“Philotheorus,” “Card Playing Philosophized, Addressed to a Young Lady, with a Pack of Cards”

“PHILOTHEORUS”

“CARD PLAYING Philosophized, Addressed to a Young Lady, with a Pack of Cards”

 From this little gay playful machine,
As beheld in contention, we view,
How the various departments of men,
Life’s business and pleasures pursue.

Since, while some play the Child, and the Fool,                               5
The Knave others play—in their evil
More advanc’d in iniquities school,
The Deuce others play, and the Devil.

There are the proud King and the vain Queen,
The false Heart, and gay Di’mond who play;                                    10
While with Clubs, and with Spades, there are seen,
Some urging their desperate way.

But, to vary the dark-grounded scene,
As life and experience require:
To Women there are, and to Men,                                                     15
To Christians and Saints, who aspire.

Thus far, my dear Pupil, at large——
Now to vary our prospect and stand:
And, point we, and bring home the charge,
As our “business and bosoms demand.”                                          20

Ask we, Monica, what is the part,
You and I are found playing below?
Is it founded in nature, or art?
Or does it from principle flow?

Does it rise upon virtue and worth?                                                 25
Is honor it’s groundwork and base?
On religion proceeds it, and truth?
How happy, where this is the case!

An acquaintance thus formed, must prove
To fair Friendship a certain advance;                                                 30
Nor terminate here, but to Love,
To the Christian Agapee inhance.

Then come my dear Sister and friend,
Leaving sense and the body behind,
To a purer commixture unbend,                                                         35
To the purer commixture of Mind!

Learn we, Ma’am, the heavenly art,
From the trunk to the head to repair;
And, quitting the animal part,
Display the wing’d cherubim there.                                                   40

What have We, my fair Colleague, to do
With the softer suggestions of sense?
Since God and High heav’n are in view,
Let us banish these blandishments hence.

Away, fond seducers, begone!                                                           45
Give us up our spirit’al pow’rs;
With sense and passions we’ve done;
The sweets of Religion be ours!

Commensurate these, while we live,
Our fastest companions will prove;                                                  50
Not to say latest life they’ll survive,
And join us in the regions above.

There, lost in the visions of Grace,
And swimming in oceans of Love,
We shall see GOD and our Father’s bright face,                              55
As it shines, through our JESUS above!

NOTES:

2 view Corrected from a printer’s error “wiew.”

6 Knave “A dishonest or unprincipled man; a rogue” (OED).

8 iniquities “Unrighteous acts” or “sins” (OED).

21 Monica Name likely derived from St. Monica, known for her Christian piety, prudence and chastity; also recognized for her promotion of Christian values through motherhood (The Original Catholic Encyclopedia).

32 Agapee From the Greek “agape;” the concept of Christian love rather than sexual romantic love (Online Etymology Dictionary).  

40 cherubim Cherubs; angels (OED).

44 blandishments Flattery (OED).

49 commensurate “To define the extent of; to measure” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (September, 1767), pp. 517-518.

Edited by Lee Hammel


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