The Swift Connection

Portrait of Swift

It was a habit of Dean Swift to spend time as a guest at the country seat of a number of his Irish friends, and according to his most recent biographer, Victoria Glendinning (Jonathan Swift, Hutchinson, 1998), it was in 1728 that he made the first of three annual visits to "the Achesons at Markethill (later called Gosford Castle)" - the author seems to be confusing the village of Markethill with Sir Arthur Acheson's estate, Gosford Demesne. Again according to Victoria Glendinning, his first stay lasted eight months, the second four months and the third three. Swift himself describes Markethill, in a note to the poem A Panegyrick on the Dean... Written in the Year 1730, as ' A Village near Sir Arthur Acheson's House, where the Author passed two Summers.' Presumably the third stay occurred after this poem was written.

In the aforementioned biography, the author also reproduces an engraving that she believes to represent Sir Arthur Acheson's estate. The original is in the National Gallery in London, but the original caption is "Blamount a Seat in Ireland in the County of Armagh One of the Retreats of Jonathan Swift". If it is Sir Arthur Acheson's estate, it is strange that this is the only reference to it by that name. Swift is also said to have spent time with the Robert Copes at Loughgall, which is also in County Armagh - perhaps that is where Blamount lies.

It would be wonderful to believe, as rumour has it, that Swift's life and experiences at Gosford provided inspiration for Gulliver's Travels or that some of it was written there. However, if Swift's first visit to Gosford took place in 1728, it is clear that this cannot be the case, since Gulliver's Travels was first published in 1726.

Disappointing though it may be to know that Gosford did not produce Gulliver, we do know that Swift wrote some poetry at the Achesons'. A dozen of them make reference to the Acheson family and their demesne and the area around Markethill. The village itself is frequently mentioned, as are Sir Arthur Acheson and his wife, a number of their servants, and Drapier's Hill, a part of the Gosford Demesne which Swift bought from Sir Arthur Acheson and where he planned to build a house, but never did. These poems are reproduced here in their entirety (in chronological order):

[N.B. If you have any interesting facts or documents concerning Gosford Forest Park, especially relating to the association with Swift or Gosford Castle and the Acheson family, you can get in contact by e-mail]

On Cutting down the OLD THORN


>In a summary of the Gosford Papers held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (D/1606 and D/2259), reference is made to Swift having issued "orders to cut down trees during Sir Arthur's absence". Perhaps this poem refers to such an event. In any case, it seems that the old thorn was despatched, by one Neal Gagahan (also mentioned in "A PANEGYRICK..."), with the approval of Sir Arthur's wife.

Note: Sir Archibald Acheson was Secretary of State for Scotland, "Wise Hawthornden and Sterline's Lord" refer to "Drummond of Hawthornden, and Sir William Alexander, E. of Sterling, both famous for their Poetry, who were Friends to Sir Archibald."

AT Market Hill, as well appears
By Chronicle of antient Date,
There stood for many a hundred Years
A spacious Thorn before the Gate.

Hither came every Village Maid
And on the Boughs her Garland hung,
And here, beneath the spreading Shade,
Secure from Satyrs sat and sung.

Sir Archibald that val'rous Knight,
Then Lord of all the fruitful Plain,
Would come to listen with Delight,
For he was fond of rural Strain.

(Sir Archibald whose fav'rite Name
Shall stand for Ages on Record,
By Scotish Bards of highest Fame,
Wise Hawthornden and Sterline's Lord.)

But Time with Iron Teeth I ween
Has canker'd all its Branches round;
No Fruit or Blossom to be seen,
Its Head reclining tow'rds the Ground.

This aged, sickly, sapless Thorn
Which must alas no longer stand;
Behold! the cruel Dean in Scorn
Cuts down with sacrilegious Hand.

Dame Nature, when she saw the Blow,
Astonish'd gave a dreadful Shriek;
And Mother Tellus trembled so
She scarce recover'd in a Week.

The Silvan Pow'rs with Fear perplex'd
In Prudence and Compassion sent
(For none could tell whose Turn was next)
Sad Omens of the dire Event.

The Magpye, lighting on the Stock,
Stood chatt'ring with incessant Din;
And with her Beak gave many a Knock
To rouse and warn the Nymph within.

The Owl foresaw in pensive Mood
The Ruin of her antient Seat;
And fled in Haste with all her Brood
To seek a more secure Retreat.

Last trotted forth the gentle Swine
To ease her Itch against the Stump,
And dismally was heard to whine
All as she scrubb'd her meazly Rump.

The Nymph who dwells in every Tree,
(If all be true that Poets chant)
Condemn'd by Fate's supreme Decree,
Must die with her expiring Plant.

Thus, when the gentle Spina found
The Thorn committed to her Care,
Receive its last and deadly Wound,
She fled and vanish'd into Air.

But from the Root a dismal Groan
First issuing, struck the Murd'rer's Ears;
And in a shrill revengeful Tone,
This Prophecy he trembling hears.

"Thou chief Contriver of my Fall,
"Relentless Dean! to Mischief born,
"My Kindred oft' thine Hide shall gall;
"Thy Gown and Cassock oft be torn:

"And thy confed'rate Dame, who brags
"That she condemn'd me to the Fire,
"Shall rent her Petticoats to Rags,
"And wound her Legs with ev'ry Bry'r.

"Nor thou, Lord Arthur, shalt escape:
"To thee I often call'd in vain,
"Against that Assassin in Crape,
"Yet thou could'st tamely see me slain.

"Nor, when I felt the dreadful Blow,
"Or chid the Dean, or pinch'd thy Spouse.
"Since you could see me treated so,
"An old Retainer to your House,

"May that fell Dean, by whose Command
"Was formed this Machi'villian Plot,
"Not leave a Thistle on thy Land;
"Then who will own thee for a Scot?

"Pigs and Fanaticks, Cows, and Teagues
"Through all thy Empire I foresee,
"To tear thy Hedges join in Leagues,
"Sworn to revenge my Thorn and me.

"And thou, the Wretch ordain'd by Fate,
"Neal Gahagan, Hibernian Clown,
"With Hatchet blunter than thy Pate
"To hack my hallow'd Timber down;

"When thou, suspended high in Air,
"Dy'st on a more ignoble Tree,
"(For thou shalt steal thy Landlord's Mare)
"Then bloody Caitiff think on me."

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against the DEAN
JULY 28, 1728


Here Swift refers to a number of the activities which kept him occupied at Sir Arthur Acheson's. Lady Acheson's first name was Anne (Nancy here), and both Sir Arthur and Swift teased her for her skinniness. He insisted on her accompanying him on walks about the estate and tried to teach her the finer points of literary appreciation. He mixes with the estate workers as an equal and exchanges pleasantries with them. The "grottos and seats" and the "bow'r" referred to near the end of the poem may be what are today known as Dean Swift's Well and the Dean's Chair where, rumour has it, he spent time writing and chatting with locals passing by on the nearby road.

Note: Skinny and Snipe were nicknames given by the Dean to Lady Acheson.

