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Edited by C.H. Sisson
Categories: 17th Century, 18th Century, Irish
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (256 pages)
(Pub. Sep 1991)
THE PLACE OF THE DAMN'D
All folks who pretend to religion and grace,
Allow there's a Hell, but dispute of the place;
But if Hell may by logical rules be defin'd,
The place of the damn'd, - I will tell you my mind.
Wherever the damn'd do chiefly abound,
Most certainly there is Hell to be found,
Damn'd poets, damn'd critics, damn'd block-heads, damn'd knaves,
Damn'd senator brib'd, damn'd prostitute slaves;
Damn'd lawyers and judges, damn'd lords and damn'd squires,
Damn'd spies and informers, damn'd friends and damn'd liars;
Damn'd villains, corrupted in every station,
Damn'd time-serving priests all over the nation;
And into the bargain, I'll readily give you,
Damn'd ignorant prelates, and councillors privy.
Then let us no longer by these parsons be flamm'd,
For we know by these marks, the place of the damn'd;
And Hell to be sure is at Paris or Rome,
How happy for us, that it is not at home.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) 'had a marvellous ear for talk and delighted in popular eccentricities of speech'. His poetry, usually the most neglected area of his prolific output, illustrates this among many other qualities. 'He is a social and sociable poet, not one given to solitary musing,' C. H. Sisson writes in his introduction. 'What is offered to the reader is a sample which illustrates the liveliness, humour and plain-speaking of this part of the author's work.' Herbert Read pointed out in his essay on Swift, 'Goldsmith said that Swift was the first poet who dared describe nature as it is, with all its deformities, and to give exact expression to a turn of thought alike dry, sarcastic and severe.' Dr Johnson, Macaulay and Thackeray were among the writers who found Swift too ferocious and indeed coarse for their tastes, but in this century his poetry has gained an ever wider readership among those attracted by its vigour and satirical inventiveness.
This selection is edited by C. H. Sisson, the distinguished poet and translator, whose most recent work from Carcanet includes a collection of poetms, God Bless Karl Marx! and his version of Virgil's Aeneid.
Table of Contents
The Humble Petition of Frances Harris
Verses said to be written on the Union
Epitaph on Partridge
A Description of the Morning
A Description of a City Shower
Horace, Lib. 2, Sat. 6
Mary the Cook-Maid's Letter to Dr Sheridan
On Stella's Birth-day
A Quiet Life, and a Good Name
Phillis, or, the Progress of Love
The Progress of Beauty
Epitaph on Demar
The description of an Irish Feast
The Progress of Marriage
Stella's Distress (lines 1-22)
'In church your grandsire cut his throat...'
Advice to the Grub-Street Verse-Writers
Clever Tom Clinch Going to be Hanged
At the Sign of the Four Crosses: To the Landlord
The Furniture of a Woman's Mind
An Elegy on Dicky and Dolly
Mad Mullinix and Timothy
Tom Mullinex and Dick
Dick, a Maggot
A Pastoral Dialogue
On burning a Dull Poem
Traulus (the first part)
The True English Dean to be Hanged for a Rape
The Character of Sir Robert Walpole
Verses on the Death of Dr Swift
The Place of the Damn'd
Epigram ('Lord Pam in the Church...')
'Deaf, giddy, helpless...'
'Ever eating, never cloying...'
An Epigram on Scolding
Verses for Applewomen, etc.
Praise for C.H. Sisson `His poems move in service of the loved landscapes of England and France; they sing (and growl) in love of argument, in love of seeing through, in love of the firm descriptions of moral self-disgust; they move in love of the old lost life by which the new life is condemned.'
Donald Hall, New York Times Book Review 'I think he is worth a place on the short shelf reserved for the finest twentieth-century poets, with Eliot and Rilke and MacDiarmid.'
Robert Nye, the Scotsman
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