Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, STELLA'S BIRTHDAY, 1720, by JONATHAN SWIFT



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STELLA'S BIRTHDAY, 1720, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: All travellers at first incline
Last Line: And crowd to stella's at four score.
Subject(s): Birthdays; Johnson, Esther (1681-1728)


ALL travellers at first incline
Where'er they see the fairest sign;
And, if they find the chamber neat,
And like the liquor and the meat,
Will call again, and recommend
The Angel Inn to every friend.
What though the painting grows decayed,
The House will never lose its trade;
Nay, though the treacherous tapster, Thomas,
Hangs a new angel two doors from as,
As fine as dauber's hands can make it,
In hopes that strangers may mistake it,
We think it both a shame and sin
To quit the true old Angel Inn.

Now this is Stella's case in fact;
An angel's face, a little cracked;
(Could poets, or could painters fix
How angels look at first to find
In such a form an angel's mind;
And every virtue now supplies
The fainting rays of Stella's eyes,
See at her levee crowding swains,
Whom Stella freely entertains
With breeding, humour, wit, and sense,
And puts them but to small expense;
Their mind so plentifully fills,
And makes such reasonable bills,
So little gets for what she gives,
We really wonder how she lives!
And had her stock been less, no doubt
She must have long ago run out.

Then who can think we'll quit the place,
When Doll hangs out a newer face;
Or stop and light at Chloe's Head,
With scraps and leavings to be fed?

Then, Chloe, still go on to prate
Of thirty-six, and thirty-eight;
Pursue your trade of scandal-picking,
Your hints, that Stella is no chicken;
Your innuendoes, when you tell us
That Stella loves to talk with fellows:
And let me warn you to believe
A truth, for which your soul should grieve;
That should you live to see the day
When Stella's locks must all be grey,
When age must print a furrowed trace
On every feature of her face;
That you, and all your senseless tribe,
Could art, or time, or nature bribe
To make you look like beauty's queen,
And hold for ever at fifteen;
No bloom of youth can ever blind
The cracks and wrinkles of your mind;
All men of sense will pass your door,
And crowd to Stella's at four score.





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