Tag Archives: didactic

Clara Reeve, “To my Friend Mrs. ——, On Her Holding an Argument in Favour of the Natural Equality of Both the Sexes”

[CLARA REEVE]

“To my Friend Mrs.——,
On Her Holding an Argument in Favour of the Natural Equality of Both the Sexes.
Written in the Year MDCCLVI.”

 

Silence best serves to disapprove
False reasoning in those we love.
Tho’ t’other day I held my tongue,
I thought you greatly in the wrong;
How could you so unfairly try’d                                                                         5
With no one present to decide,
Argue the best, that woman can
Pretend to triumph o’er a man?
I once was half of your opinion,
But now subscribe to their dominion.                                                                10
The same unchanging law that fixes,
Eternal difference of sexes,
Has for the wisest ends assign’d
Due bounds to either sex’s mind.
Your heart with argument elated,                                                                         15
Thinks both were equal when created,
And holds its own imagination,
That all depends on cultivation:
But to speak plainly, in reality
I don’t believe in this equality,                                                                                 20
But think that partial heav’n design’d,
To them the more capacious mind;
And that their brains, dame Nature’s college,
And best receptacles for knowledge.
Lend me my friend a while your hand,                                                                     25
I’ll lead you over classic land,
To hear what sages fam’d of old
On this nice subject shall unfold.
Thus much may serve for introduction,
Leading to pleasure and instruction.                                                                            30

Not every one can write that chuses,
But those invited by the Muses:
These are nine wit-inspiring lasses,
Who dwell about the hill Parnassus.
Their patron whom they serve and follow,                                                                   35
A beardless youth—the Greek Apollo—
Still lovely, active, young, and gay,
He drives the chariot of the day,
Teaches these girls polite behaviours,
For which they grant him certain favours:                                                                     40
(But modest ones you may be sure,
For they are virgins chaste and pure.)
He leads their concerts, which they fill
With wond’rous harmony and skill;
For he’s the prince of all musicians,                                                                                 45
Beside the greatest of physicians.
He finds them music for their frolics,
And cures their head-achs, nerves, and cholics.

From out the side of this fam’d mountain,
Rises a wit-inspiring fountain;                                                                                            50
Which murmurs music as it plays,
Laurels its banks produce and bays.
Here all the scholars drink their fill,
And then attempt to climb the hill;
(But first from trees the boughs they take,                                                                      55
And garlands for their heads they make;
Whose strange effects, to us a wonder,
Secure them from the power of thunder:)
With pain and care they clamber up,
And very rarely gain the top:                                                                                               60                     But if they reach the Muses seat,
They have assign’d them a retreat.
Apollo’s self records their name,
And gives it to the charge of Fame;
Who first displays to earth and sky,                                                                                   65
Then folds it up and lays it by,
In her immortal library.
Now comes our case.—The ancients tell us,
These nymphs were always fond of fellows;
For by their records it is clear,                                                                                              70
Few women ever have been there.
Not that it contradicts their laws,
But they assign the following cause;
The sacred Heliconian spring,
Of which old poets sweetly sing:                                                                                           75
(Tho’ modern writers only flout it,
Alledging they can do without it)
Produces very strange effects,
On the weak brains of our soft sex;
Works worse vagaries in the fancy,                                                                                        80
Then Holland’s gin, or royal Nancy.
In short, to what you will compare it,
Few women’s heads have strength to bear it.
See some with strong and lively fancies,
Write essays, novels, and romances.                                                                                      85
Others by serious cares and pains,
With politics o’erset their brains.
Children, some call themselves of Phoebus,
By virtue of a pun, or rebus.
Some much affect the strain satyric,                                                                                       90
And others all for panegyric.
In all, and each of these you find,
Strong markings of the female mind,
Still superficial, light and various;
Loose, unconnected, and precarious:                                                                                      95
Life and vivacity I grant,
But weight and energy they want;
That strength that fills the manly page,
And bids it live to future age.

