A Swift Poetical Miscellany

 

Ode to the Athenian Society

Ode to Sir William Temple

The Description of A Salamander (1704)

Verses Said to Be Written on the Union (1707)

Baucis and Philemon / Ovid. Lib. 8 (1709)

A Description of the Morning (1709)

A Description of a City Shower (1709)

The Author Upon Himself (1713)

Stella's Birthday (1719)

Phyllis, or the Progress of Love (1719)

The Progress of Beauty (1719)

The Progress of Marriage (1721)

The Progress of Poetry (1719)

Cadenus and Vanessa (1723?)

To Stella Who Collected and Transcribed His Poems (1720)

A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General (1722)

Horace Bk. I ode XIV Paraphrased and Inscribed to Ireland (1726)

Dr. Swift to Mr Pope While He Was Writing the Dunciad (1727)

On Burning a Dull Poem (1729)

The Lady's Dressing Room

A Beautiful Young Numph Going to Bed

Strephon and Choloe

Cassinus and Peter, A Tragical Elegy

The Place of the Damned (1731 broadside)

Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift (1731)

On Poetry: A Rhapsody (1733)

 

Source: poems of Jonathan Swift vol. I  http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/14353

poems of Jonathan Swift vol. II  http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/13621

 


ODE TO THE ATHENIAN SOCIETY
 
_Moor Park, Feb._ 14, 1691.
 
 
I
 
As when the deluge first began to fall,
  That mighty ebb never to flow again,
When this huge body's moisture was so great,
  It quite o'ercame the vital heat;
That mountain which was highest, first of all
Appear'd above the universal main,
To bless the primitive sailor's weary sight;
And 'twas perhaps Parnassus, if in height
  It be as great as 'tis in fame,
  And nigh to Heaven as is its name;
So, after the inundation of a war,
When learning's little household did embark,
With her world's fruitful system, in her sacred ark,
  At the first ebb of noise and fears,
Philosophy's exalted head appears;
And the Dove-Muse will now no longer stay,
But plumes her silver wings, and flies away;
  And now a laurel wreath she brings from far,
  To crown the happy conqueror,
  To show the flood begins to cease,
And brings the dear reward of victory and peace.
 
 
II
 
The eager Muse took wing upon the waves' decline,
  When war her cloudy aspect just withdrew,
  When the bright sun of peace began to shine,
And for a while in heavenly contemplation sat,
  On the high top of peaceful Ararat;
And pluck'd a laurel branch, (for laurel was the first that grew,
The first of plants after the thunder, storm and rain,)
  And thence, with joyful, nimble wing,
  Flew dutifully back again,
And made an humble chaplet for the king.[2]
  And the Dove-Muse is fled once more,
(Glad of the victory, yet frighten'd at the war,)
  And now discovers from afar
  A peaceful and a flourishing shore:
    No sooner did she land
  On the delightful strand,
  Than straight she sees the country all around,
  Where fatal Neptune ruled erewhile,
Scatter'd with flowery vales, with fruitful gardens crown'd,
    And many a pleasant wood;
  As if the universal Nile
  Had rather water'd it than drown'd:
It seems some floating piece of Paradise,
  Preserved by wonder from the flood,
Long wandering through the deep, as we are told
      Famed Delos[3] did of old;
  And the transported Muse imagined it
To be a fitter birth-place for the God of wit,
      Or the much-talk'd-of oracular grove;
  When, with amazing joy, she hears
An unknown music all around,
      Charming her greedy ears
      With many a heavenly song
Of nature and of art, of deep philosophy and love;
While angels tune the voice, and God inspires the tongue.
  In vain she catches at the empty sound,
In vain pursues the music with her longing eye,
  And courts the wanton echoes as they fly.
 
 
III
 
Pardon, ye great unknown, and far-exalted men,
The wild excursions of a youthful pen;
  Forgive a young and (almost) virgin Muse,
  Whom blind and eager curiosity
      (Yet curiosity, they say,
Is in her sex a crime needs no excuse)
      Has forced to grope her uncouth way,
After a mighty light that leads her wandering eye:
No wonder then she quits the narrow path of sense
  For a dear ramble through impertinence;
Impertinence! the scurvy of mankind.
And all we fools, who are the greater part of it,
  Though we be of two different factions still,
    Both the good-natured and the ill,
  Yet wheresoe'er you look, you'll always find
We join, like flies and wasps, in buzzing about wit.
  In me, who am of the first sect of these,
  All merit, that transcends the humble rules
    Of my own dazzled scanty sense,
Begets a kinder folly and impertinence
    Of admiration and of praise.
And our good brethren of the surly sect,
  Must e'en all herd us with their kindred fools:
  For though possess'd of present vogue, they've made
Railing a rule of wit, and obloquy a trade;
Yet the same want of brains produces each effect.
  And you, whom Pluto's helm does wisely shroud
    From us, the blind and thoughtless crowd,
  Like the famed hero in his mother's cloud,
Who both our follies and impertinences see,
Do laugh perhaps at theirs, and pity mine and me.
 
 
IV
 
      But censure's to be understood
      Th'authentic mark of the elect,
The public stamp Heaven sets on all that's great and good,
  Our shallow search and judgment to direct.
      The war, methinks, has made
Our wit and learning narrow as our trade;
Instead of boldly sailing far, to buy
A stock of wisdom and philosophy,
      We fondly stay at home, in fear
      Of every censuring privateer;
Forcing a wretched trade by beating down the sale,
      And selling basely by retail.
  The wits, I mean the atheists of the age,
Who fain would rule the pulpit, as they do the stage,
  Wondrous refiners of philosophy,
    Of morals and divinity,
By the new modish system of reducing all to sense,
  Against all logic, and concluding laws,
    Do own th'effects of Providence,
    And yet deny the cause.
 
 
V
 
This hopeful sect, now it begins to see
How little, very little, do prevail
      Their first and chiefest force
    To censure, to cry down, and rail,
Not knowing what, or where, or who you be,
    Will quickly take another course:
      And, by their never-failing ways
    Of solving all appearances they please,
We soon shall see them to their ancient methods fall,
And straight deny you to be men, or anything at all.
  I laugh at the grave answer they will make,
Which they have always ready, general, and cheap:
  'Tis but to say, that what we daily meet,
    And by a fond mistake
Perhaps imagine to be wondrous wit,
And think, alas! to be by mortals writ,
Is but a crowd of atoms justling in a heap:
      Which, from eternal seeds begun,
Justling some thousand years, till ripen'd by the sun:
  They're now, just now, as naturally born,
  As from the womb of earth a field of corn.
 
 
VI
 
    But as for poor contented me,
Who must my weakness and my ignorance confess,
That I believe in much I ne'er can hope to see;
    Methinks I'm satisfied to guess,
  That this new, noble, and delightful scene,
Is wonderfully moved by some exalted men,
Who have well studied in the world's disease,
(That epidemic error and depravity,
    Or in our judgment or our eye,)
That what surprises us can only please.
We often search contentedly the whole world round,
  To make some great discovery,
    And scorn it when 'tis found.
Just so the mighty Nile has suffer'd in its fame,
  Because 'tis said (and perhaps only said)
We've found a little inconsiderable head,
    That feeds the huge unequal stream.
Consider human folly, and you'll quickly own,
    That all the praises it can give,
By which some fondly boast they shall for ever live,
  Won't pay th'impertinence of being known:
    Else why should the famed Lydian king,[4]
(Whom all the charms of an usurped wife and state,
With all that power unfelt, courts mankind to be great,
  Did with new unexperienced glories wait,)
Still wear, still dote on his invisible ring?
 
 
VII
 
  Were I to form a regular thought of Fame,
  Which is, perhaps, as hard t'imagine right,
    As to paint Echo to the sight,
I would not draw the idea from an empty name;
    Because, alas! when we all die,
  Careless and ignorant posterity,
  Although they praise the learning and the wit,
    And though the title seems to show
  The name and man by whom the book was writ,
    Yet how shall they be brought to know,
Whether that very name was he, or you, or I?
Less should I daub it o'er with transitory praise,
    And water-colours of these days:
These days! where e'en th'extravagance of poetry
  Is at a loss for figures to express
  Men's folly, whimseys, and inconstancy,
  And by a faint description makes them less.
Then tell us what is Fame, where shall we search for it?
Look where exalted Virtue and Religion sit,
      Enthroned with heavenly Wit!
      Look where you see
  The greatest scorn of learned vanity!
  (And then how much a nothing is mankind!
Whose reason is weigh'd down by popular air,
  Who, by that, vainly talks of baffling death;
  And hopes to lengthen life by a transfusion of breath,
    Which yet whoe'er examines right will find
  To be an art as vain as bottling up of wind!)
And when you find out these, believe true Fame is there,
  Far above all reward, yet to which all is due:
  And this, ye great unknown! is only known in you.
 
 
VIII
 
  The juggling sea-god,[5] when by chance trepann'd
By some instructed querist sleeping on the sand,
  Impatient of all answers, straight became
  A stealing brook, and strove to creep away
    Into his native sea,
  Vex'd at their follies, murmur'd in his stream;
  But disappointed of his fond desire,
  Would vanish in a pyramid of fire.
  This surly, slippery God, when he design'd
    To furnish his escapes,
  Ne'er borrow'd more variety of shapes
Than you, to please and satisfy mankind,
And seem (almost) transform'd to water, flame, and air,
  So well you answer all phenomena there:
Though madmen and the wits, philosophers and fools,
With all that factious or enthusiastic dotards dream,
And all the incoherent jargon of the schools;
  Though all the fumes of fear, hope, love, and shame,
Contrive to shock your minds with many a senseless doubt;
Doubts where the Delphic God would grope in ignorance and night,
    The God of learning and of light
  Would want a God himself to help him out.
 
 
IX
 
  Philosophy, as it before us lies,
Seems to have borrow'd some ungrateful taste
  Of doubts, impertinence, and niceties,
    From every age through which it pass'd,
But always with a stronger relish of the last.
  This beauteous queen, by Heaven design'd
  To be the great original
For man to dress and polish his uncourtly mind,
In what mock habits have they put her since the fall!
  More oft in fools' and madmen's hands than sages',
    She seems a medley of all ages,
With a huge farthingale to swell her fustian stuff,
  A new commode, a topknot, and a ruff,
  Her face patch'd o'er with modern pedantry,
      With a long sweeping train
Of comments and disputes, ridiculous and vain,
    All of old cut with a new dye:
    How soon have you restored her charms,
  And rid her of her lumber and her books,
    Drest her again genteel and neat,
      And rather tight than great!
How fond we are to court her to our arms!
  How much of heaven is in her naked looks!
 
 
X
 
Thus the deluding Muse oft blinds me to her ways,
  And ev'n my very thoughts transfers
  And changes all to beauty and the praise
    Of that proud tyrant sex of hers.
    The rebel Muse, alas! takes part,
    But with my own rebellious heart,
And you with fatal and immortal wit conspire
      To fan th'unhappy fire.
    Cruel unknown! what is it you intend?
Ah! could you, could you hope a poet for your friend!
  Rather forgive what my first transport said:
May all the blood, which shall by woman's scorn be shed,
  Lie upon you and on your children's head!
For you (ah! did I think I e'er should live to see
  The fatal time when that could be!)
  Have even increased their pride and cruelty.
  Woman seems now above all vanity grown,
  Still boasting of her great unknown
Platonic champions, gain'd without one female wile,
    Or the vast charges of a smile;
  Which 'tis a shame to see how much of late
  You've taught the covetous wretches to o'errate,
And which they've now the consciences to weigh
    In the same balance with our tears,
  And with such scanty wages pay
  The bondage and the slavery of years.
Let the vain sex dream on; the empire comes from us;
      And had they common generosity,
        They would not use us thus.
    Well--though you've raised her to this high degree,
    Ourselves are raised as well as she;
  And, spite of all that they or you can do,
'Tis pride and happiness enough to me,
Still to be of the same exalted sex with you.
 
 
XI
 
    Alas, how fleeting and how vain
Is even the nobler man, our learning and our wit!
        I sigh whene'er I think of it:
      As at the closing an unhappy scene
      Of some great king and conqueror's death,
    When the sad melancholy Muse
Stays but to catch his utmost breath.
I grieve, this nobler work, most happily begun,
So quickly and so wonderfully carried on,
May fall at last to interest, folly, and abuse.
      There is a noontide in our lives,
      Which still the sooner it arrives,
Although we boast our winter sun looks bright,
And foolishly are glad to see it at its height,
Yet so much sooner comes the long and gloomy night.
    No conquest ever yet begun,
And by one mighty hero carried to its height,
E'er flourished under a successor or a son;
It lost some mighty pieces through all hands it pass'd,
And vanish'd to an empty title in the last.
  For, when the animating mind is fled,
    (Which nature never can retain,
      Nor e'er call back again,)
The body, though gigantic, lies all cold and dead.
 
 
XII
 
    And thus undoubtedly 'twill fare
    With what unhappy men shall dare
  To be successors to these great unknown,
    On learning's high-establish'd throne.
    Censure, and Pedantry, and Pride,
Numberless nations, stretching far and wide,
Shall (I foresee it) soon with Gothic swarms come forth
    From Ignorance's universal North,
And with blind rage break all this peaceful government:
Yet shall the traces of your wit remain,
  Like a just map, to tell the vast extent
  Of conquest in your short and happy reign:
    And to all future mankind shew
    How strange a paradox is true,
  That men who lived and died without a name
Are the chief heroes in the sacred lists of fame.
 
 
[Footnote 1: "I have been told, that Dryden having perused these verses,
said, 'Cousin Swift, you will never be a poet;' and that this
denunciation was the motive of Swift's perpetual malevolence to
Dryden."--Johnson in his "Life of Swift."--_W. E. B._
 
In Malone's "Life of Dryden," p. 241, it is stated that John Dunton,
the original projector of the Athenian Society, in his "Life and
Errours," 1705, mentions this Ode, "which being an ingenious poem, was
prefixed to the fifth Supplement of the Athenian Mercury."--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 2: The Ode I writ to the king in Ireland.--_Swift_.]
 
[Footnote 3: The floating island, which, by order of Neptune, became
fixed for the use of Latona, who there brought forth Apollo and Diana.
See Ovid, "Metam.," vi, 191, etc.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 4: Gyges, who, thanks to the possession of a golden ring, which
made him invisible, put Candaules to death, married his widow, and
mounted the throne, 716 B.C. See the story in Cicero, "De Off.," iii,
9.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 5: Proteus. See Ovid, "Fasti," lib. i.--_W. E. B._]

 

ODE TO THE HON. SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE
 
WRITTEN AT MOOR-PARK IN JUNE 1689
 
 
I
 
Virtue, the greatest of all monarchies!
      Till its first emperor, rebellious man,
    Deposed from off his seat,
  It fell, and broke with its own weight
Into small states and principalities,
    By many a petty lord possess'd,
But ne'er since seated in one single breast.
      'Tis you who must this land subdue,
      The mighty conquest's left for you,
      The conquest and discovery too:
      Search out this Utopian ground,
      Virtue's Terra Incognita,
      Where none ever led the way,
Nor ever since but in descriptions found;
    Like the philosopher's stone,
With rules to search it, yet obtain'd by none.
 
 
II
 
      We have too long been led astray;
Too long have our misguided souls been taught
      With rules from musty morals brought,
      'Tis you must put us in the way;
      Let us (for shame!) no more be fed
      With antique relics of the dead,
    The gleanings of philosophy;
    Philosophy, the lumber of the schools,
    The roguery of alchymy;
      And we, the bubbled fools,
Spend all our present life, in hopes of golden rules.
 
 
III
 
But what does our proud ignorance Learning call?
    We oddly Plato's paradox make good,
Our knowledge is but mere remembrance all;
Remembrance is our treasure and our food;
Nature's fair table-book, our tender souls,
We scrawl all o'er with old and empty rules,
    Stale memorandums of the schools:
    For learning's mighty treasures look
      Into that deep grave, a book;
  Think that she there does all her treasures hide,
And that her troubled ghost still haunts there since she died;
Confine her walks to colleges and schools;
    Her priests, her train, and followers, show
    As if they all were spectres too!
    They purchase knowledge at th'expense
    Of common breeding, common sense,
    And grow at once scholars and fools;
    Affect ill-manner'd pedantry,
Rudeness, ill-nature, incivility,
    And, sick with dregs and knowledge grown,
    Which greedily they swallow down,
Still cast it up, and nauseate company.
 
 
IV
 
    Curst be the wretch! nay, doubly curst!
      (If it may lawful be
    To curse our greatest enemy,)
  Who learn'd himself that heresy first,
    (Which since has seized on all the rest,)
That knowledge forfeits all humanity;
Taught us, like Spaniards, to be proud and poor,
  And fling our scraps before our door!
Thrice happy you have 'scaped this general pest;
Those mighty epithets, learned, good, and great,
Which we ne'er join'd before, but in romances meet,
We find in you at last united grown.
      You cannot be compared to one:
    I must, like him that painted Venus' face,
    Borrow from every one a grace;
Virgil and Epicurus will not do,
      Their courting a retreat like you,
Unless I put in Caesar's learning too:
    Your happy frame at once controls
    This great triumvirate of souls.
 
 
V
 
Let not old Rome boast Fabius' fate;
    He sav'd his country by delays,
      But you by peace.[1]
    You bought it at a cheaper rate;
Nor has it left the usual bloody scar,
      To show it cost its price in war;
War, that mad game the world so loves to play,
      And for it does so dearly pay;
For, though with loss, or victory, a while
      Fortune the gamesters does beguile,
Yet at the last the box sweeps all away.
 
 
VI
 
      Only the laurel got by peace
        No thunder e'er can blast:
      Th'artillery of the skies
        Shoots to the earth and dies:
And ever green and flourishing 'twill last,
Nor dipt in blood, nor widows' tears, nor orphans' cries.
      About the head crown'd with these bays,
      Like lambent fire, the lightning plays;
Nor, its triumphal cavalcade to grace,
    Makes up its solemn train with death;
It melts the sword of war, yet keeps it in the sheath.
 
 
VII
 
The wily shafts of state, those jugglers' tricks,
Which we call deep designs and politics,
(As in a theatre the ignorant fry,
    Because the cords escape their eye,
      Wonder to see the motions fly,)
    Methinks, when you expose the scene,
    Down the ill-organ'd engines fall;
Off fly the vizards, and discover all:
      How plain I see through the deceit!
      How shallow, and how gross, the cheat!
  Look where the pulley's tied above!
  Great God! (said I) what have I seen!
      On what poor engines move
The thoughts of monarchs and designs of states!
  What petty motives rule their fates!
How the mouse makes the mighty mountains shake!
The mighty mountain labours with its birth,
  Away the frighten'd peasants fly,
  Scared at the unheard-of prodigy,
Expect some great gigantic son of earth;
        Lo! it appears!
  See how they tremble! how they quake!
Out starts the little beast, and mocks their idle fears.
 
 
VIII
 
  Then tell, dear favourite Muse!
  What serpent's that which still resorts,
  Still lurks in palaces and courts?
    Take thy unwonted flight,
    And on the terrace light.
      See where she lies!
    See how she rears her head,
    And rolls about her dreadful eyes,
To drive all virtue out, or look it dead!
'Twas sure this basilisk sent Temple thence,
And though as some ('tis said) for their defence
    Have worn a casement o'er their skin,
      So wore he his within,
Made up of virtue and transparent innocence;
    And though he oft renew'd the fight,
And almost got priority of sight,
    He ne'er could overcome her quite,
In pieces cut, the viper still did reunite;
    Till, at last, tired with loss of time and ease,
Resolved to give himself, as well as country, peace.
 
 
IX
 
Sing, beloved Muse! the pleasures of retreat,
And in some untouch'd virgin strain,
Show the delights thy sister Nature yields;
Sing of thy vales, sing of thy woods, sing of thy fields;
        Go, publish o'er the plain
    How mighty a proselyte you gain!
How noble a reprisal on the great!
      How is the Muse luxuriant grown!
        Whene'er she takes this flight,
        She soars clear out of sight.
These are the paradises of her own:
      Thy Pegasus, like an unruly horse,
        Though ne'er so gently led,
To the loved pastures where he used to feed,
Runs violent o'er his usual course.
    Wake from thy wanton dreams,
      Come from thy dear-loved streams,
    The crooked paths of wandering Thames.
        Fain the fair nymph would stay,
      Oft she looks back in vain,
    Oft 'gainst her fountain does complain,
      And softly steals in many windings down,
      As loth to see the hated court and town;
And murmurs as she glides away.
 
 
X
 
    In this new happy scene
  Are nobler subjects for your learned pen;
    Here we expect from you
More than your predecessor Adam knew;
Whatever moves our wonder, or our sport,
Whatever serves for innocent emblems of the court;
    How that which we a kernel see,
(Whose well-compacted forms escape the light,
  Unpierced by the blunt rays of sight,)
    Shall ere long grow into a tree;
Whence takes it its increase, and whence its birth,
Or from the sun, or from the air, or from the earth,
    Where all the fruitful atoms lie;
  How some go downward to the root,
    Some more ambitious upwards fly,
  And form the leaves, the branches, and the fruit.
You strove to cultivate a barren court in vain,
Your garden's better worth your nobler pain,
Here mankind fell, and hence must rise again.
 
 
XI
 
Shall I believe a spirit so divine
      Was cast in the same mould with mine?
Why then does Nature so unjustly share
Among her elder sons the whole estate,
      And all her jewels and her plate?
Poor we! cadets of Heaven, not worth her care,
Take up at best with lumber and the leavings of a fare:
      Some she binds 'prentice to the spade,
      Some to the drudgery of a trade:
Some she does to Egyptian bondage draw,
Bids us make bricks, yet sends us to look out for straw:
      Some she condemns for life to try
To dig the leaden mines of deep philosophy:
Me she has to the Muse's galleys tied:
In vain I strive to cross the spacious main,
    In vain I tug and pull the oar;
    And when I almost reach the shore,
Straight the Muse turns the helm, and I launch out again:
      And yet, to feed my pride,
Whene'er I mourn, stops my complaining breath,
With promise of a mad reversion after death.
 
 
XII
 
Then, Sir, accept this worthless verse,
  The tribute of an humble Muse,
'Tis all the portion of my niggard stars;
  Nature the hidden spark did at my birth infuse,
And kindled first with indolence and ease;
    And since too oft debauch'd by praise,
'Tis now grown an incurable disease:
In vain to quench this foolish fire I try
    In wisdom and philosophy:
    In vain all wholesome herbs I sow,
      Where nought but weeds will grow
Whate'er I plant (like corn on barren earth)
      By an equivocal birth,
    Seeds, and runs up to poetry.
 
[Footnote 1: Sir William Temple was ambassador to the States of Holland,
and had a principal share in the negotiations which preceded the treaty
of Nimeguen, 1679.]

 

THE DESCRIPTION OF A SALAMANDER, 1705
 
From Pliny, "Hist. Nat.," lib. x, 67; lib. xxix.
 
