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From The Poems of Jonathan Swift, D.D., Volume II (of 2)
Edited by William Ernst Browning
Barrister, Inner Temple
Author of The Life of Lord Chesterfield.
GEORGE ROCHFORT'S VERSES
FOR THE REV. DR. SWIFT, DEAN OF ST. PATRICK'S,
AT LARACOR, NEAR TRIM
That Downpatrick's Dean, or Patrick's down went, Like two arrand Deans, two Deans errant I meant; So that Christmas appears at Bellcampe like a Lent, Gives the gamesters of both houses great discontent.
Our parsons agree here, as those did at Trent, Dan's forehead has got a most damnable dent, Besides a large hole in his Michaelmas rent.
But your fancy on rhyming so cursedly bent, With your bloody ouns in one stanza pent; Does Jack's utter ruin at picket prevent, For an answer in specie to yours must be sent; So this moment at crambo (not shuffling) is spent, And I lose by this crotchet quaterze, point, and quint, Which you know to a gamester is great bitterment; But whisk shall revenge me on you, Batt, and Brent.
Bellcampe, January 1, 1717.
A LEFT-HANDED LETTER
TO DR. SHERIDAN, 1718
Delany reports it, and he has a shrewd tongue, That we both act the part of the clown and cow-dung; We lie cramming ourselves, and are ready to burst, Yet still are no wiser than we were at first.
Pudet haec opprobria, I freely must tell ye, Et dici potuisse, et non potuisse refelli.
Though Delany advised you to plague me no longer, You reply and rejoin like Hoadly of Bangor; I must now, at one sitting, pay off my old score; How many to answer? One, two, three, or four, But, because the three former are long ago past, I shall, for method-sake, begin with the last. You treat me like a boy that knocks down his foe, Who, ere t'other gets up, demands the rising blow. Yet I know a young rogue, that, thrown flat on the field, Would, as he lay under, cry out, Sirrah! yield. So the French, when our generals soundly did pay them, Went triumphant to church, and sang stoutly, Te Deum. So the famous Tom Leigh, when quite run a-ground, Comes off by out-laughing the company round: In every vile pamphlet you'll read the same fancies, Having thus overthrown all our farther advances. My offers of peace you ill understood; Friend Sheridan, when will you know your own good? 'Twas to teach you in modester language your duty; For, were you a dog, I could not be rude t'ye; As a good quiet soul, who no mischief intends To a quarrelsome fellow, cries, Let us be friends. But we like Antæus and Hercules fight, The oftener you fall, the oftener you write: And I'll use you as he did that overgrown clown, I'll first take you up, and then take you down; And, 'tis your own case, for you never can wound The worst dunce in your school, till he's heaved from the ground.
I beg your pardon for using my left hand, but I was in great haste, and the other hand was employed at the same time in writing some letters of business. September 20, 1718.--I will send you the rest when I have leisure: but pray come to dinner with the company you met here last.
[Footnote 1: The humour of this poem is partly lost, by the impossibility of printing it left-handed as it was written.--H.]
[Footnote 2: Bishop of Bangor. For an account of him, see "Prose Works," v, 326.--W. E. B.]
[Footnote 3: Frequently mentioned by Swift in the Journal to Stella, "Prose Works," ii, especially p. 404.--W. E. B.]
TO THE DEAN OF ST. PATRICK'S
IN ANSWER TO HIS LEFT-HANDED LETTER
Since your poetic prancer is turn'd into Cancer, I'll tell you at once, sir, I'm now not your man, sir; For pray, sir, what pleasure in fighting is found With a coward, who studies to traverse his ground? When I drew forth my pen, with your pen you ran back; But I found out the way to your den by its track: From thence the black monster I drew, o' my conscience, And so brought to light what before was stark nonsense. When I with my right hand did stoutly pursue, You turn'd to your left, and you writ like a Jew; Which, good Mister Dean, I can't think so fair, Therefore turn about to the right, as you were; Then if with true courage your ground you maintain, My fame is immortal, when Jonathan's slain: Who's greater by far than great Alexander, As much as a teal surpasses a gander; As much as a game-cock’s excell'd by a sparrow; As much as a coach is below a wheelbarrow: As much and much more as the most handsome man Of all the whole world is exceeded by Dan.
This was written with that hand which in others is commonly called the left hand.
Oft have I been by poets told, That, poor Jonathan, thou grow'st old. Alas, thy numbers failing all, Poor Jonathan, how they do fall! Thy rhymes, which whilom made thy pride swell, Now jingle like a rusty bridle: Thy verse, which ran both smooth and sweet, Now limp upon their gouty feet: Thy thoughts, which were the true sublime, Are humbled by the tyrant, Time: Alas! what cannot Time subdue? Time has reduced my wine and you; Emptied my casks, and clipp'd your wings, Disabled both in our main springs; So that of late we two are grown The jest and scorn of all the town. But yet, if my advice be ta'en, We two may be as great again; I'll send you wings, you send me wine; Then you will fly, and I shall shine.
This was written with my right hand, at the same time with the other.
How does Melpy like this? I think I have vex'd her; Little did she know, I was ambidexter.
TO MR. THOMAS SHERIDAN
REVEREND AND LEARNED SIR,
I am teacher of English, for want of a better, to a poor charity-school, in the lower end of St. Thomas's Street; but in my time I have been a Virgilian, though I am now forced to teach English, which I understood less than my own native language, or even than Latin itself: therefore I made bold to send you the enclosed, the fruit of my Muse, in hopes it may qualify me for the honour of being one of your most inferior Ushers: if you will vouchsafe to send me an answer, direct to me next door but one to the Harrow, on the left hand in Crocker's Lane.
I am yours,
Reverend Sir, to command,
Scribimus indocti doctique poemata passim.--HOR., Epist. II, i, 117
AD AMICUM ERUDITUM THOMAM SHERIDAN
Deliciæ, Sheridan, Musarum, dulcis amice, Sic tibi propitius Permessi ad flumen Apollo Occurrat, seu te mimum convivia rident, Aequivocosque sales spargis, seu ludere versu Malles; dic, Sheridan, quisnam fuit ille deorum, Quae melior natura orto tibi tradidit artem Rimandi genium puerorum, atque ima cerebri Scrutandi? Tibi nascenti ad cunabula Pallas Astitit; et dixit, mentis praesaga futurae, Heu, puer infelix! nostro sub sidere natus; Nam tu pectus eris sine corpore, corporis umbra; Sed levitate umbram superabis, voce cicadam: Musca femur, palmas tibi mus dedit, ardea crura. Corpore sed tenui tibi quod natura negavit, Hoc animi dotes supplebunt; teque docente, Nec longum tempus, surget tibi docta juventus, Artibus egregiis animas instructa novellas.
Grex hinc Paeonius venit, ecce, salutifer orbi; Ast, illi causas orant: his insula visa est Divinam capiti nodo constringere mitram.
Natalis te horae non fallunt signa, sed usque Conscius, expedias puero seu laetus Apollo Nascenti arrisit; sive ilium frigidus horror Saturni premit, aut septem inflavere triones.
Quin tu altè penitusque latentia semina cernis Quaeque diu obtundendo olim sub luminis auras Erumpent, promis; quo ritu saepè puella Sub cinere hesterno sopitos suscitat ignes.
Te dominum agnoscit quocunque sub aëre natus: Quos indulgentis nimium custodia matris Pessundat: nam saepè vides in stipite matrem.
Aureus at ramus, venerandae dona Sibyllae, Aeneae sedes tantùm patefecit Avernas; Saepè puer, tua quem tetigit semel aurea virga, Et coelum, terrasque videt, noctemque profundam.
Ad te, doctissime Delany, Pulsus à foribus Decani, Confugiens edo querelam, Pauper petens clientelam. Petebam Swift doctum patronum, Sed ille dedit nullum donum, Neque cibum neque bonum. Quaeris quàm malè sit stomacho num? Iratus valdè valdè latrat, Crumenicidam fermè patrat: Quin ergo releves aegrotum, Dato cibum, dato potum. Ita in utrumvis oculum, Dormiam bibens vestrum poculum.
Quaeso, Reverende Vir, digneris hanc epistolam inclusam cum versiculis perlegere, quam cum fastidio abjecit et respuebat Decanus ille (inquam) lepidissimus et Musarum et Apollinis comes.
De vestrâ benignitate et clementiâ in frigore et fame exanimatos, nisi persuasum esset nobis, hanc epistolam reverentiae vestrae non scripsissem; quam profectò, quoniam eo es ingenio, in optimam accipere partem nullus dubito. Saevit Boreas, mugiunt procellae, dentibus invitis maxillae bellum gerunt. Nec minus, intestino depraeliantibus tumultu visceribus, classicum sonat venter. Ea nostra est conditio, haec nostra querela. Proh Deûm atque hominum fidem! quare illi, cui ne libella nummi est, dentes, stomachum, viscera concessit natura? mehercule, nostro ludibrium debens corpori, frustra laboravit a patre voluntario exilio, qui macrum ligone macriorem reddit agellum. Huc usque evasi, ad te, quasi ad asylum, confugiens, quem nisi bene nôssem succurrere potuisse, mehercule, neque fores vestras pultûssem, neque limina tetigissem. Quàm longum iter famelicus peregi! nudus, egenus, esuriens, perhorrescens, despectus, mendicans; sunt lacrymae rerum et mentem carnaria tangunt. In viâ nullum fuit solatium praeterquam quod Horatium, ubi macros in igne turdos versat, perlegi. Catii dapes, Maecenatis convivium, ita me picturâ pascens inani, saepius volvebam. Quid non mortalium pectora cogit Musarum sacra fames? Haec omnia, quae nostra fuit necessitas, curavi ut scires; nunc re experiar quid dabis, quid negabis. Vale.
Vivitur parvo malè, sed canebat Flaccus ut parvo benè: quod negamus: Pinguis et lautè saturatus ille Ridet inanes.
Pace sic dicam liceat poetae Nobilis laeti salibus faceti Usque jocundi, lepidè jocantis Non sine curâ.
Quis potest versus (meditans merendam, Prandium, coenam) numerare? quis non Quot panes pistor locat in fenestrâ Dicere mallet?
Ecce jejunus tibi venit unus; Latrat ingenti stomachus furore; Quaeso digneris renovare fauces, Docte Patrone.
Vestiant lanae tenues libellos, Vestiant panni dominum trementem, Aedibus vestris trepidante pennâ Musa propinquat.
Nuda ne fiat, renovare vestes Urget, et nunquam tibi sic molestam Esse promittit, nisi sit coacta Frigore iniquo.
Si modo possem! Vetat heu pudor me Plura, sed praestat rogitare plura, An dabis binos digitos crumenae im- ponere vestrae?
TO THE DEAN OF ST. PATRICK'S
Dear Sir, Since you in humble wise Have made a recantation, From your low bended knees arise; I hate such poor prostration.
'Tis bravery that moves the brave, As one nail drives another; If you from me would mercy have, Pray, Sir, be such another.
You that so long maintain'd the field With true poetic vigour; Now you lay down your pen and yield, You make a wretched figure.
Submit, but do't with sword in hand, And write a panegyric Upon the man you cannot stand; I'll have it done in lyric:
That all the boys I teach may sing The achievements of their Chiron; What conquests my stern looks can bring Without the help of iron.
A small goose-quill, yclep'd a pen, From magazine of standish Drawn forth, 's more dreadful to the Dean, Than any sword we brandish.
My ink’s my flash, my pen’s my bolt; Whene'er I please to thunder, I'll make you tremble like a colt, And thus I'll keep you under.
TO THE DEAN OF ST. PATRICK'S
Dear Dean, I'm in a sad condition, I cannot see to read or write; Pity the darkness of thy Priscian, Whose days are all transform'd to night.
My head, though light, 's a dungeon grown, The windows of my soul are closed; Therefore to sleep I lay me down, My verse and I are both composed.
Sleep, did I say? that cannot be; For who can sleep, that wants his eyes? My bed is useless then to me, Therefore I lay me down to rise.
Unnumber'd thoughts pass to and fro Upon the surface of my brain; In various maze they come and go, And come and go again.
So have you seen in sheet burnt black, The fiery sparks at random run; Now here, now there, some turning back Some ending where they just begun.
BY DELANY, TO THOMAS SHERIDAN
Dear Sherry, I'm sorry for your bloodsheded sore eye, And the more I consider your case, still the more I Regret it, for see how the pain on't has wore ye. Besides, the good Whigs, who strangely adore ye, In pity cry out, "He's a poor blinded Tory." But listen to me, and I'll soon lay before ye A sovereign cure well attested in Gory. First wash it with ros, that makes dative rori, Then send for three leeches, and let them all gore ye; Then take a cordial dram to restore ye, Then take Lady Judith, and walk a fine boree, Then take a glass of good claret ex more, Then stay as long as you can ab uxore; And then if friend Dick will but ope your back-door, he Will quickly dispel the black clouds that hang o'er ye, And make you so bright, that you'll sing tory rory, And make a new ballad worth ten of John Dory: (Though I work your cure, yet he'll get the glory.) I'm now in the back school-house, high up one story, Quite weary with teaching, and ready to mori. My candle's just out too, no longer I'll pore ye, But away to Clem Barry's,--there’s an end of my story.
[Footnote 1: Dr. Richard Helsham.]
[Footnote 2: See "The Country Life," i, 140.]
A REPLY, BY SHERIDAN, TO DELANY
I like your collyrium, Take my eyes, sir, and clear ye 'um, 'Twill gain you a great reputation; By this you may rise, Like the doctor so wise, Who open'd the eyes of the nation.
And these, I must tell ye, Are bigger than its belly;-- You know, there’s in Livy a story Of the hands and the feet Denying of meat,-- Don't I write in the dark like a Tory?
Your water so far goes, 'Twould serve for an Argus, Were all his whole hundred sore; So many we read He had in his head, Or Ovid's a son of a whore.
For your recipe, sir, May my lids never stir, If ever I think once to fee you; For I'd have you to know, When abroad I can go, That it's honour enough, if I see you.
[Footnote 1: Probably Dr. Davenant.]
ANOTHER REPLY, BY SHERIDAN
My pedagogue dear, I read with surprise Your long sorry rhymes, which you made on my eyes; As the Dean of St. Patrick's says, earth, seas, and skies! I cannot lie down, but immediately rise, To answer your stuff and the Doctor's likewise. Like a horse with a gall, I'm pester'd with flies, But his head and his tail new succour supplies, To beat off the vermin from back, rump, and thighs. The wing of a goose before me now lies, Which is both shield and sword for such weak enemies. Whoever opposes me, certainly dies, Though he were as valiant as Condé or Guise. The women disturb me a-crying of pies, With a voice twice as loud as a horse when he neighs. By this, Sir, you find, should we rhyme for a prize, That I'd gain cloth of gold, when you'd scarce merit frize.
