Cassinus And Peter: A Tragical Elegy · Apollo: Or, A Problem Solved: Written In · The Beasts Confession To The Priest, On Observing How Most Men. The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume English Writing and Culture from the Glorious Revolution to the French Revolution, Vol. editors: Paul. Another exploration of Swift’s anal retentive psychology in which a distraught Cassinus confesses to friend Peter that his beloved Celia has.

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Nor blab it on the lonely Rocks, Where Echo sits, and list’ning mocks. He finds Cassinus filthy and miserable in his dorm room and asks his friend why he is such a mess.

These Eyes, these Eyes beheld the Fact. I come, I come, — Medusasee, [85] Her Serpents hiss direct at me. Begone; unhand me, hellish Fry; Avaunt — ye cannot say ’twas I. The Restoration and Eighteenth Century. For all his knowledge about the world as a young scholar, and despite his facility with the literary trappings of nature, it comes as a terrible shock to Cassinus that Celia has a human body.

But hark, The loud Cerberian triple Bark.

Cassinus and Peter by Jonathan Swift – Read Print

Cassinus’s own physical degradation has been jarringly contrasted with the pastoral tropes he employs, and already there is a wide gap between ideals and corporeality. Cerberus, the watchdog of Hades, had three heads.


Summary Published inthis poem of 7-syllable couplets describes how Peter goes to visit his college friend Cassinus. Purge”A cathartick medicine; a medicine that evacuates the body by stool” Johnson ; bleeding was a common treatment for many medical conditions.

Be easy, ’tis a common Case. Why, Cassythou wilt doze thy Pate: Not a Word come from thy lips? The next few lines refer to other figures in Hades. The shocking expletive is quite easily interpreted as a misanthropic, or even misogynistic, revulsion with the body. Why, hang her, though she seem’d so coy, Cassinjs know she loves the Barber’s Boy.

He makes Peter promise not to divulge the terrible secret he has discovered about his once beloved Celia, and then tells him: Hyppsa contraction of “hypochondria. But, if you fail, my Spectre dread Attending nightly round your Bed; And yet, I dare confide in you; [] So, take my Secret, and adieu.

Both Cassinus and Peter can describe and imagine decaying or sick bodies, as well as deceit and death, but only in a hypothetical way, imbued with the mystery and distance of mythic conceits about nature. Zephyr”The west wind; and poetically any calm soft wind” Johnson. Dear Cassythough to ask I dread, Yet, ask I must. Heaven send thou hast not got the Hypps. How happy I, were that the worst?

Cassinus and Peter

Commentary With a last couplet like that, it is no wonder that this poem has a certain infamy. The discovery of this imperfection, this failing, this humanity, however mundane, can be quite a shock. Nor whisper to the tattling Reeds, [] The blackest of all Female Deeds. Come, tell us, has she play’d the Whore? Nor wonder how I lost my Wits; Oh!


Celia, Celia, Celia shits. Leter need not be entirely unsympathetic to Cassinus: Why, Plague confound her sandy Locks: Miscellaneous Originally published or No, replies Cassinus, to each of these in turn.

But that is to forget the rest of the poem easy to do, given the startling couplet. Now, bend thine Ear; since out it must: Peter wonders if Celia has died; if she has cheated on Cassinus; if she has been struck down by some disfiguring disease; or, ultimately, if there is something terribly wrong with Cassinus. Cassinus replies that he is in this state because of Celia. Beauty’s but a Varnish, Which Time and Accidents will tarnish: The Oxford Anthology of English Literature: His antient Pipe in Sable dy’d, And half unsmoakt, lay by his Side.

But I was fated to be curs’d. Sunk down her nose: