Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, VERSES OCCASIONED BY THE SUDDEN DRYING UP..ST.PATRICK'S WELL, by JONATHAN SWIFT



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VERSES OCCASIONED BY THE SUDDEN DRYING UP..ST.PATRICK'S WELL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: By holy zeal inspired, and led by fame
Last Line: And from this hour my patronage resign.
Subject(s): Wells


By holy zeal inspired, and led by fame,
To thee, once favourite isle, with joy I came;
What time the Goth, the Vandal, and the Hun,
Had my own native Italy o'errun.
Ierne, to the world's remotest parts,
Renowned for valour, policy and arts.
Hither from Colchus, with the fleecy ore,
Jason arrived two thousand years before.
Thee, happy island, Pallas called her own,
When haughty Britain was a land unknown.
From thee, with pride, the Caledonians trace
The glorious founder of their kingly race:
Thy martial sons, whom now they dare despise,
Did once their land subdue and civilize:
Their dress, their language, and the Scottish name,
Confess the soil from whence the victors came.
Well may they boast that ancient blood, which runs
Within their veins, who are thy younger sons,
A conquest and a colony from thee,
The mother-kingdom left her children free;
From thee no mark of slavery they felt,
Not so with thee thy base invaders dealt;
Invited here to vengeful Morough's aid,
Those whom they could not conquer, they betrayed.
Britain, by thee we fell, ungrateful isle!
Not by thy valour, but superior guile:
Britain, with shame confess, this land of mine
First taught thee human knowledge and divine;
My prelates and my students, sent from hence,
Made your sons converts both to God and sense:
Not like the pastors of thy ravenous breed,
Who come to fleece the flocks, and not to feed.
Wretched Ierne! with what grief I see
The fatal changes time hath made in thee.
The Christian rites I introduced in vain:
Lo! Infidelity returned again.
Freedom and Virtue in thy sons I found,
Who now in Vice and Slavery are drowned.
By faith and prayer, this crozier in my hand,
I drove the venomed serpent from thy land;
The shepherd in his bower might sleep or sing,
Nor dread the adder's tooth, nor scorpion's sting.
With omens oft I strove to warn thy swains,
Omens, the types of thy impending chains.
I sent the magpie from the British soil,
With restless beak thy blooming fruit to spoil,
To din thine ears with unharmonious clack,
And haunt thy holy walls in white and black.
What else are those thou seest in bishop's gear
Who crop the nurseries of learning here?
Aspiring, greedy, full of senseless prate,
Devour the church, and chatter to the state.
As you grew more degenerate and base,
I sent you millions of the croaking race;
Emblems of insects vile, who spread their spawn
Through all thy land, in armour, fur and lawn.
A nauseous brood, that fills your senate walls,
And in the chambers of your Viceroy crawls.
See, where the new-devouring vermin runs,
Sent in my anger from the land of Huns;
With harpy claws it undermines the ground,
And sudden spreads a numerous offspring round;
The amphibious tyrant, with his ravenous band,
Drains all thy lakes of fish, of fruits thy land.
Where is the sacred well, that bore my name?
Fled to the fountain back, from whence it came!
Fair Freedom's emblem once, which smoothly flows,
And blessings equally on all bestows.
Here, from the neighbouring nursery of arts,
The students drinking, raised their wit and parts;
Here, for an age and more, improved their vein,
Their Phoebus I, my spring their Hippocrene.
Discouraged youths, now all their hopes must fail,
Condemned to country cottages and ale;
To foreign prelates make a slavish court,
And by their sweat procure a mean support;
Or, for the classics read the attorney's guide;
Collect excise, or wait upon the tide.
O! had I been apostle to the Swiss,
Or hardy Scot, or any land but this;
Combined in arms, they had their foes defied,
And kept their liberty, or bravely died.
Thou still with tyrants in succession cursed,
The last invaders trampling on the first:
Nor fondly hope for some reverse of fate,
Virtue herself would now return too late.
Not half thy course of misery is run,
Thy greatest evils yet are scarce begun.
Soon shall thy sons, the time is just at hand,
Be all made captives in their native land;
When, for the use of no Hibernian born,
Shall rise one blade of grass, one ear of corn;
When shells and leather shall for money pass,
Nor thy oppressing lords afford thee brass.
But all turn leasers to that mongrel breed,
Who from thee sprung, yet on thy vitals feed;
Who to yon ravenous isle thy treasures bear,
And waste in luxury thy harvests there;
For pride and ignorance a proverb grown,
The jest of wits, and to the courts unknown.
I scorn thy spurious and degenerate line,
And from this hour my patronage resign.






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