As mastiff dogs, in modern phrase, are
Call'd _Pompey, Scipio_, and _Caesar;_
As pies and daws are often styl'd
With Christian nicknames, like a child;
As we say _Monsieur_ to an ape,
Without offence to human shape;
So men have got, from bird and brute,
Names that would best their nature suit.
The _Lion, Eagle, Fox_, and _Boar_,
Were heroes' titles heretofore,
Bestow'd as hi'roglyphics fit
To show their valour, strength, or wit:
For what is understood by _fame_,
Besides the getting of a _name?_
But, e'er since men invented guns,
A diff'rent way their fancy runs:
To paint a hero, we inquire
For something that will conquer _fire._
Would you describe _Turenne_[1] or _Trump?_[2]
Think of a _bucket_ or a _pump._
Are these too low?--then find out grander,
Call my LORD CUTTS a _Salamander._[3]
'Tis well;--but since we live among
Detractors with an evil tongue,
Who may object against the term,
Pliny shall prove what we affirm:
Pliny shall prove, and we'll apply,
And I'll be judg'd by standers by.
First, then, our author has defined
This reptile of the serpent kind,
With gaudy coat, and shining train;
But loathsome spots his body stain:
Out from some hole obscure he flies,
When rains descend, and tempests rise,
Till the sun clears the air; and then
Crawls back neglected to his den.[4]
  So, when the war has raised a storm,
I've seen a snake in human form,
All stain'd with infamy and vice,
Leap from the dunghill in a trice,
Burnish and make a gaudy show,
Become a general, peer, and beau,
Till peace has made the sky serene,
Then shrink into its hole again.
"All this we grant--why then, look yonder,
Sure that must be a Salamander!"
  Further, we are by Pliny told,
This serpent is extremely cold;
So cold, that, put it in the fire,
'Twill make the very flames expire:
Besides, it spues a filthy froth
(Whether thro' rage or lust or both)
Of matter purulent and white,
Which, happening on the skin to light,
And there corrupting to a wound,
Spreads leprosy and baldness round.[5]
  So have I seen a batter'd beau,
By age and claps grown cold as snow,
Whose breath or touch, where'er he came,
Blew out love's torch, or chill'd the flame:
And should some nymph, who ne'er was cruel,
Like Carleton cheap, or famed Du-Ruel,
Receive the filth which he ejects,
She soon would find the same effects
Her tainted carcass to pursue,
As from the Salamander's spue;
A dismal shedding of her locks,
And, if no leprosy, a pox.
"Then I'll appeal to each bystander,
If this be not a Salamander?"
 
 
[Footnote 1: The famous Mareschal Turenne, general of the French forces,
called the greatest commander of the age.]
 
[Footnote 2: Admiral of the States General in their war with England,
eminent for his courage and his victories.]
 
[Footnote 3: Who obtained this name from his coolness under fire at the
siege of Namur. See Journal to Stella, "Prose Works," vol. ii, p.
267.--_W. E. B_.]
 
[Footnote 4: "Animal lacertae figura, stellatum, numquam nisi magnis
imbribus proveniens et serenitate desinens."--Pliny, "Hist. Nat.," lib.
x, 67.]
 
[Footnote 5: "Huic tantus rigor ut ignem tactu restinguat non alio modo
quam glacies. ejusdem sanie, quae lactea ore vomitur, quacumque parte
corporis humani contacta toti defluunt pili, idque quod contactum est
colorem in vitiliginem mutat."--Lib. x, 67. "Inter omnia venenata
salamandrae scelus maximum est. . . . nam si arbori inrepsit omnia poma
inficit veneno, et eos qui ederint necat frigida vi nihil aconito
distans."--Lib. xxix, 4, 23.--_W. E. B._]

 

VERSES SAID TO BE WRITTEN ON THE UNION
 
The queen has lately lost a part
Of her ENTIRELY-ENGLISH[1] heart,
For want of which, by way of botch,
She pieced it up again with SCOTCH.
Blest revolution! which creates
Divided hearts, united states!
See how the double nation lies,
Like a rich coat with skirts of frize:
As if a man, in making posies,
Should bundle thistles up with roses.
Who ever yet a union saw
Of kingdoms without faith or law?[2]
Henceforward let no statesman dare
A kingdom to a ship compare;
Lest he should call our commonweal
A vessel with a double keel:
Which, just like ours, new rigg'd and mann'd,
And got about a league from land,
By change of wind to leeward side,
The pilot knew not how to guide.
So tossing faction will o'erwhelm
Our crazy double-bottom'd realm.
 
 
[Footnote 1: The motto on Queen Anne's coronation medal.--_N_.]
 
[Footnote 2: _I.e._, Differing in religion and law.]

 

BAUCIS AND PHILEMON
 
ON THE EVER-LAMENTED LOSS OF THE TWO YEW-TREES IN THE PARISH OF
CHILTHORNE, SOMERSET. 1706.
IMITATED FROM THE EIGHTH BOOK OF OVID
 
In ancient times, as story tells,
The saints would often leave their cells,
And stroll about, but hide their quality,
To try good people's hospitality.
  It happen'd on a winter night,
As authors of the legend write,
Two brother hermits, saints by trade,
Taking their tour in masquerade,
Disguis'd in tatter'd habits, went
To a small village down in Kent;
Where, in the strollers' canting strain,
They begg'd from door to door in vain,
Try'd ev'ry tone might pity win;
But not a soul would let them in.
  Our wand'ring saints, in woful state,
Treated at this ungodly rate,
Having thro' all the village past,
To a small cottage came at last
Where dwelt a good old honest ye'man,
Call'd in the neighbourhood Philemon;
Who kindly did these saints invite
In his poor hut to pass the night;
And then the hospitable sire
Bid Goody Baucis mend the fire;
While he from out the chimney took
A flitch of bacon off the hook,
And freely from the fattest side
Cut out large slices to be fry'd;
Then stepp'd aside to fetch 'em drink,
Fill'd a large jug up to the brink,
And saw it fairly twice go round;
Yet (what was wonderful) they found
'Twas still replenished to the top,
As if they ne'er had touch'd a drop.
The good old couple were amaz'd,
And often on each other gaz'd;
For both were frighten'd to the heart,
And just began to cry, "What _art_!"
Then softly turn'd aside, to view
Whether the lights were burning blue.
The gentle pilgrims, soon aware on't,
Told them their calling and their errand:
"Good folk, you need not be afraid,
We are but saints," the hermits said;
"No hurt shall come to you or yours:
But for that pack of churlish boors,
Not fit to live on Christian ground,
They and their houses shall be drown'd;
While you shall see your cottage rise,
And grow a church before your eyes."
  They scarce had spoke, when fair and soft,
The roof began to mount aloft;
Aloft rose ev'ry beam and rafter;
The heavy wall climb'd slowly after.
  The chimney widen'd, and grew higher
Became a steeple with a spire.
  The kettle to the top was hoist,
And there stood fasten'd to a joist,
But with the upside down, to show
Its inclination for below:
In vain; for a superior force
Applied at bottom stops its course:
Doom'd ever in suspense to dwell,
'Tis now no kettle, but a bell.
  A wooden jack, which had almost
Lost by disuse the art to roast,
A sudden alteration feels,
Increas'd by new intestine wheels;
And, what exalts the wonder more,
The number made the motion slower.
The flyer, though it had leaden feet,
Turn'd round so quick you scarce could see't;
But, slacken'd by some secret power,
Now hardly moves an inch an hour.
The jack and chimney, near ally'd,
Had never left each other's side;
The chimney to a steeple grown,
The jack would not be left alone;
But, up against the steeple rear'd,
Became a clock, and still adher'd;
And still its love to household cares,
By a shrill voice at noon, declares,
Warning the cookmaid not to burn
That roast meat, which it cannot turn.
The groaning-chair began to crawl,
Like an huge snail, half up the wall;
There stuck aloft in public view,
And with small change, a pulpit grew.
  The porringers, that in a row
Hung high, and made a glitt'ring show,
To a less noble substance chang'd,
Were now but leathern buckets rang'd.
  The ballads, pasted on the wall,
Of Joan[2] of France, and English Mall,[3]
Fair Rosamond, and Robin Hood,
The little Children in the Wood,
Now seem'd to look abundance better,
Improved in picture, size, and letter:
And, high in order plac'd, describe
The heraldry of ev'ry tribe.[4]
  A bedstead of the antique mode,
Compact of timber many a load,
Such as our ancestors did use,
Was metamorphos'd into pews;
Which still their ancient nature keep
By lodging folk disposed to sleep.
  The cottage, by such feats as these,
Grown to a church by just degrees,
The hermits then desired their host
To ask for what he fancy'd most.
Philemon, having paused a while,
Return'd them thanks in homely style;
Then said, "My house is grown so fine,
Methinks, I still would call it mine.
I'm old, and fain would live at ease;
Make me the parson if you please."
  He spoke, and presently he feels
His grazier's coat fall down his heels:
He sees, yet hardly can believe,
About each arm a pudding sleeve;
His waistcoat to a cassock grew,
And both assumed a sable hue;
But, being old, continued just
As threadbare, and as full of dust.
His talk was now of tithes and dues:
Could smoke his pipe, and read the news;
Knew how to preach old sermons next,
Vamp'd in the preface and the text;
At christ'nings well could act his part,
And had the service all by heart;
Wish'd women might have children fast,
And thought whose sow had farrow'd last;
Against dissenters would repine,
And stood up firm for "right divine;"
Found his head fill'd with many a system;
But classic authors,--he ne'er mist 'em.
  Thus having furbish'd up a parson,
Dame Baucis next they play'd their farce on.
Instead of homespun coifs, were seen
Good pinners edg'd with colberteen;
Her petticoat, transform'd apace,
Became black satin, flounced with lace.
"Plain Goody" would no longer down,
'Twas "Madam," in her grogram gown.
Philemon was in great surprise,
And hardly could believe his eyes.
Amaz'd to see her look so prim,
And she admir'd as much at him.
  Thus happy in their change of life,
Were several years this man and wife:
When on a day, which prov'd their last,
Discoursing o'er old stories past,
They went by chance, amidst their talk,
[5]To the churchyard to take a walk;
When Baucis hastily cry'd out,
"My dear, I see your forehead sprout!"--
"Sprout;" quoth the man; "what's this you tell us?
I hope you don't believe me jealous!
But yet, methinks, I feel it true,
And really yours is budding too--Nay,--now
I cannot stir my foot;
It feels as if 'twere taking root."
  Description would but tire my Muse,
In short, they both were turn'd to yews.
Old Goodman Dobson of the Green
Remembers he the trees has seen;
He'll talk of them from noon till night,
And goes with folk to show the sight;
On Sundays, after evening prayer,
He gathers all the parish there;
Points out the place of either yew,
Here Baucis, there Philemon, grew:
Till once a parson of our town,
To mend his barn, cut Baucis down;
At which, 'tis hard to be believ'd
How much the other tree was griev'd,
Grew scrubby, dy'd a-top, was stunted,
So the next parson stubb'd and burnt it.
 
 
[Footnote 1: This is the version of the poem as altered by Swift in
accordance with Addison's suggestions.--_W. E. B_.]
 
[Footnote 2: La Pucelle d'Orléans. See "Hudibras," "Lady's Answer," verse
285, and note in Grey's edition, ii, 439.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 3: Mary Ambree, on whose exploits in Flanders the popular
ballad was written. The line in the text is from "Hudibras," Part I,
c. 2, 367, where she is compared with Trulla:
  "A bold virago, stout and tall,
  As Joan of France, or English Mall."
The ballad is preserved in Percy's "Reliques of English Poetry," vol. ii,
239.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 4: The tribes of Israel were sometimes distinguished in country
churches by the ensigns given to them by Jacob.--_Dublin Edition_.]
 
 
[Footnote 5: In the churchyard to fetch a walk.--_Dublin Edition_.]

 

A DESCRIPTION OF THE MORNING
 
WRITTEN IN APRIL 1709, AND FIRST PRINTED IN "THE TATLER"[1]
 
 
Now hardly here and there an hackney-coach
Appearing, show'd the ruddy morn's approach.
Now Betty from her master's bed had flown,
And softly stole to discompose her own;
The slip-shod 'prentice from his master's door
Had pared the dirt, and sprinkled round the floor.
Now Moll had whirl'd her mop with dext'rous airs,
Prepared to scrub the entry and the stairs.
The youth with broomy stumps began to trace
The kennel's edge, where wheels had worn the place.[2]
The small-coal man was heard with cadence deep,
Till drown'd in shriller notes of chimney-sweep:
Duns at his lordship's gate began to meet;
And brickdust Moll had scream'd through half the street.
The turnkey now his flock returning sees,
Duly let out a-nights to steal for fees:[3]
The watchful bailiffs take their silent stands,
And schoolboys lag with satchels in their hands.
 
 
[Footnote 1: No. 9. See the excellent edition in six vols., with notes,
1786.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 2: To find old nails.--_Faulkner_.]
 
[Footnote 3: To meet the charges levied upon them by the keeper of the
prison.--_W. E. B._]
 
A DESCRIPTION OF A CITY SHOWER[1]
 
WRITTEN IN OCT., 1710; AND FIRST PRINTED IN "THE TATLER," NO. 238
 
 
Careful observers may foretell the hour,
(By sure prognostics,) when to dread a shower.
While rain depends, the pensive cat gives o'er
Her frolics, and pursues her tail no more.
Returning home at night, you'll find the sink
Strike your offended sense with double stink.
If you be wise, then, go not far to dine:
You'll spend in coach-hire more than save in wine.
A coming shower your shooting corns presage,
Old a-ches[2] throb, your hollow tooth will rage;
Sauntering in coffeehouse is Dulman seen;
He damns the climate, and complains of spleen.
Meanwhile the South, rising with dabbled wings,
A sable cloud athwart the welkin flings,
That swill'd more liquor than it could contain,
And, like a drunkard, gives it up again.
Brisk Susan whips her linen from the rope,
While the first drizzling shower is borne aslope;
Such is that sprinkling which some careless quean
Flirts on you from her mop, but not so clean:
You fly, invoke the gods; then, turning, stop
To rail; she singing, still whirls on her mop.
Not yet the dust had shunn'd the unequal strife,
But, aided by the wind, fought still for life,
And wafted with its foe by violent gust,
'Twas doubtful which was rain, and which was dust.[3]
Ah! where must needy poet seek for aid,
When dust and rain at once his coat invade?
Sole[4] coat! where dust, cemented by the rain,
Erects the nap, and leaves a cloudy stain!
Now in contiguous drops the flood comes down,
Threatening with deluge this _devoted_ town.
To shops in crowds the daggled females fly,
Pretend to cheapen goods, but nothing buy.
The Templar spruce, while every spout's abroach,
Stays till 'tis fair, yet seems to call a coach.
The tuck'd-up sempstress walks with hasty strides,
While streams run down her oil'd umbrella's sides.
Here various kinds, by various fortunes led,
Commence acquaintance underneath a shed.
Triumphant Tories, and desponding Whigs,[5]
Forget their feuds, and join to save their wigs.
Box'd in a chair the beau impatient sits,
While spouts run clattering o'er the roof by fits,
And ever and anon with frightful din
The leather sounds; he trembles from within.
So when Troy chairmen bore the wooden steed,
Pregnant with Greeks impatient to be freed,
(Those bully Greeks, who, as the moderns do,
Instead of paying chairmen, ran them through,)
Laocoon[6] struck the outside with his spear,
And each imprison'd hero quaked for fear.
  Now from all parts the swelling kennels flow,
And bear their trophies with them as they go:
Filth of all hues and odour, seem to tell
What street they sail'd from, by their sight and smell.
They, as each torrent drives with rapid force,
From Smithfield to St. Pulchre's shape their course,
And in huge confluence join'd at Snowhill ridge,
Fall from the conduit prone to Holborn bridge.[7]
Sweeping from butchers' stalls, dung, guts, and blood,
Drown'd puppies, stinking sprats, all drench'd in mud,
Dead cats, and turnip-tops, come tumbling down the flood.
 
 
[Footnote 1: Swift was very proud of the "Shower," and so refers to it in
the Journal to Stella. See "Prose Works," vol. ii, p. 33: "They say 'tis
the best thing I ever writ, and I think so too. I suppose the Bishop of
Clogher will show it you. Pray tell me how you like it." Again, p. 41:
"there never was such a Shower since Danäe's," etc.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 2: "Aches" is two syllables, but modern printers, who had lost
the right pronunciation, have _aches_ as one syllable; and then to
complete the metre have foisted in "aches _will_ throb." Thus, what the
poet and the linguist wish to preserve, is altered and finally lost. See
Disraeli's "Curiosities of Literature," vol. i, title "Errata," p. 81,
edit. 1858. A good example occurs in "Hudibras," Part III, canto 2, line
407, where persons are mentioned who
  "Can by their Pangs and _Aches_ find
  All turns and changes of the wind."--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 3: "'Twas doubtful which was sea and which was sky." GARTH'S
_Dispensary_.]
 
[Footnote 4: Originally thus, but altered when Pope published the
"Miscellanies":
  "His only coat, where dust confused with rain,
  Roughens the nap, and leaves a mingled stain."--_Scott_.]
 
[Footnote 5: Alluding to the change of ministry at that time.]
 
[Footnote 6: Virg., "Aeneid," lib. ii.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 7: Fleet Ditch, in which Pope laid the famous diving scene in
"The Dunciad"; celebrated also by Gay in his "Trivia." There is a view of
Fleet Ditch as an illustration to "The Dunciad" in Warburton's edition
of Pope, 8vo, 1751.--_W. E. B._]
 
THE AUTHOR UPON HIMSELF
 
1713
 
 
A few of the first lines were wanting in the copy sent us by a friend of
the Author's from London.--_Dublin Edition_.
 
       *       *       *       *       *
       *       *       *       *       *
       *       *  By an old ---- pursued,
A crazy prelate,[1] and a royal prude;[2]
By dull divines, who look with envious eyes
On ev'ry genius that attempts to rise;
And pausing o'er a pipe, with doubtful nod,
Give hints, that poets ne'er believe in God.
So clowns on scholars as on wizards look,
And take a folio for a conj'ring book.
  Swift had the sin of wit, no venial crime:
Nay, 'twas affirm'd, he sometimes dealt in rhyme;
Humour and mirth had place in all he writ;
He reconcil'd divinity and wit:
He moved and bow'd, and talk'd with too much grace;
Nor show'd the parson in his gait or face;
Despised luxurious wines and costly meat;
Yet still was at the tables of the great;
Frequented lords; saw those that saw the queen;
At Child's or Truby's,[3] never once had been;
Where town and country vicars flock in tribes,
Secured by numbers from the laymen's gibes;
And deal in vices of the graver sort,
Tobacco, censure, coffee, pride, and port.
  But, after sage monitions from his friends,
His talents to employ for nobler ends;
To better judgments willing to submit,
He turns to politics his dang'rous wit.
  And now, the public Int'rest to support,
By Harley Swift invited, comes to court;
In favour grows with ministers of state;
Admitted private, when superiors wait:
And Harley, not ashamed his choice to own,
Takes him to Windsor in his coach alone.
At Windsor Swift no sooner can appear,
But St. John comes, and whispers in his ear:
The waiters stand in ranks: the yeomen cry,
_Make room_, as if a duke were passing by.
  Now Finch[4] alarms the lords: he hears for certain
This dang'rous priest is got behind the curtain.
Finch, famed for tedious elocution, proves
That Swift oils many a spring which Harley moves.
Walpole and Aislaby,[5] to clear the doubt,
Inform the Commons, that the secret's out:
"A certain doctor is observed of late
To haunt a certain minister of state:
From whence with half an eye we may discover
The peace is made, and Perkin must come over."
  York is from Lambeth sent, to show the queen
A dang'rous treatise[6] writ against the spleen;
Which, by the style, the matter, and the drift,
'Tis thought could be the work of none but Swift.
Poor York! the harmless tool of others' hate;
He sues for pardon,[7] and repents too late.
  Now angry Somerset her vengeance vows
On Swift's reproaches for her ******* spouse:[8]
From her red locks her mouth with venom fills,
And thence into the royal ear instils.
The queen incensed, his services forgot,
Leaves him a victim to the vengeful Scot.[9]
Now through the realm a proclamation spread,
To fix a price on his devoted head.[10]
While innocent, he scorns ignoble flight;
His watchful friends preserve him by a sleight.
  By Harley's favour once again he shines;
Is now caress'd by candidate divines,
Who change opinions with the changing scene:
Lord! how were they mistaken in the dean!
Now Delawar[11] again familiar grows;
And in Swift's ear thrusts half his powder'd nose.
The Scottish nation, whom he durst offend,
Again apply that Swift would be their friend.[12]
  By faction tired, with grief he waits awhile,
His great contending friends to reconcile;
Performs what friendship, justice, truth require:
What could he more, but decently retire?
 
 
[Footnote 1: Dr. John Sharpe, who, for some unbecoming reflections in his
sermons, had been suspended, May 14, 1686, was raised from the Deanery of
Canterbury, to the Archbishopric of York, July 5, 1691; and died February
2, 1712-13. According to Dr. Swift's account, the archbishop had
represented him to the queen as a person that was not a Christian; the
great lady [the Duchess of Somerset] had supported the aspersion; and the
queen, upon such assurances, had given away the bishopric contrary to her
majesty's first intentions [which were in favour of Swift]. See Orrery's
"Remarks on the Life of Swift," p. 48.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 2: Queen Anne.]
 
[Footnote 3: Coffeehouses frequented by the clergy. In the preceding
poem, Swift gives the same trait of his own character:
  "A clergyman of special note
  For shunning those of his own coat."
His feeling towards his order was exactly the reverse of his celebrated
misanthropical expression of hating mankind, but loving individuals. On
the contrary, he loved the church, but disliked associating with
individual clergymen.--_Scott._ See his letter to Pope, Sept. 29, 1725,
in Pope's Works, edit. Elwin and Courthope, vii, 53, and the unjust
remarks of the commentators.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 4: Daniel Finch, Earl of Nottingham, who made a speech in the
House of Lords against the author.]
 
[Footnote 5: John Aislaby, then M.P. for Ripon. They both spoke against
him in the House of Commons.--_Scott._]
 
[Footnote 6: The Tale of a Tub.]
 
[Footnote 7: He sent a message to the author to desire his pardon, and
that he was very sorry for what he had said and done.]
 
[Footnote 8: Insert _murder'd_. The duchess's first husband, Thomas
Thynne, Esq., was assassinated in Pall Mall by banditti, the emissaries
of Count Königsmark. As the motive of this crime was the count's love to
the lady, with whom Thynne had never cohabited, Swift seems to throw upon
her the imputation of being privy to the crime. See the "Windsor
Prophecy," _ante_, p. 150.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 9: The Duke of Argyle.]
 
[Footnote 10: For writing "The Public Spirit of the Whigs."]
 
[Footnote 11: Then lord-treasurer of the household, who cautiously
avoided Swift while the proclamation was impending.]
 
[Footnote 12: He was visited by the Scots lords more than ever.]
 
 STELLA'S BIRTH-DAY.[1] 1719-20
 
WRITTEN A.D. 1720-21.--_Stella_.
 
 
All travellers at first incline
Where'er they see the fairest sign
And if they find the chambers neat,
And like the liquor and the meat,
Will call again, and recommend
The Angel Inn to every friend.
And though the painting grows decay'd,
The house will never lose its trade:
Nay, though the treach'rous tapster,[2] Thomas,
Hangs a new Angel two doors from us,
As fine as daubers' hands can make it,
In hopes that strangers may mistake it,
We[3] think it both a shame and sin
To quit the true old Angel Inn.
  Now this is Stella's case in fact,
An angel's face a little crack'd.
(Could poets or could painters fix
How angels look at thirty-six:)
This drew us in at first to find
In such a form an angel's mind;
And every virtue now supplies
The fainting rays of Stella's eyes.
See, at her levee crowding swains,
Whom Stella freely entertains
With breeding, humour, wit, and sense,
And puts them to so small expense;
Their minds so plentifully fills,
And makes such reasonable bills,
So little gets for what she gives,
We really wonder how she lives!
And had her stock been less, no doubt
She must have long ago run out.
  Then, who can think we'll quit the place,
When Doll hangs out a newer face?
Nail'd to her window full in sight
All Christian people to invite.
Or stop and light at Chloe's head,
With scraps and leavings to be fed?
  Then, Chloe, still go on to prate
Of thirty-six and thirty-eight;
Pursue your trade of scandal-picking,
Your hints that Stella is no chicken;
Your innuendoes, when you tell us,
That Stella loves to talk with fellows:
But let me warn you to believe
A truth, for which your soul should grieve;
That should you live to see the day,
When Stella's locks must all be gray,
When age must print a furrow'd trace
On every feature of her face;
Though you, and all your senseless tribe,
Could Art, or Time, or Nature bribe,
To make you look like Beauty's Queen,
And hold for ever at fifteen;
No bloom of youth can ever blind
The cracks and wrinkles of your mind:
All men of sense will pass your door,
And crowd to Stella's at four-score.
 
 
[Footnote 1: Collated with Stella's own copy transcribed in her
volume.--_Forster_.]
 
[Footnote 2: Rascal.--_Stella_.]
 
[Footnote 3: They.--_Stella_.]
PHYLLIS; OR, THE PROGRESS OF LOVE, 1716
 
 
Desponding Phyllis was endu'd
With ev'ry talent of a prude:
She trembled when a man drew near;
Salute her, and she turn'd her ear:
If o'er against her you were placed,
She durst not look above your waist:
She'd rather take you to her bed,
Than let you see her dress her head;
In church you hear her, thro' the crowd,
Repeat the absolution loud:
In church, secure behind her fan,
She durst behold that monster man:
There practis'd how to place her head,
And bite her lips to make them red;
Or, on the mat devoutly kneeling,
Would lift her eyes up to the ceiling.
And heave her bosom unaware,
For neighb'ring beaux to see it bare.
  At length a lucky lover came,
And found admittance to the dame,
Suppose all parties now agreed,
The writings drawn, the lawyer feed,
The vicar and the ring bespoke:
Guess, how could such a match be broke?
See then what mortals place their bliss in!
Next morn betimes the bride was missing:
The mother scream'd, the father chid;
Where can this idle wench be hid?
No news of Phyl! the bridegroom came,
And thought his bride had skulk'd for shame;
Because her father used to say,
The girl had such a bashful way!
  Now John the butler must be sent
To learn the road that Phyllis went:
The groom was wish'd[1] to saddle Crop;
For John must neither light nor stop,
But find her, wheresoe'er she fled,
And bring her back alive or dead.
  See here again the devil to do!
For truly John was missing too:
The horse and pillion both were gone!
Phyllis, it seems, was fled with John.
  Old Madam, who went up to find
What papers Phyl had left behind,
A letter on the toilet sees,
"To my much honour'd father--these--"
('Tis always done, romances tell us,
When daughters run away with fellows,)
Fill'd with the choicest common-places,
By others used in the like cases.
"That long ago a fortune-teller
Exactly said what now befell her;
And in a glass had made her see
A serving-man of low degree.
It was her fate, must be forgiven;
For marriages were made in Heaven:
His pardon begg'd: but, to be plain,
She'd do't if 'twere to do again:
Thank'd God, 'twas neither shame nor sin;
For John was come of honest kin.
Love never thinks of rich and poor;
She'd beg with John from door to door.
Forgive her, if it be a crime;
She'll never do't another time.
She ne'er before in all her life
Once disobey'd him, maid nor wife."
One argument she summ'd up all in,
"The thing was done and past recalling;
And therefore hoped she should recover
His favour when his passion's over.
She valued not what others thought her,
And was--his most obedient daughter."
Fair maidens all, attend the Muse,
Who now the wand'ring pair pursues:
Away they rode in homely sort,
Their journey long, their money short;
The loving couple well bemir'd;
The horse and both the riders tir'd:
Their victuals bad, their lodgings worse;
Phyl cried! and John began to curse:
Phyl wish'd that she had strain'd a limb,
When first she ventured out with him;
John wish'd that he had broke a leg,
When first for her he quitted Peg.
  But what adventures more befell 'em,
The Muse hath now no time to tell 'em;
How Johnny wheedled, threaten'd, fawn'd,
Till Phyllis all her trinkets pawn'd:
How oft she broke her marriage vows,
In kindness to maintain her spouse,
Till swains unwholesome spoil'd the trade;
For now the surgeon must be paid,
To whom those perquisites are gone,
In Christian justice due to John.
  When food and raiment now grew scarce,
Fate put a period to the farce,
And with exact poetic justice;
For John was landlord, Phyllis hostess;
They keep, at Stains, the Old Blue Boar,
Are cat and dog, and rogue and whore.
 
 
[Footnote 1: A tradesman's phrase.--_Swift_.]
 
THE PROGRESS OF BEAUTY. 1719
 
When first Diana leaves her bed,
  Vapours and steams her looks disgrace,
A frowzy dirty-colour'd red
  Sits on her cloudy wrinkled face:
 
But by degrees, when mounted high,
  Her artificial face appears
Down from her window in the sky,
  Her spots are gone, her visage clears.
 
'Twixt earthly females and the moon,
  All parallels exactly run;
If Celia should appear too soon,
  Alas, the nymph would be undone!
 
To see her from her pillow rise,
  All reeking in a cloudy steam,
Crack'd lips, foul teeth, and gummy eyes,
  Poor Strephon! how would he blaspheme!
 
The soot or powder which was wont
  To make her hair look black as jet,
Falls from her tresses on her front,
  A mingled mass of dirt and sweat.
 
Three colours, black, and red, and white
  So graceful in their proper place,
Remove them to a different light,
  They form a frightful hideous face:
 
For instance, when the lily slips
  Into the precincts of the rose,
And takes possession of the lips,
  Leaving the purple to the nose:
 
So Celia went entire to bed,
  All her complexion safe and sound;
But, when she rose, the black and red,
  Though still in sight, had changed their ground.
 
The black, which would not be confined,
  A more inferior station seeks,
Leaving the fiery red behind,
  And mingles in her muddy cheeks.
 
The paint by perspiration cracks,
  And falls in rivulets of sweat,
On either side you see the tracks
  While at her chin the conflu'nts meet.
 
A skilful housewife thus her thumb,
  With spittle while she spins anoints;
And thus the brown meanders come
  In trickling streams betwixt her joints.
 
But Celia can with ease reduce,
  By help of pencil, paint, and brush,
Each colour to its place and use,
  And teach her cheeks again to blush.
 
She knows her early self no more,
  But fill'd with admiration stands;
As other painters oft adore
  The workmanship of their own hands.
 
Thus, after four important hours,
  Celia's the wonder of her sex;
Say, which among the heavenly powers
  Could cause such wonderful effects?
 
Venus, indulgent to her kind,
  Gave women all their hearts could wish,
When first she taught them where to find
  White lead, and Lusitanian dish.
 
Love with white lead cements his wings;
  White lead was sent us to repair
Two brightest, brittlest, earthly things,
  A lady's face, and China-ware.
 
She ventures now to lift the sash;
  The window is her proper sphere;
Ah, lovely nymph! be not too rash,
  Nor let the beaux approach too near.
 
Take pattern by your sister star;
  Delude at once and bless our sight;
When you are seen, be seen from far,
  And chiefly choose to shine by night.
 
In the Pall Mall when passing by,
  Keep up the glasses of your chair,
Then each transported fop will cry,
  "G----d d----n me, Jack, she's wondrous fair!"
 
But art no longer can prevail,
  When the materials all are gone;
The best mechanic hand must fail,
  Where nothing's left to work upon.
 
Matter, as wise logicians say,
  Cannot without a form subsist;
And form, say I, as well as they,
  Must fail if matter brings no grist.
 
And this is fair Diana's case;
  For, all astrologers maintain,
Each night a bit drops off her face,
  When mortals say she's in her wane:
 
While Partridge wisely shows the cause
  Efficient of the moon's decay,
That Cancer with his pois'nous claws
  Attacks her in the milky way:
 
But Gadbury,[2] in art profound,
  From her pale cheeks pretends to show
That swain Endymion is not sound,
  Or else that Mercury's her foe.
 
But let the cause be what it will,
  In half a month she looks so thin,
That Flamsteed[3] can, with all his skill,
  See but her forehead and her chin.
 
Yet, as she wastes, she grows discreet,
  Till midnight never shows her head;
So rotting Celia strolls the street,
  When sober folks are all a-bed:
 
For sure, if this be Luna's fate,
  Poor Celia, but of mortal race,
In vain expects a longer date
  To the materials of her face.
 
When Mercury her tresses mows,
  To think of oil and soot is vain:
No painting can restore a nose,
  Nor will her teeth return again.
 
Two balls of glass may serve for eyes,
  White lead can plaister up a cleft;
But these, alas, are poor supplies
  If neither cheeks nor lips be left.
 
Ye powers who over love preside!
  Since mortal beauties drop so soon,
If ye would have us well supplied,
  Send us new nymphs with each new moon!
 
 
[Footnote 1: Collated with the copy transcribed by
Stella.--_Forster_.]
 
[Footnote 2: Gadbury, an astrologer, wrote a series of
ephemerides.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 3: John Flamsteed, the celebrated astronomer-royal, born in
August, 1646, died in December, 1719. For a full account of him, see
"Dictionary of National Biography."--_W. E. B._]
 
 
 
 
THE PROGRESS OF MARRIAGE
 
AETATIS SUAE fifty-two,
A reverend Dean began to woo[2]
A handsome, young, imperious girl,
Nearly related to an earl.[3]
Her parents and her friends consent;
The couple to the temple went:
They first invite the Cyprian queen;
'Twas answer'd, "She would not be seen;"
But Cupid in disdain could scarce
Forbear to bid them kiss his ----
The Graces next, and all the Muses,
Were bid in form, but sent excuses.
Juno attended at the porch,
With farthing candle for a torch;
While mistress Iris held her train,
The faded bow bedropt with rain.
Then Hebe came, and took her place,
But show'd no more than half her face.
  Whate'er these dire forebodings meant,
In joy the marriage-day was spent;
The marriage-_day_, you take me right,
I promise nothing for the night.
The bridegroom, drest to make a figure,
Assumes an artificial vigour;
A flourish'd nightcap on, to grace
His ruddy, wrinkled, smirking face;
Like the faint red upon a pippin,
Half wither'd by a winter's keeping.
  And thus set out this happy pair,
The swain is rich, the nymph is fair;
But, what I gladly would forget,
The swain is old, the nymph coquette.
Both from the goal together start;
Scarce run a step before they part;
No common ligament that binds
The various textures of their minds;
Their thoughts and actions, hopes and fears,
Less corresponding than their years.
The Dean desires his coffee soon,
She rises to her tea at noon.
While the Dean goes out to cheapen books,
She at the glass consults her looks;
While Betty's buzzing at her ear,
Lord, what a dress these parsons wear!
So odd a choice how could she make!
Wish'd him a colonel for her sake.
Then, on her finger ends she counts,
Exact, to what his[4] age amounts.
The Dean, she heard her uncle say,
Is sixty, if he be a day;
His ruddy cheeks are no disguise;
You see the crow's feet round his eyes.
  At one she rambles to the shops,
To cheapen tea, and talk with fops;
Or calls a council of her maids,
And tradesmen, to compare brocades.
Her weighty morning business o'er,
Sits down to dinner just at four;
Minds nothing that is done or said,
Her evening work so fills her head.
The Dean, who used to dine at one,
Is mawkish, and his stomach's gone;
In threadbare gown, would scarce a louse hold,
Looks like the chaplain of the household;
Beholds her, from the chaplain's place,
In French brocades, and Flanders lace;
He wonders what employs her brain,
But never asks, or asks in vain;
His mind is full of other cares,
And, in the sneaking parson's airs,
Computes, that half a parish dues
Will hardly find his wife in shoes.
  Canst thou imagine, dull divine,
'Twill gain her love, to make her fine?
Hath she no other wants beside?
You feed her lust as well as pride,
Enticing coxcombs to adore,
And teach her to despise thee more.
  If in her coach she'll condescend
To place him at the hinder end,
Her hoop is hoist above his nose,
His odious gown would soil her clothes.[5]
She drops him at the church, to pray,
While she drives on to see the play.
He like an orderly divine,
Comes home a quarter after nine,
And meets her hasting to the ball:
Her chairmen push him from the wall.
The Dean gets in and walks up stairs,
And calls the family to prayers;
Then goes alone to take his rest
In bed, where he can spare her best.
At five the footmen make a din,
Her ladyship is just come in;
The masquerade began at two,
She stole away with much ado;
And shall be chid this afternoon,
For leaving company so soon:
She'll say, and she may truly say't,
She can't abide to stay out late.
  But now, though scarce a twelvemonth married,
Poor Lady Jane has thrice miscarried:
The cause, alas! is quickly guest;
The town has whisper'd round the jest.
Think on some remedy in time,
The Dean you see, is past his prime,
Already dwindled to a lath:
No other way but try the Bath.
  For Venus, rising from the ocean,
Infused a strong prolific potion,
That mix'd with Acheloüs spring,
The horned flood, as poets sing,
Who, with an English beauty smitten,
Ran under ground from Greece to Britain;
The genial virtue with him brought,
And gave the nymph a plenteous draught;
Then fled, and left his horn behind,
For husbands past their youth to find;
The nymph, who still with passion burn'd,
Was to a boiling fountain turn'd,
Where childless wives crowd every morn,
To drink in Acheloüs horn;[6]
Or bathe beneath the Cross their limbs
Where fruitful matter chiefly swims.
And here the father often gains
That title by another's pains.
  Hither, though much against his grain
The Dean has carried Lady Jane.
He, for a while, would not consent,
But vow'd his money all was spent:
Was ever such a clownish reason!
And must my lady slip her season?
The doctor, with a double fee,
Was bribed to make the Dean agree.
  Here, all diversions of the place
Are proper in my lady's case:
With which she patiently complies,
Merely because her friends advise;
His money and her time employs
In music, raffling-rooms, and toys;
Or in the Cross-bath[7] seeks an heir,
Since others oft have found one there;
Where if the Dean by chance appears,
It shames his cassock and his years.
He keeps his distance in the gallery,
Till banish'd by some coxcomb's raillery;
For 'twould his character expose,
To bathe among the belles and beaux.
  So have I seen, within a pen,
Young ducklings foster'd by a hen;
But, when let out, they run and muddle,
As instinct leads them, in a puddle;
The sober hen, not born to swim,
With mournful note clucks round the brim.[8]
  The Dean, with all his best endeavour,
Gets not an heir, but gets a fever.
A victim to the last essays
Of vigour in declining days,
He dies, and leaves his mourning mate
(What could he less?)[9] his whole estate.
  The widow goes through all her forms:
New lovers now will come in swarms.
O, may I see her soon dispensing
Her favours to some broken ensign!
Him let her marry for his face,
And only coat of tarnish'd lace;
To turn her naked out of doors,
And spend her jointure on his whores;
But, for a parting present, leave her
A rooted pox to last for ever!
 
 
 
[Footnote 1: Collated with Swift's original MS. in my possession, dated
January, 1721-2.--_Forster_.]
 
[Footnote 2:
  "A rich divine began to woo,"
  "A grave divine resolved to woo,"
are Swift's successive changes of this line.--_Forster_.]
 
[Footnote 3: "Philippa, daughter to an Earl," is the original text, but
he changed it on changing the lady's name to Jane.--_Forster_.]
 
[Footnote 4: Scott prints "her."--_Forster_.]
 
[Footnote 5: Swift has writ in the margin:
  "If by a more than usual grace
  She lends him in her chariot place,
  Her hoop is hoist above his nose
  For fear his gown should soil her clothes."--_Forster_.]
 
[Footnote 6: For this fable, see Ovid, "Metam.," lib.
ix.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 7: So named from a very curious cross or pillar which was
erected in it in 1687 by John, Earl of Melfort, Secretary of State to
James the Second, in honour of the King's second wife, Mary Beatrice of
Modena, having conceived after bathing there.--Collinson's "History of
Somersetshire."--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 8: "Meanwhile stands cluckling at the brim," the first
draft.--_Forster_.]
 
[Footnote 9: "The best of heirs" in first draft.--_Forster_.]
 
 
 
 
THE PROGRESS OF POETRY
 
The farmer's goose, who in the stubble
Has fed without restraint or trouble,
Grown fat with corn and sitting still,
Can scarce get o'er the barn-door sill;
And hardly waddles forth to cool
Her belly in the neighbouring pool!
Nor loudly cackles at the door;
For cackling shows the goose is poor.
  But, when she must be turn'd to graze,
And round the barren common strays,
Hard exercise, and harder fare,
Soon make my dame grow lank and spare;
Her body light, she tries her wings,
And scorns the ground, and upward springs;
While all the parish, as she flies,
Hear sounds harmonious from the skies.
  Such is the poet fresh in pay,
The third night's profits of his play;
His morning draughts till noon can swill,
Among his brethren of the quill:
With good roast beef his belly full,
Grown lazy, foggy, fat, and dull,
Deep sunk in plenty and delight,
What poet e'er could take his flight?
Or, stuff'd with phlegm up to the throat,
What poet e'er could sing a note?
Nor Pegasus could bear the load
Along the high celestial road;
The steed, oppress'd, would break his girth,
To raise the lumber from the earth.
  But view him in another scene,
When all his drink is Hippocrene,
His money spent, his patrons fail,
His credit out for cheese and ale;
His two-years coat so smooth and bare,
Through every thread it lets in air;
With hungry meals his body pined,
His guts and belly full of wind;
And, like a jockey for a race,
His flesh brought down to flying case:
Now his exalted spirit loathes
Encumbrances of food and clothes;
And up he rises like a vapour,
Supported high on wings of paper.
He singing flies, and flying sings,
While from below all Grub-Street rings.
 
