Birth-day Presents

It was for many years a regular custom with Swift's most intimate

friends to make him some presents on his birth day. On that occasion,

30th November, 1732, Lord Orrery presented him with a paper book, finely

bound, and Dr Delany with a silver standish, accompanied with the

following verses;--



To thee, Dear Swi
t, those spotless leaves I send;

Small is the present, but sincere the friend.

Think not so poor a book below thy care;

Who knows the price that thou canst make it bear?

Tho' tawdry now, and like Tyralla's face,

The spacious front shines out with borrow'd grace;

Tho' pasteboards, glitt'ring like a tinsell'd coat,

A rasa tabula within denote;

Yet if a venal and corrupted age,

And modern vices should provoke thy rage;

If, warn'd once more by their impending fate,

A sinking country and an injured state

Thy great assistance should again demand,

And call forth Reason to defend the land;

Then shall we view these sheets with glad surprise

Inspired with thought, and speaking to our eyes:

Each vacant space shall then, enrich'd, dispense

True force of eloquence and nervous sense;

Inform the judgment, animate the heart,

And sacred rules of policy impart.

The spangled cov'ring, bright with splendid ore,

Shall cheat the sight with empty show no more;

But lead us inward to those golden mines,

Where all thy soul in native lustre shines.

So when the eye surveys some lovely fair,

With bloom of beauty, graced with shape and air,

How is the rapture heightened when we find

The form excelled by her celestial mind!