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-Verses written on a Window


Are the guests of this house still doom'd to be cheated?
Sure the Fates have decreed they by halves should be treated.
In the days of good John[1] if you came here to dine,
You had choice of good meat, but no choice of good wine.
In Jonathan's reign, if you come here to eat,
You have choice of good wine, but no choice of good meat.
O Jove! then how fully might all sides be blest,
Wouldst thou but agree to this humble request!
Put both deans in one; or, if that's too much trouble,
Instead of the deans, make the deanery double.

[Footnote 1: Dr. Sterne, the predecessor of Swift in the deanery of St. Patrick's, and afterwards Bishop of Clogher, was distinguished for his hospitality. See Journal to Stella, passim, "Prose Works," vol. ii--W. E. B.]


A bard, on whom Phoebus his spirit bestow'd,
Resolving t'acknowledge the bounty he owed,
Found out a new method at once of confessing,
And making the most of so mighty a blessing:
To the God he'd be grateful; but mortals he'd chouse,
By making his patron preside in his house;
And wisely foresaw this advantage from thence,
That the God would in honour bear most of th'expense;
So the bard he finds drink, and leaves Phoebus to treat
With the thoughts he inspires, regardless of meat.
Hence they that come hither expecting to dine,
Are always fobb'd off with sheer wit and sheer wine.

[Footnote 1: Written by Dr. Delany, in conjunction with Stella, as appears from the verses which follow.--Scott.]

Jonathan Swift

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