Jonathan Swift: Quotations (3)
On his own origins: My birth, although from a family not undistinguished in its time, is many degrees inferior to yours. All my pretensions upon persona and parts, infinitely so. I am a younger son of younger sons. You were born to a great fortune [
] (letter; [to Bolingbroke], Dublin, 31 Oct. 1729.)
I ever feared the tattle of this nasty town [Dublin], and told you so; there are accidents I life that are necessary and must be submitted to; and tattle, by the help of discretion, will wear off. (Letter to Stella, quoted in Carl Van Doren, The Portable Swift, Viking Press, 1948; Penguin Edn., 1977, Introduction, p.27.)
[Both] summers and winters are milder here than with you; all things for life in general better for a middling fortune; you will have an absolute command of your company, with whatever obsequiousness or freedom you may expect or allow [...] I have said enough, yet not half. Except the absence of friends, I confess freely thtat I have no discontent at living here; besides what arises from a silly spirit of liberty, which as it neither sours my drink, nor hurts my meat, nor spoils my stomach farther than in imagination, so I resolve to throw it off. (Letter to Pope, in George Sherburn, The Correspondence of Alexander Pope, II , p.492; quoted in Irvin Ehrenpreis, Swift [... &c.], London: Methuen 1983, p.594.)
I could wish you would cotton more with the valuable people while you are hre. I do suppose nobody hates and despises this kingdom more than myself, and yet when I am well I can be easy among a set of honest people who neither shine in titles nor wit: but I do not recommend my text for you. The when may come when you will have a less relish for variety. (Letter to Charles Ford; 21 Sept. 1728; Williams, Vol. III; quoted in Ehrenpreis, op. cit., 1983, p.599.
Note also Swift's judgement of his own social character: [I] make choice only of such with whom i is of no matter of consequence what I say to them, or what they say to me. (Williams, Correspondence of Jonathan Swift [1963-65], Vol. II, p.330; quoted in Ehrenpreis, op. cit., p.910.)
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On Anglo-Ireland: [Swift complained that] all persons born in Ireland are called and treated as Irishmen, although their fathers and grandfather were born in England; and their predecessors have been conquerors of Ireland, it is humbly conceived they ought to be on as good a foot as any subjects of Britain, according to the practice of all other nations, and particularily the Greeks and Romans (Letter to Lord Peterborough, 28 April 1726).
On Irish Viceroys: [
] A Lord Lieutenant is to be dispatched over in great Haste, before the ordinary Time, and a parliament summoned, by anticipating a Prorogation; merely to put an Hundred Thousand Pounds into the Pocket of a Sharper, by the ruin of a most loyal Kingdom. (Works, Vol. 10, p.57.)
On People of Ireland: Were not the People of Ireland born as free as those of England? How have they forfeited their Freedom? Is not the[ir] Parliament as fair a Representative of the People, as that of England? And hath not their Privy Council as great, or a greater Share in the Administration of publick Affairs? Are they not Subjects of the same King? does not the same Sun shine over [var., on] them? And have they not the same God for their Protector? Am I a free-man in England, and do I become a Slave in six Hours by crossing the Channel? (Some Observation on the Report of the Committee, in The Drapiers Letters; Works, ed. Davis, Vol. 10, p.31; quoted in Henry Craik, Life of Swift, Vol. 2, p.72; Carl Van Doren, Intro., Portable Swift, 1948, Penguin Edn., p.29, in Richard Quintana, Jonathan Swift: An Introduction, OUP 1962, p.131.)
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Consent of the governed: For in Reason, all Government without the Consent of the Governed, is the very Definition of Slavery; But in Fact, Eleven Men well armed, will certainly subdue one single man in his Shirt. But I have done. For those who have used Power to cramp Liberty have gone so far as to Resent even the Liberty of Complaining, altho a Man upon the Rack was never known to be refused the Liberty of Roaring as loud as he thought fit. (Drapiers Letters [No. 4]; Works, ed. Davis, Vol. 10, pp.62-3; see also Joseph McMinn, Swifts Irish Pamphlets, 1991, p.80; for longer extract, see under Quotations , supra; also under William Molyneux, supra - where Molyneuxs sentence which inspired the references to complaint is also quoted.)
