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man, who, receiving the sentence of death with all the circumstances of hanging, beheading, quartering, embowelling, and the like, cried out, " What need all this COOKERY?" And I think we have reason to ask the same question ; for, if we believe Wood, here is a dinner getting ready for us, and you see the bill of fare ; and I am sorry the drink was forgot, which might easily be supplied with melted lead and flaming pitch.
What vile words are these to put into the mouth of a great counsellor, in high trust with his Majesty and looked upon as a prime minister ? If Mr. Wood has no better a manner of representing his patrons,
when I come to be a great man he shall never be suffered to attend at my levee. This is not the style of a great minister ; it savours too much of the kettle and the furnace, and came entirely out of Wood's forge.
As for the threat of making us eat our brogues, we need not be in pain; for, if his coin should pass, that unpolite covering for the feet would no longer be a national reproach; because then we should have neither shoe nor brogue left in the kingdom. But here the falsehood of Mr. Wood is fairly detected; for I am confident Mr. Walpole never heard of a brogue in his whole life.
As to "swallowing these halfpence in fireballs,” it is a story equally improbable. For, to execute this operation, the whole stock of Mr. Wood's coin and metal must be melted down, and moulded into hollow balls, with wildfire, no bigger than a reasonable throat may be able to swallow. Now, the metal he has prepared, and already coined, will amount to at least fifty millions of halfpence, to be swallowed by a million and a half of people; so that allowing two halfpence to each ball, there will be about seventeen balls of wildfire apiece to be swallowed by every person in the kingdom ; and, to administer this dose, there cannot be conveniently fewer than fifty thousand operators, allowing one operator to every thirty ; which, considering the squeamishness of some stomachs, and the peevishness of young children, is but reasonable. Now, under correction of better
judgments, I think the trouble and charge of such an experiment would exceed the profit; and therefore I take this report to be spurious, or at least only a new scheme of Mr. Wood himself; which, to make it pass the better in Ireland, he would father upon a minister of state.
But I will now demonstrate beyond all contradiction that Mr. Walpole is against this project of Mr. Wood, and is an entire friend to Ireland, only by this one invincible argument: that he has the universal opinion of being a wise man, an able minister, and in all his proceedings pursuing the true interest of the king his master : and that, as his integrity is above all corruption, so is his fortune above all temptation. I reckon, therefore, we are perfectly safe from that corner, and shall never be under the necessity of contending with so formidable a power, but be left to possess our brogues and potatoes in peace, -as remote from thunder as we are from Jupiter.
Swift would probably have enjoyed a higher reputation as a poet if he had not been so great a writer in prose. His productions in verse are considerable in point of quantity, and many of them admirable of their kind. But those of them that deserve to be so described belong to the humblest kind of poetry—to that kind which has scarcely any distinctively poetical quality or characteristic about it except the rhyme. He has made some attempts in a higher style, but with very little suc
His Pindaric Odes, written and published when he was a young man, drew from Dryden (who was his relation) the emphatic judgment, “ Cousin Swift, you will never be a poet :” and, though ift never forgave this frankness, he seems to have felt that the prognostication was a sound one, for he wrote no more Pindaric
* In allusion to the Latin proverb, Procul a Jove, procul a fulmine.
Odes. Nor indeed did he ever afterwards attempt any thing considerable in the way of serious poetry, if we except his · Cadenus and Vanessa' (the story of Miss Vanhomrigh), his effusion entitled “Poetry, a Rhapsody,' and that on his own death-and even these are chiefly distinguished from his other productions by being longer and more elaborate, the most elevated portions of the first mentioned scarcely rising above narrative and reflection, and whatever there is of more dignified or solemn writing in the two others being largely intermixed with comedy and satire in his usual easy ambling style. With all his liveliness of fancy, he had no grandeur of imagination, as little feeling of the purely graceful or beautiful, no capacity of tender emotion, no sensibility to even the simplest forms of music. With these deficiencies it was impossible that he should produce any thing that could be called poetical in a high
But of course he could put his wit and fancy into the form of verse—and so as to make the measured expression and the rhyme give additional point and piquancy to his strokes of satire and ludicrous narratives or descriptions. Some of his lighter verses are as good as any thing of the kind in the language. As a specimen we will give one which is less known than some others that might be quoted, one of many rattling volleys of rhyme by which he aided the heavier artillery of his Drapier's Letters, a eulogy on Archbishop King, who gained great applause by taking the popular side on that occasion, under the title of 'An excellent New Song, upon his Grace our Good Lord Archbishop of Dublin; By Honest Jo, one of his Grace's Farmers in Fingal :'-
comes a season
I sing not of the Drapier's praise, nor yet of William Wocd, But I sing of a famous lord, who seeks his country's good; Lord William's grace of Dublin town, 'tis he that first ap
pears, Whose wisdom and whose piety do far exceed his years.* In every council and debate he stands for what is right, And still the truth he will maintain, whate'er he loses by 't. And, though some think him in the wrong, yet still there When every one turns round about, and owns his grace
had reason. His firmness to the public good, as one that knows it swore, Has lost his grace for ten years past ten thousand pounds
and more. Then come the poor and strip him so, they leave him not a For he regards ten thousand pounds no more than Woods's
dross. To beg his favour is the way new favours still to win; He makes no more to give ten pounds than I to give a pin. Why, there's my landlord, now, the squire, who all in money
wallows, He would not give a groat to save his father from the
gallows. " A bishop,” says the noble squire, “ I hate the very name, To have two thousand pounds a year-o'tis a burning
shame! Two thousand pounds a year! Good lord ! and I to have
but five!" And under him no tenant yet was ever known to thrive : Now from his lordship's grace I hold a little piece of ground, And all the rent I pay is scarce five shillings in the pound. Then master steward takes my rent, and tells me, “Honest
Jo, Come, you must take a cup of sack or two before you go." He bids me then to hold my tongue, and up the money locks, For fear my lord should send it all into the poor man's box. And once I was so bold to beg that I might see his grace, Good lord ! I wonder how I dared to look him in the face : Then down I went upon my knees his blessing to obtain ; He
gave it me, and ever since I find I thrive amain,
* He was at this time seventy-four.
"Then,” said my lord, “I'm very glad to see thee, honest
friend; I know the times are something hard, but hope they soon
will mend: Pray never press yourself for rent, but pay me when you
can; I find you bear a good report, and are an honest man. Then said his lordship with a smile, “I must have lawful
cash; I hope you will not pay my rent in that same Woods's trash.” “God bless your grace !" I then replied, “I'd see him
hanging higher, Before I'd touch his filthy dross, than is Clandalkin spire. To every farmer twice a week all round about the Yoke, Our parsons read the Drapier's books, and make us honest
folk.” And then I went to pay the squire, and in the way I found His baillie driving all my cows into the parish pound : “Why, sirrah," said the noble squire, “how dare you see Your rent is due almost a week, beside the days of grace.” And yet the land I from him hold is set so on the rack, That only for the bishop's lease 'twould quickly break my
back. Then God preserve his lordship’s grace, and make him live
as long As did Methusalem of old, and so I end my song.
Of Swift's contemporaries, by far the most memorable name is that of Alexander Pope. If Swift was at the head of the prose-writers of the early part of the last century, Pope was as incontestably the first of the writers in verse of that day, with no other either equal or second to him. Born a few months before the Revolution, he came forth as a poet by the publication of his Pastorals in Tonson's Miscellany in 1709, when he was yet only in his twenty-first year; and they had been written five years
before. Nor were they the earliest of his per