The anonymous Bibliotheca makes a satirical tour of the library of an English divine, with long, detailed, and funny verse characters. Thomas Newcomb, Spenser's great grandson on the mother's side, imagines a time will come when "None shall tell, while mix'd we lie, | Which mighty Spenser was, which I; | Nor, in one common dungeon thrust, | John Dryden's from John Bunyan's dust" Select Collection of Poems (1780-82) 3:32. Elsewhere "Brave Gyon and Sir Britomart | Instead of nymphs, protect a tart" 3:34. Not seen.
Bibliotheca was a source for Pope's Dunciad, as John Nichols was the first to point out: "The resemblance between OBLIVION and the GODDESS OF THE DUNCIAD is too striking to have been accidental; and indeed there are many traits of that admirable Satire to be discerned in this 'Description of a Library' 3:65n; see also Richard Foster Jones, Lewis Theobald (1919) 254-55.
Note: "This ingenious writer was son of a clergyman in Herefordshire, and, by his mother, great grandson to the immortal Spenser. He was educated in Corpus-College Oxford, and afterwards had the rectory of Stopham in Sussex, near the seat of the Duke of Richmond, to whom he was chaplain. He is said to have lived some time at Hackney in a distressed condition" Bell's Classical Arrangement of Fugitive Poetry (1789-97) 15:157-58.
Samuel Austin Allibone: "Thomas Newcomb, D.D., 1675-1766? Rector of Stopham, Sussex, 1734, a great-grandson of Spenser the poet, published a number of poems, original and translated, 1718-63. His best-known production is Bibliotheca, published in vol. iii of Nichols's Select Collection of Miscellany Poems, 1718" Critical Dictionary of English Literature (1858-71; 1882) 2:1410.
Bibliotheca was once attributed to William King; "the poem is on many accounts worth preserving; and if it is not Dr. King's, it is at least not by an inferior writer" John Nichols, Select Collection (1780-84) 3:19.
The tea was sipp'd, Occela gone
To regulate affairs alone;
When, from the marriage lumber freed,
The Doctor with himself decreed
To nod — or, much the same, to read.
He always seem'd a wondrous lover
Of painted leaf, and Turky cover,
While no regard at all was had
To sots in homely russet clad,
Concluding he must be within
A calf, that wore without his skin.
Scott, if in rags, was not admir'd,
While Lacy seem'd as much inspir'd,
And in rich purple nicely drest,
Discours'd as faintly as the best.
Great Sherlock, Barrow, and these few
That teach our passions to subdue,
Without gilt backs he would despise,
Which seem'd at best but dully wise;
And Bunyan's Pilgrim shew'd the way
To Paradise as well as they.
But, though his thoughts were fix'd to read,
The treatise was not yet decreed:
Uncertain to devote the day
To politicks, or else to play;
What theme would best his genius suit,
Grave morals, or a dull dispute,
Where both contending champions boast
The victory, which neither lost;
As Chiefs are oft in story read,
Each to pursue, when neither fled.
He enters now the shining dome
Where crouded authors sweat for room;
So close, a man could hardly say
Which were more fixt, the shelves, or they.
Each with his golden title tells
Its author's name, and where he dwells;
And, to enlarge his credit more,
Directs us to his very door;
Boasting of wonders to be seen,
If we have faith to look, within.
To please the eye, the highest space
A sett of wooden volumes grace;
Pure timber authers, that contain
As much as some that boast a brain;
That Alma Mater never view'd,
Without degrees to writers hew'd:
Yet solid thus just emblems shew
Of the dull brotherhood below,
Smiling their rivals to survey,
As great and real blocks as they.
Distinguish'd then in even rows,
Here shines the Verse, and there the Prose;
(For, though Britannia fairer looks
United, 'tis not so with books:)
The champions of each different art
Had stations all assign'd apart,
Fearing the rival chiefs might be
For quarrels still, nor dead agree.
The Schoolmen first in long array
Their bulky lumber round display;
Seem'd to lament their wretched doom,
And heave for more convenient room,
While doctrine each of weight contains
To crack his shelves as well as brains;
Since all with him were thought to dream,
That flagg'd before they fill'd a rheam:
His authors wisely taught to prize,
Not for their merit, but their size;
No surer method ever found
Than buying writers by the pound;
For Heaven must needs his breast inspire,
That scribbling fill'd each month a quire,
And claim'd a station on his shelves,
Who scorn'd each sot who fool'd in twelves.
Say, Goddess! thou that tak'st delight
To live and lodge with folks that write;
What numbers justly may describe
The orders of the learned tribe?
Fierce wits, that long at variance stood,
And drew much ink, but little blood,
Each other's pardon now implore,
The cudgels drop, and snarl no more;
And, filling now the self-same place,
No longer combat, but embrace.
Here vanquish'd Bentley, dreading still
The force of Boyle's vic'torious quill,
All suppliant now, devoutly swore
He ne'er would question Aesop more,
But own each page authentic stood
Some centuries before the flood;
Who, though the tyrant's bull of brass
Did for a mighty wonder pass,
On purpose wrote, to have it known
He made much bigger of his own.
Maurus and Garth their feuds survive,
And here in endless friendship live;
Kindly concording, now impart
Their healing power and rhyming art;
Unrival'd heroes both confest,
To close a life, or break a jest,
And both with both Apollo's blest.
But who can mention Maurus' name,
Without a line to crown his fame;
Upon whose brows inspiring hung
Large poppy wreaths, whene'er he sung,
Whose kindred rhymes their nature keep,
Gently disposing folks to sleep?
Then say, great Mirror of our Time,
(Not half to fam'd for cures as rhyme)
Why should'st thou other means pursue
To heal with drugs, when verse will do?
Five tender distichs, from those strains
Where Arthur moans, and Job complains,
Shall ever boast a power to steep
The wakeful'st eyes in downy sleep.
When strongest opiates nought avail,
Prescribe thy Muse, 'twill never fail;
Ne'er trouble physick with a cure,
Each page of thine will work as sure;
With whatsoever ills opprest,
'Tis sure to give thy patient rest.
See next the Mantuan Bard appears,
And in his hand th' Aeneid bears;
Ten thousand laurels, round him spread,
Bloom ready to adorn his head,
Their greens too languid to bestow
That fame which to his verse we owe.
Such magick fills each heavenly line,
We read, and reacting grow divine;
Conscious we feel the extacy,
And seem inspir'd as well as he;
With him we soaring gain the skies,
Yet know not whence or how we rise.
But see what clouds of sullen woe
Sadly obscure his laurel'd brow!
While the bright glory, that surrounds
His sacred head, his sorrow drowns;
In vain the weeping Muse essays
To ease his grief with proffer'd bays;
Though, fam'd beyond the starry sky,
She vow'd th' Aeneid ne'er should die!
