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Poem by Jonathan Swift


Robin and Harry


Robin to beggars with a curse,
Throws the last shilling in his purse;
And when the coachman comes for pay,
The rogue must call another day.
Grave Harry, when the poor are pressing
Gives them a penny and God's blessing;
But always careful of the main,
With twopence left, walks home in rain.
Robin from noon to night will prate,
Run out in tongue, as in estate;
And, ere a twelvemonth and a day,
Will not have one new thing to say.
Much talking is not Harry's vice;
He need not tell a story twice:
And, if he always be so thrifty,
His fund may last to five-and-fifty.
It so fell out that cautious Harry,
As soldiers use, for love must marry,
And, with his dame, the ocean cross'd;
(All for Love, or the World well Lost!)
Repairs a cabin gone to ruin,
Just big enough to shelter two in;
And in his house, if anybody come,
Will make them welcome to his modicum
Where Goody Julia milks the cows,
And boils potatoes for her spouse;
Or darns his hose, or mends his breeches,
While Harry's fencing up his ditches.
Robin, who ne'er his mind could fix,
To live without a coach-and-six,
To patch his broken fortunes, found
A mistress worth five thousand pound;
Swears he could get her in an hour,
If gaffer Harry would endow her;
And sell, to pacify his wrath,
A birth-right for a mess of broth.
Young Harry, as all Europe knows,
Was long the quintessence of beaux;
But, when espoused, he ran the fate
That must attend the married state;
From gold brocade and shining armour,
Was metamorphosed to a farmer;
His grazier's coat with dirt besmear'd;
Nor twice a-week will shave his beard.
Old Robin, all his youth a sloven,
At fifty-two, when he grew loving,
Clad in a coat of paduasoy,
A flaxen wig, and waistcoat gay,
Powder'd from shoulder down to flank,
In courtly style addresses Frank;
Twice ten years older than his wife,
Is doom'd to be a beau for life;
Supplying those defects by dress,
Which I must leave the world to guess. 



Jonathan Swift


Jonathan Swift's other poems:
  1. Dean Swift at Sir Arthur Achesons, in the North of Ireland
  2. At Holyhead
  3. Verses on Blenheim
  4. Drapiers Hill
  5. Elegy on Partridge


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