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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 7/The Problem

THE PROBLEM.


"THAT MY LORD BERKELEY STINKS, WHEN HE IS IN LOVE."


DID ever problem thus perplex,
Or more employ the female sex?
So sweet a passion, who would think,
Jove ever form'd to make a stink?
The ladies vow and swear, they'll try,
Whether it be a truth or lie.
Love's fire, it seems, like inward heat,
Works in my lord by stool and sweat,
Which brings a stink from every pore,
And from behind and from before;
Yet, what is wonderful to tell it,
None but the favourite nymph can smell it.
But now, to solve the natural cause
By sober philosophick laws:
Whether all passions, when in ferment,
Work out as anger does in vermin;
So, when a weasel you torment,
You find his passion by his scent.
We read of kings, who, in a fright,
Though on a throne, would fall to sh—.
Beside all this, deep scholars know,
That the main string of Cupid's bow,
Once on a time was an a— gut;
Now to a nobler office put,
By favour or desert preferr'd
From giving passage to a t—;
But still, though fix'd among the stars
Does sympathize with human a—.
Thus, when you feel a hardbound breech,
Conclude love's bowstring at full stretch,
Till the kind looseness comes, and then
Conclude the bow relax'd again.
And now, the ladles all are bent
To try the great experiment,
Ambitious of a regent's heart,
Spread all their charms to catch a f—;
Watching the first unsavoury wind,
Some ply before, and some behind.
My lord, on fire amid the dames,
F—ts like a laurel in the flames.
The fair approach the speaking part,
To try the back-way to his heart.
For, as when we a gun discharge,
Although the bore be ne'er so large,
Before the flame from muzzle burst,
Just at the breech it flashes first:
So from my lord his passion broke,
He f—d first, and then he spoke.
The ladies, vanish in the smother,
To confer notes with one another;
And now they all agreed to name
Whom each one thought the happy dame.
Quoth Neal, whate'er the rest may think,
I'm sure 'twas I, that smelt the stink.
You smell the stink! by G—d, you lye,
Quoth Ross, for I'll be sworn 'twas I.
Ladies, quoth Levens, pray, forbear:
Let's not fall out; we all had share.
And, by the most I can discover,
My lord's a universal lover.