Jonathan Swift, A Description of the Morning

[Click on image to enlarge] Classical descriptions of dawn had idealized the beauty of nature. Jonathan Swift was a writer who loved to mock romantic ideals, and this poem, first published in the Tatler in 1709, parodies the classical form by focusing on realistic and grubby details of morning in the city.




Now hardly here and there a Hackney-Coach
Appearing, show'd the Ruddy Morn's Approach.
Now Betty from her Master's Bed had flown,
And softly stole to discompose her own.
The Slipshod 'Prentice from his Master's Dore,
Had par'd the Dirt, and sprinkled round the Floor.
Now Moll had whirl'd her Mop with dext'rous Airs,
Prepar'd to scrub the Entry and the Stairs.
The Youth with Broomy Stumps began to trace
The Kennel Edge, where Wheels had worn the Place. >> note 1
The Smallcoal-Man was heard with Cadence deep,
Till drown'd in shriller Notes of Chimney-sweep.
Duns at his Lordship's Gate began to meet,
And Brickdust Moll had scream'd through half the Street. >> note 2
The Turn-key new his Flock returning sees,
Duly let out a'Nights to steal for Fees. >> note 3
The watchful Bayliffs take their silent Stands;
And School-boys lag with Satchels in their Hands.

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