Jonathan Swift

(30 November 1667 – 19 October 1745 / Dublin)

Twelve Articles - Poem by Jonathan Swift

LEST it may more quarrels breed,
I will never hear you read.

By disputing, I will never,
To convince you once endeavour.

When a paradox you stick to,
I will never contradict you.

When I talk and you are heedless,
I will show no anger needless.

When your speeches are absurd,
I will ne'er object a word.

When you furious argue wrong,
I will grieve and hold my tongue.

Not a jest or humorous story
Will I ever tell before ye:
To be chidden for explaining,
When you quite mistake the meaning.

Never more will I suppose,
You can taste my verse or prose.

You no more at me shall fret,
While I teach and you forget.

You shall never hear me thunder,
When you blunder on, and blunder.

Show your poverty of spirit,
And in dress place all your merit;
Give yourself ten thousand airs:
That with me shall break no squares.

Never will I give advice,
Till you please to ask me thrice:
Which if you in scorn reject,
'Twill be just as I expect.

Thus we both shall have our ends,
And continue special friends.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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