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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Heaven send thou hast not got the Hypps. Why, Plague confound her sandy Locks: Cerberus, the watchdog of Hades, had three heads. No, replies Cassinus, to each of these in turn. Nor blab it on the lonely Rocks, Where Echo sits, and list’ning mocks.

Cassinus and Peter: A Tragical Elegy

Nor whisper to the tattling Reeds, petfr The blackest of all Female Deeds. The Restoration and Eighteenth Century. His antient Pipe in Sable dy’d, And half unsmoakt, lay by his Side. The shocking expletive is quite easily interpreted as a misanthropic, or even misogynistic, revulsion with the body.

The Oxford Anthology of English Literature: 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.

Sunk down her nose: 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 and Peter

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. The discovery of this imperfection, this failing, this humanity, however mundane, can be quite a shock.

Nor wonder how I lost my Wits; Oh! Begone; unhand me, hellish Fry; Avaunt — ye cannot say ’twas I.

Why, hang her, though she seem’d so coy, I know she loves the Barber’s Boy. These Eyes, these Eyes beheld the Fact. Dear Cassythough to ask I dread, Yet, ask I must. Zephyr”The west wind; and poetically any calm soft wind” Johnson. But I was fated to be curs’d.

Purge”A cathartick medicine; a medicine that evacuates the body by stool” Johnson ; bleeding was a common treatment for many medical conditions.

But hark, The loud Cerberian triple Bark. Now, bend thine Ear; since out it must: How happy I, were that the worst?

The next few lines refer to other figures in Hades. I come, I come, — Medusasee, [85] Her Serpents hiss direct at me. Cassinus replies that he is in this state because of Celia. Celia, Celia, Celia shits. Summary Published inthis poem of 7-syllable couplets describes how Peter goes to visit his college friend Cassinus.

Miscellaneous Originally published or Beauty’s but a Varnish, Which Time and Accidents will tarnish: Come, tell us, has she play’d the Whore?


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. Hyppsa contraction of “hypochondria. Commentary With a last couplet like that, it is no wonder that this poem has a certain infamy.

Swift, “Cassinus and Peter”

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.

Be easy, ’tis a common Case. He finds Cassinus filthy and miserable in his dorm room and asks his friend why cassinu is such a mess.

But that is to forget the rest of the poem easy to do, given the startling couplet. Not a Word come from thy lips?

Why, Cassythou wilt doze thy Pate: We need not be entirely unsympathetic to Cassinus: He makes Peter promise peger to divulge the terrible secret he has discovered about his once beloved Celia, and then tells him: