Tag Archives: didactic

Elizabeth Carter, “Written at Midnight in a Thunderstorm. To——“


“Written at Midnight in a Thunderstorm. To ——–“


Let coward Guilt with pallid Fear,
To shelt’ring Caverns fly,
And justly dread the vengeful Fate,
That thunders thro’ the Sky.

Protected by that Hand, whose Law                                    5
The threat’ning Storms obey,
Intrepid Virtue smiles secure,
As in the Blaze of Day.

In the thick Clouds tremendous Gloom,
The Light’nings lurid Glare,                                            10
It views the same all-gracious Pow’r,
That breathes the vernal Air.

Thro’ Nature’s ever varying Scene,
By diff’rent Ways pursu’d,
The one eternal End of Heav’n                                               15
Is universal Good.

The same unchanging Mercy rules
When flaming AEther glows,
As when it tunes the Linnet’s Voice,
Or blushes in the Rose.                                                     20

By Reason taught to scorn those Fears
That vulgar Minds molest;
Let no fantastic Terrors break
My dear Narcissa‘s Rest.

Thy Life may all the tend’rest Care                                          25
Of Providence defend;
And delegated Angels round
Their guardian Wings extend.

When, thro’ Creation’s vast Expanse,
The last dread Thunders roll,                                             30
Untune the Concord of the Spheres,
And shake the rising Soul:

Unmov’d mayst thou the final Storm,
Of jarring Worlds survey,
That ushers in the glad Serene                                                  35
Of everlasting Day.


1 pallid “Lacking depth or intensity” (OED).

18 Aether In ancient cosmological speculation: an element conceived as filling all space beyond the sphere of the moon, and being the constituent substance of the stars and planets and of their spheres (OED).

19 Linnet “A common and well-known songbird” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions. Second Edition (London, 1766), pp. 36-37. [Google Books]

 Edited by Wyatt Forsyth

Charlotte Lennox, “The Art of Coquettry”


“The Art of Coquettry”


Ye lovely Maids, whose yet unpractis’d Hearts
Ne’er felt the Force of Love’s resistless Darts;
Who justly set a Value on your Charms,
Power all your Wish, but Beauty all your Arms:
Who o’er Mankind wou’d fain exert your Sway,                                   5
And teach the lordly Tyrant to obey.
Attend my Rules to you alone addrest,
Deep let them sink in every female Breast.
The Queen of Love herself my Bosom fires,
Assists my Numbers, and my Thoughts inspires.                                 10
Me she instructed in each secret Art,
How to enslave, and keep the vanquish’d Heart;
When the stol’n Sigh to heave, or drop the Tear,
The melting Languish, the obliging Fear;
Half-stifled Wishes, broken, kind Replies,                                               15
And all the various Motions of the Eyes.
To teach the Fair by different Ways to move
The soften’d Soul, and bend the Heart to Love.
Proud of her Charms, and conscious of her Face,
The haughty Beauty calls forth every Grace;                                         20
With fierce Defiance throws the killing Dart,
By Force she wins, by Force she keeps the Heart.
The witty Fair on nobler Game pursues,
Aims at the Head, but the rapt Soul subdues.
The languid Nymph enslaves with softer Art,                                         25
With sweet Neglect she steals into the Heart;
Slowly she moves her swimming Eyes around,
Conceals her Shaft, but meditates the Wound:
Her gentle Languishments the Gazers move,
Her Voice is Musick, and her Looks are Love.                                         30
Tho’ not to all Heaven does these Gifts impart,
What’s theirs by Nature may be yours by Art.
But let your Airs be suited to your Face,
Nor to a Languish tack a sprightly Grace.
The short round Face, brisk Eyes, and auburn Hair,                               35
Must smiling Joy in every Motion wear;
Her quick unsettled Glances deal around,
Hide her Design, and seem by Chance to wound.
Dark rolling Eyes a Languish may assume,
And tender Looks and melting Airs become:                                          40
The pensive Head upon the Hand reclin’d,
As if some sweet Disorder fill’d the Mind.
Let the heav’d Breast a struggling Sigh restrain,
And seem to stop the falling Tear with Pain.
The Youth, who all the soft Distress believes,                                        45
Soon wants the kind Compassion which he gives.
But Beauty, Wit, and Youth may sometimes fail,
Nor always o’er the stubborn Soul prevail.
Then let the fair One have recourse to Art,
And, if not vanquish, undermine the Heart.                                             50
First from your artful Looks with studious Care,
From mild to grave, from tender to severe.
Oft on the careless Youth your Glances dart,
A tender Meaning let each Look impart.
Whene’er he meets your Looks with modest Pride,                                55
And soft Confusion turn your Eyes aside,
Let a soft Sigh steal out, as if by Chance,
Then cautious turn, and steal another Glance.
Caught by these Arts, with Pride and Hope elate,
The destin’d Victim rushes on his Fate:                                                       60
Pleas’d, his imagin’d Victory pursues,
And the kind Maid with soften’d Glances views;
Contemplates now her Shape, her Air, her Face,
And thinks each Feature wears an added Grace;
‘Till Gratitude, which first his Bosom proves,                                             65
By slow Degrees is ripen’d into Love.
‘Tis harder still to fix than gain a Heart;
What’s won by Beauty, must be kept by Art.
Too kind a Treatment the blest Lover cloys,
And oft Despair the growing Flame destroys:                                            70
Sometimes with Smiles receive him, sometimes Tears,
And wisely balance both his Hopes and Fears.
Perhaps he mourns his ill-requited Pains,
Condemns your Sway, and strives to break his Chains;
Behaves as if he now your Scorn defy’d,                                                    75
And thinks at least he shall alarm your Pride:
But with Indifference view the seeming Change,
And let your Eyes after new Conquests range;
While his torn Breast with jealous Fury burns,
He hopes, despairs, hates, and adores by Turns;                                      80
With Anguish now repents the weak Deceit,
And powerful Passion bears him to your Feet.
Strive not the jealous Lover to perplex,
Ill suits Suspension with that haughty Sex;
Rashly they judge, and always think the worst,                                         85
And Love is often banish’d by Distrust.
To these an open free Behaviour wear,
Avoid Disguise, and seem at least sincere.
Whene’er you meet affect a glad Surprize,
And give unmelting Softness to your Eyes:                                                 90
By some unguarded Word your Love reveal,
And anxiously the rising Blush conceal.
By Arts like these the Jealous you deceive,
Then most deluded when they most believe.
But while in all you seek to raise Desire,                                                     95
Beware the fatal Passion you inspire:
Each soft intruding Wish in Time reprove,
And guard against the sweet Envader Love.
Not for the tender were these Rules design’d,
Who in their Faces show their yielding Mind:                                            100
Eyes that a native Languishment can wear,
Whose Smiles are artless, and whose Blush sincere;
But the gay Nymph who Liberty can prize,
And vindicate the Triumph of her Eyes:
Who o’er Mankind a haughty Rule maintains,                                           105
Whose Wit can manage what her Beauty gains:
Such by these Arts their Empire may improve,
And what they lost by Nature gain by Love.


