Daphne

Daphne knows, with equal ease,
How to vex, and how to please;
But the folly of her sex
Makes her sole delight to vex.
Never woman more devised
Surer ways to be despised;
Paradoxes weakly wielding,
Always conquer'd, never yielding.
To dispute, her chief delight,
Without one opinion right:
Thick her arguments she lays on,
And with cavils combats reason;
Answers in decisive way,
Never hears what you can say;
Still her odd perverseness shows
Chiefly where she nothing knows;
And, where she is most familiar,
Always peevisher and sillier;
All her spirits in a flame
When she knows she's most to blame.
Send me hence ten thousand miles,
From a face that always smiles:
None could ever act that part,
But a fury in her heart.
Ye who hate such inconsistence,
To be easy, keep your distance:
Or in folly still befriend her,
But have no concern to mend her;
Lose not time to contradict her,
Nor endeavour to convict her.
Never take it in your thought,
That she'll own, or cure a fault.
Into contradiction warm her,
Then, perhaps, you may reform her:
Only take this rule along,
Always to advise her wrong;
And reprove her when she's right;
She may then grow wise for spight.
No—that scheme will ne'er succeed,
She has better learnt her creed;
She's too cunning and too skilful,
When to yield, and when be wilful.
Nature holds her forth two mirrors,
One for truth, and one for errors:
That looks hideous, fierce, and frightful;
This is flattering and delightful:
That she throws away as foul;
Sits by this to dress her soul.
Thus you have the case in view,
Daphne, 'twixt the Dean and you:
Heaven forbid he should despise thee,
But he'll never more advise thee.

by Jonathan Swift

Comments (3)

http: //www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/202.html
http: //www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/202.html The final quatrain of this villanelle: It is the poems you have lost, the ills From missing dates, at which the heart expires. Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills. The waste remains, the waste remains and kills. Rage, Rage against the dying on this line!
Fascinated by this villanelle, but unable to penetrate its true meaning (if it has one) Most poems begin from the specific and may progress to a generalisation....this starts out with a generalisation and stays with it, unless I'm missing something. Would be glad to hear somebody tell me that I'm wrong and give their interpretation of this poem.