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On Religious faith: It is highly probable, that if God should please to reveal unto us this great mystery of the Trinity, or some other Mysteries in our Holy Religion, we should not be able to understand them, unless he would at the same time think fit to bestow on us some new Powers or Faculties of Mind, which we want at present, and reserved till the Day of Resurrection to Life eternal. For now, as the Apostle says, we see through a glass darkly, but then Face to Face. [1 Cor. 13:12]; (q. source.)
On Politics & religion: We are unhappily divided in to two parties, both of which pretend a mighty zeal for our religion and government, only they disagree about the means. The evils we must fence against are, on the one side, fanaticism and infidelity in religion, and anarchy, under the name of the commonwealth, in government; on the other side, popery, slavery, and the Pretender from France. (Quoted in Carl Van Doran, intro., Portable Swift, Viking 1948; Pengiun 1977, p.15.)
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On Misanthropy: I have ever hated all Nations professions and Communityes and all my love is towards individualls for instance I hate the tribe of Lawyers, but I love Councellor such a one, Judge such a one for so with Physicians (I will not Speak of my own Trade) Soldiers, English, Escotch, French; and the rest but principally I hate and detest that animal called man, although I heartily love John, Peter, Thomas, and so forth. This is the system upon which I have governed my self for many years (but do not tell) and so I shall go on till I hae done with them I have got materials Towards a Treatise proving the falsity of that Definition animale rationale; and to show it should be only rationis capax. Upon this great foundation of Misanthropy (though in Timons manner) The whole building of my Travells is erected: And I never will have peace of mind till all honest men are of my Opinion: by Conseqence you are to embrace it immediately and procuse that all who deserve my Esteem may do so too. The matter is so clear that it will admit of little dispute: nay I will hold a hundred pounds that you and I agree the Point. (Letter to Alexander Pope, 29 Sept. 1725; Correspondence, III, 103; in Seamus Deane, ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, 1991, Vol. I, p.351.) Cf., Gullivers Travels (1726): I cannot but conclude, says the King, [that] the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the face of the earth.
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On Patriotism: I do profess without affection, that your kind opinion of me as a patriot (since you call it so) is what I do not deserve; because what I do is owing to perfect rage and resentment, and the mortifying sight of slavery, folly, and baseness about me, among which I am forced to live (Letter to Alexander Pope, 1 June 1728; in Correspondence, ed. H. Williams, 1963-65, 3, 289).
Acts of Union (on the Union of Scotland and England): A Vessel with a double Keel;While just like ours, new riggd and mand / 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 oerwhelm / Our crazy double-bottomd Realm. (Verses Said to be Written on the Union, c.1707.)
Disappointment (I): I never wake without finding life a more insignificant thing than it was the day before: which is one great advantage I get by living in this country, where there isnothing I shall be sorry to lose; but my greatest misery is recollecting the scene of twenty years past, and then all on a sudden dropping from the present. remember when I was a little boy, I felt a great fish at the end of my line which I drew up almost on the ground. But it dropped in and the disappointment vexeth me to this very day and I believe it was the type of all my future disappointments. (Letter to Viscount Bolingbroke and Alexander Pope, 5 April 1729; Correspondence, III, 329; extract in [inter al.] A. N. Jeffares & Peter Van de Kamp, eds., Irish Literature: The Eighteenth Century - An Annotated Anthology (Dublin/Oregon: Irish Academic Press 2006, pp.79.-80.)
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Disappointment (II) When I was a schoolboy at Kilkenny, and in the lower form, I longed very much to have a horse of my own to ride on. One day I saw a poor man leading a very mangy lean horse out of the town to kill him for the skin. I asked the man if he would sell him, which he readily consented to upon my offering him somewhat more than the price of the hide, which was all the money I had in the world. I immediately got on him, to the great envy of some of my school fellows, and to the ridicule of others, and rode him about the town. The horse soon tired, and laid down. As I had no stable to put him into, nor any money to pay for his sustenance, I began to find out what a foolish bargain I had made, and cried heartily for the loss of my cash; but the horse dying soon after upon the spot gave me some relief. (From Thomas Sheridan, The Life of the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Swift, 1784; extract in [inter al.] A. N. Jeffares & Peter Van de Kamp, eds., Irish Literature: The Eighteenth Century - An Annotated Anthology (Dublin/Oregon: Irish Academic Press 2006, p.80.)
