Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A BALLAD TO THE TUNE OF THE CUTPURSE, by JONATHAN SWIFT



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A BALLAD TO THE TUNE OF THE CUTPURSE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Once on a time, as old stories rehearse
Last Line: You may know by the hand, it had no cloven foot.


Once on a time, as old stories rehearse,
A friar would needs show his talent in Latin;
But was sorely put to't in the midst of a verse,
Because he could find no word to come pat in.
Then all in the place
He left a void space,
And so went to bed in a desperate case.
When behold the next morning, a wonderful riddle,
Be found it was strangely filled up in the middle.
Let censuring critics then think what they list on't,
Who would not write verses with such an assistant.
This put me the friar into an amazement;
For he wisely considered it must be a sprite,
That came through the keyhole, or in at the casement,
And it needs must be one that could both read and write:
Yet he did not know
If it were friend or foe,
Or whether it came from above or below.
How'er, it was civil in angel or elf,
For he ne'er could have filled it so well of himself.
Even so Master Doctor had puzzled his brains
In making a ballad, but was at a stand,
He had mixed little wit with a great deal of pains;
When he found a new help from invisible hand.
Then good Dr Swift
Pay thanks for the gift,
For you freely must own you were at a dead lift;
And though some malicious young spirit did do't,
You may know by the hand, it had no cloven foot.








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