A Satirical Elegy
Jonathan Swift, Works, ed. Hawkesworth, Supplementary vols. (1765).
1His Grace! impossible! what, dead!
2Of old age too, and in his bed!
3And could that mighty warrior fall,
4And so inglorious, after all?
5Well, since he's gone, no matter how,
6The last loud trump must wake him now;
7And, trust me, as the noise grows stronger,
8He'd wish to sleep a little longer.
9And could he be indeed so old
10As by the newspapers we're told?
11Threescore, I think, is pretty high;
12'Twas time in conscience he should die!
13This world he cumber'd long enough;
14He burnt his candle to the snuff;
15And that's the reason, some folks think,
16He left behind so great a stink.
17Behold his funeral appears,
18Nor widows' sighs, nor orphans' tears,
19Wont at such times each heart to pierce,
20Attend the progress of his hearse.
21But what of that? his friends may say,
22He had those honours in his day.
23True to his profit and his pride,
24He made them weep before he died.
25 Come hither, all ye empty things!
26Ye bubbles rais'd by breath of kings!
27Who float upon the tide of state;
28Come hither, and behold your fate!
29Let pride be taught by this rebuke,
30How very mean a thing's a duke;
31From all his ill-got honours flung,
32Turn'd to that dirt from whence he sprung.
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RPO poem Editors:
N. J. Endicott