The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 8/Daphne

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DAPHNE.


DAPHNE knows, with equal ease,
How to vex and how to please;
But the folly of her sex
Makes her sole delight to vex.
Never woman more devis'd
Surer ways to be despis'd:
Paradoxes weakly wielding,
Always conquer'd, never yielding.
To dispute, her chief delight,
With not one opinion right:
Thick her arguments she lays on,
And with cavils combats reason;
Answers in decisive way,
Never hears what you can say:
Still her odd perverseness shows
Chiefly where she nothing knows;
And, where she is most familiar,
Always peevisher and sillier:
All her spirits in a flame
When she knows she's most to blame.
Send me hence ten thousand miles,
From a face that always smiles:
None could ever act that part,
But a Fury in her heart.
Ye who hate such inconsistence,
To be easy, keep your distance:
Or in folly still befriend her,
But have no concern to mend her.
Lose not time to contradict her,
Nor endeavour to convict her.
Never take it in your thought.
That she'll own, or cure a fault.
Into contradiction warm her,
Then, perhaps, you may reform her:
Only take this rule along,
Always to advise her wrong;
And reprove her when she's right;
She may then grow wise for spite.
No — that scheme will ne'er succeed.
She has better learnt her creed:
She's too cunning, and too skilful,
When to yield, and when be wilful.
Nature holds her forth two mirrors,
One for truth, and one for errours:
That looks hideous, fierce, and frightful;
This is flattering and delightful:
That she throws away as foul;
Sits by this, to dress her soul.
Thus you have the case in view,
Daphne, 'twixt the dean and you,
Heaven forbid he should despise thee!
But will never more advise thee.