« PreviousContinue »
Yet now and then your men of wit
Will condscend to take a bit.
So, when Cadenus could not hide,
He chose to justify, his pride;
Construing the passion she had shown,
Much to her praise, more to his own.
Nature in him had merit plac'd,
In her a most judicious taste.
Love, hitherto a transient guest,
Ne'er held possession of his breast;
So long attending at the gate,
Disdain'd to enter in so late.
Love why do we one passion call,
When 'tis a compound of them all?
Where hot and cold, where sharp and sweet,
In all their equipages meet;
Where pleasures mix'd with pains appear,
Sorrow with joy, and hope with fear;
Wherein his dignity and age
Forbid Cadenus to engage.
But friendship, in its greatest height,
A constant, rational delight,
On virtue's basis fix'd to last,
When love allurements long are past;
Which gently warms, but cannot burn;
He gladly offers in return;
His want of passion will redeem
With gratitude, respect, esteem;
With that devotion we bestow,
When goddesses appear below.
While thus Cadenus entertains
Vanessa in exalted strains,
The nymph in sober words entreats
A truce with all sublime conceits:
For why such raptures, flights, and fancies,
To her who durst not read romances?
In lofty style to make replies,
Which he had taught her to despise ?
But when her tutor will affect
Devotion, duty, and respect,
He fairly abdicates the throne;
The government is now her own;
He has a forfeiture incurr'd;
She vows to take him at his word,
And hopes he will not think it strange,
If both should now their stations change.
The nymyh will have her turn to be
The tutor; and the pupil, he:
Though she already can discern
Her scholar is not apt to learn;
Or wants capacity to reach
The science she designs to teach :
Wherein his genius was below
The skill of every common beau,
Who, though he cannot spell, is wise
Enough to read a lady's eyes,
And will each accidental glance
Interpret for a kind advance.
But what success Vanessa met,
Is to the world a secret yet.
Whether the nymph, to please her swain, Talks in a high romantic strain;
Or whether he at lasts descends
To act with less seraphic ends;
Or, to compound the business, whether
They temper love and books together;
Must never to mankind be told,
'Nor shall the conscious Muse unfold.
Meantime the mournful Queen of Love
Led but a weary life above.
She ventures now to leave the skies,
Grown by Vanessa's conduct wise:
For, though by one perverse event,
Pallas had cross'd her first intent;
Though her design was not obtain'd;
Yet had she much experience gain'd,
And, by the project vainly try'd,
Could better now the cause decide.
She gave due notice that both parties,
Coram Regina, prox' die Martis,
Should at their peril, without fail,
Come and appear, and save their bail.
All met; and, silence thrice proclaim'd,
One lawyer to each side was nam'd.
The judge discover'd in her face
Resentments for her late disgrace;
And, full of anger, shame, and grief,
Directed them to mind their brief,
Nor spend their time to show their reading;
She'd have a summary proceeding.
She gather'd under every head
The sum of what each lawyer said,
Gave her own reasons last, and then
Decreed the cause against the men.
But, in a weighty case like this,
To show she did not judge amiss,
Which evil tongues might else report,
She made a speech in open court;
Wherein she grievously complains,
"How she was cheated by the swains;"
On whose petition (humbly showing,
That women were not worth the wooing,
And that, unless the sex would mend,
The race of lovers soon must end)—
"She was at Lord knows what expense
To form a nymph of wit and sense,
A model for her sex design'd,
Who never could one lover find.
She saw her favour was misplac'd;
The fellows had a wretched taste;
She needs must tell them to their face,
They were a stupid, senseless race;
And, were she to begin again,
She'd study to reform the men ;
Or add some grains of folly more
To women, than they had before,
To put them on an equal foot;
And this, or nothing else, would do 't.
This might their mutual fancy strike,
Since every being loves its like.
"But now, repenting what was done, She left all business to her son;
She puts the world in his possession,
And let him use it at discretion."
The cryer was order'd to dismiss The court, so made his last O yes! The goddess would no longer wait; But, rising from her chair of state, Left all below at six and seven, Harness'd her doves, and flew to Heaven.
ON THE DEATH OF DEMAR, THE USURER,
Who died the 6th of July, 1720.