CADENUS AND VANESSA[1]
1713
 
 
The shepherds and the nymphs were seen
Pleading before the Cyprian queen.
The counsel for the fair began,
Accusing the false creature Man.
The brief with weighty crimes was charged
On which the pleader much enlarged;
That Cupid now has lost his art,
Or blunts the point of every dart;--
His altar now no longer smokes,
His mother's aid no youth invokes:
This tempts freethinkers to refine,
And bring in doubt their powers divine;
Now love is dwindled to intrigue,
And marriage grown a money league;
Which crimes aforesaid (with her leave)
Were (as he humbly did conceive)
Against our sovereign lady's peace,
Against the statute in that case,
Against her dignity and crown:
Then pray'd an answer, and sat down.
  The nymphs with scorn beheld their foes;
When the defendant's counsel rose,
And, what no lawyer ever lack'd,
With impudence own'd all the fact;
But, what the gentlest heart would vex,
Laid all the fault on t'other sex.
That modern love is no such thing
As what those ancient poets sing:
A fire celestial, chaste, refined,
Conceived and kindled in the mind;
Which, having found an equal flame,
Unites, and both become the same,
In different breasts together burn,
Together both to ashes turn.
But women now feel no such fire,
And only know the gross desire.
Their passions move in lower spheres,
Where'er caprice or folly steers,
A dog, a parrot, or an ape,
Or some worse brute in human shape,
Engross the fancies of the fair,
The few soft moments they can spare,
From visits to receive and pay,
From scandal, politics, and play;
From fans, and flounces, and brocades,
From equipage and park parades,
From all the thousand female toys,
From every trifle that employs
The out or inside of their heads,
Between their toilets and their beds.
  In a dull stream, which moving slow,
You hardly see the current flow;
If a small breeze obstruct the course,
It whirls about, for want of force,
And in its narrow circle gathers
Nothing but chaff, and straws, and feathers.
The current of a female mind
Stops thus, and turns with every wind:
Thus whirling round together draws
Fools, fops, and rakes, for chaff and straws.
Hence we conclude, no women's hearts
Are won by virtue, wit, and parts:
Nor are the men of sense to blame,
For breasts incapable of flame;
The faults must on the nymphs be placed
Grown so corrupted in their taste.
  The pleader having spoke his best,
Had witness ready to attest,
Who fairly could on oath depose,
When questions on the fact arose,
That every article was true;
Nor further those deponents knew:
Therefore he humbly would insist,
The bill might be with costs dismiss'd.
The cause appear'd of so much weight,
That Venus, from her judgment seat,
Desired them not to talk so loud,
Else she must interpose a cloud:
For if the heavenly folks should know
These pleadings in the courts below,
That mortals here disdain to love,
She ne'er could show her face above;
For gods, their betters, are too wise
To value that which men despise.
And then, said she, my son and I
Must stroll in air, 'twixt land and sky;
Or else, shut out from heaven and earth,
Fly to the sea, my place of birth:
There live with daggled mermaids pent,
And keep on fish perpetual Lent.
  But since the case appear'd so nice,
She thought it best to take advice.
The Muses, by the king's permission,
Though foes to love, attend the session,
And on the right hand took their places
In order; on the left, the Graces:
To whom she might her doubts propose
On all emergencies that rose.
The Muses oft were seen to frown;
The Graces half ashamed look'd down;
And 'twas observed, there were but few
Of either sex among the crew,
Whom she or her assessors knew.
The goddess soon began to see,
Things were not ripe for a decree;
And said, she must consult her books,
The lovers' Fletas, Bractons, Cokes.
First to a dapper clerk she beckon'd
To turn to Ovid, book the second:
She then referr'd them to a place
In Virgil, _vide_ Dido's case:
As for Tibullus's reports,
They never pass'd for law in courts:
For Cowley's briefs, and pleas of Waller,
Still their authority was smaller.
  There was on both sides much to say:
She'd hear the cause another day;
And so she did; and then a third;
She heard it--there she kept her word:
But, with rejoinders or replies,
Long bills, and answers stuff'd with lies,
Demur, imparlance, and essoign,
The parties ne'er could issue join:
For sixteen years the cause was spun,
And then stood where it first begun.
  Now, gentle Clio, sing, or say
What Venus meant by this delay?
The goddess much perplex'd in mind
To see her empire thus declined,
When first this grand debate arose,
Above her wisdom to compose,
Conceived a project in her head
To work her ends; which, if it sped,
Would show the merits of the cause
Far better than consulting laws.
  In a glad hour Lucina's aid
Produced on earth a wondrous maid,
On whom the Queen of Love was bent
To try a new experiment.
She threw her law-books on the shelf,
And thus debated with herself.
  Since men allege, they ne'er can find
Those beauties in a female mind,
Which raise a flame that will endure
For ever uncorrupt and pure;
If 'tis with reason they complain,
This infant shall restore my reign.
I'll search where every virtue dwells,
From courts inclusive down to cells:
What preachers talk, or sages write;
These will I gather and unite,
And represent them to mankind
Collected in that infant's mind.
  This said, she plucks in Heaven's high bowers
A sprig of amaranthine flowers.
In nectar thrice infuses bays,
Three times refined in Titan's rays;
Then calls the Graces to her aid,
And sprinkles thrice the newborn maid:
From whence the tender skin assumes
A sweetness above all perfumes:
From whence a cleanliness remains,
Incapable of outward stains:
From whence that decency of mind,
So lovely in the female kind,
Where not one careless thought intrudes;
Less modest than the speech of prudes;
Where never blush was call'd in aid,
That spurious virtue in a maid,
A virtue but at second-hand;
They blush because they understand.
  The Graces next would act their part,
And show'd but little of their art;
Their work was half already done,
The child with native beauty shone;
The outward form no help required:
Each, breathing on her thrice, inspired
That gentle, soft, engaging air,
Which in old times adorn'd the fair:
And said, "Vanessa be the name
By which thou shall be known to fame:
Vanessa, by the gods enroll'd:
Her name on earth shall not be told."
  But still the work was not complete;
When Venus thought on a deceit.
Drawn by her doves, away she flies,
And finds out Pallas in the skies.
Dear Pallas, I have been this morn
To see a lovely infant born:
A boy in yonder isle below,
So like my own without his bow,
By beauty could your heart be won,
You'd swear it is Apollo's son;
But it shall ne'er be said, a child
So hopeful, has by me been spoil'd:
I have enough besides to spare,
And give him wholly to your care.
  Wisdom's above suspecting wiles;
The Queen of Learning gravely smiles,
Down from Olympus comes with joy,
Mistakes Vanessa for a boy;
Then sows within her tender mind
Seeds long unknown to womankind:
For manly bosoms chiefly fit,
The seeds of knowledge, judgment, wit.
Her soul was suddenly endued
With justice, truth, and fortitude;
With honour, which no breath can stain,
Which malice must attack in vain;
With open heart and bounteous hand.
But Pallas here was at a stand;
She knew, in our degenerate days,
Bare virtue could not live on praise;
That meat must be with money bought:
She therefore, upon second thought,
Infused, yet as it were by stealth,
Some small regard for state and wealth;
Of which, as she grew up, there staid
A tincture in the prudent maid:
She managed her estate with care,
Yet liked three footmen to her chair.
But, lest he should neglect his studies
Like a young heir, the thrifty goddess
(For fear young master should be spoil'd)
Would use him like a younger child;
And, after long computing, found
'Twould come to just five thousand pound.
  The Queen of Love was pleased, and proud,
To see Vanessa thus endow'd:
She doubted not but such a dame
Through every breast would dart a flame,
That every rich and lordly swain
With pride would drag about her chain;
That scholars would forsake their books,
To study bright Vanessa's looks;
As she advanced, that womankind
Would by her model form their mind,
And all their conduct would be tried
By her, as an unerring guide;
Offending daughters oft would hear
Vanessa's praise rung in their ear:
Miss Betty, when she does a fault,
Lets fall her knife, or spills the salt,
Will thus be by her mother chid,
"'Tis what Vanessa never did!"
Thus by the nymphs and swains adored,
My power shall be again restored,
And happy lovers bless my reign--
So Venus hoped, but hoped in vain.
  For when in time the Martial Maid
Found out the trick that Venus play'd,
She shakes her helm, she knits her brows,
And, fired with indignation, vows,
To-morrow, ere the setting sun,
She'd all undo that she had done.
  But in the poets we may find
A wholesome law, time out of mind,
Had been confirm'd by Fate's decree,
That gods, of whatsoe'er degree,
Resume not what themselves have given,
Or any brother god in Heaven:
Which keeps the peace among the gods,
Or they must always be at odds:
And Pallas, if she broke the laws,
Must yield her foe the stronger cause;
A shame to one so much adored
For wisdom at Jove's council-board.
Besides, she fear'd the Queen of Love
Would meet with better friends above.
And though she must with grief reflect,
To see a mortal virgin deck'd
With graces hitherto unknown
To female breasts, except her own:
Yet she would act as best became
A goddess of unspotted fame.
She knew, by augury divine,
Venus would fail in her design:
She studied well the point, and found
Her foe's conclusions were not sound,
From premises erroneous brought,
And therefore the deduction's naught,
And must have contrary effects,
To what her treacherous foe expects.
  In proper season Pallas meets
The Queen of Love, whom thus she greets,
(For gods, we are by Homer told,
Can in celestial language scold:)--
Perfidious goddess! but in vain
You form'd this project in your brain;
A project for your talents fit,
With much deceit and little wit.
Thou hast, as thou shall quickly see,
Deceived thyself, instead of me;
For how can heavenly wisdom prove
An instrument to earthly love?
Know'st thou not yet, that men commence
Thy votaries for want of sense?
Nor shall Vanessa be the theme
To manage thy abortive scheme:
She'll prove the greatest of thy foes;
And yet I scorn to interpose,
But, using neither skill nor force,
Leave all things to their natural course.
  The goddess thus pronounced her doom:
When, lo! Vanessa in her bloom
Advanced, like Atalanta's star,
But rarely seen, and seen from far:
In a new world with caution slept,
Watch'd all the company she kept,
Well knowing, from the books she read,
What dangerous paths young virgins tread:
Would seldom at the Park appear,
Nor saw the play-house twice a year;
Yet, not incurious, was inclined
To know the converse of mankind.
  First issued from perfumers' shops,
A crowd of fashionable fops:
They ask'd her how she liked the play;
Then told the tattle of the day;
A duel fought last night at two,
About a lady--you know who;
Mention'd a new Italian, come
Either from Muscovy or Rome;
Gave hints of who and who's together;
Then fell to talking of the weather;
Last night was so extremely fine,
The ladies walk'd till after nine:
Then, in soft voice and speech absurd,
With nonsense every second word,
With fustian from exploded plays,
They celebrate her beauty's praise;
Run o'er their cant of stupid lies,
And tell the murders of her eyes.
  With silent scorn Vanessa sat,
Scarce listening to their idle chat;
Farther than sometimes by a frown,
When they grew pert, to pull them down.
At last she spitefully was bent
To try their wisdom's full extent;
And said, she valued nothing less
Than titles, figure, shape, and dress;
That merit should be chiefly placed
In judgment, knowledge, wit, and taste;
And these, she offer'd to dispute,
Alone distinguish'd man from brute:
That present times have no pretence
To virtue, in the noble sense
By Greeks and Romans understood,
To perish for our country's good.
She named the ancient heroes round,
Explain'd for what they were renown'd;
Then spoke with censure or applause
Of foreign customs, rites, and laws;
Through nature and through art she ranged
And gracefully her subject changed;
In vain! her hearers had no share
In all she spoke, except to stare.
Their judgment was, upon the whole,
--That lady is the dullest soul!--
Then tapt their forehead in a jeer,
As who should say--She wants it here!
She may be handsome, young, and rich,
But none will burn her for a witch!
  A party next of glittering dames,
From round the purlieus of St. James,
Came early, out of pure good will,
To see the girl in dishabille.
Their clamour, 'lighting from their chairs
Grew louder all the way up stairs;
At entrance loudest, where they found
The room with volumes litter'd round.
Vanessa held Montaigne, and read,
While Mrs. Susan comb'd her head.
They call'd for tea and chocolate,
And fell into their usual chat,
Discoursing with important face,
On ribbons, fans, and gloves, and lace;
Show'd patterns just from India brought,
And gravely ask'd her what she thought,
Whether the red or green were best,
And what they cost? Vanessa guess'd
As came into her fancy first;
Named half the rates, and liked the worst.
To scandal next--What awkward thing
Was that last Sunday in the ring?
I'm sorry Mopsa breaks so fast:
I said her face would never last.
Corinna, with that youthful air,
Is thirty, and a bit to spare:
Her fondness for a certain earl
Began when I was but a girl!
Phillis, who but a month ago
Was married to the Tunbridge beau,
I saw coquetting t'other night
In public with that odious knight!
  They rallied next Vanessa's dress:
That gown was made for old Queen Bess.
Dear madam, let me see your head:
Don't you intend to put on red?
A petticoat without a hoop!
Sure, you are not ashamed to stoop!
With handsome garters at your knees,
No matter what a fellow sees.
  Filled with disdain, with rage inflamed
Both of herself and sex ashamed,
The nymph stood silent out of spite,
Nor would vouchsafe to set them right.
Away the fair detractors went,
And gave by turns their censures vent.
She's not so handsome in my eyes:
For wit, I wonder where it lies!
She's fair and clean, and that's the most:
But why proclaim her for a toast?
A baby face; no life, no airs,
But what she learn'd at country fairs;
Scarce knows what difference is between
Rich Flanders lace and Colberteen. [2]
I'll undertake, my little Nancy
In flounces has a better fancy;
With all her wit, I would not ask
Her judgment how to buy a mask.
We begg'd her but to patch her face,
She never hit one proper place;
Which every girl at five years old
Can do as soon as she is told.
I own, that out-of-fashion stuff
Becomes the creature well enough.
The girl might pass, if we could get her
To know the world a little better.
(To know the world! a modern phrase
For visits, ombre, balls, and plays.)
  Thus, to the world's perpetual shame,
The Queen of Beauty lost her aim;
Too late with grief she understood
Pallas had done more harm than good;
For great examples are but vain,
Where ignorance begets disdain.
Both sexes, arm'd with guilt and spite,
Against Vanessa's power unite:
To copy her few nymphs aspired;
Her virtues fewer swains admired.
So stars, beyond a certain height,
Give mortals neither heat nor light.
Yet some of either sex, endow'd
With gifts superior to the crowd,
With virtue, knowledge, taste, and wit
She condescended to admit:
With pleasing arts she could reduce
Men's talents to their proper use;
And with address each genius held
To that wherein it most excell'd;
Thus, making others' wisdom known,
Could please them, and improve her own.
A modest youth said something new;
She placed it in the strongest view.
All humble worth she strove to raise,
Would not be praised, yet loved to praise.
The learned met with free approach,
Although they came not in a coach:
Some clergy too she would allow,
Nor quarrell'd at their awkward bow;
But this was for Cadenus' sake,
A gownman of a different make;
Whom Pallas once, Vanessa's tutor,
Had fix'd on for her coadjutor.
  But Cupid, full of mischief, longs
To vindicate his mother's wrongs.
On Pallas all attempts are vain:
One way he knows to give her pain;
Vows on Vanessa's heart to take
Due vengeance, for her patron's sake;
Those early seeds by Venus sown,
In spite of Pallas now were grown;
And Cupid hoped they would improve
By time, and ripen into love.
The boy made use of all his craft,
In vain discharging many a shaft,
Pointed at colonels, lords, and beaux:
Cadenus warded off the blows;
For, placing still some book betwixt,
The darts were in the cover fix'd,
Or, often blunted and recoil'd,
On Plutarch's Moral struck, were spoil'd.
  The Queen of Wisdom could foresee,
But not prevent, the Fates' decree:
And human caution tries in vain
To break that adamantine chain.
Vanessa, though by Pallas taught,
By Love invulnerable thought,
Searching in books for wisdom's aid,
Was, in the very search, betray'd.
  Cupid, though all his darts were lost,
Yet still resolved to spare no cost:
He could not answer to his fame
The triumphs of that stubborn dame,
A nymph so hard to be subdued,
Who neither was coquette nor prude.
I find, said he, she wants a doctor,
Both to adore her, and instruct her:
I'll give her what she most admires
Among those venerable sires.
Cadenus is a subject fit,
Grown old in politics and wit,
Caress'd by ministers of state,
Of half mankind the dread and hate.
Whate'er vexations love attend,
She needs no rivals apprehend.
Her sex, with universal voice,
Must laugh at her capricious choice.
  Cadenus many things had writ:
Vanessa much esteem'd his wit,
And call'd for his poetic works:
Meantime the boy in secret lurks;
And, while the book was in her hand,
The urchin from his private stand
Took aim, and shot with all his strength
A dart of such prodigious length,
It pierced the feeble volume through,
And deep transfix'd her bosom too.
Some lines, more moving than the rest,
Stuck to the point that pierced her breast,
And, borne directly to the heart,
With pains unknown increased her smart.
  Vanessa, not in years a score,
Dreams of a gown of forty-four;
Imaginary charms can find
In eyes with reading almost blind:
Cadenus now no more appears
Declined in health, advanced in years.
She fancies music in his tongue;
Nor farther looks, but thinks him young.
What mariner is not afraid
To venture in a ship decay'd?
What planter will attempt to yoke
A sapling with a falling oak?
As years increase, she brighter shines;
Cadenus with each day declines:
And he must fall a prey to time,
While she continues in her prime.
Cadenus, common forms apart,
In every scene had kept his heart;
Had sigh'd and languish'd, vow'd and writ,
For pastime, or to show his wit,
But books, and time, and state affairs,
Had spoil'd his fashionable airs:
He now could praise, esteem, approve,
But understood not what was love.
His conduct might have made him styled
A father, and the nymph his child.
That innocent delight he took
To see the virgin mind her book,
Was but the master's secret joy
In school to hear the finest boy.
Her knowledge with her fancy grew;
She hourly press'd for something new;
Ideas came into her mind
So fast, his lessons lagg'd behind;
She reason'd, without plodding long,
Nor ever gave her judgment wrong.
But now a sudden change was wrought;
She minds no longer what he taught.
Cadenus was amazed to find
Such marks of a distracted mind:
For, though she seem'd to listen more
To all he spoke, than e'er before,
He found her thoughts would absent range,
Yet guess'd not whence could spring the change.
And first he modestly conjectures
His pupil might be tired with lectures;
Which help'd to mortify his pride,
Yet gave him not the heart to chide:
But, in a mild dejected strain,
At last he ventured to complain:
Said, she should be no longer teazed,
Might have her freedom when she pleased;
Was now convinced he acted wrong
To hide her from the world so long,
And in dull studies to engage
One of her tender sex and age;
That every nymph with envy own'd,
How she might shine in the _grand monde_:
And every shepherd was undone
To see her cloister'd like a nun.
This was a visionary scheme:
He waked, and found it but a dream;
A project far above his skill:
For nature must be nature still.
If he were bolder than became
A scholar to a courtly dame,
She might excuse a man of letters;
Thus tutors often treat their better;
And, since his talk offensive grew,
He came to take his last adieu.
  Vanessa, fill'd with just disdain,
Would still her dignity maintain,
Instructed from her early years
To scorn the art of female tears.
  Had he employ'd his time so long
To teach her what was right and wrong;
Yet could such notions entertain
That all his lectures were in vain?
She own'd the wandering of her thoughts;
But he must answer for her faults.
She well remember'd to her cost,
That all his lessons were not lost.
Two maxims she could still produce,
And sad experience taught their use;
That virtue, pleased by being shown,
Knows nothing which it dares not own;
Can make us without fear disclose
Our inmost secrets to our foes;
That common forms were not design'd
Directors to a noble mind.
Now, said the nymph, to let you see
My actions with your rules agree;
That I can vulgar forms despise,
And have no secrets to disguise;
I knew, by what you said and writ,
How dangerous things were men of wit;
You caution'd me against their charms,
But never gave me equal arms;
Your lessons found the weakest part,
Aim'd at the head, but reach'd the heart.
  Cadenus felt within him rise
Shame, disappointment, guilt, surprise.
He knew not how to reconcile
Such language with her usual style:
And yet her words were so exprest,
He could not hope she spoke in jest.
His thoughts had wholly been confined
To form and cultivate her mind.
He hardly knew, till he was told,
Whether the nymph were young or old;
Had met her in a public place,
Without distinguishing her face;
Much less could his declining age
Vanessa's earliest thoughts engage;
And, if her youth indifference met,
His person must contempt beget;
Or grant her passion be sincere,
How shall his innocence be clear?
[3]Appearances were all so strong,
The world must think him in the wrong;
Would say, he made a treacherous use
Of wit, to flatter and seduce;
The town would swear, he had betray'd
By magic spells the harmless maid:
And every beau would have his joke,
That scholars were like other folk;
And, when Platonic flights were over,
The tutor turn'd a mortal lover!
So tender of the young and fair!
It show'd a true paternal care--
Five thousand guineas in her purse!
The doctor might have fancied worse.--
  Hardly at length he silence broke,
And falter'd every word he spoke;
Interpreting her complaisance,
Just as a man _sans_ consequence.
She rallied well, he always knew:
Her manner now was something new;
And what she spoke was in an air
As serious as a tragic player.
But those who aim at ridicule
Should fix upon some certain rule,
Which fairly hints they are in jest,
Else he must enter his protest:
For let a man be ne'er so wise,
He may be caught with sober lies;
A science which he never taught,
And, to be free, was dearly bought;
For, take it in its proper light,
'Tis just what coxcombs call a bite.
  But, not to dwell on things minute,
Vanessa finish'd the dispute;
Brought weighty arguments to prove
That reason was her guide in love.
She thought he had himself described,
His doctrines when she first imbibed;
What he had planted, now was grown;
His virtues she might call her own;
As he approves, as he dislikes,
Love or contempt her fancy strikes.
Self-love, in nature rooted fast,
Attends us first, and leaves us last;
Why she likes him, admire not at her;
She loves herself, and that's the matter.
How was her tutor wont to praise
The geniuses of ancient days!
(Those authors he so oft had named,
For learning, wit, and wisdom, famed;)
Was struck with love, esteem, and awe,
For persons whom he never saw.
Suppose Cadenus flourish'd then,
He must adore such godlike men.
If one short volume could comprise
All that was witty, learn'd, and wise,
How would it be esteem'd and read,
Although the writer long were dead!
If such an author were alive,
How all would for his friendship strive,
And come in crowds to see his face!
And this she takes to be her case.
Cadenus answers every end,
The book, the author, and the friend;
The utmost her desires will reach,
Is but to learn what he can teach:
His converse is a system fit
Alone to fill up all her wit;
While every passion of her mind
In him is centred and confined.
  Love can with speech inspire a mute,
And taught Vanessa to dispute.
This topic, never touch'd before,
Display'd her eloquence the more:
Her knowledge, with such pains acquired,
By this new passion grew inspired;
Through this she made all objects pass,
Which gave a tincture o'er the mass;
As rivers, though they bend and twine,
Still to the sea their course incline:
Or, as philosophers, who find
Some favourite system to their mind;
In every point to make it fit,
Will force all nature to submit.
  Cadenus, who could ne'er suspect
His lessons would have such effect,
Or be so artfully applied,
Insensibly came on her side.
It was an unforeseen event;
Things took a turn he never meant.
Whoe'er excels in what we prize,
Appears a hero in our eyes;
Each girl, when pleased with what is taught,
Will have the teacher in her thought.
When miss delights in her spinet,
A fiddler may a fortune get;
A blockhead, with melodious voice,
In boarding-schools may have his choice:
And oft the dancing-master's art
Climbs from the toe to touch the heart.
In learning let a nymph delight,
The pedant gets a mistress by't.
Cadenus, to his grief and shame,
Could scarce oppose Vanessa's flame;
And, though her arguments were strong,
At least could hardly wish them wrong.
Howe'er it came, he could not tell,
But sure she never talk'd so well.
His pride began to interpose;
Preferr'd before a crowd of beaux!
So bright a nymph to come unsought!
Such wonder by his merit wrought!
'Tis merit must with her prevail!
He never knew her judgment fail!
She noted all she ever read!
And had a most discerning head!
  'Tis an old maxim in the schools,
That flattery's the food of fools;
Yet now and then your men of wit
Will condescend to take a bit.
  So when Cadenus could not hide,
He chose to justify his pride;
Construing the passion she had shown,
Much to her praise, more to his own.
Nature in him had merit placed,
In her a most judicious taste.
Love, hitherto a transient guest,
Ne'er held possession of his breast;
So long attending at the gate,
Disdain'd to enter in so late.
Love why do we one passion call,
When 'tis a compound of them all?
Where hot and cold, where sharp and sweet,
In all their equipages meet;
Where pleasures mix'd with pains appear,
Sorrow with joy, and hope with fear;
Wherein his dignity and age
Forbid Cadenus to engage.
But friendship, in its greatest height,
A constant, rational delight,
On virtue's basis fix'd to last,
When love allurements long are past,
Which gently warms, but cannot burn,
He gladly offers in return;
His want of passion will redeem
With gratitude, respect, esteem:
With what devotion we bestow,
When goddesses appear below.
  While thus Cadenus entertains
Vanessa in exalted strains,
The nymph in sober words entreats
A truce with all sublime conceits;
For why such raptures, flights, and fancies,
To her who durst not read romances?
In lofty style to make replies,
Which he had taught her to despise?
But when her tutor will affect
Devotion, duty, and respect,
He fairly abdicates the throne:
The government is now her own;
He has a forfeiture incurr'd;
She vows to take him at his word,
And hopes he will not think it strange
If both should now their stations change,
The nymph will have her turn to be
The tutor; and the pupil, he;
Though she already can discern
Her scholar is not apt to learn;
Or wants capacity to reach
The science she designs to teach;
Wherein his genius was below
The skill of every common beau,
Who, though he cannot spell, is wise
Enough to read a lady's eyes,
And will each accidental glance
Interpret for a kind advance.
  But what success Vanessa met,
Is to the world a secret yet.
Whether the nymph, to please her swain,
Talks in a high romantic strain;
Or whether he at last descends
To act with less seraphic ends;
Or to compound the business, whether
They temper love and books together;
Must never to mankind be told,
Nor shall the conscious Muse unfold.
  Meantime the mournful Queen of Love
Led but a weary life above.
She ventures now to leave the skies,
Grown by Vanessa's conduct wise:
For though by one perverse event
Pallas had cross'd her first intent;
Though her design was not obtain'd:
Yet had she much experience gain'd,
And, by the project vainly tried,
Could better now the cause decide.
She gave due notice, that both parties,
_Coram Regina, prox' die Martis,_
Should at their peril, without fail,
Come and appear, and save their bail.
All met; and, silence thrice proclaimed,
One lawyer to each side was named.
The judge discover'd in her face
Resentments for her late disgrace;
And full of anger, shame, and grief,
Directed them to mind their brief;
Nor spend their time to show their reading:
She'd have a summary proceeding.
She gather'd under every head
The sum of what each lawyer said,
Gave her own reasons last, and then
Decreed the cause against the men.
  But in a weighty case like this,
To show she did not judge amiss,
Which evil tongues might else report,
She made a speech in open court;
Wherein she grievously complains,
"How she was cheated by the swains;
On whose petition (humbly showing,
That women were not worth the wooing,
And that, unless the sex would mend,
The race of lovers soon must end)--
She was at Lord knows what expense
To form a nymph of wit and sense,
A model for her sex design'd,
Who never could one lover find.
She saw her favour was misplaced;
The fellows had a wretched taste;
She needs must tell them to their face,
They were a stupid, senseless race;
And, were she to begin again,
She'd study to reform the men;
Or add some grains of folly more
To women, than they had before,
To put them on an equal foot;
And this, or nothing else, would do't.
This might their mutual fancy strike;
Since every being loves its like.
  "But now, repenting what was done,
She left all business to her son;
She put the world in his possession,
And let him use it at discretion."
  The crier was order'd to dismiss
The court, who made his last "O yes!"
The goddess would no longer wait;
But, rising from her chair of state,
Left all below at six and seven,
Harness'd her doves, and flew to Heaven.
 
