Tag Archives: authorship

Mary Masters, “The Female Triumph”

MARY MASTERS

“The Female Triumph”

 SWELL’D with vain Learning, vainer man conceives,
That ‘tis with him the bright Minerva lives;
That she descends to dwell with him alone,
And in his Breast erects her Starry throne:
Pleas’d with his own, to Female Reason blind,                                     5
Fansys all Wisdom in his Sex confin’d.
Proudly they boast of Philosophick rules,
Of Modes and Maxims taught in various Schools,
And look on Women as a Race of Fools.
But if CALISTA’s perfect soul they knew,                                                10
They’d own their Error, and her Praise pursue.
Centered in her the brightest Graces meet,
Treasures of Knowledge and rich mines of Wit.
Her Thoughts are beautiful, refin’d and new,
Polish’d her language and her Judgment true;                                    15
Each Word deliver’d with that soft address,
That as she speaks the melting Sounds we bless.
O! I could praise her without doing wrong,
Could to the subject raise my daring Song;
Were I enrich’d with PRIOR’s Golden Vein,                                           20
Her I would Sing in an exalted Strain;
Her Merit in the noblest Verse proclaim,
And raise my own upon CALISTA’s fame:
Her elevated Sense, her Voice, her Mien,
Her innate Goodness, and her Air Serene,                                          25
Should in my Lays to future Ages shine,
And some new Charm appear in ev’ry Line.

Fir’d with the Theme how great would be the Flight?
In what unbounded Numbers should I write!
Each Line, each Word, would more majestic grow,                             30
And ev’ry Page with finished Beauty glow.

But me alas the tuneful Nine disdain,
Scorn my rude Verse, and mock my feeble Strain:
No kind Poetick Pow’rs descend to fill
My humble breast, and guide my trembling Quill:                              35
My Thoughts, in rough and artless Terms exprest,
Are incorrect and negligently drest.
Yet sure my just ambition all must own
The well-chose Subject has my Judgment shown
And in the weak Attempt my great Design is known.                         40

NOTES:

2 Minerva Ancient Roman goddess of wisdom and war (www.newworldencyclopedia.org).

10 Calista Potential reference to a female contemporary or companion of the author; Latin feminine form of the Greek name ‘Calisto’ (www.theoi.com).

20 Prior Contemporary poet Matthew Prior (1664-1721), known in the period for his facility with meter and rhyme.

24 MienThe look, bearing, manner, or conduct of a person, as showing character, mood” (OED).

32 Tuneful Nine The Greek muses.

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1733), pp. 8-10.

Edited by Taryn Osborne

Anonymous, “A Simile for the contending Poets at Dublin”

ANONYMOUS

A Simile for the contending Poets at Dublin”

So, in the streets, when trollops jar,
Contending high in wordy war;
With burning ire their venom fries,
Reproach and clamour rend the skies,
The hubbub fell, is heard aloud,                                       5
And round them rakes a blackguard crowd;
With scornfull hiss, the list’ning rabble,
And laughter loud, foment the squabble,
With fiercer rage, their sound inspire
To keener lust of vengeance fire;                                   10
Fresh peals of spite tumultuous rise,
New Billingsgate in vollies flies,
Foul on each other’s fame, they fall,
‘Till each leaves either, none at all.
And when th’inglorious rout expires,                              15
Hiss’d, rail’d, and laught at, each retires.

NOTES:

1 trollops  A “morally loose woman,” especially suggesting slovenly dress and manners (OED).

2 Jar  To make unpleasantly loud and inharmonious noises. To abruptly and violently effect, as in a fight.

6 blackguard  A person, generally a man, who behaves in a dishonorable or otherwise despicable way (OED).

8 foment  To encourage, incite or instigate.

12 Billingsgate  Originally a fish market in London infamous for the vitriolic language of its fishmongers, at some point the term came to denote verbal abuse in general (OED). 

16 rail’d  Verbally attacked.

Source: The Gentlemen’s Magazine, Vol. 5 (January 1735), p.48.

Edited by Joseph Watkins

Walter Harte, “A Soliloquy, Occasion’d by the Chirping of a Grasshopper”

WALTER HARTE

“A Soliloquy, Occasion’d by the Chirping of a Grasshopper”

Happy Insect! ever blest
With a more than mortal rest,
Rosy dews the leaves among,
Humble joys, and gentle song!
Wretched Poet! ever curst,                         5
With a life of lives the worst,
Sad despondence, restless fears,
Endless jealousies and tears.

In the burning summer, thou
Warblest on the verdant bough,               10
Meditating chearful play,
Mindless of the piercing ray;
Scorch’d in Cupid’s fervors, I
Ever weep, and ever die.

Proud to gratify thy will,                      15
Ready nature waits thee still:
Balmy wines to thee she pours,
Weeping thro’ the dewy flow’rs:
Rich as those by Hebe giv’n
To the thirsty sons of heav’n.                    20

Yet alas! we both agree,
Miserable thou like me!
Each alike in youth rehearses
Gentle strains, and tender verses;
Ever wand’ring far from home;                 25
Mindless of the days to come,
(Such as aged winter brings
Trembling on his icy wings)
Both alike at last we die;
Thou art starv’d, and so am I!                     30

NOTES:

13 Cupid’s fervors The Roman god of love, here referenced in the context of trying to write romantic love poetry.

19 Hebe Greek goddess of youth; she was cupbearer to the gods on Olympus, serving them ambrosia.

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1727), pp. 80-2. [ECCO]

Edited by Bill Christmas