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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 7/The Dean's Answer to Dr. Sheridan's Poem


IN reading your letter alone in my hackney,
Your damnable riddle my poor brains did rack nigh.
And when with much labour the matter I crackt,
I found you mistaken in matter of fact.
A woman's no sieve (for with that you begin)
Because she lets out more than e'er she takes in.
And that she's a riddle can never be right,
For a riddle is dark, but a woman is light.
But, grant her a sieve, I can say something archer;
Pray what is a man? he's a fine linen searcher.
Now tell me a thing that wants interpretation,
What name for a maid[1], was the first man's damnation?
If your worship will please to explain me this rebus,
I swear from henceforward you shall be my Phœbus.

From my hackney coach, Sept. 11, 1719, past 12 at noon.

  1. A damsel, i. e. Adam's Hell.