The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 17/Verses Occasioned by an &c. After Mr. D'Urfy's Name

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While this work is included within The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift and is not attributed to anyone other than Jonathan Swift, it may have been written by another member of the Scriblerus Club. The club, which was founded in 1714, included Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, John Gay, John Arbuthnot, Henry St John, and Thomas Parnell.



JOVE call'd before him t' other day
The vowels, U, O, I, E, A;
All diphthongs, and all consonants,
Either of England, or of France;
And all that were, or wish'd to be,
Rank'd in the name of Tom D'Urfy.
Fierce in this cause the letters spoke all,
Liquids grew rough, and mutes turn'd vocal.
Those four proud syllables alone
Were silent, which by Fate's decree
Chim'd in so smoothly, one by one,
To the sweet name of Tom D'Urfy.
N, by whom names subsist, declar'd,
To have no place in this 'twas hard:
And Q maintain'd 'twas but his due
Still to keep company with U;
So hop'd to stand no less than he
In the great name of Tom D'Urfy.
E show'd a Comma ne'er could claim
A place in any British name;
Yet, making here a perfect botch,
Thrusts your poor vowel from his notch;
Hiatus mî valdè desflendus!
From which, good Jupiter, defend us!
Sooner I'd quit my part in thee,
Than be no part in Tom D'Urfy.
P protested, puff'd, and swore,
He'd not be serv'd so like a beast;
He was a piece of emperor,
And made up half a pope at least.
C vow'd, he'd frankly have releas'd
His double share in Cæsar Caius
For only one in Tom Durfeius.
I, consonant and vowel too,
To Jupiter did humbly sue,
That of his grace he would proclaim
Durfeius his true Latin name:
For though, without them both, 'twas clear
Himself could ne'er be Jupiter;
Yet they'd resign that post so high,
To be the genitive, Durfei.
B and L swore b— and w—s!
X and Z cried, p—x and z—s!
G swore, by G—d, it ne'er should be;
And W would not lose, not he,
An English letter's property
In the great name of Tom D'Urfy.
In short, the rest were all in fray,
From christ-cross to et cætera.
They, tho' but standers by, too mutter'd;
Diphthongs and triphthongs swore and flutter'd:

That none had so much right to be
Part of the name of stuttering T —
T--Tom--a--as — De---D'Ur--fy-fy.

Then Jove thus spake: "With care and pain
We form'd this name, renown'd in rhyme:
Not thine, immortal Neufgermain[2]!
Cost studious cabalists more time.

Yet now, as then, you all declare,
Far hence to Egypt you'll repair,
And turn strange hi'roglyphicks there,

Rather than letters longer be,
Unless i' th' name of Tom D'Urfy.
"Were you all pleas'd, yet what, I pray,
To foreign letters could I say?
What if the Hebrew next should aim
To turn quite backward D'Urfy's name?
Should the Greek quarrel too, by Styx, I
Could never bring in Psi and Xi;
Omicron and Omega from us
Would each hope to be O in Thomas;

And all th' ambitious vowels vie,
No less than Pythagorick Y,
To have a place in Tom D'Urfy.

"Then well-belov'd and trusty letters!
Cons'nants, and vowels much their betters,
We, willing to repair this breach,
And, all that in us lies, please each,
Et cæt'ra to our aid must call;
Et cæt'ra represents ye all:

Et cæt'ra therefore, we decree,
Henceforth for ever joined shall be
To the great name of Tom D'Urfy."

  1. This accident happened by Mr. D'Urfy's having made a flourish there, which the printer mistook for an &c.
  2. A poet, who used to make verses ending with the last syllables of the names of those persons he praised: which Voiture turned against him in a poem of the same kind.