Dr. Parnel To Dr. Swift, On His Birth-day, November 30th, MDCCXIII

Urg'd by the warmth of Friendship's sacred flame,
But more by all the glories of thy fame;
By all those offsprings of thy learned mind,
In judgment solid, as in wit refin'd,
Resolv'd I sing: Tho' lab'ring up the way
To reach my theme, O Swift, accept my lay.

Rapt by the force of thought, and rais'd above,
Thro' Contemplation's airy fields I rove;
Where pow'rful Fancy purifies my eye,
And lights the beauties of a brighter sky;
Fresh paints the meadows, bids green shades ascend,
Clear rivers wind, and op'ning plains extend;
Then fills its landscape thro' the vary'd parts
With Virtues, Graces, Sciences, and Arts:
Superiour Forms, of more than mortal air,
More large than mortals, more serenely fair.
Of these two Chiefs, the guardians of thy name,
Conspire to raise thee to the point of fame.
Ye Future Times, I heard the silver sound!
I saw the Graces form a circle round!
Each, where she fix'd, attentive seem'd to root,
And all, but Eloquence herself, was mute.

High o'er the rest I see the Goddess rise,
Loose to the breeze her upper garment flies:
By turns, within her eyes the Passions burn,
And softer Passions languish in their turn:
Upon her tongue Persuasion, or Command;
And decent Action dwells upon her hand.

From out her breast ('twas there the treasure lay)
She drew thy labours to the blaze of day.
Then gaz'd, and read the charms she could inspire,
And taught the list'ning audience to admire,
How strong thy flight, how large thy grasp of thought,
How just thy schemes, how regularly wrought;
How sure you wound when Ironies deride,
Which must be seen, and feign to turn aside.
'Twas thus exploring she rejoic'd to see
Her brightest features drawn so near by thee:
Then here, she cries, let future ages dwell,
And learn to copy where they can't excel.

She spake. Applause attended on the close:
Then Poesy, her sister-art, arose;
Her fairer sister, born in deeper ease,
Not made so much for bus'ness, more to please.
Upon her cheek sits Beauty, ever young;
The Soul of Music warbles on her tongue;
Bright in her eyes a pleasing Ardour glows,
And from her heart the sweetest Temper flows:
A laurel-wreath adorns her curls of hair,
And binds their order to the dancing air:
She shakes the colours of her radiant wing,
And, from the Spheres, she takes a pitch to sing.

Thrice happy Genius his, whose Works have hit
The lucky point of bus'ness and of wit.
They seem like show'rs, which April months prepare
To call their flow'ry glories up to air:
The drops descending, take the painted bow,
And dress with sunshine, while for good they flow.
To me retiring oft, he finds relief
In slowly-wasting care, and biting grief:
From me retreating oft, he gives to view
What eases care and grief in others too.
Ye fondly grave, be wise enough to know,
'Life ne'er unbent were but a life of woe.'
Some full in stretch for greatness, some for gain,
On his own rack each puts himself to pain.
I'll gently steal you from your toils away,
Where balmy winds with scents ambrosial play;
Where, on the banks as crystal rivers flow,
They teach immortal amarants to grow:
Then, from the mild indulgence of the scene,
Restore your tempers strong for toils again.

She ceas'd: Soft music trembled in the wind,
And sweet delight diffus'd thro' ev'ry mind:
The little Smiles, which still the Goddess grace,
Sportive arose, and ran from face to face.
But chief (and in that place the Virtues bless)
A gentle band their eager joys express:
Here Friendship asks, and Love of Merit longs
To hear the Goddesses renew their songs;
Here great Benevolence to Man is pleas'd;
These own their Swift, and grateful hear him prais'd.
You gentle band, you well may bear your part,
You reign Superior Graces in his heart.

O swift! if fame be life, (as well we know
That Bards and Heroes have esteem'd it so)
Thou canst not wholly die; thy works will shine
To future times, and Life in Fame be thine.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

3:37 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 3,803
Words 694
Stanzas 8
Stanza Lengths 6, 16, 6, 12, 12, 20, 12, 4

Thomas Parnell

Thomas Parnell was an Anglo-Irish poet and clergyman who was a friend of both Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift. He was the son of Thomas Parnell of Maryborough, Queen's County now Port Laoise, County Laoise}, a prosperous landowner who had been a loyal supporter of Cromwell during the English Civil War and moved to Ireland after the restoration of the monarchy. Thomas was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and collated archdeacon of Clogher in 1705. He however spent much of his time in London, where he participated with Pope, Swift and others in the Scriblerus Club, contributing to The Spectator and aiding Pope in his translation of The Iliad. He was also one of the so-called "Graveyard poets": his 'A Night-Piece on Death,' widely considered the first "Graveyard School" poem, was published posthumously in Poems on Several Occasions, collected and edited by Alexander Pope and is thought by some scholars to have been published in December of 1721 (although dated in 1722 on its title page, the year accepted by The Concise Oxford Chronology of English Literature; see 1721 in poetry, 1722 in poetry). It is said of his poetry 'it was in keeping with his character, easy and pleasing, ennunciating the common places with felicity and grace. more…

All Thomas Parnell poems | Thomas Parnell Books

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