by Jonathan Swift
Pray discruciate what follows.
The dullest beast, and gentleman's liquor,
When young is often due to the vicar,
The dullest of beasts, and swine's delight,
Make up a bird very swift of flight.
The dullest beast, when high in stature,
And another of royal nature,
For breeding is a useful creature.
The dullest beast, and a party distress'd,
When too long, is bad at best.
The dullest beast, and the saddle it wears,
Is good for partridge, not for hares.
The dullest beast, and kind voice of a cat,
Will make a horse go, though he be not fat.
The dullest of beasts and of birds in the air,
Is that by which all Irishmen swear.
The dullest beast, and famed college for Teagues,
Is a person very unfit for intrigues.
The dullest beast, and a cobbler's tool,
With a boy that is only fit for school,
In summer is very pleasant and cool.
The dullest beast, and that which you kiss,
May break a limb of master or miss.
Of serpent kind, and what at distance kills,
Poor mistress Dingley oft hath felt its bills.
The dullest beast, and eggs unsound,
Without it I rather would walk on the ground.
The dullest beast, and what covers a house,
Without it a writer is not worth a louse.
The dullest beast, and scandalous vermin,
Of roast or boil'd, to the hungry is charming.
The dullest beast, and what's cover'd with crust,
There's nobody but a fool that would trust.
The dullest beast, and mending highways,
Is to a horse an evil disease.
The dullest beast, and a hole in the ground,
Will dress a dinner worth five pound.
The dullest beast, and what doctors pretend,
The cook-maid often has by the end.
The dullest beast, and fish for lent,
May give you a blow you'll for ever repent.
The dullest beast, and a shameful jeer,
Without it a lady should never appear.
I writ all these before I went to bed. Pray explain them for me, because
I cannot do it.
[Footnote 1: A swine.]
[Footnote 2: A swallow.]
[Footnote 3: A stallion.]
[Footnote 4: A sail.]
[Footnote 5: A spaniel.]
[Footnote 6: A spur.]
[Footnote 7: A soul.]
[Footnote 8: A sloven.]
[Footnote 9: A sallad.]
[Footnote 10: A slip.]
[Footnote 11: A sparrow.]
[Footnote 12: A saddle.]
[Footnote 13: A style.]
[Footnote 14: A slice.]
[Footnote 15: A spy.]
[Footnote 16: A spavin.]
[Footnote 17: A spit.]
[Footnote 18: A skewer.]
[Footnote 19: Assault.]
[Footnote 20: A smock.]
Last updated January 14, 2019