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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 7/On Paddy's Character of the Intelligencer

ON

PADDY'S CHARACTER OF THE INTELLIGENCER[1].

1729


AS a thorn bush, or oaken bough,
Stuck in an Irish cabin's brow,
Above the door, on country fair,
Betokens entertainment there;
So bays on poets' brows have been
Set, for a sign of wit within.
And, as ill neighbours in the night
Pull down an alehouse bush for spite;
The laurel so, by poets worn,
Is by the teeth of Envy torn;
Envy, a canker-worm, which tears
Those sacred leaves that lightning spares.
And now t' exemplify this moral:
Tom having earn'd a twig of laurel,
(Which, measur'd on his head, was found
Not long enough to reach half round,
But, like a girl's cockade, was ty'd,
A trophy, on his temple-side)
Paddy repin'd to see him wear
This badge of honour in his hair;
And, thinking this cockade of wit
Would his own temples better fit,
Forming his Muse by Smedley's model,
Lets drive at Tom's devoted noddle,
Pelts him by turns with verse and prose,
Hums like a hornet at his nose,
At length presumes to vent his satire on
The dean, Tom's honoured friend and patron.
The eagle in the tale, ye know,
Teas'd by a buzzing wasp below,
Took wing to Jove, and hop'd to rest
Securely in the thunderer's breast:
In vain; even there, to spoil his nod.
The spiteful insect stung the god.


  1. Dr. Sheridan was publisher of the "Intelligencer," a weekly paper, written principally by himself; but Dr. Swift occasionally supplied him with a letter. Dr. Delany, piqued at the approbation those papers received, attacked them violently both in conversation and in print; but unfortunately stumbled on some of the numbers which the dean had written, and all the world admired; which gave rise to these verses.