TO THOMAS SHERIDAN
Dear Tom, I'm surprised that your verse did not jingle; But your rhyme was not double, 'cause your sight was but single. For, as Helsham observes, there's nothing can chime, Or fit more exact than one eye and one rhyme. If you had not took physic, I'd pay off your bacon, But now I'll write short, for fear you're short-taken. Besides, Dick forbid me, and call'd me a fool; For he says, short as 'tis, it will give you a stool. In libris bellis, tu parum parcis ocellis; Dum nimium scribis, vel talpâ caecior ibis, Aut ad vina redis, nam sic tua lumina laedis: Sed tibi coenanti sunt collyria tanti? Nunquid eges visu, dum comples omnia risu? Heu Sheridan caecus, heu eris nunc cercopithecus. Nunc benè nasutus mittet tibi carmina tutus: Nunc ope Burgundi, malus Helsham ridet abundà, Nec Phoebe fili versum quîs mittere Ryly.
Quid tibi cum libris? relavet tua lumina Tybris Mixtus Saturno; penso sed parcè diurno Observes hoc tu, nec scriptis utere noctu. Nonnulli mingunt et palpebras sibi tingunt. Quidam purgantes, libros in stercore nantes Lingunt; sic vinces videndo, mî bone, lynces. Culum oculum tergis, dum scripta hoc flumine mergis; Tunc oculi et nates, ni fallor, agent tibi grates. Vim fuge Decani, nec sit tibi cura Delani: Heu tibi si scribant, aut si tibi fercula libant, Pone loco mortis, rapis fera pocula fortis Haec tibi pauca dedi, sed consule Betty my Lady, Huic te des solae, nec egebis pharmacopolae.
Haec somnians cecini,
Oct. 23, 1718.
[Footnote 1: Dr. Richard Helsham.]
[Footnote 2: Pro potes.--Horat.]
[Footnote 3: Pro quovis fluvio.--Virg.]
[Footnote 4: Saccharo Saturni.]
SWIFT TO SHERIDAN, IN REPLY
Tom, for a goose you keep but base quills, They're fit for nothing else but pasquils. I've often heard it from the wise, That inflammations in the eyes Will quickly fall upon the tongue, And thence, as famed John Bunyan sung, From out the pen will presently On paper dribble daintily. Suppose I call'd you goose, it is hard One word should stick thus in your gizzard. You're my goose, and no other man's; And you know, all my geese are swans: Only one scurvy thing I find, Swans sing when dying, geese when blind. But now I smoke where lies the slander,-- I call'd you goose instead of gander; For that, dear Tom, ne'er fret and vex, I'm sure you cackle like the sex. I know the gander always goes With a quill stuck across his nose: So your eternal pen is still Or in your claw, or in your bill. But whether you can tread or hatch, I've something else to do than watch. As for your writing I am dead, I leave it for the second head.
Deanery-House, Oct. 27, 1718.
AN ANSWER BY SHERIDAN
Perlegi versus versos, Jonathan bone, tersos; Perlepidos quidèm; scribendo semper es idem. Laudibus extollo te, tu mihi magnus Apollo; Tu frater Phoebus, oculis collyria praebes, Ne minus insanae reparas quoque damna Dianae, Quae me percussit radiis (nec dixeris ussit) Frigore collecto; medicus moderamine tecto Lodicem binum premit, atque negat mihi vinum. O terra et coelum! quàm redit pectus anhelum. Os mihi jam siccum, liceat mihi bibere dic cum? Ex vestro grato poculo, tam saepe prolato, Vina crepant: sales ostendet quis mihi tales? Lumina, vos sperno, dum cuppae gaudia cerno: Perdere etenim pellem nostram, quoque crura mavellem.
Amphora, quàm dulces risus queis pectora mulces, Pangitur a Flacco, cum pectus turget Iaccho: Clarius evohe ingeminans geminatur et ohe; Nempe jocosa propago, haesit sic vocis imago.
TO DR. SHERIDAN.
Whate'er your predecessors taught us, I have a great esteem for Plautus; And think your boys may gather there-hence More wit and humour than from Terence; But as to comic Aristophanes, The rogue too vicious and too profane is. I went in vain to look for Eupolis Down in the Strand, just where the New Pole is; For I can tell you one thing, that I can, You will not find it in the Vatican. He and Cratinus used, as Horace says, To take his greatest grandees for asses. Poets, in those days, used to venture high; But these are lost full many a century. Thus you may see, dear friend, ex pede hence, My judgment of the old comedians.
Proceed to tragics: first Euripides (An author where I sometimes dip a-days) Is rightly censured by the Stagirite, Who says, his numbers do not fadge aright. A friend of mine that author despises So much he swears the very best piece is, For aught he knows, as bad as Thespis's; And that a woman in these tragedies, Commonly speaking, but a sad jade is. At least I'm well assured, that no folk lays The weight on him they do on Sophocles. But, above all, I prefer Eschylus, Whose moving touches, when they please, kill us.
And now I find my Muse but ill able, To hold out longer in trissyllable. I chose those rhymes out for their difficulty; Will you return as hard ones if I call t'ye?
[Footnote 1: N.B.--The Strand in London. The fact may not be true; but the rhyme cost me some trouble.--Swift.]
[Footnote 2: The Maypole. See "The Dunciad," ii, 28. Pope's "Works," Elwin and Courthope, vol. iv.]
THE ANSWER, BY DR. SHERIDAN
I thank you for your comedies. I'll stay and read 'em now at home a-days, Because Parcus wrote but sorrily Thy notes, I'll read Lambinus thoroughly; And then I shall be stoutly set a-gog To challenge every Irish Pedagogue. I like your nice epistle critical, Which does in threefold rhymes so witty fall; Upon the comic dram' and tragedy Your notion’s right, but verses maggotty; 'Tis but an hour since I heard a man swear it, The Devil himself could hardly answer it. As for your friend the sage Euripides, I believe you give him now the slip o' days; But mum for that--pray come a Saturday And dine with me, you can't a better day: I'll give you nothing but a mutton chop, Some nappy mellow'd ale with rotten hop, A pint of wine as good as Falern', Which we poor masters, God knows, all earn; We'll have a friend or two, sir, at table, Right honest men, for few're comeatable; Then when our liquor makes us talkative, We'll to the fields, and take a walk at eve.
Because I'm troubled much with laziness, These rhymes I've chosen for their easiness.
[Footnote 1: N.B.--You told me you forgot your Greek.]
DR. SHERIDAN TO DR. SWIFT
Dear Dean, since in cruxes and puns you and I deal, Pray why is a woman a sieve and a riddle? 'Tis a thought that came into my noddle this morning, In bed as I lay, sir, a-tossing and turning. You'll find if you read but a few of your histories, All women, as Eve, all women are mysteries. To find out this riddle I know you'll be eager, And make every one of the sex a Belphegor. But that will not do, for I mean to commend them; I swear without jest I an honour intend them. In a sieve, sir, their ancient extraction I quite tell, In a riddle I give you their power and their title. This I told you before; do you know what I mean, sir? "Not I, by my troth, sir."--Then read it again, sir. The reason I send you these lines of rhymes double, Is purely through pity, to save you the trouble Of thinking two hours for a rhyme as you did last, When your Pegasus canter'd in triple, and rid fast.
As for my little nag, which I keep at Parnassus, With Phoebus's leave, to run with his asses, He goes slow and sure, and he never is jaded, While your fiery steed is whipp'd, spurr'd, bastinaded.
THE DEAN'S ANSWER
In reading your letter alone in my hackney, Your damnable riddle my poor brains did rack nigh. And when with much labour the matter I crack'd, I found you mistaken in matter of fact.
A woman's no sieve, (for with that you begin,) Because she lets out more than e'er she takes in. And that she's a riddle can never be right, For a riddle is dark, but a woman is light. But grant her a sieve, I can say something archer; Pray what is a man? he's a fine linen searcher. Now tell me a thing that wants interpretation, What name for a maid, was the first man's damnation? If your worship will please to explain me this rebus, I swear from henceforward you shall be my Phoebus.
From my hackney-coach, Sept. 11, 1718, past 12 at noon.
[Footnote 1: A damsel, i.e., Adam's Hell.--H. Vir Gin.--Dublin Edition.]
DR. SHERIDAN'S REPLY TO THE DEAN
Don't think these few lines which I send, a reproach, From my Muse in a car, to your Muse in a coach. The great god of poems delights in a car, Which makes him so bright that we see him from far; For, were he mew'd up in a coach, 'tis allow'd We'd see him no more than we see through a cloud.
You know to apply this--I do not disparage Your lines, but I say they're the worse for the carriage.
Now first you deny that a woman's a sieve; I say that she is: What reason d'ye give? Because she lets out more than she takes in. Is't that you advance for't? you are still to begin. Your major and minor I both can refute, I'll teach you hereafter with whom to dispute. A sieve keeps in half, deny't if you can. D. "Adzucks, I mistook it, who thought of the bran?" I tell you in short, sir, you should have a pair o' stocks For thinking to palm on your friend such a paradox. Indeed, I confess, at the close you grew better, But you light from your coach when you finish'd your letter. Your thing which you say wants interpretation, What's name for a maiden--the first man's damnation? A damsel--Adam's hell--ay, there I have hit it, Just as you conceived it, just so have I writ it. Since this I've discover'd, I'll make you to know it, That now I'm your Phoebus, and you are my poet. But if you interpret the two lines that follow, I'll again be your poet, and you my Apollo. Why a noble lord's dog, and my school-house this weather, Make up the best catch when they're coupled together?
From my Ringsend car, Sept. 12, 1718, past 5 in the morning, on a repetition day.
[Footnote 1: Begging pardon for the expression to a dignitary of thechurch.--S.]
TO THE SAME. BY DR. SHERIDAN
12 o'clock at Noon
Sept. 12, 1718.
SIR, Perhaps you may wonder, I send you so soon Another epistle; consider 'tis noon. For all his acquaintance well know that friend Tom is, Whenever he makes one, as good as his promise. Now Phoebus exalted, sits high on his throne, Dividing the heav'ns, dividing my crown, Into poems and business, my skull's split in two, One side for the lawyers, and t'other for you. With my left eye, I see you sit snug in your stall, With my right I'm attending the lawyers that scrawl With my left I behold your bellower a cur chase; With my right I'm a-reading my deeds for a purchase. My left ear's attending the hymns of the choir, My right ear is stunn'd with the noise of the crier. My right hand's inditing these lines to your reverence, My left is indenting for me and heirs ever-hence. Although in myself I'm divided in two, Dear Dean, I shall ne'er be divided from you.
THE DEAN OF ST. PATRICK'S
TO THOMAS SHERIDAN
SIR, I cannot but think that we live in a bad age, O tempora, O mores! as 'tis in the adage. My foot was but just set out from my cathedral, When into my hands comes a letter from the droll. I can't pray in quiet for you and your verses; But now let us hear what the Muse from your car says.
Hum--excellent good--your anger was stirr'd; Well, punners and rhymers must have the last word. But let me advise you, when next I hear from you, To leave off this passion which does not become you; For we who debate on a subject important, Must argue with calmness, or else will come short on't. For myself, I protest, I care not a fiddle, For a riddle and sieve, or a sieve and a riddle; And think of the sex as you please, I'd as lieve You call them a riddle, as call them a sieve. Yet still you are out, (though to vex you I'm loth,) For I'll prove it impossible they can be both; A school-boy knows this, for it plainly appears That a sieve dissolves riddles by help of the shears; For you can't but have heard of a trick among wizards, To break open riddles with shears or with scissars.
Think again of the sieve, and I'll hold you a wager, You'll dare not to question my minor or major. A sieve keeps half in, and therefore, no doubt, Like a woman, keeps in less than it lets out. Why sure, Mr. Poet, your head got a-jar, By riding this morning too long in your car: And I wish your few friends, when they next see your cargo, For the sake of your senses would lay an embargo. You threaten the stocks; I say you are scurrilous And you durst not talk thus, if I saw you at our ale-house. But as for your threats, you may do what you can I despise any poet that truckled to Dan But keep a good tongue, or you'll find to your smart From rhyming in cars, you may swing in a cart. You found out my rebus with very much modesty; But thanks to the lady; I'm sure she's too good to ye: Till she lent you her help, you were in a fine twitter; You hit it, you say;--you're a delicate hitter. How could you forget so ungratefully a lass, And if you be my Phoebus, pray who was your Pallas?
As for your new rebus, or riddle, or crux, I will either explain, or repay it by trucks; Though your lords, and your dogs, and your catches, methinks, Are harder than ever were put by the Sphinx. And thus I am fully revenged for your late tricks, Which is all at present from the
DEAN OF ST. PATRICK'S.
From my closet, Sept, 12, 1718, just 12 at noon.
[Footnote 1: Ut tu perperàm argumentaris.--Scott.]
TO THE DEAN OF ST. PATRICK'S
SIR, Your Billingsgate Muse methinks does begin With much greater noise than a conjugal din. A pox of her bawling, her tempora et mores! What are times now to me; a'nt I one of the Tories? You tell me my verses disturb you at prayers; Oh, oh, Mr. Dean, are you there with your bears? You pray, I suppose, like a Heathen, to Phoebus, To give his assistance to make out my rebus: Which I don't think so fair; leave it off for the future; When the combat is equal, this God should be neuter. I'm now at the tavern, where I drink all I can, To write with more spirit; I'll drink no more Helicon; For Helicon is water, and water is weak; 'Tis wine on the gross lee, that makes your Muse speak. This I know by her spirit and life; but I think She's much in the wrong to scold in her drink. Her damn'd pointed tongue pierced almost to my heart; Tell me of a cart,--tell me of a ----, I'd have you to tell on both sides her ears, If she comes to my house, that I'll kick her down stairs: Then home she shall limping go, squalling out, O my knee; You shall soon have a crutch to buy for your Melpomene. You may come as her bully, to bluster and swagger; But my ink is my poison, my pen is my dagger: Stand off, I desire, and mark what I say to you, If you come I will make your Apollo shine through you. Don't think, sir, I fear a Dean, as I would fear a dun; Which is all at present from yours,
THE DEAN TO THOMAS SHERIDAN
SIR, When I saw you to-day, as I went with Lord Anglesey, Lord, said I, who's that parson, how awkwardly dangles he! When whip you trot up, without minding your betters, To the very coach side, and threaten your letters.
Is the poison [and dagger] you boast in your jaws, trow? Are you still in your cart with convitia ex plaustro? But to scold is your trade, which I soon should be foil'd in, For scolding is just quasi diceres--school-din: And I think I may say, you could many good shillings get, Were you drest like a bawd, and sold oysters at Billingsgate; But coach it or cart it, I'd have you know, sirrah, I'll write, though I'm forced to write in a wheelbarrow; Nay, hector and swagger, you'll still find me stanch, And you and your cart shall give me carte blanche. Since you write in a cart, keep it tecta et sarta, 'Tis all you have for it; 'tis your best Magna Carta; And I love you so well, as I told you long ago, That I'll ne'er give my vote for Delenda Cart-ago. Now you write from your cellar, I find out your art, You rhyme as folks fence, in tierce and in cart: Your ink is your poison, your pen is what not; Your ink is your drink, your pen is your pot. To my goddess Melpomene, pride of her sex, I gave, as you beg, your most humble respects: The rest of your compliment I dare not tell her, For she never descends so low as the cellar; But before you can put yourself under her banners, She declares from her throne you must learn better manners. If once in your cellar my Phoebus should shine, I tell you I'd not give a fig for your wine; So I'll leave him behind, for I certainly know it, What he ripens above ground, he sours below it. But why should we fight thus, my partner so dear With three hundred and sixty-five poems a-year? Let's quarrel no longer, since Dan and George Rochfort Will laugh in their sleeves: I can tell you they watch for't. Then George will rejoice, and Dan will sing highday: Hoc Ithacus velit, et magni mercentur Atridae.
