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Swift, Jonathan

· JONATHAN SWIFT: MARKET WOMEN’S CRIES · JONATHAN SWIFT: ADVICE TO THE GRUB STREET VERSE-WRITERS · JONATHAN SWIFT: ON THE WORLD · JONATHAN SWIFT: STELLA’S BIRTHDAY MARCH 13, 1719 · Jonathan Swift: PHYLLIS

JONATHAN SWIFT: MARKET WOMEN’S CRIES

SWIFT11

Jonathan Swift
(1667–1745)

Market Women’s Cries

APPLES
Come buy my fine wares,
Plums, apples and pears.
A hundred a penny,
In conscience too many:
Come, will you have any?
My children are seven,
I wish them in Heaven;
My husband ’s a sot,
With his pipe and his pot,
Not a farthen will gain them,
And I must maintain them.

ONIONS
Come, follow me by the smell,
Here are delicate onions to sell;
I promise to use you well.
They make the blood warmer,
You’ll feed like a farmer;
For this is every cook’s opinion,
No savoury dish without an onion;
But, lest your kissing should be spoiled,
Your onions must be thoroughly boiled:
Or else you may spare
Your mistress a share,
The secret will never be known:
She cannot discover
The breath of her lover,
But think it as sweet as her own.

HERRINGS
Be not sparing,
Leave off swearing.
Buy my herring
Fresh from Malahide,
Better never was tried.
Come, eat them with pure fresh butter and mustard,
Their bellies are soft, and as white as a custard.
Come, sixpence a dozen, to get me some bread,
Or, like my own herrings, I soon shall be dead.

Jonathan Swift poetry
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JONATHAN SWIFT: ADVICE TO THE GRUB STREET VERSE-WRITERS

 SWIFT13

Jonathan Swift
(1667–1745)

Advice To The Grub Street Verse-writers

Ye poets ragged and forlorn,
Down from your garrets haste;
Ye rhymers, dead as soon as born,
Not yet consign’d to paste;

I know a trick to make you thrive;
O, ’tis a quaint device:
Your still-born poems shall revive,
And scorn to wrap up spice.

Get all your verses printed fair,
Then let them well be dried;
And Curll must have a special care
To leave the margin wide.

Lend these to paper-sparing Pope;
And when he sets to write,
No letter with an envelope
Could give him more delight.

When Pope has fill’d the margins round,
Why then recall your loan;
Sell them to Curll for fifty pound,
And swear they are your own.

Jonathan Swift poetry
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JONATHAN SWIFT: ON THE WORLD

SWIFT12

Jonathan Swift
(1667–1745)

On The World

With a whirl of thoughts oppress’d,
I sunk from reverie to rest.
A horrid vision seized my head,
I saw the graves give up their dead!
Jove, arm’d with terrors, bursts the skies,
And thunder roars and lightning flies!
Amazed, confused, its fate unknown,
The world stands trembling at his throne!
While each pale sinner hung his head,
Jove, nodding, shook the heavens, and said:
“Offending race of human kind,
By nature, reason, learning, blind;
You who, through frailty, stepp’d aside;
And you, who never fell from pride:
You who in different sects were shamm’d,
And come to see each other damn’d;
(So some folk told you, but they knew
No more of Jove’s designs than you;)
—The world’s mad business now is o’er,
And I resent these pranks no more.
—I to such blockheads set my wit!
I damn such fools!—Go, go, you’re bit.”

Jonathan Swift poetry
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JONATHAN SWIFT: STELLA’S BIRTHDAY MARCH 13, 1719

 SWIFT14

Jonathan Swift
(1667–1745)

Stella’s Birthday March 13, 1719

Stella this day is thirty-four,
(We shan’t dispute a year or more:)
However, Stella, be not troubled,
Although thy size and years are doubled,
Since first I saw thee at sixteen,
The brightest virgin on the green;
So little is thy form declin’d;
Made up so largely in thy mind.