Title Coquettry “Playful and insincere flirtation; flirtatious behavior” (OED).

9 Queen of Love Venus in the Roman tradition; Aphrodite in the Greek tradition.

25 Nymph“ Any of a class of semi-divine spirits, imagined as taking the form of a maiden inhabiting the sea, rivers, mountains, woods, trees, etc., and often portrayed in poetry as attendants on a particular god” (OED).

28 Shaft “Of an arrow” (OED).

33 Airs “A person’s demeanour, bearing, or appearance” (OED).

65 Bosom “The breast considered as the seat of thoughts and feelings” (OED).

87 Behaviour “External appearance; elegance of manners” (Johnson).

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1747), pp. 61-67. [Google Books]

Edited by Lilian Suarez

Mary Masters, “On Beauty”


“On Beauty”

Sure, Beauty is a Light Divine,
That does with awful Lustre shine;
Rises more strong at ev’ry View,
And does the proudest Hearts subdue.
Where is the Man, that durst defy                                            5
The blooming Cheek and dazling Eye;
The lovely Shape, the winning Air,
And graceful Motions of the Fair?
Stoicks themselves could find no Arms
’Gainst Beauty’s bright tremendous Charms:                          10
This CATO by Example prov’d,
A rigid Stoick, yet he lov’d:
And both his am’rous Sons display’d
Their rival Flames for one fair Maid.
Beauty still triumphs o’er the Schools,                                       15
With all their Philosophick Rules;
She breaks their surest best Defence,
Reason, the feeble Guard of Sense.

All feel her Force, her Laws obey,
Compell’d to own her potent Sway.                                             20
But ’tis th’ unblemish’d Form I praise,
Where VIRTUE shines with equal Rays!
For Beauty, stain’d, has lost her Pow’r,
And, VIRTUE gone, she charms no more.


2 Lustre “The quality or condition of shining by reflected light; sheen, refulgence; gloss” (OED).

4 subdue “To bring (an enemy, people, territory, etc.) into subjection by conquest or physical force” (OED).

5 durst Past tense of “dare.”

9 Stoicks “One who practices repression of emotion, indifference to pleasure or pain, and patient endurance” (OED).

11 CATO Cato the Younger (95-46BCE), Roman statesman and famous follower of stoicism.  Cato’s intended first marriage to Aemilia Lepida was possibly motivated by love, though she ended up marrying Scipio, to whom she was previously betrothed (Britannica).

13-14 Masters is using Joseph Addison’s popular play, Cato, a Tragedy (1712) as her source here as Addison exercised “considerable literary license” by creating a plot line in which Cato’s sons, Portius and Marcus, vied for the love of a woman named Lucia.  See Nathan Wolloch, “Cato the Younger in the Enlightenment,” Modern Philology, vol. 106, no. 1 (August 2008), p. 67.

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1733), pp. 60-61. [Google Books]

Edited by Itzel Rodriguez

John Ogilvie, “Jupiter and the Clown. A Fable”


“Jupiter and the Clown. A Fable”


Envy! thou Fiend, whose venomed sting
Still points to Fame’s aspiring wing;
Whose breath, blue sulphur’s blasting steam,
Whose eye the basilisk’s lightning-gleam;
Say, through the dun ile’s solemn round,                                    5
Where Death’s dread foot-step prints the ground,
Lovest thou to haunt the yawning tomb,
And crush fallen Grandeur’s dusty plume?
Or, where the wild Hyaena’s yell
Rings thro’ the hermit’s cavern’d cell,                                            10
Moves thy black wing its devious flight?
(The wing that bloats the cheek of Night)
There oft beneath some hoary wall
Thy stings are dipt in scorpion’s gall;
Thence whizzing springs the forky dart,                                        15
And spreads its poison to the heart.

Hence all th’ unnumber’d cares of life,
Hence malice, fury, rapine, strife;
Hence all exclaim on partial fate;
Hence pale Revenge, and stern Debate;                                       20
Hence man (to every passion prone)
Sees much, loves all;—but hates his own.

Now, Delia, should the chance to know
Some trifling fool, —perhaps—a beau,
The fair at once implores the skies,                                                25
With glowing cheeks and sparkling eyes;
O, hear your Votary’s earnest prayer,
Ye guardian angels of the fair!
Make but this charming creature prove
A victim to the power of love:                                                           30
‘Tis this, Ye Gods, I would implore!
And grant but this;— I ask no more.