Written, signed, and sealed, five minutes and eleven seconds after the receipt of yours, allowing seven seconds for sealing and superscribing, from my bed-side, just eleven minutes after eleven, Sept. 15, 1718.
Erratum in your last, 1. antepenult, pro "fear a Dun" lege "fear a Dan:" ita omnes MSS. quos ego legi, et ita magis congruum tam sensui quam veritati.
TO DR. SHERIDAN
Dec. 14, 1719
Nine at night.
It is impossible to know by your letter whether the wine is to be bottled to-morrow, or no.
If it be, or be not, why did not you in plain English tell us so?
For my part, it was by mere chance I came to sit with the ladies this night.
And if they had not told me there was a letter from you; and your man Alexander had not gone, and come back from the deanery; and the boy here had not been sent, to let Alexander know I was here, I should have missed the letter outright.
Truly I don't know who's bound to be sending for corks to stop your bottles, with a vengeance.
Make a page of your own age, and send your man Alexander to buy corks; for Saunders already has gone above ten jaunts.
Mrs. Dingley and Mrs. Johnson say, truly they don't care for your wife's company, though they like your wine; but they had rather have it at their own house to drink in quiet.
However, they own it is very civil in Mrs. Sheridan to make the offer; and they cannot deny it.
I wish Alexander safe at St. Catherine's to-night, with all my heart and soul, upon my word and honour:
But I think it base in you to send a poor fellow out so late at this time of year, when one would not turn out a dog that one valued; I appeal to your friend Mr. Connor.
I would present my humble service to my Lady Mountcashel; but truly I thought she would have made advances to have been acquainted with me, as she pretended.
But now I can write no more, for you see plainly my paper is ended.
I wish, when you prated, your letter you'd dated: Much plague it created. I scolded and rated; My soul is much grated; for your man I long waited. I think you are fated, like a bear to be baited: Your man is belated: the case I have stated; And me you have cheated. My stable’s unslated. Come back t'us well freighted. I remember my late head; and wish you translated, For teasing me.
Mrs. Dingley desires me singly Her service to present you; hopes that will content you; But Johnson madam is grown a sad dame, For want of your converse, and cannot send one verse.
You keep such a twattling with you and your bottling; But I see the sum total, we shall ne'er have a bottle; The long and the short, we shall not have a quart, I wish you would sign't, that we have a pint. For all your colloguing, I'd be glad for a knoggin: But I doubt 'tis a sham; you won't give us a dram. 'Tis of shine a mouth moon-ful, you won't part with a spoonful, And I must be nimble, if I can fill my thimble, You see I won't stop, till I come to a drop; But I doubt the oraculum, is a poor supernaculum; Though perhaps you may tell it, for a grace if we smell it.
[Footnote 1: In this letter, though written in prose, the reader, upon examining, will find each second sentence rhymes to the former.--H.]
[Footnote 2: Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Dingley.--F.]
[Footnote 3: A phrase used in Ireland for a specious appearance of kindness without sincerity.--F.]
[Footnote 4: A name used in Ireland for the English quartern.--F.]
DR. SHERIDAN'S ANSWER
I'd have you to know, as sure as you're Dean, On Thursday my cask of Obrien I'll drain; If my wife is not willing, I say she's a quean; And my right to the cellar, egad, I'll maintain As bravely as any that fought at Dunblain: Go tell her it over and over again. I hope, as I ride to the town, it won't rain; For, should it, I fear it will cool my hot brain, Entirely extinguish my poetic vein; And then I should be as stupid as Kain, Who preach'd on three heads, though he mention'd but twain. Now Wardel's in haste, and begins to complain; Your most humble servant, dear Sir, I remain,
Get Helsham, Walmsley, Delany, And some Grattans, if there be any: Take care you do not bid too many.
[Footnote 1: I.e. in Dublin, for they were country clergy.--F.]
DR. SWIFT'S REPLY
The verses you sent on the bottling your wine Were, in every one's judgment, exceedingly fine; And I must confess, as a dean and divine, I think you inspired by the Muses all nine. I nicely examined them every line, And the worst of them all like a barn-door did shine; O, that Jove would give me such a talent as thine! With Delany or Dan I would scorn to combine. I know they have many a wicked design; And, give Satan his due, Dan begins to refine. However, I wish, honest comrade of mine, You would really on Thursday leave St. Catharine, Where I hear you are cramm'd every day like a swine; With me you'll no more have a stomach to dine, Nor after your victuals lie sleeping supine; So I wish you were toothless, like Lord Masserine. But were you as wicked as lewd Aretine, I wish you would tell me which way you incline. If when you return your road you don't line, On Thursday I'll pay my respects at your shrine, Wherever you bend, wherever you twine, In square, or in opposite, circle, or trine. Your beef will on Thursday be salter than brine; I hope you have swill'd with new milk from the kine, As much as the Liffee's outdone by the Rhine; And Dan shall be with us with nose aquiline. If you do not come back we shall weep out our eyne; Or may your gown never be good Lutherine. The beef you have got I hear is a chine; But if too many come, your madam will whine; And then you may kiss the low end of her spine. But enough of this poetry Alexandrine; I hope you will not think this a pasquine.
[Footnote 1: The seat of Lady Mountcashel, near Dublin.--F.]
[Footnote 2: Pietro Aretino (1492-1557), an Italian poet noted for his satirical and licentious verse,--W. E. B.]
A COPY OF A COPY OF VERSES
FROM THOMAS SHERIDAN, CLERK,
TO GEORGE-NIM-DAN-DEAN, ESQ.
Written July 15, 1721, at night.
I'd have you t' know, George, Dan, Dean, and Nim, That I've learned how verse t' compose trim, Much better b'half th'n you, n'r you, n'r him, And that I'd rid'cule their'nd your flam-flim. Ay b't then, p'rhaps, says you, t's a merry whim, With 'bundance of mark'd notes i' th' rim, So th't I ought n't for t' be morose 'nd t' look grim, Think n't your 'p'stle put m' in a megrim; Though 'n rep't't'on day, I 'ppear ver' slim, Th' last bowl't Helsham's did m' head t' swim, So th't I h'd man' aches 'n v'ry scrubb'd limb, Cause th' top of th' bowl I h'd oft us'd t' skim; And b'sides D'lan' swears th't I h'd swall'w'd s'v'r'l brim- Mers, 'nd that my vis'ge's cov'r'd o'er with r'd pim- Ples: m'r'o'er though m' scull were ('s 'tis n't) 's strong's tim- Ber, 't must have ach'd. Th' clans of th' c'llege Sanh'drim, Pres'nt the'r humbl' and 'fect'nate respects; that’s t' say,
D'ln', 'chlin, P. Ludl', Dic' St'wart, H'lsham, Capt'n P'rr' Walmsl', 'nd Long sh'nks Timm.
[Footnote 1: For the persons here alluded to see "The Country Life," vol. i, p. 137.--W. E. B.]
[Footnote 2: Dr. James Stopford, afterwards Bishop of Cloyne.]
Dear Sheridan! a gentle pair Of Gaulstown lads (for such they are) Besides a brace of grave divines, Adore the smoothness of thy lines: Smooth as our basin's silver flood, Ere George had robb'd it of its mud; Smoother than Pegasus' old shoe, Ere Vulcan comes to make him new. The board on which we set our a--s, Is not so smooth as are thy verses; Compared with which (and that's enough) A smoothing-iron itself is rough.
Nor praise I less that circumcision, By modern poets call'd elision, With which, in proper station placed, Thy polish'd lines are firmly braced. Thus a wise tailor is not pinching, But turns at every seam an inch in: Or else, be sure, your broad-cloth breeches Will ne'er be smooth, nor hold their stitches. Thy verse, like bricks, defy the weather, When smooth'd by rubbing them together; Thy words so closely wedged and short are, Like walls, more lasting without mortar; By leaving out the needless vowels, You save the charge of lime and trowels. One letter still another locks, Each grooved and dovetail'd like a box; Thy muse is tuckt up and succinct; In chains thy syllables are linkt; Thy words together tied in small hanks, Close as the Macedonian phalanx; Or like the umbo of the Romans, Which fiercest foes could break by no means. The critic, to his grief will find, How firmly these indentures bind. So, in the kindred painter's art, The shortening is the nicest part.
Philologers of future ages, How will they pore upon thy pages! Nor will they dare to break the joints, But help thee to be read with points: Or else, to show their learned labour, you May backward be perused like Hebrew, In which they need not lose a bit Or of thy harmony or wit. To make a work completely fine, Number and weight and measure join; Then all must grant your lines are weighty Where thirty weigh as much as eighty; All must allow your numbers more, Where twenty lines exceed fourscore; Nor can we think your measure short, Where less than forty fill a quart, With Alexandrian in the close, Long, long, long, long, like Dan's long nose.
[Footnote 1: In the Dublin edition:
"Makes thy verse smooth, and makes them last."]
[Footnote 2: For a clear description of the phalanx, see Smith's "Greek and Roman Antiquities," p. 488.--W. E. B.]
[Footnote 3: The projection in the centre of the shield, which caused the missiles of the enemy to glance off. See Smith, as above, p. 298.--W. E. B.]
[Footnote 4: See post, the poems on Dan Jackson's Picture.--W. E. B.]
GEORGE-NIM-DAN-DEAN'S INVITATION TO THOMAS SHERIDAN
Gaulstown, Aug. 2, 1721.
Dear Tom, this verse, which however the beginning may appear, yet in the end's good metre, Is sent to desire that, when your August vacation comes, your friends you'd meet here.
For why should you stay in that filthy hole, I mean the city so smoky, When you have not one friend left in town, or at least not one that's witty, to joke w' ye?
For as for honest John, though I'm not sure on't, yet I'll be hang'd, lest he Be gone down to the county of Wexford with that great peer the Lord Anglesey.
O! but I forgot; perhaps, by this time, you may have one come to town, but I don't know whether he be friend or foe, Delany:
But, however, if he be come, bring him down, and you shall go back in a fortnight, for I know there's no delaying ye. O! I forgot too: I believe there may be one more, I mean that great fat joker, friend Helsham, he That wrote the prologue, and if you stay with him, depend on't, in the end, he'll sham ye.
Bring down Longshanks Jim too; but, now I think on't, he's not yet come from Courtown, I fancy; For I heard, a month ago, that he was down there a-courting sly Nancy.
However, bring down yourself, and you bring down all; for, to say it we may venture, In thee Delany's spleen, John's mirth, Helsham's jokes, and the soft soul of amorous Jemmy, centre.
I had forgot to desire you to bring down what I say you have, and you'll believe me as sure as a gun, and own it; I mean, what no other mortal in the universe can boast of, your own spirit of pun, and own wit.
And now I hope you'll excuse this rhyming, which I must say is (though written somewhat at large) trim and clean; And so I conclude, with humble respects as usual
Your most dutiful and obedient GEORGE-NIM-DAN-DEAN.
[Footnote 1: Supposed to mean Dr. Walmsley.--F.]
[Footnote 2: Arthur, Earl of Anglesey.--Scott.]
[Footnote 3: It was customary with Dr. Sheridan to have a Greek play acted by his head class, just before they entered the university; and, accordingly, in the year 1720, the Doctor having fixed on Hippolytus, writ a prologue in English, to be spoken by Master Thom. Putland, one of the youngest children he had in his school. The prologue was very neat and elegant, but extremely puerile, and quite adapted to the childhood of the speaker, who as regularly was taught and rehearsed his part as any of the upper lads did theirs. However, it unfortunately happened that Dr. King, Archbishop of Dublin, had promised Sheridan that he would go and see his lads perform the tragedy. Upon which Dr. Helsham writ another prologue, wherein he laughed egregiously at Sheridan's; and privately instructed Master Putland how to act his part; and at the same time exacted a promise from the child, that no consideration should make him repeat that prologue which he had been taught by Sheridan. When the play was to be acted, the archbishop attended according to his promise; and Master Putland began Helsham's prologue, and went through it to the amazement of Sheridan; which fired him to such a degree (although he was one of the best-natured men in the world) that he would have entirely put off the play, had it not been in respect to the archbishop, who was indeed highly complimented in Helsham's performance. When the play was over, the archbishop was very desirous to hear Sheridan's prologue; but all the entreaties of the archbishop, the child's father, and Sheridan, could not prevail with Master Putland to repeat it, having, he said, promised faithfully that he would not, upon any account whatever; and therefore insisted that he would keep his word.--F.]
[Footnote 4: Dr. James Stopford, Bishop of Cloyne.--F.]
[Footnote 5: The seat of ---- Hussay, Esq., in the county of Kildare.--F.]
TO GEORGE-NIM-DAN-DEAN, ESQ.
UPON HIS INCOMPARABLE VERSES.
BY DR. DELANY IN SHERIDAN'S NAME
Hail, human compound quadrifarious, Invincible as wight Briareus! Hail! doubly-doubled mighty merry one, Stronger than triple-bodied Geryon! O may your vastness deign t' excuse The praises of a puny Muse, Unable, in her utmost flight, To reach thy huge colossian height! T' attempt to write like thee were frantic, Whose lines are, like thyself, gigantic.
Yet let me bless, in humbler strain, Thy vast, thy bold Cambysian vein, Pour'd out t' enrich thy native isle, As Egypt wont to be with Nile. O, how I joy to see thee wander, In many a winding loose meander, In circling mazes, smooth and supple, And ending in a clink quadruple; Loud, yet agreeable withal, Like rivers rattling in their fall! Thine, sure, is poetry divine, Where wit and majesty combine; Where every line, as huge as seven, If stretch'd in length, would reach to Heaven: Here all comparing would be slandering, The least is more than Alexandrine.
Against thy verse Time sees with pain, He whets his envious scythe in vain; For though from thee he much may pare, Yet much thou still wilt have to spare. Thou hast alone the skill to feast With Roman elegance of taste, Who hast of rhymes as vast resources As Pompey's caterer of courses.
O thou, of all the Nine inspired! My languid soul, with teaching tired, How is it raptured, when it thinks Of thy harmonious set of chinks; Each answering each in various rhymes, Like echo to St. Patrick's chimes!
Thy Muse, majestic in her rage, Moves like Statira on the stage; And scarcely can one page sustain The length of such a flowing train: Her train of variegated dye Shows like Thaumantia's in the sky; Alike they glow, alike they please, Alike imprest by Phoebus' rays.