SURE never did man see
A wretch like poor Nancy,
So teaz'd day and night
By a Dean and a Knight;
To punish my sins,
Sir Arthur begins,
And gives me a wipe
With Skinny and Snipe:
His malice is plain,
Hallooing the Dean.
The Dean never stops,
When he opens his chops;
I'm quite over-run
With rebus and pun.

Before he came here
To spunge for good cheer,
I sat with delight,
From morning till night,
With two bony thumbs
Could rub my own gums,
Or scratching my nose,
And jogging my toes;
But at present, forsooth,
I must not rub a tooth:
When my elbows he sees
Held up by my knees,
My arms, like two props,
Supporting my chops,
And just as I handle 'em
Moving all like a pendulum;
He trips up my props,
And down my chin drops,
From my head to my heels,
Like a clock without wheels;
I sink in the spleen,
An useless machine.

If he had his will,
I should never sit still:
He comes with his whims,
I must move my limbs;
I cannot be sweet
Without using my feet;
To lengthen my breath
He tires me to death.
By the worst of all Squires,
Thro' bogs and thro' briers,
Where a cow would be startled,
I'm in spite of my heart led:
And, say what I will,
Haul'd up every hill;
'Till, daggled and tatter'd,
My spirit's quite shatter'd,
I return home at night,
And fast out of spite:
For I'd rather be dead,
Than it e'er should be said
I was better for him,
In stomach or limb.

But, now to my diet,
No eating in quiet,
He's still finding fault,
Too sour or too salt:
The wing of a chick
I hardly can pick)
But trash without measure
I swallow with pleasure.

Next, for his diversion,
He rails at my person:
What court-breeding this is?
He takes me to pieces.
From shoulder to flank
I'm lean and am lank;
My nose, long and thin,
Grows down to my chin;
My chin will not stay,
But meets it half way;
My fingers, prolix,
Are ten crooked sticks:
He swears my elbows
Are two iron crows,
Or sharp pointed rocks,
And wear out my smocks:
To 'scape them, Sir Arthur
Is forc'd to lie farther,
Or his sides they would gore
Like the tusk of a boar.

Now, changing the scene,
But still to the Dean:
He loves to be bitter at
A lady illiterate;
If he sees her but once,
He'll swear she's a dunce;
Can tell by her looks
A hater of books:
Thro' each line of her face
Her folly can trace;
Which Spoils ev'ry feature
Bestow'd her by nature,
But sense gives a grace
To the homeliest face:
Wise books and reflection
Will mend the complexion.
(A civil Divine!
I suppose meaning mine.)
No Lady who wants them
Can ever be handsome.

I guess well enough
What he means by this stuff:
He haws and he hums,
At last out it comes.

What, Madam? No walking,
No reading, nor talking?
You're now in your prime,
Make use of your time.
Consider, before
You come to threescore,
How the hussies will fleer
Where'er you appear:
That silly old puss
Would fain be like us,
What a figure she made
In her tarnish'd brocade?

And then he grows mild;
Come, be a good child:
If you are inclin'd
To polish your mind,
Be ador'd by the men
'Till threescore and ten,
And kill with the spleen
The jades of sixteen,
I'll shew you the way:
Read six hours a-day.
The wits will frequent ye,
And think you but twenty.

Thus was I drawn in,
Forgive me my sin.
At breakfast he'll ask
An account of my task.
Put a word out of joint,
Or miss but a point,
He rages and frets,
His manners forgets;
And, as I am serious,
Is very imperious.
No book for delight
Must come in my sight;
But, instead of new plays,
Dull Bacon's Essays,
And pore ev'ry day on
That nasty Pantheon.
If I be not a drudge,
Let all the world judge.
'Twere better be blind,
Than thus be confin'd.

But, while in an ill tone,
I murder poor Milton,
The Dean, you will swear,
Is at study or pray'r.
He's all the day saunt'ring,
With labourers bant'ring,
Among his colleagues,
A parcel of Teagues,
(Whom he brings in among us
And bribes with mundungus.)
Hail fellow, well met,
All dirty and wet:
Find out, if you can,
Who's master, who's man;
Who makes the best figure,
The Dean or the digger;
And which is the best
At cracking a jest.
How proudly he talks
Of zigzacks and walks;
And all the day raves
Of cradles and caves;
And boasts of his feats,
His grottos and seats;
Shews all his gew-gaws,
And gapes for applause?
A fine occupation
For one of his station!
A hole where a rabbit
Would scorn to inhabit,
Dug out in an hour,
He calls it a bow'r.

But, Oh, how we laugh,
To see a wild calf
Come, driven by heat,
And foul the green seat
Or run helter-skelter
To his arbor for shelter,
Where all goes to ruin
The Dean has been doing.
The girls of the village
Come flocking for pillage,
Pull down the fine briers,
And thorns, to make fires;
But yet are so kind
To leave something behind:
No more need be said on't,
I smell when I tread on't.

Dear friend, Doctor Jenny,
If I could but win ye,
Or Walmsley or Whaley,
To come hither daily,
Since Fortune, my foe,
Will needs have it so,
That I'm, by her frowns,
Condemn'd to black gowns;
No 'Squire to be found
The neighbourhood round,
(For, under the rose,
I would rather chuse those:)
If your wives will permit ye,
Come here out of pity,
To ease a poor Lady,
And beg her a play-day.
So may you be seen
>No more in the spleen:
May Walmsley give wine,
Like a hearty divine;
May Whaley disgrace
Dull Daniel's whey-face;
And may your three spouses
Let you lie at friends' houses.

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Weary of the
DEAN (1728?)


When Swift stayed with the Achesons, he brought his dogs and his own horses with him, which imposed more of a strain on his hosts' hospitality. Here he acknowledges his tyrannical behaviour towards Lady Acheson and admits he may have outstayed his welcome.


THE Dean wou'd visit Market-hill,
Our Invitation was but slight
I said - why - Let him if he will,
And so I bid Sir Arthur write.


His Manners would not let him wait,
Least we should think ourselves neglected,
And so we saw him at our Gate
Three Days before he was expected.


After a Week, a Month, a quarter,
And Day succeeding after Day,
Says not a Word of his Departure
Tho' not a Soul would have him stay.


I've said enough to make him blush
Methinks, or else the Devil's in't,
But he cares not for it a Rush,
Nor for my Life will take the Hint.


But you, my Life, may let him know,
In civil Language, if he stays
How deep and foul the Roads may grow,
And that he may command the Chaise.


Or you may say-my Wife intends,
Tho' I should be exceeding proud,
This Winter to invite some Friends,
And Sir I know you hate a Crowd.


Or, Mr. Dean-I should with Joy
Beg you would here continue still,
But we must go to Aghnacloy;
>Or Mr. Moor will take it ill.


The House Accounts are daily rising
So much his Stay do's swell the Bills;
My dearest Life it is surprizing,
How much he eats, how much he swills.


His Brace of Puppies how they stuff,
And they must have three Meals a Day,
Yet never think they get enough;
His Horses too eat all our Hay.


Oh! if I could, how I would maul
His Tallow Face and Wainscot Paws,
His Beetle-brows and Eyes of Wall,
And make him soon give up the Cause.


Must I be every Moment chid
With skinny, boney, snip and lean,
Oh! that I could but once be rid
Of that insulting Tyrant Dean.

