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Full Online Book HomePoemsPrometheus On Wood The Patentee's Irish Halfpence
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Prometheus On Wood The Patentee's Irish Halfpence Post by :Hippoziggen Category :Poems Author :Jonathan Swift Date :August 2011 Read :2133

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Prometheus On Wood The Patentee's Irish Halfpence

Prometheus(1) On Wood The Patentee's Irish Halfpence(2)
1724


When first the squire and tinker Wood
Gravely consulting Ireland's good,
Together mingled in a mass
Smith's dust, and copper, lead, and brass;
The mixture thus by chemic art
United close in ev'ry part,
In fillets roll'd, or cut in pieces,
Appear'd like one continued species;
And, by the forming engine struck,
On all the same impression took.
So, to confound this hated coin,
All parties and religions join;
Whigs, Tories, Trimmers, Hanoverians,
Quakers, Conformists, Presbyterians,
Scotch, Irish, English, French, unite,
With equal interest, equal spite
Together mingled in a lump,
Do all in one opinion jump;
And ev'ry one begins to find
The same impression on his mind.
A strange event! whom gold incites
To blood and quarrels, brass unites;
So goldsmiths say, the coarsest stuff
Will serve for solder well enough:
So by the kettle's loud alarms
The bees are gather'd into swarms,
So by the brazen trumpet's bluster
Troops of all tongues and nations muster;
And so the harp of Ireland brings
Whole crowds about its brazen strings.
There is a chain let down from Jove,
But fasten'd to his throne above,
So strong that from the lower end,
They say all human things depend.
This chain, as ancient poets hold,
When Jove was young, was made of gold,
Prometheus once this chain purloin'd,
Dissolved, and into money coin'd;
Then whips me on a chain of brass;
(Venus(3) was bribed to let it pass.)
Now while this brazen chain prevail'd,
Jove saw that all devotion fail'd;
No temple to his godship raised;
No sacrifice on altars blazed;
In short, such dire confusion follow'd,
Earth must have been in chaos swallow'd.
Jove stood amazed; but looking round,
With much ado the cheat he found;
'Twas plain he could no longer hold
The world in any chain but gold;
And to the god of wealth, his brother,
Sent Mercury to get another.
Prometheus on a rock is laid,
Tied with the chain himself had made,
On icy Caucasus to shiver,
While vultures eat his growing liver.

Ye powers of Grub-Street, make me able
Discreetly to apply this fable;
Say, who is to be understood
By that old thief Prometheus?--Wood.
For Jove, it is not hard to guess him;
I mean his majesty, God bless him.
This thief and blacksmith was so bold,
He strove to steal that chain of gold,
Which links the subject to the king,
And change it for a brazen string.
But sure, if nothing else must pass
Betwixt the king and us but brass,
Although the chain will never crack,
Yet our devotion may grow slack.
But Jove will soon convert, I hope,
This brazen chain into a rope;
With which Prometheus shall be tied,
And high in air for ever ride;
Where, if we find his liver grows,
For want of vultures, we have crows.


(Footnote 1: Corrected from Swift's own MS. notes.--_W. E. B._)

(Footnote 2: To understand this and the following poems on Wood and his halfpence, they must be read in connexion with The Drapier's Letters, "Prose Works," vol. vi.--_W. E. B._)

(Footnote 3: Duchess of Kendal.--_Scott_.)


(The end)
Jonathan Swift's poem: Prometheus On Wood The Patentee's Irish Halfpence

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