1736 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Jonathan Swift

Anonymous, "Verses sent to the Rev. Dr. Swift, D.S.P.D. on the Anniversary of his Birth, Nov. 30, 1736, with one of Wood's Copper Half-pence, inclosed" Gentleman's Magazine 6 (December 1736) 742.



The birth of kings be sung in venal strain,
Let monkies chatter to their brazen chain;
Not made the muse for painted courtiers ends,
Wou'd bless Hibernia, and she loves her friends;
In its true light can reptile greatness see,
And touch'd with glory, wou'd aspire to thee.

Sadd'ning our isle now mourns her antient lyre,
Robb'd of its harmony, and wonted fire;
Sprightly no more the echoing vallies ring,
The Drapier mute, and dumb its ev'ry string.

Accept this present, sir, ('tis all my store)
Design'd a med'cine to a realm before;
As quacks give opiates (their last moments nigh)
To racking patients who wou'd senseless die:
So — but 'tis past — at other views I drive,
Send it to warm, to keep thy rage alive.
Methinks I feel the passion in thy breast,
Lo! Wood and W— here in brass confest!
Recall a Kingdom once with freedom brave,
Sold by a knight, and purchas'd by a slave!
O'er drroping Ierne, see, a vulture flies!
See other Woods, and other W—s rise!
Rous'd by the hint, go, snatch the deathless pen;
'Twill fire thy blood, and man thee o'er ag'en!
Nature impair'd, as doctors sage maintain,
The juice of vipers can alone sustain;
Tho' spouting poison, let them feel thee still,
And hourly perish by the pointed quill!

Call'd when by heav'n (O late the mandate be!)
Come, come, my son, to glorious liberty!
Here in full joys eternal shalt thou find,
What there you've labour'd for distrest mankind.

Think you then easy to immortal day,
You'll break the barriers of the wretched clay?
Remove serenely to the seats of rest,
And life's warm passions beat in ev'ry breast?
O! no — we'll hold thee to the earthly line,
Or yield reluctant ev'n to pow'r divine!
Each gen'rous hand would stop the great decree,
Each soul in secret must rebel for thee!

This then thy natal day, new life begin;
Still shield from slavery, and guard from sin.