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The following Lines were wrote upon a very
old Glass of Sir Arthur Acheson's

FRAIL Glass, thou Mortal art, as well as I,
Tho' none can tell, which of us first shall dye.

Answered extempore by Dr. SWIFT

WE both are Mortal; but thou, frailer Creature,
May'st dye like me by Chance; but not by Nature.

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A view of Drapier's Hill today

See the map on the Trails page for the location of Drapier's Hill. Swift published political tracts called The Drapier's Letters under the pseudonym of M.B., Drapier. He purchased this site from Sir Arthur, intending to build a house on it, and gives us to understand here that it was Sir Arthur's suggestion that this mansion should be called Drapier's Hill.

WE give the World to understand,
Our thriving Dean has purchas'd Land;
A Purchase which will bring him clear,
Above his Rent four Pounds a Year;
Provided, to improve the Ground,
He will but add two Hundred Pound,
And from his endless hoarded Store,
To build a House five Hundred more.
Sir Arthur too shall have his Will,
And call the Mansion Drapier's Hill;
That when a Nation long enslav'd,
Forgets by whom it once was sav'd;
When none the DRAPIER'S Praise shall sing;
His Signs aloft no longer swing;
His Medals and his Prints forgotten,
And all his Handkerchiefs are rotten;
His famous LETTERS made waste Paper;
This Hill may keep the Name of DRAPIER:
In Spight of Envy flourish still,
And DRAPIER's vye with COOPER'S Hill.

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Does Swift's vanity show through here? He seems to be suggesting that his taking up residence at Drapier's Hill will save Markethill and Drumlack (the Drumleck river flows close to Drapier's Hill ) from obscurity.

GOOD cause have I to sing and vapour,
For I am landlord to the Drapier:
He, that of ev'ry ear's the charmer,
Now condescends to be my farmer,
And grace my villa with his strains
Lives such a Bard on British plains?
No; not in all the British Court;
For none but witlings there resort,
Whose names and works (tho' dead) are made
Immortal by the Dunciad;
And sure, as monument of brass,
Their fame to future times shall pass,
How, with a weakly warbling tongue,
Of Brazen Knight they vainly sung:
A subject for their genius fit;
He dares defy both sense and wit.
What dares he not? He can, we know it,
A laureat make that is no poet;
A judge, without the least pretence
To common law, or common sense;
A bishop that is no divine
And coxcombs in red ribbons shine:
Nay, he can make what's greater far,
A middle-state 'twixt peace and war;
And say, there shall, for years together,
Be peace and war, and both, and neither.
Happy, 0 Market-Hill! at least,
That court and courtiers have no taste:
You never else had known the Dean,
But, as of old, obscurely lain;
All things gone on the same dull track,
And Drapier's-hill been still Drumlack;
But now your name with Penshurst vies,
And wing'd with fame shall reach the skies.

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Banter between a couple of local workers while weeding around Sir Arthur Acheson's house. Dennis was Sir Arthur's Butler.

A NYMPH and Swain, Sheelah and Dermot hight,
Who wont to weed the Court of Gosford Knight,
While each with stubbed Knife remov'd the Roots
That rais'd between the Stones their daily Shoots;
As at their Work they sate in counterview,
With mutual Beauty smit, their Passion grew.
Sing heavenly Muse in sweetly flowing Strain,
The soft Endearments of the Nymph and Swain.


My Love to Sheelah is more firmly fixt
Than strongest Weeds that grow these Stones betwixt:
My Spud these Nettles from the Stones can part,
No Knife so keen to weed thee from my Heart.


My Love for gentle Dermot faster grows
Than yon tall Dock that rises to thy Nose.
Cut down the Dock, 'twill sprout again: but O!
Love rooted out, again will never grow.


No more that Bry'r thy tender Leg shall rake:
(I spare the Thistle for Sir Arthur's sake.)
Sharp are the Stones, take thou this rushy Matt;
The hardest Bum will bruise with sitting squat.


Thy Breeches torn behind, stand gaping wide;
This Petticoat shall save thy dear Back-side;
Nor need I blush, although you feel it wet;
Dermot, I vow, 'tis nothing else but Sweat.


At an old stubborn Root I chanc'd to tug,
When the Dean threw me this Tobacco-plug:
A longer half-p'orth never did I see;
This, dearest Sheelah, thou shalt share with me.


In at the Pantry-door this Morn I slipt,
And from the Shelf a charming Crust I whipt:
Dennis was out, and I got hither safe;
And thou, my dear, shalt have the bigger half.


When you saw Tady at long-bullets play,
You sat and lows'd him all the Sun-shine Day.
How could you, Sheelah, listen to his Tales,
Or crack such Lice as his betwixt your Nails?


When you with Oonah stood behind a Ditch,
I peept, and saw you kiss the dirty Bitch.
Dermot, how could you touch those nasty Sluts!
I almost wisht this Spud were in your Guts.


If Oonah once I kiss'd, forbear to chide:
Her Aunt's my Gossip by my Father's Side:
But, if I ever touch her Lips again,
May I be doom'd for Life to weed in Rain.


Dermot, I swear, tho' Tady's Locks could hold
Ten thousand Lice, and ev'ry Louse was gold,
Him on my Lap you never more should see;
Or may I loose my Weeding-knife - and Thee.


O, could I earn for thee, my lovely Lass,
A pair of Brogues to bear thee dry to Mass!
But see, where Norah with the Sowins comes -
Then let us rise, and rest our weary Bums.

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The Grand Question debated
Hamilton's Bawn should be turned
into a Barrack or a Malt House (1729)


Swift mocks the argument between Sir Arthur and his wife about what to do with Hamilton's Bawn, a property which presumably he owned. A Bawn was a place near the house enclosed with mud or stone walls, to keep cattle from being stolen in the night. At this time Hamilton's Bawn was described by Swift as "A large old house two miles from Sr A A's Seat".

Rumms were poor country clergymen, Hannah was Lady Acheson's waiting woman, Darby and Wood were two of Sir Arthur's managers, Doctor Jenny was a clergyman at Armagh, Noveds, and Blutraks, and Omurs are Ovids, Plutarchs and Homers, Skinny and Lean are of course nicknames for Lady Acheson.

THE Author of the following Poem, is said to be Dr J. S. D. S. P. D. who writ it, as well as several other Copies of Verses of the like Kind, by Way of Amusement, in the Family of an honourable Gentleman in the North of Ireland, where he spent a Summer about two or three years ago. A certain very great Person, then in that Kingdom, having heard much of this Poem, obtained a Copy from the Gentleman, or, as some say, the Lady, in whose House it was written, from whence, I know not by what Accident, several other Copies were transcribed, full of Errors. As I have a great Respect for the supposed Author, I have procured a true Copy of the Poem, the Publication whereof can do him less Injury than printing any of those incorrect ones which run about in Manuscript, and would infallibly be soon in the Press, if not thus prevented. Some Expressions being peculiar to Ireland, I have prevailed on a Gentleman of that Kingdom to explain them, and I have put the several Explanations in their proper Places.

