Wit and Humor of America, The Vol 08


("Swift's Cheerful Creed")


A bumper to the jolly Dean
Who, in "Augustan" times,
Made merriment for fat and lean
In jocund prose and rhymes!
Ah, but he drove a pranksome quill!
With quips he wove a spell;
His creed—he cried it with a will—
Was "Vive la bagatelle!"

Oh, there were reckless jesters then!
And when a man was hit,
He quick returned the stroke again
With trenchant blade of wit.
'Twas parry, thrust, and counter-thrust
That round the board befell;
They quaffed the wine and crunched the crust
With "Vive la bagatelle!"

How rang the genial laugh of Gay
At Pope's defiant ire!
How Parnell's sallies brought in play
The rapier wit of Prior!
And how o'er all the banter's shift—
The laughter's fall and swell—
Upleaped the great guffaw of Swift,
With "Vive la bagatelle!"

O moralist, frown not so dark,
Purse not thy lip severe;
'T will warm the heart if ye but hark
The mirth of "yester year."
To-day we wear too grave a face;
We slave,—we buy and sell;
Forget a while mad Mammon's race
In "Vive la bagatelle!"

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