The prayer is heard (what power delays
To grant her suit when Delia prays!)
The beau is caught, he swears, and bows,                                     35
Protests, and snuffs, and sweats, and vows
By all the oaths the fool can swear,
That never creature was so fair:
Then adds a thousand more, to tell
That never mortal loved so well.                                                      40

The prize is gain’d—the pleasure o’er;
Lace, bag, and snuff-box charm no more:
No bosom feels the killing smart,
No side-long glance betrays the heart,
No fan conceals a rival’s fears,                                                         45
No cheek is stain’d with spiteful tears.
On new delights her passions fix,
A court perhaps, or coach and six,
She wants a ball, and justly vain,
Admires a title,—or a cane.                                                               50

But ere our reader’s patience fail,
‘Tis time we now begin our tale.

An honest Farmer, old and sage,
(Sure wisdom still attends on age)
One morning rose, when all was fair,                                             55
And joyous breathed the scented air.
Waked by the Zephyr’s tepid wing,
Aurora, fragrant as the Spring,
Rose from her couch, the busy Hours
Stole from their crimson-curtain’d bowers;                                  60
Loose was her robe of saffron hue,
Her locks diffused ambrosial dew;
The sky’s broad gates at once unfold,
The light cloud flames with cinctured gold;
The woodland gleams, the silver stream                                       65
Waves to the broad sun’s fluttering beam;
The feather’d people sing their love,
And music rings along the grove.

Elate, the happy clown surveyed
The field wide-opening thro’ the shade;                                         70
The green ears rustling to the gale
Shot thro’ to thin night’s ruffled veil;
Slow rose to sight the new-born day,
Slow crept the lingering shades away,
‘Till o’er the broad hill’s summit dun                                                75
Obliquely glanc’d the mounting sun;
And all-illumed with rushing light,
The swelling landskip burst to sight.

As the fond Mother’s panting breast
Throbs o’er her infant hush’d to rest,                                              80
Warm in his little hut, the boy
Flutters elate with rising joy;
As by her gentle pressure sway’d,
Swings soft and slow the sleepy bed;
Wild Fancy whispers in her ear,                                                        85
She whirls away the rolling year!
Youth, manhood comes! she marks afar
A robe, a mitre, or a f—r!
Her heart leaps quick! elate with pride!
Each prude’s insulting dress outvyed!                                            90
Each neighbour’s booby son, unseen,
Gnaws the pale lip with fruitless spleen!
Sudden she starts! some rival dress’d,
Swims in the loosely-floating vest,
Her bosom heaves a sullen groan:—-                                            95
Ah! was that charming suit my own!

Such joy ( soon check’d with killing smart)
Shot thro’ the swain’s exulting heart;
He hears the reaper’s sprightly song:
The rustling sickle sweeps along;                                                  100
His barns with swelling sheaves are stored,
Gay Plenty crowns the festive board;
He cries in triumph, with a smile,
“For hopes like these who would not toil,
That neither flatter, nor beguile?”                                                 105
Just as he spoke the word,—behold
A gaudy thing, o’erlaid with gold,
Came fluttering by!—so nicely clad,
With powder’d wig, and laced brocade;
So gay, so rich (though strange to tell!)                                       110
No butterfly look’d half so well.

Struck with the glittering vest he wore,
The clown’s rude eye-ball stared him o’er;
Sly Envy mark’d the secret snare,
The pick’d a chosen dart with care;                                              115
Of power to edge the quickest pain;—-
Then plunged it reeking in his brain.
Inflamed with fury and surprize,
Red Anger flashes from his eyes
“Must I (he cryed and scratch’d his head)                                   120
Supply this prattling thing with bread?
Must Farmers sweat, and wear their cloaths,
To furnish equipage for beaux?
We, Drudges doom’d to ceaseless toil,
For others tear the stubborn soil,                                                125
Our thoughts suspense and fears inflame,
Wretched and curs’d beyond a name;
While these amid’ the balmy bower,
Spend in soft ease the fleeting hour;—-
How fine they look! what charms they show,                            130
Ah! would to heav’n I was a Beau!”

Soft Pity touch’d th’ Almighty Sire:
Jove heard, and granted his desire.
At once his furrow’d brow was smooth,
In all the blooming pride of youth;                                              135
His hair in wavy ringlets flow’d,
His cheek with fine vermilion glow’d;
Not like our modern pigmy race,
With wither’d limbs, and meagre face,
But plump and pruce he’d match’d a score;                              140
Such were the Beaux in days of yore.
Gay pleasure danc’d in every limb,
He skimm’d along with airy swim;
The God, propitious to his prayer,
Gave the soft look, and graceful air;                                           145
But wrapt in his dreams of bliss, the Fool
Forgot his pocket, and his soul.

When thus transform’d, our glittering Beau
Surveyed himself from top to toe,
Stuck at the change with vast surprize,                                     150
He stares, and scarce believed his eyes.
But when he found that all was sure,
He cock’d his hat, and frown’d, and swore;
Applauded by the wondering throng,
The sullen Heroe strode along:                                                   155
And while the swains in rude amaze
Mark his high port with stupid gaze,
Like Jove with solemn pace he trod,
And deign’d—, yet scarcely deign’d,—to nod.

But now to town he takes his way,                                      160
And sees the court, the park, the play;
Attends the Fair, admir’d by all,
Leads the gay dance, and rules the ball.
“Heav’ns! what a shape! fair Daphne cries,
How fine his mien! how bright his eyes!”                                   165
Thus all admire the charms they see,
His cane that dangled at his knee,
His box and hat they view together,—
Some prais’d the paint, and some the feather;
No english taylor’s clumsy fist                                                      170
E’er match’d the sleeve that graced his wrist;
The lace,—from Brussels last;— by chance
He pick’d the brilliant up in France.
His coat so trim! so neat his shoe!
His limbs so shaped to strut, or— bow!                                      175
Fashion, you’d swear, to show her power,
Had left dear Paris half an hour.

