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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 7/Dean Smedley's Petition to the Duke of Grafton

DEAN SMEDLEY'S PETITION


TO THE DUKE OF GRAFTON.


"Non domus aut fundus —"Hor.


IT was, my lord, the dextrous shift
Of t'other Jonathan, viz. Swift,
But now St. Patrick's saucy dean,
With silver verge and surplice clean,
Of Oxford, or of Ormond's grace,
In looser rhyme to beg a place.
A place he got, yclept a stall,
And eke a thousand pound withal;
And, were he a less witty writer,
He might as well have got a mitre.
Thus I, the Jonathan of Clogher,
In humble lays, my thanks to offer,
Approach your grace with grateful heart,
My thanks and verse both void of art,
Content with what your bounty gave,
No larger income do I crave:
Rejoicing that, in better times,
Grafton requires my loyal lines.
Proud! while my patron is polite,
I likewise to the patriot write!
Proud! that at once I can commend
King George's and the Muses' friend!
Endear'd to Britain; and to thee
(Disjoin'd, Hibernia, by the sea)
Endear'd by twice three anxious years,
Employ'd in guardian toils and cares;
By love, by wisdom, and by skill;
For he has sav'd thee 'gainst thy will.
But where shall Smedley make his nest,
And lay his wandering head to rest?
Where shall he find a decent house,
To treat his friends, and cheer his spouse?
O! tack, my lord, some pretty cure;
In wholesome soil, and ether pure;
The garden stor'd with artless flowers,
In either angle shady bowers.
No gay parterre, with costly green,
Within the ambient hedge be seen:
Let Nature freely take her course,
Nor fear from me ungrateful force;
No sheers shall check her sprouting vigour,
Nor shape the yews to antick figure:
A limpid brook shall trout supply,
In May, to take the mimick fly;
Round a small orchard may it run,
Whose apples redden to the sun.
Let all be snug, and warm, and neat;
For fifty turn'd a safe retreat.
A little Euston[1] may it be,
Euston I'll carve on every tree.
But then, to keep it in repair,
My lord — twice fifty pounds a year

Will barely do; but if your grace
Could make them hundreds — charming place!
Thou then wouldst show another face.
Clogher! far north, my lord, it lies,

'Midst snowy hills, inclement skies;
One shivers with the arctick wind,
One hears the polar axis grind.
Good John[2] indeed, with beef and claret,
Makes the place warm that one may bear it.
He has a purse to keep a table,
And eke a soul as hospitable.
My heart is good; but assets fail,
To fight with storms of snow and hail.
Besides, the country's thin of people,
Who seldom meet but at the steeple:
The strapping dean, that's gone to Down,
Ne'er nam'd the thing without a frown,
When, much fatigu'd with sermon study,
He felt his brain grow dull and muddy;
No fit companion could be found,
To push the lazy bottle round:
Sure then, for want of better folks
To pledge, his clerk was orthodox.
Ah! how unlike to Gerard street,
Where beaux and belles in parties meet;
Where gilded chairs and coaches throng,
And jostle as they troll along;
Where tea and coffee hourly flow,
And gapeseed does in plenty grow;
And Griz (no clock more certain) cries,
Exact at seven, "Hot mutton-pies!"
There lady Luna in her sphere
Once shone, when Paunceforth was not near;
But now she wanes, and, as 'tis said,
Keeps sober hours, and goes to bed.
There — but 'tis endless to write down
All the amusements of the town;
And spouse will think herself quite undone,
To trudge to Connor[3] from sweet London;
And care we must our wives to please,
Or else — we shall be ill at ease.
You see, my lord, what 'tis I lack,
'Tis only some convenient tack,
Some parsonage house, with garden sweet,
To be my late, my last retreat;
A decent church, close by its side,
There, preaching, praying, to reside;
And, as my time securely rolls,
To save my own and other souls.


  1. The name of the duke's seat, in Suffolk.
  2. Bp. Sterne.
  3. The bishoprick of Connor is united to that of Down; but there are two deans.