The Works of Jonathan Swift, D.D.
the mark.* But what seems to have provoked the
Dean more than personal libels, to which he was in
* We printed a tolerable poem of Smedley ' s on Swift ' s instal
ment j and the following, though a malignant caricature, has con
siderable point and vivacity, as well as a distorted resemblance to
the Dean ' s character :
SAID Old Nick to St Michael, you use me but ill,
To suppress all my force, and restrain all my skill;
Let me loose at religion, I ' ll shew my good parts,
And try if your doctrine can balance my arts.
' Tis a match, cried the angel, and drew off his guard,
And the devil slipt from him, to play a court card.
The first help he sought was a qualified mind,
That had compass and void for the use he design ' d.
There occurr ' d a pert nothing, a stick of church timber,
Who had stiffness of will, but his morals were limber :
To whom wit served for reason, and passion for zeal ;
Who had teeth like a viper, and tail like an eel :
Wore the malice of hell with heavenly grace,
Of humour enchanting, and easy of face ;
His tongue flow ' d with honey, his eyes flash ' d delight ;
He despised what was wrong, and abused what was right ~ f
Had a nack to laugh luckily ; never thought twice :
And with coarseness of heart had a taste that was nice.
Nature form ' d him malignant, but whetting him fast,
He was edged for decay, and too brittle to last.
He would quarrel with virtue because ' twas his foe ' s,
And was hardly a friend to the vice which he chose :
He could love nothing grave, nothing pleasant forbear ;
He was always in jest, but was most so in prayer !
Lord be praised, quoth the devil, a fig for all grace !
So he breathed a new brogue o ' er the bronze of his face ;
Lent him pride above hope, and conceit above spleen,
Slipt him into church service, and call ' d him a Dean.