THUS spoke to my Lady, the Knight full of Care;
Let me have your Advice in a weighty Affair.
This HAMILTON'S Bawn, while it sticks on my Hand,
I lose by the House what I get by the Land;
But how to dispose of it to the best Bidder,
For a Barrack or Malt-House, we must now consider.

FIRST, let me suppose I make it a Malt-House:
Here I have computed the Profit will fall t'us.
There's nine Hundred Pounds for Labour and Grain,
I increase it to Twelve, so three Hundred remain:
A handsome Addition for Wine and good Chear,
Three Dishes a Day, and three Hogsheads a Year.
With a Dozen large Vessels my Vault shall be stor'd,
No little scrub Joint shall come on my Board:
And you and the Dean no more shall combine,
To stint me at Night to one Bottle of Wine;
Nor shall I for his Humour, permit you to purloin
A Stone and a quarter of Beef from my Sirloin.
If I make it a Barrack, the Crown is my Tenant.
My Dear, I have ponder'd again and again on't:
In Poundage and Drawbacks, I lose half my Rent,
Whatever they give me I must be content,
Or join with the Court in ev'ry Debate,
And rather than that, I would lose my Estate.

THUS ended the Knight: Thus began his meek Wife:
It must, and it shall be a Barrack, my Life.
I'm grown a meer Mopus; no Company comes;
But a Rabble of Tenants, and rusty dull Rumms;
With Parsons, what Lady can keep herself clean?
I'm all over dawb'd when I sit by the Dean.
But, if you will give us a Barrack, my Dear,
The Captain, I'm sure, will always come here;
I then shall not value his Deanship a Straw,
For the Captain, I warrant, will keep him in Awe;
Or should he pretend to be brisk and alert,
Will tell him that Chaplains should not be so pert;
That Men of his Coat should be minding their Prayers,
And not among Ladies to give themselves Airs.

THUs argu'd my Lady, but argu'd in vain;
The Knight his Opinion resolv'd to maintain.
BUT Hannah, who listen'd to all that was past,
And could not endure so vulgar a Taste,
As soon as her Ladyship call'd to be drest,
Cry'd, Madam, why surely my Master's possest;
Sir Arthur the Malster! how fine it will sound?
I'd rather the BAWN were sunk under Ground.
But Madam, I guest there wou'd never come Good,
When I saw him so often with Darby and Wood.
And now my Dream's out: For I was a-dream'd
That I saw a huge Rat: O dear, how I scream'd!
And after, me thought, I had lost my new Shoes;
And, Molly, she said, I should near some ill News.

DEAR Madam, had you but the Spirit to teaze,
You might have a Barrack whenever you please:
And, Madam, I always believ'd you so stout,
That for twenty Denials you would not give out.
If I had a Husband like him, I purtest,
'Till he gave me my Will, I wou'd give him no Rest:
And rather than come in the same Pair of Sheets
With such a cross Man, I wou'd lye in the Streets.
But, Madam, I beg you contrive and invent,
And worry him out, 'till he gives his Consent.

DEAR Madam, whene'er of a Barrack I think,
An I were to be hang'd, I can't sleep a Wink:
For, if a new Crotchet comes into my Brain,
I can't get it out, tho' I'd never so fain.
I fancy already a Barrack contriv'd
At HAMILTON'S Bawn, and the Troop is arriv'd.
Of this, to be sure, Sir Arthur has Warning,
And waits on the Captain betimes the next Morning.

Now, see, when they meet, how their Honour's behave
Noble Captain, your Servant - Sir Arthur your Slave;
You honour me much - the Honour is mine, -
'Twas a sad rainy Night - but the Morning is fine -
Pray, how does my Lady? - My Wife's at your Service. -
I think I have seen her Picture by Jervis. -
Good Morrow, good Captain, - I'll wait on you down, -
You shan't stir a Foot - You'll think me a Clown -
For all the World, Captain, not half an Inch farther -
You must be obey'd - your Servant, Sir Arthur;
My humble Respects to my Lady unknown. -
I hope you will use my House as your own.

"Go, bring me my Smock, and leave off your Prate,
"Thou hast certainly gotten a Cup in thy Pate."
Pray, Madam, be quiet; what was it I said? -
You had like to have put it quite out of my Head.

NEXT Day, to be sure, the Captain will come,
At the Head of his Troop, with Trumpet and Drum:
Now, Madam, observe, how he marches in State:
The Man with the Kettle-drum enters the Gate;
Dub, dub, a-dub, dub. The Trumpeters follow,
Tantara, tantara, while all the Boys hollow.
See, now comes the Captain all dawb'd with gold Lace:
O law! the sweet Gentleman! look in his Face;
And see how he rides like a Lord of the Land,
With the fine flaming Sword that he holds in his Hand;
And his Horse, the dear Creter, it prances and rears,
With Ribbins in Knots, at its Tail and its Ears:
At last comes the Troop, by the Word of Command
Drawn up in our Court; when the Captain cries, STAND.
Your Ladyship lifts up the Sash to be seen,
(For sure, I had dizen'd you out like a Queen:)
The Captain, to shew he is proud of the Favour,
Looks up to your Window, and cocks up his Beaver.
(His Beaver is cock'd; pray, Madam, mark that,
For, a Captain of Horse never takes off his Hat;
Because he has never a Hand that is idle;
For, the Right holds the Sword, and the Left holds the Bridle,)
Then flourishes thrice his Sword in the Air,
As a Compliment due to a Lady so fair;
How I tremble to think of the Blood it hath spilt!
Then he low'rs down the Point, and kisses the Hilt.
Your Ladyship smiles, and thus you begin;
Pray, Captain, be pleas'd to light, and walk in:
The Captain salutes you with Congee profound;
And your Ladyship curchyes half way to the Ground!

KIT, run to your Master, and bid him come to us.
I'm sure he'll be proud of the Honour you do us;
And, Captain, you'll do us the Favour to stay,
And take a short Dinner here with us to-Day:
You're heartily welcome: But as for good Chear,
You come in the very worst Time of the Year;
If I had expected so worthy a Guest: -
Lord! Madam! your Ladyship sure is in jest;
You banter me, Madam, the Kingdom must grant -
You Officers, Captain, are so complaisant.

"HIST, Huzzy, I think I hear some Body coming -"
No, Madam; 'tis only Sir Arthur a humming.