The Irish Language: It would be a noble achievement to abolish the Irish language in this kingdom, so far at least as to oblige all the natives to speak only English on every occasion of business [
]. This would, in a great measure civilise the most barbarous of them, reconcile them to our customs, and reduce great numbers to the national religion, whatever kind may then happen to be established. (Works, Vol. 12, p.89).
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Hiberno-English: How is it possible that a gentleman who lives in those parts where the townlands (as they call them) of his estate produce such odious sounds from the mouth, the throat, and the nose, can be able to repeat the words without dislocating every muscle that is used in speaking, and without applying the same tone to all other words, in every language he understands; as it is plainly to be observed not only in those people ofthe better sort who live in Galway and the Western parts, but in most counties of Ireland? Whereas what we call the Irish Brogue is no sooner discovered, than it makes the deliverer, in the last degree, ridiculous and despise; and from such a mouth, an Englishman expects nothing but bulls, blunders and follies. (Quoted in Robert McCrum, William Cran & Robert MacNeil, The Story of English (Elizabeth Sifton Books/Penguin Books 1986), p.174, citing A Dialogue in Hibernian Stile, and Irish Eloquence; also [in part] in Martin J. Croghan, Maria Edgeworth and the Tradition of Irish Semiotics, in A Small Nations Contribution to the World, ed. Donald E. Morse, Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, 1993, pp.194-206, citing On Barbarous Denominations in Ireland, in Herbert J. Davis, Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, Vol. IV, London: Blackwell 1957, p.281.)
Note: McCrum, et al., also quote examples from Swift's Dialogue, which is conducted by two landowners: Pray how does he get his health? [What kind of health does he enjoy?]; It is kind father for you [You have inherited that tendency from your father]; I wonder what is gone with them [I wonder what has happened to them]. (Op. cit. 1986, p.173.)
Roman Catholicism: For Popery, under the Circumstances it lies in this Kingdom; it be although offensive, and inconvenient enough, from the Consequences it hath to increase the Rapine, Sloth and Ignorance, as well as Poverty of the Natives; it is not properly dangerous in that Sense, as some would have us take it; [...] The Papists are wholly disarmed. They have neither Courage, Leaders, Money, or Inclinations to rebel. (Queries relating to the sacramental test, 1732; Works, ed. Davis, Vol. 12, pp.258-59.)
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On Piracy: If books can be had much cheaper from Ireland (which I believe, for I bought Blackstone there for twenty-four shillings, when when it was sold in England for four guineas), is not this an advantage, and to English booksellers, indeed, but to English readers, and to learning. (Letter to Benjamin Motte; quoted in Richard Cargill Cole, Irish Booksellers and English Writers, 1740-1800, 1986, p.8.)
Courtship (Letter to Miss Waring): Surely, Varina, you have but a mean opinion of the joys that accompany a true, honourable, unlimited love; yet either nature or our ancestors have hugely deceived us, or else all sublunary things are dross in comparison. Is it possible that you cannot be yet unsensible to the prospect of a rapture and delight so innocent and so exalted? Trust me, Varina, Heaven has given us nothing else worth the loss of a thought. Ambition, high appearance, friends and fortune are all tasteless and insipid when they come in competition; yet millions of such glorious minutes we are perpetually losing, for every losing, irrecoverably losing, to gratify empty forms and wrong notions ... To resist the violence of our inclinations in the beginning is a strain of self denial that may have some pretences to set up for a virtue; but when they are grounded at first upon reason, when they have taken firm root and grown to a height, it is folly - folly as well as injustice - to withstand their dictates; for this passion has a property peculiar to itself, to be more commendable in its extremes; and it is as possible to err in the excess of piety as of love. ([q.d.]; quoted in Sybil Le Brocquy, Cadenus, Dolmen Press 1962, pp.47-48).