Thy verse--(Ye Gods! I cannot bear it) To what, to what shall I compare it? 'Tis like, what I have oft heard spoke on, The famous statue of Laocoon. 'Tis like,--O yes, 'tis very like it, The long, long string, with which you fly kite. 'Tis like what you, and one or two more, Roar to your Echo in good humour; And every couplet thou hast writ Concludes with Rhattah-whittah-whit.
[Footnote 1: These were written all in circles, one within another, as appears from the observations in the following poem by Dr. Swift.--F.]
[Footnote 2: The hundred-armed giant, "centumgeminus Briareus," Virg., "Aen.," vi, 287; also called Aegaeon, "centum cui brachia dicunt," Virg., "Aen.," x, 565; see Heyne's notes.--W. E. B.]
[Footnote 3: A mythic king, having three bodies, whose arms were carried off by Hercules.--Lucr., v, 28, and Munro's note; Virg. "Aen.," vii, 662, and viii, 202:
W. E. B.]
"maxumus ultor Tergemini nece Geryonae spoliisque superbus Alcides aderat taurosque hac victor agebat Ingentis, vallemque boves amnemque tenebant."--
[Footnote 4: Cambyses, the warrior king of Persia, whose name is the emblem of bravado.--W. E. B.]
[Footnote 5: Represented as the perfection of female beauty in "Cassandra," a romance by La Calprenède, romancier et auteur dramatique, 1610-1663,--Larousse.--W. E. B.]
[Footnote 6: Iris, daughter of Thaumas, and the messenger of Juno, descending and returning on the rainbow.--W. E. B.]
[Footnote 7: At Gaulstown there is so famous an echo, that if you repeat two lines of Virgil out of a speaking-trumpet, you may hear the nymph return them to your ear with great propriety and clearness.--F.]
[Footnote 8: These words allude to their amusements with the echo, having no other signification but to express the sound of stones when beaten one against the other, returned by the echo.--F.]
TO MR. THOMAS SHERIDAN
UPON HIS VERSES WRITTEN IN CIRCLES
BY DR. SWIFT
It never was known that circular letters, By humble companions were sent to their betters, And, as to the subject, our judgment, meherc'le, Is this, that you argue like fools in a circle. But now for your verses; we tell you, imprimis, The segment so large 'twixt your reason and rhyme is, That we walk all about, like a horse in a pound, And, before we find either, our noddles turn round. Sufficient it were, one would think, in your mad rant, To give us your measures of line by a quadrant. But we took our dividers, and found your d--n'd metre, In each single verse, took up a diameter. But how, Mr. Sheridan, came you to venture George, Dan, Dean, and Nim, to place in the centre? 'Twill appear to your cost, you are fairly trepann'd, For the chord of your circle is now in their hand. The chord, or the radius, it matters not whether, By which your jade Pegasus, fix'd in a tether, As his betters are used, shall be lash'd round the ring, Three fellows with whips, and the Dean holds the string. Will Hancock declares, you are out of your compass, To encroach on his art by writing of bombast; And has taken just now a firm resolution To answer your style without circumlocution.
Lady Betty presents you her service most humble, And is not afraid your worship will grumble, That she make of your verses a hoop for Miss Tam. Which is all at present; and so I remain--
[Footnote 1: There were four human figures in the centre of the circular verses.--F.]
[Footnote 2: Daughter of the Earl of Drogheda, and married to George Rochfort, Esq.--F.]
[Footnote 3: Miss Thomason, Lady Betty's daughter, then, perhaps, about a year old; afterwards married to Gustavus Lambert, Esq., of Paynstown, in the county of Meath.--Scott.]
ON DR. SHERIDAN'S CIRCULAR VERSES
BY MR. GEORGE ROCHFORT
With music and poetry equally blest, A bard thus Apollo most humbly addrest: "Great author of harmony, verses, and light! Assisted by thee, I both fiddle and write. Yet unheeded I scrape, or I scribble all day, My verse is neglected, my tunes thrown away. Thy substitute here, Vice Apollo, disdains To vouch for my numbers, or list to my strains; Thy manual signet refuses to put To the airs I produce from the pen or the gut. Be thou then propitious, great Phoebus! and grant Relief, or reward, to my merit, or want. Though the Dean and Delany transcendently shine, O brighten one solo or sonnet of mine! With them I'm content thou shouldst make thy abode; But visit thy servant in jig or in ode; Make one work immortal: 'tis all I request."
Apollo look'd pleased; and, resolving to jest, Replied, "Honest friend, I've consider'd thy case; Nor dislike thy well-meaning and humorous face. Thy petition I grant: the boon is not great; Thy works shall continue; and here's the receipt. On rondeaus hereafter thy fiddle-strings spend: Write verses in circles: they never shall end."
ON DAN JACKSON'S PICTURE, CUT IN SILK AND PAPER
To fair Lady Betty Dan sat for his picture, And defied her to draw him so oft as he piqued her, He knew she'd no pencil or colouring by her, And therefore he thought he might safely defy her. Come sit, says my lady; then whips up her scissar, And cuts out his coxcomb in silk in a trice, sir. Dan sat with attention, and saw with surprise How she lengthen'd his chin, how she hollow'd his eyes; But flatter'd himself with a secret conceit, That his thin lantern jaws all her art would defeat.
Lady Betty observed it, then pulls out a pin, And varies the grain of the stuff to his grin: And, to make roasted silk to resemble his raw-bone, She raised up a thread to the jet of his jaw-bone; Till at length in exactest proportion he rose, From the crown of his head to the arch of his nose; And if Lady Betty had drawn him with wig and all, 'Tis certain the copy had outdone the original.
Well, that's but my outside, says Dan, with a vapour; Say you so? says my lady; I've lined it with paper.
PATR. DELANY sculpsit.
[Footnote 1: See vol. i, p. 96. Dan Jackson's nose seems to have been a favourite subject for raillery, as in this and some following pieces.--W. E. B.]
ON THE SAME PICTURE
Clarissa draws her scissars from the case To draw the lines of poor Dan Jackson's face; One sloping cut made forehead, nose, and chin, A nick produced a mouth, and made him grin, Such as in tailor's measure you have seen. But still were wanting his grimalkin eyes, For which gray worsted stocking paint supplies. Th' unravell'd thread through needle's eye convey'd, Transferr'd itself into his pasteboard head. How came the scissars to be thus outdone? The needle had an eye, and they had none. O wondrous force of art! now look at Dan-- You'll swear the pasteboard was the better man. "The devil!" says he, "the head is not so full!" Indeed it is--behold the paper skull.
THO. SHERIDAN sculp.
ON THE SAME
If you say this was made for friend Dan, you belie it, I'll swear he's so like it that he was made by it.
THO. SHERIDAN sculp.
ON THE SAME PICTURE
Dan's evil genius in a trice Had stripp'd him of his coin at dice. Chloe, observing this disgrace, On Pam cut out his rueful face. By G--, says Dan, 'tis very hard, Cut out at dice, cut out at card!
G. ROCHFORT sculp.
ON THE SAME PICTURE
Whilst you three merry poets traffic To give us a description graphic Of Dan's large nose in modern sapphic;
I spend my time in making sermons, Or writing libels on the Germans, Or murmuring at Whigs' preferments.
But when I would find rhyme for Rochfort, And look in English, French, and Scotch for't, At last I'm fairly forced to botch for't.
Bid Lady Betty recollect her, And tell, who was it could direct her To draw the face of such a spectre?
I must confess, that as to me, sirs, Though I ne'er saw her hold the scissars, I now could safely swear it is hers.
'Tis true, no nose could come in better; 'Tis a vast subject stuff'd with matter, Which all may handle, none can flatter.
Take courage, Dan; this plainly shows, That not the wisest mortal knows What fortune may befall his nose.
Show me the brightest Irish toast, Who from her lover e'er could boast Above a song or two at most:
For thee three poets now are drudging all, To praise the cheeks, chin, nose, the bridge and all, Both of the picture and original.
Thy nose's length and fame extend So far, dear Dan, that every friend Tries who shall have it by the end.
And future poets, as they rise, Shall read with envy and surprise Thy nose outshining Celia's eyes.
DAN JACKSON'S DEFENCE
My verse little better you'll find than my face is;
A word to the wise--ut pictura poesis.
Three merry lads, with envy stung, Because Dan's face is better hung, Combined in verse to rhyme it down, And in its place set up their own; As if they'd run it down much better By number of their feet in metre. Or that its red did cause their spite, Which made them draw in black and white. Be that as 'twill, this is most true, They were inspired by what they drew. Let then such critics know, my face Gives them their comeliness and grace: While every line of face does bring A line of grace to what they sing. But yet, methinks, though with disgrace Both to the picture and the face, I should name them who do rehearse The story of the picture farce; The squire, in French as hard as stone, Or strong as rock, that's all as one, On face on cards is very brisk, sirs, Because on them you play at whisk, sirs. But much I wonder, why my crany Should envied be by De-el-any: And yet much more, that half-namesake Should join a party in the freak. For sure I am it was not safe Thus to abuse his better half, As I shall prove you, Dan, to be, Divisim and conjunctively. For if Dan love not Sherry, can Sherry be anything to Dan? This is the case whene'er you see Dan makes nothing of Sherry; Or should Dan be by Sherry o'erta'en Then Dan would be poor Sherridane 'Tis hard then he should be decried By Dan, with Sherry by his side. But, if the case must be so hard, That faces suffer by a card, Let critics censure, what care I? Backbiters only we defy, Faces are free from injury.
MR. ROCHFORT'S REPLY
You say your face is better hung Than ours--by what? by nose or tongue? In not explaining you are wrong to us, sir.
Because we thus must state the case, That you have got a hanging face, Th' untimely end's a damn'd disgrace of noose, sir.
But yet be not cast down: I see A weaver will your hangman be: You'll only hang in tapestry with many;
And then the ladies, I suppose, Will praise your longitude of nose, For latent charms within your clothes, dear Danny.
Thus will the fair of every age From all parts make their pilgrimage, Worship thy nose with pious rage of love, sir:
All their religion will be spent About thy woven monument, And not one orison be sent to Jove, sir.
You the famed idol will become, As gardens graced in ancient Rome, By matrons worshipp'd in the gloom of night.
O happy Dan! thrice happy sure! Thy fame for ever shall endure, Who after death can love secure at sight.
So far I thought it was my duty To dwell upon thy boasted beauty; Now I'll proceed: a word or two t' ye in answer
To that part where you carry on This paradox, that rock and stone In your opinion, are all one: How can, sir,
A man of reasoning so profound So stupidly be run a-ground, As things so different to confound t'our senses?
Except you judged them by the knock Of near an equal hardy block; Such an experimental stroke convinces.
Then might you be, by dint of reason, A proper judge on this occasion; 'Gainst feeling there's no disputation, is granted:
Therefore to thy superior wit, Who made the trial, we submit; Thy head to prove the truth of it we wanted.
In one assertion you're to blame, Where Dan and Sherry's made the same, Endeavouring to have your name refined, sir:
You'll see most grossly you mistook, If you consult your spelling-book, (The better half you say you took,) you'll find, sir,
S, H, E, she--and R, I, ri, Both put together make Sherry; D, A, N, Dan--makes up the three syllables;
Dan is but one, and Sherry two, Then, sir, your choice will never do; Therefore I've turn'd, my friend, on you the tables.
[Footnote 1: Priapus, the god of procreation and fertility, both human and agricultural, whose statues, painted red, were placed in gardens. Confer Horat., Sat. I, viii, 1-8; Virg., "Georg.", iv, 110-11. In India, the same deity is to be seen in retired parts of the gardens, as he is described by Horace--"ruber porrectus ab inguine palus"--and where he is worshipped by the matrons for the same reason.--W. E. B.]
DR. DELANY'S REPLY
Assist me, my Muse, while I labour to limn him. Credite, Pisones, isti tabulae persimilem. You look and you write with so different a grace, That I envy your verse, though I did not your face. And to him that thinks rightly, there's reason enough, 'Cause one is as smooth as the other is rough.
But much I'm amazed you should think my design Was to rhyme down your nose, or your harlequin grin, Which you yourself wonder the de'el should malign. And if 'tis so strange, that your monstership's crany Should be envied by him, much less by Delany; Though I own to you, when I consider it stricter, I envy the painter, although not the picture. And justly she's envied, since a fiend of Hell Was never drawn right but by her and Raphael.
Next, as to the charge, which you tell us is true, That we were inspired by the subject we drew. Inspired we were, and well, sir, you knew it; Yet not by your nose, but the fair one that drew it; Had your nose been the Muse, we had ne'er been inspired, Though perhaps it might justly 've been said we were fired.
As to the division of words in your staves, Like my countryman's horn-comb, into three halves, I meddle not with 't, but presume to make merry, You call'd Dan one half, and t'other half Sherry: Now if Dan's a half, as you call't o'er and o'er, Then it can't be denied that Sherry's two more. For pray give me leave to say, sir, for all you, That Sherry's at least of double the value. But perhaps, sir, you did it to fill up the verse; So crowds in a concert (like actors in farce) Play two parts in one, when scrapers are scarce. But be that as 'twill, you'll know more anon, sir, When Sheridan sends to merry Dan answer.
Three merry lads you own we are; 'Tis very true, and free from care: But envious we cannot bear, believe, sir:
For, were all forms of beauty thine, Were you like Nereus soft and fine, We should not in the least repine, or grieve, sir.
Then know from us, most beauteous Dan, That roughness best becomes a man; 'Tis women should be pale, and wan, and taper;
And all your trifling beaux and fops, Who comb their brows, and sleek their chops, Are but the offspring of toy-shops, mere vapour.
We know your morning hours you pass To cull and gather out a face; Is this the way you take your glass? Forbear it:
Those loads of paint upon your toilet Will never mend your face, but spoil it, It looks as if you did parboil it: Drink claret.
Your cheeks, by sleeking, are so lean, That they're like Cynthia in the wane, Or breast of goose when 'tis pick'd clean, or pullet:
See what by drinking you have done: You've made your phiz a skeleton, From the long distance of your crown, t' your gullet.
A REJOINDER BY THE DEAN IN JACKSON'S NAME
Wearied with saying grace and prayer, I hasten'd down to country air, To read your answer, and prepare reply to't:
But your fair lines so grossly flatter, Pray do they praise me or bespatter? I must suspect you mean the latter-- Ah! slyboot!
It must be so! what else, alas! Can mean by culling of a face, And all that stuff of toilet, glass, and box-comb?
But be't as 'twill, this you must grant, That you're a daub, whilst I but paint; Then which of us two is the quaint- er coxcomb?
I value not your jokes of noose, Your gibes and all your foul abuse, More than the dirt beneath my shoes, nor fear it.
Yet one thing vexes me, I own, Thou sorry scarecrow of skin and bone; To be called lean by a skeleton, who'd bear it?