Know all men by these presents, Death the tamer,
By mortgage, hath secur'd the corpse of Demar :
Nor can four hundred thousand stirling pound
Redeem him from his prison under ground.
His heirs might well, of all his wealth possess'd,
Bestow to bury him one iron chest.
Plutus the god of wealth will joy to know
His faithful steward in the shades below.
He walk'd the streets, and wore a threadbare cloak;
He din'd and supp'd at charge of other folk:
And by his looks, had he held out his palms,
He might be thought an object fit for alms.
So, to the poor, if he refus'd his pelf,
He us'd them full as kindly as himself.
Where'er he went, he never saw his betters; Lords, knights, and squires, were all his humble And under hand and seal the Irish nation [debtors; Were forc'd to own to him their obligation.
He that could once have half a kingdom bought, In half a minute is not worth a groat. His coffers from the coffin could not save, Nor all his interest kept him from the grave. A golden monument would not be right, Because we wish the earth upon him light.
Oh London tavern! thou hast lost a friend, Though in thy walls he ne'er did farthing spend: He touch'd the pence, when others touch'd the pot; The hand that sign'd the mortgage paid the shot.
Old as he was, no vulgar known disease On him could ever boast a power to seize; "But, as he weigh'd his gold, grim Death in spite Cast in his dart, which made three moidores light; And, as he saw his darling money fail, Blew his last breath, to sink the lighter scale." He who so long was current, 'twould be strange If he should now be cry'd down since his change. The sexton shall green sods on thee bestow; Alas, the sexton is thy banker now!
A dismal banker must that banker be,
Who gives no bills but of mortality.
PART OF A SUMMER SPENT AT GAULSTOWN-HOUSE.
Thalia, tell in sober lays,
How George, Nim, Dan, Dean, pass their days;
And, should our Gaulstown's art grow fallow,
Yet, Neget quis carmina Gallo?
Here (by the way) by Gallus mean I
Not Sheridan, but friend Delany.
Begin, my Muse. First from our bowers
We sally forth at different hours;
At seven the Dean in night-gown drest,
Goes round the house to wake the rest;
At nine, grave Nim, and George facetious,
Go to the Dean, to read Lucretius;
At ten, my lady comes and hectors,
And kisses George, and ends our lectures;
And when she has him by the neck fast,
Hauls him, and scolds us down to breakfast.
We squander there an hour or more,
And then all hands, boys, to the oar;
All, heteroclite Dan except,
Who neither time nor order kept,
But, by peculiar whimsies drawn,
Peeps in the ponds to look for spawn;
O'ersees the work, or Dragon rows,
Or mars a text, or mends his hose;
Or- but proceed we in our journal—
At two, or after, we return all :
From the four elements ascending,
Warn'd by the bell, all folks come trembling:
From airy garrets some descend,
Some from the lake's remotest end;
My Lord and Dean the fire forsake;
Dan leaves the earthly spade and rake:
The loiterers quake, no corner hides them,
And Lady Betty soundly chides them.
Now water's brought, and dinner's done :
With "Church and King" the lady's gone;
(Not reckoning half an hour we pass
In talking o'er a moderate glass).
Dan, growing drowsy, like a thief
Steals off to dose away his beef;
And this must pass for reading Hammond-
While George and Dean go to backgammon.
George, Nim, and Dean, set out at four,
And then again, boys, to the oar.
But when the sun goes to the deep,
(Not to disturb him in his sleep,
Or make a rumbling o'er his head,
His candle out and he a-bed)
We watch his motions to a minute,
And leave the flood when he goes in it.
Now stinted in the shortening day,
We go to prayers, and then to play,
Till supper comes; and after that
We sit an hour to drink and chat.
'Tis late-the old and younger pairs,
By Adam lighted, walk up stairs.
The weary Dean goes to his chamber;
And Nim and Dan to garret clamber.
So when the circle we have run,
The curtain falls, and all is done.
I might have mention'd several facts,
Like episodes between the acts;
And tell who loses and who wins,
Who gets a cold, who breaks his shins;
How Dan caught nothing in his net,
And how the boat was overset.