Courtship (Letters to Vanessa [Esther van Homerigh): I am confident you came chiding into the world and will continue so while you are in it. At the DEATH OF MALKIN (Vanessas sister) from consumption Swift he distanced himself with the advice, In Gods sake get your friends about you, to advise and order everything in the forms ... I want comfort myself in this case and can give little. Time alone must give it to you. Nothing now is your part but decency. (p.82).
The Difficulty of Knowing Oneself: How wild and impertinent, how busy and incoherent a thing is the imagination, even in the best and sanest of men; in somuch, that every man may be said to be mad, but every man does not show it! (Quoted in P. J. Kavanagh, Voices in Ireland, 1994, p.7.)
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On court favourites: He usually continues in Office till a Worse can be found; but the very Moment he is discarded, his Successor, at the Head of all the Yahoos in that District, young and old, male and female, come in a Body [
] (Gullivers Travels; quoted in D. B. Wyndham Lewis, Four Favourites, London: Evan Bros. Ltd. 1948), p.vii. Lewis goes on: after which the Dean ceases, as so often, to be quotable in any decent modern page.)
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ORourkes Feast (1720) [Swifts translation of the Pléaráca na Ruarcach of Hugh MacGauran] - I. Come harper, strike up, but first by your Favour / Boy, give us a Cup, ay, this has some Savour. O Rourks jolly Boys, neer dreamt of the Matter / Till roused by the Noise, and Musical Clatter / They bounce from their Nest, no longer will tarry / they rise ready drest, without one Ave Mary. / They dance in a round, cuting Capers and ramping / a Mercy the Ground did not burst with their Stamping / The Floor is all wet, with Leaps and with Jumps / while the water and Sweat, Splish Splash in their Pumps
Good Lord, what a sight, after all their good Chear / for people to fight in the midst of their Beer / They rise from the Feast, and hot are their Brains / a Cubit at Least, the Length of their Skeans / What Stabs and what Cuts, what Clattring of Sticks / What Strokes on Guts, what bastings and kicks. / With Cudgels of Oak, well hardend in Flame / an hundred heads broke, an hundred struck lame / You Churl, Ill maintain, my Father built Lusk / The Castle of Slane and Carrick Drumrusk / The Earl of Kildare, and Moynalta his brother / as great as they are, I was nursd by their Mother / Ask that of old Madam, Shell tell you whos who / so far up as Adam, She knows it is true / Come down with that Beam, if Cudgells are scarce / A Blow on the Weam, and a kick on the Arse. (Quoted in Andrew Carpenter, Changing Views of Irish Musical and Literary Culture in Eighteenth-centry Anglo-Irish Literature, in Irish Literature and Culture, ed. Michael Kenneally, Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, 1992, p.13.) [Cont.]
ORourkes Feast (1720) [Swifts translation] - cont: II. The following account of Swifts translation of Plearaca na Ruarcach is given in Patrick Kennedy, Modern Irish Anecdotes, Humour Wit and Wisdom, London: Routledge & Sons n.d. ): Mr. Gore, a hospitable gentleman in Leitrim, once car ried off the Dean to his country house, and entertained him nobly, sparing neither beef, mutton, whiskey, music, poetry, dancing, nor good-nature. Hearing the melody above-named sung (the meaning being “The Feast of ORourke”), he got the author, a Mr. Maguaran, to give him a literal translation; and at his leisure he put it in English verse. It presents a picture of what our ancient hospitality would degenerate to when not kept in bounds by moderation and refined manners. ORourkes noble feast / Can neer be forgot / By those who were there, / Or by those who were not. // His revels to keep, / We sup and we dine / On seven score sheep, / Fat bullocks, and swine. // Usquebaugh to our feast / In pails was brought up, — / A hundred at least, / And a medher pir cup. //  Come, harper, strike up!, / first, by your favour, / Boy,
give us a cup. / Ah, this hath some savour. //
ORourkes jolly boys /
Neer dreamt of the matter, / Till roused by the noise /
Of the music and clatter. /
They bounce from their nest, /
No longer will tarry, /
They rise ready dressed, / Without one Ave-Mary. //
The floor is all wet /
With leaps and with jumps, / While the water and sweat / Splish-splash in their pumps. //
Bring straw for our bed, / Shake it down to our feet, / Then over us spread / The winnowing sheet. //
Good Lord, what a sight! After all their good cheer, / For people to fight /
In the midst of their beer! //
They rise from their feast, / And hot are their brains; - / A cubit at least /
The length of their skeans. //
What stabs and what cuts, / What clattering of sticks / What cracking of ribs, / What bastings and kicks! //
With cudgels of oak, / Well hardened in flame, / A hundred heads broke, / A hundred legs lame! // You churl, Ill maintain / Twas my father built Lusk, / The castle of Slane, /
And Carrie Drumrusk. // The Earl of Kildare, /
And Moynalty his brother, / As great as they are, /
I was nursed by their mother. // Ask that woman there, Shell tell you whos who, / As far up as Adam: /
She knows it is true.(pp.37-38.) [In all respects true to the other version, Kennedy breaks off here. A footnote to mother remarks: Foster-mother to wit. In the old times in Ireland, no lady of rank thought of giving suck to her child or children. They much-desired duty was discharged by the wife of a rich farmer or grazier on the chiefs demesne, and the after-bonds which connected the young chief with his foster-mother and her family were of the most loving and stringent character. (p.38.)
