1788 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Jonathan Swift

A Young Author in Dublin, in A Satirical Essay (1788) 25-26.



Now to the spacious dreary isle I turn,
To drop a tear on yonder hallow'd urn,
Where SWIFT reclines, vext by the world no more,
His joyful spirit sought that happy shore,
Where curs'd ingratitude no place can find,
Nor disappointments e'er affect the mind.
Alive, e'en critics own'd that he had wit,
Now dead, his wisdom dulness must admit;
Tho' some would have a curtain drawn between
His nicer pieces and the low obscene,
Yet vice and folly find that, to their cost,
He painted truest where he daub'd the most;
And if he e'er to filth a mirror held,
'Twas love of cleanliness the act impell'd.
Dear to his patriot breast, his country dear
Oft cost him many a line and many a tear;
But finding vain each wish, each effort vain,
To bring a croud to reason, long insane,
He built a bedlam to enforce his rules,
And turn'd stark-mad to find the nation fools.
Great, helpless bard! thy last sad scene of woe,
And former genius, give mankind to know,
Tho' bright the flame which animates our clod,
'Tis very darkness in the sight of GOD.