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In short, I'm perfectly content,
Let me but live on this side Trent; 3
To spend six months with statesmen here.
"Good Mr. Dean, go change your gown,
And that they ne'er considered yet.
Let my lord know you're come to town."
Not thinking it is levee-day;
Chequered with ribands blue and green:
"I thought the Dean had been too proud To justle here among a crowd."
[Swift always considered his preferment to the Deanery of St. Patrick's as a banishment. Various references to this occur in his correspondence in Scott's edition of his works. In the Additional MSS., British Museum, are two letters addressed by Swift, in 1709, to the Earl of Halifax, entreating for preferment, and specifying particularly the reversion of Dr. South's prebend, at Westminster. If this reversion could not be compassed, he was anxious to be named for the bishopric of Cork. (See "Letters of Eminent Literary Men," by Sir H. Ellis, Camden Soc. 1843.) Lord Orrery's conjecture is, no doubt, the true one. Swift's English friends wished him promoted at a dis tance, not in England, where his intractable spirit and eccentric movements might have occasioned uneasiness and trouble.]
And take it kindly meant to show,
This, humbly offers me his case-
Like bees, are humming in my ears.
'Tis (let me see) three years and more,
(October next it will be four),
Since Harley bid me first attend,
And chose me for an humble friend;
Would take me in his coach to chat,
And question me of this and that;
"Whose chariot's that we left behind?"
As, "What's o'clock?" and, "How's the wind?"
Or gravely try to read the lines,
Writ underneath the country-signs ;
My lord and me as far as Staines,
Yet some I know with envy swell,
"How think you of our friend the dean?
What, they admire him for his jokes-
'Tis one to me-" Then, tell us, pray,
When are the troops to have their pay?"
And, though I solemnly declare
I know no more than my Lord Mayor,
They stand amazed, and think me grown
Thus in a sea of folly toss'd,
And there, in sweet oblivion drown
For their own worth, or our own ends?
Knew what was handsome, and would do 't,
On just occasion, coute qui coute,
He brought him bacon (nothing lean),
Pudding that might have pleased a dean;
Cheese, such as men in Suffolk make,
Consider mice, like men, must die,
4 [Prior has several little apologues on mice. His first work was the City and Country Mouse, a parody on Dryden's Hind and Panther, by Prior and Montagu (afterwards Lord Halifax). Pope's silence as to Montagu's share in the satire, seems to countenance the observation of Lord Peterborough, who, being asked if Montagu did not write the Country Mouse with Prior, replied, "Yes, just as if I was in a chaise, with Mr. Cheselden here, drawn by his fine horse, and should say, 'Lord, how finely we draw this chaise.'"]
Then spend your life in joy and sport,
("Twas on the night of a debate,)
"A RAT, A RAT! CLAP TO THE DOOR!"