For brevity I have retrench'd
How in the lake the Dean was drench'd:
It would be an exploit to brag on,
How valiant George rode o'er the Dragon;
How steady in the storm he sat,
And saved his oar, but lost his hat:
How Nim (no hunter e'er could match him)
Still brings us hares when he can catch them:
How skilfully Dan mends his nets;
How fortune fails him when he sets:
Or how the Dean delights to vex
The ladies, and lampoon their sex.
I might have told how oft Dean Percivale
Displays his pedantry unmerciful;
How haughtily he cocks his nose,
To tell what every school-boy knows;
And with his finger and his thumb,
Explaining, strikes opposers dumb:
But now there needs no more be said on't,
Nor how his wife, that female pedant,
Shows all her secrets of house-keeping;
For candles how she trucks her dripping;
Was forc'd to send three miles for yeast,
To brew her ale, and raise her paste;
Tells every thing that you can think of,
How she cur'd Charley of the chincough;
What gave her brats and pigs the measles,
And how her doves were kill'd by weasels:
How Jowler howl'd, and what a fright
She had with dreams the other night.
But now, since I have gone so far on,
A word or two of Lord Chief Baron;
And tell how little weight he sets
On all Whig papers and Gazettes;
But for the politics of Pue,
Thinks every syllable is true.
And since he owns the King of Sweden
Is dead at last, without evading,
Now all his hopes are in the Czar:
"Why, Muscovy is not so far:
Down the Black Sea, and up the Streights,
And in a month he's at your gates;
Perhaps, from what the packet brings,
By Christmas we shall see strange things."
Why should I tell of ponds and drains,
What carps we met with for our pains;
Of sparrows tame, and nuts innumerable
To choke the girls, and to consume a rabble?
But you, who are a scholar, know
How transient all things are below,
How prone to change is human life!
Last night arriv'd Clem and his wife-
This grand event hath broke our measures;
Their reign began with cruel seizures:
The Dean must with his quilt supply
The bed in which those tyrants lie:
Nim lost his wig-block, Dan his jordan
(My lady says she can't afford one):
George is half-scar'd out of his wits,
For Clem gets all the dainty bits.
Henceforth expect a different survey,
This house will soon turn topsy-turvy:
They talk of further alterations,
Which causes many speculations.
MARY THE COOK-MAID'S LETTER TO DR. SHERIDAN. 1723.
Well, if ever I saw such another man since my mother bound my head!
You a gentleman! marry come up! I wonder where you were bred.
I'm sure such words do not become a man of your cloth;
I would not give such language to a dog, faith and troth.
Yes, you call'd my master a knave: fie, Mr. Sheridan! 'tis a shame
For a parson, who should know better things, to come out with such a name.
Knave in your teeth, Mr. Sheridan! 'tis both a shame and a sin;
And the Dean, my master, is an honester man than you and all your kin:
He has more goodness in his little finger, than you have in your whole body:
My master is a parsonable man, and not a spindleshank'd hoddy-doddy.
And now, whereby I find you would fain make an [goose;
Because my master one day, in anger, call'd you Which, and I am sure I have been his servant four
He would come into our kitchen, and I would pin a dish-clout to his tail.
And now I must go, and get Saunders to direct this letter;
For I write but a sad scrawl; but my sister Marget, she writes better.
Well, but I must ruu and make the bed, before my master comes from prayers;
And see now, it strikes ten, and I hear him coming up stairs;
Whereof I could say more to your verses, if I could write written hand:
And so I remain, in a civil way, your servant to command,
THE FURNITURE OF A WOMAN'S MIND.
A set of phrases learnt by rote;
A passion for a scarlet coat;
When at a play, to laugh, or cry,
Yet cannot tell the reason why;
Never to hold her tongue a minute,
While all she prates has nothing in it;
Whole hours can with a coxcomb sit,
And take his nonsense all for wit;
Her learning mounts to read a song,
But half the words pronouncing wrong;
Hath 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 would 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 make 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.
In choosing lace, a critic nice,
Knows to a groat the lowest price;
Can in her female clubs dispute,
What linen best the silk will suit;
What colours each complexion match,
And where with art to place a patch.
If chance a mouse creeps in her sight,
Can finely counterfeit a fright;
So sweetly screams, if it comes near her,
She ravishes all hearts to hear her.