But, ah! with grief the muse proceeds:
What power can mend the vulgar’s deeds!
One night a coachman set him down,                                        180
Then rudely ask’d him— half a crown.

He search’d his pocket;—what a curse?
His pocket held—an empty purse!
What should he do!—all aid withdrawn!
Cane, box, and watch, were sent to pawn;                                185
His brilliant too (‘t had vex’d a saint)
Gained a few crowns—and cent per cent!
No friend his money can afford:
He gamed,—a sharper swept the board.

Then scorn’d by all,—in deep despair,                                 190
To Jove once more he made his prayer,
And begg’d the God to ease his pain,
And give him back his plough again.


 Title  Jupiter  “The supreme deity of the ancient Romans” (OED); Clown  “A countryman, rustic” (OED).

4  basilisk  “A fabulous reptile;…ancient authors stated that its hissing drove away all other serpents, and that its breath, and even its look, was fatal” (OED).

5  dun ile’s  [Unable to trace.]

18  rapine  “The act or practice of seizing and taking away by force the property of others; plunder” (OED).

27  Votary  “A person who has dedicated himself or herself to religious service by taking vows; a monk or nun” (OED).

35  beau  “Suitor of a lady,” but also “a man who gives particular, or excessive, attention to dress” (OED).

57  Zephyr  “A gentle, mild wind or breeze” (OED).

58  Aurora  “The (Roman) goddess of dawn, represented as rising with rosy fingers from the saffron-coloured bed of Tithonus” (OED).

64  cinctured  “Girdled” (OED).

88  mitre  “The headdress of a priest” (OED); f–r  Likely “fur,” “worn as a mark of office or state” (OED).

123  equipage for beaux  Articles of dress and ornament for young men (OED).

133  Jove  “A poetical equivalent of Jupiter…the highest deity of the ancient Romans” (OED)

143  swim  “The smooth gliding movement of the body” (OED).

147  pocket  “Any small bag or pouch worn on the person” (OED).

173  brilliant  “A diamond of the finest cut” (OED).

187  cent per cent  “Profit” (OED).

189  sharper  “A fraudulent gamester, a cheat” (OED).

SOURCE:  A Collection of Poems on Several Subjects (London, 1762), pp. 120-28.  [Google Books]

Edited by Jordan Young









Mary Masters, “The Vanity of Human Life”


“The Vanity of Human Life”


Ah! what is Life? how mutable and vain!
An Hour of Pleasure, and an Age of Pain.
Where changing Seasons are but vary’d Woes,
And with each Morning early Sorrow flows.
The busy Mind, with adverse Passions rent,                                 5
Still searches on, a Stranger to Content.
One Hour in gay and sprightly Mirth is pass’d,
The next with melancholy Shades o’ercast.
Alternate Joy, alternate Grief we know,
Yet scarce can tell, whence these Excesses flow.                         10
Elate to Day, we laugh and play and sing,
To-morrow sees a wretched, abject Thing.
With deep dejecting Cares we lie opprest,
And pensive Thoughts disturb the gloomy Breast.
Till other Thoughts revolve to our Relief,                                       15
And fansy’d Joys elude a real Grief.
Flatt’ring ourselves, we fond Ideas frame
Of Human Happiness, an empty Dream.
Yet Man, whom ev’ry Show of Bliss deceives,
Full Credit to the soothing Image gives.                                          20

We’ve found (at least we think so) what, alone,
Can give the longing Mind a Peace unknown :
Had we but That, ‘twou’d certain Ease restore,
Grant it, ye Pow’rs, and we desire no more.
Yet if kind Fate the wish’d-for Blessing grant,                                25
We’re still dissatisfy’d, and something want :
Then, with repeated Care and anxious Pain,
We seek another Trifle to attain ;
Our wonted Vigilance and Toil renew,
To gain the glorious Thing we have in view.                                   30
And, if we do the mighty Something get,
Again are we deceiv’d, ‘tis all a Cheat.
Nor will this second Disappointment prove
Severe enough, our Folly to remove.
Still with a discontented, restless Mind,                                          35
We search for That, which we can never find.
Erring before, we mourn’d; but, now, are sure
We know, what will a lasting Joy secure.

And did we err before? so err we now,
If we expect true Happiness below.                                                  40
Should Heav’n, indulgent, lavish all its Store,
And give so largely we could wish no more;
This surely would our wayward Fancy please,
And bring our weary, lab’ring Spirits Ease.
We should indeed be blest, should for a While,                              45
Our Hopes with transitory Rest beguile.
Forgetful of the Pow’r Supreme, that may,
When-e’er he pleases, snatch our Joys away.
Ah foolish Mortals, credulous and vain!
Prepare to meet the quick-returning Pain:                                       50
Still let us keep FUTURITY in View,
The Hand that gave the Gift, can take it too.

But cannot Gold afford a full Delight?
How the rich Metal glitters to the Sight!
O dazling Lustre! what would we not do,                                         55
What Toils not take, what Dangers not pursue,
For much of Thee, thou bright deluding Ill!
And in the warm Pursuit advance unweary’d still?

In search of Toys, we precious Moments waste,
For Wealth has Wings, and often flies in haste.                              60
The mighty Man, with ample Fortunes blest,
Of pond’rous Bags and stately Domes possest;
At Noon replete with all his Soul’s Desire,
At Night impov’rish’d by destructive Fire.
Such things may be, for such have often been,                              65
A thousand fatal Mischiefs lurk unseen.

