1] The poem is introduced as follows: "the town has, this half age, been tormented with insects called easy writers .... Such jaunty scribblers are so justly laughed at for their sonnets on Phillis and Chloris, and fantastical descriptions in 'em, that an ingenious kinsman of mine, of the family of the Staffs, Mr. Humphrey Wagstaff by name, has, to avoid their strain, run into a way perfectly new, and described things exactly as they happen: he never forms trees, or nymphs, or groves, where they are not, but makes the incidents just as they really appear. For an example of it: I stole out of his manuscript the following lines: they are a description of the morning, but of the morning in town; nay, of the morning at this end of the town, where my kinsman at present lodges."
9] broomy stumps: worn-out broom.
9-10. to trace/The kennel-edge: to sweep down the gutter.
14] brickdust Moll: painted prostitute.
16] In return for privileges, jailers demanded fees from their prisoners.
Online text copyright © 2005, Ian Lancashire for the Department
of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.
Original text: The Tatler, 9 (Will's Coffee-house, April 28, 1709). E-10 206 Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto)
First publication date: 1709
RPO poem editor: G. G. Falle
RP edition: 3RP 2.64.
Recent editing: 4:2002/5/29
Form: Heroic Couplets
Other poems by Jonathan Swift