Market Women’s Cries

By Jonathan Swift 1667–1745 Jonathan Swift

         Come buy my fine wares,
         Plums, apples and pears.
         A hundred a penny,
         In conscience too many:
         Come, will you have any?
         My children are seven,
         I wish them in Heaven;
         My husband’s a sot,
         With his pipe and his pot,
         Not a farthen will gain them,
         And I must maintain them.


         Come, follow me by the smell,
         Here are delicate onions to sell;
         I promise to use you well.
         They make the blood warmer,
         You’ll feed like a farmer;
For this is every cook’s opinion,
No savoury dish without an onion;
But, lest your kissing should be spoiled,
Your onions must be thoroughly boiled:
         Or else you may spare
         Your mistress a share,
The secret will never be known:
         She cannot discover
         The breath of her lover,
But think it as sweet as her own.


         Be not sparing,
         Leave off swearing.
         Buy my herring
         Fresh from Malahide,
         Better never was tried.
Come, eat them with pure fresh butter and mustard,
Their bellies are soft, and as white as a custard.
Come, sixpence a dozen, to get me some bread,
Or, like my own herrings, I soon shall be dead.

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Poet Jonathan Swift 1667–1745



 Jonathan  Swift


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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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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