To shorten my Tale, (for I hate a long Story,)
The Captain at Dinner appears in his Glory;
The Dean and the Doctor have humbled their Pride,
For the Captain's entreated to sit by your Side;
And, because he's their Betters, you carve for him first:
The Parsons, for Envy, are ready to burst:
The Servants amaz'd, are scarce ever able,
To keep off their Eyes, as they wait at the Table
And, Molly and I have t[h]rust in our Nose,
To peep at the Captain, in all his fine Clo'es:
Dear Madam, be sure he's a fine spoken Man,
Do but hear on the Clergy how glib his Tongue ran;
"And Madam, says he, if such Dinners you give,
"You'll never want Parsons as long as you live;
"I ne'er knew a Parson without a good Nose,
"But the Devil's as welcome wherever he goes:
"God damn me, they bid us reform and repent,
"But, Zounds, by their Looks, they never keep Lent:
"Mister Curate, for all your grave Looks, I'm afraid,
"You cast a Sheep's Eye on her Ladyship's Maid;
"I wish she wou'd lend you her pretty white Hand,
"In mending your Cassock, and smoothing your Band:
(For the Dean was so shabby and look'd like a Ninny,
That the Captain suppos'd he was Curate to Jenny.)
"Whenever you see a Cassock and Gown,
"A Hundred to One, but it covers a Clown;
"Observe how a Parson comes into a Room,
"God damn me, he hobbles as bad as my Groom;
"A Scholard, when just from his College broke loose,
"Can hardly tell how to cry Bo to a Goose;
"Your Noveds, and Blutraks, and Omurs and Stuff,
"By God they don't signify this Pinch of Snuff.
"To give a young Gentleman right Education,
"The Army's the only good School in the Nation;
"My School-Master call'd me a Dunce and a Fool,
"But at Cuffs I was always the Cock of the School;
"I never cou'd take to my Book for the Blood o'me,
"And the Puppy confess'd, he expected no Good o'me.
"He caught me one Morning coquetting his Wife,
"But he maul'd me, I ne'er was so maul'd in my Life;
"So, I took to the Road, and what's very odd,
"The first Man I robb'd was a Parson by God.
"Now Madam, you'll think it a strange Thing to say,
"But, the Sight of a Book makes me sick to this Day."

NEVER since I was born did I hear so much Wit,
And, Madam, I laugh'd till I thought I shou'd split.
So, then you look'd scornful, and snift at the Dean,
As, who shou'd say, Now, am I Skinny and Lean?
But, he durst not so much as once open his Lips,
And, the Doctor was plaguily down in the Hips.

THUS merciless Hannah ran on in her Talk,
Till she heard the Dean call, Will your Ladyship walk?
Her Ladyship answers, I'm just coming down;
Then, turning to Hannah, and forcing a Frown,
Altho' it was plain, in her Heart she was glad,
Cry'd, Huzzy, why sure the Wench is gone mad:
How cou'd these Chimeraes get into your Brains? -
Come hither, and take this old Gown for your Pains.
But the Dean, if this Secret shou'd come to his Ears,
Will never have done with his Gibes and his Jeers:
For your Life, not a Word of the Matter, I charge ye:
Give me but a Barrack, a Fig for the Clery.

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A Dialogue between an eminent Lawyer
and DR. SWIFT Dean of ST. PATRICK'S,
being an allusion to the first Satire of the
second book of HORACE 
Sunt quibus in satyra, &c.


Another reference to Drapier's Hill, and to Swift's unfulfilled ambition to be a bishop, perhaps thwarted by the influence of powerful dignitaries who have been victims of his satire.

SINCE there are persons who complain
There's too much satire in my vein,
That I am often found exceeding
The rules of raillery and breeding,
With too much freedom treat my betters,
Not sparing even men of letters,
You, who are skill'd in lawyer's lore,
What's your advice? shall I give o're,
Nor ever fools or knaves expose
Either in verse or hum'rous prose,
And, to avoid all future ill,
In my 'scritore lock up my quill?

SINCE you are pleas'd to condescend
To ask the judgment of a friend,
Your case consider'd, I must think
You shou'd withdraw from pen and ink,
Forbear your poetry and jokes,
And live like other christian fokes;
Or, if the MUSEs must inspire
Your fancy with their pleasing fire,
Take subjects safer for your wit
Than those on which you lately writ,
Commend the times, your thoughts correct
And follow the prevailing sect,
Assert that HYDE in writing story
Shews all the malice of a TORY,
While BURNET in his deathless page
Discovers freedom without rage;
To WOOLSTON recommend our youth
For learning, probity and truth,
That noble genius, who unbinds
The chains which fetter free-born minds,
Redeems us from the slavish fears
Which lasted near two thousand years,
He can alone the priesthood humble,
Make gilded spires and altars tumble.

MUST I commend against my conscience
Such stupid blasphemy and nonsense?
To such a subject tune my lyre
And sing like one of MILTON'S choir,
Where DEVILS to a vale retreat
And call the laws of wisdom fate,
Lament upon their hapless fall
That force free virtue shou'd enthrall?
Or, shall the charms of wealth and power
Make me pollute the MUSES' bower?
As from the tripod of APOLLO
Hear from my desk the words that follow;
Some by philosophers misled,
Must honour you alive and dead,
And such as know what Greece has writ
Must taste your irony and wit,
While most that are or would be great,
Must dread your pen, your person hate,
And you on DRAPIER'S Hill must lye,
And there without a mitre dye.

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Revolution at Market-Hill
Written in the Year 1730


It is difficult to know what to make of this poem. Swift (like "the Spaniard") seems to resent the prospect (if he takes up residence at Drapier's Hill) of being Air Arthur's tenant and therefore subservient to him. A reversal of roles is suggested (the "Revolution").

The "Spaniard" is "Col. Harry Leslie, who served and lived long in Spain", Drumlack is " The Irish Name of a Farm the Dean took, and was to build on, but changed his Mind. He called it Drapier's Hill. Vide that Poem" (today Drumleck River flows nearby), Market-Hill is "A Village near Sir Arthur Acheson's Seat", Hannah is "My Lady's Waiting-Maid", Dennis is Sir Arthur's butler, Peggy Dixon is his House-Keeper and Lorimer his agent.

FROM distant Regions, Fortune sends
An odd Triumvirate of Friends;
Where Pha'bus pays a scanty Stipend,
Where never yet a Codling ripen'd:
Hither the frantick Goddess draws
Three Suff'rers in a ruin'd Cause.
By Faction banish't here unite,
A Dean, a Spaniard, and a Knight.
Unite; but on Conditions cruel;
The Dean and Spaniard find it too well;
Condemn'd to live in Service hard;
On either Side his Honour's Guard:
The Dean, to guard his Honour's Back,
Must build a Castle at Drumlack:
The Spaniard, sore against his Will,
Must raise a Fort at Market-Hill.
And thus, the Pair of humble Gentry,
At North and South are posted Centry;
While in his lordly Castle fixt,
The Knight triumphant reigns betwixt:
And, what the Wretches most resent,
To be his Slaves must pay him Rent;
Attend him daily as their Chief
Decant his Wine, and carve his Beef.

O FORTUNE, 'tis a Scandal for thee
To smile on those who are least worthy.
Weigh but the Merits of the three,
His Slaves have ten Times more than he.

PROUD Baronet of Nova Scotia,
The Dean and Spaniard must reproach ye;
Of their two Fames the World enough rings
Where are thy Services and Suff'rings?
What, if for nothing once you kiss't,
Against the Grain, a Monarch's Fist?
What, if among the courtly Tribe,
You lost a Place, and sav'd a Bribe?
And, then in surly Mode come here
To Fifteen Hundred Pounds a Year,
And fierce against the Whigs harangu'd?
You never ventur'd to be hang'd.
How dare you treat your Betters thus?
Are you to be compar'd to Us?

