Tag Archives: alternating rhyme

Samuel Johnson, “Autumn. An Ode”

SAMUEL JOHNSON

 “Autumn. An Ode”

 

Alas! with swift and silent pace,
Impatient time rolls on the year;
The seasons change, and nature’s face
Now sweetly smiles, now frowns severe.

‘Twas Spring, ’twas Summer, all was gay,                                                                              5
Now Autumn bends a cloudy brow;
The flowers of Spring are swept away,
And Summer fruits desert the bough.

The verdant leaves that play’d on high,
And wanton’d on the western breeze,                                                                           10
Now trod in dust neglected lie,
As Boreas strips the bending trees.

The fields that wav’d with golden grain,
As russet heaths are wild and bare;
Not moist with dew, but drench’d in rain,                                                                             15
Nor health, nor pleasure wanders there.

No more while thro the midnight shade,
Beneath the moon’s pale orb I stray,
Soft pleasing woes my heart invade,
As Progne pours the melting lay.                                                                                      20

From this capricious clime she soars,
O! would some god but wings supply!
To where each morn the Spring restores,
Companion of her flight I’d fly.

Vain wish! me fate compels to bear                                                                                          25
The downward season’s iron reign,
Compels to breathe polluted air,
And shiver on a blasted plain.

What bliss to life can Autumn yield,
If glooms, and showers, and storms prevail;                                                                    30
And Ceres flies the naked field,
And flowers, and fruits, and Phoebus fail?

Oh! what remains, what lingers yet,
To cheer me in the darkening hour?
The grape remains! the friend of wit,                                                                                        35
In love, and mirth, of mighty power.

Haste – press the clusters, fill the bowl;
Apollo! shoot thy parting ray:
This gives the sunshine of the soul,
This god of health, and verse, and day.                                                                              40

Still – still the jocund strain shall flow,
The pulse with vigorous rapture beat;
My Stella with new charms shall glow,
And every bliss in wine shall meet.

NOTES:

8 bough “One of the larger limbs or offshoots of a tree, a main branch; but also applied to a smaller branch” (OED).

10 wanton’d “To move nimbly, and irregularly” (Johnson).

11 trod “Tread, footprint, track, trace” (OED).

12 Boreas “The north-wind” (OED).

 14 russett “A subdued reddish-brown colour; a shade of this” (OED).

 20 Progne “ (A name for) the swallow (frequently treated poetically as a variety of songbird)” (OED).

31 Ceres In Roman religion, goddess of agriculture and goddess of the growth of food plants (Encyclopædia Britannica).

 32 Phoebus “Apollo as the god of light or of the sun; the sun personified” (OED).

36 mirth “Often used of religious joy and heavenly bliss” (OED).

 38 Apollo Olympian god of prophecy and oracles, music, song and poetry, archery, healing, plague and disease, and the protection of the young.

41 jocund “Feeling, expressing, or communicating mirth or cheerfulness” (OED).

 Source: The Poetical Works Of Samuel Johnson (London, 1789), pp. 158-160. [Google Books]

 Edited by Robert Mezian

 

 

 

John Jones, “To the Unfortunate Miss Poynton, of Lichfield”

JOHN JONES

“To the Unfortunate Miss Poynton, of Lichfield”

No longer let my humble Muse complain,
Or deem severe my various chequer’d lot;
Priscilla, whilst I read thy melting strain,
And weigh thy griefs, be all my own forgot.

Me, though an orphan from my infant state,                                                   5
And robb’d in childhood of my native right!
Compar’d to thy tenebr’ous, joyless fate,
My trifling ills must gratitude excite.

Not hapless Blacklock, the fam’d Scottish bard,
Whose polish’d numbers oft with sighs I view,                                      10
Can claim, like thee, the tribute of regard;
His infant loss, tho’ great, he never knew.

But thou, indulg’d twelve childish years to see
Nature’s fair face, and wanton in her smiles,
Now wrapp’d in endless night and misery,                                                    15
Each lovely object thy fond wish beguiles.

Ah! direful change! on thy scald eyes no more
Yon orb refulgent darts his cheerful ray!
Guideless, methinks, I see thee now explore,
With trembling steps, thy dark and devious way.                                  20

Yet, sure it cannot be! what fell despite
Can let thee wander guideless and forlorn!
Or, unconcern’d, survey thy doleful plight!
Or mark thy anguish with an eye of scorn!