But, while we thus his grief explore,
Oh! view the cause, nor wonder more:
See, closely fixt on either hand,
His two translators near him stand,
Oblig'd to hear them both rehearst
His wondrous song in doggrel verse;
Thus doom'd to all succeeding times
To gingle in dull British rhymes.
"He never thought, great bard! to see
His Roman ladies sipping tea,
Divine Lavinia taking snuff;
Or grave Aeneas charge in buff,
Against his Latian foes advance
With musket now, instead of launce;
While mighty Turnus owes his fall
Not to a javelin, but a ball;
Shot through the belly in the fray,
Expiring a genteeler way."
Had Withers, Shirley, or the good
Laureat of Cambridge near him flood;
No wrinkle had been seen, nay more,
Even R—ll's self he could have bore
(Where Nature, taking wondrous pains
To furnish guts, ne'er thought of brains):
But doom'd to perish by a foe,
Yet hug the arm that gave the blow;
A fate was look'd on too severe
For Heaven to fix, or him to bear.
So much unlike appear'd their strains
To those he sung on Latian plains
(Begging their readers to dispense
With pretty cuts indeed of sense),
That from those lines their pencil drew,
Scarce his own self great Maro knew;
Till honest Loggan let him see
In copper-plates it must be he;
No longer then he could refuse,
But from the cuts confess'd the Muse.
Oh! who can view without a tear
Great Pindar's Muse, and D'Urfey near?
Whose soaring wit, ne'er higher flew
Than to endite for Barthol'mew,
Setting, for sots at country fairs,
Dull bawdy songs to Purcell's airs;
But here how sweetly they combine,
Their fancies club, and numbers join!
While the bold Grecian nobly sings
Of gods, of heroes, and of kings,
And something more than mortal fire
Exalts his voice, and warms his lyre,
That, fir'd with each transporting page,
We feel his heat, and catch his rage;
While each Immortal warrior's name
His Muse transmits to deathless fame,
Green wreaths upon their hearse bestows,
And every wound immortal grows!
But much, oh! very much below
Our meek Pindaricks gently flow,
In soft and easy metre creep,
And just oblige us not to sleep,
While lovers storm, and heroes weep.
Let thy dull Pegasus no more
To Lyric song attempt to soar;
Nor with thy weight presume to rise,
With rival strength, above the skies,
Which trots much hefter than be flies.
Let Pindar's Muse record the flames
Of heavenly nymphs, celestial dames;
Be thou content to whine, and tell
How Strephon charm'd, and Phyllis fell;
Or with that willow grace thy song,
Where late despairing Chloe hung,
While the sad tree the story owns,
Sprouting each May with sighs and groans,
Which, fann'd with Zephyrs, never fail
To waft abroad the doleful tale,
And shall to future times remain
Sacred to Love and Chloe slain.
Bright heroes in thy list shall stand,
In modern brunts that held command,
Whose bold adventures shall out-shine
The heroes all of Caesar's line.
Brave Arthur and his daring crew
Shall kill each mother's son they view;
And great Pendragon's fatal blade
Convert each foe into a shade;
Guy for Alcides shall command,
And Highgate for Olympus stand.
See next, in purple seated high,
A dazzling Wit attracts the eye,
Inviting, with his radiant hue,
If not to read, at least to view;
Though his dark lowering aspect shews,
That Nature meant the fool for prose;
To waste his little sense and time,
In broaching any thing but rhyme.
Yet by degrees the wretch arose
To trade in verse, from vending hose;
And still, in Nature's spite, thinks meet,
Though not in socks, to deal in feet.
The toothless satire that he writes
No other but its author bites
(Like those mistaken curs of yore
That for the flag their master tore);
Where harmless pun and witty clinch
Mumble sometimes, but never pinch;
And, aiming at a wound, are sure
To give us smiles, and work our cure.
Hadst thou no other damning crime,
Justice might fairly urge thy rhyme:
Heaven's votaries have still presence
To piety, at least to sense;
But villains dull as well as rude
A double justice must exclude.
If e'er thy sins thou dost rehearse,
Be sure in tears clap-in thy verse;
Pardon for that with sighs implore,
Confess thy guilt, and write no more:
Content to match thy fame with those
That live, and asses die, in prose.
But, if no counsel can reclaim
Thy daring pen, and fancy tame,
That Engine view, where lately hung
Thy Muse, and thee exalted sung;
Let that at least engage thy fears,
And drop thy pen, to save thy ears.
Oh, of what strange and powerful use
Are pillories to inspire a Muse!
Hark, in what hymns and grateful lays,
The pendent bard resounds their praise!
From rotten eggs, that round him flew,
His happy inspirations drew,
Whose balmy scent inspir'd his vein
To send them back in verse again.
Oh, help, Apollo! now's the time,
To save thy son for future rhyme!
See on his wooden throne dismaid,
He, peeping through implores thy aid,
The only time he ever pray'd;
And begs thee to relieve his wants,
In Helicon or kinder Nantes,
A liquor of as sovereign use
As Aganippe's noble juice,
To raise and cheer his drooping Muse!
See round his venerable head
Bright turnip-greens for laurel spread!
The lustre that his temples crown'd,
In sable showers of ordure drown'd.
Yet, Phoebus, let this wretch survive,
Revenge thyself, and let him live!
(Ador'd by those his saucy Muse
In scoundrel satire durst abuse,
Where oft the starving villain fed,
Cring'd for a groat, and fawn'd for bread)
Atoning thus for each offence
Committed against thee and sense,
Till all the stuff the idiot wrote
Will scarce gain credit for a groat
Till, starv'd and rotting in a gaol,
He trucks his poetry for ale
(Too richly pay'd if his three parts
Will fetch him in as many quarts);
And should his boasted labours bring
But pence beside to buy a string,
Let him, th' experiment to try,
Swing his own "Shortest Way," and die!
Chaucer, the chief of all the throng
That whilom dealt in ancient song
(Whose laurel'd fame shall never cease,
While Wit can charm, or Humour please),
Lies all in tatters on the ground,
With dust instead of laurels crown'd;
Teaching mankind that Poets have
With vulgar Wits one common grave;
That all their boasted labours must
Like other folks submit to dust;
Partake their fate the common way,
And verse itself be turn'd to clay:
That none shall tell, while mix'd we lie,
Which mighty Spenser was, which I;
Nor, in one common dungeon thrust,
John Dryden's from John Bunyan's dust;
Empty alike both skulls we view,
Of the same thickness, form, and hue;
Unknowing now which pate contains
The greater stock of sense or brains;
While Bunyan here is every whit
As bright, and looks-as like a wit;
For the grim jaw of hungry Time
Has no regard at all for rhyme,
But bluntly down together mows
Wits fam'd for verse, as well as prose;
Commanding oft the self-same hearse
To hide the poet and the verse,
While sweetly in one common fire
The labour and the bard expire.
