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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Robert Harley to Jonathan Swift, John Arbuthnot, Alexander Pope, John Gay - 1

HUMOUROUS LINES BY LORD TREASURER OXFORD, SENT TO DR. SWIFT, DR. ARBUTHNOT, MR. POPE, AND MR. GAY.


April 14, 1714. Back Stairs, past eight.


GAY,

IN a summons so large, which all clergy contains,
I must turn Dismal's[1] convert, or part with my brains,
Should I scruple to quit the back stairs for your blind ones,
Or refuse your true juncto[2] for one of ——


The following is their answer to his lordship, chiefly written by the dean.

Let not the whigs our tory club rebuke;
Give us our earl[3], the devil take their duke[4]
Quædam quæ attinent ad Scriblerum,
Want your assistance now to clear 'em.
One day it will be no disgrace,
In Scribler to have had a place,
Come then, my lord, and take your part in
The important history of Martin.


THE DEAN.

A pox on all senders
For any pretenders,
Who tell us these troublesome stories
In their dull humdrum key,
Of arma virumque,
Hanoniæ[5] qui primus ab oris.
A pox too on Hanmer,
Who prates like his gran-mere,
And all his old friends would rebuke.
In spite of the carle,
Give us but our earl,
The devil may take their duke.
Then come and take part in
The memoirs of Martin;
Lay down your white staff and gray habit
For trust us, friend Mortimer,
Should you live years forty more,
Hæc olim meminisse juvabit.

  1. Dismal was lord Nottingham.
  2. Dr. Swift, Dr. Arbuthnot, Mr. Pope, and Mr. Gay, were writing the history of Martinus Scriblerus; and these four wits, in conjunction, are styled by lord treasurer a juncto.
  3. Of Oxford.
  4. Of Marlborough.
  5. The duchy of Hainault.