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    Helter Skelter

    by Jonathan Swift
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    THE HUE AND CRY AFTER THE ATTORNEYS
    UPON THEIR RIDING THE CIRCUIT

    Now the active young attorneys Briskly travel on their journeys, Looking big as any giants, On the horses of their clients; Like so many little Marses With their tilters at their a--s, Brazen-hilted, lately burnish'd, And with harness-buckles furnish'd, And with whips and spurs so neat, And with jockey-coats complete, And with boots so very greasy, And with saddles eke so easy, And with bridles fine and gay, Bridles borrow'd for a day, Bridles destined far to roam, Ah! never, never to come home. And with hats so very big, sir, And with powder'd caps and wigs, sir, And with ruffles to be shown, Cambric ruffles not their own; And with Holland shirts so white, Shirts becoming to the sight, Shirts bewrought with different letters, As belonging to their betters. With their pretty tinsel'd boxes, Gotten from their dainty doxies, And with rings so very trim, Lately taken out of lim--[1] And with very little pence, And as very little sense; With some law, but little justice, Having stolen from my hostess, From the barber and the cutler, Like the soldier from the sutler; From the vintner and the tailor, Like the felon from the jailor; Into this and t'other county, Living on the public bounty; Thorough town and thorough village, All to plunder, all to pillage: Thorough mountains, thorough valleys, Thorough stinking lanes and alleys, Some to--kiss with farmers' spouses, And make merry in their houses; Some to tumble country wenches On their rushy beds and benches; And if they begin a fray, Draw their swords, and----run away; All to murder equity, And to take a double fee; Till the people are all quiet, And forget to broil and riot, Low in pocket, cow'd in courage, Safely glad to sup their porridge, And vacation's over--then, Hey, for London town again.

    [Footnote 1: Limbo, any place of misery and restraint.

    "For he no sooner was at large, But Trulla straight brought on the charge, And in the selfsame Limbo put The knight and squire where he was shut." --Hudibras, Part i, canto iii, 1,000.

    Here abbreviated by Swift as a cant term for a pawn shop.--W. E. B.]
    If you're writing a Helter Skelter essay and need some advice, post your Jonathan Swift essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

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