The Poems of Jonathan Swift, D.D., Volume 2 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 321 pages of information about The Poems of Jonathan Swift, D.D., Volume 2.

Perlegi versus versos, Jonathan bone, tersos;
Perlepidos quidem; scribendo semper es idem. 
Laudibus extollo te, tu mihi magnus Apollo;
Tu frater Phoebus, oculis collyria praebes,
Ne minus insanae reparas quoque damna Dianae,
Quae me percussit radiis (nec dixeris ussit)
Frigore collecto; medicus moderamine tecto
Lodicem binum premit, atque negat mihi vinum. 
O terra et coelum! quam redit pectus anhelum. 
Os mihi jam siccum, liceat mihi bibere dic cum? 
Ex vestro grato poculo, tam saepe prolato,
Vina crepant:  sales ostendet quis mihi tales? 
Lumina, vos sperno, dum cuppae gaudia cerno: 
Perdere etenim pellem nostram, quoque crura mavellem. 
  Amphora, quam dulces risus queis pectora mulces,
Pangitur a Flacco, cum pectus turget Iaccho: 
Clarius evohe ingeminans geminatur et ohe;
Nempe jocosa propago, haesit sic vocis imago.

TO DR. SHERIDAN. 1718

Whate’er your predecessors taught us,
I have a great esteem for Plautus;
And think your boys may gather there-hence
More wit and humour than from Terence;
But as to comic Aristophanes,
The rogue too vicious and too profane is. 
I went in vain to look for Eupolis
Down in the Strand,[1] just where the New Pole[2] is;
For I can tell you one thing, that I can,
You will not find it in the Vatican. 
He and Cratinus used, as Horace says,
To take his greatest grandees for asses. 
Poets, in those days, used to venture high;
But these are lost full many a century. 
Thus you may see, dear friend, ex pede hence,
My judgment of the old comedians. 
  Proceed to tragics:  first Euripides
(An author where I sometimes dip a-days)
Is rightly censured by the Stagirite,
Who says, his numbers do not fadge aright. 
A friend of mine that author despises
So much he swears the very best piece is,
For aught he knows, as bad as Thespis’s;
And that a woman in these tragedies,
Commonly speaking, but a sad jade is. 
At least I’m well assured, that no folk lays
The weight on him they do on Sophocles. 
But, above all, I prefer Eschylus,
Whose moving touches, when they please, kill us. 
  And now I find my Muse but ill able,
To hold out longer in trissyllable. 
I chose those rhymes out for their difficulty;
Will you return as hard ones if I call t’ye?

[Footnote 1:  N.B.—­The Strand in London.  The fact may not be true; but the rhyme cost me some trouble.—­Swift.]

[Footnote 2:  The Maypole.  See “The Dunciad,” ii, 28.  Pope’s “Works,” Elwin and Courthope, vol. iv.]

THE ANSWER, BY DR. SHERIDAN

Sir,

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The Poems of Jonathan Swift, D.D., Volume 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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