The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 7/A Dialogue between Mad Mullinix and Timothy

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M. I OWN, 'tis not my bread and butter;
But prithee, Tim, why all this clutter?
Why ever in these raging fits,
Damning to Hell the jacobites?
When, if you search the kingdom round,
There's hardly twenty to be found;
No, not among the priests and friars —
T. 'Twixt you and me, G—d d—n the liars!
M. The tories are gone every man over
To our illustrious house of Hanover;
From all their conduct this is plain;
And then —
T. G—d d—n the liars again!
Did not an earl but lately vote,
To bring in (I could cut his throat)
Our whole accounts of publick debts?
M. Lord! how this frothy coxcomb frets! [aside.
T. Did not an able statesman bishop
This dangerous horrid motion dish-up
As popish craft? did he not rail on't?
Show fire and faggot in the tail on't?
Proving the earl a grand offender,
And in a plot for the pretender;
Whose fleet, 'tis all our friends opinion,
Was then embarking at Avignon?
M. These wrangling jars of whig and tory,
Are stale and worn as Troy-town story:
The wrong, 'tis certain, you were both in,
And now you find you fought for nothing.
Your faction, when their game was new,
Might want such noisy fools as you;
But you, when all the show is past,
Resolve to stand it out the last;
Like Martin Marrall[1], gaping on,
Not minding when the song is done.
When all the bees are gone to settle,
You clatter still your brazen kettle.
The leaders whom you listed under,
Have dropt their arms, and seiz'd the plunder;
And when the war is past, you come
To rattle in their ears your drum:
And as that hateful hideous Grecian
Thersites (he was your relation)
Was more abhorr'd and scorn'd by those
With whom he serv'd, than by his foes;
So thou art grown the detestation
Of all thy party through the nation:
Thy peevish and perpetual teasing
With plots, and jacobites, and treason,
Thy busy, never-meaning face,
Thy screw'd up front, thy state grimace,
Thy formal nods, important sneers,
Thy whisperings foisted in all ears,
(Which are, whatever you may think,
But nonsense wrapt up in a stink)
Have made thy presence, in a true sense,
To thy own side, so d—n'd a nuisance,
That, when they have you in their eye,
As if the Devil drove, they fly.
T. My good friend Mullinix, forbear;
I vow to G—, you're too severe:
If it could ever yet be known
I took advice, except my own,
It should be yours; but, d—n my blood!
I must pursue the publick good:
The faction (is it not notorious?)
Keck at the memory of Glorious[2]:
'Tis true; nor need I to be told,
My quondam friends are grown so cold,
That scarce a creature can be found
To prance with me the statue round.
The publick safety, I foresee,
Henceforth depends alone on me;
And while this vital breath I blow,
Or from above, or from below,
I'll sputter, swagger, curse, and rail,
The tories terrour, scourge, and flail.
M. Tim, you mistake the matter quite;
The tories! you are their delight;
And should you act a different part,
Be grave and wise, 'twould break their heart.
Why, Tim, you have a taste I know,
And often see a puppetshow:
Observe, the audience is in pain,
While Punch is hid behind the scene;
But, when they hear his rusty voice,
With what impatience they rejoice!
And then they value not two straws,
How Solomon decides the cause,
Which the true mother, which pretender;
Nor listen to the witch of Endor.
Should Faustus, with the Devil behind him,
Enter the stage, they never mind him:
If Punch, to stir their fancy, shows
In at the door his monstrous nose,
Then sudden draws it back again;
O what a pleasure mixt with pain!
You every moment think an age,
Till he appears upon the stage:
And first his bum you see him clap
Upon the queen of Sheba's lap:
The duke of Lorraine drew his sword;
Punch roaring ran, and running roar'd,
Reviles all people in his jargon,
And sells the king of Spain a bargain;
St. George himself he plays the wag on,
And mounts astride upon the dragon;
He gets a thousand thumps and kicks,
Yet cannot leave his roguish tricks;
In every action thrusts his nose;
The reason why, no mortal knows:
In doleful scenes that break our heart,
Punch comes, like you, and lets a fart.
There's not a puppet made of wood,
But what would hang him, if they could;
While, teasing all, by all he's teas'd,
How well are the spectators pleas'd!
Who in the motion have no share,
But purely come to hear and stare;
Have no concern for Sabra's sake,
Which gets the better, saint or snake,
Provided Punch (for there's the jest)
Be soundly maul'd, and plague the rest.
Thus, Tim, philosophers suppose,
The world consists of puppetshows;
Where petulant conceited fellows
Perform the part of Punchinelloes:
So at this booth, which we call Dublin,
Tim, thou'rt the Punch to stir up trouble in;
You wriggle, fidge, and make a rout,
Put all your brother puppets out,
Run on in a perpetual round,
To tease, perplex, disturb, confound;
Intrude with monkey grin and clatter
To interrupt all serious matter;
Are grown the nuisance of your clan,
Who hate and scorn you to a man:
But then the lookers on, the tories,
You still divert with merry stories;
They would consent that all the crew
Were hang'd, before they'd part with you.
But tell me, Tim, upon the spot,
By all this toil what hast thou got?
If tories must have all the sport,
I fear you'll be disgrac'd at court.
T. Got? D—n my blood! I frank my letters,
Walk to my place before my betters;
And, simple as I now stand here,
Expect in time to be a peer —
Got? D—n me! why I got my will!
Ne'er hold my peace, and ne'er stand still:
I fart with twenty ladies by;
They call me beast; and what care I?
I bravely call the tories Jacks,
And sons of whores — behind their backs.
But, could you bring me once to think,
That when I strut, and stare, and stink,
Revile and slander, fume and storm,
Betray, make oath, impeach, inform,
With such a constant loyal zeal
To serve myself and commonweal,
And fret the tories' soul to death,
I did but loose my precious breath;
And, when I damn my soul to plague 'em,
Am, as you tell me, but their may-game;
Consume my vitals! they shall know,
I am not to be treated so;
I'd rather hang myself by half,
Than give those rascals cause to laugh.
But how, my friend, can I endure,
Once so renown'd, to live obscure?
No little boys and girls to cry,
"There's nimble Tim a passing by!"
No more my dear delightful way tread
Of keeping up a party hatred?
Will none the tory dogs pursue,
When through the streets I cry halloo?
Must all my d—n mes! bloods and wounds!
Pass only now for empty sounds?
Shall tory rascals be elected,
Although I swear them disaffected?
And, when I roar, "A plot, a plot!"
Will our own party mind me not?
So qualify'd to swear and lie,
Will they not trust me for a spy?
Dear Mullinix, your good advice
I beg; you see the case is nice:
O! were I equal in renown,
Like thee to please this thankless town!
Or, bless'd with such engaging parts
To win the truant schoolboys' hearts!
Thy virtues meet their just reward,
Attended by the sable guard.
Charm'd by thy voice, the 'prentice drops
The snow-ball destin'd at thy chops:
Thy graceful steps, and colonel's air,
Allure the cinder-picking fair.
M. No more — in mark of true affection,
I take thee under my protection:
Your parts are good, 'tis not deny'd;
I wish they had been well apply'd.
But now observe my council, (viz.)
Adapt your habit to your phyz;
You must no longer thus equip ye,
As Horace says, eptat ephippia;
(There 's Latin too, that you may see
How much improv'd by Dr. ———)
I have a coat at home, that you may try;
'Tis just like this, which hangs by geometry.
My hat has much the nicer air;
Your block will fit it to a hair:
That wig, I would not for the world
Have it so formal, and so curl'd;
'Twill be so oily and so sleek,
When I have lain in it a week,
You'll find it well prepar'd to take
The figure of toupee and snake.
Thus dress'd alike from top to toe,
That which is which 'tis hard to know;
When first in publick we appear,
I'll lead the van, you keep the rear:
Be careful, as you walk behind;
Use all the talents of your mind;
Be studious well to imitate
My portly motion, mien, and gait;
Mark my address, and learn my style,
When to look scornful, when to smile;
Nor sputter out your oaths so fast,
But keep your swearing to the last.
Then at our leisure we'll be witty,
And in the streets divert the city;
The ladies from the windows gaping,
The children all our motions aping.
Your conversation to refine,
I'll take you to some friend of mine;
Choice spirits, who employ their parts
To mend the world by useful arts;
Some cleansing hollow tubes, to spy
Direct the zenith of the sky;
Some have the city in their care,
From noxious steams to purge the air:
Some teach us in these dangerous days
How to walk upright in our ways;
Some whose reforming hands engage
To lash the lewdness of the age;
Some for the publick service go
Perpetual envoys to and fro;
Whose able heads support the weight
Of twenty ministers of state.
We scorn, for want of talk, to jabber
Of parties o'er our bonnyclabber;
Nor are we studious to inquire,
Who votes for manors, who for hire:
Our care is, to improve the mind
With what concerns all human kind;
The various scenes of mortal life;
Who beats her husband, who his wife:
Or how the bully at a stroke
Knock'd down the boy, the lantern broke.
One tells the rise of cheese and oatmeal;
Another when he got a hot meal;
One gives advice in proverbs old,
Instructs us how to tame a scold;
One shows how bravely Audouin dy'd,
And at the gallows all deny'd;
How by the almanack 'tis clear,
That herrings will be cheap this year.
T. Dear Muliinix, I now lament
My precious time so long misspent,
By nature meant for nobler ends:
O, introduce me to your friends!
For whom by birth I was design'd,
Till politicks debas'd my mind:
I give myself entire to you:
G—d d—n the whigs and tories too!

  1. A character in one of Dryden's comedies.
  2. King William III.