1734 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Jonathan Swift

Anonymous, "On Reading the Rhapsody on Poetry" Weekly Register (19 January 1734).



I'd ask the Reason why the D—
Pours out so much poetick Spleen?
The Reason! why 'tis very plain,
The holy Man sees Merit slighted,
And draws his Pen to have it righted:
Am I (thinks he) (a Man of Wit,
And of no common Sense) not fit
To grace the Lawn, as well as they
Who only preach, write Prose, and pray?
I'll scourge, with my poetick String,
My Friend, my Country, and my King;
And libel, till preferr'd, with all the Care
A skilful Coachman drives ye to a Hair.

Then spight of him who bid the *Queen
First make a Christian of the D—,
Wrap up his Sleeves in sacred Lawn,
And keep his Conscience for a Pawn,
The reaking Steam still upward flies,
But ceases when condemn'd to rise;
The D—n, when once condens'd by Lawn,
Will sink to Prose and learn to fawn,
Will lay aside his Angry Rod,
And peradventure serve his G—.
Caetera desideratus.

* Queen Anne.