COME Spaniard, let us from our Farms
Call forth our Cottagers to Arms;
Our Forces let us both unite,
Attack the Foe at Left and Right;
From Market-Hill's exalted Head,
Full Northward, let your Troops be led:
While I from Drapier's-Mount descend,
And to the South my Squadrons bend:
New-River-walk with friendly Shade,
Shall keep my Host in Ambuscade;
While you, from where the Basin stands,
Shall scale the Rampart with your Bands.
Nor need we doubt the Fort to win;
I hold Intelligence within.
True, Lady Anne no Danger fears,
Brave as the Upton Fan she wears:
Then, least upon our first Attack
Her valiant Arm should force us back,
And we of all our Hopes depriv'd;
I have a Stratagem contriv'd;
By these embroider'd high Heel Shoes,
She shall be caught as in a Noose:
So well contriv'd her Toes to pinch,
She'll not have Pow'r to stir an Inch;
These gaudy Shoes must Hannah place
Direct before her Lady's Face.
The Shoes put on; our faithful Portress
Admits us in, to storm the Fortress;
While tortur'd Madam bound remains,
Like Montezume in golden Chains:
Or, like a Cat with Walnuts shod,
Stumbling at ev'ry Step she trod.
Sly Hunters thus, in Borneo's Isle,
To catch a Monkey by a Wile;
The mimick Animal amuse;
They place before him Gloves and Shoes;
Which when the Brute puts awkward on,
All his Agility is gone;
In vain to frisk or climb he tries;
The Huntsmen seize the grinning Prize.

BUT, let us on our first Assault
Secure the Larder, and the Vault.
The valiant Dennis you must fix on,
And, I'll engage with Peggy Dixon:
Then if we once can seize the Key,
And Chest, that keeps my Lady's Tea,
They must surrender at Discretion:
And soon as we have got Possession,
We'll act as other Conqu'rors do;
Divide the Realm between us two.
Then, (let me see) we'll make the Knight
Our Clerk, for he can read and write;
But, must not think, I tell him that,
Like Lorimer, to wear his Hat.
Yet, when we dine without a Friend,
We'll place him at the lower End.
Madam, whose Skill does all in Dress lye,
May serve to wait on Mrs. Leslie:
But, lest it might not be so proper,
That her own Maid should overtop her;
To mortify the Creature more,
We'll take her Heels five Inches lower.

FOR Hannah; when we have no need of her,
'Twill be our Int'rest to get rid of her:
And when we execute our Plot,
'Tis best to hang her on the Spot;
As all your Politicians wise
Dispatch the Rogues by whom they Rise.

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in the Person of a Lady in the North
Written in the Year 1730


This poem provides us with the fullest insight into the activities and "tyrant" manner of Swift during his stays with the Achesons. We see further proof that he mixed with people of all stations and treated (and mocked) them all equally, his Lord and Ladyship as well as Moll the chamber-maid and Gaghagan, no doubt the same man who chopped down the old thorn (although differently spelt). No household chore is too humble for him to try his hand at ("Our Thatcher, Ditcher, Gard'ner, Baily"). He even seems to have been responsible for erecting separate toilets for ladies and gents. Various references are explained by Swift himself in footnotes to the text. It is here that he describes Markethill as "A Village near Sir Arthur Acheson's House, where the Author passed two Summers". He "interfered" with the work of Robert and Darby, two overseers, of Kit, "My Lady's Footman", of Dennis the butler, and of Mrs Dixon the housekeeper, e.g. he helped to make butter for breakfast by "filling a Bottle with Cream, and shaking it till the Butter comes". "Usher's Post" is glossed as "He sometimes used to walk with the Lady" and "Tutor" as "In bad Weather the Author used to direct my Lady in her Reading". He claims that "The Author preached but once while he was there" and that "The neighbouring Ladies were no great Understanders of Raillery" (i.e. they took "Offence"). Smedley is "A very stupid, insolent, factious, deformed, conceited Parson; a vile Pretender to Poetry, preferred by the D. of Grafton for his Wit."

RESOLV'D my Gratitude to show,
Thrice Rev'rend Dean for all I owe;
Too long I have my Thanks delay'd;
Your Favours left too long unpay'd;
But now in all our Sexes Name,
My artless Muse shall sing your Fame.

INDULGENT you to Female Kind,
To all their weaker Sides are blind;
Nine more such Champions as the Dean,
Would soon restore our antient Reign.
How well to win the Ladies Hearts,
You celebrate their Wit and Parts!
How have I felt my Spirits rais'd,
By you so oft, so highly prais'd!
Transform'd by your convincing Tongue
To witty, beautiful, and young.
I hope to quit that awkward Shame
Affected by each vulgar Dame;
To Modesty a weak Pretence;
And soon grow pert on Men of Sense
To show my Face with scornful Air;
Let others match it if they dare.

IMPATIENT to be out of Debt,
O, may I never once forget
The Bard, who humbly deigns to chuse
Me for the Subject of his Muse.
Behind my Back, before my Nose,
He sounds my Praise in Verse and Prose.

My Heart with Emulation burns
To make you suitable Returns;
My Gratitude the World shall know:
And, see, the Printer's Boy below:
Ye Hawkers all, your Voices lift;
A Panegyrick on Dean Swift.
And then, to mend the Matter still;
By Lady Anne of Market-Hill.

I THUS begin. My grateful Muse
Salutes the Dean in diff'rent Views;
Dean, Butler, Usher, Jester, Tutor;
Robert and Darby's Coadjutor:
And, as you in Commission sit,
To rule the Dairy next to Kit.

IN each Capacity I mean
To sing your Praise. And, first as Dean:
Envy must own, you understand your
Precedence, and support your Grandeur:
Nor, of your Rank will bate an Ace,
Except to give Dean Daniel place.
In you such Dignity appears;
So suited to your State, and Years!
With Ladies what a strict Decorum!
With what Devotion you adore 'um!
Treat me with so much Complaisance,
As fits a Princess in Romance.
By your Example and Assistance,
The Fellows learn to know their Distance.
Sir Arthur, since you set the Pattern,
No longer calls me Snipe and Slattern;
Nor dares he, though he were a Duke,
Offend me with the least Rebuke.

PROCEED we to your preaching next:
How nice you split the hardest Text!
How your superior Learning shines
Above our neighb'ring dull Divines!
At Beggar's-Op'ra not so full Pit
Is seen, as when you mount our Pulpit.

CONSIDER now your Conversation;
Regardful of your Age and Station,
You ne'er was known, by Passion stir'd,
To give the least offensive Word;
But still, whene'er you Silence break,
Watch ev'ry Syllable you speak:
Your style so clear, and so concise,
We never ask to hear you twice.
But then, a Parson so genteel,
So nicely clad from Head to Heel;
So fine a Gown, a Band so clean,
As well become St. Patrick's Dean;
Such reverential Awe express,
That Cow-boys know you by your Dress!
Then, if our neighb'ring Friends come here,
How proud are we when you appear!
With such Address, and graceful Port,
As clearly shows you bred at Court!