'Tis true, indeed, to curry friends, You seem to praise, to make amends, And yet, before your stanza ends, you flout me,
'Bout latent charms beneath my clothes, For every one that knows me, knows That I have nothing like my nose about me:
I pass now where you fleer and laugh, 'Cause I call Dan my better half! O there you think you have me safe! But hold, sir;
Is not a penny often found To be much greater than a pound! By your good leave, my most profound and bold sir, Dan's noble metal, Sherry base; So Dan's the better, though the less, An ounce of gold’s worth ten of brass, dull pedant!
As to your spelling, let me see, If SHE makes sher, and RI makes ry, Good spelling-master: your crany has lead in't.
ANOTHER REJOINDER BY THE DEAN, IN JACKSON'S NAME
Three days for answer I have waited, I thought an ace you'd ne'er have bated And art thou forced to yield, ill-fated poetaster?
Henceforth acknowledge, that a nose Of thy dimension's fit for prose; But every one that knows Dan, knows thy master.
Blush for ill spelling, for ill lines, And fly with hurry to Rathmines; Thy fame, thy genius, now declines, proud boaster.
I hear with some concern your roar And flying think to quit the score, By clapping billets on your door and posts, sir.
Thy ruin, Tom, I never meant, I'm grieved to hear your banishment, But pleased to find you do relent and cry on.
I maul'd you, when you look'd so bluff, But now I'll secret keep your stuff; For know, prostration is enough to th' lion.
[Footnote 1: A village near Dublin.--F.]
BY THE DEAN
Miserae cognosce prooemia rixae,
Si rixa est ubi tu pulsas, ego vapulo tantum.
Poor Sherry, inglorious, To Dan the victorious, Presents, as 'tis fitting, Petition and greeting.
To you, victorious and brave, Your now subdued and suppliant slave Most humbly sues for pardon; Who when I fought still cut me down, And when I vanquish'd, fled the town Pursued and laid me hard on.
Now lowly crouch'd, I cry peccavi, And prostrate, supplicate pour ma vie; Your mercy I rely on; For you my conqueror and my king, In pardoning, as in punishing, Will show yourself a lion.
Alas! sir, I had no design, But was unwarily drawn in; For spite I ne'er had any; 'Twas the damn'd squire with the hard name; The de'il too that owed me a shame, The devil and Delany;
They tempted me t' attack your highness, And then, with wonted wile and slyness, They left me in the lurch: Unhappy wretch! for now, I ween, I've nothing left to vent my spleen But ferula and birch:
And they, alas! yield small relief, Seem rather to renew my grief, My wounds bleed all anew: For every stroke goes to my heart And at each lash I feel the smart Of lash laid on by you.
[Footnote 1: Juvenalis, Sat. iii, 288.--W. E. B.]
The suit which humbly you have made Is fully and maturely weigh'd; And as 'tis your petition, I do forgive, for well I know, Since you're so bruised, another blow Would break the head of Priscian.
'Tis not my purpose or intent That you should suffer banishment; I pardon, now you've courted; And yet I fear this clemency Will come too late to profit thee, For you're with grief transported.
However, this I do command, That you your birch do take in hand, Read concord and syntax on; The bays, your own, are only mine, Do you then still your nouns decline, Since you've declined Dan Jackson.
[Footnote 1: The Roman grammarian, who flourished about A.D. 450, and has left a work entitled "Commentariorum grammaticorum Libri xviii."--W. E. B.]
THE LAST SPEECH AND DYING WORDS
OF DANIEL JACKSON
MY DEAR COUNTRYMEN,
--mediocribus esse poetis
Non funes, non gryps, non concessere columnae.
To give you a short translation of these two lines from Horace's Art of Poetry, which I have chosen for my neck-verse, before I proceed to my speech, you will find they fall naturally into this sense:
For poets who can't tell [high] rocks from stones,
The rope, the hangman, and the gallows groans.
I was born in a fen near the foot of Mount Parnassus, commonly called the Logwood Bog. My mother, whose name was Stanza, conceived me in a dream, and was delivered of me in her sleep. Her dream was, that Apollo, in the shape of a gander, with a prodigious long bill, had embraced her; upon which she consulted the Oracle of Delphos, and the following answer was made:
You'll have a gosling, call it Dan, And do not make your goose a swan. 'Tis true, because the God of Wit To get him in that shape thought fit, He'll have some glowworm sparks of it. Venture you may to turn him loose, But let it be to another goose. The time will come, the fatal time, When he shall dare a swan to rhyme; The tow'ring swan comes sousing down, And breaks his pinions, cracks his crown. From that sad time, and sad disaster, He'll be a lame, crack'd poetaster. At length for stealing rhymes and triplets, He'll be content to hang in giblets.
You see now, Gentlemen, this is fatally and literally come to pass; for it was my misfortune to engage with that Pindar of the times, Tom Sheridan, who did so confound me by sousing on my crown, and did so batter my pinions, that I was forced to make use of borrowed wings, though my false accusers have deposed that I stole my feathers from Hopkins, Sternhold, Silvester, Ogilby, Durfey, etc., for which I now forgive them and all the world. I die a poet; and this ladder shall be my Gradus ad Parnassum; and I hope the critics will have mercy on my works.
Then lo, I mount as slowly as I sung, And then I'll make a line for every rung; There's nine, I see,--the Muses, too, are nine. Who would refuse to die a death like mine! 1. Thou first rung, Clio, celebrate my name; 2. Euterp, in tragic numbers do the same. 3. This rung, I see, Terpsichore's thy flute; 4. Erato, sing me to the Gods; ah, do't: 5. Thalia, don't make me a comedy; 6. Urania, raise me tow'rds the starry sky: 7. Calliope, to ballad-strains descend, 8. And Polyhymnia, tune them for your friend; 9. So shall Melpomene mourn my fatal end.
POOR DAN JACKSON.
[Footnote 1: A variation from:
"mediocribus esse poetis
Non homines, non di, non concessere columnae." Epist. ad Pisones.--W. E. B.]
[Footnote 2: The Yorkshire term for the rounds or steps of a ladder; still used in every part of Ireland.--Scott.]
TO THE REV. DANIEL JACKSON
TO BE HUMBLY PRESENTED BY MR. SHERIDAN
WITH RESPECT, CARE, AND SPEED.
TO BE DELIVERED BY AND WITH MR. SHERIDAN
Here I return my trust, nor ask One penny for remittance; If I have well perform'd my task, Pray send me an acquittance.
Too long I bore this weighty pack, As Hercules the sky; Now take him you, Dan Atlas, back, Let me be stander-by.
Not all the witty things you speak In compass of a day, Not half the puns you make a-week, Should bribe his longer stay.
With me you left him out at nurse, Yet are you not my debtor; For, as he hardly can be worse, I ne'er could make him better.
He rhymes and puns, and puns and rhymes, Just as he did before; And, when he's lash'd a hundred times, He rhymes and puns the more.
When rods are laid on school-boys' bums, The more they frisk and skip: The school-boys' top but louder hums The more they use the whip.
Thus, a lean beast beneath a load (A beast of Irish breed) Will, in a tedious dirty road, Outgo the prancing steed.
You knock him down and down in vain, And lay him flat before ye, For soon as he gets up again, He'll strut, and cry, Victoria!
At every stroke of mine, he fell, 'Tis true he roar'd and cried; But his impenetrable shell Could feel no harm beside.
The tortoise thus, with motion slow, Will clamber up a wall; Yet, senseless to the hardest blow, Gets nothing but a fall.
Dear Dan, then, why should you, or I, Attack his pericrany? And, since it is in vain to try, We'll send him to Delany.
Lean Tom, when I saw him last week on his horse awry, Threaten'd loudly to turn me to stone with his sorcery, But, I think, little Dan, that in spite of what our foe says, He will find I read Ovid and his Metamorphoses, For omitting the first (where I make a comparison, With a sort of allusion to Putland or Harrison) Yet, by my description, you'll find he in short is A pack and a garran, a top and a tortoise. So I hope from henceforward you ne'er will ask, can I maul This teasing, conceited, rude, insolent animal? And, if this rebuke might turn to his benefit, (For I pity the man) I should be glad then of it.
SHERIDAN TO SWIFT
A Highlander once fought a Frenchman at Margate, The weapons a rapier, a backsword, and target; Brisk Monsieur advanced as fast as he could, But all his fine pushes were caught in the wood; While Sawney with backsword did slash him and nick him, While t'other, enraged that he could not once prick him, Cried, "Sirrah, you rascal, you son of a whore, Me'll fight you, begar, if you'll come from your door!"
Our case is the same; if you'll fight like a man, Don't fly from my weapon, and skulk behind Dan; For he's not to be pierced; his leather's so tough, The devil himself can't get through his buff. Besides, I cannot but say that it is hard, Not only to make him your shield, but your vizard; And like a tragedian, you rant and you roar, Through the horrible grin of your larva's wide bore. Nay, farther, which makes me complain much, and frump it, You make his long nose your loud speaking-trumpet; With the din of which tube my head you so bother, That I scarce can distinguish my right ear from t'other.
You made me in your last a goose; I lay my life on't you are wrong, To raise me by such foul abuse; My quill you'll find's a woman's tongue; And slit, just like a bird will chatter, And like a bird do something more; When I let fly, 'twill so bespatter, I'll change you to a black-a-moor.
I'll write while I have half an eye in my head; I'll write while I live, and I'll write when you're dead. Though you call me a goose, you pitiful slave, I'll feed on the grass that grows on your grave.
[Footnote 1; See post, p. 351.--W. E. B.]
SHERIDAN TO SWIFT
I can't but wonder, Mr. Dean, To see you live, so often slain. My arrows fly and fly in vain, But still I try and try again. I'm now, Sir, in a writing vein; Don't think, like you, I squeeze and strain, Perhaps you'll ask me what I mean; I will not tell, because it's plain. Your Muse, I am told, is in the wane; If so, from pen and ink refrain. Indeed, believe me, I'm in pain For her and you; your life's a scene Of verse, and rhymes, and hurricane, Enough to crack the strongest brain.
Now to conclude, I do remain, Your honest friend, TOM SHERIDAN.
SWIFT TO SHERIDAN
Poor Tom, wilt thou never accept a defiance, Though I dare you to more than quadruple alliance. You're so retrograde, sure you were born under Cancer; Must I make myself hoarse with demanding an answer? If this be your practice, mean scrub, I assure ye, And swear by each Fate, and your new friends, each Fury, I'll drive you to Cavan, from Cavan to Dundalk; I'll tear all your rules, and demolish your pun-talk: Nay, further, the moment you're free from your scalding, I'll chew you to bullets, and puff you at Baldwin.
MARY THE COOK-MAID'S LETTER TO DR. SHERIDAN.
Well, if ever I saw such another man since my mother bound up my head! You a gentleman! Marry come up! I wonder where you were bred. I'm sure such words does not become a man of your cloth; I would not give such language to a dog, faith and troth. Yes, you call'd my master a knave; fie, Mr. Sheridan! 'tis a shame For a parson who should know better things, to come out with such a name. Knave in your teeth, Mr. Sheridan! 'tis both a shame and a sin; And the Dean, my master, is an honester man than you and all your kin: He has more goodness in his little finger than you have in your whole body: My master is a personable man, and not a spindle-shank hoddy doddy.
And now, whereby I find you would fain make an excuse, Because my master, one day, in anger, call'd you a goose: Which, and I am sure I have been his servant four years since October, And he never call'd me worse than sweet-heart, drunk or sober: Not that I know his reverence was ever concern'd to my knowledge, Though you and your come-rogues keep him out so late in your wicked college.
You say you will eat grass on his grave: a Christian eat grass! Whereby you now confess yourself to be a goose or an ass: But that's as much as to say, that my master should die before ye; Well, well, that's as God pleases; and I don't believe that's a true story: And so say I told you so, and you may go tell my master; what care I? And I don't care who knows it; 'tis all one to Mary. Everybody knows that I love to tell truth, and shame the devil: I am but a poor servant; but I think gentlefolks should be civil.
Besides, you found fault with our victuals one day that you was here; I remember it was on a Tuesday, of all days in the year. And Saunders, the man, says you are always jesting and mocking: Mary, said he, (one day as I was mending my master's stocking;) My master is so fond of that minister that keeps the school-- I thought my master a wise man, but that man makes him a fool.
Saunders, said I, I would rather than a quart of ale He would come into our kitchen, and I would pin a dish-clout to his tail. And now I must go, and get Saunders to direct this letter; For I write but a sad scrawl; but my sister Marget she writes better. Well, but I must run and make the bed, before my master comes from prayers: And see now, it strikes ten, and I hear him coming up stairs; Whereof I could say more to your verses, if I could write written hand; And so I remain, in a civil way, your servant to 'command, MARY.
[Footnote 1: See ante, p. 349.--W. E. B.]
A PORTRAIT FROM THE LIFE
Come sit by my side, while this picture I draw: In chattering a magpie, in pride a jackdaw; A temper the devil himself could not bridle; Impertinent mixture of busy and idle; As rude as a bear, no mule half so crabbed; She swills like a sow, and she breeds like a rabbit; A housewife in bed, at table a slattern; For all an example, for no one a pattern. Now tell me, friend Thomas, Ford, Grattan, and Merry Dan, Has this any likeness to good Madam Sheridan?
[Footnote 1: Dr. Thos. Sheridan.]
[Footnote 2: Chas. Ford, of Woodpark, Esq.]
[Footnote 3: Rev. John Grattan.]
[Footnote 4: Rev. Daniel Jackson.]
ON STEALING A CROWN, WHEN THE DEAN WAS ASLEEP
Dear Dean, since you in sleepy wise Have oped your mouth, and closed your eyes, Like ghost I glide along your floor, And softly shut the parlour door: For, should I break your sweet repose, Who knows what money you might lose: Since oftentimes it has been found, A dream has given ten thousand pound? Then sleep, my friend; dear Dean, sleep on, And all you get shall be your own; Provided you to this agree, That all you lose belongs to me.
THE DEAN'S ANSWER
So, about twelve at night, the punk Steals from the cully when he's drunk: Nor is contented with a treat, Without her privilege to cheat: Nor can I the least difference find, But that you left no clap behind. But, jest apart, restore, you capon ye, My twelve thirteens and sixpence-ha'penny To eat my meat and drink my medlicot, And then to give me such a deadly cut-- But 'tis observed, that men in gowns Are most inclined to plunder crowns. Could you but change a crown as easy As you can steal one, how 'twould please ye! I thought the lady at St. Catherine's Knew how to set you better patterns; For this I will not dine with Agmondisham, And for his victuals, let a ragman dish 'em.
[Footnote 1: A shilling passes for thirteen pence in Ireland.--F.]
[Footnote 2: Lady Mountcashel.--F.]
[Footnote 3: Agmondisham Vesey, Esq., of Lucan, in the county of Dublin, comptroller and accomptant-general of Ireland, a very worthy gentleman, for whom the Dean had a great esteem.--Scott.]
A PROLOGUE TO A PLAY PERFORMED AT MR. SHERIDAN'S SCHOOL.
