1730
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Pastoral Elegy on the Death of the Lady Hilaretta.

A Pastoral Elegy on the Death of the Lady Hilaretta. In a Dialogue between Two Lords.

Archibald Campbell


A seedy burlesque eclogue bemoaning the passing of a fair woman who had been the talk of the town: "In vain did even Polly Peachum sing | My Hilaret monopoliz'd the Ring: | Each Beau by Love, each Belle by Envy tost, | Strove who shou'd praise, and who malign her most. | But now, O everlasting Shame to Justice! | For lying down —, she lying in the Dust is" p. 5. The poem was anonymously published. In 1743 Archibald Campbell would become the third Duke of Argyll.

Marion K. Bragg: "The poem is a rather obscene dialogue between Lord Toupet and Lord Brilliant on the death of a beautiful courtezan who had become insane. It follows the general plan of an elegy" The Formal Eclogue in Eighteenth-Century England (1926) 73. Bragg attributes the poem to its publisher, "A. More."

David Foxon: "On Katherine, lady Abergavenny who married both the 15th and 16th barons and committed adultery with Richard Lyddel; she died 4 Dec. 1729" English Verse 1701-1750 (1975) 1:105.



LORD TOUPET. LORD BRILLIANT.

BRILLIANT.
Say, my Toupet, whence all this Grief appears?
Why do'st thou knit thy Brow, and shake thy Ears?
Regardless how much Power thou do'st lose,
Why is thy Coat unbrush'd, unclean'd thy Shoes?
Why dost no more thy Golden Snuff-Box rap,
Hast lost thy Money, or hast got a Cl—p?

TOUPET.
Neither of these, alas! yet wou'd it were:
I have no Money, and no Cl—p I fear:
These slight Misfortunes, I with Ease endure,
Which better Luck, and Mis—bine may cure.
But, ah! what Art can Hilaret restore?
She's gone, and now shall bless these Eyes no more.

BRILLIANT.
Too just I own the Motive of your Grief,
Unhappy Hilaret! could no Relief
Be in so many Doctors had? None save
Thy beauteous Bloom from such an early Grave?

TOUPET.
Not S—e himself cou'd do't! she dy'd stark mad!
How hard a Fate has so much Beauty had?
Had she been ugly, slight had been her Crime,
Excus'd by all her Sisters of the Time.
'Tis Envy and not Goodness makes them rail;
Balda uncensur'd may turn up her Tail.
What Boy to whom Susurra is unknown!
How long shall Gromia scandalize the Town!
Yet for one Slip poor Hilaret is lost;
One Slip the World has so much Sweetness cost.
So true is what Philosophers alledge,
"This safer steals the Horse, than that looks o'er the Hedge."

BRILLIANT.
Shou'd Gallantry prove fatal to all Wives,
What modest Ladies must resign their Lives!
So soon if Cuckolds Widowers became,
'Twould be a Sound of Joy, and not of Shame:
No Plague wou'd give the Grave more luscious Treats:
"Throw out your Dead," would ring through all the Streets.

TOUPET.
How thin would be an Opera or Play?
How thin, alas! the — —'s Day?
What Company must all our Auctions fill?
What Company make Parties at Quadrill?
From N—sh and H—d—gg—r, what Tears would fall?
Nor Bath, nor Haymarket wou'd know a Ball.
What Ladies, ah! my Brilliant, wou'd resort
To Visits, Park, or any where — but C—t.

BRILLIANT.
If Infamy should Gallantry attend,
Oh! where would Drury-Lane's large Hundreds end?
Or were they all, like Hilaretta, mad,
What Bounds to growing Bedlam must be had?
No, Heaven forbid they all her Fate should share;
Be less their Punishments, as their Beauties are.
Let Wh—s to Rogues in Opposition live,
Great Beauties die that little ones may thrive.

TOUPET.
Shall then no more my Hilaret impart
Envy or Joy to each Beholder's Heart?
Oft have I seen when Cook has call'd aloud,
My Lady Hilly's Servant, — all the Crowd
Stand hush'd, Attention fix'd on ev'ry Face,
While, with a charming unaffected Grace,
Thro' dying Beaus she swam into her Place.
No Matter what was acted on the Stage
Nor Cibber, Booth, or Oldfield cou'd engage,
Nor Harlequin, skipping Fav'rite of the Age:
In vain did even Polly Peachum sing
My Hilaret monopoliz'd the Ring:
Each Beau by Love, each Belle by Envy tost,
Strove who shou'd praise, and who malign her most.
But now, O everlasting Shame to Justice!
For lying down —, she lying in the Dust is.

BRILLIANT.
For lying down I've heard her blam'd, but more
Censur'd, because she did not shut the Door:
Heav'n teach Clarinda, by Experience wise,
To shut the Door before she opes her Th—s:
For Saints and Sinners should in this agree;
In private it is best to bend the Knee;
Thus ostentatious Praise the Saints eschew,
And thus no Shame the Sinner shall pursue.

TOUPET.
Who knows how suddenly relentless Fate,
May set to any other Toast a Date!
And she who triumphs in my Charmer's Shame,
Soon may lament her own extinguish'd Fame:
She who to Night shall in the Boxes shine,
By Velvet, Jewels, and Brocades made fine,
May soon be forc'd to change her airy Note,
And give her Lodgings in to Leathercoat.
For, ho! cou'd Beauty have perserv'd the Dame,
Unspotted had been Hilaretta's Name.
If to be safe to Virtue they must owe,
Heav'n knows, alas! what Woman will be so.
If Beauty which we've seen, no Tears can draw,
Ah! how shou'd Virtue which we never saw!

BRILLIANT.
Enough of this, Toupet. — Now let's away,
'Tis Time to steal the last Act of the Play;
For Woofleet Oysters thro' the Streets they cry,
And now, with greater Haste, the Coaches homewards fly.

[pp. 3-6]