The busy Merchant trafficks o’er the Main,
And rifles foreign Countries for his Gain.
Nor Earth nor Water from his Spoils are free,
To heap up Gold, he’ll compass Land and Sea.                              70
Behold him, waiting at the Ocean’s side,
While Ships from India break the flashing Tide:
Now one, long wish’d for with impatient Thought,
Is by his friendly Glass in Prospect brought.
Freighted with Gold and Silks of various Dyes,                              75
And in her Womb an Ivory Treasure lies.
See, what calm Seas, and what propitious Gales,
Support her Keel, and swell her flying Sails!
His Thoughts flow quicker, and his Heart beats high,
His Joys increasing as the Barque draws nigh.                               80
When lo! a sudden Change the Air invades,
And the Clouds thicken into sullen Shades:
Fierce Tempests beat, and angry Billows roar,
Distracting Sight to him that stands on shore.
Just ready to cast Anchor near the Coast,                                       85
Sad Terror to his soul! the Ship is lost.

Oh false and slipp’ry State of human Things!
What sad Distress one hapless Moment brings!

So JOB with more than orient Brightness drest,
The Pride and Worship of the wondring East;                               90
Sought by the Old, and honour’d by the Young,
The list’ning Ear paid Homage to his Tongue;
Princes arose, when he appear’d in Sight,
And the charm’d Eye beheld him with Delight.
For, Years he liv’d, with Health and Glory crown’d,                       95
And, like a God, dispens’d his Blessings round.
On either Hand, his Sons and Daughters sate,
And help’d to swell the Fullness of his State.
Yet this consummate Grandeur prov’d in vain,
For all was chang’d to Poverty and Pain,                                       100
His Honour blasted, and his Children slain.
Sprinkled with Dust, and prostrate on the Earth,
In Bitterness of Soul he curs’d his Birth.

Oh Impotence of Wealth! can ought avail,
Where Gold, Magnificence, and Empire fail?                                  105

Yes, something more substantial yet remains,
A Sovereign Med’cine for severest Pains:
When great Afflictions overwhelm the Mind,
When ev’ry Faculty’s to Grief resign’d;
When the whole Soul is sunk in deep Distress,                              110
FRIENDSHIP’S soft Pow’r can make its Sorrows less;
That nearest Emblem of indulgent Heav’n,
To sweeten Life’s predestin’d Ills, was giv’n.
A faithful Friend is our extremest Good,
The richest Gift, that ever Heav’n bestow’d.                                     115
When the prest Bosom heaves with weighty Cares,
This kind Companion half the Burden bears:
With healing Counsel mitigates our Woe,
Or wisely teaches how to bear the Blow.
Our Pleasures too the much-lov’d Friend divides,                          120
Adds Joy to Joy, and swells the happy Tides.

Pleas’d with my Subject, more than fond of Fame,
I much could say on this delightful Theme.
But ‘tis too copious and sublime a Strain,
More fit for YOUNG, or POPE’S unbounded Vein.                          125
The brightest Numbers that were ever penn’d,
Should celebrate the just and gen’rous Friend.
On me would partial Fortune this bestow,
‘Tis all the Happiness I’d ask below.
Yet, of a Treasure so immense possest,                                           130
Vainly we hope to be for ever blest.
Still are we govern’d by inconstant Fate,
And the first Turn may change our pleasing State:
May force us (tho’ with deep Regret) to part
From the dear, trusted Inmate of our Heart.                                   135

Oh Agony of Thought! what Breast can bear
So vast a Shock, or who the Grief declare?

DAVID alone the great Distress could paint,
And in fit Language form the just Complaint.
To his dear JONATHAN due Rites he paid,                                        140
He lov’d him living, and he mourn’d him dead.
Mourn’d him in such a graceful, moving Strain,
As all admire, and emulate in vain.
His sweet, pathetick Sorrows finely show,
The noblest Heights of Tenderness and Woe.                                  145
While sacred Leaves record the pious Theme,
A lasting Monument to Friendship’s Name.

Sometimes we more exalting Joys pursue,
And Pleasures charm us in a diff’rent View.
One beauteous Form has struck upon the Mind,                             150
A sweet Impression, casual, or design’d.
To one fix’d Centre all our Wishes move,
And the transported Heart rebounds with Love.
In that fond Passion we expect to meet
A full Content, a Happiness complete.                                               155
Then, with glad Toil and with incessant Care,
We strive to gain what seems so wond’rous fair.
Whilst the dear Object, we most highly prize,
Rejects our Vows, and mocks our promis’d Joys.
And sure we can no greater Torment prove,                                    160
Than cold Disdain repaid for constant Love.

But should our Passion meet a just Return,
And either Breast with mutual Ardor burn,
Some unforeseen Misfortune may divide,
Those faithful Hearts, which equal Love has ty’d.                           165
Then, who can dictate, or what Words can show
The agonizing Pain, the pungent Woe?

But we’ll suppose a milder Fortune still,
A present Pleasure and a distant Ill:
Our Wishes crown’d, the Prize obtain’d at last,                               170
The bright Reward of all our Labours past:
The Danger over, and absolv’d the Vow,
O, Joy too great! what can afflict us now?
Yet Time’s frail Glass is fill’d with flitting Sand,
And held too in a paralytick Hand.                                                    175
That soon may break, or That may quickly run,
Which holds a Life more precious than our own,
And then alas the Hour of Joy is done.

So JACOB, after being blest for Years,
Fair RACHEL mourn’d with unavailing Tears.                                   180
She, for whose Sake his Youth and Strength he gave,
And fourteen annual Circles liv’d a Slave;
Breathless and cold before her Lover laid,
Snatch’d from his Arms and number’d with the Dead.

And, thus, we see, ‘tis evidently plain,                                        185
What-e’er depends on Life, is weak and vain.
Gold is too fleeting, Friendship’s healing Pow’r
May be dissolv’d in one destructive Hour.
That Love’s fantastick Bliss is not sincere,
That Human Life is Hope, and Doubt, and Fear,                              190
A little Pleasure and a Load of Care.


1  mutable  “Liable or subject to change or alteration” (OED).

