For, first, I have often by chemists been told,
(Though I know nothing on't,) it is I that make gold;
Which when you have got, you so carefully hide it,
That, since I was born, I hardly have spied it.
Then it must be allow'd, that, whenever I shine,
I forward the grass, and I ripen the vine;
To me the good fellows apply for relief,
Without whom they could get neither claret nor beef:
Yet their wine and their victuals, those curmudgeon lubbards
Lock up from my sight in cellars and cupboards.
That I have an ill eye, they wickedly think,
And taint all their meat, and sour all their drink.
But, thirdly and lastly, it must be allow'd,
I alone can inspire the poetical crowd:
This is gratefully own'd by each boy in the College,
Whom, if I inspire, it is not to my knowledge.
This every pretender in rhyme will admit,
Without troubling his head about judgment or wit.
These gentlemen use me with kindness and freedom,
And as for their works, when I please I may read 'em.
They lie open on purpose on counters and stalls,
And the titles I view, when I shine on the walls.
But a comrade of yours, that traitor Delany,
Whom I for your sake have used better than any,
And, of my mere motion, and special good grace,
Intended in time to succeed in your place,
On Tuesday the tenth, seditiously came,
With a certain false trait'ress, one Stella by name,
To the Deanery-house, and on the North glass,
Where for fear of the cold I never can pass,
Then and there, vi et armis, with a certain utensil,
Of value five shillings, in English a pencil,
Did maliciously, falsely, and trait'rously write,
While Stella, aforesaid, stood by with a light.
My sister hath lately deposed upon oath,
That she stopt in her course to look at them both;
That Stella was helping, abetting, and aiding;
And still as he writ, stood smiling and reading:
That her eyes were as bright as myself at noon-day,
But her graceful black locks were all mingled with grey:
And by the description, I certainly know,
'Tis the nymph that I courted some ten years ago;
Whom when I with the best of my talents endued,
On her promise of yielding, she acted the prude:
That some verses were writ with felonious intent,
Direct to the North, where I never once went:
That the letters appear'd reversed through the pane,
But in Stella's bright eyes were placed right again;
Wherein she distinctly could read ev'ry line,
And presently guessed the fancy was mine.
She can swear to the Parson whom oft she has seen
At night between Cavan Street and College Green.
Now you see why his verses so seldom are shown,
The reason is plain, they are none of his own;
And observe while you live that no man is shy
To discover the goods he came honestly by.
If I light on a thought, he will certainly steal it,
And when he has got it, find ways to conceal it.
Of all the fine things he keeps in the dark,
There's scarce one in ten but what has my mark;
And let them be seen by the world if he dare,
I'll make it appear they are all stolen ware.
But as for the poem he writ on your sash,
I think I have now got him under my lash;
My sister transcribed it last night to his sorrow,
And the public shall see't, if I live till to-morrow.
Thro' the zodiac around, it shall quickly be spread
In all parts of the globe where your language is read.
He knows very well, I ne'er gave a refusal,
When he ask'd for my aid in the forms that are usual:
But the secret is this; I did lately intend
To write a few verses on you as my friend:
I studied a fortnight, before I could find,
As I rode in my chariot, a thought to my mind,
And resolved the next winter (for that is my time,
When the days are at shortest) to get it in rhyme;
Till then it was lock'd in my box at Parnassus;
When that subtle companion, in hopes to surpass us,
Conveys out my paper of hints by a trick
(For I think in my conscience he deals with old Nick,)
And from my own stock provided with topics,
He gets to a window beyond both the tropics,
There out of my sight, just against the north zone,
Writes down my conceits, and then calls them his own;
And you, like a cully, the bubble can swallow:
Now who but Delany that writes like Apollo?
High treason by statute! yet here you object,
He only stole hints, but the verse is correct;
Though the thought be Apollo's, 'tis finely express'd;
So a thief steals my horse, and has him well dress'd.
