The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 18/Verses on Two Celebrated Modern Poets
ON TWO CELEBRATED MODERN POETS.
BEHOLD, those monarch oaks, that rise,
With lofty branches to the skies,
Have large proportioned roots that grow
With equal longitude below:
Two bards, that now in fashion reign,
Most aptly this device explain:
If this to clouds and stars will venture,
That creeps as far to reach the centre;
Or, more to show the thing I mean,
Have you not o'er a sawpit seen,
A skill'd mechanick, that has stood
High on a length of prostrate wood,
Who hired a subterraneous friend,
To take his iron by the end;
But which excell'd was never found,
The man above, or under ground.
The moral is so plain to hit,
That, had I been the god of wit,
Then, in a sawpit and wet weather,
Should Young and Philips drudge together.
- This is to be understood as a censure only of the poetical character of those gentlemen. As men, the dean esteemed them both; and on Philips in particular conferred many signal acts of friendship.