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To a less noble substance changed, But classic authors-he ne'er missed them. Were now but leathern buckets ranged. Thus having furbished up a parson, The ballads pasted on the wall,
Dame Baucis next they played their farce Of Joan of France, and English Moll,
on: Fair Rosamond, and Robin Hood,
Instead of homespun coifs, were seen The Little Children in the Wood,
Good pinners, edged with Colberteen: Now seemed to look abundance better, Her petticoat, transformed apace, Improved in picture, size, and letter; Became black satin flounced with lace. And, high in order placed, describe Plain Goody would no longer down; The heraldry of every tribe.
'Twas Madam, in her grogram gown. A bedstead of the antique mode,
Philemon was in great surprise, Compact of timber many a load;
And hardly could believe his eyes: Such as our ancestors did use,
Amazed to see her look so prim; Was metamorphised into pews;
And she admired as much at him. Which still their ancient nature keep, Thus, happy in their change of life, By lodging folks disposed to sleep. Were several years the man and wife:
The cottage, by such feats as these, When on a day, which proved their last, Grown to a church by just degrees; Discoursing o'er old stories past, The hermits then desire their host
They went by chance, amidst their tal To ask for what he fancied most.
To the churchyard to take a walk : Philemon, having paused awhile,
When Baucis hastily cried out: Returned them thanks in homely style; “My dear, I see your forehead sprout!' Then said : My house is grown so fine, Sprout,'quoth the man, what's this you Methinks I still would call it mine:
tell us ? l'ın old, and fain would live at ease : I hope you don't believe me jealous ? Make me the parson, if you please.' But yet, methinks, I feel it true; He spoke, and presently he feels
And really yours is budding too His grazier's coat fall down his heels : Nay-now I cannot stir my foot; He sees, yet hardly can believe,
It feels as if 'twere taking root." About each arm a pudding sleeve:
Description would but tire my muse; His waistcoat to a cassock grew,
In short, they both were turned to yewe. And both assumed a sable hue;
Old Goodman Dobsor, of the green, But, being old, continued just
Remembers he the trees has seen; As threadbare and as full of dust.
He'll talk of them from noon to night, His talk was now of tithes and dues ; And goes with folks to shew the sight; Could smoke his pipe, and read the news: On Sundays, after evening-prayer, Knew how to preach old sermons next, He gathers all the parish there; Vamped in the preface and the text: Points out the place of either yew, At christenings well could act his part, Here Baucis, there Philemon, grew. And had the service all by heart:
"Till once a parson of our town, Wished women might have children fast, To mend his barn, cut Baucis down; And thought whose sow had farrowed At which 'tis hard to be believed, last:
How much the other tree was grieved ; Against Dissenters would repine,
Grew scrubby, died a-top, was stunted; And stood up firm for right divine: So the next parson stubbed and burnt it. Found his head filled with many a system,
From 'Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift,' Nov. 1731. * As Rochefoucault his Maxims drew While nature kindly bent to ease us, From nature, I believe them true:
Points out some circumstance to please They argue no corrupted mind
us.' In him; the fault is in mankind.
If this perhaps your patience move, This maxim more than all the rest Let reason and experience prove. Is thought too base for human breast : We all behold with envious eyes • In all distresses of our friends
Our equal raised above our size. We first consult our private ends;
Who would not at a crowded show
* Occasioned by reading the following maxim in Rochefoucault : Dans l'adversite de nos meilleurs amis, nous trouvons toujours quelque chose qui ne nous deplait pas.' (In the adversity of our best friends, we always find something that does not displease us).
Stand high himself, keep others low? When, I foresee, my special friends
Will try to find their private ends; But why should he obstruct my view ? And, though 'tis hardly understood, Then let me have the higher post;
Which way my death can do them good, Suppose it but an inch at most.
Yet thus, methinks, I hear them speak If in a battle you should find
See, how the dean begins to break! One whom you love of all mankind.
Poor gentleman ! he droops apace! Had some heroic action done,
You plainly find it in his face. A champion killed, or trophy won;
That old vertigo in his head
Will never leave him, till he's dead.
He recollects not what he says ;
What poet would not grieve to see He told them fifty times before. His brother write as well as he ?
How does he fancy we can sit But, rather than they should excel,
To hear his out-of-fashion wit ? Would wish his rivals all in hell ?
But he takes up with younger folks, Her end when emulation misses,
Who for his wine will bear his jokes. She turns to envy, stings, and hisses : Faith, he must make his stories shorter, The strongest friendship yields to pride, Or change his comrades once a quarter: Unless the odds be on our side,
In half the time he talks them round, Vain human kind ! fantastic race! There must another set be found. Thy various follies who can trace ?
For poetry, he's past his prime; Self-love, ambition, envy, pride,
He takes an hour to find a rhyme: Their empire in our hearts divide.
His fire is out, his wit decayed, Give others riches, power, and station, His fancy sunk, his Muse a jade. 'Tis all on me an usurpation.
