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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 7/Upon the Horrid Plot discovered by Harlequin




In a Dialogue between a Whig and a Tory. 1723.

I ASK'D a whig the other night,
How came this wicked plot to light?
He answer'd, that a dog of late
Inform'd a minister of state.
Said I, from thence I nothing know;
For are not all informers so?
A villain who his friend betrays,
We style him by no other phrase;
And so a perjur'd dog denotes
Porter, and Pendergast, and Oates,
And forty others I could name.
Whig. But you must know, this dog was lame.
Tory. A weighty argument indeed!
Your evidence was lame: — proceed:
Come, help your lame dog o'er the stile.
Whig. Sir, you mistake me all this while:
I mean a dog (without a joke)
Can howl, and bark, but never spoke.
Tory. I'm still to seek, which dog you mean;
Whether our Plunkett, or whelp Skean,
An English or an Irish hound;
Or t'other puppy, that was drown'd;
Or Mason, that abandoned bitch:
Then pray be free, and tell me which:
For every stander by was marking
That all the noise they made was barking.
You pay them well, the dogs have got
Their dogs-heads in a porridge pot:
And 'twas but just; for wise men say,
That every dog must have his day.
Dog Walpole laid a quart of nog on't,
He'd either make a hog or dog on't;
And look'd, since he has got his wish,
As if he had thrown down a dish.
Yet this I dare foretel you from it,
He'll soon return to his own vomit.
Whig. Besides, this horrid plot was found
By Neynoe, after he was drown'd.
Tory. Why then the proverb is not right,
Since you can teach dead dogs to bite.
Whig. I prov'd my proposition full:
But jacobites are strangely dull.
Now, let me tell you plainly, sir,
Our witness is a real cur,
A dog of spirit for his years,
Has twice two legs, two hanging ears;
His name is Harlequin, I wot,
And that's a name in every plot:
Resolv'd to save the British nation,
Though French by birth and education;
His correspondence plainly dated
Was all decipher'd and translated:
His answers were exceeding pretty
Before the secret wise committee;
Confest as plain as he could bark:
Then with his forefoot set his mark.
Tory. Then all this while have I been bubbled,
I thought it was a dog in doublet:
The matter now no longer sticks;
For statesmen never want dog tricks.
But since it was a real cur,
And not a dog in metaphor,
I give you joy of the report,
That he's to have a place at court.
Whig. Yes, and a place he will grow rich in;
A turnspit in the royal kitchen.
Sir, to be plain, I tell you what,
We had occasion for a plot:
And when we found the dog begin it,
We guess'd the bishop's foot was in it.
Tory. I own it was a dangerous project;
And you have prov'd it by dog-logick.
Sure such intelligence between
A dog and bishop ne'er was seen.
Till you began to change the breed;
Your bishops all are dogs indeed!

  1. See Bp. Atterbury's Epistolary Correspondence, 1799, vol. IV, p. 406.