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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 7/To Mr. Thomas Sheridan Upon His Verses Written in Circles

TO MR. THOMAS SHERIDAN.


UPON HIS VERSES WRITTEN IN CIRCLES.


BY DR. SWIFT.


IT never was known that circular letters,
By humble companions, were sent to their betters:
And, as to the subject, our judgment, meherc'le,
Is this, that you argue like fools in a circle.
But now for your verses; we tell you, imprimis,
The segment so large 'twixt your reason and rhyme is,
That we walk all about, like a horse in a pound,
And, before we find either, our noddles turn round,
Sufficient it were, one would think, in your mad rant,
To give us your measures of line by a quadrant,
But we took our dividers, and found your d—n'd metre,
In each single verse, took up a diameter.
But how, Mr. Sheridan, came you to venture
George, Dan, Dean, and Nim, to place in the centre[1]?
'Twill appear, to your cost, you are fairly trepann'd,
For the chord of your circle is now in their hand.
The chord, or the radius, it matters not whether,
By which your jade Pegasus, fixt in a tether,
As her betters are us'd, shall be lash'd round the ring,
Three fellows with whips, and the dean holds the string.
Will Hancock declares, you are out of your compass,
To encroach on his art by writing of bombast;
And has taken just now a firm resolution
To answer your style without circumlocution.
Lady Betty[2] presents you her service most humble,
And is not afraid your worship will grumble,
That she makes of your verses a hoop for miss Tam[3],
Which is all at present; and so I remain —


  1. Their figures were in the centre of the verses.
  2. The lady of George Rochfort, esq.
  3. Miss Thomason, lady Betty's daughter.