English Literature » Jonathan Swift » Verses Made for Fruit Women

Verses Made for Fruit Women by


Come buy my fine wares,
Plums, apples, and pears.
A hundred a penny,
In conscience too many:
Come, will you have any?
My children are seven,
I wish them in Heaven;
My husband a sot,
With his pipe and his pot,
Not a farthing will gain them,
And I must maintain them.



Ripe 'sparagrass
Fit for lad or lass,
To make their water pass:
O, 'tis pretty picking
With a tender chicken!



Come, follow me by the smell,
Here are delicate onions to sell;
I promise to use you well.
They make the blood warmer,
You'll feed like a farmer;

For this is every cook's opinion,
No savoury dish without an onion;
But, lest your kissing should be spoil'd,
Your onions must be thoroughly boil'd:

Or else you may spare
Your mistress a share,

The secret will never be known:

She cannot discover
The breath of her lover,

But think it as sweet as her own.



Charming oysters I cry:
My masters, come buy,
So plump and so fresh,
So sweet is their flesh,
No Colchester oyster
Is sweeter and moister:
Your stomach they settle,
And rouse up your mettle:
They'll make you a dad
Of a lass or a lad;
And madam your wife
They'll please to the life;
Be she barren, be she old,
Be she slut, or be she scold,
Eat my oysters, and lie near her,
She'll be fruitful, never fear her.



Be not sparing,
Leave off swearing.
Buy my herring

Fresh from Malahide,[1]
Better never was tried.

Come, eat them with pure fresh butter and mustard,
Their bellies are soft, and as white as a custard.
Come, sixpence a-dozen, to get me some bread,
Or, like my own herrings, I soon shall be dead.

[Footnote 1: Malahide, a village five miles from Dublin, famous for oysters.–F.]



Come buy my fine oranges, sauce for your veal,
And charming, when squeezed in a pot of brown ale;
Well roasted, with sugar and wine in a cup,
They'll make a sweet bishop when gentlefolks sup.

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