Now as it oft hath been evinc’d,                                                                                          100
We do not love to be convinc’d;
So if conviction give you grief,
Restriction may afford relief.
Exceptions to all gen’ral rules,
Are still allow’d of in the schools:                                                                                                 105
And Phoebus’s favours to the fair
Are not impossible, tho’ rare.
In Fame’s great library, we’re told,
Some female names there are enroll’d;
Matrons of Greece, other of Rome,                                                                                              110
And some, to please you, nearer home:
Moderns there are, France brags of many,
And England shews as good as any.
See our Orinda swell the page,
Carter, and Lenox grace this age;                                                                                                  115
But leaving these consign’d to Fame,
Lusus Naturae is their name.
As some among the men we find,
Effeminate in form and mind;
Some women masculine are seen                                                                                                 120
In mind, behavior, and in mien:
For Nature seldom kindly mixes,
The qualities of both the sexes.
These instances are sometimes quoted,
As owls are shown, but to be hooted.                                                                                           125
Dare now to ope your eyes and see,
These truths exemplified in me.
What tho’ while yet an infant young,
The numbers trembled on my tongue;
As youth advanc’d, I dar’d aspire,                                                                                                    130
And trembling struck the heavenly lyre.
What by my talents have I gained?
By those I lov’d to be disdain’d,
By some despis’d, by others fear’d,
Envy’d by fools, by witlings jeer’d.                                                                                                    135
See what success my labours crown’d,
By birds and beasts alike disown’d.
Those talents that were once my pride,
I find it requisite to hide;
For what in man is most respected,                                                                                                 140
In woman’s form shall be rejected.
Thus have I prov’d to demonstration,
The fallacy of your oration.
(You need not let the fellows know it,
They’ll praise the wit, but damn the poet.)                                                                                      145
The point illustrated, my friend,
Brings my long story to its end.
When you have read it o’er at leisure,
Keep it—or burn it—at your pleasure.

NOTES:

Title Mrs. The addressee of this poem, Mrs. ——, is unknown, although the volume is dedicated to a Mrs. Stratford.

22 capacious “Able to hold much; roomy, spacious, wide” used here to mean men have “larger” intellectual capacity (OED).

32 Muses The nine Greek goddesses of “poetry, philosophy, and inspiration” (Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization).

 34 Parnassus “Mount Parnassus,” regarded as the “source of literary, esp. poetic, inspiration” (OED).

 36 Apollo Greek god of “poetry and music, the sun, and medicine” (OCCC).

 48 nerves “Disordered or heightened sensitivity; anxiety, fearfulness, tension, nervousness”; cholics Short for “melancholic,” referring to a state of “sadness or depression” (OED).

 49 fam’d mountain Parnassus [see line 34].

52 Laurels “To adorn with the leaves of the bay tree, which signified victory or poetic distinction” (OED).

 74 Heliconian “Mt. Helicon” was another home for the Muses, the “Vale of the Muses” (OCCC).

 80 vagaries “Wandering or devious journeys” (OED); fancy “Imagination” (OED).

 81 Holland’s gin Also known as “geneva or genever, a grain spirit from Belgium or the Netherlands flavored with juniper”; Nancy “Nants brandy or Nants wine,” produced in the Nantes region of France (OED).

 88 Phoebus Apollo [see line 36].

89 rebus A representation of a word using “pictures or symbols” (OED).

 90 satyric Archaic spelling of “satiric.”

 91 panegyric “Writing meant to praise a person or thing” (OED).

 96 vivacity “Intellectual or mental animation, acuteness, or vigour” (OED).

 105 still Originally “still’d,” likely printer’s error.

 114 Orinda Katherine Phillips (1631-1664), poet and translator of two plays, wrote under the alias “Orinda” in her letters.