Ten thousand plagues torment his impious tongue,                                     25
Who dares, with sport infernal, mock thy pain;
Around his guilty haunt pale spectres throng,
Implore relief, and wish for death in vain.

The boon of heav’n, (nor greater heav’n can grant)
The sacred text, must thou in vain unfold?                                             30
And shall thy thirsty soul for knowledge pant,
Yet never wisdom’s sacred fane behold?

It must be so–yet GOD corrects in love;
Nor ought vain Man to let one murmur fall,
Lest he in wrath his arrogance reprove;                                                          35
Soon the great teacher DEATH unravels all.

But who, with stoic fortitude, could bear
Thy pond’rous sorrow! thy acute distress!
What bosom but by sympathy must share
The poignant evils which thy life oppress!                                              40

Thou, with becoming sorrow, dost complain,
And warble forth thy complicated woe;
And who that hears thee can from tears refrain?
Ah! who but must his friendly mite bestow.

Yet think not Fate on thy devoted head                                                         45
Pours forth life’s nauseous dregs with ill design;
By sacred heaven-born Contemplation led
From vice and folly, see thy soul refine.

Long may thy modest, meek, instructive Muse,
(For such I hope thy ev’ry theme to find)                                               50
The balm of comfort o’er thy life diffuse,
And joys celestial cheer thy pensive mind.
KIDDERMINSTER, SEPT. 12, 1768.

NOTES:

Author In her response to this poem (which immediately follows in the volume), Poynton identifies the author as “Mr. Jones of Kidderminster.” This is probably the same John Jones that published An Elegy on Winter, and other poems (Birmingham, 1779). He’s described on the title page as “school-master, in Kidderminster,” and “the author of Poems on Several Subjects.” Poynton also mentions that Jones was the author of a volume of the same title (4), though no copies appear to have survived. Kidderminster is located approximately seventeen miles southwest of Birmingham.

Title Miss Poynton “This Poem was occasioned by seeing Miss Poynton’s advertisement, requesting a subscription for her poems, (see Birmingham Gazette for Sept. 12, 1768,) the Author till then not having the least knowledge even of her name” [Text note]. Priscilla Poynton (1750-1801) was known as “the blind poetess of Lichfield,” a cathedral city located in Staffordshire.

7 Tenebr’ous “Full of darkness” (OED).

9 Blacklock Thomas Blacklock (1721-1791), a Scottish poet who contracted smallpox at six months old and was left completely blind.

14 Wanton “Undisciplined, ungoverned, unmanageable, rebellious” (OED).

16 Beguiles “Deception” (OED).

18 Refulgent “Shining with, or reflecting a brilliant light” (OED).

26 Thy Pain Refers to the pain and disability of being blind that Priscilla Poynton, the subject of the poem, constantly endured because disabilities in the 18th century were often ignored.

27 Spectres “Ghost or other apparition” (OED). ; Throng “Oppression, distress, trouble, woe, or affliction” (OED).

29 Boon “A prayer” (OED).

32 Fane “Mode of proceeding, bearing, demeanor; appearance, aspect” (OED).

42 And warble forth thy complicated woe “Alluding to a few poetical lines inserted with her advertisement” [Text note].

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (Birmingham, 1770), pp. 1-4. [Google Books]

Edited by Taylor Albert

Elizabeth Tollet, “In Memory of the Countess of Winchelsea”

ELIZABETH TOLLET

In Memory of the Countess of Winchelsea”

 —Effugiunt avidos carmina sola rogos.  Ovid.

Sad Cypress and the Muses Tree
Shall shade Ardelia’s sacred Urn:
These with her Fame and Fate agree,
And ever live, and ever mourn.

While ev’ry Muse with vocal Breath                                           5
In moving Strains recites her Praise:
And there assumes the Cypress Wreath,
And on her Tomb resigns the Bays.

What Pow’r shall aid the Virgin Choir
To make her Worth and Virtue known?                          10
Who shall the Sculptor’s Art inspire
To write them on the lasting Stone?

The honour’d Streams of ancient Blood,
And Titles, are by Fortune giv’n:
But to be virtuous, wise, and good,                                        15
Derives a kindred Claim from Heav’n.

