Crossword 096: As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap

Stanhope Alexander Forbes, Feeding the Pigs

Stanhope Alexander Forbes, Feeding the Pigs


Speaking of pork, here is one of my favorite passages from the great Jonathan Swift, explaining the popularity of satire—and by the way, much of the social media of our own time:

"There is a problem in an ancient author, why dedications, and other bundles of flattery, run all upon stale musty topics, without the smallest tincture of any thing new; . . . whereas there is very little satire, which has not something in it untouched before. The defects of the former, are usually imputed to the want of invention among those, who are dealers in that kind; but, I think, with a great deal of injustice; the solution being easy and natural; for, the materials of panegyric, being very few in number, have been long since exhausted. For, as health is but one thing, and has been always the same, whereas diseases are by thousands, beside new and daily additions; so, all the virtues that have been ever in mankind, are to be counted upon a few fingers; but their follies and vices are innumerable, and time adds hourly to the heap. Now the utmost a poor poet can do, is to get by heart a list of the cardinal virtues, and deal them with his utmost liberality to his hero, or his patron: he may ring the changes as far as it will go, and vary his phrase till he has talked round: but the reader quickly finds it is all pork, with a little variety of sauce."

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096 As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap