Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

The torrent merciless imbibes
Commiflions, perquisites, and bribes;
By their own weight funk to the bottom;
“Much good may't do 'em that have caught 'em."
And Midas now neglected stands

81 With asses' ears and dirty hands.

The Reverend Dr. SHERIDAN to

Dr. SWIFT.

Written in the year 1712.

DEAR
EAR Dean, since in cruxes and puns you and

I deal,
Pray, why is a woman a fieve and a riddle ?
'Tis a thought that came into

my

noddle this morn-
ing,
In bed as I lay, Sir, a toffing and turning.
You'll find, if you read but a few of your histories,
All women as Eve, all women are mysteries.
To find out this riddle I know you'll be eager,
And make every one of the fex a Bel-phagor.
But that will not do, for I mean to commend 'em :
I swear without jest I an honour intend 'em.
In a fieve, Sir, their ancient extraction I quite tell,
In a riddle I give your

their
power

and their title. This I told you before, do you know what I mean,

Sir? *“ Not I, by my troth, Sir." Then read it a

gain, Sir: The reason I send you these lines of rhyines double, Is purely through pity to save you the trouble 16

[ocr errors]

* The Dean's answer.

Of

Of thinking two hours for a rhyme as you did last; When your Pegasus canter'd in triple, and rid fast.

As for my little nag, which I keep at Parnassus, With Phoebus's leave, to run with his affes,

20 He goes flow and sure, and he never is jaded ; While your fiery steed is whipp’d, spurr'd, basti

naded,

Dean SWIFT's answer to the Reverend

Dr. SHERIDAN.

SIR, IN reading

your letter alone in my hackney, Your damnable riddle my poor brains did rack

nigh, And when with much labour the matter I crackt, I found

you

mistaken in matter of fact. A woman's no fieve, (for with that you begin), Because she lets out inore than e'er she takes in, o And that she's a riddle, can never be right; For a riddle is dark, but a woman is light. But grant her a sieve, I can say something archer; Pray what is a man? he's a fine linen searcher. 10

Now tell me a thing that wants interpretation, What name for a maid *, was the first man's dam

nation ? If your worship will please to explain me this rebus, I swear from henceforward you shall be my Phoebus, From my hackney-coach, Sept. 11.

1712, pasl 12 at 100n.

[blocks in formation]

A LETTER to the Rev. Dr. SHERIDAN.

Written in the year 1718.

IO

SIR,
WHate'er your predecessors

taught us,
I have a great esteem for Plautus;
And think your boys may gather there-hence
More wit and humour than from Terence:
But as to coinic Aristophanes,

5
The rogue too bawdy and too profane is.
I went in vain to look for Eupolis,
Down in the Strand * just where the new pole is :
For I can tell you one thing, that I can,
You will not find it in the Vatican,
He and Cratinus used, as Horace says,
To take his greatest grandees for affes.
Poets, in those days, used to venture high;
But these are loft full many a century.

Thus you may fee, dear friend, ex pede bence 15 My judgement of the old comedians,

Proceed to tragics, first Euripides (An author, where I sometimes dip a-days) Is rightly cenfur'd by the Stagirite, Who fays his numbers do not fadge aright. 20 A friend of mine that author despises So much, he twears the very best piece is, For aught he knows, as bad as Thespis's ;

* N. B. The Strand in London. The fact may be false, but the rhyme cost me fume trouble,

And

And that a woman, in those tragedies,
Commonly speaking, but a fad jade is.

25
At least, I'm well affur'd, that no folk lays
The weight on him they do on Sophocles.
But above all I prefer Äschylus,
Whose moving touches, when they pleafe, kill us.

And now I find my muse but ill able
To hold out longer in trifyllable.
I chose these rhymes out, for their difficulty :
Will

you return as hard ones if I call t'ye ?

30

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Written in the year 1713, when the Queen's mini

fters were quarrelling among themselves *.

[ocr errors]

OP
Bserve the dying father speak :

Try, lads, can you this bundle break;
Then bids the youngest of the fix
Take up a well-bound heap of sticks,
They thought it was an old man's maggot ;
And strove by turns to break the faggot :
In vain : the complicated wands
Were much too strong for all their hands.
See, said the fire, how soon ’ris done :
Then took and broke them one by one,
So strong you'll be, in friendship tyd;
So quickly broke, if you divide.

10

* See more of the author's endeavours to procure a reconcilement among them, in the letters to and from Dr. Swift, in vol. 9.

See also free thoughts on the present fate of affairs.

[blocks in formation]

. Keep close then, boys, and never quarrel. Here ends the fable and the moral.

15

20

This tale may be apply'd in few words
To treafurers, comptrollers, stewards,
And others, who in folemn fort
Appear with slender wands at court :
Not firmly join'd to keep their ground,
But lashing one another round:
While vise men think they ought to fight
With quarter-staves, instead of white;
Or constable with staff of peace,
Should come and make the clatt'ring cease ;
Which now disturbs the Queen and court,
And gives the Whigs and rabble sport.

2.5

In history we never found,
The Consul's fafces * were unbound;
These Romans were too wise to think on't,
Except to lafh some grand delinquent.
How would they blush to hear it said,
The Prætor broke the Consul's head;
Or Consul in his purple gown,
Came up and knock'd the Prætor down.

30

Come, courtiers ; every man his stick : 35 Lord Treasurer t, for once be quick ; And that they inay the closer cling, Take your blue ribbon for a string. Come, trimming Harcourt f, bring your mace; And squeeze it in, or quit your place :

40 Dispatch ; or else that rascal Northey || Will undertake to do it for thee :

* Fasces, a burdle of rods or small sticks carried before the Consuls at Rome.

+ Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford. I Lord Chancellor.

Sir Edward Northey, Attorney-General, brought in by Lond Harcourt, yet very desirous of the great seal,

And

« ПредишнаНапред »