 
[Footnote 1: Hester, elder daughter of Bartholomew Vanhomrigh, a Dutch
merchant in Dublin, where he acquired a fortune of some £16,000. Upon
his death, his widow and two daughters settled in London, about 1710-11,
where Swift became intimate with the family. See "Prose Works,"
especially Journal to Stella. After Swift became Dean of St. Patrick's,
Vanessa and her sister, on their mother's death, returned to Ireland. The
younger sister died about 1720, and Vanessa died at Marlay Abbey in
May, 1723.]
 
[Footnote 2: A lace so called after the celebrated French Minister,
Colbert. Planché's "British Costume," 395._W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 3: See the verses "On Censure," vol. i, p.160.--_W. E. B._]
 
TO STELLA, WHO COLLECTED AND TRANSCRIBED HIS POEMS
1720
 
 
As, when a lofty pile is raised,
We never hear the workmen praised,
Who bring the lime, or place the stones.
But all admire Inigo Jones:
So, if this pile of scatter'd rhymes
Should be approved in aftertimes;
If it both pleases and endures,
The merit and the praise are yours.
  Thou, Stella, wert no longer young,
When first for thee my harp was strung,
Without one word of Cupid's darts,
Of killing eyes, or bleeding hearts;
With friendship and esteem possest,
I ne'er admitted Love a guest.
  In all the habitudes of life,
The friend, the mistress, and the wife,
Variety we still pursue,
In pleasure seek for something new;
Or else, comparing with the rest,
Take comfort that our own is best;
The best we value by the worst,
As tradesmen show their trash at first;
But his pursuits are at an end,
Whom Stella chooses for a friend.
A poet starving in a garret,
Conning all topics like a parrot,
Invokes his mistress and his Muse,
And stays at home for want of shoes:
Should but his Muse descending drop
A slice of bread and mutton-chop;
Or kindly, when his credit's out,
Surprise him with a pint of stout;
Or patch his broken stocking soles;
Or send him in a peck of coals;
Exalted in his mighty mind,
He flies and leaves the stars behind;
Counts all his labours amply paid,
Adores her for the timely aid.
  Or, should a porter make inquiries
For Chloe, Sylvia, Phillis, Iris;
Be told the lodging, lane, and sign,
The bowers that hold those nymphs divine;
Fair Chloe would perhaps be found
With footmen tippling under ground;
The charming Sylvia beating flax,
Her shoulders mark'd with bloody tracks;[1]
Bright Phillis mending ragged smocks:
And radiant Iris in the pox.
These are the goddesses enroll'd
In Curll's collection, new and old,
Whose scoundrel fathers would not know 'em,
If they should meet them in a poem.
  True poets can depress and raise,
Are lords of infamy and praise;
They are not scurrilous in satire,
Nor will in panegyric flatter.
Unjustly poets we asperse;
Truth shines the brighter clad in verse,
And all the fictions they pursue
Do but insinuate what is true.
  Now, should my praises owe their truth
To beauty, dress, or paint, or youth,
What stoics call without our power,
They could not be ensured an hour;
'Twere grafting on an annual stock,
That must our expectation mock,
And, making one luxuriant shoot,
Die the next year for want of root:
Before I could my verses bring,
Perhaps you're quite another thing.
  So Mævius, when he drain'd his skull
To celebrate some suburb trull,
His similes in order set,
And every crambo[2] he could get;
Had gone through all the common-places
Worn out by wits, who rhyme on faces;
Before he could his poem close,
The lovely nymph had lost her nose.
  Your virtues safely I commend;
They on no accidents depend:
Let malice look with all her eyes,
She dares not say the poet lies.
  Stella, when you these lines transcribe,
Lest you should take them for a bribe,
Resolved to mortify your pride,
I'll here expose your weaker side.
  Your spirits kindle to a flame,
Moved by the lightest touch of blame;
And when a friend in kindness tries
To show you where your error lies,
Conviction does but more incense;
Perverseness is your whole defence;
Truth, judgment, wit, give place to spite,
Regardless both of wrong and right;
Your virtues all suspended wait,
Till time has open'd reason's gate;
And, what is worse, your passion bends
Its force against your nearest friends,
Which manners, decency, and pride,
Have taught from you the world to hide;
In vain; for see, your friend has brought
To public light your only fault;
And yet a fault we often find
Mix'd in a noble, generous mind:
And may compare to Ætna's fire,
Which, though with trembling, all admire;
The heat that makes the summit glow,
Enriching all the vales below.
Those who, in warmer climes, complain
From Phoebus' rays they suffer pain,
Must own that pain is largely paid
By generous wines beneath a shade.
  Yet, when I find your passions rise,
And anger sparkling in your eyes,
I grieve those spirits should be spent,
For nobler ends by nature meant.
One passion, with a different turn,
Makes wit inflame, or anger burn:
So the sun's heat, with different powers,
Ripens the grape, the liquor sours:
Thus Ajax, when with rage possest,
By Pallas breathed into his breast,
His valour would no more employ,
Which might alone have conquer'd Troy;
But, blinded by resentment, seeks
For vengeance on his friends the Greeks.
  You think this turbulence of blood
From stagnating preserves the flood,
Which, thus fermenting by degrees,
Exalts the spirits, sinks the lees.
Stella, for once you reason wrong;
For, should this ferment last too long,
By time subsiding, you may find
Nothing but acid left behind;
From passion you may then be freed,
When peevishness and spleen succeed.
Say, Stella, when you copy next,
Will you keep strictly to the text?
Dare you let these reproaches stand,
And to your failing set your hand?
Or, if these lines your anger fire,
Shall they in baser flames expire?
Whene'er they burn, if burn they must,
They'll prove my accusation just.
 
 
[Footnote 1: At Bridewell; see vol. i, "A Beautiful Young Nymph," at
p. 201.--_W. E. B_.]
 
[Footnote 3: A cant word for a rhyme.--_W. E. B._]
 
 
 
A SATIRICAL ELEGY
ON THE DEATH OF A LATE FAMOUS GENERAL
 
His Grace! impossible! what, dead!
Of old age too, and in his bed!
And could that mighty warrior fall,
And so inglorious, after all?
Well, since he's gone, no matter how,
The last loud trump must wake him now;
And, trust me, as the noise grows stronger,
He'd wish to sleep a little longer.
And could he be indeed so old
As by the newspapers we're told?
Threescore, I think, is pretty high;
'Twas time in conscience he should die!
This world he cumber'd long enough;
He burnt his candle to the snuff;
And that's the reason, some folks think,
He left behind so great a stink.
Behold his funeral appears,
Nor widows' sighs, nor orphans' tears,
Wont at such times each heart to pierce,
Attend the progress of his hearse.
But what of that? his friends may say,
He had those honours in his day.
True to his profit and his pride,
He made them weep before he died.
  Come hither, all ye empty things!
Ye bubbles raised by breath of kings!
Who float upon the tide of state;
Come hither, and behold your fate!
Let Pride be taught by this rebuke,
How very mean a thing's a duke;
From all his ill-got honours flung,
Turn'd to that dirt from whence he sprung.[2]
 
[Footnote 1: The Duke of Marlborough died on the 16th June,
1722.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 2: See the "Fable of Midas," _ante_, p. 150; and The Examiner,
"Prose Works," ix, 95.--_W. E. B._]
 
HORACE, BOOK I, ODE XIV
PARAPHRASED AND INSCRIBED TO IRELAND 1726
 
THE INSCRIPTION
 
  Poor floating isle, tost on ill fortune's waves,
  Ordain'd by fate to be the land of slaves;
  Shall moving Delos now deep-rooted stand;
  Thou fix'd of old, be now the moving land!
  Although the metaphor be worn and stale,
  Betwixt a state, and vessel under sail;
  Let me suppose thee for a ship a while,
  And thus address thee in the sailor style.
 
Unhappy ship, thou art return'd in vain;
New waves shall drive thee to the deep again.[1]
Look to thyself, and be no more the sport
Of giddy winds, but make some friendly port.
Lost are thy oars, that used thy course to guide,
Like faithful counsellors, on either side.
Thy mast, which like some aged patriot stood,
The single pillar for his country's good,
To lead thee, as a staff directs the blind,
Behold it cracks by yon rough eastern wind;
Your cables burst, and you must quickly feel
The waves impetuous enter at your keel;
Thus commonwealths receive a foreign yoke,
When the strong cords of union once are broke.
Tom by a sudden tempest is thy sail,
Expanded to invite a milder gale.
  As when some writer in a public cause
His pen, to save a sinking nation, draws,
While all is calm, his arguments prevail;
The people's voice expands his paper sail;
Till power, discharging all her stormy bags,
Flutters the feeble pamphlet into rags,
The nation scared, the author doom'd to death,
Who fondly put his trust in poplar breath.
  A larger sacrifice in vain you vow;
There's not a power above will help you now;
A nation thus, who oft Heaven's call neglects,
In vain from injured Heaven relief expects.
  'Twill not avail, when thy strong sides are broke
That thy descent is from the British oak;
Or, when your name and family you boast,
From fleets triumphant o'er the Gallic coast.
Such was Ierne's claim, as just as thine,
Her sons descended from the British line;
Her matchless sons, whose valour still remains
On French records for twenty long campaigns;
Yet, from an empress now a captive grown,
She saved Britannia's rights, and lost her own.
  In ships decay'd no mariner confides,
Lured by the gilded stern and painted sides:
Yet at a ball unthinking fools delight
In the gay trappings of a birth-day night:
They on the gold brocades and satins raved,
And quite forgot their country was enslaved.
Dear vessel, still be to thy steerage just,
Nor change thy course with every sudden gust;
Like supple patriots of the modern sort,
Who turn with every gale that blows from court.
  Weary and sea-sick, when in thee confined,
Now for thy safety cares distract my mind;
As those who long have stood the storms of state
Retire, yet still bemoan their country's fate.
Beware, and when you hear the surges roar,
Avoid the rocks on Britain's angry shore.
They lie, alas! too easy to be found;
For thee alone they lie the island round.
 
[Footnote 1:
  "O navis, referent in mare te novi
  Fluctus! O quid agis?"]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
DR. SWIFT TO MR. POPE, WHILE HE WAS WRITING THE "DUNCIAD"
 
1727
 
 
POPE has the talent well to speak,
  But not to reach the ear;
His loudest voice is low and weak,
  The Dean too deaf to hear.
 
Awhile they on each other look,
  Then different studies choose;
The Dean sits plodding on a book;
  Pope walks, and courts the Muse.
 
Now backs of letters, though design'd
  For those who more will need 'em,
Are fill'd with hints, and interlined,
  Himself can hardly read 'em.
 
Each atom by some other struck,
  All turns and motions tries;
Till in a lump together stuck,
  Behold a poem rise:
 
Yet to the Dean his share allot;
  He claims it by a canon;
That without which a thing is not,
  Is _causa sine quâ non_.
 
Thus, Pope, in vain you boast your wit;
  For, had our deaf divine
Been for your conversation fit,
  You had not writ a line.
 
Of Sherlock,[1] thus, for preaching framed
  The sexton reason'd well;
And justly half the merit claim'd,
  Because he rang the bell.
 
ON BURNING A DULL POEM
 
1729
 
 
An ass's hoof alone can hold
That poisonous juice, which kills by cold.
Methought, when I this poem read,
No vessel but an ass's head
Such frigid fustian could contain;
I mean, the head without the brain.
The cold conceits, the chilling thoughts,
Went down like stupifying draughts;
I found my head begin to swim,
A numbness crept through every limb.
In haste, with imprecations dire,
I threw the volume in the fire;
When, (who could think?) though cold as ice,
It burnt to ashes in a trice.
  How could I more enhance its fame?
Though born in snow, it died in flame.
 
 
THE LADY'S DRESSING-ROOM. 1730
 
Five hours (and who can do it less in?)
By haughty Celia spent in dressing;
The goddess from her chamber issues,
Array'd in lace, brocades, and tissues.
  Strephon, who found the room was void,
And Betty otherwise employ'd,
Stole in, and took a strict survey
Of all the litter as it lay:
Whereof, to make the matter clear,
An inventory follows here.
  And, first, a dirty smock appear'd,
Beneath the arm-pits well besmear'd;
Strephon, the rogue, display'd it wide,
And turn'd it round on ev'ry side:
On such a point, few words are best,
And Strephon bids us guess the rest;
But swears, how damnably the men lie
In calling Celia sweet and cleanly.
  Now listen, while he next produces
The various combs for various uses;
Fill'd up with dirt so closely fixt,
No brush could force a way betwixt;
A paste of composition rare,
Sweat, dandriff, powder, lead, and hair:
A fore-head cloth with oil upon't,
To smooth the wrinkles on her front:
Here alum-flour, to stop the steams
Exhaled from sour unsavoury streams:
There night-gloves made of Tripsey's hide,
[1]Bequeath'd by Tripsey when she died;
With puppy-water, beauty's help,
Distil'd from Tripsey's darling whelp.
Here gallipots and vials placed,
Some fill'd with washes, some with paste;
Some with pomatums, paints, and slops,
And ointments good for scabby chops.
Hard by a filthy bason stands,
Foul'd with the scouring of her hands:
The bason takes whatever comes,
The scrapings from her teeth and gums,
A nasty compound of all hues,
For here she spits, and here she spues.
  But, oh! it turn'd poor Strephon's bowels
When he beheld and smelt the towels,
Begumm'd, bematter'd, and beslim'd,
With dirt, and sweat, and ear-wax grim'd;
No object Strephon's eye escapes;
Here petticoats in frouzy heaps;
Nor be the handkerchiefs forgot,
All varnish'd o'er with snuff and snot.
The stockings why should I expose,
Stain'd with the moisture of her toes,[2]
Or greasy coifs, and pinners reeking,
Which Celia slept at least a week in?
A pair of tweezers next he found,
To pluck her brows in arches round;
Or hairs that sink the forehead low,
Or on her chin like bristles grow.
  The virtues we must not let pass
Of Celia's magnifying glass;
When frighted Strephon cast his eye on't,
It shew'd the visage of a giant:
A glass that can to sight disclose
The smallest worm in Celia's nose,
And faithfully direct her nail
To squeeze it out from head to tail;
For, catch it nicely by the head,
It must come out, alive or dead.
  Why, Strephon, will you tell the rest?
And must you needs describe the chest?
That careless wench! no creature warn her
To move it out from yonder corner!
But leave it standing full in sight,
For you to exercise your spight?
In vain the workman shew'd his wit,
With rings and hinges counterfeit,
To make it seem in this disguise
A cabinet to vulgar eyes:
Which Strephon ventur'd to look in,
Resolved to go thro' thick and thin.
He lifts the lid: there needs no more,
He smelt it all the time before.
  As, from within Pandora's box,
When Epimetheus op'd the locks,
A sudden universal crew
Of human evils upward flew;
He still was comforted to find
That hope at last remain'd behind:
So Strephon, lifting up the lid,
To view what in the chest was hid,
The vapours flew from up the vent;
But Strephon, cautious, never meant
The bottom of the pan to grope,
And foul his hands in search of hope.
O! ne'er may such a vile machine
Be once in Celia's chamber seen!
O! may she better learn to keep
Those "secrets of the hoary deep." [3]
  As mutton-cutlets, prime of meat,
Which, tho' with art you salt and beat,
As laws of cookery require,
And toast them at the clearest fire;
If from upon the hopeful chops
The fat upon a cinder drops,
To stinking smoke it turns the flame,
Pois'ning the flesh from whence it came,
And up exhales a greasy stench,
For which you curse the careless wench:
So things which must not be exprest,
When drop'd into the reeking chest,
Send up an excremental smell
To taint the part from whence they fell:
The petticoats and gown perfume,
And waft a stink round ev'ry room.
  Thus finishing his grand survey,
Disgusted Strephon slunk away;
Repeating in his amorous fits,
"Oh! Celia, Celia, Celia sh--!"
But Vengeance, goddess never sleeping,
Soon punish'd Strephon for his peeping:
His foul imagination links
Each dame he sees with all her stinks;
And, if unsavoury odours fly,
Conceives a lady standing by.
All women his description fits,
And both ideas jump like wits;
By vicious fancy coupled fast,
And still appearing in contrast.
  I pity wretched Strephon, blind
To all the charms of woman kind.
Should I the Queen of Love refuse,
Because she rose from stinking ooze?
To him that looks behind the scene,
Statira's but some pocky quean.
  When Celia in her glory shews,
If Strephon would but stop his nose,
(Who now so impiously blasphemes
Her ointments, daubs, and paints, and creams,
Her washes, slops, and every clout,
With which he makes so foul a rout;)
He soon would learn to think like me,
And bless his ravish'd sight to see
Such order from confusion sprung,
Such gaudy tulips raised from dung.
 
 
[Footnote 1: Var. "The bitch bequeath'd her when she died."--1732.]
 
[Footnote 2: Var. "marks of stinking toes."--1732.]
 
[Footnote 3: Milton, "Paradise Lost," ii, 890-1:
  "Before their eyes in sudden view appear
  The secrets of the hoary deep."--_W. E. B._]
 
 
A BEAUTIFUL YOUNG NYMPH GOING TO BED.
 
WRITTEN FOR THE HONOUR OF THE FAIR SEX. 1731
 
 
Corinna, pride of Drury-Lane,
For whom no shepherd sighs in vain;
Never did Covent-Garden boast
So bright a batter'd strolling toast!
No drunken rake to pick her up,
No cellar where on tick to sup;
Returning at the midnight hour,
Four stories climbing to her bower;
Then, seated on a three-legg'd chair,
Takes off her artificial hair;
Now picking out a crystal eye,
She wipes it clean, and lays it by.
Her eyebrows from a mouse's hide
Stuck on with art on either side,
Pulls off with care, and first displays 'em,
Then in a play-book smoothly lays 'em.
Now dext'rously her plumpers draws,
That serve to fill her hollow jaws,
Untwists a wire, and from her gums
A set of teeth completely comes;
Pulls out the rags contrived to prop
Her flabby dugs, and down they drop.
Proceeding on, the lovely goddess
Unlaces next her steel-ribb'd bodice,
Which, by the operator's skill,
Press down the lumps, the hollows fill.
Up goes her hand, and off she slips
The bolsters that supply her hips;
With gentlest touch she next explores
Her chancres, issues, running sores;
Effects of many a sad disaster,
And then to each applies a plaster:
But must, before she goes to bed,
Rub off the daubs of white and red,
And smooth the furrows in her front
With greasy paper stuck upon't.
She takes a bolus ere she sleeps;
And then between two blankets creeps.
With pains of love tormented lies;
Or, if she chance to close her eyes,
Of Bridewell[1] and the Compter[1] dreams,
And feels the lash, and faintly screams;
Or, by a faithless bully drawn,
At some hedge-tavern lies in pawn;
Or to Jamaica[2] seems transported
Alone, and by no planter courted;
Or, near Fleet-ditch's[3] oozy brinks,
Surrounded with a hundred stinks,
Belated, seems on watch to lie,
And snap some cully passing by;
Or, struck with fear, her fancy runs
On watchmen, constables, and duns,
From whom she meets with frequent rubs;
But never from religious clubs;
Whose favour she is sure to find,
Because she pays them all in kind.
  Corinna wakes. A dreadful sight!
Behold the ruins of the night!
A wicked rat her plaster stole,
Half eat, and dragg'd it to his hole.
The crystal eye, alas! was miss'd;
And puss had on her plumpers p--st,
A pigeon pick'd her issue-pease:
And Shock her tresses fill'd with fleas.
  The nymph, though in this mangled plight
Must ev'ry morn her limbs unite.
But how shall I describe her arts
To re-collect the scatter'd parts?
Or show the anguish, toil, and pain,
Of gath'ring up herself again?
The bashful Muse will never bear
In such a scene to interfere.
Corinna, in the morning dizen'd,
Who sees, will spew; who smells, be poison'd.
 
 
[Footnote 1: See Cunningham's "Handbook of London." Bridewell was the
Prison to which harlots were sent, and were made to beat hemp and
pick oakum and were whipped if they did not perform their tasks. See
the Plate in Hogarth's "Harlot's Progress." The Prison has, happily,
been cleared away. The hall, court room, etc., remain at 14, New
Bridge Street. The Compter, a similar Prison, was also abolished.
For details of these abominations, see "London Past and Present,"
by Wheatley.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 2: Jamaica seems to have been regarded as a place of exile. See
"A quiet life and a good name," _ante_, p. 152.--_W. E. B_.]
 
[Footnote 3:  See _ante_, p. 78, "Descripton of a City
Shower."--_W. E. B_.]
 
