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-To Betty: the Grisette


Queen of wit and beauty, Betty,
Never may the Muse forget ye,
How thy face charms every shepherd,
Spotted over like a leopard!
And thy freckled neck, display'd,
Envy breeds in every maid;
Like a fly-blown cake of tallow,
Or on parchment ink turn'd yellow;
Or a tawny speckled pippin,
Shrivell'd with a winter's keeping.

And, thy beauty thus dispatch'd,
Let me praise thy wit unmatch'd.

Sets of phrases, cut and dry,
Evermore thy tongue supply;
And thy memory is loaded
With old scraps from plays exploded;
Stock'd with repartees and jokes,
Suited to all Christian folks:
Shreds of wit, and senseless rhymes,
Blunder'd out a thousand times;
Nor wilt thou of gifts be sparing,
Which can ne'er be worse for wearing.
Picking wit among collegians,
In the playhouse upper regions;
Where, in the eighteen-penny gallery,
Irish nymphs learn Irish raillery.
But thy merit is thy failing,
And thy raillery is railing.

Thus with talents well endued
To be scurrilous and rude;
When you pertly raise your snout,
Fleer and gibe, and laugh and flout;
This among Hibernian asses
For sheer wit and humour passes.
Thus indulgent Chloe, bit,
Swears you have a world of wit.



Jonathan Swift

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