so still—"but that they writ"— Could it be spite or envy?—"No— Who did no ill could have no foe."— So wise Simplicity esteem'd; Quite otherwise True Wisdom deem'd; This question rightly understood, "What more provokes than doing good? A soul ennobled and refined Reproaches every baser mind: As strains exalted and melodious Make every meaner music odious."— At length the Nightingale[8] was heard, For voice and wisdom long revered, Esteem'd of all the wise and good, The Guardian Genius of the wood: He long in discontent retired, Yet not obscured, but more admired: His brethren's servile souls disdaining, He lived indignant and complaining: They now afresh provoke his choler, (It seems the Lark had been his scholar, A favourite scholar always near him, And oft had waked whole nights to hear him.) Enraged he canvasses the matter, Exposes all their senseless chatter, Shows him and them in such a light, As more inflames, yet quells their spite. They hear his voice, and frighted fly, For rage had raised it very high: Shamed by the wisdom of his notes, They hide their heads, and hush their throats.

[Footnote 1: Lord Carteret, Lord-lieutenant of Ireland.—F.]

[Footnote 2: Ireland.—F]

[Footnote 3: A famous modern architect, who built the Parliament-house in Dublin.—F.]

[Footnote 4: Dr. Delany.—F.]

[Footnote 5: Dr. T——r.—F.]

[Footnote 6: Right Hon. Rich. Tighe.—F.]

[Footnote 7: Dr. Sheridan.—F.]

[Footnote 8: Dean Swift.—F.]


In ancient times, the wise were able In proper terms to write a fable: Their tales would always justly suit The characters of every brute. The ass was dull, the lion brave, The stag was swift, the fox a knave; The daw a thief, the ape a droll, The hound would scent, the wolf would prowl: A pigeon would, if shown by AEsop, Fly from the hawk, or pick his pease up. Far otherwise a great divine Has learnt his fables to refine; He jumbles men and birds together, As if they all were of a feather: You see him first the Peacock bring, Against all rules, to be a king; That in his tail he wore his eyes, By which he grew both rich and wise. Now, pray, observe the doctor's choice, A Peacock chose for flight and voice; Did ever mortal see a peacock Attempt a flight above a haycock? And for his singing, doctor, you know Himself complain'd of it to Juno. He squalls in such a hellish noise, He frightens all the village boys. This Peacock kept a standing force, In regiments of foot and horse: Had statesmen too of every kind, Who waited on his eyes behind; And this was thought the highest post; For, rule the rump, you rule the roast. The doctor names but one at present, And he of all birds was a Pheasant. This Pheasant was a man of wit, Could read all books were ever writ; And, when among companions privy, Could quote you Cicero and Livy. Birds, as he says, and I allow, Were scholars then, as we are now; Could read all volumes up to folios, And feed on fricassees and olios: This Pheasant, by the Peacock's will, Was viceroy of a neighbouring hill; And, as he wander'd in his park, He chanced to spy a clergy Lark; Was taken with his person outward, So prettily he pick'd a cow-t—d: Then in a net the Pheasant caught him, And in his palace fed and taught him. The moral of the tale is pleasant, Himself the Lark, my lord the Pheasant: A lark he is, and such a lark As never came from Noah's ark: And though he had no other notion, But building, planning, and devotion; Though 'tis a maxim you must know, "Who does no ill can have no foe;" Yet how can I express in words The strange stupidity of birds? This Lark was hated in the wood, Because he did his brethren good. At last the Nightingale comes in, To hold the doctor by the chin: We all can find out what he means, The worst of disaffected deans: Whose wit at best was next to none, And now that little next is gone; Against the court is always blabbing, And calls the senate-house a cabin; So dull, that but for spleen and spite, We ne'er should know that he could write Who thinks the nation always err'd, Because himself is not preferr'd; His heart is through his libel seen, Nor could his malice spare the queen; Who, had she known his vile behaviour, Would ne'er have shown him so much favour. A noble lord[1] has told his pranks, And well deserves the nation's thanks. O! would the senate deign to show Resentment on this public foe, Our Nightingale might fit a cage; There let him starve, and vent his rage: Or would they but in fetters bind This enemy of human kind! Harmonious Coffee,[2] show thy zeal, Thou champion for the commonweal: Nor on a theme like this repine, For once to wet thy pen divine: Bestow that libeller a lash, Who daily vends seditious trash: Who dares revile the nation's wisdom, But in the praise of virtue is dumb: That scribbler lash, who neither knows The turn of verse, nor style of prose; Whose malice, for the worst of ends, Would have us lose our English friends:[3] Who never had one public thought, Nor ever gave the poor a groat. One clincher more, and I have done, I end my labours with a pun. Jove send this Nightingale may fall, Who spends his day and night in gall! So, Nightingale and Lark, adieu; I see the greatest owls in you That ever screech'd, or ever flew.