Oh, would it please the gods to split
Thy beauty, size, and years, and wit;
No age could furnish out a pair
Of nymphs so graceful, wise, and fair;
With half the lustre of your eyes,
With half your wit, your years, and size.
And then, before it grew too late,
How should I beg of gentle Fate,
(That either nymph might have her swain,)
To split my worship too in twain.

Jonathan Swift poetry
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Jonathan Swift: PHYLLIS

swift

Jonathan Swift

(1667-1745)

 

PHYLLIS

 

ESPONDING Phyllis was endued

With ev’ry talent of a prude:

She trembled when a man drew near;

Salute her, and she turned her ear:

I o’er against her you were placed,

She durst not look above your waist:

She’d rather take you to her bed,

Than let you see her dress her head;

In church you hear her, thro’ the crowd,

Repeat the absolution loud:

In church, secure behind her fan,

She durst behold that monster man:

There practised how to place her head,

And bite her lips to make them red;

Or, on the mat devoutly kneeling,

Would lift her eyes up to the ceiling.

For neighboring beaux to see it bare.

 

At length a lucky lover came,

And found admittance to the dame.

Suppose all parties now agreed,

The writings drawn, the lawyer feed,

The vicar and the ring bespoke:

Guess, how could such a match be broke?

See then what mortals place their bliss in!

Next morn betimes the bride was missing:

The mother screamed, the father chid;

Where can this idle wench be hid?

No news of Phyl! the bridegroom came,

And thought his bride had skulked for shame;

Because her father used to say,

The girl had such a bashful way!

 

Now John the butler must be sent

To learn the road that Phyllis went:

The groom was wished to saddle Crop;

For John must neither light nor stop,

But find her, wheresoe’er she fled,

And bring her back alive or dead.

See here again the devil to do!

For truly John was missing too:

The horse and pillion both were gone!

Phyllis, it seems, was fled with John.

 

Old Madam, who went up to find

What papers Phyl had left behind,

A letter on the toilet sees,

“To my much honoured father–these–“

(‘Tis always done, romances tell us,

When daughters run away with fellows,)

Filled with the choicest common-places,

By others used in the like cases.

“That long ago a fortune-teller

Exactly said what now befell her;

And in a glass had made her see

A serving-man of low degree.

It was her fate, must be forgiven;

For marriages were made in Heaven:

His pardon begged: but, to be plain,

She’d do’t if ’twere to do again:

Thank’d God, ’twas neither shame nor sin;

For John was come of honest kin.

Love never thinks of rich and poor;

She’d beg with John from door to door.

Forgive her, if it be a crime;

She’ll never do’t another time.

She ne’er before in all her life

Once disobey’d him, maid nor wife.”

One argument she summ’d up all in,

“The thing was done and past recalling;

And therefore hoped she should recover

His favour when his passion’s over.

She valued not what others thought her,

And was–his most obedient daughter.”

Fair maidens all, attend the Muse,

Who now the wand’ring pair pursues:

Away they rode in homely sort,

Their journey long, their money short;

The loving couple well bemired;

The horse and both the riders tired:

Their vituals bad, their lodgings worse;

Phyl cried! and John began to curse:

Phyl wished that she had strained a limb,

When first she ventured out with him;

John wish’d that he had broke a leg,

When first for her he quitted Peg.

 

But what adventures more befell ’em,

The Must hath no time to tell ’em;

How Johnny wheedled, threatened, fawned,

Till Phyllis all her trinkets pawn’d:

How oft she broke her marriage vows,

In kindness to maintain her spouse,

Till swains unwholesome spoiled the trade;

For now the surgeon must be paid,

To whom those perquisites are gone,

In Christian justice due to John.

 

When food and raiment now grew scarce,

Fate put a period to the farce,

And with exact poetic justice;

For John was landlord, Phyllis hostess;

They keep, at Stains, the Old Blue Boar,

Are cat and dog, and rogue and whore.

 

“Phyllis” is reprinted from Miscellanies in Prose and Verse. Jonathan Swift. London: Benjamin Motte, 1727.

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