a set of phrases learnt by rote
From Jonathan Swift's poem "The
Furniture of a Woman's Mind," a portrait of a superficial woman:
A set of phrases learned by rote;
A passion for a scarlet coat;
When at a play to laugh, or cry,
But cannot tell the reason why:
Never to hold her tongue a minute;
Wihle all she prates has nothing in it.
Whole hours can witha coxcomb sit,
And take his nonsense all for wit:
Her learning mounts to read a song,
But, half the words pronouncing wrong;
Has every repartee in store,
She spoke ten thousand times before.
Can ready compliments supply
On all occasions, cut and dry.
Such hatred to a parson's gown,
The sight will put her in a swoon.
For conversation well endued;
She calls it witty to be rude;
And, placing raillery in railing,
Will tell aloud your greatest failing;
Nor makes a scruple to expose
Your bandy leg, or crooked nose.
Can, at her morning tea, run o'er
The scandal of the day before.
Improving hourly in her skill,
To cheat and wrangle at quadrille.