[Footnote 1: Lord Allen, the same who is meant by Traulus.—F.]

[Footnote 2: A Dublin gazetteer.—F.]

[Footnote 3: See A New Song on a Seditious Pamphlet.—F.]


Non domus et fundus, non aeris acervus et auri.—HOR. Epist., I, ii, 47.

It was, my lord, the dexterous shift Of t'other Jonathan, viz. Swift, But now St. Patrick's saucy dean, With silver verge, and surplice clean, Of Oxford, or of Ormond's grace, In looser rhyme to beg a place. A place he got, yclept a stall, And eke a thousand pounds withal; And were he less a witty writer, He might as well have got a mitre. Thus I, the Jonathan of Clogher, In humble lays my thanks to offer, Approach your grace with grateful heart, My thanks and verse both void of art, Content with what your bounty gave, No larger income do I crave: Rejoicing that, in better times, Grafton requires my loyal lines. Proud! while my patron is polite, I likewise to the patriot write! Proud! that at once I can commend King George's and the Muses' friend! Endear'd to Britain; and to thee (Disjoin'd, Hibernia, by the sea) Endear'd by twice three anxious years, Employ'd in guardian toils and cares; By love, by wisdom, and by skill; For he has saved thee 'gainst thy will. But where shall Smedley make his nest, And lay his wandering head to rest? Where shall he find a decent house, To treat his friends and cheer his spouse? O! tack, my lord, some pretty cure, In wholesome soil, and ether pure; The garden stored with artless flowers, In either angle shady bowers. No gay parterre, with costly green, Within the ambient hedge be seen: Let Nature freely take her course, Nor fear from me ungrateful force; No shears shall check her sprouting vigour, Nor shape the yews to antic figure: A limpid brook shall trout supply, In May, to take the mimic fly; Round a small orchard may it run, Whose apples redden to the sun. Let all be snug, and warm, and neat; For fifty turn'd a safe retreat, A little Euston[2] may it be, Euston I'll carve on every tree. But then, to keep it in repair, My lord—twice fifty pounds a-year Will barely do; but if your grace Could make them hundreds—charming place! Thou then wouldst show another face. Clogher! far north, my lord, it lies, 'Midst snowy hills, inclement skies: One shivers with the arctic wind, One hears the polar axis grind. Good John[3] indeed, with beef and claret, Makes the place warm, that one may bear it. He has a purse to keep a table, And eke a soul as hospitable. My heart is good; but assets fail, To fight with storms of snow and hail. Besides, the country's thin of people, Who seldom meet but at the steeple: The strapping dean, that's gone to Down, Ne'er named the thing without a frown, When, much fatigued with sermon study, He felt his brain grow dull and muddy; No fit companion could be found, To push the lazy bottle round: Sure then, for want of better folks To pledge, his clerk was orthodox. Ah! how unlike to Gerard Street, Where beaux and belles in parties meet; Where gilded chairs and coaches throng, And jostle as they troll along; Where tea and coffee hourly flow, And gape-seed does in plenty grow; And Griz (no clock more certain) cries, Exact at seven, "Hot mutton-pies!" There Lady Luna in her sphere Once shone, when Paunceforth was not near; But now she wanes, and, as 'tis said, Keeps sober hours, and goes to bed. There—but 'tis endless to write down All the amusements of the town; And spouse will think herself quite undone, To trudge to Connor[4] from sweet London; And care we must our wives to please, Or else—we shall be ill at ease. You see, my lord, what 'tis I lack, 'Tis only some convenient tack, Some parsonage-house with garden sweet, To be my late, my last retreat; A decent church, close by its side, There, preaching, praying, to reside; And as my time securely rolls, To save my own and other souls.

[Footnote 1: This piece is repeatedly and always satirically alluded to in the preceding poems.—Scott.]

[Footnote 2: The name of the Duke's seat in Suffolk.—N.]

[Footnote 3: Bishop Sterne.—H.]

