Read CASSINUS AND PETER of The Poems of Jonathan Swift‚ D.D.(Volume I of 2), free online book, by Jonathan Swift, on ReadCentral.com.

A TRAGICAL ELEGY

1731

Two college sophs of Cambridge growth,
Both special wits and lovers both,
Conferring, as they used to meet,
On love, and books, in rapture sweet;
(Muse, find me names to fit my metre,
Cassinus this, and t’other Peter.)
Friend Peter to Cassinus goes,
To chat a while, and warm his nose: 
But such a sight was never seen,
The lad lay swallow’d up in spleen. 
He seem’d as just crept out of bed;
One greasy stocking round his head,
The other he sat down to darn,
With threads of different colour’d yarn;
His breeches torn, exposing wide
A ragged shirt and tawny hide. 
Scorch’d were his shins, his legs were bare,
But well embrown’d with dirt and hair
A rug was o’er his shoulders thrown,
(A rug, for nightgown he had none,)
His jordan stood in manner fitting
Between his legs, to spew or spit in;
His ancient pipe, in sable dyed,
And half unsmoked, lay by his side. 
  Him thus accoutred Peter found,
With eyes in smoke and weeping drown’d;
The leavings of his last night’s pot
On embers placed, to drink it hot. 
  Why, Cassy, thou wilt dose thy pate: 
What makes thee lie a-bed so late? 
The finch, the linnet, and the thrush,
Their matins chant in every bush;
And I have heard thee oft salute
Aurora with thy early flute. 
Heaven send thou hast not got the hyps! 
How! not a word come from thy lips? 
  Then gave him some familiar thumps,
A college joke to cure the dumps. 
  The swain at last, with grief opprest,
Cried, Celia! thrice, and sigh’d the rest. 
  Dear Cassy, though to ask I dread,
Yet ask I must ­is Celia dead? 
  How happy I, were that the worst! 
But I was fated to be curst! 
  Come, tell us, has she play’d the whore? 
  O Peter, would it were no more! 
  Why, plague confound her sandy locks! 
Say, has the small or greater pox
Sunk down her nose, or seam’d her face? 
Be easy, ’tis a common case. 
  O Peter! beauty’s but a varnish,
Which time and accidents will tarnish: 
But Celia has contrived to blast
Those beauties that might ever last. 
Nor can imagination guess,
Nor eloquence divine express,
How that ungrateful charming maid
My purest passion has betray’d: 
Conceive the most envenom’d dart
To pierce an injured lover’s heart. 
  Why, hang her; though she seem’d so coy,
I know she loves the barber’s boy. 
  Friend Peter, this I could excuse,
For every nymph has leave to choose;
Nor have I reason to complain,
She loves a more deserving swain. 
But, oh! how ill hast thou divined
A crime, that shocks all human kind;
A deed unknown to female race,
At which the sun should hide his face: 
Advice in vain you would apply ­
Then leave me to despair and die. 
Ye kind Arcadians, on my urn
These elegies and sonnets burn;
And on the marble grave these rhymes,
A monument to after-times ­
“Here Cassy lies, by Celia slain,
And dying, never told his pain.” 
  Vain empty world, farewell.  But hark,
The loud Cerberian triple bark;
And there ­behold Alecto stand,
A whip of scorpions in her hand: 
Lo, Charon from his leaky wherry
Beckoning to waft me o’er the ferry: 
I come!  I come!  Medusa see,
Her serpents hiss direct at me. 
Begone; unhand me, hellish fry: 
“Avaunt ­ye cannot say ’twas I."
  Dear Cassy, thou must purge and bleed;
I fear thou wilt be mad indeed. 
But now, by friendship’s sacred laws,
I here conjure thee, tell the cause;
And Celia’s horrid fact relate: 
Thy friend would gladly share thy fate. 
  To force it out, my heart must rend;
Yet when conjured by such a friend ­
Think, Peter, how my soul is rack’d! 
These eyes, these eyes, beheld the fact. 
Now bend thine ear, since out it must;
But, when thou seest me laid in dust,
The secret thou shalt ne’er impart,
Not to the nymph that keeps thy heart;
 (How would her virgin soul bemoan
A crime to all her sex unknown!)
Nor whisper to the tattling reeds
The blackest of all female deeds;
Nor blab it on the lonely rocks,
Where Echo sits, and listening mocks;
Nor let the Zephyr’s treacherous gale
Through Cambridge waft the direful tale;
Nor to the chattering feather’d race
Discover Celia’s foul disgrace. 
But, if you fail, my spectre dread,
Attending nightly round your bed ­
And yet I dare confide in you;
So take my secret, and adieu: 
Nor wonder how I lost my wits: 
Oh!  Celia, Celia, Celia sh !