Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

AN INVITATION, BY DR. DELANY, IN THE

NAME OF DR. SWIFT *.

Mighty Thomas t, a solemn senatus 1. I call,
To consult for Sapphira §; so come one and all;
Quit books, and quit business, your cure and your care,
For a long winding walk, and a short bill of fare.
I ve mutton for you, sir; and as for the ladies,
As friend Virgil has it; I've aliud mercedes;
For Letty ll, one filbert, whereon to regale;
And a peach for pale Constances, to make a full meal;

* See Mrs. Pilkington's Memoirs, vol. III. page 65. N.

t from their diminutive size, the Dean used to call Mr. Pilkington “ Tom Thumb," and his wife « his lady fair.” N.

| To correct Mrs. Barber's poems; which were published at London, in 4to, by subscription; with the addition of several poems by her son Constantine, afterward a very learned physician, and president of the college of physicians in Dublin. -The De.n, in his will, bequeathed to Mrs. Barber “ the medal of queen Anne and prince George, which she formerly gave me.” N.

§ The name by which Mrs. Barber was distinguished by her friends. N. || Mrs. Pilkington. N.

Mrs. Constantia Grierson, a native of Kilkenny, who died in 1733, at the age of 27. She was well versed in Greek and Roman literature, history, divinity, philosophy, and mathematicks. She gave a proof of her knowledge of the Latin tongue, by her dedication of the Dublin edition of Tacitus to the lord Carteret, and by that of Terence to his son, to whom she likewise wrote a Greek epigram. Lord Carteret obtained a patent for Mr. George Grierson, her husband, to be king's printer in Ireland ; and, to distinguish and reward her extraordinary merit, had her life inserted in it. See the preface to Mrs. Barber's And for your cruel part, who take pleasure in blood,

poems. N.

I have that of the grape, which is ten ti es as good: Flow wit to her honour, flow wine to her health; High rais'd be her worth, above titles or wealth.

THE BEASTS' CONFESSION TO THE PRIEST,

ON OBSERVING HOW MOST MEN MISTAKE

THEIR OWN TALENTS. 1732.

PREFACE. I have been long of opinion, that there is not a more general and greater mistake, or of worse consequences through the commerce of mankind, than the wrong judgments they are apt to entertain of their own talents. I knew a stuttering alderman in London, a great frequenter of coffee houses; who, when a fresh newspaper was brought in, constantly seized it first, and read it aloud to bis brother citi. zens; but in a manner as little intelligible to the standers-by as to himself. How many pretenders to learning expose themselves by choosing to discourse on those very parts of science wherewith they are least acquainted! It is the same case in every other qualification. By the multitude of those who deal in rhymes, from half a sheet to twenty, which come out every minute, there must be at least five hun. dred

poets in the city and suburbs of London ; half as many coffeehouse orators, exclusive of the clergy; forty thousand politicians, and four thousand tive

Mrs. Van Lewen (Mrs. Pilkington's mother), who used to argue with Dr. Swift, about his declamation against eating kload. N.

*

hundred profound scholars; not to mention the wits, the railers, the smart fellows, and criticks; all as illiterate and impudent as a suburb whore. What are we to think of the fine-dressed sparks, proud of their own personal deformities, which appear the more hideous by the contrast of wearing scarlet and gold, with what they call toupets on their heads, and all the frippery of a modern beau, to make a figure before women; some of them with humpbacks, others hardly five feet high, and every feature of their faces distorted; I have seen many of these insipid pretenders entering into conversation with persons of learning, constantly making the grossest blunders in 1-every sentence, without conveying one single idea fit for a rational creature to spend a thought on; perpetually confounding all chronology, and geography even of present times, compute, that London hath eleven native fools of the beau and puppy kind, for one among us in Dublin; beside two thirds of ours transplanted thither, who are now naturalized; whereby that overgrown capital exceeds ours in the articles of dunces by forty to one; and what is more to our farther mortification, there is not one distinguished fool of Irish birth or education, who makes any noise in that famous metropolis, unless the London prints be very partial or defective; whereas London is seldom without a dozen of their own educating, who engross the vogue for half a winter together, and are never heard of more, but give place to a new set. This has been the constant progress for at least thirty years past, only allowing for the change of breed and fashion.

The poem is grounded upon the universal folly in mankind of mistaking their talents; by which the

Wigs with long black tails, at that time very much in fashion. It was very common also to call the wearers of them by the same name. F,

author does a great honour to his own species, almost equalling them with certain brutes ; wherein, indeed, he is too partial, as he freely confesses: and yet he has gone as low as he well could, by specifying four animals; the wolf, the ass, the swine, and the ape ; all equally mischievous, except the last, who outdoes them in the article of cunning : So great is the pride of man!

When beasts could speak (the learned say
They still can do so every day)
It seems, they had religion then,
As much as now we find in men.
It happen'd, when a plague broke out,
(Which therefore made them more devout)
The king of brutes (to make it plain,
Of quadrupeds I only mean)
By proclamation gave command,
That every subject in the land
Should to the priest confess their sins;
And thus the pious Wolf begins:
Good father, I must own with shame,
That often I have been to blame:
I must confess, on Friday last,
Wretch that I was! I broke my fast:
But I defy the basest tongue
To prove I did my neighbour wrong;
Or ever went to seek my food
By rapine, theft, or thirst of blood.

The Ass, approaching next, confess'd,
That in his heart he lov'd a jest :
A wag he was, he needs must own,
And could not let a dunce alone :
Sometimes his friend he would not spare,
And might perhaps be too severe:
But yet, the worst that could be said,
He was a wit both born and bred;

And, if it be a sin and shame,
Nature alone must bear the blame:
One fault he has, is sorry for't,
His ears are half a foot too short;
Which could he to the standard bring,
He'd show his face before the king :
Then for his voice, there's none disputes
That he's the nightingale of brutes.

The Swine with contrite heart allow'd, -
His shape and beauty made him proud:
In diet was perhaps too nice,
But gluttony was ne'er his vice :
In every turn of life content,
And meekly took what fortune sent:
Inquire through all the parish round,
A better neighbour ne'er was found :
His vigilance might some displease;
'Tis true, he hated sloth like pease.

The mimic Ape began his chatter, How evil tongues his life bespatter; Much of the censuring world complain'd, Who said, his gravity was feign'd : Indeed the strictness of his morals Engag'd him in a hundred quarrels : He saw, and he was griev'd to see't, His zeal was sometimes indiscreet: He found his virtues too severe For our corrupted times to bear; Yet such a lewd licentious age Might well excuse a stoick's rage.

The Goat advanc'd with decent pace; And first excus'd his youthful face Forgiveness begg'd, that he appear'd ('Twas Nature's fault) without a beard. 'Tis true, he was not much inclin'd To fondness for the female kind: Not, as his enemies object, From chance, or natural defect;

« AnteriorContinuar »