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The Ladys Dressing Room (1732): Five Hours (and who can do it less in?) / By haughty Celia spent in Dressing; / The Goddess from her Chamber issues, / Arrayd in Lace, Brocades and Tissues. / Strephon, who found the Room was void, / And Betty otherwise employd; / Stole in, and took a strict Survey, / Of all the Litter as it lay; / Whereof, to make the Matter clear, / An Inventory follows here. [
] 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 adown the hopful Chops / The Fat upon a Cinder drops, / To stinking Smoak it turns the Flame / Poisning 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 plumpt into the reeking Chest; / Send up an excremental Smell / To taint the Parts from whence they fell. / The Pettycoats and Gown perfume, / Which waft a Stink round every Room. // Thus finishing his grand Survey, / Disgusted Strephon stole away / Repeating in his amorous Fits, / Oh! Celia, Celia, Celia shits! (...; for full text, see RICORSO Library, Irish Classics, [infra]).
Stellas Birthday: Stella this day is thirty-four / (We shant dispute a year or more), / However Stella, be not troubled, / Although thy size and years are doubled, / Since first I saw thee at sixteen / The brightest virgin on the green, / So little is thy form declind / Made up so largely in thy mind. / Oh, would it please the gods to split / Thy beauty, size, and years, and wit, / No age could furnish out a pair / Of nymphs so graceful, wise and fair / With half the luster of your eyes, / With half your wit, your years and size: / And then before it grew too late, / How should I beg of gentle Fate / (That either nymph might have her swain) / To split my worship too in twain. (Accessed at Some poems can be seen on the of Mary Bakers Jonathan Swift page in Poetry Palace at Geocities online; 07.08.2009.]
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A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed - Written for the Honour of the Fair Sex (1734)
Corinna, pride of Drury-lane,
For whom no shepherd sighs in vain;
Never did Covent-garden boast
So bright a batterd, 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-leggd chair,
Takes off her artificial hair,
Now picking out a crystal eye,
She wipes it clean, and lays it by.
Her eye-brows from a mouses 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 dextrously 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 contrivd to prop
Her flabby dugs, and down they drop.
Proceeding on, the lovely Goddess
Unlaces next her steel-ribbd bodice,
Which, by the operators skill,
Press down the lumps, the hollows fill.
Up hoes her hand, and off she slips
The bolsters that supply her hips.
With gentlest touch she next explores
Her shankers, 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 upont.
She takes a bolus eer she sleeps;
| And then between two blankets creeps.
With pains of love tormented lies;
Or, if she chance to close her eyes,
Of Bridewell and the Compter dreams,
And feels the lash, and faintly screams;
Or, by a faithless bully drawn,
At some hedge-tavern lies in pawn;
Or to Jamaica seems transported
Alone, and by no planter courted;
Or, near Fleet-ditchs 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 dragged it to his hole.
The crystal eye, alas! was missd;
And puss had on her plumpers p -- ssd.
A pigeon pickd her issue-peas;
And Shock her tresses filld with fleas.