Now whereas the said criminal seems past repentance,
We Phoebus think fit to proceed to his sentence.
Since Delany hath dared, like Prometheus his sire,
To climb to our region, and thence to steal fire;
We order a vulture in shape of the Spleen,
To prey on his liver, but not to be seen.
And we order our subjects of every degree
To believe all his verses were written by me:
And under the pain of our highest displeasure,
To call nothing his but the rhyme and the measure.
And, lastly, for Stella, just out of her prime,
I'm too much revenged already by Time,
In return of her scorn, I sent her diseases,
But will now be her friend whenever she pleases.
And the gifts I bestow'd her will find her a lover
Though she lives till she's grey as a badger all over.
[Footnote 1: Collated with the original MS. in Swift's writing, and also
with the copy transcribed by Stella. - _Forster_.]
[Footnote 2: Stella's copy has "the." - _Forster_.]
[Footnote 3: Diana.]
[Footnote 4: As originally written, this passage ran:
"Wherein she distinctly could read ev'ry line
And found by the wit the Fancy was mine
For none of his poems were ever yet shown
Which he in his conscience could claim for his own."
NEWS FROM PARNASSUS
BY DR. DELANY
OCCASIONED BY "APOLLO TO THE DEAN" 1720
Parnassus, February the twenty-seventh.
The poets assembled here on the eleventh,
Convened by Apollo, who gave them to know
He'd have a vicegerent in his empire below;
But declared that no bard should this honour inherit,
Till the rest had agreed he surpass'd them in merit:
Now this, you'll allow, was a difficult case,
For each bard believed he'd a right to the place;
So, finding the assembly grow warm in debate,
He put them in mind of his Phaethon's fate:
'Twas urged to no purpose; disputes higher rose,
Scarce Phoebus himself could their quarrels compose;
Till at length he determined that every bard
Should (each in his turn) be patiently heard.
First, one who believed he excell'd in translation,
Founds his claim on the doctrine of man's transmigration:
"Since the soul of great Milton was given to me,
I hope the convention will quickly agree." -
"Agree;" quoth Apollo: "from whence is this fool?
Is he just come from reading Pythagoras at school?
Begone, sir, you've got your subscriptions in time,
And given in return neither reason nor rhyme."
To the next says the God, "Though now I won't chuse you,
I'll tell you the reason for which I refuse you:
Love's Goddess has oft to her parents complain'd,
Of my favouring a bard who her empire disdain'd;
That at my instigation, a poem you writ,
Which to beauty and youth preferr'd judgment and wit;
That, to make you a Laureate, I gave the first voice,
Inspiring the Britons t'approve of my choice.
Jove sent her to me, her power to try;
The Goddess of Beauty what God can deny?
She forbids your preferment; I grant her desire.
Appease the fair Goddess: you then may rise higher."
The next that appear'd had good hopes of succeeding,
For he merited much for his wit and his breeding.
'Twas wise in the Britons no favour to show him,
He else might expect they should pay what they owe him.
And therefore they prudently chose to discard
The Patriot, whose merits they would not reward:
The God, with a smile, bade his favourite advance,
"You were sent by Astraea her envoy to France:
You bend your ambition to rise in the state;
I refuse you, because you could stoop to be great."
Then a bard who had been a successful translator,
"The convention allows me a versificator."
Says Apollo, "You mention the least of your merit;
By your works, it appears you have much of my spirit.
I esteem you so well, that, to tell you the truth,
The greatest objection against you's your youth;
Then be not concern'd you are now laid aside;
If you live you shall certainly one day preside."
Another, low bending, Apollo thus greets,
"'Twas I taught your subjects to walk through the streets."
You taught them to walk! why, they knew it before;
But give me the bard that can teach them to soar.