 
STREPHON AND CHLOE
1731
 
 
Of Chloe all the town has rung,
By ev'ry size of poets sung:
So beautiful a nymph appears
But once in twenty thousand years;
By Nature form'd with nicest care,
And faultless to a single hair.
Her graceful mien, her shape, and face,
Confess'd her of no mortal race:
And then so nice, and so genteel;
Such cleanliness from head to heel;
No humours gross, or frouzy steams,
No noisome whiffs, or sweaty streams,
Before, behind, above, below,
Could from her taintless body flow:
Would so discreetly things dispose,
None ever saw her pluck a rose.[1]
Her dearest comrades never caught her
Squat on her hams to make maid's water:
You'd swear that so divine a creature
Felt no necessities of nature.
In summer had she walk'd the town,
Her armpits would not stain her gown:
At country dances, not a nose
Could in the dog-days smell her toes.
Her milk-white hands, both palms and backs,
Like ivory dry, and soft as wax.
Her hands, the softest ever felt,
[2] Though cold would burn, though dry would melt.
  Dear Venus, hide this wond'rous maid,
Nor let her loose to spoil your trade.
While she engrosses ev'ry swain,
You but o'er half the world can reign.
Think what a case all men are now in,
What ogling, sighing, toasting, vowing!
What powder'd wigs! what flames and darts!
What hampers full of bleeding hearts!
What sword-knots! what poetic strains!
What billets-doux, and clouded canes!
  But Strephon sigh'd so loud and strong,
He blew a settlement along;
And bravely drove his rivals down,
With coach and six, and house in town.
The bashful nymph no more withstands,
Because her dear papa commands.
The charming couple now unites:
Proceed we to the marriage rites.
  _Imprimis_, at the Temple porch
Stood Hymen with a flaming torch:
The smiling Cyprian Goddess brings
Her infant loves with purple wings:
And pigeons billing, sparrows treading,
Fair emblems of a fruitful wedding.
The Muses next in order follow,
Conducted by their squire, Apollo:
Then Mercury with silver tongue;
And Hebe, goddess ever young.
Behold, the bridegroom and his bride
Walk hand in hand, and side by side;
She, by the tender Graces drest,
But he, by Mars, in scarlet vest.
The nymph was cover'd with her _flammeum_[3],
And Phoebus sung th'epithalamium[4].
And last, to make the matter sure,
Dame Juno brought a priest demure.
[5]Luna was absent, on pretence
Her time was not till nine months hence.
The rites perform'd, the parson paid,
In state return'd the grand parade;
With loud huzzas from all the boys,
That now the pair must crown their joys.
  But still the hardest part remains:
Strephon had long perplex'd his brains,
How with so high a nymph he might
Demean himself the wedding-night:
For, as he view'd his person round,
Mere mortal flesh was all he found:
His hand, his neck, his mouth, and feet,
Were duly wash'd, to keep them sweet;
With other parts, that shall be nameless,
The ladies else might think me shameless.
The weather and his love were hot;
And, should he struggle, I know what--
Why, let it go, if I must tell it--
He'll sweat, and then the nymph may smell it;
While she, a goddess dyed in grain,
Was unsusceptible of stain,
And, Venus-like, her fragrant skin
Exhaled ambrosia from within.
Can such a deity endure
A mortal human touch impure?
How did the humbled swain detest
His prickly beard, and hairy breast!
His night-cap, border'd round with lace,
Could give no softness to his face.
  Yet, if the goddess could be kind,
What endless raptures must he find!
And goddesses have now and then
Come down to visit mortal men;
To visit and to court them too:
A certain goddess, God knows who,
(As in a book he heard it read,)
Took Col'nel Peleus[6] to her bed.
But what if he should lose his life
By vent'ring on his heavenly wife!
(For Strephon could remember well,
That once he heard a school-boy tell,
How Semele,[7] of mortal race,
By thunder died in Jove's embrace.)
And what if daring Strephon dies
By lightning shot from Chloe's eyes!
  While these reflections fill'd his head,
The bride was put in form to bed:
He follow'd, stript, and in he crept,
But awfully his distance kept.
  Now, "ponder well, ye parents dear;"
Forbid your daughters guzzling beer;
And make them ev'ry afternoon
Forbear their tea, or drink it soon;
That, ere to bed they venture up,
They may discharge it ev'ry sup;
If not, they must in evil plight
Be often forc'd to rise at night.
Keep them to wholesome food confin'd,
Nor let them taste what causes wind:
'Tis this the sage of Samos means,
Forbidding his disciples beans.[8]
O! think what evils must ensue;
Miss Moll, the jade, will burn it blue;
And, when she once has got the art,
She cannot help it for her heart;
But out it flies, even when she meets
Her bridegroom in the wedding-sheets.
_Carminative_ and _diuretic_[9]
Will damp all passion sympathetic;
And Love such nicety requires,
One blast will put out all his fires.
Since husbands get behind the scene,
The wife should study to be clean;
Nor give the smallest room to guess
The time when wants of nature press;
But after marriage practise more
Decorum than she did before;
To keep her spouse deluded still,
And make him fancy what she will.
  In bed we left the married pair;
'Tis time to show how things went there.
Strephon, who had been often told
That fortune still assists the bold,
Resolved to make the first attack;
But Chloe drove him fiercely back.
How could a nymph so chaste as Chloe,
With constitution cold and snowy,
Permit a brutish man to touch her?
Ev'n lambs by instinct fly the butcher.
Resistance on the wedding-night
Is what our maidens claim by right;
And Chloe, 'tis by all agreed,
Was maid in thought, in word, and deed.
Yet some assign a different reason;
That Strephon chose no proper season.
  Say, fair ones, must I make a pause,
Or freely tell the secret cause?
  Twelve cups of tea (with grief I speak)
Had now constrain'd the nymph to leak.
This point must needs be settled first:
The bride must either void or burst.
Then see the dire effects of pease;
Think what can give the colic ease.
The nymph oppress'd before, behind,
As ships are toss'd by waves and wind,
Steals out her hand, by nature led,
And brings a vessel into bed;
Fair utensil, as smooth and white
As Chloe's skin, almost as bright.
  Strephon, who heard the fuming rill
As from a mossy cliff distil,
Cried out, Ye Gods! what sound is this?
Can Chloe, heavenly Chloe,----?
But when he smelt a noisome steam
Which oft attends that lukewarm stream;
(Salerno both together joins,[10]
As sov'reign med'cines for the loins:)
And though contriv'd, we may suppose,
To slip his ears, yet struck his nose;
He found her while the scent increast,
As mortal as himself at least.
But soon, with like occasions prest
He boldly sent his hand in quest
(Inspired with courage from his bride)
To reach the pot on t'other side;
And, as he fill'd the reeking vase;
Let fly a rouser in her face.
  The little Cupids hov'ring round,
(As pictures prove) with garlands crown'd,
Abash'd at what they saw and heard,
Flew off, nor ever more appear'd.
  Adieu to ravishing delights,
High raptures, and romantic flights;
To goddesses so heav'nly sweet,
Expiring shepherds at their feet;
To silver meads and shady bowers,
Dress'd up with amaranthine flowers.
  How great a change! how quickly made!
They learn to call a spade a spade.
They soon from all constraint are freed;
Can see each other do their need.
On box of cedar sits the wife,
And makes it warm for dearest life;
And, by the beastly way of thinking,
Find great society in stinking.
Now Strephon daily entertains
His Chloe in the homeliest strains;
And Chloe, more experienc'd grown,
With int'rest pays him back his own.
No maid at court is less asham'd,
Howe'er for selling bargains fam'd,
Than she to name her parts behind,
Or when a-bed to let out wind.
  Fair Decency, celestial maid!
Descend from Heaven to Beauty's aid!
Though Beauty may beget desire,
'Tis thou must fan the Lover's fire;
For Beauty, like supreme dominion,
Is best supported by Opinion:
If Decency bring no supplies,
Opinion falls, and Beauty dies.
  To see some radiant nymph appear
In all her glitt'ring birth-day gear,
You think some goddess from the sky
Descended, ready cut and dry:
But ere you sell yourself to laughter,
Consider well what may come after;
For fine ideas vanish fast,
While all the gross and filthy last.
  O Strephon, ere that fatal day
When Chloe stole your heart away,
Had you but through a cranny spy'd
On house of ease your future bride,
In all the postures of her face,
Which nature gives in such a case;
Distortions, groanings, strainings, heavings,
'Twere better you had lick'd her leavings,
Than from experience find too late
Your goddess grown a filthy mate.
Your fancy then had always dwelt
On what you saw and what you smelt;
Would still the same ideas give ye,
As when you spy'd her on the privy;
And, spite of Chloe's charms divine,
Your heart had been as whole as mine.
  Authorities, both old and recent,
Direct that women must be decent;
And from the spouse each blemish hide,
More than from all the world beside.
  Unjustly all our nymphs complain
Their empire holds so short a reign;
Is, after marriage, lost so soon,
It hardly lasts the honey-moon:
For, if they keep not what they caught,
It is entirely their own fault.
They take possession of the crown,
And then throw all their weapons down:
Though, by the politician's scheme,
Whoe'er arrives at power supreme,
Those arts, by which at first they gain it,
They still must practise to maintain it.
  What various ways our females take
To pass for wits before a rake!
And in the fruitless search pursue
All other methods but the true!
  Some try to learn polite behaviour
By reading books against their Saviour;
Some call it witty to reflect
On ev'ry natural defect;
Some shew they never want explaining
To comprehend a double meaning.
But sure a tell-tale out of school
Is of all wits the greatest fool;
Whose rank imagination fills
Her heart, and from her lips distils;
You'd think she utter'd from behind,
Or at her mouth was breaking wind.
  Why is a handsome wife ador'd
By every coxcomb but her lord?
From yonder puppet-man inquire,
Who wisely hides his wood and wire;
Shows Sheba's queen completely drest,
And Solomon in royal vest:
But view them litter'd on the floor,
Or strung on pegs behind the door;
Punch is exactly of a piece
With Lorrain's duke, and prince of Greece.
  A prudent builder should forecast
How long the stuff is like to last;
And carefully observe the ground,
To build on some foundation sound.
What house, when its materials crumble,
Must not inevitably tumble?
What edifice can long endure
Raised on a basis unsecure?
Rash mortals, ere you take a wife,
Contrive your pile to last for life:
Since beauty scarce endures a day,
And youth so swiftly glides away;
Why will you make yourself a bubble,
To build on sand with hay and stubble?
  On sense and wit your passion found,
By decency cemented round;
Let prudence with good-nature strive,
To keep esteem and love alive.
Then come old age whene'er it will,
Your friendship shall continue still:
And thus a mutual gentle fire
Shall never but with life expire.
 
 
[Footnote 1: A delicate way of speaking of a lady retiring behind a bush
in a garden.--_W. E. B_.]
 
[Footnote 2:
  "Though deep, yet clear, though gentle, yet not dull
  Strong without rage, without o'erflowing, full."
DENHAM, _Cooper's Hill._]
 
 
[Footnote 3: A veil with which the Roman brides covered themselves when
going to be married.--_W. E. B._]
[Footnote 4: Marriage song, sung at weddings.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 5: Diana.]
 
[Footnote 6: Who married Thetis, the Nereid, by whom he became the father
of Achilles.--Ovid, "Metamorph.," lib. xi, 221, _seq.--W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 7: See Ovid, "Metamorph.," lib. iii.--_W. E. B_.]
 
[Footnote 8: A precept of Pythagoras. Hence, in French _argot_, beans, as
causing wind, are called _musiciens.--W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 9: Provocative of perspiration and urine.]
 
[Footnote 1: "Mingere cum bombis res est saluberrima lumbis." A precept
to be found in the "Regimen Sanitatis," or "Schola Salernitana," a work
in rhyming Latin verse composed at Salerno, the earliest school in
Christian Europe where medicine was professed, taught, and practised. The
original text, if anywhere, is in the edition published and commented
upon by Arnaldus de Villa Nova, about 1480. Subsequently above one
hundred and sixty editions of the "Schola Salernitana" were published,
with many additions. A reprint of the first edition, edited by Sir
Alexander Croke, with woodcuts from the editions of 1559, 1568, and
1573, was published at Oxford in 1830.--_W. E. B._]
 

 
CASSINUS AND PETER
 
A TRAGICAL ELEGY
 
1731
 
 
Two college sophs of Cambridge growth,
Both special wits and lovers both,
Conferring, as they used to meet,
On love, and books, in rapture sweet;
(Muse, find me names to fit my metre,
Cassinus this, and t'other Peter.)
Friend Peter to Cassinus goes,
To chat a while, and warm his nose:
But such a sight was never seen,
The lad lay swallow'd up in spleen.
He seem'd as just crept out of bed;
One greasy stocking round his head,
The other he sat down to darn,
With threads of different colour'd yarn;
His breeches torn, exposing wide
A ragged shirt and tawny hide.
Scorch'd were his shins, his legs were bare,
But well embrown'd with dirt and hair
A rug was o'er his shoulders thrown,
(A rug, for nightgown he had none,)
His jordan stood in manner fitting
Between his legs, to spew or spit in;
His ancient pipe, in sable dyed,
And half unsmoked, lay by his side.
  Him thus accoutred Peter found,
With eyes in smoke and weeping drown'd;
The leavings of his last night's pot
On embers placed, to drink it hot.
  Why, Cassy, thou wilt dose thy pate:
What makes thee lie a-bed so late?
The finch, the linnet, and the thrush,
Their matins chant in every bush;
And I have heard thee oft salute
Aurora with thy early flute.
Heaven send thou hast not got the hyps!
How! not a word come from thy lips?
  Then gave him some familiar thumps,
A college joke to cure the dumps.
  The swain at last, with grief opprest,
Cried, Celia! thrice, and sigh'd the rest.
  Dear Cassy, though to ask I dread,
Yet ask I must--is Celia dead?
  How happy I, were that the worst!
But I was fated to be curst!
  Come, tell us, has she play'd the whore?
  O Peter, would it were no more!
  Why, plague confound her sandy locks!
Say, has the small or greater pox
Sunk down her nose, or seam'd her face?
Be easy, 'tis a common case.
  O Peter! beauty's but a varnish,
Which time and accidents will tarnish:
But Celia has contrived to blast
Those beauties that might ever last.
Nor can imagination guess,
Nor eloquence divine express,
How that ungrateful charming maid
My purest passion has betray'd:
Conceive the most envenom'd dart
To pierce an injured lover's heart.
  Why, hang her; though she seem'd so coy,
I know she loves the barber's boy.
  Friend Peter, this I could excuse,
For every nymph has leave to choose;
Nor have I reason to complain,
She loves a more deserving swain.
But, oh! how ill hast thou divined
A crime, that shocks all human kind;
A deed unknown to female race,
At which the sun should hide his face:
Advice in vain you would apply--
Then leave me to despair and die.
Ye kind Arcadians, on my urn
These elegies and sonnets burn;
And on the marble grave these rhymes,
A monument to after-times--
"Here Cassy lies, by Celia slain,
And dying, never told his pain."
  Vain empty world, farewell. But hark,
The loud Cerberian triple bark;
And there--behold Alecto stand,
A whip of scorpions in her hand:
Lo, Charon from his leaky wherry
Beckoning to waft me o'er the ferry:
I come! I come! Medusa see,
Her serpents hiss direct at me.
Begone; unhand me, hellish fry:
"Avaunt--ye cannot say 'twas I."[1]
  Dear Cassy, thou must purge and bleed;
I fear thou wilt be mad indeed.
But now, by friendship's sacred laws,
I here conjure thee, tell the cause;
And Celia's horrid fact relate:
Thy friend would gladly share thy fate.
  To force it out, my heart must rend;
Yet when conjured by such a friend--
Think, Peter, how my soul is rack'd!
These eyes, these eyes, beheld the fact.
Now bend thine ear, since out it must;
But, when thou seest me laid in dust,
The secret thou shalt ne'er impart,
Not to the nymph that keeps thy heart;
 (How would her virgin soul bemoan
A crime to all her sex unknown!)
Nor whisper to the tattling reeds
The blackest of all female deeds;
Nor blab it on the lonely rocks,
Where Echo sits, and listening mocks;
Nor let the Zephyr's treacherous gale
Through Cambridge waft the direful tale;
Nor to the chattering feather'd race
Discover Celia's foul disgrace.
But, if you fail, my spectre dread,
Attending nightly round your bed--
And yet I dare confide in you;
So take my secret, and adieu:
Nor wonder how I lost my wits:
Oh! Celia, Celia, Celia shits!
 
 
[Footnote 1:  From "Macbeth," in Act III, Sc. iv:
  "Thou canst not say, I did it:" etc.
  "Avaunt, and quit my sight."]
 
THE PLACE OF THE DAMNED
1731
 
 
All folks who pretend to religion and grace,
Allow there's a HELL, but dispute of the place:
But, if HELL may by logical rules be defined
The place of the damn'd--I'll tell you my mind.
Wherever the damn'd do chiefly abound,
Most certainly there is HELL to be found:
Damn'd poets, damn'd critics, damn'd blockheads, damn'd knaves,
Damn'd senators bribed, damn'd prostitute slaves;
Damn'd lawyers and judges, damn'd lords and damn'd squires;
Damn'd spies and informers, damn'd friends and damn'd liars;
Damn'd villains, corrupted in every station;
Damn'd time-serving priests all over the nation;
And into the bargain I'll readily give you
Damn'd ignorant prelates, and counsellors privy.
Then let us no longer by parsons be flamm'd,
For we know by these marks the place of the damn'd:
And HELL to be sure is at Paris or Rome.
How happy for us that it is not at home!
 
 
 
ON THE DEATH OF DR. SWIFT
 
WRITTEN IN NOVEMBER, 1731 [1]
 
Occasioned by reading the following maxim in Rochefoucauld, "Dans
l'adversité de nos meilleurs amis, nous trouvons toujours quelque chose,
qui ne nous déplait pas."
 
This maxim was No. 99 in the edition of 1665, and was one of those
suppressed by the author in his later editions. In the edition published
by Didot Freres, 1864, it is No. 15 in the first supplement. See it
commented upon by Lord Chesterfield in a letter to his son, Sept. 5,
1748, where he takes a similar view to that expressed by
Swift.--_W. E. B._
 