Can dextrously her husband teaze,
By taking fits whene'er she please;
By frequent practice learns the trick
At proper seasons to be sick;
Thinks nothing gives one airs so pretty,
At once creating love and pity.
If Molly happens to be careless
And but neglects to warm her hair lace,
She gets a cold as sure as death,
And vows she scarce can fetch her breath;
Admires how modest women can
Be so robustious, like a man.
In party, furious to her power;
A bitter Whig, or Tory sour;
Her arguments directly tend
Against the side she would defend;
Will prove herself a Tory plain,
From principles the Whigs maintain;
And to defend the Whiggish cause,
Her topics from the Tories draws.
O yes! if any man can find
More virtues in a woman's mind,
Let them be sent to Mrs. Harding;
She'll pay the charges to a farthing;
Take notice, she has my commission
To add them in the next edition;
They may out-sell a better thing:
So, halloo, boys; God save the king!
ON CUTTING DOWN THE OLD THORN
At Market-hill, as well appears,
By chronicle of ancient date,
There stood for many hundred years
A spacious thorn before the gate.
Hither came every village maid,
And on the boughs her garland hung;
And here, beneath the spreading shade,
Secure from satyrs sat and sung.
Sir Archibald, that valorous knight,
The lord of all the fruitful plain,
Would come and listen with delight;
For he was fond of rural strain.
(Sir Archibald, whose favourite name
Shall stand for ages on record,
By Scottish bards of highest fame,
Wise Hawthornden and Stirling's lord.)
But time with iron teeth, I ween,
Has canker'd all its branches round; No fruit or blossom to be seen,
Its head reclining towards the ground.
This aged, sickly, sapless thorn, Which must, alas! no longer stand, Behold the cruel Dean in scorn
Cuts down with sacrilegious hand. Dame Nature, when she saw the blow, Astonish'd, gave a dreadful shriek; And mother Tellus trembled so,
She scarce recover'd in a week.
The sylvan powers, with fear perplex'd,
In prudence and compassion, sent
(For none could tell whose turn was next)
Sad omens of the dire event.
"When thou, suspended high in air,
Dy'st on a more ignoble tree,
(For thou shalt steal thy landlord's mare), Then, bloody caitiff! think on me."
ON THE DEATH OF DR. SWIFT. Occasioned by reading the following MAXIM in ROCHEFOUCAULT, "Dans l'adversité de nos meilleurs amis, nous trouvons toujours quelque chose qui ne nous déplaît pas." "In the adversity of our best friends, we always find something that doth not displease us."
As Rochefoucault his maxims drew
From nature, I believe them true:
They argue no corrupted mind
In him; the fault is in mankind.
This maxim more than all the rest
Is thought too base for human breast:
"In all distresses of our friends,
We first consult our private ends;
While nature, kindly bent to ease us,
Points out some circumstance to please us."
If this perhaps your patience move,
Let reason and experience prove.
We all behold with envious eyes
Our equals rais'd above our size.
Who would not at a crowded show
Stand high himself, keep others low?
I love my friend as well as you:
But why should he obstruct my view?
Then let me have the higher post;
Suppose it but an inch at most.
If in a battle you should find
One, whom you love of all mankind,
Had some heroic action done,
A champion kill'd, or trophy won;
Rather than thus be over-topt,
Would you not wish his laurels cropt?
Dear honest Ned is in the gout,
Lies rack'd with pain, and you without:
How patiently you hear him groan!
How glad the case is not your own!
What poet would not grieve to see
His brother write as well as he?
But, rather than they should excel,
Would wish his rivals all in hell?
Her end when emulation misses,
She turns to envy, stings, and hisses:
The strongest friendship yields to pride,
Unless the odds be on our side.
Vain human-kind! fantastic race!
Thy various follies who can trace?
Self-love, ambition, envy, pride,
Their empire in our hearts divide.
Give others riches, power, and station,
'Tis all to me an usurpation.
I have no title to aspire;
Yet, when you sink, I seem the higher.
In Pope I cannot read a line,
But with a sigh I wish it mine:
When he can in one couplet fix
More sense than I can do in six;