Whenever he claims, 'tis his right, I'll confess,
Who lately attempted my style with success;
Who writes like Apollo has most of his spirit,
And therefore 'tis just I distinguish his merit:
Who makes it appear, by all he has writ,
His judgment alone can set bounds to his wit;
Like Virgil correct, with his own native ease,
But excels even Virgil in elegant praise:
Who admires the ancients, and knows 'tis their due
Yet writes in a manner entirely new;
Though none with more ease their depths can explore,
Yet whatever he wants he takes from my store;
Though I'm fond of his virtues, his pride I can see,
In scorning to borrow from any but me:
It is owing to this, that, like Cynthia, his lays
Enlighten the world by reflecting my rays.
This said, the whole audience soon found out his drift:
The convention was summon'd in favour of SWIFT.
[Footnote 1: Dr. Trapp or Trap, ridiculed by Swift in "The Tatler," No.
66, as parson Dapper. He was sent to Ireland as chaplain to Sir
Constantine Phipps, Lord Chancellor, in 1710-11. But in July, 1712, Swift
writes to Stella, "I have made Trap chaplain to Lord Bolingbroke, and
he is mighty happy and thankful for it." He translated the "Aeneid" into
blank verse. - _W. E. B._]
[Footnote 2: Prior, concerning whose "Journey to France," Swift wrote a
"formal relation, all pure invention," which had a great sale, and was a
"pure bite." See Journal to Stella, Sept., 1711. - _W. E. B._]
[Footnote 3: Pope, and his translations of the "Iliad" and
"Odyssey." - _W. E. B._]
[Footnote 4: Gay; alluding to his "Trivia." - _N_.]
[Footnote 5: Diana.]
OCCASIONED BY "NEWS FROM PARNASSUS"
Ireland is now our royal care,
We lately fix'd our viceroy there.
How near was she to be undone,
Till pious love inspired her son!
What cannot our vicegerent do,
As poet and as patriot too?
Let his success our subjects sway,
Our inspirations to obey,
And follow where he leads the way:
Then study to correct your taste;
Nor beaten paths be longer traced.
No simile shall be begun,
With rising or with setting sun;
And let the secret head of Nile
Be ever banish'd from your isle.
When wretched lovers live on air,
I beg you'll the chameleon spare;
And when you'd make a hero grander,
Forget he's like a salamander.
No son of mine shall dare to say,
Aurora usher'd in the day,
Or ever name the milky-way.
You all agree, I make no doubt,
Elijah's mantle is worn out.
The bird of Jove shall toil no more
To teach the humble wren to soar.
Your tragic heroes shall not rant,
Nor shepherds use poetic cant.
Simplicity alone can grace
The manners of the rural race.
Theocritus and Philips be
Your guides to true simplicity.
When Damon's soul shall take its flight,
Though poets have the second-sight,
They shall not see a trail of light.
Nor shall the vapours upwards rise,
Nor a new star adorn the skies:
For who can hope to place one there,
As glorious as Belinda's hair?
Yet, if his name you'd eternize,
And must exalt him to the skies;
Without a star this may be done:
So Tickell mourn'd his Addison.
If Anna's happy reign you praise,
Pray, not a word of halcyon days:
Nor let my votaries show their skill
In aping lines from Cooper's Hill;
For know I cannot bear to hear
The mimicry of "deep, yet clear."
Whene'er my viceroy is address'd,
Against the phoenix I protest.
When poets soar in youthful strains,
No Phaethon to hold the reins.
When you describe a lovely girl,
No lips of coral, teeth of pearl.
Cupid shall ne'er mistake another,
However beauteous, for his mother;
Nor shall his darts at random fly
From magazine in Celia's eye.
With woman compounds I am cloy'd,
Which only pleased in Biddy Floyd.
For foreign aid what need they roam,
Whom fate has amply blest at home?
Unerring Heaven, with bounteous hand,
Has form'd a model for your land,
Whom Jove endued with every grace;
The glory of the Granard race;
Now destined by the powers divine
The blessing of another line.
Then, would you paint a matchless dame,
Whom you'd consign to endless fame?