This Tutchin found, whose works a while
With melting softness charm'd our isle;
But, when their dying lord withdrew,
They took the hint, and vanish'd too.
Thus Job, and thus the British Prince,
Were once, but never heard of since.
The Muse that in immortal lays
So nobly sung Eliza's praise,
(Extoll'd, beneath a fancy'd name,
No Fairy but a British dame)
With all his boasted power to save
All other laurels from the grave,
In a dark corner rudely thrown
Now wants a power to save his own;
Though Heaven itself his bosom fir'd,
And all the God his breast inspir'd,
That Phoebus self from Spenser's Muse
Might softer strains and numbers chuse;
Make Daphne listen to his lay,
And force the flying nymph to stay!
With all his wit deserves no more,
Than a poor shelf behind the door;
His heroes in each warlike page
In hotter feuds must now engage;
And foes more dreadful here withstand,
Than all they drubb'd in Fairy Land
Regardless now of ravish'd dame,
Each guards a custard from the flame,
Though whilom they disdain'd to lie
Beneath so weak an enemy.
Brave Gyon and Sir Britomart,
Instead of nymphs, protect a tart;
Though once averse to warm desire,
Are destin'd now to fall by fire;
All his brave chiefs in order fry,
And every warrior saves a pye.
Melodious Wither by himself,
In learned tatters, bends a shelf,
Though none so base as to dispute
His title to a better suit;
He sadly moans, expos'd to air,
His cover thin, and livery bare;
Grinning with envy to behold
His meaner rivals shine in gold.
Thy dying Muse, when urg'd by fate,
Might sure have claim'd to lie in state;
Though living scorn'd, and never read,
Like other things, admir'd when dead:
But see! she hardly is allow'd,
Mingled among the common crowd,
The wretched honours of a shroud.
But both together must decay,
Kindly consume and turn to clay;
No curious eye shall e'er presume
To alter her appointed doom;
Her peaceful labours to molest,
But seal them up in endless rest,
That sleep allow her in the grave,
Which she to all, when living, gave!
Close by the door, if not behind,
Poor Ovid had a place assign'd;
And, in a musty corner pent
Begg'd for a second banishment;
With all his wit, close ramm'd between
Two rival bards of Aberdeen,
The first of all the northern clime
That turn'd adventurers in rhyme,
To teach mankind, and let them see
How zeal and verse may well agree,
And that such pious folks as they
Can rhyme sometimes, as well as pray.
Instead of Aganippe's flood,
From British streams each drank as good;
And boasted hills as high as that
Where Phoebus and his Muses sat,
With this small difference alone,
That had two heads, and ours but one!
Though no soft Tyber rolls along
To aid their verse) and raise their song:
Great Humber's stream, and Solway's tide,
As full of inspiration glide;
With fancies fraught their waters flow,
And roll with raptures as they go!
Instead of Virgil's sacred page,
That us'd his wonder to engage,
He now attends the rigid fights
Of doughty heroes, hardy knights,
One leg lopp'd off, that urg'd her foe
As fierce as when they fought on two!
For Turnus, great Argyll commands,
And Douglas for Aeneas stands;
Though Kincardin appear too long
To rhyme in verse and British song,
What hero in the Latian Muse
E'er sounded half so big as Bruce!
Entail'd more glory on his race
Than his bold sword in Chevy-chace!
Where doughty chiefs, renown'd for fight,
Obscur'd the Roman valour quite;
Whose silly arms upon record
Were only vulgar pike and sword,
While these with gun and pistol found
A nearer way their foes to wound.
Behold the bard whose daring pen
The squabbles drew 'twixt Gods and men,
Alone upon a dusty shelf
Describe their combats by himself;
For ages past no mortal fight
Had once beheld the furious fight;
None knowing if the champions stout
Engag'd in armour or without:
Whether the foe attack'd the wall
With battering ram, or iron ball,
How the fam'd Troy at length was won
With horse of timber or of gone.
The weeping Queen of Beauty found
No reader to lament her wound;
And not a soul for years had read
Whose troops pursued, whose legions fled;
While Heaven's kind aid both sides invoke,
How Jove himself receiv'd a stroke,
And, no celestial medicine found,
Took-up with balsam for his wound,
But, binding on his plaister, swore
He ne'er would leave Olympus more,
Or peep from Heaven's securer shades
To view again such sighting blades,
Who, warring for so fair a prize,
Had no regard for Deities:
How Paris, free from hostile jars
Engag'd at home in softer wars;
Bade rival heroes strive for fame,
In deathless annals write their name;
While blest with Helen's lovely eyes,
They shar'd the blows, and he the prize!
In Beauty's cause his youth employ'd,
And, as they conquer'd he enjoy'd.
Oh! who can thus unmoved descry
The great Maeonian poorly lie;
Entomb'd in dust, nor on his hearse
Kindly bestow one grateful verse!
Shall states contend his birthright's fame,
And we not tremble at his name,
Our great arrears of duty pay,
And gratitude, as well as they;
Without a tear his heroes view,
New labours urge, new toils pursue,
More fatal far than all they bore
On fam'd Scamander's bleeding shore?
Great Priam in a kite ascends,
And Hector's self a casement mends;
New trials for their valour find,
Instead of men, to combat wind;
The sturdy Greek, whose hardy hide
Could stroaks of oak or steel abide,
And, worn instead of hardest buff,
Was deem'd both sword and cudgel proof,
Is strangely now surpriz'd to feel
More places mortal than his heel;
But heroes well such slights may bear
When Gods themselves no better fare!
Hermes, accustom'd to the skies,
Aloft in fiery rockets flies,
Swifter than when from Jove he flew
To bear some amorous billet-doux;
And warn the unexpecting dame
To dress before his highness came.
Phoebus, with all his lustre bright,
Is trim'd to dock a Christmas light.
(All other lights exceeding, far
As he himself out-shines a star)
Till the bright God, that all things burns,
Flaming himself, to ashes turns.
The mighty Mars, for all he looks
Fierce both in battles and in books,
Stript of his armour, on the floor
All peaceful lies, and struts no more!
With Juno's wondrous witty speech,
Ocella fairly wip'd her breech;
Her birth and godhead nought avail,
Preferr'd to jakes from madam's tail.
Gallus, whose numbers oft have charm'd
The coyest nymph, and coldest warm'd
(Doubly oblig'd to see and hear
The verse so sweet, and he so fair),
Is doom'd by too severe a fate
To sing within an inch of Tate!