Virtue, and Wit in Courts admir’d,
The shining Pattern shall diffuse:
Nor, tho’ to private Life retir’d,
Are lost, but flourish with her Muse.                               20

Of those the Sister-Nine shall sing,
Yet with their Voice their Verse shall pass:
And Time shall sure Destruction bring
To wounded Stone, or molten Brass.

Tho’ Titles grace the stately Tomb,                                           25
Vain Monument of mortal Pride!
The Ruins of the mould’ring Dome
Its undistinguish’d Heap shall hide.

Wit, which outlasts the firmest Stone,
Shall, Phoenix-like, its life prolong;                                    30
No Verse can speak her but her own,
The Spleen must be her fun’ral Song.

NOTES:

Title Countess of Winchelsea The poet Anne Finch (1661-1720); she gained her title in 1712 when her husband, Heneage Finch, became the 5th Earl of Winchilsea.

Epigraph Effugiunt avidos carmina sola rogos “Only songs escape the greedy funeral pyres.” From Ovid’s “Elegy on the death of Tibullus,” Amores iii.9.

1 Cypress In ancient Greece, the cypress tree was associated with sorrow, and was often planted near graves to ward off evil spirits; Muses Tree The laurel tree, associated in ancient Greece with Apollo and the muses.

2 Ardelia Literary name or pseudonym used by Anne Finch; Sacred Urn Used to hold ashes.

21 Sister-Nine The nine muses. Goddesses of science, literature, and art.

27 mouldering Dome That is, the decaying tomb, or monument, that marks Finch’s grave.

30 Phoenix Mythological bird with the ability to resurrect. After the phoenix dies in a self-made fire, it is reborn and rises from its own ashes.

32 The Spleen An ode written by Anne Finch, first published in 1701.

 Source: Poems on Several Occasions. With Anne Boleyn to King Henry VIII. An Epistle (London, 1755), pp. 49-50. [Google Books]

 Edited by Talia Uribe

 

Samuel Boyse, “Wine the Cure of Love. A Ballad”

[SAMUEL BOYSE]

 “Wine the Cure of Love. A Ballad”

As lovesick Apollo by Daphne disdain’d,
In Tempe sat whining beneath an old oak;
Bacchus happen’d to hear as he sadly complain’d,
And shaking with laughter, thus jestingly spoke.

“What wounded by Cupid? now shame on thy skill,                                  5
To sit fretting thy Heart at the foot of a tree;
Can th’ invincible God, who a Python did kill,
Now whimper and sob for the sting of a Bee?

I protest, cozen Phoebus, thy fortune is hard.
That nor music, nor verse can diminish thy Grief;                           10
Can no herb be discovered, no potion prepared,
To give the great master of science relief?

Come, take Heart, -and be counsell’d, -and lift up thy head!
I am the best Doctor when such fevers assail;
Quick, empty this goblet, no more need to be said:                                 15
I never once knew my catholicon fail!”

Phoebus topp’d off the Wine, ‘twas old malmsey of Crete,
His Heart in an instant grew light as a feather!
“Hang Cupid (says he) I believe he’s a cheat,
So here let us drink his confusion together.                                       20

A cheat! (Bacchus cried) he’s a son of a whore!
He has often endeavour’d to shew me his tricks;
But I bid him Defiance, —a fig for his pow’r,
I keep to the shield of my bottle, by Styx!

Were coz Hermes present you would laugh till you burst,                         25
To hear how he rook’d him at Play of his darts;
What a noise Venus made, and the little elf curs’d,
For the pitiful pins which he sticks in men’s hearts.

Entre nous (reply’d Phoebus) the boy’s spoilt with pride,
Sine Jove in all quarrels espouses his part:                                           30
Who frequently wants him to pimp on his side,
And that makes the youngster so saucy and smart.”

Thus they rail’d at poor Love, —as the bowl flew about
Till Apollo was perfectly cur’d of his woe:
And Bacchus grown mellow, began to give out,                                            35
For night coming on gave each warning to go.

To Delphos gay Phoebus immediately flew,
And from his old grotto this oracle made,
Good Wine was the noblest specific he knew,
For the pains of the heart, or the cares of the head.”                            40

NOTES:

 1 Apollo An Olympian god of manly youth and beauty, poetry and music, and wisdom of the oracles (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 10); Daphne A nymph that was pursued by Apollo but escaped his advances by being transformed into a laurel tree by Zeus (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 32).