12  abject  “Cast off, rejected” (OED).

29  wonted  “Accustomed, customary, usual” (OED).

41  Store  “Sufficient or abundant supply” (OED).

46  beguile  “Deceive” (OED).

47  Pow’r Supreme  God.

62  Domes  “Stately buildings, mansions” (OED).

80  Barque  “A small ship” (OED).

89  JOB  Masters is paraphrasing chapters 1-3 from the Book of Job.

99  consummate  “Completed, perfected” (OED).

125  YOUNG  Edward Young (1683-1765), whose series of satires, The Universal Passion (1725-28) were much admired; POPE  Alexander Pope (1688-1744), whose Moral Essays began appearing in 1731.

138  DAVID  King of Israel (I Samuel 18:1-3).

140  JONATHAN  Son of Saul; see II Samuel 1:17-27 for David’s lament at the death of his friend.

163  Ardor  “Heat of passion or desire” (OED).

179-80  JACOB…RACHEL  Jacob was tricked by his uncle Laban into working fourteen years to win Rachel in marriage.  Masters is paraphrasing Genesis 29:15-30.

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1733), pp. 193-205.  [Google Books]

Edited by Hailey Franzese










Robert Luck, “The Dry Joke”


“The Dry Joke”


God Bacchus well warm’d,
With Beauty was charm’d;
And Cupid’s bright Mother addrest.
She cry’d, you are silly ——
I hate you — nor will I                                          5
Be thus by a Toper carest.

Thus slighted the God,
With an angry Nod,
Said , Adieu to you, Madam — in vain
You’ll try to allure me:                                          10
Your Pride shall secure me,
From Courting coy Beauty again.

What Bacchus then spoke,
She hop’d was in joke:
And again Wine and Love wou’d agree.                    15
But he, as malicious
As she was capricious,
Her Error soon made her to see.

For Nymphs sweet as May,
All met at a Play;                                                     20
Where each was as fine as a Queen.
In each lovely Creature,
Art yielded to Nature;
Tho’ deck’d all in Jewels are seen.

Apollo was there,                                                    25
To charm e’ery ear;
But (what a mild Dove wou’d provoke.)
The Beaus who appear’d on
The Stage, slily lear’d on;
And left the fair Circle to choke.                                  30

Now Venus in vain,
Does to Bacchus complain,
That Beauty was dying with thirst.
The God reply’d, smiling,
Her Coyness reviling ——                                     35
Why did you provoke me then first?

O ye Ladies, beware,
Be as kind as you’re fair;
Nor requite your fond Slaves with disdain.
A Lover defeated,                                                   40
With vengeance is hated;
And Mischief still runs in his Brain.


1  Bacchus  “The god of wine” (OED).

3  Cupid  “In Roman Mythology, the god of love, son of Mercury and Venus” (OED).

6  Toper  “One who topes or drinks a great deal; a drunkard” (OED).

25  Apollo  Greek god of sun, light, music and poetry.

28  Beaus  “A man who gives particular, or excessive, attention to dress, mien, and social etiquette; a dandy” (OED).

31  Venus  The ancient Roman goddess of beauty and love.

SOURCE:  A Miscellany of new Poems, on Several Occasions (London, 1736), pp. 56-58.  [Google Books]

Edited by Ivan Li

Elizabeth Thomas, “Epistle to Clemena”



Epistle to Clemena

Occasioned by an Argument she had
maintain’d against the AUTHOR.


Tho’ you my Resolution still accuse,
And for Misanthropy condemn the Muse;
Still finding Fault with what I most commend,
And lose good Humour in the Name of Friend:
Yet if these pettish Heats you lay aside,
And by calm Reason let the Cause be try’d.                                     5
I make no Question, but it would appear,
You had no Cause to boast, nor I to fear.

For when two bind themselves in Marriage Bands,
Fidelity in each, the Church commands;                                           10
Equal’s the Contract, equal are the Vows,
Yet Custom, diff’rent Licences allows:
The Man may range from his unhappy Wife,
But Woman’s made a Property for Life.
To no dear Friend the Grief may be reveal’d,                                   15
No, she poor Soul, must keep her Shame conceal’d:
And, to the Height of doating Folly grown,
Believe her Husband’s Character her own.

So I have seen a lovely beauteous Maid,
By Duty forc’d, by Interest betray’d,                                                  20
Resign her self into Nefario’s Arms,
And make the sordid Wretch sole Master of her Charms.
With seeming Transport he the Bliss receives,
With seeming Gratitude, rich Presents gives:
The finest Brillants thro’ the Town are sought,                               25
The costliest Liv’ries for her Servants bought;
The richest Tissues for her self to wear,
And nothing that she lik’d could purchas’d be too dear.
But ‘ere the Sun his annual Course had run,
Or thrice three Moons with borrow’d Lustre shone;                     30
The Libertine resum’d his brutal Life:
Oh! then how nauseous grew the Name of Wife.
Her Conversation, and her Charms were stale,
Nor Wit and Beauty, longer could prevail:
The Night he turn’d to Day, the Day to Night,                                 35
Yet still uneasy in Aminta’s Sight.

At two, perhaps, he condescends to rise,
Fetches a Yawn or two, and rubs his Eyes:
Run, run, cries he, to Captain Hackum’s straight,
And tell the Rakes, I for their Coming wait;                                    40
Be sure you bring the Dogs, and heark, d’ye hear,
Bid Tom, the Butler, in my Sight appear.

The hungry Bravo’s to their Patron run,
And wonder that his Levee is so soon:
Bless me, says one, how well you look to Day!                             45
T’other replies, ay, he may well look Gay,
When Wine, and Women, pass his Time away.
While Bus’ness other Mortals Peace destroys,
He gives his Soul a nobler Loose to Joys.
Enough, Nefario cries, sit down my Friends,                                  50
See where the sparkling Burgundy attends.
This Wine was sent from France but t’other Day,
And never yet in Vinter’s Cellar lay.