While both beneath the self-same leather,
Like fair and foul in April weather,
Kindly concord, and rhyme together.
Thus have I often at a play,
Survey'd a nymph, profusely gay,
With all the charms of nature grac'd,
Close by some wrinkled beldam plac'd;
Oblig'd to hear the dowdy thing,
Her triumphs boast, and conquests sing,
Whose breath the want of charms supplies,
And kills more certain than her eyes.
Oh! quickly, beauteous Queen of Love,
Thy suffering favourite hence remove;
With thy own hand thy darling bring
Where Addison and Congreve sing
(By whose harmonious art and care
Thy matchless beauties shine more fair);
To Prior join his rival bays,
Or, listening to soft Cowley's lays,
Let him intent on Waller's lyre,
To reach his daring flights aspire;
To Heaven the wondrous Muse pursue
With equal strength and softness too.
Hark, how thy Isis' weeping shore
Begins thy absence to deplore!
And all her pensive nymphs in vain
Recal thee to her banks again;
No more their drooping heads they rear
Above their waves, thy song to hear,
While in their breast a double fire
Thy music and thy charms inspire;
Then gently fall beneath the tide,
Their blushes and thy power to hide.
See how her swans their pride forego,
In murmuring sighs confess their woe!
Stretch'd on their watery beds they lie,
And all their oosy pasture fly;
No more with silver wings divide,
And downy breasts, the parting tide,
As when with eager haste they flew
Thy distant music to pursue,
And, by thy voice instructed, try
To charm more softly, as they die!
But, while great Beaufort's acts inspire,
Demand his voice, and claim his lyre!
Bright to record the patriot's name,
In verse, as lasting as his fame;
Thy smiling Thames forgets his woe,
Resigns the Muse, and bids her go,
Nobly to sing, in deathless lays,
Her own, beneath the hero's praise,
Immortal Camden there complains,
Cursing a critick's useless pains;
In modern charms expos'd to view,
He scarce his own Britannia knew;
Adorn'd with wonders which his eye,
A lover's though, could never spy.
Here he beholds huge forests rise
From Danish blood, and meet the skies;
While each complaining tree records
The fate of their unhappy lords:
There Elder weeps, from bleeding vein,
Great Sueno's fall, and Canute slain;
While winter-flowers; each rolling year,
Gay on their verdant stalks appear;
Bloom from the celebrated Thorn,
Mince-pies and windows to adorn,
Which some imagin'd, though untruly,
Not in December born, but July.
See, drawn by his enchanting hand,
Britannia seems a Fairy Land;
Druids and Bards frequent each grove,
and nymphs in every thicket move:
To streams and cooling shades retire,
Kindly to bless some gentle squire,
Unwilling yet too far to stray,
For fear of Satyrs in the way.
Spenser, who sent his chiefs so far
To purchase fame in feats of war,
Might here, not forc'd abroad to roam,
Have met with giants nearer home,
His heroes trembling to defy
Fierce Tudor or victorious Guy.
'Twas pity Sidney's fam'd design
So long, great sage, preceded thine,
Philoclea else the crown had worn,
And Musidorus here been born;
Close by her vanquish'd lover's side
The fair Parthenia too had dy'd.
Thy every page presents our sight
With chiefs as brave, and dames as bright,
As in her fam'd Arcadian plain
Romantic Greece could ever feign;
And for the time to come shall store us
With warriors great as Musidorus,
And every grove oblige our sight
With virgins as Pamela bright;
That, furnish'd with fair rural dames,
Protecting squires, and lovers Dames,
We ne'er shall want a chief for fight,
While thou and great Cervantes write.
One day the Doctor, quite o'ercome
With luscious tales of Greece and Rome,
Instead of taking tea or air,
Does to the female world repair,
To please himself among the fair
(Where if no sense was to be found,
He's sure to he oblig'd with sound).
Sappho had softness, but her song
Was jargon all in such a tongue,
Requiring too much pains to seek,
And labour for her wit in Greek,
Which would have edify'd as much
Recorded in Chinese or Dutch.
Dacier, though penn'd with so much ease,
Too much a critick, seem'd to please,
But, being courtly and well-bred,
and pleas'd with that he never read;
Smiling on every page she writ,
Takes her on trust to be a wit.
Italian dames his ears surprize
With harmony of O's and I's,
So soft the tender vowels chime;
No harsher sense e'er marr'd the rhyme,
Of strength depriv'd more gently flow,
And warble musically low;
But, when his searching judgement found,
Neglecting sense, they study'd found,
To British dames be next apply'd
Fro that which Greece and Rome deny'd,
And sought amidst our tuneful fair
A song more grateful to his ear;
Where harmony with strength conspir'd
To make the verse, and nymphs admir'd.
Wh—n the coldest breast might move,
But that she talk'd too much of love!
Of burning flames and hot desire,
That every line was red with fire.
Singer, thy name and nature made
For music and the rhyming trade,
For her weak genius soar'd too high,
And lost her Muse above the sky;
A flaming sun, a radiant-light,
In every verse, distract our sight,
Diffuse their dazzling beams from far,
And not one line without a star!
Through streams of light we seem to rove,
And tread on shining orbs above.
Orinda next demands his view,
For titles fam'd, and rhyming too;
And had been read, but that her song,
To be admir'd, was quite too long.
Their mistress went of pride to shew,
Her numbers glide but wondrous low,
Instead of rapture give us sleep,
And, striving to be humble, creep.
Philipps in verse her passion told,
Intreats the youth to be less cold;
Begs him, while nature charms denies,
To mind her Wit, and not her eyes;
Instructs the novice how to wooe,
And shews what little art will do,
A virgin's yielding heart to move,
And melt a breast inclin'd to love!
Softness her want of sense supplies,
She faints in every line, and dies;
Again resumes her tender strain,
And only lives so dye again.
Unhappy maid, correct thy Muse,
Some nearer way to wedlock chuse:
She warbles with so ill a grace,
Thy airs are coarser than thy face;
And will be found (believe me) still
To frighten ten, for one they kill.
Dear Phyllis, then, leave off in time,
Lovers are ne'er trepann'd by rhyme;
Thy bobbins or thy needle take,
Each will as deep impressions make;
And, to enjoy the youth's embrace,
Cashier thy Muse, and stick to lace.
A croud of other females past,
Whose fame for verse shall ever last,
While artless sounds our soul disarm,
And music, void of sense, can charm.
Immortal Behn at last he spy'd,
"Hail, beauteous nymph! the lover cry'd,
See at your feet I prostrate bow,
Neglecting every fair, for you;
Their worthless labours tumbling o'er
In haste, your beauties to adore,
With your bright features, or your quill,
Arm'd with a double power to kill!"
