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Jonathan Swift

(30 November 1667 – 19 October 1745 / Dublin)

Elegy Upon Tiger


Her dead lady's joy and comfort,
Who departed this life
The last day of March, 1727:
To the great joy of Bryan
That his antagonist is gone.

And is poor Tiger laid at last so low?
O day of sorrow! -Day of dismal woe!
Bloodhounds, or spaniels, lap-dogs, 'tis all one,
When Death once whistles -snap! -away they're gone.
See how she lies, and hangs her lifeless ears,
Bathed in her mournful lady's tears!
Dumb is her throat, and wagless is her tail,
Doomed to the grave, to Death's eternal jail!
In a few days this lovely creature must
First turn to clay, and then be changed to dust.
That mouth which used its lady's mouth to lick
Must yield its jaw-bones to the worms to pick.
That mouth which used the partridge-wing to eat
Must give its palate to the worms to eat.

Methinks I see her now in Charon's boat
Bark at the Stygian fish which round it float;
While Cerberus, alarmed to hear the sound,
Makes Hell's wide concave bellow all around.
She sees him not, but hears him through the dark,
And valiantly returns him bark for bark.
But now she trembles -though a ghost, she dreads
To see a dog with three large yawning heads.
Spare her, you hell-hounds, case your frightful paws,
And let poor Tiger 'scape your furious jaws.
Let her go safe to the Elysian plains,
Where Hylax barks among the Mantuan swains;
There let her frisk about her new-found love:
She loved a dog when she was here above.

The Epitaph

Here lies beneath this marble
An animal could bark, or warble:
Sometimes a bitch, sometimes a bird,
Could eat a tart, or eat a t -.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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