2 Tempe Celebrated by Greek poets as the favorite haunt of Apollo and the Muses in ancient times (“Vale of Tempe” Wikipedia).

3 Bacchus Roman equivalent of Dionysus, an Olympian god of grape and wine and patron of drama (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 37).

5 Cupid Latin equivalent of Eros, the god of love and son of Venus (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 45).

7 invincible God, who a Python did kill Python was a monstrous serpent that was slain by Apollo in the caves of Mount Parnassus (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 108).

8 sting of a Bee Venus compared Cupid’s arrows of love to the stings of bees when Cupid was stung by the insects while stealing honey from their hives (“Cupid” Wikipedia).

 9 cozen “Used in fond or familiar address, both to relatives and in the wider sense” (OED); Phoebus Another name for Apollo (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 101).

12 master of science Apollo was also regarded as the god of knowledge (“Apollo” Wikipedia).

16 catholicon “An electuary supposed to be capable of evacuating all humours; a universal remedy or prophylactic; panacea” (OED).

17 malmsey “A strong sweet wine, originally the product of the district of Monemvasia (Napoli di Malvasia) in the Peloponnese, Greece, later also from other parts of the Mediterranean, the Azores, the Canaries, Madeira, and elsewhere” (OED); Crete The largest and most populous of the Greek islands. The Paximadia islands were the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo (“Crete” Wikipedia).

23 fig “A contemptuous gesture which consisted in thrusting the thumb between two of the closed fingers or into the mouth” (OED).

24 Styx The principal river of the lower world, had to be crossed in passing to the regions of the dead (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 116).

25 coz “An abbreviation of cousin (cozen)” (OED); Hermes An Olympian god of science and invention, eloquence, cunning, trickery, theft, luck and youth, herald and messenger of the gods (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 58).

26 rook’d “To cheat or swindle” (OED).

27 Venus Roman equivalent of Aphrodite, a Greek goddess of love and beauty (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 9).

29 Entre nous “Between ourselves, in private” (OED).

30 Jove Roman equivalent of Zeus, a Greek god, the chief of the Olympian gods, god of the elements as rain, wind, thunder, and lightning (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 131); espouses “To associate or ally oneself with” (OED).

33 rail’d “To complain persistently or vehemently about” (OED).

37 Delphos The site of a major temple to Phoebus Apollo; the sanctuary of the oracle of Delphi, the Pythia (“Delphi” Wikipedia).

38 grotto “A cave or cavern, esp. one which is picturesque, or which forms an agreeable retreat” (OED).

39 specific “Of remedies…specially or exclusively efficacious for, or acting upon, a particular ailment or part of the body” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (July 1741), p. 383.

 Edited by Cai En Chia

Anonymous, “Second Thoughts are Best”

ANONYMOUS

 “Second Thoughts are Best”

Sung by Mrs. WRIGHTEN at VAUXHALL.
Composed by Mr. Hook.

Come list to me, ye gay and free,
And ye whom cares molest,
War, Wine, and Love, but tend to prove,
That second Thoughts are best!
The Queen of Charms, the God of Arms,                                            5
Gay Bacchus and the rest,
When ask’d ne’er flounce, but all pronounce
That second Thoughts are best!

The jealous boy, if Daphne’s coy,
‘Gainst Cupid will protest;                                                              10
His nymph disdain, then think again;
For second Thoughts are best!
The fair-one too, unus’d to woo,
Drives Henry from her breast,
Then seeks the elf, makes love herself,                                               15
For second Thoughts are best!

And Mars, who doats on scarlet coats,
I’m sure will stand the test,
Nor frowns on her, who dares aver,
That second Thoughts are best!                                                        20
E’en Neptune too, our fleet in view,
Kept Gallia’s fleet in Brest,
They meant to fight, he put them right—
Their second Thoughts are best!

Again but mark the tippling spark,                                                          25
When feated as a guest,
At first resign his darling wine,
But second Thoughts are best!
And you, I see, will side with me,
Some, louder than the rest,                                                               30
Will cry, no more, and then encore,
But second Thoughts are best!

