Open main menu

The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 7/Stella at Wood Park



"— Cuicumque nocere volebat,
Vestimenta dabat pretiosa."

DON Carlos, in a merry spite,
Did Stella to his house invite:
He entertain’d her half a year
With generous wines and costly cheer.
Don Carlos made her chief, director,
That she might o'er the servants hector.
In half a week the dame grew nice,
Got all things at the highest price:
Now at the table head she sits,
Presented with the nicest bits:
She look'd on partridges with scorn,
Except they tasted of the corn:
A haunch of venison made her sweat,
Unless it had the right fumette,
Don Carlos earnestly would beg,
Dear madam, try this pigeon's leg;
Was happy, when he could prevail
To make her only touch a quail.
Through candlelight she view'd the wine
To see that every glass was fine.
At last, grown prouder than the devil
With feeding high and treatment civil,
Don Carlos now began to find
His malice work as he design'd.
The winter sky began to frown;
Poor Stella must pack off to town:
From purling streams and fountains bubbling;
To Liffy's stinking tide at Dublin:
From wholesome exercise and air,
To sossing in an easy chair:
From stomach sharp, and hearty feedings
To piddle like a lady breeding:
From ruling there the household singly,
To be directed here by Dingley[1]:
From every day a lordly banquet,
To half a joint, and God be thanked:
From every meal Pontack in plenty,
To half a pint one day in twenty:
From Ford attending at her call,
To visits of — — —
From Ford, who thinks of nothing mean,
To the poor doings of the Dean:
From growing richer with good cheer,
To running out by starving here.
But now arrives the dismal day;
She must return to Ormond Quay[2].
The coachman stopt; she look'd, and swore
The rascal had mistook the door:
At coming in, you saw her stoop;
The entry brush'd against her hoop:
Each moment rising in her airs,
She curst the narrow winding stairs:
Began a thousand faults to spy;
The ceiling hardly six feet high;
The smutty wainscot full of cracks;
And half the chairs with broken backs:
Her quarter's out at Ladyday;
She vows she will no longer stay
In lodgings like a poor Grizette,
While there are houses to be let.
Howe'er, to keep her spirits up,
She sent for company to sup:
When all the while you might remark,
She strove in vain to ape Wood Park.
Two bottles call'd for (half her store
The cupboard could contain but four)
A supper worthy of herself,
Five nothings in five plates of delf.
Thus for a week the farce went on;
When, all her country savings gone,
She fell into her former scene,
Small beer, a herring, and the Dean.
Thus far in jest: though now, I fear,
You think my jesting too severe;
But poets, when a hint is new,
Regard not whether false or true:
Yet raillery gives no offence,
Where truth has not the least pretence;
Nor can be more securely plac'd
Than on a nymph of Stella's taste.
I must confess, your wine and vittle
I was too hard upon a little:
Your table neat, your linen fine;
And though in miniature, you shine:
Yet, when you sigh to leave Wood Park,
The scene, the welcome, and the spark.
To languish in this odious town,
And pull your haughty stomach down;
We think you quite mistake the case,
The virtue lies not in the place:
For, though my raillery were true,
A cottage is Wood Park with you.

  1. The constant companion of Stella.
  2. Where the two ladies lodged.