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Full Online Book HomePoemsParody On The Speech Of Dr. Benjamin Pratt
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Parody On The Speech Of Dr. Benjamin Pratt Post by :ecash Category :Poems Author :Jonathan Swift Date :August 2011 Read :1924

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Parody On The Speech Of Dr. Benjamin Pratt

PARODY ON THE SPEECH OF DR. BENJAMIN PRATT,(1) PROVOST OF TRINITY COLLEGE TO THE PRINCE OF WALES


Illustrious prince, we're come before ye,
Who, more than in our founders, glory
To be by you protected;
Deign to descend and give us laws,
For we are converts to your cause,
From this day well-affected.(2)

The noble view of your high merits
Has charm'd our thoughts and fix'd our spirits,
With zeal so warm and hearty;
That we resolved to be devoted,
At least until we be promoted,
By your just power and party.

Urged by a passionate desire
Of being raised a little higher,
From lazy cloister'd life;
We cannot flatter you nor fawn,
But fain would honour'd be with lawn,
And settled by a wife.(3)

For this we have before resorted,
Paid levees(4) punctually, and courted,
Our charge at home long quitting,
But now we're come just in the nick,
Upon a vacant(5) bishopric,
This bait can't fail of hitting.

Thus, sir, you see how much affection,
Not interest, sways in this election,
But sense of loyal duty.
For you surpass all princes far,
As glow-worms do exceed a star,
In goodness, wit, and beauty.

To you our Irish Commons owe
That wisdom which their actions show,
Their principles from ours springs,
Taught, ere the deel himself could dream on't,
That of their illustrious house a stem on't,
Should rise the best of kings.

The glad presages with our eyes
Behold a king, chaste, vigilant, and wise,
In foreign fields victorious,
Who in his youth the Turks attacks,
And (made) them still to turn their backs;
Was ever king so glorious?

Since Ormond's like a traitor gone,
We scorn to do what some have done,
For learning much more famous;(6)
Fools may pursue their adverse fate,
And stick to the unfortunate;
We laugh while they condemn us.

For, being of that gen'rous mind,
To success we are still inclined,
And quit the suffering side,
If on our friends cross planets frown,
We join the cry, and hunt them down,
And sail with wind and tide.

Hence 'twas this choice we long delay'd,
Till our rash foes the rebels fled,
Whilst fortune held the scale;
But (since) they're driven like mist before you,
Our rising sun, we now adore you,
Because you now prevail.

Descend then from your lofty seat,
Behold th' attending Muses wait
With us to sing your praises;
Calliope now strings up her lyre,
And Clio(7) Phoebus does inspire,
The theme their fancy raises.

If then our nursery you will nourish,
We and our Muses too will flourish,
Encouraged by your favour;
We'll doctrines teach the times to serve,
And more five thousand pounds deserve,
By future good behaviour.

Now take our harp into your hand,
The joyful strings, at your command,
In doleful sounds no more shall mourn.
We, with sincerity of heart,
To all your tunes shall bear a part,
Unless we see the tables turn.

If so, great sir, you will excuse us,
For we and our attending Muses
May live to change our strain;
And turn, with merry hearts, our tune,
Upon some happy tenth of June,
To "the king enjoys his own again."

(Footnote 1: Dr. Pratt's speech, which is here parodied, was made when the Duke of Ormond, Swift's valued friend, was attainted, and superseded in the office of chancellor of Trinity College, which he had held from 1688-9, by the Prince of Wales, afterwards George II.

There is great reason to suppose that the satire is the work of Swift, whose attachment to Ormond was uniformly ardent. Of this it may be worth while to mention a trifling instance. The duke had presented to the cathedral of St. Patrick's a superb organ, surmounted by his own armorial bearings. It was placed facing the nave of the church. But after Ormond's attainder, Swift, as Dean of St. Patrick's, received orders from government to remove the scutcheon from the church. He obeyed, but he placed the shield in the great aisle, where he himself and Stella lie buried, and where the arms still remain. The verses have suffered much by the inaccuracy of the noble transcriber, Lord Newtoun Butler.

The original speech will be found in the London Gazette of Tuesday, April 17, 1716, and Scott's edition of Swift, vol. xii, p. 352. The Provost, it appears, was attended by the Rev. Dr. Howard, and Mr. George Berkeley, (afterwards Bishop of Cloyne,) both of them fellows of Trinity College, Dublin. The speech was praised by Addison, in the Freeholder, No. 33.--_W. E. B._)

(Footnote 2: The Rev. Dr. Pratt had been formerly of the Tory party; to which circumstance the phrase, "from this day well-affected," alludes.--_Scott._)

(Footnote 3: The statutes of the university enjoin celibacy.--_Scott_.)

(Footnote 4: The provost was a most constant attendant at the levees at St. James's palace.--_Scott_.)

(Footnote 5: The see of Killaloe was then vacant, and to this bishopric the Reverend Dr. George Carr, chaplain to the Irish House of Commons, was nominated, by letters-patent.--_Scott_.)

(Footnote 6: Alluding to the sullen silence of Oxford upon the accession.--_Scott_.)

(Footnote 7: This is spelled Chloe, but evidently should be Clio; indeed, many errors appear in the transcription, which probably were mistakes of the transcriber.--_Scott._)


(The end)
Jonathan Swift's poem: Parody On The Speech Of Dr. Benjamin Pratt

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