Now raise your Spirits, Mr. Dean:
I lead you to a nobler Scene;
When to the Vault you walk in State,
In quality of Butler's Mate;
You, next to Dennis bear the Sway:
To you we often trust the Key:
Nor, can he judge with all his Art
So well, what Bottle holds a quart:
What Pints may best for Bottles pass,
Just to give ev'ry Man his Glass:
When proper to produce the best;
And, what may serve a common Guest.
With Dennis you did ne' er combine,
Not you, to steal your Master's Wine;
Except a Bottle now and then,
To welcome Brother Serving-men;
But, that is with a good Design,
To drink Sir Arthur's Health and mine:
Your Master's Honour to maintain;
And get the like Returns again.

YOUR Usher's Post must next be handled:
How bles't am I by such a Man led!
Under whose wise and careful Guardship,
I now despise Fatigue and Hardship:
Familiar grown to Dirt and Wet,
Though daggled round, I scorn to fret:
From you my Chamber-Damsels learn
My broken Hose to patch and dearn.

Now, as a Jester, I accost you;
Which never yet one Friend has lost you.
You judge so nicely to a Hair,
How far to go, and when to spare:
By long Experience grown so wise,
Of ev'ry Taste to know the Size;
There's none so ignorant or weak
To take Offence at what you speak.
Whene'er you joke, 'tis all a Case;
Whether with Dermot, or His Grace;
With Teague O'Murphy, or an Earl;
A Dutchess or a Kitchen Girl.
With such Dexterity you fit
Their sev'ral Talents to your Wit,
That Moll the Chamber-maid can smoak,
And Gaghagan take ev'ry Joke.

I Now become your humble Suitor,
To let me praise you as my Tutor.
Poor I, a Savage bred and born,
By you instructed ev'ry Morn,
Already have improv'd so well,
That I have almost learn't to spell:
The Neighbours who come here to dine,
Admire to hear me speak so fine.
How enviously the Ladies look,
When they surprize me at my Book!
And, sure as they're alive, at Night;
As soon as gone, will show their Spight:
Good Lord! what can my Lady mean,
Conversing with that rusty Dean!
She's grown so nice, and so penurious,
With Socratus and Epicurius.
How could she sit the live-long Day,
Yet never ask us once to play?

BUT, I admire your Patience most;
That, when I'm duller than a Post,
Nor can the plainest Word pronounce,
You neither fume, nor fret, nor flounce;
Are so indulgent, and so mild,
As if I were a darling Child.
So gentle in your whole Proceeding,
That I could spend my Life in reading.

You merit new Employments daily:
Our Thatcher, Ditcher, Gard'ner, Baily.
And, to a Genius so extensive,
No Work is grievous or offensive.
Whether, your fruitful Fancy lies
To make for Pigs convenient Styes:
Or, ponder long with anxious Thought,
To banish Rats that haunt our Vault.
Nor have you grumbled, Rev'rend Dean,
To keep our Poultry sweet and clean;
To sweep the Mansion-house they dwell in;
And cure the Rank unsav'ry Smelling.

Now, enter as the Dairy Hand-maid:
Such charming Butter never Man made.
Let others with Fanatick Face,
Talk of their Milk for Babes of Grace;
From Tubs their snuffling Nonsense utter:
Thy Milk shall make us Tubs of Butter.
The Bishop with his Foot may burn it;
But, with his Hand, the Dean can churn it.
How are the Servants overjoy'd
To see thy Deanship thus employ'd!
Instead of poring on a Book,
Providing Butter for the Cook.
Three Morning-Hours you toss and shake
The Bottle, till your Fingers ake:
Hard is the Toil, nor small the Art,
The Butter from the Whey to part:
Behold; a frothy Substance rise;
Be cautious, or your Bottle flies.
The Butter comes; our Fears are ceas't;
And, out you squeeze an Ounce at least.

YOUR Rev'rence thus, with like Success,
Nor is your Skill, or Labour less,
When bent upon some smart Lampoon,
You toss and turn your Brain till Noon;
Which, in its Jumblings round the Skull,
Dilates, and makes the Vessel full:
While nothing comes but Froth at first,
You think your giddy Head will burst:
But, squeezing out four Lines in Rhime,
Are largely paid for all your time.

BUT, you have rais'd your gen'rous Mind
To Works of more exalted Kind.
Palladia was not half so skill'd in
The Grandeur or the Art of Building.
Two Temples of magnifick Size,
Attract the curious Trav'llers Eyes,
That might be envy'd by the Greeks;
Rais'd up by you in twenty Weeks:
Here, gentle Goddess Cloacine
Receives all Off'rings at her Shrine.
In sep'rate Cells the He's and She's
Here pay their Vows with bended Knees:
(For, 'tis prophane when Sexes mingle;
And ev'ry Nymph must enter single;
And when she feels an inward Motion,
Comes fill'd with Rev'rence and Devotion.)
The bashful Maid, to hide her Blush,
Shall creep no more behind a Bush;
Here unobserv'd, she boldly goes,
As who should say, to pluck a Rose.

YE who frequent this hallow'd Scene,
Be not ungrateful to the Dean;
But, duly e'er you leave your Station,
Offer to him a pure Libation;
Or, of his own, or Smedley's Lay,
Or Billet-doux, or Lock of Hay:
And, O! may all who hither come,
Return with unpolluted Thumb.

YET, when your lofty Domes I praise,
I sigh to think of antient Days.
Permit me then to raise my Style,
And sweetly moralize a while.

THEE bounteous Goddess Cloacine,
To Temples why do we confine?
Forbid in open Air to breath;
Why are thine Altars fix't beneath?

WHEN Saturn rul'd the Skies alone,
That golden Age, to Gold unknown;
This earthly Globe to thee assign'd,
Receiv'd the Gifts of all Mankind.
Ten Thousand Altars smoaking round
Were built to thee, with Off'rings crown'd:
And here thy daily Vot'ries plac't
Their Sacrifice with Zeal and Haste:
The Margin of a purling Stream,
Sent up to thee a grateful Steam:
(Though sometimes thou wer't pleas'd to wink,
If Nayads swept them from the Brink)
Or, where appointing Lovers rove,
The Shelter of a shady Grove:
Or, offer'd in some fiow'ry Vale,
Were wafted by a gentle Gale.
There, many a Flow'r abstersive grew,
Thy fav'rite Flow'rs of yellow Hue
The Crocus and the Daffodil,
The Cowslip soft, and sweet Jonquil.

BUT, when at last usurping Jove
Old Saturn from his Empire drove;
Then Gluttony with greasy Paws,
Her Napkin pinn'd up to her Jaws,
With watry Chaps, and wagging Chin,
Brac'd like a Drum her oily Skin;
Wedg'd in a spacious Elbow-Chair,
And on her Plate a treble Share,
As if she ne'er could have enuff;
Taught harmless Man to cram and stuff.
She sent her Priests in Wooden Shoes
From haughty Gaul to make Ragous.
Instead of wholsome Bread and Cheese,
To dress their Soupes and Fricassyes;
And, for our home-bred British Chear,
Botargo, Catsup, and Caveer.