SPOKEN BY ONE OF THE SCHOLARS
As in a silent night a lonely swain, 'Tending his flocks on the Pharsalian plain, To Heaven around directs his wandering eyes, And every look finds out a new surprise; So great's our wonder, ladies, when we view Our lower sphere made more serene by you. O! could such light in my dark bosom shine, What life, what vigour, should adorn each line! Beauty and virtue should be all my theme, And Venus brighten my poetic flame. The advent'rous painter's fate and mine are one Who fain would draw the bright meridian sun; Majestic light his feeble art defies, And for presuming, robs him of his eyes. Then blame your power, that my inferior lays Sink far below your too exalted praise: Don't think we flatter, your applause to gain; No, we're sincere,--to flatter you were vain. You spurn at fine encomiums misapplied, And all perfections but your beauties hide. Then as you're fair, we hope you will be kind, Nor frown on those you see so well inclined To please you most. Grant us your smiles, and then Those sweet rewards will make us act like men.
Now all is done, ye learn'd spectators, tell Have we not play'd our parts extremely well? We think we did, but if you do complain, We're all content to act the play again: 'Tis but three hours or thereabouts, at most, And time well spent in school cannot be lost. But what makes you frown, you gentlemen above?
We guess'd long since you all desired to move: But that's in vain, for we'll not let a man stir, Who does not take up Plautus first, and conster, Him we'll dismiss, that understands the play; He who does not, i'faith, he's like to stay. Though this new method may provoke your laughter, To act plays first, and understand them after; We do not care, for we will have our humour, And will try you, and you, and you, sir, and one or two more. Why don't you stir? there's not a man will budge; How much they've read, I leave you all to judge.
[Footnote 1: The vulgar pronunciation of the word construe is here intended.--W. E. B.]
A parody on the popular song beginning, "My time, O ye Muses, was happily spent."
My time, O ye Grattans, was happily spent, When Bacchus went with me, wherever I went; For then I did nothing but sing, laugh, and jest; Was ever a toper so merrily blest? But now I so cross, and so peevish am grown, Because I must go to my wife back to town; To the fondling and toying of "honey," and "dear," And the conjugal comforts of horrid small beer.
My daughter I ever was pleased to see Come fawning and begging to ride on my knee: My wife, too, was pleased, and to the child said, Come, hold in your belly, and hold up your head: But now out of humour, I with a sour look, Cry, hussy, and give her a souse with my book; And I'll give her another; for why should she play, Since my Bacchus, and glasses, and friends, are away?
Wine, what of thy delicate hue is become, That tinged our glasses with blue, like a plum? Those bottles, those bumpers, why do they not smile, While we sit carousing and drinking the while? Ah, bumpers, I see that our wine is all done, Our mirth falls of course, when our Bacchus is gone. Then since it is so, bring me here a supply; Begone, froward wife, for I'll drink till I die.
A NEW YEAR'S GIFT FOR THE DEAN OF ST. PATRICK'S
GIVEN HIM AT QUILCA. BY SHERIDAN
How few can be of grandeur sure! The high may fall, the rich be poor. The only favourite at court, To-morrow may be Fortune's sport; For all her pleasure and her aim Is to destroy both power and fame.
Of this the Dean is an example, No instance is more plain and ample. The world did never yet produce, For courts a man of greater use. Nor has the world supplied as yet, With more vivacity and wit; Merry alternately and wise, To please the statesman, and advise. Through all the last and glorious reign, Was nothing done without the Dean; The courtier's prop, the nation's pride; But now, alas! he's thrown aside; He's quite forgot, and so's the queen, As if they both had never been. To see him now a mountaineer! Oh! what a mighty fall is here! From settling governments and thrones, To splitting rocks, and piling stones. Instead of Bolingbroke and Anna, Shane Tunnally, and Bryan Granna, Oxford and Ormond he supplies, In every Irish Teague he spies: So far forgetting his old station, He seems to like their conversation, Conforming to the tatter'd rabble, He learns their Irish tongue to gabble; And, what our anger more provokes, He's pleased with their insipid jokes; Then turns and asks them who do lack a Good plug, or pipefull of tobacco. All cry they want, to every man He gives, extravagant, a span. Thus are they grown more fond than ever, And he is highly in their favour.
Bright Stella, Quilca's greatest pride, For them he scorns and lays aside; And Sheridan is left alone All day, to gape, and stretch, and groan; While grumbling, poor, complaining Dingley, Is left to care and trouble singly. All o'er the mountains spreads the rumour, Both of his bounty and good humour; So that each shepherdess and swain Comes flocking here to see the Dean. All spread around the land, you'd swear That every day we kept a fair. My fields are brought to such a pass, I have not left a blade of grass; That all my wethers and my beeves Are slighted by the very thieves.
At night right loath to quit the park, His work just ended by the dark, With all his pioneers he comes, To make more work for whisk and brooms. Then seated in an elbow-chair, To take a nap he does prepare; While two fair damsels from the lawns, Lull him asleep with soft cronawns.
Thus are his days in delving spent, His nights in music and content; He seems to gain by his distress, His friends are more, his honours less.
A COUNTRY-HOUSE OF DR. SHERIDAN, IN NO VERY GOOD REPAIR.
Let me thy properties explain: A rotten cabin, dropping rain: Chimneys, with scorn rejecting smoke; Stools, tables, chairs, and bedsteads broke. Here elements have lost their uses, Air ripens not, nor earth produces: In vain we make poor Sheelah toil, Fire will not roast, nor water boil. Through all the valleys, hills, and plains, The goddess Want, in triumph reigns; And her chief officers of state, Sloth, Dirt, and Theft, around her wait.
THE BLESSINGS OF A COUNTRY LIFE
Far from our debtors; no Dublin letters; Not seen by our betters.
THE PLAGUES OF A COUNTRY LIFE
A companion with news; a great want of shoes; Eat lean meat or choose; a church without pews; Our horses away; no straw, oats, or hay; December in May; our boys run away; all servants at play.
A FAITHFUL INVENTORY
OF THE FURNITURE BELONGING TO ----
ROOM IN T. C. D.
IN IMITATION OF DR. SWIFT'S MANNER.
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1725
----quaeque ipse miserrima vidi.
This description of a scholar's room in Trinity College, Dublin, was found among Mr. Smith's papers. It is not in the Dean's hand, but seems to have been the production of Sheridan.
Imprimis, there's a table blotted, A tatter'd hanging all bespotted. A bed of flocks, as I may rank it, Reduced to rug and half a blanket. A tinder box without a flint, An oaken desk with nothing in't; A pair of tongs bought from a broker, A fender and a rusty poker; A penny pot and basin, this Design'd for water, that for piss; A broken-winded pair of bellows, Two knives and forks, but neither fellows. Item, a surplice, not unmeeting, Either for table-cloth, or sheeting; There is likewise a pair of breeches, But patch'd, and fallen in the stitches, Hung up in study very little, Plaster'd with cobweb and spittle, An airy prospect all so pleasing, From my light window without glazing, A trencher and a College bottle, Piled up on Locke and Aristotle. A prayer-book, which he seldom handles A save-all and two farthing candles. A smutty ballad, musty libel, A Burgersdicius and a Bible. The C**** Seasons and the Senses By Overton, to save expenses. Item, (if I am not much mistaken,) A mouse-trap with a bit of bacon. A candlestick without a snuffer, Whereby his fingers often suffer. Two odd old shoes I should not skip here, Each strapless serves instead of slippers, And chairs a couple, I forgot 'em, But each of them without a bottom. Thus I in rhyme have comprehended His goods, and so my schedule's ended.
[Footnote 1: Virg., "Aen.," ii, 5.--W. E. B.]
[Footnote 2: Francis Burgersdicius, author of "An Argument to prove that the 39th section of the Lth chapter of the Statutes given by Queen Elizabeth to the University of Cambridge includes the whole Statutes of that University, with an answer to the Argument and the Author's reply." London, 1727. He was one of those logicians that Swift so disliked.--W. E. B.]
[Footnote 3: Illegible. John Overton, 1640-1708, a dealer in mezzotints.--W. E. B.]
HORACE, BOOK I, ODE XVI
Great Sir, than Phoebus more divine, Whose verses far his rays outshine, Look down upon your quondam foe; O! let me never write again, If e'er I disoblige you, Dean, Should you compassion show.
Take those iambics which I wrote, When anger made me piping hot, And give them to your cook, To singe your fowl, or save your paste The next time when you have a feast; They'll save you many a book.
To burn them, you are not content; I give you then my free consent, To sink them in the harbour; If not, they'll serve to set off blocks, To roll on pipes, and twist in locks; So give them to your barber.
Or, when you next your physic take, I must entreat you then to make A proper application; 'Tis what I've done myself before, With Dan's fine thoughts and many more, Who gave me provocation.
What cannot mighty anger do? It makes the weak the strong pursue, A goose attack a swan; It makes a woman, tooth and nail, Her husband's hands and face assail, While he's no longer man.
Though some, we find, are more discreet, Before the world are wondrous sweet, And let their husbands hector: But when the world's asleep, they wake, That is the time they choose to speak: Witness the curtain lecture.
Such was the case with you, I find: All day you could conceal your mind; But when St. Patrick's chimes Awaked your muse, (my midnight curse, When I engaged for better for worse,) You scolded with your rhymes.
Have done! have done! I quit the field, To you as to my wife, I yield: As she must wear the breeches: So shall you wear the laurel crown, Win it and wear it, 'tis your own; The poet's only riches.
[Footnote 1: Recantation.--W. E. B.]
A LETTER TO THE DEAN
WHEN IN ENGLAND.
BY DR. SHERIDAN
You will excuse me, I suppose, For sending rhyme instead of prose. Because hot weather makes me lazy, To write in metre is more easy.
While you are trudging London town, I'm strolling Dublin up and down; While you converse with lords and dukes, I have their betters here, my books: Fix'd in an elbow-chair at ease, I choose companions as I please. I'd rather have one single shelf Than all my friends, except yourself; For, after all that can be said, Our best acquaintance are the dead. While you're in raptures with Faustina; I'm charm'd at home with our Sheelina. While you are starving there in state, I'm cramming here with butchers' meat. You say, when with those lords you dine, They treat you with the best of wine, Burgundy, Cyprus, and Tokay; Why, so can we, as well as they. No reason then, my dear good Dean, But you should travel home again. What though you mayn't in Ireland hope To find such folk as Gay and Pope; If you with rhymers here would share But half the wit that you can spare, I'd lay twelve eggs, that in twelve days, You'd make a dozen of Popes and Gays.
Our weather’s good, our sky is clear; We've every joy, if you were here; So lofty and so bright a sky Was never seen by Ireland's eye! I think it fit to let you know, This week I shall to Quilca go; To see M'Faden's horny brothers First suck, and after bull their mothers; To see, alas! my wither'd trees! To see what all the country sees! My stunted quicks, my famish'd beeves, My servants such a pack of thieves; My shatter'd firs, my blasted oaks, My house in common to all folks, No cabbage for a single snail, My turnips, carrots, parsneps, fail; My no green peas, my few green sprouts; My mother always in the pouts; My horses rid, or gone astray; My fish all stolen or run away; My mutton lean, my pullets old, My poultry starved, the corn all sold. A man come now from Quilca says, "They've stolen the locks from all your keys;" But, what must fret and vex me more, He says, "They stole the keys before. They've stol'n the knives from all the forks; And half the cows from half the sturks." Nay more, the fellow swears and vows, "They've stol'n the sturks from half the cows:" With many more accounts of woe, Yet, though the devil be there, I'll go: 'Twixt you and me, the reason's clear, Because I've more vexation here.
[Footnote 1: Signora Faustina, a famous Italian singer.--Dublin Edition.]
[Footnote 2: They is the grand thief of the county of Cavan, for whatever is stolen, if you enquire of a servant about it, the answer is, "They have stolen it." Dublin Edition.--W. E. B.]
AN INVITATION TO DINNER
FROM DOCTOR SHERIDAN TO DOCTOR SWIFT
I've sent to the ladies this morning to warn 'em, To order their chaise, and repair to Rathfarnam; Where you shall be welcome to dine, if your deanship Can take up with me, and my friend Stella's leanship. I've got you some soles, and a fresh bleeding bret, That's just disengaged from the toils of a net: An excellent loin of fat veal to be roasted, With lemons, and butter, and sippets well toasted: Some larks that descended, mistaking the skies, Which Stella brought down by the light of her eyes; And there, like Narcissus, they gazed till they died, And now they're to lie in some crumbs that are fried. My wine will inspire you with joy and delight, 'Tis mellow, and old, and sparkling, and bright; An emblem of one that you love, I suppose, Who gathers more lovers the older she grows. Let me be your Gay, and let Stella be Pope, We'll wean you from sighing for England I hope; When we are together there's nothing that is dull, There's nothing like Durfey, or Smedley, or Tisdall. We've sworn to make out an agreeable feast, Our dinner, our wine, and our wit to your taste.
Your answer in half-an-hour, though you are at prayers; you have a pencil in your pocket.
[Footnote 1: A village near Dublin, where Dr. Sheridan had a country house.]
[Footnote 2: Stella was at this time in a very declining state of health. She died the January following.--F.]
[Footnote 3: The youth who died for love of his own image reflected in a fountain, and was changed into a flower of the same name. Ovid, "Metam.," iii, 407.--W. E. B.]
[Footnote 4: He means Stella, who was certainly one of the most amiable women in the world.--F.]
ON THE FIVE LADIES AT SOT'S HOLE
WITH THE DOCTOR AT THEIR HEAD
N.B. THE LADIES TREATED THE DOCTOR.
SENT AS FROM AN OFFICER IN THE ARMY.
Fair ladies, number five, Who in your merry freaks, With little Tom contrive To feast on ale and steaks;
While he sits by a-grinning, To see you safe in Sot's Hole, Set up with greasy linen, And neither mugs nor pots whole;
Alas! I never thought A priest would please your palate; Besides, I'll hold a groat He'll put you in a ballad;
Where I shall see your faces, On paper daub'd so foul, They'll be no more like graces, Than Venus like an owl.
And we shall take you rather To be a midnight pack Of witches met together, With Beelzebub in black.
It fills my heart with woe, To think such ladies fine Should be reduced so low, To treat a dull divine.
Be by a parson cheated! Had you been cunning stagers, You might yourselves be treated By captains and by majors.
See how corruption grows, While mothers, daughters, aunts, Instead of powder'd beaux, From pulpits choose gallants.
If we, who wear our wigs With fantail and with snake, Are bubbled thus by prigs; Z----ds! who would be a rake?
Had I a heart to fight, I'd knock the Doctor down; Or could I read or write, Egad! I'd wear a gown.
Then leave him to his birch; And at the Rose on Sunday, The parson safe at church, I'll treat you with burgundy.
[Footnote 1: An ale-house in Dublin, famous for beef-steaks.--F.]
[Footnote 2: Doctor Thomas Sheridan.--F.]
[Footnote 3: Dr. Sheridan was a schoolmaster.--F.]
THE FIVE LADIES' ANSWER TO THE BEAU
WITH THE WIG AND WINGS AT HIS HEAD
BY DR. SHERIDAN
You little scribbling beau, What demon made you write? Because to write you know As much as you can fight.