[Footnote 4: The bishopric of Connor is united to that of Down; but there are two deans.—Scott.]


Dear Smed, I read thy brilliant lines, Where wit in all its glory shines; Where compliments, with all their pride, Are by their numbers dignified: I hope to make you yet as clean As that same Viz, St. Patrick's dean. I'll give thee surplice, verge, and stall, And may be something else withal; And, were you not so good a writer, I should present you with a mitre. Write worse, then, if you can—be wise- Believe me, 'tis the way to rise. Talk not of making of thy nest: Ah! never lay thy head to rest! That head so well with wisdom fraught, That writes without the toil of thought! While others rack their busy brains, You are not in the least at pains. Down to your dean'ry now repair, And build a castle in the air. I'm sure a man of your fine sense Can do it with a small expense. There your dear spouse and you together May breathe your bellies full of ether, When Lady Luna[1] is your neighbour, She'll help your wife when she's in labour, Well skill'd in midwife artifices, For she herself oft falls in pieces. There you shall see a raree show Will make you scorn this world below, When you behold the milky-way, As white as snow, as bright as day; The glittering constellations roll About the grinding arctic pole; The lovely tingling in your ears, Wrought by the music of the spheres— Your spouse shall then no longer hector, You need not fear a curtain-lecture; Nor shall she think that she is undone For quitting her beloved London. When she's exalted in the skies, She'll never think of mutton-pies; When you're advanced above Dean Viz, You'll never think of Goody Griz; But ever, ever live at ease, And strive, and strive your wife to please; In her you'll centre all your joys, And get ten thousand girls and boys; Ten thousand girls and boys you'll get, And they like stars shall rise and set. While you and spouse, transform'd, shall soon Be a new sun and a new moon: Nor shall you strive your horns to hide, For then your horns shall be your pride.

[Footnote 1: Diana, also called Lucina, for the reason given in the text.—W. E. B.]


The very reverend Dean Smedley, Of dulness, pride, conceit, a medley, Was equally allow'd to shine As poet, scholar, and divine; With godliness could well dispense, Would be a rake, but wanted sense; Would strictly after Truth inquire, Because he dreaded to come nigh her. For Liberty no champion bolder, He hated bailiffs at his shoulder. To half the world a standing jest, A perfect nuisance to the rest; From many (and we may believe him) Had the best wishes they could give him. To all mankind a constant friend, Provided they had cash to lend. One thing he did before he went hence, He left us a laconic sentence, By cutting of his phrase, and trimming To prove that bishops were old women. Poor Envy durst not show her phiz, She was so terrified at his. He waded, without any shame, Through thick and thin to get a name, Tried every sharping trick for bread, And after all he seldom sped. When Fortune favour'd, he was nice; He never once would cog the dice; But, if she turn'd against his play, He knew to stop a quatre trois. Now sound in mind, and sound in corpus, (Says he) though swell'd like any porpoise, He hies from hence at forty-four (But by his leave he sinks a score) To the East Indies, there to cheat, Till he can purchase an estate; Where, after he has fill'd his chest, He'll mount his tub, and preach his best, And plainly prove, by dint of text, This world is his, and theirs the next. Lest that the reader should not know The bank where last he set his toe, 'Twas Greenwich. There he took a ship, And gave his creditors the slip. But lest chronology should vary, Upon the ides of February, In seventeen hundred eight-and-twenty, To Fort St. George, a pedler went he. Ye Fates, when all he gets is spent, RETURN HIM BEGGAR AS HE WENT!


[*text centered] Reverendus Decanus, JONATHAN SMEDLEY, Theologia instructus, in Poesi exercitatus, Politioribus excultus literis; Parce pius, impius minime; Veritatis Indagator, Libertatis Assertor; Subsannatus multis, fastiditus quibusdam, Exoptatus plurimis, omnibus amicus, Auctor hujus sententiae, PATRES SUNT VETULAE. Per laudem et vituperium, per famam atque infamiam; Utramque fortunam, variosque expertus casus, Mente Sana, sano corpore, volens, laetusque, Lustris plus quam XI numeratis, Ad rem familiarem restaurandam augendamque, Et ad Evangelium Indos inter Orientales praedicandum, Grevae, idibus Februarii, navem ascendens, Arcemque Sancti petens Georgii, vernale per aequinoxium, Anno Aerae Christianae MDCCXXVIII, Transfretavit. Fata vocant—revocentque precamur.]


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