Saturday, May 21, 2016


A College Dorm Room

Anonymous, "A Faithful Inventory of the Furniture Belonging to _______ Room in T.C.D. In Imitation of Dr. Swift's Manner. Written in the Year 1725":
—Quaeque ipse miserrima vidi.—VIRG.

Imprimis, there's a table blotted,
A tatter'd hanging all bespotted.
A bed of flocks, as I may rank it,
Reduced to rug and half a blanket.
A tinder-box without a flint,        5
An oaken desk with nothing in't.
A pair of tongs bought from a broker,
A fender and a rusty poker;
A penny pot and basin—this
Design'd for water, that for piss—        10
A broken-winded pair of bellows,
Two knives and forks, but neither fellows;
Item, a surplice, not unmeeting
Either for table cloth or sheeting;
There is likewise a pair of breeches,        15
But patched, and fallen in the stitches,
Hung up in study very little,
Plastered with cobweb and spittle,
An airy prospect all so pleasing,
From my light window without glazing.        20
A trencher and a college bottle,
Piled up on Locke and Aristotle.
A prayer-book which he seldom handles,
A save-all and two farthing candles.
A smutty ballad, musty libel,        25
A Burgersdicius and a Bible.
The C———— Seasons and the Senses
By Overton, to save expenses.
Item, (if I am not much mistaken,)
A mouse-trap with a bit of bacon.        30
A candlestick without a snuffer,
Whereby his fingers often suffer.
Two odd old shoes I should not skip here,
Each strapless serves instead of slippers.
And chairs a couple, I forgot 'em,         35
But each of them without a bottom.
Thus I in rhyme have comprehended
His goods, and so my schedule's ended.
This appears in The Poems of Thomas Sheridan, ed. Robert Hogan (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1994), pp. 242-243, as part of Appendix III ("Poems of Doubtful Attribution") but I don't own the book and only p. 242 (the first 28 lines) is visible to me on Google Books. It used to be printed among Swift's poems. Some notes:

T.C.D.: Trinity College, Dublin
Quaeque ipse miserrima vidi: Vergil, Aeneid 2.5 (and which most wretched things I myself witnessed)
1 blotted: ink-stained
2 hanging: tapestry
   bespotted: some editions have besnotted
3 flocks: "A material consisting of the coarse tufts and refuse of wool or cotton, or of cloth torn to pieces by machinery, used for quilting garments, and stuffing beds, cushions, mattresses, etc." (Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. flock, sense 2.a)
8 fender: "A metal frame placed in front of a fire to keep falling coals from rolling out into the room" (Oxford English Dictionary, s.v., sense 3.a)
13 unmeeting: unfit, unsuitable
17 study: closet, cupboard
21 trencher: plate
24 save-all: "A holder or fitting in which the last of a candle may be burnt to the end, typically consisting of a small pan with a projecting spike on which to fix the candle" (Oxford English Dictionary, s.v., sense 1.b)
26 Burgersdicius: Franciscus Burgersdicius (1590-1635), whose Institutionum logicarum libri duo was a college textbook
30 Overton: John Overton (1640-1708), seller of mezzotints

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