The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 7/Epigrams on Windows

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I. On a Window at an Inn.

WE fly from luxury and wealth,
To hardships in pursuit of health;
From generous wines and costly fare,
And dozing in an easy chair;
Pursue the goddess Health in vain,
To find her in a country scene,
And every where her footsteps trace,
And see her marks in every face;
And still her favourites we meet,
Crowding the roads with naked feet.
But, oh! so faintly we pursue,
We ne'er can have her full in view.

II. At an Inn in England.

THE glass, by lovers' nonsense blurr'd,
Dims and obscures our sight:
So when our passions Love has stirr'd,
It darkens Reason's light.

III. Another[1].

THE church and clergy here, no doubt,
Are very near akin;
Both weatherbeaten are without:
And empty both within.

IV. At Chester.

My landlord is civil,
But dear as the d—l:
Your pockets grow empty,
With nothing to tempt ye:
The wine is so sour,
'Twill give you a scour:
The beer and the ale
Are mingled with stale.
The veal is such carrion,
A dog would be weary on.
All this I have felt.
For I live on a smelt.

V. Another, in Chester.

THE walls of this town
Are full of renown,
And strangers delight to walk round 'em:
But as for the dwellers,
Both buyers and sellers,
For me, you may hang 'em, or drown 'em.

VI. Another, at Holyhead[2]

O NEPTUNE! Neptune! must I still

Be here detain'd against my will?
Is this your justice, when I'm come
Above two hundred miles from home!
O'er mountains steep, o'er dusty plains,
Half choked with dust, half drown'd with rains;
Only your Godship to implore,
To let me kiss your other shore?
A boon so small! but I may weep,
While you're, like Baal, fast asleep.

VII. Another, written upon a Window where there was no Writing before.

THANKS to my stars, I once can see

A window here from scribbling free!
Here no conceited coxcombs pass,
To scratch their paltry drabs on glass;
Nor party-fool is calling names.
Or dealing crowns to George and James.

VIII. On seeing Verses written upon Windows at Inns.

THE sage, who said he should be proud

Of windows in his breast,
Because he ne'er a thought allow'd
That might not be confest;

His window scrawl'd by every rake,
His breast again would cover;
And fairly bid the Devil take
The diamond and the lover.

IX. Another.

BY Satan taught, all conjurers know

Your mistress in a glass to show,
And you can do as much:
In this the Devil and you agree:
None e'er made verses worse than he,
And thine I swear are such.

X. Another.

THAT love is the Devil, I'll prove when requir’d;

Those rhymers abundantly show it:
They swear that they all by love are inspir'd,
And the Devil's a damnable poet.

  1. Written at Chester.
  2. These verses are signed J— K—, but written, as it is presumed, in Dr. Swift's hand.