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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Cassinus and Peter: A Tragical Elegy

The Restoration and Eighteenth Century. Why, hang her, though she seem’d so coy, I know she loves the Barber’s Boy. Nor whisper to the tattling Reeds, [] The blackest of all Female Deeds. Dear Cassythough to ask I dread, Yet, ask I must. Summary Published inthis poem of 7-syllable couplets describes how Peter goes to visit his college friend Cassinus.

Commentary With a last couplet like that, it is no wonder that this poem has a certain infamy. I come, I come, — Medusasee, [85] Her Serpents hiss direct at me.

The Oxford Anthology of English Literature: Cerberus, the watchdog of Hades, had three heads. He finds Cassinus filthy and miserable in his dorm room and asks his friend why he is such a mess. 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. But I was fated to be curs’d.


The next few lines refer to other figures in Hades. No, replies Cassinus, to each of these caseinus turn. 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.

Cassinus and Peter: A Tragical Elegy

Sunk down her nose: Not a Word come from thy lips? How happy I, were that the worst?

Beauty’s but a Varnish, Which Time and Accidents will tarnish: Now, bend thine Ear; since out it must: Cassinus replies that he is in this state because of Celia. Why, Cassythou wilt doze thy Pate: But hark, The loud Cerberian triple Bark.

Begone; unhand me, hellish Fry; Avaunt — ye cannot say ’twas I. Nor wonder how I lost my Wits; Oh! Nor blab it on the lonely Rocks, Where Echo sits, and list’ning mocks.

Zephyr”The west wind; and poetically any calm soft wind” Johnson. Hyppsa contraction of “hypochondria. Come, cassinua us, has she play’d the Whore? We need not be entirely unsympathetic to Cassinus: Celia, Celia, Celia shits.

The discovery of this imperfection, this failing, this humanity, caasinus mundane, can be quite a shock. He makes Peter promise not to divulge the terrible secret he has discovered about his once beloved Celia, and then tells him: These Eyes, these Eyes beheld the Fact.


Heaven send thou hast not got the Hypps.

Miscellaneous Originally published or But that is to forget the rest of the poem easy to do, given the startling couplet. Purge”A cathartick medicine; a medicine that evacuates the body by stool” Johnson ; bleeding was a common treatment for many medical conditions.

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. Why, Plague confound her sandy Locks: 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 shocking expletive is quite easily interpreted as a misanthropic, or even misogynistic, revulsion with the body.

Cassinus and Peter

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. His antient Pipe in Sable dy’d, And half unsmoakt, lay by his Side. Be easy, ’tis a common Case.