For compliment so scurvy, I wish we had you here; We'd turn you topsy-turvy Into a mug of beer.
You thought to make a farce on The man and place we chose; We're sure a single parson Is worth a hundred beaux.
And you would make us vassals, Good Mr. Wig and Wings, To silver clocks and tassels; You would, you Thing of Things!
Because around your cane A ring of diamonds is set; And you, in some by-lane, Have gain'd a paltry grisette;
Shall we, of sense refined, Your trifling nonsense bear, As noisy as the wind, As empty as the air?
We hate your empty prattle; And vow and swear 'tis true, There's more in one child's rattle, Than twenty fops like you.
THE BEAU'S REPLY TO THE FIVE LADIES' ANSWER
Why, how now, dapper black! I smell your gown and cassock, As strong upon your back, As Tisdall smells of a sock.
To write such scurvy stuff! Fine ladies never do't; I know you well enough, And eke your cloven foot.
Fine ladies, when they write, Nor scold, nor keep a splutter: Their verses give delight, As soft and sweet as butter.
But Satan never saw Such haggard lines as these: They stick athwart my maw, As bad as Suffolk cheese.
[Footnote 1: Dr. William Tisdall, a clergyman in the north of Ireland, who had paid his addresses to Mrs. Johnson. He is several times mentioned in the Journal to Stella, and is not to be confused with another Tisdall or Tisdell, whom Swift knew in London, also mentioned in the Journal.--W. E. B.]
DR. SHERIDAN'S BALLAD ON BALLY-SPELLIN.
All you that would refine your blood, As pure as famed Llewellyn, By waters clear, come every year To drink at Ballyspellin.
Though pox or itch your skins enrich With rubies past the telling, 'Twill clear your skin before you've been A month at Ballyspellin.
If lady's cheek be green as leek When she comes from her dwelling, The kindling rose within it glows When she's at Ballyspellin.
The sooty brown, who comes from town, Grows here as fair as Helen; Then back she goes, to kill the beaux, By dint of Ballyspellin.
Our ladies are as fresh and fair As Rose, or bright Dunkelling: And Mars might make a fair mistake, Were he at Ballyspellin.
We men submit as they think fit, And here is no rebelling: The reason's plain; the ladies reign, They're queens at Ballyspellin.
By matchless charms, unconquer'd arms, They have the way of quelling Such desperate foes as dare oppose Their power at Ballyspellin.
Cold water turns to fire, and burns I know, because I fell in A stream, which came from one bright dame Who drank at Ballyspellin.
Fine beaux advance, equipt for dance, To bring their Anne or Nell in, With so much grace, I'm sure no place Can vie with Ballyspellin.
No politics, no subtle tricks, No man his country selling: We eat, we drink; we never think Of these at Ballyspellin.
The troubled mind, the puff'd with wind, Do all come here pell-mell in; And they are sure to work their cure By drinking Ballyspellin.
Though dropsy fills you to the gills, From chin to toe though swelling, Pour in, pour out, you cannot doubt A cure at Ballyspellin.
Death throws no darts through all these parts, No sextons here are knelling; Come, judge and try, you'll never die, But live at Ballyspellin.
Except you feel darts tipp'd with steel, Which here are every belle in: When from their eyes sweet ruin flies, We die at Ballyspellin.
Good cheer, sweet air, much joy, no care, Your sight, your taste, your smelling, Your ears, your touch, transported much Each day at Ballyspellin.
Within this ground we all sleep sound, No noisy dogs a-yelling; Except you wake, for Celia's sake, All night at Ballyspellin.
There all you see, both he and she, No lady keeps her cell in; But all partake the mirth we make, Who drink at Ballyspellin.
My rhymes are gone; I think I've none, Unless I should bring Hell in; But, since I'm here to Heaven so near, I can't at Ballyspellin!
[Footnote 1: A famous spa in the county of Kilkenny, "whither Sheridan had gone to drink the waters with a new favourite lady." See note to the "Answer," post, p. 371.--W. E. B.]
[Footnote 2: Ross.--Dublin Edition.]
ANSWER. BY DR. SWIFT
Dare you dispute, you saucy brute, And think there's no refelling Your scurvy lays, and senseless praise You give to Ballyspellin?
Howe'er you flounce, I here pronounce, Your medicine is repelling; Your water's mud, and sours the blood When drunk at Ballyspellin.
Those pocky drabs, to cure their scabs, You thither are compelling, Will back be sent worse than they went, From nasty Ballyspellin.
Llewellyn why? As well may I Name honest Doctor Pellin; So hard sometimes you tug for rhymes, To bring in Ballyspellin.
No subject fit to try your wit, When you went colonelling: But dull intrigues 'twixt jades and teagues, You met at Ballyspellin.
Our lasses fair, say what you dare, Who sowins make with shelling, At Market-hill more beaux can kill, Than yours at Ballyspellin.
Would I was whipt, when Sheelah stript, To wash herself our well in, A bum so white ne'er came in sight At paltry Ballyspellin.
Your mawkins there smocks hempen wear; Of Holland not an ell in, No, not a rag, whate'er your brag, Is found at Ballyspellin.
But Tom will prate at any rate, All other nymphs expelling: Because he gets a few grisettes At lousy Ballyspellin.
There's bonny Jane, in yonder lane, Just o'er against the Bell inn; Where can you meet a lass so sweet, Round all your Ballyspellin?
We have a girl deserves an earl; She came from Enniskellin; So fair, so young, no such among The belles of Ballyspellin.
How would you stare, to see her there, The foggy mists dispelling, That cloud the brows of every blowse Who lives at Ballyspellin!
Now, as I live, I would not give A stiver or a skellin, To towse and kiss the fairest miss That leaks at Ballyspellin.
Whoe'er will raise such lies as these Deserves a good cudgelling: Who falsely boasts of belles and toasts At dirty Ballyspellin.
My rhymes are gone to all but one, Which is, our trees are felling; As proper quite as those you write, To force in Ballyspellin.
[Footnote 1: This answer, which seems to have been made while Swift was on a visit at Sir Arthur Acheson's, "in a mere jest and innocent merriment," was resented by Sheridan as an affront on the lady and himself, "against all the rules of reason, taste, good nature, judgment, gratitude, or common manners." See "The History of the Second Solomon," "Prose Works," xi, 157. The mutual irritation soon passed, and the Dean and Sheridan resumed their intimate friendship.--W. E. B.]
[Footnote 2: A food much used in Scotland, the north of Ireland, and other parts. It is made of oatmeal, and sometimes of the shellings of oats; and known by the names of sowins or flummery.--F.]
AN EPISTLE TO TWO FRIENDS
TO DR. HELSHAM 
Nov. 23, at night, 1731.
When I left you, I found myself of the grape's juice sick; I'm so full of pity I never abuse sick; And the patientest patient ever you knew sick; Both when I am purge-sick, and when I am spew-sick. I pitied my cat, whom I knew by her mew sick: She mended at first, but now she's anew sick. Captain Butler made some in the church black and blue sick. Dean Cross, had he preach'd, would have made us all pew-sick. Are not you, in a crowd when you sweat and you stew, sick? Lady Santry got out of the church when she grew sick, And as fast as she could, to the deanery flew sick. Miss Morice was (I can assure you 'tis true) sick: For, who would not be in that numerous crew sick? Such music would make a fanatic or Jew sick, Yet, ladies are seldom at ombre or loo sick. Nor is old Nanny Shales, whene'er she does brew, sick. My footman came home from the church of a bruise sick, And look'd like a rake, who was made in the stews sick: But you learned doctors can make whom you choose sick: And poor I myself was, when I withdrew, sick: For the smell of them made me like garlic and rue sick, And I got through the crowd, though not led by a clew, sick. Yet hoped to find many (for that was your cue) sick; But there was not a dozen (to give them their due) sick, And those, to be sure, stuck together like glue sick. So are ladies in crowds, when they squeeze and they screw, sick; You may find they are all, by their yellow pale hue, sick; So am I, when tobacco, like Robin, I chew, sick.
[Footnote 1: This medley, for it cannot be called a poem, is given as a specimen of those bagatelles for which the Dean hath perhaps been too severely censured.--H.]
[Footnote 2: Richard Helsham, M.D., Professor of Physic and Natural Philosophy in the University of Dublin, born about 1682 at Leggatsrath, Kilkenny, a friend of Swift, who mentions him as "the most eminent physician in this city and kingdom." He was one of the brilliant literary coterie in Dublin at that period. He died in 1738.--W. E. B..]
[Footnote 3: St. Patrick's Cathedral, where the music on St. Cecilia's day was usually performed.--F.]
[Footnote 4: Vide Grattan, inter Belchamp and Clonshogh.--Dublin Edition.]
TO DR. SHERIDAN
Nov. 23, at night.
If I write any more, it will make my poor Muse sick. This night I came home with a very cold dew sick, And I wish I may soon be not of an ague sick; But I hope I shall ne'er be like you, of a shrew sick, Who often has made me, by looking askew, sick.
DR. HELSHAM'S ANSWER
The Doctor's first rhyme would make any Jew sick: I know it has made a fine lady in blue sick, For which she is gone in a coach to Killbrew sick, Like a hen I once had, from a fox when she flew sick: Last Monday a lady at St. Patrick's did spew sick: And made all the rest of the folks in the pew sick, The surgeon who bled her his lancet out drew sick, And stopp'd the distemper, as being but new sick. The yacht, the last storm, had all her whole crew sick; Had we two been there, it would have made me and you sick: A lady that long'd, is by eating of glue sick; Did you ever know one in a very good Q sick? I'm told that my wife is by winding a clew sick; The doctors have made her by rhyme and by rue sick. There's a gamester in town, for a throw that he threw sick, And yet the whole trade of his dice he'll pursue sick; I've known an old miser for paying his due sick; At present I'm grown by a pinch of my shoe sick, And what would you have me with verses to do sick? Send rhymes, and I'll send you some others in lieu sick.
Of rhymes I have plenty, And therefore send twenty.
Answered the same day when sent, Nov. 23.
I desire you will carry both these to the Doctor together with his own; and let him know we are not persons to be insulted.
I was at Howth to-day, and staid abroad a-visiting till just now.
Tuesday Evening, Nov. 23, 1731.
"Can you match with me, Who send thirty-three? You must get fourteen more, To make up thirty-four: But, if me you can conquer, I'll own you a strong cur."
This morning I'm growing, by smelling of yew, sick; My brother's come over with gold from Peru sick; Last night I came home in a storm that then blew sick; This moment my dog at a cat I halloo sick; I hear from good hands, that my poor cousin Hugh's sick; By quaffing a bottle, and pulling a screw sick: And now there's no more I can write (you'll excuse) sick; You see that I scorn to mention word music.
I'll do my best, To send the rest; Without a jest, I'll stand the test.
These lines that I send you, I hope you'll peruse sick; I'll make you with writing a little more news sick; Last night I came home with drinking of booze sick; My carpenter swears that he'll hack and he'll hew sick. An officer's lady, I'm told, is tattoo sick; I'm afraid that the line thirty-four you will view sick.
Lord! I could write a dozen more; You see I've mounted thirty-four.
[Footnote 1: Time.--Dublin Edition.]
[Footnote 2: The lines "thus marked" were written by Dr. Swift, at the bottom of Dr. Helsham's twenty lines; and the following fourteen were afterwards added on the same paper.--N.]
A TRUE AND FAITHFUL INVENTORY
OF THE GOODS BELONGING TO DR. SWIFT, VICAR OF LARACOR.
UPON LENDING HIS HOUSE TO THE BISHOP OF MEATH, UNTIL HIS OWN WAS BUILT
An oaken broken elbow-chair; A caudle cup without an ear; A batter'd, shatter'd ash bedstead; A box of deal, without a lid; A pair of tongs, but out of joint; A back-sword poker, without point; A pot that's crack'd across, around, With an old knotted garter bound; An iron lock, without a key; A wig, with hanging, grown quite grey; A curtain, worn to half a stripe; A pair of bellows, without pipe; A dish, which might good meat afford once; An Ovid, and an old Concordance; A bottle-bottom, wooden-platter One is for meal, and one for water; There likewise is a copper skillet, Which runs as fast out as you fill it; A candlestick, snuff-dish, and save-all, And thus his household goods you have all. These, to your lordship, as a friend, 'Till you have built, I freely lend: They'll serve your lordship for a shift; Why not as well as Doctor Swift?
[Footnote 1: This poem was written by Sheridan, who had it presented to the Bishop by a beggar, in the form of a petition, to Swift's great surprise, who was in the carriage with his Lordship at the time.--Scott.]
A NEW SIMILE FOR THE LADIES
WITH USEFUL ANNOTATIONS
BY DR. SHERIDAN
To make a writer miss his end, You've nothing else to do but mend.
I often tried in vain to find A simile for womankind, A simile, I mean, to fit 'em, In every circumstance to hit 'em. Through every beast and bird I went, I ransack'd every element; And, after peeping through all nature, To find so whimsical a creature, A cloud presented to my view, And straight this parallel I drew:
Clouds turn with every wind about, They keep us in suspense and doubt, Yet, oft perverse, like womankind, Are seen to scud against the wind: And are not women just the same? For who can tell at what they aim?
Clouds keep the stoutest mortals under, When, bellowing, they discharge their thunder: So, when the alarum-bell is rung, Of Xanti's everlasting tongue, The husband dreads its loudness more Than lightning's flash, or thunder's roar.
Clouds weep, as they do, without pain; And what are tears but women's rain?
The clouds about the welkin roam: And ladies never stay at home.
The clouds build castles in the air, A thing peculiar to the fair: For all the schemes of their forecasting, Are not more solid nor more lasting.
A cloud is light by turns, and dark, Such is a lady with her spark; Now with a sudden pouting gloom She seems to darken all the room; Again she's pleased, his fear's beguiled, And all is clear when she has smiled. In this they're wondrously alike, (I hope the simile will strike,) Though in the darkest dumps you view them, Stay but a moment, you'll see through them.
The clouds are apt to make reflection, And frequently produce infection; So Celia, with small provocation, Blasts every neighbour's reputation.
The clouds delight in gaudy show, (For they, like ladies, have their bow;) The gravest matron will confess, That she herself is fond of dress.
Observe the clouds in pomp array'd, What various colours are display'd; The pink, the rose, the violet's dye, In that great drawing-room the sky; How do these differ from our Graces, In garden-silks, brocades, and laces? Are they not such another sight, When met upon a birth-day night?
The clouds delight to change their fashion: (Dear ladies, be not in a passion!) Nor let this whim to you seem strange, Who every hour delight in change.
In them and you alike are seen The sullen symptoms of the spleen; The moment that your vapours rise, We see them dropping from your eyes.
In evening fair you may behold The clouds are fringed with borrow'd gold; And this is many a lady's case, Who flaunts about in borrow'd lace.
Grave matrons are like clouds of snow, Their words fall thick, and soft, and slow; While brisk coquettes, like rattling hail, Our ears on every side assail.