 NOTES:

 Subtitle Mrs. Wrighten Mary Ann Wrighten (1751-1796) English singer, actress, and composer in the eighteenth century (Wikipedia); Vauxhall Eighteenth-century London pleasure garden, located on the south bank of the River Thames, that hosted many forms of entertainment such as art, poetry and music (“Vauxhall Gardens” Wikipedia); Mr. Hook James Hook (1746-1827), English composer and organist who performed regularly at Vauxhall Gardens for forty-six years (Wikipedia).

 6 Bacchus The god of wine; “hence, wine, intoxicating liquor” (OED).

 9 Cupid God of love.

 17 Mars God of war.

 21 Neptune God of freshwater and the sea.

 22 Gallia’s fleet The French navy; Gaul is the ancient name for the region which today includes France, Belgium, and Luxenbourg.

25 Tippling Habitual alcohol use (OED).

Source: The Gentlemen’s Magazine (July, 1781) p. 334.

Edited by Fernando Mendoza

Mary Masters, “To Lucinda”

MARY MASTERS

To Lucinda”

 LUCINDA, you in vain disswade
Two Hearts from mutual Love.
What am’rous Youth, or tender Maid
Could e’er their Flames remove?

What, if the Charms in him I see                                      5
Only exist in Thought:
Yet CUPID’S like the Medes Decree,
Is firm and changeth not.

Seek not to know my Passion’s spring,
The Reason to discover:                                            10
For Reason is an useless Thing,
When we’ve commenc’d the Lover.

Should Lovers quarrel with their Fate,
And ask the Reason why,
They are condemn’d to doat on That,                              15
Or for This Object die?

They must not hope for a Reply,
And this is all they know;
They sigh, and weep, and rave, and die,
Because it must be so.                                                20

LOVE is a mighty God you know,
That rules with potent Sway:
And, when he draws his awful Bow,
We Mortals must obey.

Since you the fatal Strife endur’d,                                     25
And yielded to his Dart:
How can I hope to be secur’d,
And guard a weaker Heart?

NOTES:

1 disswade Variation of dissuade “to give advice against” (OED).

7 CUPID’S The Roman God of love, son of Venus; often appears as an infant with wings carrying a bow, and arrows that have the power to inspire love in those they pierce (Encyclopædia Britannica); Medes Decree Refers to the laws of the Medes and Persians, “Medes” being an ancient Indo-European people whose empire encompassed most of Persia; in the Bible, “laws of the Medes” is a proverbial phrase meaning, “something that is unalterable” (OED).

21 LOVE The God of love, Cupid.

22 Sway “Power” (OED).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London: T. Browne, 1733), pp. 151-53.  [Hathi Trust]

Edited by Brittany Kirn

“Posthumus,” “The Partridges: an elegy”

“Posthumus”

 “The Partridges: an elegy. Written on the 31st of August, 1788”

 Ill-Fated birds, for whom I raise the strain,
To tell my lively sorrow for your fates;
Ye little know, ere morn shall gild the plain,
What drear destruction all your race awaits.

While innocently basking in the ray,                                                          5
That throws the lengthen’d shadows o’er the lawn,
Unconscious you behold the parting day,
Nor feel a fear to meet the morrow’s dawn.

Could man like you thus wait the ills of life,
Nor e’er anticipate misfortune’s blow,                                              10
He’d shun a complicated load of strife,
Greater than real evils can bestow.

Ev’n now the sportsman, anxious for his fame,
Prepares the tube so fatal to your race;
He pants already for the glorious game,                                                  15
And checks the lingering hours’ tardy pace.

Raptur’d he’ll hie him, at the dawn of day,
With treacherous caution tread your haunts around,
Exulting rout his poor defenceless prey,
Then bring the fluttering victims to the ground.                             20

Yes! while he gives the meditated blow,
And sees around the struggling covey bleed,
His iron heart a barbarous joy shall know,
And plume itself upon the bloody deed.

For shame! Can men who boast a polish’d mind,                                  25
And feelings too, these savage pastimes court?
In such inhuman acts a pleasure find,
And call the cruel desolation—sport?

Thousands that graze the fields must daily bleed,
Necessity compels—for man they die                                             30
But no excuse necessity can plead,
To kill those harmless tenants of the sky.

By heaven privileg’d they build the nest,
They take the common bounty nature yields,
No property with vicious force molest,                                                   35
But pick the refuse of the open fields.

