Advice to the Grub Street Verse-writers

By Jonathan Swift 1667–1745 Jonathan Swift
Ye poets ragged and forlorn,
      Down from your garrets haste;
Ye rhymers, dead as soon as born,
      Not yet consign'd to paste;

   I know a trick to make you thrive;
      O, 'tis a quaint device:
Your still-born poems shall revive,
      And scorn to wrap up spice.

   Get all your verses printed fair,
      Then let them well be dried;
And Curll must have a special care
      To leave the margin wide.

   Lend these to paper-sparing Pope;
      And when he sets to write,
No letter with an envelope
      Could give him more delight.

   When Pope has fill'd the margins round,
      Why then recall your loan;
Sell them to Curll for fifty pound,
      And swear they are your own.

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Poet Jonathan Swift 1667–1745

POET’S REGION Ireland

SCHOOL / PERIOD Augustan

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Humor & Satire

Poetic Terms Common Measure, Rhymed Stanza

 Jonathan  Swift

Biography

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) was born to English parents in Dublin, Ireland, and his family moved throughout Great Britain. Deeply involved in politics and religion, Swift became one of the first prose satirists. His masterpiece is Gulliver’s Travels. Swift’s sharp wit carried over into his poetry, as in the mock elegy for himself, “Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift.”

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Humor & Satire

POET’S REGION Ireland

SCHOOL / PERIOD Augustan

Poetic Terms Common Measure, Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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