 
AS Rochefoucauld his maxims drew
From nature, I believe 'em true:
They argue no corrupted mind
In him; the fault is in mankind.
  This maxim more than all the rest
Is thought too base for human breast:
"In all distresses of our friends,
We first consult our private ends;
While nature, kindly bent to ease us,
Points out some circumstance to please us."
  If this perhaps your patience move,
Let reason and experience prove.
We all behold with envious eyes
Our _equal_ raised above our _size._
Who would not at a crowded show
Stand high himself, keep others low?
I love my friend as well as you:
[2]But why should he obstruct my view?
Then let me have the higher post:
[3]Suppose it but an inch at most.
If in battle you should find
One whom you love of all mankind,
Had some heroic action done,
A champion kill'd, or trophy won;
Rather than thus be overtopt,
Would you not wish his laurels cropt?
Dear honest Ned is in the gout,
Lies rackt with pain, and you without:
How patiently you hear him groan!
How glad the case is not your own!
  What poet would not grieve to see
His breth'ren write as well as he?
But rather than they should excel,
He'd wish his rivals all in hell.
  Her end when Emulation misses,
She turns to Envy, stings and hisses:
The strongest friendship yields to pride,
Unless the odds be on our side.
Vain human kind! fantastic race!
Thy various follies who can trace?
Self-love, ambition, envy, pride,
Their empire in our hearts divide.
Give others riches, power, and station,
'Tis all on me an usurpation.
I have no title to aspire;
Yet, when you sink, I seem the higher.
In Pope I cannot read a line,
But with a sigh I wish it mine;
When he can in one couplet fix
More sense than I can do in six;
It gives me such a jealous fit,
I cry, "Pox take him and his wit!"
[4]I grieve to be outdone by Gay
In my own hum'rous biting way.
Arbuthnot is no more my friend,
Who dares to irony pretend,
Which I was born to introduce,
Refin'd it first, and shew'd its use.
St. John, as well as Pultney, knows
That I had some repute for prose;
And, till they drove me out of date
Could maul a minister of state.
If they have mortify'd my pride,
And made me throw my pen aside;
If with such talents Heav'n has blest 'em,
Have I not reason to detest 'em?
  To all my foes, dear Fortune, send
Thy gifts; but never to my friend:
I tamely can endure the first;
But this with envy makes me burst.
  Thus much may serve by way of proem:
Proceed we therefore to our poem.
  The time is not remote, when I
Must by the course of nature die;
When, I foresee, my special friends
Will try to find their private ends:
Tho' it is hardly understood
Which way my death can do them good,
Yet thus, methinks, I hear 'em speak:
"See, how the Dean begins to break!
Poor gentleman, he droops apace!
You plainly find it in his face.
That old vertigo in his head
Will never leave him till he's dead.
Besides, his memory decays:
He recollects not what he says;
He cannot call his friends to mind:
Forgets the place where last he din'd;
Plyes you with stories o'er and o'er;
He told them fifty times before.
How does he fancy we can sit
To hear his out-of-fashion'd wit?
But he takes up with younger folks,
Who for his wine will bear his jokes.
Faith! he must make his stories shorter,
Or change his comrades once a quarter:
In half the time he talks them round,
There must another set be found.
  "For poetry he's past his prime:
He takes an hour to find a rhyme;
His fire is out, his wit decay'd,
His fancy sunk, his Muse a jade.
I'd have him throw away his pen;--
But there's no talking to some men!"
  And then their tenderness appears,
By adding largely to my years;
"He's older than he would be reckon'd,
And well remembers Charles the Second.
He hardly drinks a pint of wine;
And that, I doubt, is no good sign.
His stomach too begins to fail:
Last year we thought him strong and hale;
But now he's quite another thing:
I wish he may hold out till spring!"
Then hug themselves, and reason thus:
"It is not yet so bad with us!"
  In such a case, they talk in tropes,
And by their fears express their hopes:
Some great misfortune to portend,
No enemy can match a friend.
With all the kindness they profess,
The merit of a lucky guess
(When daily how d'ye's come of course,
And servants answer, "_Worse and worse!_")
Wou'd please 'em better, than to tell,
That, "God be prais'd, the Dean is well."
Then he, who prophecy'd the best,
Approves his foresight to the rest:
"You know I always fear'd the worst,
And often told you so at first."
He'd rather chuse that I should die,
Than his prediction prove a lie.
Not one foretells I shall recover;
But all agree to give me over.
  Yet, shou'd some neighbour feel a pain
Just in the parts where I complain;
How many a message would he send!
What hearty prayers that I should mend!
Inquire what regimen I kept;
What gave me ease, and how I slept?
And more lament when I was dead,
Than all the sniv'llers round my bed.
  My good companions, never fear;
For though you may mistake a year,
Though your prognostics run too fast,
They must be verify'd at last.
  Behold the fatal day arrive!
"How is the Dean?"--"He's just alive."
Now the departing prayer is read;
"He hardly breathes."--"The Dean is dead."
  Before the Passing-bell begun,
The news thro' half the town has run.
"O! may we all for death prepare!
What has he left? and who's his heir?"--
"I know no more than what the news is;
'Tis all bequeath'd to public uses."--
"To public use! a perfect whim!
What had the public done for him?
Mere envy, avarice, and pride:
He gave it all--but first he died.
And had the Dean, in all the nation,
No worthy friend, no poor relation?
So ready to do strangers good,
Forgetting his own flesh and blood!"
  Now, Grub-Street wits are all employ'd;
With elegies the town is cloy'd:
Some paragraph in ev'ry paper
To curse the Dean, or bless the Drapier.[5]
  The doctors, tender of their fame,
Wisely on me lay all the blame:
"We must confess, his case was nice;
But he would never take advice.
Had he been ruled, for aught appears,
He might have lived these twenty years;
For, when we open'd him, we found,
That all his vital parts were sound."
  From Dublin soon to London spread,
'Tis told at court,[6] "the Dean is dead."
Kind Lady Suffolk,[7] in the spleen,
Runs laughing up to tell the queen.
The queen, so gracious, mild, and good,
Cries, "Is he gone! 'tis time he shou'd.
He's dead, you say; why, let him rot:
I'm glad the medals[8] were forgot.
I promised him, I own; but when?
I only was a princess then;
But now, as consort of a king,
You know, 'tis quite a different thing."
Now Chartres,[9] at Sir Robert's levee,
Tells with a sneer the tidings heavy:
"Why, is he dead without his shoes,"
Cries Bob,[10] "I'm sorry for the news:
O, were the wretch but living still,
And in his place my good friend Will![11]
Or had a mitre on his head,
Provided Bolingbroke[12] were dead!"
Now Curll[13] his shop from rubbish drains:
Three genuine tomes of Swift's remains!
And then, to make them pass the glibber,
Revised by Tibbalds, Moore, and Cibber.[14]
He'll treat me as he does my betters,
Publish my will, my life, my letters:[15]
Revive the libels born to die;
Which Pope must bear, as well as I.
  Here shift the scene, to represent
How those I love my death lament.
Poor Pope will grieve a month, and Gay
A week, and Arbuthnot a day.
  St. John himself will scarce forbear
To bite his pen, and drop a tear.
The rest will give a shrug, and cry,
"I'm sorry--but we all must die!"
  Indifference, clad in Wisdom's guise,
All fortitude of mind supplies:
For how can stony bowels melt
In those who never pity felt!
When _we_ are lash'd, _they_ kiss the rod,
Resigning to the will of God.
  The fools, my juniors by a year,
Are tortur'd with suspense and fear;
Who wisely thought my age a screen,
When death approach'd, to stand between:
The screen removed, their hearts are trembling;
They mourn for me without dissembling.
  My female friends, whose tender hearts
Have better learn'd to act their parts,
Receive the news in doleful dumps:
"The Dean is dead: (and what is trumps?)
Then, Lord have mercy on his soul!
(Ladies, I'll venture for the vole.)[16]
Six deans, they say, must bear the pall:
(I wish I knew what king to call.)
Madam, your husband will attend
The funeral of so good a friend.
No, madam, 'tis a shocking sight:
And he's engaged to-morrow night:
My Lady Club wou'd take it ill,
If he shou'd fail her at quadrille.
He loved the Dean--(I lead a heart,)
But dearest friends, they say, must part.
His time was come: he ran his race;
We hope he's in a better place."
  Why do we grieve that friends should die?
No loss more easy to supply.
One year is past; a different scene!
No further mention of the Dean;
Who now, alas! no more is miss'd,
Than if he never did exist.
Where's now this fav'rite of Apollo!
Departed:--and his works must follow;
Must undergo the common fate;
His kind of wit is out of date.
  Some country squire to Lintot[17] goes,
Inquires for "Swift in Verse and Prose."
Says Lintot, "I have heard the name;
He died a year ago."--"The same."
He searches all the shop in vain.
"Sir, you may find them in Duck-lane;[18]
I sent them with a load of books,
Last Monday to the pastry-cook's.
To fancy they could live a year!
I find you're but a stranger here.
The Dean was famous in his time,
And had a kind of knack at rhyme.
His way of writing now is past;
The town has got a better taste;
I keep no antiquated stuff,
But spick and span I have enough.
Pray do but give me leave to show 'em;
Here's Colley Cibber's birth-day poem.
This ode you never yet have seen,
By Stephen Duck,[19] upon the queen.
Then here's a letter finely penned
Against the Craftsman and his friend:
It clearly shows that all reflection
On ministers is disaffection.
Next, here's Sir Robert's vindication,[20]
And Mr. Henley's last oration.[21]
The hawkers have not got them yet:
Your honour please to buy a set?
  "Here's Woolston's[22] tracts, the twelfth edition;
'Tis read by every politician:
The country members, when in town,
To all their boroughs send them down;
You never met a thing so smart;
The courtiers have them all by heart:
Those maids of honour (who can read),
Are taught to use them for their creed.[23]
The rev'rend author's good intention
Has been rewarded with a pension.
He does an honour to his gown,
By bravely running priestcraft down:
He shows, as sure as God's in Gloucester,
That Moses was a grand impostor;
That all his miracles were cheats,
Perform'd as jugglers do their feats:
The church had never such a writer;
A shame he has not got a mitre!"
  Suppose me dead; and then suppose
A club assembled at the Rose;
Where, from discourse of this and that,
I grow the subject of their chat.
And while they toss my name about,
With favour some, and some without,
One, quite indiff'rent in the cause,
My character impartial draws:
  The Dean, if we believe report,
Was never ill receiv'd at court.
As for his works in verse and prose
I own myself no judge of those;
Nor can I tell what critics thought 'em:
But this I know, all people bought 'em.
As with a moral view design'd
To cure the vices of mankind:
And, if he often miss'd his aim,
The world must own it, to their shame,
The praise is his, and theirs the blame.
"Sir, I have heard another story:
He was a most confounded Tory,
And grew, or he is much belied,
Extremely dull, before he died."
  Can we the Drapier then forget?
Is not our nation in his debt?
'Twas he that writ the Drapier's letters!--
  "He should have left them for his betters,
We had a hundred abler men,
Nor need depend upon his pen.--
Say what you will about his reading,
You never can defend his breeding;
Who in his satires running riot,
Could never leave the world in quiet;
Attacking, when he took the whim,
Court, city, camp--all one to him.--
  "But why should he, except he slobber't,
Offend our patriot, great Sir Robert,
Whose counsels aid the sov'reign power
To save the nation every hour?
What scenes of evil he unravels
In satires, libels, lying travels!
Not sparing his own clergy-cloth,
But eats into it, like a moth!"
His vein, ironically grave,
Exposed the fool, and lash'd the knave.
To steal a hint was never known,
But what he writ was all his own.[24]
  "He never thought an honour done him,
Because a duke was proud to own him,
Would rather slip aside and chuse
To talk with wits in dirty shoes;
Despised the fools with stars and garters,
So often seen caressing Chartres.[25]
He never courted men in station,
_Nor persons held in admiration;_
Of no man's greatness was afraid,
Because he sought for no man's aid.
Though trusted long in great affairs
He gave himself no haughty airs:
Without regarding private ends,
Spent all his credit for his friends;
And only chose the wise and good;
No flatterers; no allies in blood:
But succour'd virtue in distress,
And seldom fail'd of good success;
As numbers in their hearts must own,
Who, but for him, had been unknown.
  "With princes kept a due decorum,
But never stood in awe before 'em.
He follow'd David's lesson just;
_In princes never put thy trust:_
And would you make him truly sour,
Provoke him with a slave in power.
The Irish senate if you named,
With what impatience he declaim'd!
Fair LIBERTY was all his cry,
For her he stood prepared to die;
For her he boldly stood alone;
For her he oft exposed his own.
Two kingdoms,[26] just as faction led,
Had set a price upon his head;
But not a traitor could be found,
To sell him for six hundred pound.
  "Had he but spared his tongue and pen
He might have rose like other men:
But power was never in his thought,
And wealth he valued not a groat:
Ingratitude he often found,
And pitied those who meant the wound:
But kept the tenor of his mind,
To merit well of human kind:
Nor made a sacrifice of those
Who still were true, to please his foes.
He labour'd many a fruitless hour,
To reconcile his friends in power;
Saw mischief by a faction brewing,
While they pursued each other's ruin.
But finding vain was all his care,
He left the court in mere despair.[27]
  "And, oh! how short are human schemes!
Here ended all our golden dreams.
What St. John's skill in state affairs,
What Ormond's valour, Oxford's cares,
To save their sinking country lent,
Was all destroy'd by one event.
Too soon that precious life was ended,
On which alone our weal depended.[28]
When up a dangerous faction starts,[29]
With wrath and vengeance in their hearts;
_By solemn League and Cov'nant bound,_
To ruin, slaughter, and confound;
To turn religion to a fable,
And make the government a Babel;
Pervert the laws, disgrace the gown,
Corrupt the senate, rob the crown;
To sacrifice old England's glory,
And make her infamous in story:
When such a tempest shook the land,
How could unguarded Virtue stand!
With horror, grief, despair, the Dean
Beheld the dire destructive scene:
His friends in exile, or the tower,
Himself[30] within the frown of power,
Pursued by base envenom'd pens,
Far to the land of slaves and fens;[31]
A servile race in folly nursed,
Who truckle most, when treated worst.
"By innocence and resolution,
He bore continual persecution;
While numbers to preferment rose,
Whose merits were, to be his foes;
When _ev'n his own familiar friends_,
Intent upon their private ends,
Like renegadoes now he feels,
_Against him lifting up their heels._
  "The Dean did, by his pen, defeat
An infamous destructive cheat;[32]
Taught fools their int'rest how to know,
And gave them arms to ward the blow.
Envy has own'd it was his doing,
To save that hapless land from ruin;
While they who at the steerage stood,
And reap'd the profit, sought his blood.
  "To save them from their evil fate,
In him was held a crime of state,
A wicked monster on the bench,[33]
Whose fury blood could never quench;
As vile and profligate a villain,
As modern Scroggs, or old Tresilian:[34]
Who long all justice had discarded,
_Nor fear'd he God, nor man regarded;_
Vow'd on the Dean his rage to vent,
And make him of his zeal repent:
But Heaven his innocence defends,
The grateful people stand his friends;
Not strains of law, nor judge's frown,
Nor topics brought to please the crown,
Nor witness hired, nor jury pick'd,
Prevail to bring him in convict.
  "In exile,[35] with a steady heart,
He spent his life's declining part;
Where folly, pride, and faction sway,
Remote from St. John, Pope, and Gay.
Alas, poor Dean! his only scope
Was to be held a misanthrope.
This into gen'ral odium drew him,
Which if he liked, much good may't do him.
His zeal was not to lash our crimes,
But discontent against the times:
For had we made him timely offers
To raise his post, or fill his coffers,
Perhaps he might have truckled down,
Like other brethren of his gown.
For party he would scarce have bled:
I say no more--because he's dead.
What writings has he left behind?
I hear, they're of a different kind;
A few in verse; but most in prose--
Some high-flown pamphlets, I suppose;--
All scribbled in the worst of times,
To palliate his friend Oxford's crimes,
To praise Queen Anne, nay more, defend her,
As never fav'ring the Pretender;
Or libels yet conceal'd from sight,
Against the court to show his spite;
Perhaps his travels, part the third;
A lie at every second word--
Offensive to a loyal ear:
But not one sermon, you may swear."
His friendships there, to few confined
Were always of the middling kind;[36]
No fools of rank, a mongrel breed,
Who fain would pass for lords indeed:
Where titles give no right or power,[37]
And peerage is a wither'd flower;
He would have held it a disgrace,
If such a wretch had known his face.
On rural squires, that kingdom's bane,
He vented oft his wrath in vain;
[Biennial[38]] squires to market brought;
Who sell their souls and [votes] for nought;
The [nation stripped,] go joyful back,
To *** the church, their tenants rack,
Go snacks with [rogues and rapparees,][39]
And keep the peace to pick up fees;
In every job to have a share,
A gaol or barrack to repair;
And turn the tax for public roads,
Commodious to their own abodes.[40]
  "Perhaps I may allow the Dean,
Had too much satire in his vein;
And seem'd determined not to starve it,
Because no age could more deserve it.
Yet malice never was his aim;
He lash'd the vice, but spared the name;
No individual could resent,
Where thousands equally were meant;
His satire points at no defect,
But what all mortals may correct;
For he abhorr'd that senseless tribe
Who call it humour when they gibe:
He spared a hump, or crooked nose,
Whose owners set not up for beaux.
True genuine dulness moved his pity,
Unless it offer'd to be witty.
Those who their ignorance confest,
He ne'er offended with a jest;
But laugh'd to hear an idiot quote
A verse from Horace learn'd by rote.
  "Vice, if it e'er can be abash'd,
Must be or ridiculed or lash'd.
If you resent it, who's to blame?
He neither knew you nor your name.
Should vice expect to 'scape rebuke,
Because its owner is a duke?
  "He knew an hundred pleasant stories,
With all the turns of Whigs and Tories:
Was cheerful to his dying day;
And friends would let him have his way.
  "He gave the little wealth he had
To build a house for fools and mad;
And show'd by one satiric touch,
No nation wanted it so much.
That kingdom he hath left his debtor,
I wish it soon may have a better."
And, since you dread no farther lashes
Methinks you may forgive his ashes.
 
 
 
[Footnote 1: This poem was first written about 1731 but was not then
intended to be published; and having been shown by Swift to all his
"common acquaintance indifferently," some "friend," probably
Pilkington, remembered enough of it to concoct the poem called "The Life
and Character of Dr. Swift, written by himself," which was published in
London in 1733, and reprinted in Dublin. In a letter to Pope, dated 1
May, that year, the Dean complained seriously about the imposture,
saying, "it shall not provoke me to print the true one, which indeed is
not proper to be seen till I can be seen no more." See Swift to Pope,
in Pope's Works, edit. Elwin and Courthope, vii, 307. The poem was
subsequently published by Faulkner with the Dean's permission. It is now
printed from a copy of the original edition, with corrections in Swift's
hand, which I found in the Forster collection.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 2: _Var_. "But would not have him stop my view."]
 
[Footnote 3: _Var_. "I ask but for an inch at most."]
 
[Footnote 4: _Var_. "Why must I be outdone by Gay."]
 
[Footnote 5: The author supposes that the scribblers of the prevailing
party, which he always opposed, will libel him after his death; but that
others will remember the service he had done to Ireland, under the name
of M. B. Drapier, by utterly defeating the destructive project of Wood's
halfpence, in five letters to the people of Ireland, at that time read
universally, and convincing every reader.]
 
[Footnote 6: The Dean supposeth himself to die in Ireland.]
 
[Footnote 7: Mrs. Howard, afterwards Countess of Suffolk, then of the
bedchamber to the queen, professed much favour for the Dean. The queen,
then princess, sent a dozen times to the Dean (then in London), with her
commands to attend her; which at last he did, by advice of all his
friends. She often sent for him afterwards, and always treated him very
graciously. He taxed her with a present worth £10, which she promised
before he should return to Ireland; but on his taking leave the medals
were not ready.
 
A letter from Swift to Lady Suffolk, 21st November, 1730, bears out
this note.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 8: The medals were to be sent to the Dean in four months; but
she forgot or thought them too dear. The Dean, being in Ireland, sent
Mrs. Howard a piece of plaid made in that kingdom, which the queen seeing
took it from her and wore it herself and sent to the Dean for as much as
would clothe herself and children, desiring he would send the charge of
it; he did the former, it cost £35, but he said he would have nothing
except the medals; he went next summer to England, and was treated as
usual, and she being then queen, the Dean was promised a settlement in
England, but returned as he went, and instead of receiving of her
intended favours or the medals, hath been ever since under Her
Majesty's displeasure.]
 
[Footnote 9: Chartres is a most infamous vile scoundrel, grown from a
footboy, or worse, to a prodigious fortune, both in England and Scotland.
He had a way of insinuating himself into all ministers, under every
change, either as pimp, flatterer, or informer. He was tried at seventy
for a rape, and came off by sacrificing a great part of his fortune. He
is since dead; but this poem still preserves the scene and time it was
writ in.--_Dublin Edition,_ and see _ante_, p. 191.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 10: Sir Robert Walpole, chief minister of state, treated the
Dean in 1726 with great distinction; invited him to dinner at Chelsea,
with the Dean's friends chosen on purpose: appointed an hour to talk with
him of Ireland, to which kingdom and people the Dean found him no great
friend; for he defended Wood's project of halfpence, etc. The Dean would
see him no more; and upon his next year's return to England, Sir Robert,
on an accidental meeting, only made a civil compliment, and never invited
him again.]
 
[Footnote 11: Mr. William Pultney, from being Sir Robert's intimate
friend, detesting his administration, became his mortal enemy and joined
with my Lord Bolingbroke, to expose him in an excellent paper called the
Craftsman, which is still continued.]
 
[Footnote 12: Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke, Secretary of State to
Queen Anne, of blessed memory. He is reckoned the most universal genius
in Europe. Walpole, dreading his abilities, treated him most injuriously
working with King George I, who forgot his promise of restoring the said
lord, upon the restless importunity of Sir Robert Walpole.]
 
[Footnote 13: Curll hath been the most infamous bookseller of any age or
country. His character, in part, may be found in Mr. Pope's "Dunciad." He
published three volumes, all charged on the Dean, who never writ three
pages of them. He hath used many of the Dean's friends in almost as vile
a manner.]
 
[Footnote 14: Three stupid verse-writers in London; the last, to the
shame of the court, and the highest disgrace to wit and learning, was
made laureate. Moore, commonly called Jemmy Moore, son of Arthur Moore,
whose father was jailor of Monaghan, in Ireland. See the character of
Jemmy Moore, and Tibbalds [Theobald], in the "Dunciad."]
 
[Footnote 15: Curll is notoriously infamous for publishing the lives,
letters, and last wills and testaments of the nobility and ministers of
state, as well as of all the rogues who are hanged at Tyburn. He hath
been in custody of the House of Lords, for publishing or forging the
letters of many peers, which made the Lords enter a resolution in their
journal-book, that no life or writings of any lord should be published,
without the consent of the next heir-at-law or license from their House.]
 
[Footnote 16: The play by which the dealer may win or lose all the
tricks. See Hoyle on "Quadrille."--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 17: See _post_, p. 267.]
 
[Footnote 18: A place in London, where old books are sold.]
 
[Footnote 19: See _ante_ "On Stephen Duck, the Thresher Poet,"
p. 192.]
 
[Footnote 20: Walpole hath a set of party scribblers, who do nothing but
write in his defence.]
 
[Footnote 21: Henley is a clergyman, who, wanting both merit and luck to
get preferment, or even to keep his curacy in the established church,
formed a new conventicle, which he called an Oratory. There, at set
times, he delivereth strange speeches, compiled by himself and his
associates, who share the profit with him. Every hearer payeth a shilling
each day for admittance. He is an absolute dunce, but generally reported
crazy.]
 
[Footnote 22: See _ante_, p. 188.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 23: See _ante_, p. 188. There is some confusion here betwixt
Woolston and Wollaston, whose book, the "Religion of Nature delineated,"
was much talked of and fashionable. See a letter from Pope to Bethell in
Pope's correspondence, Pope's Works, edit. Elwin and Courthope, ix,
p. 149.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 24: Denham's elegy on Cowley:
  "To him no author was unknown,
  Yet what he wrote was all his own."]
 
[Footnote 25: See _ante_, pp. 192 and 252.]
 
[Footnote 26: In the year 1713, the late queen was prevailed with, by an
address of the House of Lords in England, to publish a proclamation,
promising £300 to whatever person would discover the author of a pamphlet
called "The Public Spirit of the Whigs"; and in Ireland, in the year
1724, Lord Carteret, at his first coming into the government, was
prevailed on to issue a proclamation for promising the like reward
of £300 to any person who would discover the author of a pamphlet,
called "The Drapier's Fourth Letter," etc., writ against that destructive
project of coining halfpence for Ireland; but in neither kingdom was the
Dean discovered.]
 
[Footnote 27: Queen Anne's ministry fell to variance from the first year
after their ministry began; Harcourt, the chancellor, and Lord
Bolingbroke, the secretary, were discontented with the treasurer Oxford,
for his too much mildness to the Whig party; this quarrel grew higher
every day till the queen's death. The Dean, who was the only person that
endeavoured to reconcile them, found it impossible, and thereupon retired
to the country about ten weeks before that event: upon which he returned
to his deanery in Dublin, where for many years he was worryed by the new
people in power, and had hundreds of libels writ against him in England.]
 
[Footnote 28: In the height of the quarrel between the ministers, the
queen died.]
 
[Footnote 29: Upon Queen Anne's death, the Whig faction was restored to
power, which they exercised with the utmost rage and revenge; impeached
and banished the chief leaders of the Church party, and stripped all
their adherents of what employments they had; after which England was
never known to make so mean a figure in Europe. The greatest preferments
in the Church, in both kingdoms, were given to the most ignorant men.
Fanaticks were publickly caressed, Ireland utterly ruined and enslaved,
only great ministers heaping up millions; and so affairs continue, and
are likely to remain so.]
 
[Footnote 30: Upon the queen's death, the Dean returned to live in Dublin
at his Deanery House. Numberless libels were written against him in
England as a Jacobite; he was insulted in the street, and at night he was
forced to be attended by his servants armed.]
 
[Footnote 31: Ireland.]
 
[Footnote 32: One Wood, a hardware-man from England, had a patent for
coining copper halfpence in Ireland, to the sum of £108,000, which, in
the consequence, must leave that kingdom without gold or silver. See The
Drapier's Letters, "Prose Works," vol. vi.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 33: Whitshed was then chief justice. He had some years before
prosecuted a printer for a pamphlet writ by the Dean, to persuade the
people of Ireland to wear their own manufactures. Whitshed sent the jury
down eleven times, and kept them nine hours, until they were forced to
bring in a special verdict. He sat afterwards on the trial of the printer
of the Drapier's Fourth Letter; but the jury, against all he could say or
swear, threw out the bill. All the kingdom took the Drapier's part,
except the courtiers, or those who expected places. The Drapier was
celebrated in many poems and pamphlets. His sign was set up in most
streets of Dublin (where many of them still continue) and in several
country towns. This note was written in 1734.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 34: Scroggs was chief justice under King Charles II. His
judgement always varied in state trials according to directions from
Court. Tresilian was a wicked judge hanged above three hundred years
ago.]
 
[Footnote 35: In Ireland, which he had reason to call a place of exile;
to which country nothing could have driven him but the queen's death,
who had determined to fix him in England, in spite of the Duchess of
Somerset.]
 
[Footnote 36: In Ireland the Dean was not acquainted with one single
lord, spiritual or temporal. He only conversed with private gentlemen of
the clergy or laity, and but a small number of either.]
 
[Footnote 37: The peers of Ireland lost their jurisdiction by one single
act, and tamely submitted to this infamous mark of slavery without the
least resentment or remonstrance.]
 
[Footnote 38: The Parliament, as they call it in Ireland, meet but once
in two years, and after having given five times more than they can
afford, return home to reimburse themselves by country jobs and
oppressions of which some few are mentioned.]
 
[Footnote 39: The highwaymen in Ireland are, since the late wars there,
usually called Rapparees, which was a name given to those Irish soldiers
who, in small parties, used at that time to plunder Protestants.]
 
[Footnote 40: The army in Ireland are lodged in barracks, the building
and repairing whereof and other charges, have cost a prodigious sum to
that unhappy kingdom.]
 