I'd have him throw away his penI have no title to aspire ;
But there's no talking to some men.' Yet, when you sink, I seem the higher ; And then their tenderness appears In Pope I cannot read a line,
By adding largely to my years : But with a sigh I wish it mine:
He's older than he would be reckoned, When he can in one couplet fix
And well remembers Charles the Second, More sense than I can do in six,
He hardly drinks a pint of wine; It gives me such a jealous fit,
And that, I doubt, is no good sign. I cry :. Pox take him and his wit.'
His stomach, too, begins to fail; I grieve to be outdone by Gay
Last year we thought him strong and hale; In my own humorous biting way.
But now he's quite another thing; Arbuthnot is no more my friend,
I wish he may hold out till spring.' Who dares to irony pretend,
They hug themselves and reason thus: Which I was born to introduce,
It is not yet so bad with us.' Refined it first, and shewed its use.
In such a case they talk in tropes, St. John (1), as well as Pulteney (2), And by their fears express their hopes. knows
Some great misfortune to portend
The merit of a lucky guess-
When daily How-d'ye's come of course, And made me throw my pen aside; And servants answer: Worse and If with such talents heaven hath blest 'em,
worse!Have I not reason to detest 'em ?
Would please them better than to tell, To all my foes, dear Fortune, send That, .God be praised! the dean is well." Thy gifts, but never to my friend :
Then he who prophesied the best, I tamely can endure the first;
Approves his foresight to the rest : But this with envy makes me burst. "You know I always feared the worst,
Thus much may serve by way of proem; And often told you so at first.' Proceed we therefore to our poem.
He'd rather choose that I should die, And time is not remote, when I
Than his prediction prove a lie. Must by the course of nature die;
Not one foretells I shall recover,
1 Viscount Bolingbroke.
2 William Pulteney, afterwards created Earl of Bath
What hay we all for death prawn is run;
But all agree to give me over.
One year is past; a different scene ! Yet should some neighbour feel a pain No further mention of the dean, Just in the parts where I complain,
Who now, alas! no more is missed. How many a message would he send ! Than if he never did exist. What hearty prayers that I should mendi Where's now the favourite of Apollo ? Inquire what regimen I kept?
Departed : and his works must follow; What gave me ease, and how I slept? Must undergo the common fate : And more lament when I was dead. His kind of wit is out of date. Than all the snivellers round my bed.
Some country squire to Lintot goes, My good companions, never fear ; Inquires for Swift in verse and prose. For, though you may mistake a year, Says Lintot: 'I have heard the name: Though your prognostics run too fast, He died a year ago.' "The same.' They must be verified at last.
He searches all the shop in vain ; Behold the fatal day arrive!
"Sir, you may find them in Duck-lane. (5) How is the dean? He's just alive.' I sent them, with a load of books, Now the departing prayer is read;
Last Monday to the pastry-cooks. He hardly breathes. The dean is dead. To fancy they could live a year! Before the passing-bell begun,
I find you're but a stranger here.
And had a kind of knack at rhyme.
I keep no antiquated stuff, • To public uses ! there's a whim!
But spick-and-span I have enough. What had the public done for him?
Pray, do but give me leave to shew 'em : Mere envy, avarice, and pride :
Here's Colley Cibber's birthday poem ; He gave it all--but first he died.
This ode you never yet have seen And had the dean in all the nation
By Stephen Duck upon the queen. (6) No worthy friend, no poor relation ? Then here's a letter finely penned So ready to do strangers good,
Against the Craftsman and his friend; Forgetting his own flesh and blood !'. It clearly shews that all reflection Now Curll (1) his shop from rubbish On ministers is disaffection. drains :
Next, here's Sir Robert's vindication, Three genuine tomes of Swift's Remains! And Mr. Henley's (7) last oration. And then to make them pass the glibber, The hawkers have not got them yet; Revised by Tibbalds, Moore, and Cib- Your honour please to buy a set : ber. (2)
Suppose me dead; and then suppose He'll treat me as he does my betters, A club assembled at the Rose, Publish my will, my life, my letters; (3) Where, from discourse of this and that, Revive the libels born to die,
I grow the subject of their chat. Which Pope must bear, as well as I. And while they toss my name about,
Here shift the scene, to represent With favour some, and some without, How those I love my death lament.
One, quite indifferent in the cause,
«The dean, if we believe report, St. John himself will scarce forbear Was never ill received at court. To bite his pen, and drop a tear.
Although ironically grave, The rest will give a shrug, and cry:
He shamed the fool and lashed the knave. I'm sorry-but we all must die!... To steal a hint was never known,
1 An infamous bookseller, who published pieces in the dean's name, which he never wrote.
2 Lonis Theobald, the editor of Shakspeare; James Moore Smythe (a forgotten dramatist satirised in the Dunciad); and Colley Cibber the actor, dramatist, and poetlaureate.
3 For some of these practices he was brought before the House of Lords. Arbuthnot humorously styled Curll one of the new terrors of death.