The nymph, tho in this mangled plight,
Must evry morn her limbs unite.
But how shall I describe her arts
To re-collect the scatterd parts?
Or show the anguish, toil, and pain,
Of gathering up herself again?
The bashful Muse will never bear
In such a scene to interfere.
Corinna in the morning dizend,
Who sees, will spew; who smells, be poisond.
A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed - Written for the Honour of the Fair Sex: Corinna, pride of Drury-lane, / For whom no shepherd sighs in vain; / Never did Covent-garden boast / So bright a batterd, 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-leggd chair, / 10: Takes off her artificial hair, / Now picking out a crystal eye, / She wipes it clean, and lays it by. / Her eye-brows from a mouses 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 dextrously her plumpers draws, / That serve to fill her hollow jaws. / Untwists a wire and from her gums / 20: A set of teeth completely comes. / Pulls out the rags contrivd to prop / Her flabby dugs, and down they drop. / Proceeding on, the lovely Goddess / Unlaces next her steel-ribbd bodice, / Which, by the operators skill, / Press down the lumps, the hollows fill. / Up hoes her hand, and off she slips / The bolsters that supply her hips. / With gentlest touch she next explores / 30: Her shankers, 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 upont. / She takes a bolus eer she sleeps; / And then between two blankets creeps. / With pains of love tormented lies; / 40: Or, if she chance to close her eyes, / Of Bridewell and the Compter dreams, / And feels the lash, and faintly screams; / Or, by a faithless bully drawn, / At some hedge-tavern lies in pawn; / Or to Jamaica seems transported / Alone, and by no planter courted; / Or, near Fleet-ditchs oozy brinks, / Surrounded with a hundred stinks, / Belated, seems on watch to lie, / 50: 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, / 60: Half eat, and dragged it to his hole. / The crystal eye, alas! was missd; / And puss had on her plumpers p -- ssd. / A pigeon pickd her issue-peas; / And Shock her tresses filld with fleas. / The nymph, tho in this mangled plight, / Must evry morn her limbs unite. / But how shall I describe her arts / To re-collect the scatterd parts? / Or show the anguish, toil, and pain, / 70: Of gathering up herself again? / The bashful Muse will never bear / In such a scene to interfere. / Corinna in the morning dizend, / Who sees, will spew; who smells, be poisond. [Virginia Text Centre.]
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Verses on the Death of Dr Swift [...] -by himself (1731): Fair Liberty was all his cry; / For her he was prepared to die. / For her he boldly stood alone, / For her he oft exposed his own.
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.”
From Dublin soon to London spread,
‘Tis told at court, “the Dean is dead.”
Kind Lady Suffolk, 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 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.”
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.)
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.”
With princes kept a due decorum,
But never stood in awe before ‘em.
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, 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.
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.
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Clever Tom Clinch Going to be Hanged: As clever Tom Clinch, while the rabble was bawling, / Rode stately through Holborn, to die in his calling; / He stopt at the George for a bottle of sack, / And promisd to pay for it when hed come back, / His waistcoat and stockings, and breeches were white, / His cap had a new cherry ribbon to tiet. / The maids to the doors and the balconies ran, / And said, lack-a-day! hes a proper young man. / But, as from the windows the ladies he spied, / Like a beau in the box, he bowd low on each side; / And when his last speech the loud hawkers did cry, / He swore from his cart, it was all a damnd lie. / The hangman for pardon fell down on his knee; / Tom gave him a kick in the guts for his fee. / Then said, I must speak to the people a little, / But Ill see you all damnd before I will whittle. / My honest friend Wild, may he long hold his place, / He lengthend my life with a whole year of grace. / Take courage, dear comrades, and be not afraid, / Nor slip this occasion to follow your trade. / My conscience is clear, and my spirits are calm, / And thus I go off without Prayr-Book or Psalm. / Then follow the practice of clever Tom Clinch, / Who hung like a hero, and never would flinch. (Quoted on OHara Ireland Home Page: link.)
On Sickness (1714): Tis true - then why should I repine / To see my life so fast decline? / But why obscurely here alone, / Where I am neither loved nor known?
