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-Written in a Lady's Ivory Table Book


Peruse my leaves thro' ev'ry part,
And think thou seest my owner's heart,
Scrawl'd o'er with trifles thus, and quite
As hard, as senseless, and as light;
Expos'd to ev'ry coxcomb's eyes,
But hid with caution from the wise.
Here you may read, "Dear charming saint;"
Beneath, "A new receipt for paint:"
Here, in beau-spelling, "Tru tel deth;"
There, in her own, "For an el breth:"
Here, "Lovely nymph, pronounce my doom!"
There, "A safe way to use perfume:"
Here, a page fill'd with billets-doux;
On t'other side, "Laid out for shoes"--
"Madam, I die without your grace"--
"Item, for half a yard of lace."
Who that had wit would place it here,
For ev'ry peeping fop to jeer?
To think that your brains' issue is
Exposed to th'excrement of his,
In pow'r of spittle and a clout,
Whene'er he please, to blot it out;
And then, to heighten the disgrace,
Clap his own nonsense in the place.
Whoe'er expects to hold his part
In such a book, and such a heart,
If he be wealthy, and a fool,
Is in all points the fittest tool;
Of whom it may be justly said,
He's a gold pencil tipp'd with lead.

Jonathan Swift

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