4 Bernard Lintot, a bookseller. See Pope's Dunciad and Letters. 5 A place where old books are sold.
6 Stephen Duck was a humble rhymester-a thrasher, or agricultural labourer--whom Queen Caroline patronised. His works are now utterly forgotten.
7 Commonly called Orator Henley, a quack preacher in London, of great notoriety in his day.
But what he writ was all his own.'
Provoke him with a slave in power. "Sir, I have heard another story;
The Irish Senate if you named, He was a most confounded Tory,
With what impatience he declaimed ! And grew, or he is much belied,
Fair Liberty was all his cry; Extremely dull, before he died.'
For her he stood prepared to die; • Can we the Drapier then forget ?
For her he boldly stood alone; Is not our nation in his debt ?
For her he oft exposed his own.
He should have left them for his betterg; Had set a price upon his head;
But not a traitor could be found
To sell him for six hundred pound. (2)... Say what you will about his reading,
• Alas, poor dean! his only scope Yon never can defend his breeding; Was to be held a misanthrope. Who, in his satires running riot
This into general odium drew him, Could never leave the world in quiet; Which, if he liked, much good may 't do Attacking, when he took the whim,
him. Court, city, camp-all one to him.
His zeal was not to lash our crimes, But why would he, except he slobbered, But discontent against the times; Offend our patriot, great Sir Robert, For had we made him timely offers Whose counsels aid the sovereign power To raise his post, or fill his coffers, To save the nation every hour ?
Perhaps he might have truckled down, What scenes of evil he unravels,
Like other brethren of his gown, In satires, libels, lying travels !
For party he would scarce have bled: Not sparing his own clergy-cloth,
I say no more-because he's dead.' But eats into it, like a moth!'
• What writings has he left behind ?' Perhaps I may allow, the dean
I hear they're of a different kind: Had too much satire in his vein,
A few in verse; but most in prose: And seemed determined not to starve it, Some high-flown pamphlets, I suppose : Because no age could more deserve it. All scribbled in the worst of times, Vice, if it e'er can be abashed,
To palliate his friend Oxford's crimes : Must be or ridiculed or lashed.
To praise Queen Anne, nay, more, defend If you resent it, who's to blame ?
Against the court, to shew his spite : His friendships, still to few confined, Perhaps his Travels, part the third ; Were always of the middling kind;
A lie at every second wordNo fools of rank or mongrel breed, Offensive to a loyal ear :Who fain would pass for lords indeed, But-not one strmon, yon may swear.' Where titles give no right or power,
He knew a hundred pleasant stories, And peerage is a withered flower.
With all the turns of Whigs and Tories; He would have deemed it a disgrace, Was cheerful to his dying day, If such a wretch had known his face. .. And friends would let him have his way.
• He never thought an honour done him, As for his works in verse or prose, Because a peer was proud to own him; I own myself no judge of those. Would rather slip aside, and choose Nor can I tell what critics thought 'em ; To talk with wits in dirty shoes;
But this I know, all people bought 'em ; And scorn the tools with stars and gar- As with a moral view designed, ters,
To please, and to reform mankind :
The world must own it to their shame, Yet never stood in awe before 'em.
The praise is his, and theirs the blame. He followed David's lesson just;
He gave the little wealth he had In princes never put his trust:
To build a house for fools and mad; And, would you make him truly sour, To shew, by one satiric touch,
i Colonel Francis Chartres or Charteris, of infamous character, on whom a severe indignant epitaph was written by Arbuthnot.
2 In 1713 the Queen was prevailed upon to issue a proclamation offering £300 for the discovery of the author of a pamphlet called The Public Spirit of the Whigs : and in Ireland. in the year 1724, Lord Carteret, as Viceroy of Ireland, offered the like reward of £300 to any person who would discover the author of The Drupier's Fourth Letter,
No nation wanted it so much.
And since you dread no further lashes, That kingdom he hath left his debtor; Methinks you may forgive his ashes.' I wish it soon may have a better : The Grand Question Debated :- Whether Hamilton's Bawn should be
turned into a Barrack or a Malt-house. 1729.*
Thus spoke to my lady the knight (1) full of care :
First, let me suppose I make it a malt-house,
Thus ended the knight : thus began his meek wife;
Thus argued my lady, but argued in vain ;
But Hannah,(4) who listened to all that was past,
* Swift spent almost a whole year (172--9) at Gosford, in the north of Ireland, the seat of Sir Arthur Acheson, assisting Sir Arthur in his agricultural improvements, and lecturing, as usual, the lady of the manor upon the improvement of her health by walking, and her mind by reading. The circumstance of Sir Arthur letting a ruinous building, called Hamilton's Bawn, to the crown for a barrack, gave rise to one of the dean's most lively pieces of fugitive humour. -Scott's Life of Suift. A bawn is strictly a place near a house, inclosed with mud or stone walls to keep the cattle.
1 Sir Arthur Acheson, an intimate friend of the poet. Sir Arthur was ancestor of the present Earl of Gosford.
2 A large old house belonging to Sir Arthur, two miles from his residence,