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A poem by Jonathan Swift

Apollo; or, A Problem Solved

Title:     Apollo; or, A Problem Solved
Author: Jonathan Swift [More Titles by Swift]


Apollo, god of light and wit,
Could verse inspire, but seldom writ,
Refined all metals with his looks,
As well as chemists by their books;
As handsome as my lady's page;
Sweet five-and-twenty was his age.
His wig was made of sunny rays,
He crown'd his youthful head with bays;
Not all the court of Heaven could show
So nice and so complete a beau.
No heir upon his first appearance,
With twenty thousand pounds a-year rents,
E'er drove, before he sold his land,
So fine a coach along the Strand;
The spokes, we are by Ovid told,
Were silver, and the axle gold:
I own, 'twas but a coach-and-four,
For Jupiter allows no more.
Yet, with his beauty, wealth, and parts,
Enough to win ten thousand hearts,
No vulgar deity above
Was so unfortunate in love.
Three weighty causes were assign'd,
That moved the nymphs to be unkind.
Nine Muses always waiting round him,
He left them virgins as he found them.
His singing was another fault;
For he could reach to B in _alt_:
And, by the sentiments of Pliny,[1]
Such singers are like Nicolini.
At last, the point was fully clear'd;
In short, Apollo had no beard.

[Footnote 1: "Bubus tantum feminis vox gravior, in alio omni genere exilior quam maribus, in homine etiam castratis."--"Hist. Nat.," xi, 51. "A condicione castrati seminis quae spadonia appellant Belgae," _ib_. xv.--_W. E. B._]

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Jonathan Swift's poem: Apollo; Or, A Problem Solved