Stella's Birthday March 13, 1719

Original Text: 
Miscellanies, I, Vol. 3 (London: B. Notte, 1727). B-12 0241 Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto).
2(We shan't dispute a year or more:)
3However, Stella, be not troubled,
4Although thy size and years are doubled,
6The brightest virgin on the green;
7So little is thy form declin'd;
8Made up so largely in thy mind.
9      Oh, would it please the gods to split
10Thy beauty, size, and years, and wit;
11No age could furnish out a pair
12Of nymphs so graceful, wise, and fair;
13With half the lustre of your eyes,
14With half your wit, your years, and size.
15And then, before it grew too late,
16How should I beg of gentle Fate,
17(That either nymph might have her swain,)
18To split my worship too in twain.


1] "Stella" was Swift's name for Miss Hester (Esther) Johnson (1681-1728), to whom Swift addressed his Journal. He was accustomed to send Stella birthday-verses from 1719 until her death. It has been supposed that Swift was secretly married to Stella, but there is no substantial evidence on this point. Back to Line
5] Swift first met her when he was secretary to Sir William Temple at Moor Park. (In the birthday-poems his references to her age are frequently inaccurate.) Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
G. G. Falle
RPO Edition: 
3RP 2.65.