But, as no mortal thing below
Can long survive without a foe,
Here he beholds in triumph fit
The bane of beauty, sense, and wit;
Demolish'd distichs round his head,
Half lines and shatter'd stanza's spread,
While the insulting conqueror climbs
O'er mighty heaps of ruin'd rhymes,
And, proudly mounted, views from high,
Beneath th' harmonious fragments lie;
Boasting himself from foes secur'd,
In stanza's lodg'd, in verse immur'd.
Furious the lover silence broke
And thus, red hot with vengeance, spoke:
"And could thy squeamish stomach chuse
To feast on nothing but a Muse;
Nought else thy courtly palate hit,
But virgin sense and female wit;
My favourite nymph to nib and waste,
To pleasure thy luxurious taste;
Seldom content to sup or dine
Without a distich or a line;
Making those rhymes, thy hunger fed,
Each day thy food, each night thy bed;
Proudly aspiring thus to lie,
In sheets of downy poetry?
On twenty more, design'd to be
Fit nourishment for such as thee,
Thou might'st have fed, or made a seat in,
Publish'd alone but to be eaten,
Volumes fit only for a nest,
Where vermin such as thou should rest.
Had'st thou chose rather to be pent in,
The Councils Lateran or Tridentine
(As many an honest insect feeds
On Canons and outlandish Creeds),
Meanly to no one dish confin'd,
Thou might'st have, great as Caesar din'd:
Cloy'd with insipid verse, have chose
To diet on more savoury prose;
In mighty folio's lodg'd, been able
Greatly each day to shift thy table:
And found materials to assuage
Thy hunger in each fruitful page:
Or, if Decrees and Councils shew'd
For courtly tastes too mean a food,
On Wars and Battles, seldom read,
Thou might'st without offence have fed;
Thy rage the warriors should out-do,
Eating up fights and heroes too;
In spight of all their guns and steel,
Devour a champion at each meal;
Philippi but one feast would yield,
And scarce so much Pharsalia's field;
Great Ammon's son must here submit,
To be demolish'd at a bit,
All others conquering, doom'd to be
Subdued at fall by puny Thee!
But say, while fifty more, as good,
If not for sense, at least for food,
Crowded on every shelf appear,
Why, envious vermin, only here,
See, from their fair apartment drove,
Here sprawls a Cupid, there a Love;
Unarm'd, the young immortals shew,
This wants a shaft, and that a bow,
And tears in mighty streams distil,
Robb'd of their tools to wound and kill.
Fair Venus, in a pensive mood,
Sadly laments her mumbled hood;
That nought beside a veil of lawn
Was o'er her radiant shoulders drawn,
While two meals more, without my care,
Had stripp'd the blushing Goddess bare.
Nor does fair Beauty's wounded Queen
Confess alone thy little spleen;
The Muse, whom brighter charms adorn,
Laments herself in pieces torn.
See, scatter'd round thy dark abode,
Here lies a Satire, there an Ode,
Ceasing, through thy malignant spite,
Or this to praise, or that to bite:
And Elegy, but now too late,
Laments her own untimely fate;
Those tears, design'd for lovers' moan,
Sadly applying to her own.
A limping line there wants a foot,
The rhyme nibb'd off, and sense to boot,
And mangled now, without a close,
Degenerates into rumbling prose;
A solitary verse alone,
His partner quite devour'd and gone,
There weeps, he can no longer chime
And warble with his fellow-rhyme;
With the sad dismal loss perplex'd,
He strives to gingle with the next,
His strength the same, and softness too,
But, wanting sound, it must not do.
Say then, before this murdering thumb
Relentless seals thy certain doom,
What art or cunning can repair
The ruins of the injur'd fair?
Patch up her music, and restore
The nymph harmonious as before?"
But see, too proud to make amends
(As silence still on guilt attends),
Speechless the vermin turns away,
With not one single word to say,
Confessing thus the bloody crime
Of wounding wit, and murdering rhyme.
Take then a life, propitious maid,
Sent to atone thy wandering shade;
Though vile the gift, 'tis yet the most
I now can give thy injur'd ghost.
But let one foe, thus nobly slain,
Thy reeking altar serve to stain,
Till thousands more, before thy eye,
To please thy glutted vengeance, die;
Thy soul thus giving, by their doom,
Through endless scenes of bliss to roam.
Diverted from the doleful song
He still seem'd eager to prolong,
Horace, in sad and mournful strains,
To likening Phoebus thus complains;
"Patron of verse, and God of days,
Inspirer of our voice and lays;
Permit me, in some dismal cell,
With Goths or Leyden bards, to dwell,
Or to consume my wretched time,
'Twixt Dublin verse and Glasgow rhyme;
Nay, to augment my left despair,
Place Ayloffe's self and Marvell there
(A fam'd dull pair, that purely wrote
To raise our spleen, and die forgot):
If, suffering thus, my works may be
From criticks and translators free;
Or, in one wish, to sum up all
The plagues that can a wretch befall;
May it be doom'd my harder fate
To read whatever they translate;
And hear, for great Augustus' name,
In dull heroicks Arthur's fame,
His fire in modern story pass
For what my lov'd Maecenas was:
Let theirs exceed my hero's praise,
To save my Muse from Creech and Bayes!"
A Proteus Wit almost escapes,
That writes and fools in fifty shapes;
To please in every art prepar'd,
An Atheist now, and now a Bard,
Physician strait, another time
Projecting tools to work in rhyme;
Or forging odd receipts to make
Verse, duller than his Worship's, take.
Horace, most courtly grown and kind.
Exactly speaks the Poet's mind,
Stands sponsor, by his worth and fame,
To guard his infant Muse from shame:
Whilst he in mighty secrets deals,
And beauties long obscur'd reveals,
Does from his own prescriptions fall,
Gives fifty rules, and breaks them all;
Though he that farthest from them strays
Bids fairest much to win the bays.
From verse be hastens to dispute
Himself into a nobler brute,
Greatly resolv'd his murdering quill
Should, certain as his physick, kill:
He needs would have mankind control
The universe without a soul;
That matter, nicely wrought and spun,
Might all those mighty feats have done,
Which antient dotards were inclin'd
To attribute to Thought and Mind;
Thus, as the threads are drawn, it hits,
The coarse are fools, the fine ones wits;
While others, of a middle size,
Prove harmless things, not dull nor wise,
And hence it plainly comes to pass,
That Coward's now what Sternhold was,
Because, in Nature's forming list,
His threads were of a clumsy twist;
And Chance had so contriv'd his doom,
To draw him from a hobbling loom.
A proof within himself he feels,
That all mankind is mov'd by wheels:
That chains, and pendulums, and springs,
With twenty other curious things,
Were first by artful Nature made,
Ere clocks and watches form'd a trade.