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His deafness [caused by Menières disease]: That old vertigo in his head / will never leave him till hes dead. Further: Deaf, giddy, helpless, left alone, / To all my Friends a Burthen grown, / No more I hear my Churchs Bell, / Than if it rang out for my Knell: / At Thunder now no more I start, / Than at the Rumbling of a Cart: / Nay, whats incredible, alack! / I hardly hear a Womans Clack. (Quoted by John Hildebidle, Irish List [Virginia Tech.], 22 Feb. 1997.)
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St. Patricks Hospital: The Dean did by his pen defeat / An infamous destructive cheat / Taught fools their interest how to know, / And gave them arms to ward the blow. / Envy has owned it his own doing, / To save the hapless land from ruin / ; He gave the little that he had / To build a house for fools and mad; / And shewd by one satiric touch / No nation needed it so much. / That kingdom he had left his debtor, / I wish it soon may have a better.
Dr. Arbuthnot: Arbutnot is no more my friend, / Who dares to irony pretend; / Which I was born to introduce, / Refind it first, and shewd its Use.
|All Human Race, wou'd fain be Wits
And Millions miss, for one that hits.
Young's Universal Passion, Pride,
Was never known to spread so wide.
Say Britain, cou'd you ever boast
Three Poets in an Age at most?
Our chilling Climate hardly bears
A Sprig of Bays in Fifty Years:
While ev'ry Fool his Claim alledges,
As if it grew in common Hedges.
What Reason can there be assign'd
To this Perverseness of 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 cried, Forbear,
With Obstinacy fixes there;
And, where his Genius least inclines,
Absurdly bends his whole Designs.
How shall a new Attempter learn
Of diff'rent Spirits to discern,
And how distinguish, which is which,
The Poet's Vein or scribbling Itch?
Then hear an old experienc'd Sinner
Instructing thus a young Beginner.
Consult your self; 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 hum'rous Lines;
To Elegies in mournful Tone,/
Or Prologue sent from hand unknown.
Then rising with Aurora's Light,
The Muse invok'd, sit down to write;
Blot out, correct, insert, refine,
Enlarge, diminish, interliner;
Be mindful, when Invention fails,
To scratch your Head, and bite your Nails.
Further: So, natralists observe, a Flea / Hath smaller Fleas that on him prey, / And these have sammler yet to bite em, / And so proceed ad infinitum: / Thus evry Poet in his Kind, / Is bit by him that comes behind. (On Poetry.)
In Different Styles of Poetry, Verse by Lord Roscommon, Thomas Parnell, and Jonathan Swift [Irish Writings in the Age of Swift, No. 8] (Dublin: Cadenus Press MCMLXXVIII ), pp.103ff. (See bibliographical details, supra.)
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Epilogue to a tragedy enacted for the benefit of the poor of the Liberty [of Meath]: ‘Who dares affirm this is no pious age, / When Charity begins to tread the stage; / When actors, who at least are hardly savers, / Afford to give a benefit to weavers? / Stay, let me see, how finely will it sound / Imprimis, from His Grace a hundred pounds! / Peers, clergy, gentry, all are benefactors, / And then comes in the item of the actors. / Item, the actors freely give a day, / The poet had no more who made the play. / But whence this wondrous charity in players? / They learn it not at sermons nor at prayers. / ‘ Under the rose, since here are none but friends, / To own the truth, we have some private ends. / Since waiting women, like exacting jades, / Hold up the prices of their old brocades, / Well dress in manufactures made at home, / Equip our kings and generals at the Comb. / Well dress from Meath Street, Egypts haughty queen, / And Anthony shall court her in rat theen. / In blue shalloon shall Hannibal be clad, / And Scipio trail an Irish purple plaid. / In drugget dressed, of thirteen pence a yard, / See Philips son amid his Persian guard, / And proud Roxana, fired with jealous / rage, / With fifty yards of crape shall sweep the stage. / **** Oh could I see this audience clad in stuff, / Though moneys scarce, we should have trade enough; / But chintz, brocades, and lace take all away, / And scarce a crown is left to see the play. (Quoted in Patrick Kennedy, Modern Irish Anecdotes, Humour Wit and Wisdom, & Sons Routledge , p.37.)