115 Carter Elizabeth Carter (1717-1806), famed translator and poet, would translate the works of Epictetus from Greek in 1758; Lenox Charlotte Lennox (1730-1804), author of The Female Quixote (1752).

117 lusus naturae Latin for “a freak of nature” (OED).

 120 mien “Look or manner” (OED).

 131 lyre A lyre is the favored instrument of Apollo (OCCC).

135 witlings Someone who pretends to be “more clever” than they are (OED).

 139 Reeve would revise her earlier views on women’s writing in her prefatory “Address to the Reader” published in this volume: “I formerly believed…my sex was an insuperable objection [to writing] …but now am convinced of the mistake, by daily examples to the contrary,” and she offers the collection as a “general apology” (xi).

143 fallacy “falsehood” (OED).

 Source: Original Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1769), pp. 4-11. [Google Books]

 Edited by: John Paul Castillo

William Hutton, “The Way to Get Married”

WILLIAM HUTTON

 “The Way to Get Married”

 

Small matters on the stage I’ll bring,
A butcher’s boy is all I sing.
He’ll grace my page as much as any
He earn’d a groat, and sav’d a penny;
Then, rising by degrees, alone,                                                                   5
He purchas’d, slaughter’d, sold, his own:
This proves, that man, with little skill,
May rise to fortune, if he will,
“Get much–spend less,” increase his store;
Dame Fortune ne’er can keep him poor.                                                  10
Now stilliards, cleever, knife, must drop,
He swell’d beyond a butcher’s shop;
His talent had a fortune made,
“He’d try it in the silver trade.”
What man would not rejoice, to feel,                                                         15
To silver turn his greasy steel!
The same stroke which a penny got
Some thousands in his new trade brought.
Joseph was fam’d for doing good;
This art he practis’d all he cou’d,                                                                 20
And made each piece of English coin
Tenants at will, his pocket line;
Each one, in watchful silence lies,
For charity of every size;
What object of necessity                                                                              25
Could ‘scape a man so arm’d as he?
If neighbours quarrell’d, small or great,
Friend Joe stepp’d in to set all strait;
And gain’d, by tramping up and down,
Sometimes a thank, sometimes a frown.                                                  30
He ne’er assum’d the hypocrite,
His actions well would bear the light;
With manners plain, not made to charm,
Such as oft grow upon a farm;
Should Envy’s self his conduct scan,                                                          35
An honest bluntness marks the man.
Whenever he walk’d out abroad
His active gait industry show’d,
As if to Indolence he’d say,
“With safety you may march this way;                                                       40
The road is fine–may fortune speed you,
‘Twill never to repentance lead you”
Should right or wrong ways intervene,
Love prompts the heart, behind the scene:
Joseph, this subtle power can’t flee,                                                          45
Was captivated by Miss C.
A smile, a bow without much grace,
A little flushing in the face,
A tongue, attempting–this–and that–
The only time unfit to chat,                                                                          50
Five broken hems!–not uttered free,
Were introductions to Miss C.
Yet, spite of what the tongue can’t say,
Merit will often find its way:
His suit succeeded, all were eas’d,                                                              55
The mother, daughter, lover, pleas’d–
Till Mr. Kimberley stepp’d in,
A last-man, who shoe’d all the kin–
“Your servant, ladies–I heard say
Young Miss would throw herself away;                                                      60
Upon a Presbyterian too!
A dreadful prospect is in view!
From that vile race the Lord defend you!
He’ll sure a better husband send you.”
“He seem’d, by what we e’er could find,”                                            65
Says madam “sober, honest, kind.”
“Two sides a Presbyterian shows,
Both false, as any wind that blows.
Besides, your family has been
Staunch churchmen, for long ages seen.”                                                 70
When Joseph’s evening-visit came,
Then look’d askance the senior dame;
The daughter too, replete with ire,
Took that chair farthest from the fire;
And both, though Joseph waited long,                                                       75
Had lost the use of lips and tongue.
A working bottle, cork’d up fast,
Must gain some vent, or burst at last;
It then appear’d–O dreadful case!
That Joe a Presbyterian was.                                                                        80
“Pity religion,” Joseph cry’d,
“Meant to unite, should e’er divide.”
Our lover understood his trade,
To Kimberley a visit made;
“I find you work for Mrs. C.                                                                           85
I’ll thank you to make shoes for me.”
“O yes sir, none shall me excel,
Depend upon’t, I serve you well.”
The tide, and shoe-maker, now chang’d,
And backwards, through the channel rang’d;                                           90
He told the ladies, “he was glad
To find the swain the best of bad.”
Thus Kimberley began abusing,
Beause a customer was losing,
But chang’d his tone, when brought to view,                                           95
That marriage was securing two.
Could Joseph better luck betide?
A pair of shoes procur’d a bride!