Exchange, great sir, a word or two,
And your fam'd thefts still may do;
"Thou art thyself compleat and whole,
Thy verses only want a soul,
While both a different fate shall try,
Thou half, and they entirely die,
Condemn'd by thee, not partial Fate,
E'er to behold a future state!"
Behold a modest Bard refuse,
The laurels waiting on his Muse!
Pity first taught her how to sing,
To try her voice, and prune her wing;
Touch'd with a tender Christian woe,
In Wallia's realms to meet a foe,
That, lawless long and unrestrain'd,
Had in her milky dainties reign'd:
And every year triumphant won
A dowry for a yeoman's son.
Virgil, that taught thy Muse to sing,
A nobler verse could hardly bring,
Or on a theme so mean and low,
More thought and majesty bestow;
Henceforth his smiling ghost shall move
More joyous through her laureat grove;
To hear thy tuneful voice above.
Take then a gift I trembling bring,
Instructed near thy Muse to sing;
Which prun'd her pinions in that shade,
Whence mine her earliest flights essay'd;
Both sipping, to inspire our themes,
Oxe-eyes, for clear Castalian streams.
Oh! may thy fame for ever run,
A glorious rival to the sun;
"Till mice in pantries cease to dwell,
Or brimstone at Glamorgan fell;
Till mites no more in Chedder breed,
Nor goats on craggy Pen-maur feed;
Till leeks and onions smell amiss,
Till scrubbing seems no more a bliss;
'Till great Plinlimmon leaves the skies,
Till thy immortal labour dies!"
While Dennis aids the Muse to sing,
Or gives her plumes, or clips her wing,
Directs her cautious how to fly
Unbeaten tracts along the sky;
With safety we sublimely stray,
And soaring gain the realms of day,
Till, trembling from those heights above,
And dazzling orbs o'er which we move:
We gently sink in humbler strains,
To vales beneath; and rural plains.
Great Toland, with his name below,
Bought purely to make-out the show;
Adorns at once and fills a row
(Though some aver it strongly still
That emptiness could never fill).
Hadst thou been wise or dull by rule,
Thy silence might have skreen'd the fool;
But thus to cant, and own it too,
No mortal sure but thee would do;
The twilight owl and serious ass
Would needs for modern criticks pass,
Till both their want of sense betray'd,
One hooting, while the other bray'd.
Near Blackall his fam'd rival lay,
But, frowning, lean'd another way;
His forehead into wrinkles drawn,
To sit within the smell of lawn:
But close, as to his elm the vine,
Round pious Baxter seems to twine;
Adores the saint on bended knees,
That taught him first to cant and please;
And to the wondering world reveal
Good Christian methods to rebel.
While Milton's soaring fancy flies,
And sings of feuds above the skies,
Dreadfully fills the heavenly plain,
With vanquish'd powers, and cherubs slain,
Surpriz'd and trembling from afar,
We scarce behold th' immortal war;
Their fauchions formidably bright,
Their swords compos'd of beaten light;
And beamy arms with dreadful blaze
From each contending van amaze;
With dread we view th' apostate foe,
Plung'd in the deep abyss below.
See Rag on Phillips still attends;
In life, in death, harmonious friends;
Pleas'd his lov'd Isis to forego,
To meet the darling shade below.
Who in th' Elysian fragrant bowers
Beguile each day the smiling hours,
With more delight than wine or love
Ere gave the Bards in realms above;
Each here transported to behold
Rich branches bloom with radiant gold,
(Strangely surpris'd to view an ore
They ne'er on earth once touch'd before),
No more refulgent to their eyes
The Splendid Shilling's charms surprize;
Once the sole bliss of Heaven implor'd
For that alone, by each ador'd;
That ale or oysters could command,
The noblest boons of sea or land,
And bid them, to enjoy a friend,
From lonely garret oft descend:
No longer to their cells restrain'd,
Where Want and dismal Darkness reign'd,
With harmless pun, and clinches gay,
They now repeat each smiling day;
Nor dreadful reckoning trembling fear,
As if kind Herbert too was there,
For vile mundung and fumy ale,
Incense and odours, now exhale,
And, sipping nectar from each stream,
No more of Tiff and Viner's dream;
Convinc'd their Isis could bestow
No cups to soft as those below.
No longer now the modish gown
In ropy shreds hangs quivering down,
Tuck'd close, but gently, round the side,
Some dismal breach beneath to hide;
Or else protesting from the air
Some parts, as nature form'd them, bare.
See next the Muse that fill'd the skies
With sleepy lolling deities,
Careless and unconcern'd to know,
What mortals acted here below;
Gives us receipts of wondrous fame,
New worlds to raise, and beings frame;
Which Burnet by experience knew
In every tittle to be true:
After a long eternal round,
No stage to ease their labour found,
The wearied atoms all combine,
In different forms themselves to join:
These sink beneath, those upwards fly,
To deck and to adorn the sky;
In radiant planets shine from far,
Or lose their brightness in a star.
Millions, for heavenly forms unfit,
To meaner fates below submit;
While long the little sportive train
A thousand tricks attempt in vain,
Before they can fit natures chuse,
And their light empty beings lose!
The brisk, the nimble, and the light,
To frame the female world unite;
And, while the beauteous kind they fill,
Seem to preserve their nature still:
the giddy into order range,
But scarcely undergo a change,
Still act as in their antient sphere,
Whirling in mad projectors here,
Or else their roving powers restrain,
Beneath some madder poet's brain:
Those of a rough and knotty make,
Their stations all in criticks take;
Which makes it harder much to gain
Their sense, than his they would explain,
And much more skill requir'd to find
The critick's, than the author's, mind:
Those of a tall and slender size
In monuments and steeples rise,
For structures, like our elm and yew,
At nature's birth, spontaneous grew,
Instructed upwards how to climb
Without the help of brick or lime:
The dull, the empty, and the gay,
Consent to take a different way
These mingling form coquettes, and those
Unite in asses, and in beaux!
Descending from a finish'd star,
Some leave the skies, to grace the fair;
While those to Heaven their light confine,
And these in Lumley's beauties shine,
In Beaufort's air they all unite
Their softest beams, their fairest light;
In March's lovely form surprize,
Or smile confess'd in Bishop's eyes;
While, honest Tindal, thou and I,
Were form'd of lumps that downwards fly,
And daily give some wretched proof
Of our descending weighty fluff;
Which makes whate'er we write or say
Thus favour of our kindred clay,
And every fair and just design
With such a native force decline,
That, while we strive sublime to soar,
We sink and founder so much lower.
