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Poem by Jonathan Swift
On a Horn
The joy of man, the pride of brutes, Domestic subject for disputes, Of plenty thou the emblem fair, Adorn'd by nymphs with all their care! I saw thee raised to high renown, Supporting half the British crown; And often have I seen thee grace The chaste Diana's infant face; And whensoe'er you please to shine, Less useful is her light than thine: Thy numerous fingers know their way, And oft in Celia's tresses play. To place thee in another view, I'll show the world strange things and true; What lords and dames of high degree May justly claim their birth from thee! The soul of man with spleen you vex; Of spleen you cure the female sex. Thee for a gift the courtier sends With pleasure to his special friends: He gives, and with a generous pride, Contrives all means the gift to hide: Nor oft can the receiver know, Whether he has the gift or no. On airy wings you take your flight, And fly unseen both day and night; Conceal your form with various tricks; And few know how or where you fix: Yet some, who ne'er bestow'd thee, boast That they to others give thee most. Meantime, the wise a question start, If thou a real being art; Or but a creature of the brain, That gives imaginary pain? But the sly giver better knows thee; Who feels true joys when he bestows thee.
Jonathan Swift's other poems:
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