Invoke not Cytherea's aid,
Nor borrow from the blue-eyed maid;
Nor need you on the Graces call;
Take qualities from Donegal.
[Footnote 1: See the "Description of a Salamander," _ante_, p.
46. - _W. E. B_.]
[Footnote 2: Denham's Poem.]
[Footnote 3: _Ante_, p. 50.]
[Footnote 4: Lady Catherine Forbes, daughter of the first Earl of
Granard, and second wife of Arthur, third Earl of Donegal. - _Scott_.]
THE DESCRIPTION OF AN IRISH FEAST
Given by O'Rourke, a powerful chieftain of Ulster in the reign of Queen
Elizabeth, previously to his making a visit to her court. A song was
composed upon the tradition of the feast, the fame of which having
reached Swift, he was supplied with a literal version, from which he
executed the following very spirited translation. - _W. E. B._
TRANSLATED ALMOST LITERALLY OUT OF THE ORIGINAL IRISH. 1720
O'ROURKE'S noble fare
Will ne'er be forgot,
By those who were there,
Or those who were not.
His revels to keep,
We sup and we dine
On seven score sheep,
Fat bullocks, and swine.
Usquebaugh to our feast
In pails was brought up,
A hundred at least,
And a madder our cup.
O there is the sport!
We rise with the light
In disorderly sort,
From snoring all night.
O how was I trick'd!
My pipe it was broke,
My pocket was pick'd,
I lost my new cloak.
I'm rifled, quoth Nell,
Of mantle and kercher,
Why then fare them well,
The de'el take the searcher.
Come, harper, strike up;
But, first, by your favour,
Boy, give us a cup:
Ah! this hath some savour.
O'Rourke's jolly boys
Ne'er dreamt of the matter,
Till, roused by the noise,
And musical clatter,
They bounce from their nest,
No longer will tarry,
They rise ready drest,
Without one Ave-Mary.
They dance in a round,
Cutting capers and ramping;
A mercy the ground
Did not burst with their stamping.
The floor is all wet
With leaps and with jumps,
While the water and sweat
Splish-splash in their pumps.
Bless you late and early,
But, my hand, you dance rarely.
Bring straw for our bed,
Shake it down to the feet,
Then over us spread
The winnowing sheet.
To show I don't flinch,
Fill the bowl up again:
Then give us a pinch
Of your sneezing, a Yean.
Good lord! what a sight,
After all their good cheer,
For people to fight
In the midst of their beer!
They rise from their feast,
And hot are their brains,
A cubit at least
The length of their skeans.
What stabs and what cuts,
What clattering of sticks;
What strokes on the guts,
What bastings and kicks!
With cudgels of oak,
Well harden'd in flame,
A hundred heads broke,
A hundred struck lame.
You churl, I'll maintain
My father built Lusk,
The castle of Slane,
And Carrick Drumrusk:
The Earl of Kildare,
And Moynalta his brother,
As great as they are,
I was nurst by their mother.
Ask that of old madam:
She'll tell you who's who,
As far up as Adam,
She knows it is true.
Come down with that beam,
If cudgels are scarce,
A blow on the weam,
Or a kick on the a - - se.
[Footnote 1: A wooden vessel. - _F_.]
[Footnote 2: A covering of linen, worn on the heads of the
women. - _F_.]
[Footnote 3: The name of an Irishman. - _F_.]
[Footnote 4: An Irish oath. - _F_.]
[Footnote 5: The name of an Irishwoman. - _F_.]
[Footnote 6: Surname of an Irishwoman. - _F_.]
[Footnote 7: Daggers, or short swords, - _F_.]
[Footnote 8: It is the custom in Ireland to call nurses, foster-mothers;
their husbands, foster-fathers; and their children, foster-brothers or
foster-sisters; and thus the poorest claim kindred to the rich. - _F_.]
