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-A Ballad on the game of Traffic

WRITTEN AT THE CASTLE OF DUBLIN, 1699


My Lord,[1] to find out who must deal,
  Delivers cards about,
But the first knave does seldom fail
  To find the doctor out.

But then his honour cried, Gadzooks! And seem'd to knit his brow: For on a knave he never looks But he thinks upon Jack How.[2]

My lady, though she is no player, Some bungling partner takes, And, wedged in corner of a chair, Takes snuff, and holds the stakes.

Dame Floyd[3] looks out in grave suspense For pair royals and sequents; But, wisely cautious of her pence, The castle seldom frequents.

Quoth Herries,[4] fairly putting cases, I'd won it, on my word, If I had but a pair of aces, And could pick up a third.

But Weston has a new-cast gown On Sundays to be fine in, And, if she can but win a crown, 'Twill just new dye the lining.

"With these is Parson Swift,[5] Not knowing how to spend his time, Does make a wretched shift, To deafen them with puns and rhyme."


[Footnote 1: The Earl of Berkeley.]

[Footnote 2: Paymaster to the Forces, "Prose Works," ii, 23.]

[Footnote 3: A beauty and a favourite with Swift. See his verses on her, post, p. 50. He often mentions her in the Journal to Stella, especially with respect to her having the smallpox, and her recovery. "Prose Works," ii, 138, 141, 143. 259.--W. E. B.]

[Footnote 4: Mrs. Frances Harris, the heroine of the preceding poem.]

[Footnote 5: Written by Lady Betty Berkeley, afterwards wife of Sir John Germaine.]


Jonathan Swift

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