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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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Swift, “Cassinus and Peter”

Dear Cassythough to ask I dread, Yet, ask I must. Summary Ahd inthis poem of 7-syllable couplets describes how Peter goes to visit his college friend Cassinus. These Eyes, these Eyes beheld the Fact. We need not be entirely unsympathetic to Cassinus: The shocking expletive is quite easily interpreted as a misanthropic, or even misogynistic, revulsion with the body.

Cassinus and Peter: A Tragical Elegy

Not a Word come from thy lips? The next few lines refer to other figures in Hades.

How happy I, were that the worst? He finds Cassinus filthy and miserable in his dorm room and asks his friend why he is such a mess. 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. Cassinus replies that he is in this state because of Celia.


Cassinus and Peter

He makes Peter promise not to divulge the terrible secret he has discovered about his once beloved Celia, and then tells him: But that is to forget the rest of the poem easy to do, given the startling couplet. Nor whisper to the tattling Reeds, cassinjs The blackest of all Female Deeds. Hyppsa contraction of “hypochondria. Celia, Celia, Celia shits.

No, replies Cassinus, to each of these in turn. Cerberus, the watchdog of Hades, had three heads. Nor wonder how I lost my Wits; Oh!

Why, hang her, though she seem’d so coy, I know she loves the Barber’s Boy. But I was fated to be curs’d.

Cassinus and Peter: A Tragical Elegy

Be easy, ’tis a common Case. Beauty’s but a Varnish, Which Time and Accidents will tarnish: 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. Why, Cassythou wilt doze thy Pate: But hark, The loud Cerberian triple Bark.


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

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. The Oxford Anthology of English Literature: Miscellaneous Originally published or Zephyr”The west wind; and poetically any calm soft wind” Johnson. Sunk down her nose: His antient Pipe in Sable dy’d, And half unsmoakt, lay by his Side.

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. Why, Plague confound her sandy Locks: Heaven send thou hast not got the Hypps.

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.