THE PROGRESS OF BEAUTY. 1719
When first Diana leaves her bed,
Vapours and steams her looks disgrace,
A frowzy dirty-colour'd red
Sits on her cloudy wrinkled face:
But by degrees, when mounted high,
Her artificial face appears
Down from her window in the sky,
Her spots are gone, her visage clears.
'Twixt earthly females and the moon,
All parallels exactly run;
If Celia should appear too soon,
Alas, the nymph would be undone!
To see her from her pillow rise,
All reeking in a cloudy steam,
Crack'd lips, foul teeth, and gummy eyes,
Poor Strephon! how would he blaspheme!
The soot or powder which was wont
To make her hair look black as jet,
Falls from her tresses on her front,
A mingled mass of dirt and sweat.
Three colours, black, and red, and white
So graceful in their proper place,
Remove them to a different light,
They form a frightful hideous face:
For instance, when the lily slips
Into the precincts of the rose,
And takes possession of the lips,
Leaving the purple to the nose:
So Celia went entire to bed,
All her complexion safe and sound;
But, when she rose, the black and red,
Though still in sight, had changed their ground.
The black, which would not be confined,
A more inferior station seeks,
Leaving the fiery red behind,
And mingles in her muddy cheeks.
The paint by perspiration cracks,
And falls in rivulets of sweat,
On either side you see the tracks
While at her chin the conflu'nts meet.
A skilful housewife thus her thumb,
With spittle while she spins anoints;
And thus the brown meanders come
In trickling streams betwixt her joints.
But Celia can with ease reduce,
By help of pencil, paint, and brush,
Each colour to its place and use,
And teach her cheeks again to blush.
She knows her early self no more,
But fill'd with admiration stands;
As other painters oft adore
The workmanship of their own hands.
Thus, after four important hours,
Celia's the wonder of her sex;
Say, which among the heavenly powers
Could cause such wonderful effects?
Venus, indulgent to her kind,
Gave women all their hearts could wish,
When first she taught them where to find
White lead, and Lusitanian dish.
Love with white lead cements his wings;
White lead was sent us to repair
Two brightest, brittlest, earthly things,
A lady's face, and China-ware.
She ventures now to lift the sash;
The window is her proper sphere;
Ah, lovely nymph! be not too rash,
Nor let the beaux approach too near.
Take pattern by your sister star;
Delude at once and bless our sight;
When you are seen, be seen from far,
And chiefly choose to shine by night.
In the Pall Mall when passing by,
Keep up the glasses of your chair,
Then each transported fop will cry,
"G - - d d - - n me, Jack, she's wondrous fair!"
But art no longer can prevail,
When the materials all are gone;
The best mechanic hand must fail,
Where nothing's left to work upon.
Matter, as wise logicians say,
Cannot without a form subsist;
And form, say I, as well as they,
Must fail if matter brings no grist.
And this is fair Diana's case;
For, all astrologers maintain,
Each night a bit drops off her face,
When mortals say she's in her wane:
While Partridge wisely shows the cause
Efficient of the moon's decay,
That Cancer with his pois'nous claws
Attacks her in the milky way:
But Gadbury, in art profound,
From her pale cheeks pretends to show
That swain Endymion is not sound,
Or else that Mercury's her foe.
But let the cause be what it will,
In half a month she looks so thin,
That Flamsteed can, with all his skill,
See but her forehead and her chin.
Yet, as she wastes, she grows discreet,
Till midnight never shows her head;
So rotting Celia strolls the street,
When sober folks are all a-bed:
For sure, if this be Luna's fate,
Poor Celia, but of mortal race,
In vain expects a longer date
To the materials of her face.
When Mercury her tresses mows,
To think of oil and soot is vain:
No painting can restore a nose,
Nor will her teeth return again.
Two balls of glass may serve for eyes,
White lead can plaister up a cleft;
But these, alas, are poor supplies
If neither cheeks nor lips be left.
Ye powers who over love preside!