Then why, if God this privilege has given,
Should we pervert great nature’s bounteous plan?
For happiness is sure the end of heaven,
As well to bird and insect as to man.                                               40

Like us they move within their narrow sphere,
Each various passion of the mind confess;
And joy and sorrow, love and hope and fear,
Alternate pain them, and alternate bless.

Yes! they can pine in grief—with rapture glow                                       45
Their little hearts, to every feeling true:
Like us conceive affection, and the blow
That kills the offspring, wounds the mother too.

Then bid your breasts for nobler pastimes burn!
Let not such cruelty your actions stain!                                           50
Humanity should teach mankind to spurn
The pleasures purchas’d by another’s pain.

 NOTES:

 Author   “POSTHUMUS” appears at the conclusion of the poem followed by “Canterbury.” “POSTHUMUS” is most likely the author’s pseudonym, while “Canterbury” is most likely where the author had lived.

 1   raise the strain Here the phrase means something like “write this poem.” Possibly also an allusion to the hymn “Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain” by St. John Damascus.

 17 hie “To cause to hasten; to hasten, urge on, bring quickly” (OED).

 19 rout “Of a person: to cry out; to roar, bellow, to shout” (OED).

22 covey “A brood or hatch of partridges; a family of partridges keeping together during the first season” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 63 (February 1788), p. 824.

 Edited by Amanda Boyer

Anonymous, “Verses, Written by a Young Lady, On the Death of her Father.

ANONYMOUS

“Verses, Written by a Young Lady, On the Death of her Father”

 How short a span of miserable life!
And short the blessings that on earth we know!
Forc’d from a tender and a loving wife,
A husband, and a father’s lost below.

No more with happiness I view the morn,                                             5
No more with joy I tread the well-known walk;
Each place to me is dreary and forlorn,
But think in every thing I hear him talk.

When on each plant I turn my wandering eye,
And on each flower I think I see his shade,                                    10
I often stop, and think my father by;
But he is gone, and left this vain parade.

Of life, that transitory, fleeting thing,
To happier realms of everlasting joy:
He’s couch’d beneath th’ Almighty’s heavenly wing,                            15
And bless’d with happiness nothing can destroy.

NOTES:

 7 forlorn “Pitifully sad and abandoned or lonely” (OED).

13 transitory “Not permanent” (OED).

15 Almighty God, the Creator.

12 Printer’s error, period added to this line.

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 59 (Supplement, 1789), p. 1206.

Edited by Sierra Bagstad

[Catherine Jemmat], “The Rural Lass”

[CATHERINE JEMMAT]

The Rural Lass

My father and mother, (what ails ‘em?)
Pretend I’m too young to be wed;
They expect, but in troth I shall fail ‘em,
That I finish my chairs and my bed.

Provided our minds are but cheery,                                        5
Wooden chairs wonnot argue a glove,
Any bed will hold me and my deary,
The main chance in wedlock is love.

My father, when ask’d if he’d lend us
An horse to the parson to ride;                                       10
In a wheel-barrow offer’d to send us,
And John for the footman beside.

Wou’d we never had ask’d him; for, whip it!
To the church tho’ two miles and a half,
Twice as far ‘twere a pleasure to trip it;                                 15
But then how the people would laugh!

The neighbours are nettl’d most sadly,
‘Was e’er such a forward bold thing?
‘Sure girl never acted so madly!’
Thro’ the parish these backbitings ring.                          20

Yet I will be marry’d to-morrow,
And charming young Harry’s the man;
My brother’s blind nag we can borrow,
And he may prevent us that can.

Not waiting for parents’ consenting,                                      25
My brother took Nell of the green;
Yet both far enough from repenting,
Now live like a king and a queen.

Pray when will your gay things of London
Produce such a strapper as Nell’s?                                   30
There wives by their husbands are undone,
As Saturday’s news-paper tells.

Poll Barnley said, over and over,
I soon shou’d be left in the lurch;
For Harry, she knew, was a rover,                                           35
And never wou’d venture to church.

And I know the sorrows that wound her,
He courted her once, he confest;
With another too great, when he found her,
He bid her take him she lik’d best.                                 40

But all that are like her, or wou’d be,
May learn from my Harry and me,
If maids wou’d be maids while they shou’d be,
How faithful their sweet-hearts wou’d be.