THIS bloated Harpy sprung from Hell,
Confin'd Thee Goddess to a Cell:
Sprung from her Womb that impious Line,
Contemners of thy Rites divine.
First, lolling Sloth in Woollen Cap,
Taking her Ater-dinner Nap:
Pale Dropsy with a sallow Face,
Her Belly burst, and slow her Pace:
And, lordly Gout wrapt up in Furr:
And, wheezing Asthma, loth to stir:
Voluptuous Ease, the Child of Wealth,
Infecting thus our Hearts by Stealth;
None seek thee now in open Air;
To thee no verdant Altars rear;
But, in their Cells and Vaults obscene
Present a Sacrifice unclean
From whence unsav'ry Vapours rose,
Offensive to thy nicer Nose.
Ah! who in our degen'rate Days
As Nature prompts, his Off'ring pays?
Here, Nature never Diff'rence made
Between the Scepter and the Spade.

YE Great ones, why will ye disdain
To pay your Tribute on the Plain?
Why will you place in lazy Pride
Your Altars near your Couches Side?
When from the homeliest Earthen Ware
Are sent up Off'rings more sincere
Than where the haughty Dutchess Locks,
Her Silver Vase in Cedar-Box.

YET, some Devotion still remains
Among our harmless Northern Swains;
Whose Off'rings plac't in golden Ranks,
Adorn our chrystal River's Banks:
Nor seldom grace the flow'ry downs,
With spiral Tops, and Copple-Crowns:
Or gilding in a sunny Morn
The humble Branches of a Thorn.
(So Poets sing, with golden Bough
The Trojan Heroe paid his Vow.)

HITHER by luckless Error led,
The crude Consistence oft I tread.
Here, when my Shoes are out of case,
Unweeting gild the tarnish'd Lace:
Here, by the sacred Bramble ting'd,
My Petticoat is doubly fring'd.

BE Witness for me, Nymph divine,
I never robb'd thee with Design:
Nor, will the zealous Hannah pout
To wash thy injur'd Off'rings out.

BUT, stop ambitious Muse, in time;
Nor dwell on Subjects too sublime.
In vain on lofty Heels I tread,
Aspiring to exalt my Head:
With Hoop expanded wide and light,
In vain I tempt too high a Flight.

Me Phoebus in a midnight Dream
Accosting; said, Go shake your Cream.
Be humbly minded; know your Post;
Sweeten your Tea, and watch your Toast.
Thee best befits a lowly Style:
Teach Dennis how to stir the Guile:
With Peggy Dixon thoughtful sit,
Contriving for the Pot and Spit.
Take down thy proudly swelling Sails,
And rub thy Teeth, and pair thy Nails.
At nicely carving show thy Wit;
But ne'er presume to eat a Bit:
Turn ev'ry Way thy watchful Eye;
And ev'ry Guest be sure to ply:
Let never at your Board be known
An empty Plate except your own.
Be these thy Arts; nor higher Aim
Than what befits a rural Dame.

BUT, Cloacina Goddess bright,
Sleek --- claims her as his Right:
And Smedley, Flow'r of all Divines,
Shall sing the Dean in Smedley's Lines.

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For not Building at


The last of the poems with an obvious Gosford connection. Swift finally renounces the idea of taking up permanent residence at Drapier's Hill: Sir Arthur seems to have become uncommunicative and miserly, no longer a suitable foil for his wit. We also have further confirmation of Swift's officious interference in the daily running of the household - perhaps this is the explanation of the coldness of Sir Arthur towards him now, and why he did not return to Gosford after 1730 - the last line of the poem suggests that Sir Arthur did not want him to.

I'LL not build on yonder mount:
And, should you call me to account,
Consulting with myself I find,
It was no levity of mind.
Whate'er I promised or intended,
No fault of mine, the scheme is ended:
Nor can you tax me as unsteady,
I have a hundred causes ready:
All risen since that flatt'ring time,
When Drapier's-hill appear'd in rhyme.

I am, as now too late I find,
The greatest cully of mankind:
The lowest boy in Martin's school
May turn and wind me like a fool.
How could I form so wild a vision,
To seek, in deserts, Fields Elysian?
To live in fear, suspicion, variance,
With Thieves, Fanatics, and Barbarians?

But here my Lady will object;
Your Deanship ought to recollect,
That, near the Knight of Gosford plac't,
Whom you allow a man of taste,
Your intervals of time to spend
With so conversible a friend,
It would not signify a pin
Whatever climate you were in.

'Tis true, but what advantage comes
To me from all a us'rer's plumbs;
Though I should see him twice a day,
And am his neighbour cross the way;
If all my rhetoric must fail
To strike him for a pot of ale?

Thus, when the learned and the wise
Conceal their talents from our eyes,
And, from deserving friends, with-hold
Their gifts, as misers do their gold;
Their knowledge, to themselves confin'd,
Is the same avarice of mind:
Nor makes their conversation better,
Than if they never knew a letter.
Such is the fate of Gosford's Knight,
Who keeps his wisdom out of sight;
Whose uncommunicative heart,
Will scarce one precious word impart:
Still rapt in speculations deep,
His outward senses fast asleep;
Who, while I talk, a song will hum,
Or, with his fingers, beat the drum;
Beyond the skies transports his mind,
And leaves a lifeless corpse behind.

But, as for me, who ne'er could clamber high,
To understand Malebranche or Cambray;
Who send my mind (as I believe) less
Than others do, on errands sleeveless;
Can listen to a tale humdrum,
And, with attention, read Tom Thumb;
My spirits with my body progging,
Both hand in hand together jogging;
Sunk over head and ears in matter,
Nor can of metaphysics smatter;
Am more diverted with a quibble
Than dreams of worlds intelligible;
And think all notions too abstracted
Are like the ravings of a crackt head;
What intercourse of minds can be
Betwixt the Knight sublime and me?
If when I talk, as talk I must,
It is but prating to a bust.

Where friendship is by Fate design'd,
It forms an union in the mind:
But, here I differ from the Knight
In every point, like black and white:
For, none can say that ever yet
We both in one opinion met:
Not in philosophy, or ale,
In state affairs, or planting cale;
In rhetoric, or picking straws;
In roasting larks, or making laws:
In public schemes, or catching flies,
In parliaments, or pudding-pies.

The neighbours wonder why the Knight
Should in a country life delight,
Who not one pleasure entertains
To chear the solitary scenes:
His guests are few, his visits rare,
Nor uses time, nor time will spare;
Nor rides, nor walks, nor hunts, nor fowls,
Nor plays at cards, or dice, or bowls;
But, seated in an easy chair,
Despises exercise and air.
His rural walks he ne'er adorns;
Here poor Pomona sits on thorns:
And there neglected Flora settles
Her bum upon a bed of nettles.

Those thankless and officious cares
I use to take in friends affairs,
From which I never could refrain,
And have been often chid in vain:
From these I am recover'd quite,
At least in what regards the Knight.
Preserve his health, his store increase;
May nothing interrupt his peace.
But now, let all his tenants round
First milk his cows, and after, pound:
Let ev'ry cottager conspire
To cut his hedges down for fire;
The naughty boys about the village
His crabs and sloes may freely pillage:
He still may keep a pack of knaves
To spoil his work, and work by halves:
His meadows may be dug by swine,
It shall be no concern of mine.
For, why should I continue still
To serve a friend against his will?


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