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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 7/To Dr. Sheridan on His Art of Punning


HAD I ten thousand mouths and tongues,
Had I ten thousand pair of lungs,
Ten thousand sculls with brains to think,
Ten thousand standishes of ink,
Ten thousand hands and pens to write
Thy praise, I'd study day and night.
O may thy work for ever live!
(Dear Tom, a friendly zeal forgive)
May no vile miscreant saucy cook
Presume to tear thy learned book,
To singe his fowl for nicer guest,
Or pin it on the turkey's breast.
Keep it from pasty bak'd or flying,
From broiling stake, or fritters frying,
From lighting pipe, or making snuff,
Or casing up a feather muff,
From all the several ways the grocer
(Who to the learned world's a foe, sir)
Has found in twisting, folding, packing,
His brains and ours at once a racking.
And may it never curl the head,
Of either living block or dead!
Thus, when all dangers they have past,
Your leaves, like leaves of brass, shall last.
No blast shall from a critick's breath,
By vile infection, cause their death,
Till they in flames at last expire,
And help to set the world on fire.