1719 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Jonathan Swift

Anonymous, "To the Rev. Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patricks in Ireland, and Advocate for the late Jacobite Ministry, from his Bookseller" Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer (5 September 1719) 1487-88.



SIR,
Hoping this Scroll will find your Honour,
More cheery than it leaves its Owner;
For, I protest, since you left Town,
My Trade's so dead, I'm half undone.
Your Pardon first (in Form) I crave,
Who am your Orator, your Slave,
That I, to pay these fond Devoirs,
Shou'd interrupt your pious Hours.
Should send rude Lines, and nothing quaint,
Deprive some good and powerful Saint,
Of Prayers, which might at once obtain,
What Perjury long sought in vain.

But I must needs say (Entre nous,)
Since neither Prayers nor Tears will do;
Since Alberoni's self is Bit,
Fellow Statesmen, Brother Wit;
Since, at the Groyne, poor Ormond raves,
Pent in by proud Biscayan Waves:
And since averse Geneva Saints,
Refuse the doleful Mar's Complaints:
Since these, and many a sad Truth,
Favour not the Royal Youth;
Pray take my poor well-meant Advice,
And Post to London in a Trice;
And here with stern assuming Brow,
Laugh at the High Church and the Low;
Tell 'em that Party has nothing in't,
Whether men preach, or pray, or print;
That, to be gay, you're come to Town,
And care not Who is Up or Down;
Whether Oxford twangs the Rod,
Or — dictates with a Nod:
Whether St. John, young and gay,
'Twixt Mirth and Care divides the Day;
Open and free to all that come,
Bribe abroad, or drinks at Home;
Or whether — in use,
(Statesmen sung by every Muse)
Patron of the Learn'd and Bright,
Levee'd at Morn, and couch'd at Night:
With well spread Table, plenteous Feast,
Embracing every loyal Guest:
Racking his Thoughts, how best to find,
One (like himself) that loves Mankind:
Industrious to recommend
Great GEORGE'S and the Muse's Friend;
Fond, to the last, of Pretty Spouse,
Of silent Books, and quite House.

Or whether John-an-Okes or Stiles,
Grows rich in these or other Isles.
Tell 'em that Wit is all your Taste;
And here you'll come (Malgre what's past.)
I'll soon say more, for much more due is,
From, SIR, your humble Servant Lewis.