NOTES:

4  groat  “Taken as the type of a very small sum” (OED).

11  stilliards  Possible variation to “steelyard” a lever with unequal arms that moves on a fulcrum (OED).

22  Tenants at will  Those who hold or rent property at the will or pleasure of the land owner.

46  Miss C–  Possibly a reference to Miss Sarah Cock, before she married William Hutton.

51  hems  A suggestive sound similar to a “hum” and “ha” (OED).

57  Mr. Kimberley  Possibly a reference to Mr. Grace, an acquaintance of Hutton who opposed his relationship with Miss Cock until he unexpectedly received money that was owed to him;  their affections angered Mr. Grace who “tried at separation” (The Life of William Hutton, 167). Only when he received money did he “become good-humoured and promoted the match all in his power” to which Hutton responds with the following: “Such are the wonderful effects of money” (167).

58  shoe’d  “Furnished or protected with a shoe or shoes” (OED).

61  Presbyterian In the eighteenth century, a protestant dissenter or non-conformist.  Presbyterianism in England traces its roots back to the sixteenth century and Presbyterians became powerful during the Commonwealth in their attempt to reform existing church hierarchy.  After the Restoration, the Act of Uniformity (1662) severely curtailed Presbyterianism in England, and lead to over a century of persecution.

70  staunch churchmen  That is, long-time Church of England supporters; Anglicans.

72  askance  “To turn away from or oblige a person to avert their gaze” (OED).

72  senior dame  “The eldest and most superior female” (OED).

92  swain  “A young man attending on a knight; hence, a man of low degree” (OED).

97  betide “To happen, befall” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (July 1799), p. 606.

Edited by Adrianna Villasenor

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

“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

“T.E.,” “To one quoting the common saying Words are but Wind”

“T.E.”

 “To one quoting the common saying Words are but Wind”

 Words are but wind, you say; but don’t you know,
Wind tears up trees, and houses down doth blow?
Of all the elements, which can you find,
That brings to man such mischief as the wind?
The strongest ships, by the wind’s fury tost,                                       5
Are dash’d to pieces, or else sunk and lost.
Winds force the swelling waves beyond ye strand,
And make the boiling sea o’er-flow the land.
Winds kindle fires, and drive the raging flame
Beyond the pow’r of engines to reclaim.                                             10
Winds whirl the clouds, and cause the earth to quake,
Make mountains walk, trees their old soil forsake.
All other elements may bounded be;
But who can bound ye wind, which none can see?
Fire may be quench’d by water; water may                                         15
By dams of earth be forc’d its course to stay.
Earth may, by art, be rais’d, by art deprest,
As seems to the projecting owner best.
But wind, unruly wind, can by no force,
Can by no art be hindered in its course.                                              20
Oppose firm works, too strong for it to pierce,
‘Twill mount the higher, and become more fierce.
For human power can nothing raise so high,
O’er which the nimble wind can’t soar and fly.
By swelling winds, in her deep caverns pent,                                      25
Our common mother’s breast is rudely rent.
Wind in her stomach makes her open her jaw,
And suck down cities to her spacious maw.
Wind in our bowels makes our vitals crack,
And far exceeds the torture of the rack.                                              30
Air is the region too, where the learn’d say,
Satan has greatest pow’r his pranks to play.
Say then no more, Words are but wind, or air,
Except thou would’st ye two worst things compare:
For there’s a strain of sharp corroding words,                                   35
Wounds deeper, and hurts more than keenest swords.

