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Poem by Jonathan Swift


On Gold


All-ruling tyrant of the earth,
To vilest slaves I owe my birth,
How is the greatest monarch blest,
When in my gaudy livery drest!
No haughty nymph has power to run
From me; or my embraces shun.
Stabb'd to the heart, condemn'd to flame,
My constancy is still the same.
The favourite messenger of Jove,
And Lemnian god, consulting strove
To make me glorious to the sight
Of mortals, and the gods' delight.
Soon would their altar's flame expire
If I refused to lend them fire.


By fate exalted high in place,
Lo, here I stand with double face:
Superior none on earth I find;
But see below me all mankind
Yet, as it oft attends the great,
I almost sink with my own weight.


At every motion undertook,
The vulgar all consult my look.
I sometimes give advice in writing,
But never of my own inditing.
I am a courtier in my way;
For those who raised me, I betray;
And some give out that I entice
To lust, to luxury, and dice.
Who punishments on me inflict,
Because they find their pockets pickt.
By riding post, I lose my health,
And only to get others wealth. 



Jonathan Swift


Jonathan Swift's other poems:
  1. Sid HametТs Rod
  2. On the Vowels
  3. Elegy on Partridge
  4. On Stella's Birth-day 1719
  5. Stella's Birthday March 13, 1727


Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • John Cunningham On Gold ("BEAUTY'S a bawble, a trifle in price!")

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