Set in for Drinking thus, they each recite
The wonderful Atchievement of the Night.                                    55
One tells how he did Phillis serenade,
Fought with the Watch, and made them run afraid:
While t’other shrugging cries, I chang’d my Bed,
And was in Triumph to the Counter led.
But if the Town does Canes enough afford,                                   60
I’ll drub that Rascal where I bought my Sword.

Sated at last with fulsome Lies and Wine,
Nefario swears aloud, ‘Tis Dinner Time.
Aminta’s call’d, and calmly down they sit,
But she not one poor Word or Look can get.                                 65
This Meat’s too salt, t’other’s too fresh, he cries,
And from the Table in a Passion flies:
Not, that his Cook is faulty in the least,
But ‘tis the Wife that palls his squeamish Taste.

Well, after having ransack’d Park and Play,                               70
He with some hackney Vizor sneaks away,
To fam’d Pontack’s, or noted Monsieur Locket’s,
Where Mrs. Jilt, as fairly picks his Pockets.
‘Thus bubbled, in Revenge, he walks his Round,
From Loft three Stories high, to Cellar under Ground:                    75
Scow’rs all the Streets, some Brother Rake doth fight,
And with a broken Pate concludes the Night.
Or in some Tavern with the gaming Crew,
He drinks, and swears, and plays, ‘till Day doth Night pursue.

Mean while Aminta for his Stay doth mourn,                            80
And sends up pious Vows for his Return:
Fears some Mishap, looks out at ev’ry Noise,
And thinks each Breath of Wind, her dear Nefario’s Voice.
At last the Clock strikes Five, and Home he comes,
And kicks the spaniel Servants thro’ the Rooms;                             85
‘Till he the lovely pensive Fair doth spy,
Nor can she ‘scape the sordid Tyranny:
A thousand brutish Names to her he gives,
Which she poor Lady patiently receives:
A thousand Imprecations doth bestow,                                             90
And scarcely can refrain to give th’ impending Blow.
‘Till tir’d with Rage, and overcome with Wine,
Dead drunk he falls, and snoring lies supine.

Wretched Nefario! no Repentance shows,
But mocks those ills Aminta undergoes:                                            95
Ruin’d by him, with Pain she draws her Breath,
And still survives an Evil worse than Death.

Ah Friend! in these deprav’d unhappy Times,
When Vice walks barefac’d, Virtues pass for Crimes:
Many Nefario’s must we think to find,                                              100
Tho’ not so bad as this, yet Villains in their Kind.
Hard is that Venture where our All we lose;
But harder yet an honest Man to choose.


23  Transport  “Vehement emotion…mental exaltation, rapture, ecstasy” (OED)

26  Liv’ries  “The uniform or insignia worn by a household’s servants” (OED)

31  Libertine “A person (typically a man) who is not restrained by morality, esp. with regard to sexual relations; a person of dissolute or promiscuous habits” (OED); also called “rakes.”

43  Bravo’s  In this context, fellow rakes.

44  Levee  “A reception of visitors on rising from bed; a morning assembly held by a prince or person of distinction” (OED).

57  Watch  Watchman, “appointed to keep watch and ward in all towns from sunset to sunrise” (OED).

59  Counter  “Prison” (OED).

70  Park and Play  References to St. James’s Park and the theatre, both known haunts for rakish men and prostitutes in the period.

71  hackney Vizor  “A prostitute” (OED).

 72  Pontack’s  A popular London tavern located on Abchurch Lane; Monsieur Locket’s  Another “fashionable tavern where the young and gay met to dine,” located in Gerard street, Soho (John Timbs, Clubs and Club Life in London(London, [1875]), pp. 379-80, 322).

74  bubbled  “Deluded, duped, or cheated” (OED).

77  Pate  “The head, the skull” (OED).

85  spaniel  “Submissive or cringing” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions. By a Lady (London, 1726), pp. 174-79.  [Google Books]

 Edited by Will Hinds

Anne Finch, “Jupiter and the Farmer”


“Jupiter and the Farmer”


When Poets gave their God in Crete a Birth,
Then Jupiter held Traffick with the Earth,
And had a Farm to Lett: the Fine was high,
For much the Treas’ry wanted a Supply,
By Danae’s wealthy Show’r exhausted quite, and dry.                          5
But Merc’ry, who as Steward kept the Court,
So rack’d the Rent, that all who made Resort
Unsatisfy’d return’d, nor could agree
To use the Lands, or pay his secret Fee;
’Till one poor Clown (thought subt’ler than the rest,                             10
Thro’ various Projects rolling in his Breast)
Consents to take it, if at his Desire
All Weathers tow’rds his Harvest may conspire;
The Frost to kill the Worm, the brooding Snow,
The filling Rains may come, and Phoebus glow.                                      15
The Terms accepted, sign’d and seal’d the Lease,
His Neighbours Grounds afford their due Encrease
The Care of Heav’n; the Owner’s Cares may cease.
Whilst the new Tenant, anxious in his Mind,
Now asks a Show’r, now craves a rustling Wind                                      20
To raise what That had lodg’d, that he the Sheaves may bind.
The Sun, th’o’er-shadowing Clouds, the moistning Dews
He with such Contrariety does chuse;
So often and so oddly shifts the Scene,
Whilst others Load, he scarce has what to Glean.                                    25

O Jupiter! with Famine pinch’d he cries,
No more will I direct th’ unerring Skies;
No more my Substance on a Project lay,
No more a sullen Doubt I will be betray,
Let me but live to Reap, do Thou appoint the way.                                 30


Crete  Greek island in the eastern Mediterranean; classical myth holds that the infant Jupiter was sequestered on Crete in a cave to protect him from being devoured by his father, Cronus, King of the Titans (OCD).

