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A Poem, Occasioned By The Hangings In The Castle Of Dublin, In Which The Story Of Post by :ToddS Category :Poems Author :Jonathan Swift Date :August 2011 Read :2921

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A Poem, Occasioned By The Hangings In The Castle Of Dublin, In Which The Story Of

A Poem, Occasioned By The Hangings In The Castle Of Dublin, In Which The Story Of Phaethon Is Expressed.


Not asking or expecting aught,
One day I went to view the court,
Unbent and free from care or thought,
Though thither fears and hopes resort.

A piece of tapestry took my eye,
The faded colours spoke it old;
But wrought with curious imagery,
The figures lively seem'd and bold.

Here you might see the youth prevail,
(In vain are eloquence and wit,)
The boy persists, Apollo's frail;
Wisdom to nature does submit.

There mounts the eager charioteer;
Soon from his seat he's downward hurl'd;
Here Jove in anger doth appear,
There all, beneath, the flaming world.

What does this idle fiction mean?
Is truth at court in such disgrace,
It may not on the walls be seen,
Nor e'en in picture show its face?

No, no, 'tis not a senseless tale,
By sweet-tongued Ovid dress'd so fine;(1)
It does important truths conceal,
And here was placed by wise design.

A lesson deep with learning fraught,
Worthy the cabinet of kings;
Fit subject of their constant thought,
In matchless verse the poet sings.

Well should he weigh, who does aspire
To empire, whether truly great,
His head, his heart, his hand, conspire
To make him equal to that seat.

If only fond desire of sway,
By avarice or ambition fed,
Make him affect to guide the day,
Alas! what strange confusion's bred!

If, either void of princely care,
Remiss he holds the slacken'd rein;
If rising heats or mad career,
Unskill'd, he knows not to restrain:

Or if, perhaps, he gives a loose,
In wanton pride to show his skill,
How easily he can reduce
And curb the people's rage at will;

In wild uproar they hurry on;--
The great, the good, the just, the wise,
(Law and religion overthrown,)
Are first mark'd out for sacrifice.

When, to a height their fury grown,
Finding, too late, he can't retire,
He proves the real Phaethon,
And truly sets the world on fire.


(Footnote 1: "Metamorphoseon," lib. ii.)


(The end)
Jonathan Swift's poem: Poem, Occasioned By The Hangings In The Castle Of Dublin, In Which The Story Of Phaethon Is Expressed

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