My mother says, clothing and feeding                                   45
Will soon make me sick of a brat:
But, tho’ I prove sick in my breeding,
I care not a farthing for that.

For if I’m not hugely mistaken,
We can live by the sweat of our brow;                            50
Stick a hog once a year, for fat bacon,
And all the year round keep a cow.

I value no dainties a button,
Course food with our stomachs allay;
If we cannot get veal, beef, and mutton,                                  55
A chine and a pudding we may.

A fig for your richest brocading;
In lindsey there’s nothing that’s base;
Your finery soon sets a fading,
My dowlass will last beyond lace.                                    60

I envy not wealth to the miser,
Nor wou’d I be plagu’d with his store:
To eat all and wear all is wiser;
Enough must be better than more.

So nothing shall tempt me from Harry,                                 65
His heart is as true as the sun:
Eve with Adam was order’d to marry;
This world it should end as begun.

NOTES:

12 John A literary name for a common or working-class man (OED).

17 nettl’d “Teased, provoked, out of temper” (Grose).

20 backbitings “Slanderous or malicious talk about someone not present” (Grose).

22 Harry May refer to a country man, a common name for “a waggoner” (Grose).

23 nag A horse, usually one that is old or sickly (Grose).

26 Nell Usually a name for a prostitute (OED); of the green A euphemism for sex before marriage (Grose).

35 rover “A flirtatious, promiscuous, or unfaithful man; an inconstant lover” (OED).

48 farthing “A former monetary unit and coin of the UK, withdrawn in 1961, equal to a quarter of an old penny” (OED).

53 dainties “Something good to eat, a delicacy” (OED); button “used in reference to something of little worth” (OED).

56 chine “The backbone of an animal as it appears in a joint of meat” (OED).

58 lindsey Alternate spelling of linsey, “a strong, coarse fabric made with cotton or linen, probably originally made in Lindsey, a town in Suffolk” (OED).

60 dowlass A type of coarse linen (OED).

67 Eve with Adam Refers to the biblical creation story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (November 1750), p. 517.

Edited by Nicole Walker

Anonymous, “On the Dissection of a Body”

ANONYMOUS

 “On the Dissection of a Body”

 

OBSERVE this wonderful machine,
View its connection with each part,
Thus furnish’d by the hand unseen,
How far surpassing human art!

Should ablest imitators try,                                                                       5
With utmost skill, to form a like,
Could they so charm the curious eye?
Could they with equal wonder strike?

See how the motion of each part
Upon some other still depends,                                                      10
When all a mutual aid impart,
Conductive to their various ends.

Whilst we th’amazing frame explore,
More secret wonders still we spy,
Yet there remain ten thousand more                                                     15
Hid from the microscopic eye.

Here may the stupid Atheist see
Convincing proofs —-which all combine
To overthrow his wretched plan,
And speak the Maker’s hand divine.                                               20

What great emoluments accrue
To those whose Nature’s laws obey?
From such instructions in her view,
Ye sons of Esculapius say!

Tho’God has call’d the life he lent,                                                         25
Each vital function, dormant laid,
Here we trace Nature’s deep intent,
And see how once the springs were play’d.

These tubes convey’d the purple juice,
WhichWhich with new strength supply’d the whole;                   30
And here branch’d forth the nerves, whose use
Was to keep converse with the soul.

This silent preacher points us out
The cause of many a latent ill,
Which, heretofore, lay hid in doubt,                                                       35
Baffling each effort of our skill.

NOTES:

10 other Corrected printer’s error; originally spelled as “othe.”

 21 emoluments “Profit or gain arising from station, office, or employment” (OED).

 24 son of Esculapius Modern physicians. Asclepius, a Greek healer who extended the knowledge of medicine among mankind, was killed by Zeus for charging money to raise the dead, but also revived by Zeus as the god of healing and medicine.

28 springs From the phrase “the springs of life,” or youth (OED).

29 purple juice Blood, as one of the four Hippocratic four humors, is the vital force and innate heat of the body. According to Hippocratic medicine, when blood loses its force and heat, its color changes from red to purple.

34 latent “Of a disease, disorder, infection, or infectious agent: present but not (yet) producing symptoms or clinical signs” (OED).

Source: The Gentlemen’s Magazine, Vol. 40 (August 1770), pp. 385-86.

 Edited by Tammy J. Allen