Clouds, when they intercept our sight, Deprive us of celestial light: So when my Chloe I pursue, No heaven besides I have in view.
Thus, on comparison, you see, In every instance they agree; So like, so very much the same, That one may go by t'other's name. Let me proclaim it then aloud, That every woman is a cloud.
[Footnote 1: The following foot-notes, which appear to be Dr. Sheridan's, are replaced from the Irish edition:]
[Footnote 2: Most ladies, in reading, call this word a smile; but they are to note, it consists of three syllables, si-mi-le. In English, a likeness.]
[Footnote 3: Not to hurt them.]
[Footnote 4: Not like a gun or pistol.]
[Footnote 5: This is not meant as to shooting, but resolving.]
[Footnote 6: This word is not here to be understood of a bull, but a cloud, which makes a noise like a bull, when it thunders.]
[Footnote 7: Xanti, a nick-name for Xantippe, that scold of glorious memory, who never let poor Socrates have one moment's peace of mind; yet with unexampled patience, he bore her pestilential tongue. I shall beg the ladies' pardon if I insert a few passages concerning her; and at the same time I assure them, it is not to lessen those of the present age, who are possessed of the like laudable talents; for I will confess, that I know three in the city of Dublin, no way inferior to Xantippe, but that they have not as great men to work upon.
When a friend asked Socrates, how he could bear the scolding of his wife Xantippe? he retorted, and asked him, how he could bear the gaggling of his geese? Ay, but my geese lay eggs for me, replied his friend; so doth my wife bear children, said Socrates.--Diog. Laert.
Being asked at another time, by a friend, how he could bear her tongue? he said, she was of this use to him, that she taught him to bear the impertinences of others with more ease when he went abroad.--Plat. De Capiend. ex host. utilit.
Socrates invited his friend Euthymedus to supper. Xantippe, in great rage, went in to them, and overset the table. Euthymedus, rising in a passion to go off, My dear friend, stay, said Socrates, did not a hen do the same thing at your house the other day, and did I show any resentment?--Plat. de ira cohibenda.
I could give many more instances of her termagancy, and his philosophy, if such a proceeding might not look as if I were glad of an opportunity to expose the fair sex; but, to show that I have no such design, I declare solemnly, that I had much worse stories to tell of her behaviour to her husband, which I rather passed over, on account of the great esteem which I bear the ladies, especially those in the honourable station of matrimony.]
[Footnote 8: Ramble.]
[Footnote 9: Not vomiting.]
[Footnote 10: Thrusting out the lip.]
[Footnote 11: This is to be understood not in the sense of wort, when brewers put yeast or harm in it; but its true meaning is, deceived or cheated.]
[Footnote 12: Hit your fancy.]
[Footnote 13: Sullen fits. We have a merry jig, called Dumpty-Deary, invented to rouse ladies from the dumps.]
[Footnote 14: Reflection of the sun.]
[Footnote 15: Motherly woman.] [Footnote 16: Not grace before and after meat, nor their graces the duchesses, but the Graces which attended on Venus.]
[Footnote 17: Not Flanders-lace, but gold and silver lace. By borrowed, I mean such as run into honest tradesmen's debts, for which they were not able to pay, as many of them did for French silver lace, against the last birth-day.--Vid. the shopkeepers' books.]
[Footnote 18: Girls who love to hear themselves prate, and put on a number of monkey-airs to catch men.]
[Footnote 19: I hope none will be so uncomplaisant to the ladies as to think these comparisons are odious.]
[Footnote 20: Tell the whole world; not to proclaim them as robbers and rapparees.]
AN ANSWER TO A SCANDALOUS POEM
Wherein the Author most audaciously presumes to cast an indignity upon their highnesses the Clouds, by comparing them to a woman. Written by DERMOT O'NEPHELY, Chief Cape of Howth.
BY DR. SWIFT
ADVERTISEMENT FROM THE CLOUDS
N.B. The following answer to that scurrilous libel against us, should have been published long ago in our own justification: But it was advised, that, considering the high importance of the subject, it should be deferred until the meeting of the General Assembly of the Nation.
[Two passages within crotchets are added to this poem, from a copy found amongst Swift's papers. It is indorsed, "Quære, should it go." And a little lower, "More, but of no use."]
Presumptuous bard! how could you dare A woman with a cloud compare? Strange pride and insolence you show Inferior mortals there below. And is our thunder in your ears So frequent or so loud as theirs? Alas! our thunder soon goes out; And only makes you more devout. Then is not female clatter worse, That drives you not to pray, but curse?
We hardly thunder thrice a-year; The bolt discharged, the sky grows clear; But every sublunary dowdy, The more she scolds, the more she's cloudy.
[How useful were a woman's thunder, If she, like us, would burst asunder! Yet, though her stays hath often cursed her, And, whisp'ring, wish'd the devil burst her: For hourly thund'ring in his face, She ne'er was known to burst a lace.]
Some critic may object, perhaps, That clouds are blamed for giving claps; But what, alas! are claps ethereal, Compared for mischief to venereal? Can clouds give buboes, ulcers, blotches, Or from your noses dig out notches? We leave the body sweet and sound; We kill, 'tis true, but never wound.
You know a cloudy sky bespeaks Fair weather when the morning breaks; But women in a cloudy plight, Foretell a storm to last till night.
A cloud in proper season pours His blessings down in fruitful showers; But woman was by fate design'd To pour down curses on mankind.
When Sirius o'er the welkin rages, Our kindly help his fire assuages; But woman is a cursed inflamer, No parish ducking-stool can tame her: To kindle strife, dame Nature taught her; Like fireworks, she can burn in water.
For fickleness how durst you blame us, Who for our constancy are famous? You'll see a cloud in gentle weather Keep the same face an hour together; While women, if it could be reckon'd, Change every feature every second.
Observe our figure in a morning, Of foul or fair we give you warning; But can you guess from women's air One minute, whether foul or fair?
Go read in ancient books enroll'd What honours we possess'd of old.
To disappoint Ixion's rape Jove dress'd a cloud in Juno's shape; Which when he had enjoy'd, he swore, No goddess could have pleased him more; No difference could he find between His cloud and Jove's imperial queen; His cloud produced a race of Centaurs, Famed for a thousand bold adventures; From us descended ab origine, By learned authors, called nubigenae; But say, what earthly nymph do you know, So beautiful to pass for Juno?
Before Æneas durst aspire To court her majesty of Tyre, His mother begg'd of us to dress him, That Dido might the more caress him: A coat we gave him, dyed in grain, A flaxen wig, and clouded cane, (The wig was powder'd round with sleet, Which fell in clouds beneath his feet) With which he made a tearing show; And Dido quickly smoked the beau.
Among your females make inquiries, What nymph on earth so fair as Iris? With heavenly beauty so endow'd? And yet her father is a cloud. We dress'd her in a gold brocade, Befitting Juno's favourite maid.
'Tis known that Socrates the wise Adored us clouds as deities: To us he made his daily prayers, As Aristophanes declares; From Jupiter took all dominion, And died defending his opinion. By his authority 'tis plain You worship other gods in vain; And from your own experience know We govern all things there below. You follow where we please to guide; O'er all your passions we preside, Can raise them up, or sink them down, As we think fit to smile or frown: And, just as we dispose your brain, Are witty, dull, rejoice, complain.
Compare us then to female race! We, to whom all the gods give place! Who better challenge your allegiance Because we dwell in higher regions. You find the gods in Homer dwell In seas and streams, or low as Hell: Ev'n Jove, and Mercury his pimp, No higher climb than mount Olymp. Who makes you think the clouds he pierces? He pierce the clouds! he kiss their a--es; While we, o'er Teneriffa placed, Are loftier by a mile at least: And, when Apollo struts on Pindus, We see him from our kitchen windows; Or, to Parnassus looking down, Can piss upon his laurel crown.
Fate never form'd the gods to fly; In vehicles they mount the sky: When Jove would some fair nymph inveigle, He comes full gallop on his eagle; Though Venus be as light as air, She must have doves to draw her chair; Apollo stirs not out of door, Without his lacquer'd coach and four; And jealous Juno, ever snarling, Is drawn by peacocks in her berlin: But we can fly where'er we please, O'er cities, rivers, hills, and seas: From east to west the world we roam, And in all climates are at home; With care provide you as we go With sunshine, rain, and hail, or snow. You, when it rains, like fools, believe Jove pisses on you through a sieve: An idle tale, 'tis no such matter; We only dip a sponge in water, Then squeeze it close between our thumbs, And shake it well, and down it comes; As you shall to your sorrow know; We'll watch your steps where'er you go; And, since we find you walk a-foot, We'll soundly souse your frieze surtout.
'Tis but by our peculiar grace, That Phoebus ever shows his face; For, when we please, we open wide Our curtains blue from side to side; And then how saucily he shows His brazen face and fiery nose; And gives himself a haughty air, As if he made the weather fair! 'Tis sung, wherever Celia treads, The violets ope their purple heads; The roses blow, the cowslip springs; 'Tis sung; but we know better things. 'Tis true, a woman on her mettle Will often piss upon a nettle; But though we own she makes it wetter, The nettle never thrives the better; While we, by soft prolific showers, Can every spring produce you flowers.
Your poets, Chloe's beauty height'ning, Compare her radiant eyes to lightning; And yet I hope 'twill be allow'd, That lightning comes but from a cloud. But gods like us have too much sense At poets' flights to take offence; Nor can hyperboles demean us; Each drab has been compared to Venus. We own your verses are melodious; But such comparisons are odious.
[Observe the case--I state it thus: Though you compare your trull to us, But think how damnably you err When you compare us clouds to her; From whence you draw such bold conclusions; But poets love profuse allusions. And, if you now so little spare us, Who knows how soon you may compare us To Chartres, Walpole, or a king, If once we let you have your swing. Such wicked insolence appears Offensive to all pious ears. To flatter women by a metaphor! What profit could you hope to get of her? And, for her sake, turn base detractor Against your greatest benefactor.
But we shall keep revenge in store If ever you provoke us more: For, since we know you walk a-foot, We'll soundly drench your frieze surtout; Or may we never thunder throw, Nor souse to death a birth-day beau. We own your verses are melodious; But such comparisons are odious.]
[Footnote 1: The highest point of Howth is called the Cape of Howth.-- F.]
[Footnote 2: The Dogstar.--Hyginus, "Astronomica."]
[Footnote 3: Who murdered his father-in-law, and was taken into heaven and purified by Jove, but when, after he had begot the Centaurs from the cloud, he boasted of his imaginary success with Juno, Jupiter hurled him into Tartarus, where he was bound to a perpetually revolving wheel.
"Volvitur Ixion: et se sequiturque fugitque." Ovid, "Metam.," iv, 460. Tibullus tells the tale in one distich, lib. I, iii:
"Illic Junonem tentare Ixionis ausi
Versantur celeri noxia membra rota."--W. E. B.]
PEG RADCLIFFE THE HOSTESS'S INVITATION
To the Reverend Dr. Swift, D.S.P.D. written with a design to be spoken by her on his arrival at Glassnevin, Dr. Delany having complimented him with a house there. From the London and Dublin Magazine for June, 1735. The lines are probably by Delany or Sheridan.
Though the name of this place may make you to frown, Your Deanship is welcome to Glassnevin town; A glass and no wine, to a man of your taste, Alas! is enough, sir, to break it in haste; Be that as it will, your presence can't fail To yield great delight in drinking our ale; Would you but vouchsafe a mug to partake, And as we can brew, believe we can bake. The life and the pleasure we now from you hope, The famed Violante can't show on the rope; Your genius and talents outdo even Pope. Then while, sir, you live at Glassnevin, and find The benefit wish'd you, by friends who are kind; One night in the week, sir, your favour bestow, To drink with Delany and others your know: They constantly meet at Peg Radcliffe's together, Talk over the news of the town and the weather; Reflect on mishaps in church and in state, Digest many things as well as good meat; And club each alike that no one may treat. This if you will grant without coach or chair, You may, in a trice, cross the way and be there; For Peg is your neighbour, as well as Delany, A housewifely woman full pleasing to any.
[Footnote 1: A pun on Glassnevin--Glass--ne, no, and vin, wine.--Scott.]
VERSES BY SHERIDAN
When to my house you come, dear Dean, Your humble friend to entertain, Through dirt and mire along the street, You find no scraper for your feet; At which you stamp and storm and swell, Which serves to clean your feet as well. By steps ascending to the hall, All torn to rags by boys and ball, With scatter'd fragments on the floor; A sad, uneasy parlour door, Besmear'd with chalk, and carved with knives, (A plague upon all careless wives,) Are the next sights you must expect, But do not think they are my neglect. Ah that these evils were the worst! The parlour still is farther curst. To enter there if you advance, If in you get, it is by chance. How oft by turns have you and I Said thus--"Let me--no--let me try-- This turn will open it, I'll engage"-- You push me from it in a rage. Turning, twisting, forcing, fumbling, Stamping, staring, fuming, grumbling, At length it opens--in we go-- How glad are we to find it so! Conquests through pains and dangers please, Much more than those attain'd with ease. Are you disposed to take a seat; The instant that it feels your weight, Out goes its legs, and down you come Upon your reverend deanship's bum. Betwixt two stools, 'tis often said, The sitter on the ground is laid; What praise then to my chairs is due, Where one performs the feat of two! Now to the fire, if such there be, At present nought but smoke we see. "Come, stir it up!"--"Ho, Mr. Joker, How can I stir it without a poker?" "The bellows take, their batter'd nose Will serve for poker, I suppose." Now you begin to rake--alack The grate has tumbled from its back-- The coals all on the hearth are laid-- "Stay, sir--I'll run and call the maid; She'll make the fire again complete-- She knows the humour of the grate." "Pox take your maid and you together-- This is cold comfort in cold weather." Now all is right again--the blaze Suddenly raised as soon decays. Once more apply the bellows--"So-- These bellows were not made to blow-- Their leathern lungs are in decay, They can't even puff the smoke away." "And is your reverence vext at that, Get up, in God's name, take your hat; Hang them, say I, that have no shift; Come blow the fire, good Doctor Swift. If trifles such as these can tease you, Plague take those fools that strive to please you. Therefore no longer be a quarrel'r Either with me, sir, or my parlour. If you can relish ought of mine, A bit of meat, a glass of wine, You're welcome to it, and you shall fare As well as dining with the mayor." "You saucy scab--you tell me so! Why, booby-face, I'd have you know I'd rather see your things in order, Than dine in state with the recorder. For water I must keep a clutter, Or chide your wife for stinking butter; Or getting such a deal of meat As if you'd half the town to eat. That wife of yours, the devil's in her, I've told her of this way of dinner Five hundred times, but all in vain-- Here comes a rump of beef again: O that that wife of yours would burst-- Get out, and serve the boarders first. Pox take 'em all for me--I fret So much, I shall not eat my meat-- You know I'd rather have a slice." "I know, dear sir, you are not nice; You'll have your dinner in a minute, Here comes the plate and slices in it-- Therefore no more, but take your place-- Do you fall to, and I'll say grace."
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