The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 7/To George-Nim-Dan-Dean, Esq. – (Delany)




HAIL, human compound quadrifarious,
Invincible as wight Briareus!
Hail! doubly-doubled mighty merry one,
Stronger than triple-body'd Geryon!
O may your vastness deign t'excuse
The praises of a puny Muse.
Unable, in her utmost flight,
To reach thy huge colossian height.
T' atempt to write like thee were frantick,
Whose lines are, like thyself, gigantick.
Yet let me bless, in humbler strain,
Thy vast, thy bold Cambysian vein,
Pour'd out t' enrich thy native isle,
As Egypt wont to be with Nile.
O, how I joy to see thee wander,
In many a winding loose meander,
In circling mazes, smooth and supple,
And ending in a clink quadruple;
Loud, yet agreeable withal,
Like rivers rattling in their fall!
Thine, sure, is poetry divine,
Where wit and majesty combine;
Where every line, as huge as seven,
If stretch'd in length, would reach to Heaven:
Here all comparing would be slandering,
The least is more than Alexandrine.
Against thy verse Time sees with pain,
He whets his envious sithe in vain;
For, though from thee he much may pare,
Yet much thou still wilt have to spare.
Thou hast alone the skill to feast
With Roman elegance of taste,
Who hast of rhymes as vast resources
As Pompey's caterer of courses.
O thou, of all the Nine inspir'd!
My languid soul, with teaching tir'd,
How is it raptur'd, when it thinks
On thy harmonious set of clinks;
Each answering each in various rhymes,
Like Echo to St. Patrick's chimes!
Thy Muse, majestick in her rage,
Moves like Statira on the stage;
And scarcely can one page sustain
The length of such a flowing train:
Her train, of variegated die,
Shows like Thaumantia's in the sky;
Alike they glow, alike they please,
Alike imprest by Phœbus' rays.
Thy verse — (Ye Gods! I cannot bear it)
To what, to what shall I compare it?
'Tis like, what I have oft heard spoke on,
The famous statue of Laocoon.
'Tis like, — O yes, 'tis very like it,
The long, long string, with which you fly kite.
'Tis like what you, and one or two more,
Roar to your Echo[2] in good humour;
And every couplet thou hast writ
Concludes like Rattah-whittah-whit[3].

  1. These were written all in circles.
  2. At Gaulstown, there is a remarkably famous echo.
  3. An allusion to the sound produced by the echo.