 
 
 
ON POETRY
A RHAPSODY. 1733
 
 
All human race would fain be wits,
And millions miss for one that hits.
Young's universal passion, pride,[1]
Was never known to spread so wide.
Say, Britain, could you ever boast
Three poets in an age at most?
Our chilling climate hardly bears
A sprig of bays in fifty years;
While every fool his claim alleges,
As if it grew in common hedges.
What reason can there be assign'd
For this perverseness in the mind?
Brutes find out where their talents lie:
A bear will not attempt to fly;
A founder'd horse will oft debate,
Before he tries a five-barr'd gate;
A dog by instinct turns aside,
Who sees the ditch too deep and wide.
But man we find the only creature
Who, led by Folly, combats Nature;
Who, when she loudly cries, Forbear,
With obstinacy fixes there;
And, where his genius least inclines,
Absurdly bends his whole designs.
  Not empire to the rising sun
By valour, conduct, fortune won;
Not highest wisdom in debates,
For framing laws to govern states;
Not skill in sciences profound
So large to grasp the circle round,
Such heavenly influence require,
As how to strike the Muse's lyre.
  Not beggar's brat on bulk begot;
Not bastard of a pedler Scot;
Not boy brought up to cleaning shoes,
The spawn of Bridewell[2] or the stews;
Not infants dropp'd, the spurious pledges
Of gipsies litter'd under hedges;
Are so disqualified by fate
To rise in church, or law, or state,
As he whom Phoebus in his ire
Has blasted with poetic fire.
What hope of custom in the fair,
While not a soul demands your ware?
Where you have nothing to produce
For private life, or public use?
Court, city, country, want you not;
You cannot bribe, betray, or plot.
For poets, law makes no provision;
The wealthy have you in derision:
Of state affairs you cannot smatter;
Are awkward when you try to flatter;
Your portion, taking Britain round,
Was just one annual hundred pound;
Now not so much as in remainder,
Since Cibber[3] brought in an attainder;
For ever fix'd by right divine
(A monarch's right) on Grub Street line.
  Poor starv'ling bard, how small thy gains!
How unproportion'd to thy pains!
And here a simile comes pat in:
Though chickens take a month to fatten,
The guests in less than half an hour
Will more than half a score devour.
So, after toiling twenty days
To earn a stock of pence and praise,
Thy labours, grown the critic's prey,
Are swallow'd o'er a dish of tea;
Gone to be never heard of more,
Gone where the chickens went before.
How shall a new attempter learn
Of different spirits to discern,
And how distinguish which is which,
The poet's vein, or scribbling itch?
Then hear an old experienced sinner,
Instructing thus a young beginner.
  Consult yourself; and if you find
A powerful impulse urge your mind,
Impartial judge within your breast
What subject you can manage best;
Whether your genius most inclines
To satire, praise, or humorous lines,
To elegies in mournful tone,
Or prologue sent from hand unknown.
Then, rising with Aurora's light,
The Muse invoked, sit down to write;
Blot out, correct, insert, refine,
Enlarge, diminish, interline;
Be mindful, when invention fails,
To scratch your head, and bite your nails.
  Your poem finish'd, next your care
Is needful to transcribe it fair.
In modern wit all printed trash is
Set off with numerous breaks and dashes.
  To statesmen would you give a wipe,
You print it in _Italic_ type.
When letters are in vulgar shapes,
'Tis ten to one the wit escapes:
But, when in capitals express'd,
The dullest reader smokes the jest:
Or else perhaps he may invent
A better than the poet meant;
As learned commentators view
In Homer more than Homer knew.
  Your poem in its modish dress,
Correctly fitted for the press,
Convey by penny-post to Lintot,[4]
But let no friend alive look into't.
If Lintot thinks 'twill quit the cost,
You need not fear your labour lost:
And how agreeably surprised
Are you to see it advertised!
The hawker shows you one in print,
As fresh as farthings from the mint:
The product of your toil and sweating;
A bastard of your own begetting.
  Be sure at Will's,[5] the following day,
Lie snug, and hear what critics say;
And, if you find the general vogue
Pronounces you a stupid rogue,
Damns all your thoughts as low and little,
Sit still, and swallow down your spittle;
Be silent as a politician,
For talking may beget suspicion;
Or praise the judgment of the town,
And help yourself to run it down.
Give up your fond paternal pride,
Nor argue on the weaker side:
For, poems read without a name
We justly praise, or justly blame;
And critics have no partial views,
Except they know whom they abuse:
And since you ne'er provoke their spite,
Depend upon't their judgment's right.
But if you blab, you are undone:
Consider what a risk you run:
You lose your credit all at once;
The town will mark you for a dunce;
The vilest dogg'rel Grub Street sends,
Will pass for yours with foes and friends;
And you must bear the whole disgrace,
Till some fresh blockhead takes your place.
  Your secret kept, your poem sunk,
And sent in quires to line a trunk,
If still you be disposed to rhyme,
Go try your hand a second time.
Again you fail: yet Safe's the word;
Take courage and attempt a third.
But first with care employ your thoughts
Where critics mark'd your former faults;
The trivial turns, the borrow'd wit,
The similes that nothing fit;
The cant which every fool repeats,
Town jests and coffeehouse conceits,
Descriptions tedious, flat, and dry,
And introduced the Lord knows why:
Or where we find your fury set
Against the harmless alphabet;
On A's and B's your malice vent,
While readers wonder whom you meant:
A public or a private robber,
A statesman, or a South Sea jobber;
A prelate, who no God believes;
A parliament, or den of thieves;
A pickpurse at the bar or bench,
A duchess, or a suburb wench:
Or oft, when epithets you link,
In gaping lines to fill a chink;
Like stepping-stones, to save a stride,
In streets where kennels are too wide;
Or like a heel-piece, to support
A cripple with one foot too short;
Or like a bridge, that joins a marish
To moorlands of a different parish.
So have I seen ill-coupled hounds
Drag different ways in miry grounds.
So geographers, in Afric maps,
With savage pictures fill their gaps,
And o'er unhabitable downs
Place elephants for want of towns.
  But, though you miss your third essay,
You need not throw your pen away.
Lay now aside all thoughts of fame,
To spring more profitable game.
From party merit seek support;
The vilest verse thrives best at court.
And may you ever have the luck
To rhyme almost as ill as Duck;[6]
And, though you never learn'd to scan verse
Come out with some lampoon on D'Anvers.
A pamphlet in Sir Bob's defence
Will never fail to bring in pence:
Nor be concern'd about the sale,
He pays his workmen on the nail.[7]
Display the blessings of the nation,
And praise the whole administration.
Extol the bench of bishops round,
Who at them rail, bid ---- confound;
To bishop-haters answer thus:
(The only logic used by us)
What though they don't believe in ----
Deny them Protestants--thou lyest.
  A prince, the moment he is crown'd,
Inherits every virtue round,
As emblems of the sovereign power,
Like other baubles in the Tower;
Is generous, valiant, just, and wise,
And so continues till he dies:
His humble senate this professes,
In all their speeches, votes, addresses.
But once you fix him in a tomb,
His virtues fade, his vices bloom;
And each perfection, wrong imputed,
Is fully at his death confuted.
The loads of poems in his praise,
Ascending, make one funeral blaze:
His panegyrics then are ceased,
He grows a tyrant, dunce, or beast.
As soon as you can hear his knell,
This god on earth turns devil in hell:
And lo! his ministers of state,
Transform'd to imps, his levee wait;
Where in the scenes of endless woe,
They ply their former arts below;
And as they sail in Charon's boat,
Contrive to bribe the judge's vote;
To Cerberus they give a sop,
His triple barking mouth to stop;
Or, in the ivory gate of dreams,[8]
Project excise and South-Sea[9] schemes;
Or hire their party pamphleteers
To set Elysium by the ears.
  Then, poet, if you mean to thrive,
Employ your muse on kings alive;
With prudence gathering up a cluster
Of all the virtues you can muster,
Which, form'd into a garland sweet,
Lay humbly at your monarch's feet:
Who, as the odours reach his throne,
Will smile, and think them all his own;
For law and gospel both determine
All virtues lodge in royal ermine:
I mean the oracles of both,
Who shall depose it upon oath.
Your garland, in the following reign,
Change but the names, will do again.
  But, if you think this trade too base,
(Which seldom is the dunce's case)
Put on the critic's brow, and sit
At Will's, the puny judge of wit.
A nod, a shrug, a scornful smile,
With caution used, may serve a while.
Proceed no further in your part,
Before you learn the terms of art;
For you can never be too far gone
In all our modern critics' jargon:
Then talk with more authentic face
Of unities, in time and place:
Get scraps of Horace from your friends,
And have them at your fingers' ends;
Learn Aristotle's rules by rote,
And at all hazards boldly quote;
Judicious Rymer[10] oft review,
Wise Dennis,[11] and profound Bossu.[12]
Read all the prefaces of Dryden,
For these our critics much confide in;
Though merely writ at first for filling,
To raise the volume's price a shilling.
  A forward critic often dupes us
With sham quotations _peri hupsous_:
And if we have not read Longinus,
Will magisterially outshine us.
Then, lest with Greek he overrun ye,
Procure the book for love or money,
Translated from Boileau's translation,[13]
And quote quotation on quotation.
  At Will's you hear a poem read,
Where Battus[14] from the table head,
Reclining on his elbow-chair,
Gives judgment with decisive air;
To whom the tribe of circling wits
As to an oracle submits.
He gives directions to the town,
To cry it up, or run it down;
Like courtiers, when they send a note,
Instructing members how to vote.
He sets the stamp of bad and good,
Though not a word be understood.
Your lesson learn'd, you'll be secure
To get the name of connoisseur:
And, when your merits once are known,
Procure disciples of your own.
For poets (you can never want 'em)
Spread through Augusta Trinobantum,[15]
Computing by their pecks of coals,
Amount to just nine thousand souls:
These o'er their proper districts govern,
Of wit and humour judges sovereign.
In every street a city bard
Rules, like an alderman, his ward;
His undisputed rights extend
Through all the lane, from end to end;
The neighbours round admire his shrewdness
For songs of loyalty and lewdness;
Outdone by none in rhyming well,
Although he never learn'd to spell.
  Two bordering wits contend for glory;
And one is Whig, and one is Tory:
And this, for epics claims the bays,
And that, for elegiac lays:
Some famed for numbers soft and smooth,
By lovers spoke in Punch's booth;
And some as justly fame extols
For lofty lines in Smithfield drolls.
Bavius[16] in Wapping gains renown,
And Mævius[16] reigns o'er Kentish town:
Tigellius[17] placed in Phooebus' car
From Ludgate shines to Temple-bar:
Harmonious Cibber entertains
The court with annual birth-day strains;
Whence Gay was banish'd in disgrace;[18]
Where Pope will never show his face;
Where Young must torture his invention
To flatter knaves or lose his pension.[19]
  But these are not a thousandth part
Of jobbers in the poet's art,
Attending each his proper station,
And all in due subordination,
Through every alley to be found,
In garrets high, or under ground;
And when they join their pericranies,
Out skips a book of miscellanies.
Hobbes clearly proves, that every creature
Lives in a state of war by nature.[20]
The greater for the smaller watch,
But meddle seldom with their match.
A whale of moderate size will draw
A shoal of herrings down his maw;
A fox with geese his belly crams;
A wolf destroys a thousand lambs;
But search among the rhyming race,
The brave are worried by the base.
If on Parnassus' top you sit,
You rarely bite, are always bit:
Each poet of inferior size
On you shall rail and criticise,
And strive to tear you limb from limb;
While others do as much for him.
  The vermin only teaze and pinch
Their foes superior by an inch.
So, naturalists observe, a flea
Has smaller fleas that on him prey;
And these have smaller still to bite 'em,
And so proceed _ad infinitum_.
Thus every poet, in his kind,
Is bit by him that comes behind:
Who, though too little to be seen,
Can teaze, and gall, and give the spleen;
Call dunces, fools, and sons of whores,
Lay Grub Street at each other's doors;
Extol the Greek and Roman masters,
And curse our modern poetasters;
Complain, as many an ancient bard did,
How genius is no more rewarded;
How wrong a taste prevails among us;
How much our ancestors outsung us:
Can personate an awkward scorn
For those who are not poets born;
And all their brother dunces lash,
Who crowd the press with hourly trash.
  O Grub Street! how do I bemoan thee,
Whose graceless children scorn to own thee!
Their filial piety forgot,
Deny their country, like a Scot;
Though by their idiom and grimace,
They soon betray their native place:
Yet thou hast greater cause to be
Ashamed of them, than they of thee,
Degenerate from their ancient brood
Since first the court allow'd them food.
  Remains a difficulty still,
To purchase fame by writing ill.
From Flecknoe[21] down to Howard's[22] time,
How few have reach'd the low sublime!
For when our high-born Howard died,
Blackmore[23] alone his place supplied:
And lest a chasm should intervene,
When death had finish'd Blackmore's reign,
The leaden crown devolved to thee,
Great poet[24] of the "Hollow Tree."
But ah! how unsecure thy throne!
A thousand bards thy right disown:
They plot to turn, in factious zeal,
Duncenia to a common weal;
And with rebellious arms pretend
An equal privilege to descend.
  In bulk there are not more degrees
From elephants to mites in cheese,
Than what a curious eye may trace
In creatures of the rhyming race.
From bad to worse, and worse they fall;
But who can reach the worst of all?
For though, in nature, depth and height
Are equally held infinite:
In poetry, the height we know;
'Tis only infinite below.
For instance: when you rashly think,
No rhymer can like Welsted sink,
His merits balanced, you shall find
The Laureate leaves him far behind.
Concanen,[25] more aspiring bard,
Soars downward deeper by a yard.
Smart Jemmy Moore[26] with vigour drops;
The rest pursue as thick as hops:
With heads to point the gulf they enter,
Link'd perpendicular to the centre;
And as their heels elated rise,
Their heads attempt the nether skies.
  O, what indignity and shame,
To prostitute the Muses' name!
By flattering kings, whom Heaven design'd
The plagues and scourges of mankind;
Bred up in ignorance and sloth,
And every vice that nurses both.
  Perhaps you say, Augustus shines,
Immortal made in Virgil's lines,
And Horace brought the tuneful quire,
To sing his virtues on the lyre;
Without reproach for flattery, true,
Because their praises were his due.
For in those ages kings, we find,
Were animals of human kind.
But now, go search all _Europe_ round
Among the _savage monsters_ ----
With vice polluting every _throne_,
(I mean all thrones except our own;)
In vain you make the strictest view
To find a ---- in all the crew,
With whom a footman out of place
Would not conceive a high disgrace,
A burning shame, a crying sin,
To take his morning's cup of gin.
  Thus all are destined to obey
Some beast of burthen or of prey.
  'Tis sung, Prometheus,[27] forming man,
Through all the brutal species ran,
Each proper quality to find
Adapted to a human mind;
A mingled mass of good and bad,
The best and worst that could be had;
Then from a clay of mixture base
He shaped a ---- to rule the race,
Endow'd with gifts from every brute
That best the * * nature suit.
Thus think on ----s: the name denotes
Hogs, asses, wolves, baboons, and goats.
To represent in figure just,
Sloth, folly, rapine, mischief, lust;
Oh! were they all but Neb-cadnezers,
What herds of ----s would turn to grazers!
  Fair Britain, in thy monarch blest,
Whose virtues bear the strictest test;
Whom never faction could bespatter,
Nor minister nor poet flatter;
What justice in rewarding merit!
What magnanimity of spirit!
What lineaments divine we trace
Through all his figure, mien, and face!
Though peace with olive binds his hands,
Confess'd the conquering hero stands.
Hydaspes,[28] Indus, and the Ganges,
Dread from his hand impending changes.
From him the Tartar and Chinese,
Short by the knees,[29] entreat for peace.
The consort of his throne and bed,
A perfect goddess born and bred,
Appointed sovereign judge to sit
On learning, eloquence, and wit.
Our eldest hope, divine Iülus,[30]
(Late, very late, O may he rule us!)
What early manhood has he shown,
Before his downy beard was grown,
Then think, what wonders will be done
By going on as he begun,
An heir for Britain to secure
As long as sun and moon endure.
  The remnant of the royal blood
Comes pouring on me like a flood.
Bright goddesses, in number five;
Duke William, sweetest prince alive.
Now sing the minister of state,
Who shines alone without a mate.
Observe with what majestic port
This Atlas stands to prop the court:
Intent the public debts to pay,
Like prudent Fabius,[31] by delay.
Thou great vicegerent of the king,
Thy praises every Muse shall sing!
In all affairs thou sole director;
Of wit and learning chief protector,
Though small the time thou hast to spare,
The church is thy peculiar care.
Of pious prelates what a stock
You choose to rule the sable flock!
You raise the honour of the peerage,
Proud to attend you at the steerage.
You dignify the noble race,
Content yourself with humbler place.
Now learning, valour, virtue, sense,
To titles give the sole pretence.
St. George beheld thee with delight,
Vouchsafe to be an azure knight,
When on thy breast and sides Herculean,
He fix'd the star and string cerulean.
  Say, poet, in what other nation
Shone ever such a constellation!
Attend, ye Popes, and Youngs, and Gays,
And tune your harps, and strew your bays:
Your panegyrics here provide;
You cannot err on flattery's side.
Above the stars exalt your style,
You still are low ten thousand mile.
On Lewis all his bards bestow'd
Of incense many a thousand load;
But Europe mortified his pride,
And swore the fawning rascals lied.
Yet what the world refused to Lewis,
Applied to George, exactly true is.
Exactly true! invidious poet!
'Tis fifty thousand times below it.
  Translate me now some lines, if you can,
From Virgil, Martial, Ovid, Lucan.
They could all power in Heaven divide,
And do no wrong on either side;
They teach you how to split a hair,
Give George and Jove an equal share.[32]
Yet why should we be laced so strait?
I'll give my monarch butter-weight.
And reason good; for many a year
Jove never intermeddled here:
Nor, though his priests be duly paid,
Did ever we desire his aid:
We now can better do without him,
Since Woolston gave us arms to rout him.
_Caetera desiderantur_.
 
 
[Footnote 1: See Young's "Satires," and "Life" by
Johnson.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 2: The prison or house of correction to which harlots were
often consigned. See Hogarth's "Harlot's Progress," and "A beautiful
young Nymph," _ante_, p. 201.--_W. R. B._]
 
[Footnote 3: Colley Cibber, born in 1671, died in 1757; famous as a
comedian and dramatist, and immortalized by Pope as the hero of the
"Dunciad"; appointed Laureate in December, 1730, in succession to Eusden,
who died in September that year. See Cibber's "Apology for his Life";
Disraeli's "Quarrels of Authors," edit. 1859.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 4: Barnaby Bernard Lintot, publisher and bookseller, noted for
adorning his shop with titles in red letters. In the Prologue to the
"Satires" Pope says: "What though my name stood rubric on the walls"; and
in the "Dunciad," book i, "Lintot's rubric post." He made a handsome
fortune, and died High Sheriff of Sussex in 1736, aged
sixty-one.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 5: The coffee-house most frequented by the wits and poets of
that time.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 6: See _ante_, p. 192, "On Stephen Duck, the Thresher
Poet."--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 7: Allusion to the large sums paid by Walpole to scribblers in
support of his party.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 8:
  "Sunt geminae Somni portae: quarum altera fertur
  Cornea; qua veris facilis datur exitus Vmbris:
  Altera candenti perfecta nitens elephanto;
  Sed falsa ad coelum mittunt insomnia Manes."
        VIRG., _Aen._, vi.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 9: See the "South Sea Project," _ante_, p. 120.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 10: Thomas Rymer, archaeologist and critic. The allusion is to
his "Remarks on the Tragedies of the last Age," on which see Johnson's
"Life of Dryden" and Spence's "Anecdotes," p. 173. Rymer is best known by
his work entitled "Foedera," consisting of leagues, treaties, etc., made
between England and other kingdoms.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 11: John Dennis, born 1657, died 1734. He is best remembered as
"The Critic." See Swift's "Thoughts on various subjects," "Prose Works,"
i, 284; Disraeli, "Calamities of Authors: Influence of a bad Temper in
Criticism"; Pope's Works, edit. Elwin and Courthope,
_passim._--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 12: Highly esteemed as a French critic by Dryden and
Pope.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 13: By Leonard Welsted, who, in 1712, published the work of
"Longinus on the Sublime," stated to be "translated from the Greek." He
is better known through his quarrel with Pope. See the "Prologue to the
Satires."--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 14: Dryden, whose armed chair at Will's was in the winter
placed by the fire, and in the summer in the balcony. Malone's "Life of
Dryden," p. 485. Why Battus? Battus was a herdsman who, because he
Betrayed Mercury's theft of some cattle, was changed by the god into a
Stone Index. Ovid, "Metam.," ii, 685.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 15: The ancient name of London, also called Troynovant. See
Journal to Stella, "Prose Works," ii, 249; and Cunningham's "Handbook of
London," introduction.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 16: The two bad Roman poets, hateful and inimical to Virgil and
Horace: Virg., "Ecl." iii, 90; Horat., "Epod." x. The names have been
well applied in our time by Gifford in his satire entitled "The Baviad
and Maeviad."--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 17: A musician, also a censurer of Horace. See "Satirae," lib.
1. iii, 4.--_--W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 18: In consequence of "Polly," the supplement to the "Beggar's
Opera," but which obtained him the friendship of the Duke and Duchess of
Queensberry.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 19: The grant of two hundred a year, which he obtained from the
Crown, and retained till his death in 1765.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 20: See "Leviathan," Part I, chap, xiii.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 21: Richard Flecknoe, poet and dramatist, died 1678, of whom it
has been written that "whatever may become of his own pieces, his name
will continue, whilst Dryden's satire, called 'Mac Flecknoe,' shall
remain in vogue." Dryden's Poetical Works, edit. Warton, ii,
169.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 22: Hon. Edward Howard, author of some indifferent plays and
poems. See "Dict. Nat. Biog."--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 23: Richard Blackmore, physician and very voluminous writer in
prose and verse. In 1697 he was appointed physician to William III, when
he was knighted. See Pope, "Imitations of Horace," book ii, epist. 1,
387.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 24: Lord Grimston, born 1683, died 1756. He is best known by
his play, written in 1705, "The Lawyer's Fortune, or Love in a Hollow
Tree," which the author withdrew from circulation; but, by some person's
malice, it was reprinted in 1736. See "Dict. Nat. Biog.," Pope's Works,
edit. Elwin and Courthope, iii, p. 314.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 25: Matthew Concanen, born in Ireland, 1701, a writer of
miscellaneous works, dramatic and poetical. See the "Dunciad," ii, 299,
304, _ut supra.--W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 26: James Moore Smythe, chiefly remarkable for his consummate
assurance as a plagiarist. See the "Dunciad," ii, 50, and notes thereto,
Pope's Works, edit. Elwin and Courthope, iv, 132.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 27:
  "Fertur Prometheus, addere principi
  Limo coactus particulam undique
      Desectam, et insani leonis
        Vim stomacho apposuisse nostro."
            HORAT., _Carm._ I, xvi.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 28:
  "---- super et Garamantas et Indos,
  Proferet imperium; ----
  ---- jam nunc et Caspia regna
  Responsis horrent divom."
        Virg., _Aen._, vi.]
 
[Footnote 29:
  "---- genibus minor."]
 
[Footnote 30: Son of Aeneas, here representing Frederick, Prince of
Wales, father of George III.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 31:
  "Unus qui nobis cunctando restituis rem."
        Virg., _Aen._, vi, 847.--_W. E. B._]
 
[Footnote 32: "Divisum imperium cum Jove Caesar habet."]