1759 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Langhorne

A Gentleman of University College, "The Revenge of Venus. To Mr. Langhorne, on publishing his Death of Adonis. Written in the Year 1759" St. James's Chronicle (3 July 1762).



Strange! that a Priest in solemn Guise,
Should trump up such notorious Lies,
And by Enchantment, force the Nine,
To blast my Character divine!
While that poor Link Boy, Phoebus, deigns
To furnish Hints, and aid his Strains!

Thou Bard of Earth, how could'st thou raise
To highest Heaven thy tell-tale Lays!
Or, how could Venus cause thy Spite,
Who fills all Nature with Delight!
Perhaps you bore some secret Grudge
To Vulcan, that old cackling Drudge;
Because his earthly Offspring fair,
Had broke your Locks, or prick'd your Mare;
That thus you strove to stuff his Pate
With Jealousies of modern Date:
But, thank my Stars! my Sable Dear,
Lends to no Song his sooty Ear,
Nor ever dreams you help the Lie on,
That first was hatch'd and nurs'd by BION.

What though I left this blest Abode
To sigh for human Flesh and Blood;
Tho' once, indeed, from pure Good-Nature,
(For, Sir, I hate a cruel Creature)
I design'd t' accept a mortal Treat,
Must you divulge the Tete a Tete?
Am I fit Object of your Scorn?
Sir, I'm a Goddess bred and born.

'Tis true, you harmonize my Pains
With plaintive, and pathetic Strains,
And sooth to say, so soft a Verse
Might do to deck a Husband's Herse;
Or had you sung my Lap-Dog dead,
You might have told what Tears I shed;
But, for a Lover's Passing-Bell,
To say one wept, was not so well.

I Troth, though you may wear Prunella,
I take you for a low-bred Fellow,
That knows no fashionable Place:
Bob Derry never saw your Face,
Though Hand and Glove with Lads of Merit,
The Bravoes, Bucks, and Bloods of Spirit.
Mars never once, in all his Travels,
Has met you at their Midnight Revels;
Nor found you, with those Pleasure's Martyrs,
Beat up a Bona Roba's Quarters.

Even Bacchus scorns to take your Part,
Who loves a Black Coat from his Heart,
And frequent condescends to dine
With a stanch orthodox Divine.

But, Caitiff, Wretch, whoe'er thou art,
Or young, or old, or sage, or smart,
Not Head of Brass, nor Heart of Oak
Shall shield thee from the fatal Stroke:
Tho' Piles of Metaphysic Lore,
Encrust thee like a Lobster o'er;
Tho' Crousaz, Smig, or Burgurdick
Should pare thy Reason to the Quick,
And make thee stupid as a Post,
Yet thou shalt find it to thy Cost,
That Venus in the Shape of —
Shall make thy Heart as hot as Thunder.
And then what Sighs, what Groans, what Strains,
What shivering Tears, what burning Pains!
In woeful Rhyme thy Muse shall warble,
My starry Eyes and Breast of Marble;
My Lips of Ruby, sweet as Syrup,
That ev'n an Anchorite might stir up;
My Smile of such prodigious Power,
It breaks up Winter in an Hour.
But, ah! if I should chance to frown!
Why then, good Bard, go hang, or drown.