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-Dr. Delany's Villa

[1]


Would you that Delville I describe? Believe me, Sir, I will not gibe: For who would be satirical Upon a thing so very small?

You scarce upon the borders enter, Before you're at the very centre. A single crow can make it night, When o'er your farm she takes her flight: Yet, in this narrow compass, we Observe a vast variety; Both walks, walls, meadows, and parterres, Windows and doors, and rooms and stairs, And hills and dales, and woods and fields, And hay, and grass, and corn, it yields: All to your haggard brought so cheap in, Without the mowing or the reaping: A razor, though to say't I'm loth, Would shave you and your meadows both.

Though small's the farm, yet here's a house Full large to entertain a mouse; But where a rat is dreaded more Than savage Caledonian boar; For, if it's enter'd by a rat, There is no room to bring a cat.

A little rivulet seems to steal Down through a thing you call a vale, Like tears adown a wrinkled cheek, Like rain along a blade of leek: And this you call your sweet meander, Which might be suck'd up by a gander, Could he but force his nether bill To scoop the channel of the rill. For sure you'd make a mighty clutter, Were it as big as city gutter. Next come I to your kitchen garden, Where one poor mouse would fare but hard in; And round this garden is a walk No longer than a tailor's chalk; Thus I compare what space is in it, A snail creeps round it in a minute. One lettuce makes a shift to squeeze Up through a tuft you call your trees: And, once a year, a single rose Peeps from the bud, but never blows; In vain then you expect its bloom! It cannot blow for want of room.

In short, in all your boasted seat, There's nothing but yourself that's great.


[Footnote 1: This poem has been stated to have been written by Swift's friend, Dr. Sheridan, on the authority of his son, but it is unquestionably by Swift. See "Prose Works," xii, p. 79.--W. E. B.]


Jonathan Swift

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