Jonathan Swift

30 November 1667 – 19 October 1745 / Dublin

Stella At Wood Park, A House Of Charles Ford, Esq., Near Dublin

Don Carlos, in a merry spight,
Did Stella to his house invite:
He entertain'd her half a year
With generous wines and costly cheer.
Don Carlos made her chief director,
That she might o'er the servants hector.
In half a week the dame grew nice,
Got all things at the highest price:
Now at the table head she sits,
Presented with the nicest bits:
She look'd on partridges with scorn,
Except they tasted of the corn:
A haunch of ven'son made her sweat,
Unless it had the right fumette.
Don Carlos earnestly would beg,
'Dear Madam, try this pigeon's leg;'
Was happy, when he could prevail
To make her only touch a quail.
Through candle-light she view'd the wine,
To see that ev'ry glass was fine.
At last, grown prouder than the devil
With feeding high, and treatment civil,
Don Carlos now began to find
His malice work as he design'd.
The winter sky began to frown:
Poor Stella must pack off to town;
From purling streams and fountains bubbling,
To Liffey's stinking tide in Dublin:
From wholesome exercise and air
To sossing in an easy-chair:
From stomach sharp, and hearty feeding,
To piddle like a lady breeding:
From ruling there the household singly.
To be directed here by Dingley:
From every day a lordly banquet,
To half a joint, and God be thank it:
From every meal Pontac in plenty,
To half a pint one day in twenty:
From Ford attending at her call,
To visits of Archdeacon Wall:
From Ford, who thinks of nothing mean,
To the poor doings of the Dean:
From growing richer with good cheer,
To running out by starving here.
But now arrives the dismal day;
She must return to Ormond Quay.
The coachman stopt; she look'd, and swore
The rascal had mistook the door:
At coming in, you saw her stoop;
The entry brush'd against her hoop:
Each moment rising in her airs,
She curst the narrow winding stairs:
Began a thousand faults to spy;
The ceiling hardly six feet high;
The smutty wainscot full of cracks:
And half the chairs with broken backs:
Her quarter's out at Lady-day;
She vows she will no longer stay
In lodgings like a poor Grisette,
While there are houses to be let.
Howe'er, to keep her spirits up,
She sent for company to sup:
When all the while you might remark,
She strove in vain to ape Wood Park.
Two bottles call'd for, (half her store,
The cupboard could contain but four
A supper worthy of herself,
Five nothings in five plates of delf.
Thus for a week the farce went on;
When, all her country savings gone,
She fell into her former scene,
Small beer, a herring, and the Dean.
Thus far in jest: though now, I fear,
You think my jesting too severe;
But poets, when a hint is new,
Regard not whether false or true:
Yet raillery gives no offence,
Where truth has not the least pretence;
Nor can be more securely placed
Than on a nymph of Stella's taste.
I must confess your wine and vittle
I was too hard upon a little:
Your table neat, your linen fine;
And, though in miniature, you shine:
Yet, when you sigh to leave Wood Park,
The scene, the welcome, and the spark,
To languish in this odious town,
And pull your haughty stomach down,
We think you quite mistake the case,
The virtue lies not in the place:
For though my raillery were true,
A cottage is Wood Park with you.
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