Since mortal beauties drop so soon,
If ye would have us well supplied,
Send us new nymphs with each new moon!
[Footnote 1: Collated with the copy transcribed by
Stella. - _Forster_.]
[Footnote 2: Gadbury, an astrologer, wrote a series of
ephemerides. - _W. E. B._]
[Footnote 3: John Flamsteed, the celebrated astronomer-royal, born in
August, 1646, died in December, 1719. For a full account of him, see
"Dictionary of National Biography." - _W. E. B._]
THE PROGRESS OF MARRIAGE
AETATIS SUAE fifty-two,
A reverend Dean began to woo
A handsome, young, imperious girl,
Nearly related to an earl.
Her parents and her friends consent;
The couple to the temple went:
They first invite the Cyprian queen;
'Twas answer'd, "She would not be seen;"
But Cupid in disdain could scarce
Forbear to bid them kiss his - -
The Graces next, and all the Muses,
Were bid in form, but sent excuses.
Juno attended at the porch,
With farthing candle for a torch;
While mistress Iris held her train,
The faded bow bedropt with rain.
Then Hebe came, and took her place,
But show'd no more than half her face.
Whate'er these dire forebodings meant,
In joy the marriage-day was spent;
The marriage-_day_, you take me right,
I promise nothing for the night.
The bridegroom, drest to make a figure,
Assumes an artificial vigour;
A flourish'd nightcap on, to grace
His ruddy, wrinkled, smirking face;
Like the faint red upon a pippin,
Half wither'd by a winter's keeping.
And thus set out this happy pair,
The swain is rich, the nymph is fair;
But, what I gladly would forget,
The swain is old, the nymph coquette.
Both from the goal together start;
Scarce run a step before they part;
No common ligament that binds
The various textures of their minds;
Their thoughts and actions, hopes and fears,
Less corresponding than their years.
The Dean desires his coffee soon,
She rises to her tea at noon.
While the Dean goes out to cheapen books,
She at the glass consults her looks;
While Betty's buzzing at her ear,
Lord, what a dress these parsons wear!
So odd a choice how could she make!
Wish'd him a colonel for her sake.
Then, on her finger ends she counts,
Exact, to what his age amounts.
The Dean, she heard her uncle say,
Is sixty, if he be a day;
His ruddy cheeks are no disguise;
You see the crow's feet round his eyes.
At one she rambles to the shops,
To cheapen tea, and talk with fops;
Or calls a council of her maids,
And tradesmen, to compare brocades.
Her weighty morning business o'er,
Sits down to dinner just at four;
Minds nothing that is done or said,
Her evening work so fills her head.
The Dean, who used to dine at one,
Is mawkish, and his stomach's gone;
In threadbare gown, would scarce a louse hold,
Looks like the chaplain of the household;
Beholds her, from the chaplain's place,
In French brocades, and Flanders lace;
He wonders what employs her brain,
But never asks, or asks in vain;
His mind is full of other cares,
And, in the sneaking parson's airs,
Computes, that half a parish dues
Will hardly find his wife in shoes.
Canst thou imagine, dull divine,
'Twill gain her love, to make her fine?
Hath she no other wants beside?
You feed her lust as well as pride,
Enticing coxcombs to adore,
And teach her to despise thee more.
If in her coach she'll condescend
To place him at the hinder end,
Her hoop is hoist above his nose,
His odious gown would soil her clothes.
She drops him at the church, to pray,
While she drives on to see the play.
He like an orderly divine,
Comes home a quarter after nine,
And meets her hasting to the ball:
Her chairmen push him from the wall.
The Dean gets in and walks up stairs,
And calls the family to prayers;
Then goes alone to take his rest
In bed, where he can spare her best.
At five the footmen make a din,
Her ladyship is just come in;
The masquerade began at two,
She stole away with much ado;
And shall be chid this afternoon,
For leaving company so soon:
She'll say, and she may truly say't,