2   Jupiter  “Roman God of the sky who also went by the name, Jove” (Britannica).

3  Fine  “A sum of money paid by a tenant on the commencement of a tenancy in order that [the] rent remain small or nominal” (OED).

Danae’s wealthy show’r  Zeus appeared to Danae in the form of a golden shower, impregnated her, and she gave birth to Perseus (OCD).

6  Merc’ry  “An ancient Roman God. He is the son of Jupiter and Maia” (OED); Steward  “One who manages the affairs of an estate on behalf of his employer” (OED).

7  rack’d  “To increase…by an excessive amount” (OED).

10  Clown  “A countryman, rustic” (OED).

15  Phoebus  “A nickname for Apollo. The name Phoebus was used in discussion related to the sun” (OCD).

21  Sheaves  “Large bundle[s] in which it is usual to bind cereal plants after reaping” (OED).

25  Glean  “To gather or pick up (ears of corn or other produce) after reaping” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1714), pp. 49-51.  [Google Books]

 Edited by Andrea Cruz

Anne Finch, “The Lyon and the Gnat”


“The Lyon and the Gnat”


To the still Covert of a Wood,
About the prime of Day,
A Lyon, satiated with Food,
With stately Pace, and sullen Mood,
Now took his lazy way.                                                            5

To Rest he there himself compos’d,
And in his Mind revolv’d,
How Great a Person it enclos’d,
How free from Danger he repos’d,
Though now in Ease dissolv’d!                                               10

Who Guard, nor Centinel did need,
Despising as a Jest
All whom the Forest else did feed,
As Creatures of an abject Breed,
Who durst not him molest.                                                     15

But in the Air a Sound he heard,
That gave him some dislike;
At which he shook his grisly Beard,
Enough to make the Woods affeard,
And stretch’d his Paw to strike.                                                20

When on his lifted Nose there fell
A Creature, slight of Wing,
Who neither fear’d his Grin, nor Yell,
Nor Strength, that in his Jaws did dwell,
But gores him with her Sting.                                                    25

Transported with th’ Affront and Pain,
He terribly exclaims,
Protesting, if it comes again,
Its guilty Blood the Grass shall stain,
And to surprize it aims.                                                               30

The scoffing Gnat now laugh’d aloud,
And bids him upwards view
The Jupiter within the Cloud,
That humbl’d him, who was so proud,
And his sharp Thunder threw.                                                  35

That Taunt no Lyon’s Heart cou’d bear;
And now much more he raves,
Whilst this new Perseus in the Air
Do’s War and Strife again declare,
And all his Terrour braves.                                                        40

Upon his haughty Neck she rides,
Then on his lashing Tail;
(Which need not now provoke his Sides)
Where she her slender Weapon guides,
And makes all Patience fail.                                                      45

A Truce at length he must propose,
The Terms to be her Own;
Who likewise Rest and Quiet chose,
Contented now her Life to close
When she’d such Triumph known.                                          50

You mighty Men, who meaner ones despise,
Learn from this Fable to become more Wise;
You see the Lyon may be vext with Flies.


Title  Originally an Aesop’s fable in which the moral is that no matter one’s station in life, they can always be undone.

1  Covert  “A place which gives shelter to wild animals or game” (OED).

prime of Day  “The early morning; the period between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a. m.” (OED).

11  Centinel  A guard similar to a soldier (OED).

15  durst  “Dared” (OED).

19  affeard  “Afraid” (OED).

33  Jupiter  “The supreme  deity of the ancient Romans…whose weapon was the thunderbolt” (OED).

38  Perseus  Greek demigod, slayer of the Gorgon Medusa and other monsters (Oxford Classical Dictionary).

53  vext  Vexed: Irritated or afflicted (OED).

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1714), pp. 254-57.  [Google Books]

Edited by Lily Kratzer

Mary Barber, “Jupiter and Fortune. A Fable”


“Jupiter and Fortune.  A Fable”


Once JUPITER, from out the Skies,
Beheld a thousand Temples rise;
The Goddess FORTUNE all invok’d,
To JOVE an Altar seldom smoak’d:
The God resolv’d to make Inspection,                                             5
What had occasion’d this Defection;
And bid the Goddess tell the Arts,
By which she won deluded Hearts.

My Arts! (says she) Great JOVE, you know,
That I do ev’ry Thing below:                                                              10
I make my Vot’ries dine on Plate;
I give the gilded Coach of State;
Bestow the glitt’ring Gems, that deck
The fair LAVINIA’S lovely Neck;
I make NOVELLA Nature’s Boast,                                                     15
And raise VALERIA to a Toast;
‘Tis I, who give the Stupid, Taste,
(Or make the Poets lie, at least);
My fav’rite Sons, whene’er they please,
Can Palaces in Desarts raise,                                                             20
Cut out Canals, make Fountains play,
And make the dreary Waste look gay;
Ev’n Vice seems Virtue by my Smiles;
I gild the Villian’s gloomy Wiles,
Nay, almost raise him to a God,                                                        25
While crowded Levees wait his Nod.

ENOUGH– the Thunderer reply’d;
But say, whom have you satisfy’d?
These boasted Gifts are thine, I own;
But know, Content is mine alone.                                                     30


Title  Jupiter  “Known as ‘Jove’ is the god of sky and thunder in Ancient Roman Mythology and the chief of the gods. Father of Fortuna and great protector”(Britannica); Fortune Fortuna is the goddess of fortune and luck in ancient Roman mythology.

11  Vot’ries  A devoted or zealous worshipper of a particular god [or] goddess” (OED).

16  Toast  “The reigning belle of the season” (OED).

26  Levees  “A morning assembly held by a prince or a person of distinction” (OED).

SOURCE:  Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1735), pp. 63-64.  [Google Books]

 Edited by Raven Valdivia