Hence 'tis, our labours come to nought,
Each beauteous product, which we thought
Of sprightly wit and reason full,
Is strangely leaven'd with the dull;
But let us learn true wisdom hence,
Nor whine like fools for want of sense;
Rather accuse our partial fate,
Assigning each so dull a pate:
Purely by nature form'd in spite,
To plague mankind in print, and write.
Bentley immortal honour gets,
By changing Que's for nobler Et's:
From Cam to Isis see him roam,
To fetch stray'd Interjections home;
While the glad shores with joy rebound,
For Periods and lost Comma's found:
Poor Adverbs, that had long deplor'd
Their injur'd rights, by him restor'd!
Smil'd to survey a rival's doom,
While they possess'd the envied room;
And, hissing from their rescued throne
Th' usurper's fate, applaud their own.
The Roman nymphs, for want of notes
More tender, strain'd their little throats,
Till Bentley, to relieve their woes,
Gave them a sett of Ah's and Oh's:
More musically to complain,
And warble forth their gentle pain.
The suffering fair no more repine,
For vowels now to fob and whine;
In softest air their passion try,
And, without spoiling metre, die:
With Interjections of his own
He helps them now to weep and groan;
That, reading him, no lover fears
Soft vehicles for sighs and tears.
Instructed by his learned code,
What makes a Jig, or forms an Ode,
We view what various beauties meet,
To leave each fragrant line so sweet;
How Horace' lines our passions keep
Awake, and Bentley's lull asleep.
No verse can moan a limping foot,
But he applies his plaster to't:
With pious care binds up the sore,
And kindly bids it hop no more!
While, with his helping comments nigh,
Instead of crutches to apply
To crazy verse (which envious Time
Had weaken'd both in sense and rhyme);
For a lame Muse's surgeon meet,
Instead of legs, sets broken feet.
Though no one single charm can fly
The search of his sagacious eye
(That Horace but in vain pretends,
To own a line which Bentley mends).
The reverend critick hardly knows
If David wrote in verse or prose;
While every string and sounding wire,
That erst compos'd the Roman lyre,
Were to the sage as fully known,
As if the harp had been his own!
Could'st thou, great bard, without a qualm,
But hear rehears'd one pious Psalm;
To slighted David lend an ear,
Not swooning what he sung to hear;
We then might view thy learn'd abodes,
With Hymns adorn'd, instead of Odes;
And thou thyself perhaps content
To con him o'er, at least in Lent;
To mortify, the Jewish chuse,
Regaling on the Latian Muse.
Close by, where wits, in purple pride
And all their glory drest, preside;
Beneath a dark and gloomy cell,
A lazy Goddess chose to dwell,
Well-pleas'd to number out her time,
'Twixt sleepy prose and drowsy rhyme
Daring from books her empire's fame,
OBLIVION was her dreaded name;
On verse and laudanum she feeds,
Now takes a dose, now poems reads;
Each of experienc'd power to close
Her sinking eyes in soft repose:
While Bentley, of more sovereign use
Than rhyme itself or poppy juice,
The Goddess trembles to explore,
For fear of never waking more;
Each weeping wall bedew'd appears
With Cloe's sighs, and Strephon's tears;
Sad Dirges, breathing Lovers' pain,
And soft complaints of virgins slain:
While Females' Sonnets, Poets' Themes,
Beaux' Stratagems, Projectors' Dreams,
Around the lonely structure fly,
Slumber a while, and gently die.
A thousand wretched things, above
The joys of wine, the sweets of love;
That kindly promis'd deathless fame
And glories to their author's name,
Here in one month for rest retire,
Descend, and decently expire.
Scatter'd, delightful to her eye,
Rheams of Reviews and Medleys lie;
Wide to extend her empire's sway,
Keeping their fires above in pay;
Soft transport gliding through her breast.
Of Tutchin's works entire possesst:
Who, to augment the Goddess' power,
Was seldom known to slip an hour,
That did not gratefully produce
Whole pages for his sovereign's use,
While now and then a mitred friend
Is graciously inclin'd to send,
His tributes, and a gift bestows
Among her Bunyans and De Foes.
O'ercome with rapture, to survey
Melodious nonsense round her lay
(While here each fruitful labouring press
Groan'd with seraphic emptiness;
Which every hour spontaneous came,
Kind to enrol its author's name);
While the great patriots of her reign,
That with her pens her fame sustain,
Wits, Criticks, Politicians, Beaux,
In measure nod, and sleep in rows,
Soft transport does her thoughts employ,
While thus she speaks her rising joy:
"Hail, mighty names! to whom I owe
My empire's spreading fame below;
By whose kind labours I out-do
The Vatican and Bodley too;
Who slighted fame above disdain,
With me in silent night to reign.
What rival power did e'er survey
A nobler host adorn his sway!
You, blest associates, best can tell
What numbers at my altars fell,
When you approach'd, and only stay
Above, to own my sovereign sway.
'Twas I inspir'd great Whiston's theme,
And nobly taught him to blaspheme:
By me instructed he withdrew,
To head a young apostate crew;
Who, proud of such a leader grown,
With his stale nonsense mix their own;
Lisping, their trade they first begin,
By slow degrees advance in sin,
Till, ripen'd by improving time,
To thy grey hoary fame they climb,
And claim those laurels, as their due,
Justice before assign'd to you.
The Grecian sages too decree
The fame of all they write to me;
Beneath my influence kindly bred,
Proud to blaspheme before they read;
In the dull trade improve so well,
First swear, and after learn to spell;
And oft a deathless name compleat,
Ere perfect in their alphabet.
Oh! would they oft in print appear,
What rheams of fluff each fruitful year
Would downward sink, to swell my fame,
Dully confessing whence they came;
The hateful realms of light forego,
To hang in empty shoals below;
Whose labours, like a glimmering fire,
Kindly as soon as born expire,
Scarce th' age of one short day survive
Stone dead, ere breathing well alive!
'Twas I alone that hither drew
From Tyber's bank the warbling crew,
That charm our wondering theatres
With witty Lions, Bulls, and Bears,
Design'd (if fame says true) this spring
To learn their gamut too, and sing;
Whose gay harmonious nonsense, drown'd
Beneath soft airs and helping sound,
Passes with critics of the pit
For sterling sense, and English wit.
Each valet now must blow his fire
In notes as fast as Alamire;
Nor dare perfume his master's hair,
Or rub his boots, without an air;
Hear him in softest music tell,
"His lordship's running nag is well;"
Oblig'd a bolder note to use,
"Informing when he lost his shoes;"
Still rising to a nobler strain,
"To paint him scouring o'er the plain."
The rival waiting-maid, to find
Her spark to music thus inclin'd,
Tells madam, singing, "that she spoils
Her tea, to drink it ere it boils;"
While notes more pensive far relate
Her lap-dog's unexpected fate.
The hero, horning to engage,
"Most sweetly murmurs out his rage;"
Defers to shew his wrath too soon,
Or kill his foe to spoil his tune;
Though both are warm'd with equal fire,
They can't without one song expire;
In doleful dirges, but too late,
Hear how they sigh each other's fate;
For notes through all the gamut try
To fall more tunefully and die.
See how my crowded region fills
With colonies entire from Will's;
Slumbering in rival ranks they snore,
And meditate sharp clinch no more!
Their merit by their dulness prove,
Out-dreaming those they left above
'Twas I, my empire to enlarge,
Gave Hoadly first my royal charge,
To preach rebellion, and in spite
Of duty, oaths, and sense, to write.
'Tis I that by my influence still
Direct great Toland's sacred quill;
And lately by my soothing power
Seduc'd mysterious Dodwell o'er,
Who, to his bright immortal fame,
Was never known six weeks the same!
While Fate thus makes a small amends
For what I lost in kinder friends
(As, when it forc'd me to bewail
Great Hobbes's death, still left me Bayle);
Filling that space that was design'd,
For Sarum's labours still behind.
See how that wall is sadly hung,
With doleful verse, by ladies sung,
And pensive airs by lovers try'd,
Just as they kindly kiss'd and dy'd.
With dreams and sighs the next is blur'd,
With Dolben's eloquence a third;
While to the wicked, Baxter's Call
Quite covers and obscures them all.
Swiss lumber sinks to our abodes,
Not poorly by the quire, but loads;
While Leyden rhymes submissive come,
And croaking supplicate for room.
Scotch creeds, and articles explain'd,
Close by in silence slumbering reign'd,
With mystic comments so perplex'd,
The notes are darker than the text.
Fam'd Theorists by dozens rot,
Just as the worlds they fram'd, forgot,
And in those very atoms fall
They vainly forg'd, to raise this ball;
Which prov'd their thefts partly ewe,
Fate ne'er could build, but might undo,
And that dull books might sooner dance,
Than planets, into form by chance;
Would smiling Fate but once inspire
Hibernian bards, to touch the lyre,
Gently in Dublin airs to sing,
And their fam'd harps, long silent, string;
Now, wanting room, I must implore
Kind Heaven with ardent vows for more:
Where shall I place my future friends
If Collins monthly tributes sends ,
If Clarke and Hare, to choak me quite,
Without remorse or pity write?
Ye envious niggard powers, whoe'er
Allot each God his empire's share,
To all such spacious realms assign'd,
Why am I only thus confin'd?
From theirs how different is my doom
They grieve for subjects, I for room.
Extend my realms below, great Jove,
Or stop great Boyer's pen above!
Gods! in what fable liquid showers
And inky deluges he pours,
Each year his sickly nonsense down!
Ten such would half my empire drown,
And force me, to preserve my breath,
To quit my stifling cell beneath.
Whatever theme his Muse has got
She still maintains her favourite trot;
Still one dull pace demurely jogs,
O'er rivers, meadows, lawns, and bogs:
While, drest with equal charms, are seen
A milk-maid here, and there a queen;
And strains as mournful fill the sky
When porters, as when monarchs, die!"
Still to proceed the Goddess try'd,
Till Steele's immortal works espy'd;
Trembling her dreaded foe to view,
She sunk and silently withdrew,
While Sarum's labours, round her spread,
Sustain and prop her drowsy head.
Hail, mighty name! of all thy pen
Has dropt, to charm both gods and men,
Time nor oblivion e'er shall boast
One line or single period lost!
Improving youth, and hoary age,
Are better'd by thy matchless page;
And, what no mortal could devise,
Women, by reading thee, grow wise;
Divines had taught, and husbands rav'd,
Now threat'ned, then as poorly crav'd,
But, spite of all, the stubborn dame
Remain'd our curse, and still the same;
Modish and flippant as before,
The smoothing paint and patch are wore;
Two hours each morning spent to dress,
And not one ounce of tea the less:
While the provoking ideot vows
Her lover fairer much than spouse.
Great Socrates but vainly try'd,
To sooth the passions of his bride;
Her female empire still she holds,
And as he preaches peace, she scolds:
In vain he talks, in vain he writes;
One kissing, while the other bites;
Precepts with her, and moral rules,
Are only ginns to hamper fools;
And, preach and dictate what he will,
Madam persists Xantippe still.
But wedlock by thy art is got
To be a soft and easy knot;
Which smiling spouse and kinder bride
Now seldom with should be unty'd;
Think parting now the greatest sin,
And strive more close to draw the ginn:
Taught by those rules thy pen instills,
Nobly to conquer human ills;
The female sufferer now sustains
Each mournful loss, with lessened pains;
A week is now enough to pine,
When puking lap-dog cannot dine;
While grief as real swells her eyes
When spouse, as when her parrot, dies.
The fop no longer shall believe
Sense ty'd to every modish sleeve,
Nor, conscious of his wants, presume
To measure merit by perfume;
That courage in Pulvilio dwells,
The boldest he, who strongest smells;
To prove his sense, no longer bring
The doughty proofs of box and ring;
Strongly professing ne'er to know
An ass concealed beneath a beau;
Each taught by thee, shall hence confess
Virtue has no regard for dress;
That the bright nymph as often dwells
In homely bays as rural cells;
And in a ruff as fairly shin'd,
As now to modern peak confin'd;
Blushing thus half expos'd to view,
Both herself and mistress too.
The widow, pining for her dear,
Shall curse no more the tedious year;
In sighs consume each pensive day,
Nor think it long from June to May.
See how the pensive relict lies,
Oppress'd with spouse's fate, and dies;
That Betty with her drops in vain,
Recalls her flying soul again:
No colour now so fair appears,
As is the sable vest she wears,
To be her only garment vow'd,
Till death exchange it for a shroud,
And her cold ashes kindly place
Once more within her lord's embrace.
The ladies, pleas'd with thee to dwell,
Aspire to write correct, and spell:
We scarce behold, though writ in haste,
Five letters in a score misplac'd;
Marshall'd in rank they all appear,
With no front vowels in the rear,
Nor any, out of shame or dread,
Skulking behind, that should have led;
In every line they now demur,
'Tis now no longer Wurthee Surr;
With half our usual sweat and pain,
We both unravel and explain,
Nor call in foreign aid to find,
In mystic terms, the fair one's mind.
Maintain, great sage, thy deathless name,
Thou canst no wider stretch thy fame,
Till, gliding from her native skies,
Virtue once more delighted flies
By each adoring patriot own'd,
And boasts herself by thee enthron'd.
[Nichols, Select Collection (1780-84) 3:20-74]