NOTES:

Title: Words are but Wind A common, archaic saying in England. The earliest citing of the phrase is from Shakespeare’s play The Comedy of Errors (wr. ca. 1594; pub. 1623). The saying also shows up in Jonathan Swift’s satirical work A Tale of a Tub (1704).

5 tost Tossed.

16 deprest Depressed.

36 keenest “Sharp” (OED).

Source: The Gentlemen’s Magazine, vol. 7 (March 1737), p. 181.

Edited by Samantha Rosales

William Hayley, “A Charm for Ennui: A Matrimonial Ballad”

[WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ.]

 “A CHARM FOR ENNUI: A Matrimonial Ballad”

 Ye couples, who meet under Love’s smiling star,
Too gentle to skirmish, too soft e’er to jar,
Tho’ cover’d with roses from joy’s richest tree,
Near the couch of delight lurks the daemon Ennui.

Let the Muses’ gay lyre, like Ithuriel’s bright spear,                                          5
Keep this fiend, ye sweet brides, from approaching your ear;
Since you know the squat toad’s infernal esprit,
Never listen, like Eve, to the devil Ennui.

Let no gloom of your hall, no shade of your bower,
Make you think you behold this malevolent power;                                        10
Like a child in the dark, what you fear you will see;
Take courage, away flies the phantom Ennui.

O trust me, the powers both of person and mind
To defeat this sly foe full sufficient you’ll find;
Should your eyes fail to kill him, with keen repartee                                       15
You can sink the flat boat of th’invader Ennui.

If a cool non-chalance o’er your sposo should spread,
For vapours will rise e’en on Jupiter’s head,
O ever believe it, from jealousy free,
A thin passing cloud, not the fog of Ennui.                                                          20

Of tender complainings though love be the theme,
O beware, my sweet friends, ’tis a dangerous scheme;
And tho’ often ‘tis try’d, mark the pauvre mari
Thus by kindness inclos’d in the coop of Ennui.

Let confidence, rising such meanness above,                                                   25
Drown the discord of doubt in the music of love;
Your duette shall thus charm in the natural key,
No sharps from vexation, no flats from Ennui.

But to you, happy husbands, in matters more nice,
The Muse, tho’ a maiden, now offers advice;                                                    30
O drink not too keenly your bumper of glee,
Ev’n ecstasy’s cup has some dregs of Ennui.

Though Love for your lips fill with nectar his bowl,
Though his warm bath of blessings inspirit your soul,
O swim not too far on rapture’s high sea,                                                          35
Lest you sink unawares in the gulph of Ennui.                          

Impatient of law, Passion oft will reply,
“Against limitations I’ll plead till I die;”
But Chief Justice Nature rejects the vain plea,
And such culprits are doom’d to the gaol of Ennui.                                           40

When husband and wife are of honey too fond,
They’re like poison’d carp at the top of a pond,
Together they gape o’er a cold dish of tea,
Two muddy sick fish in the net of Ennui.

Of indolence most ye mild couples beware,                                                     45
For the myrtles of Love often hide her soft snare;
The fond doves in their net from his pounce cannot flee,
But the lark in the morn ’scapes the daemon Ennui.

Let chearful good-humour, that sun-shine of life,
With smiles in the maiden, illumine the wife,                                                   50
And mutual attention, in equal degree,
Keep Hymen’s bright chain from the rust of Ennui.

To the Graces together O fail not to bend,
And both to the voice of the Muses attend,
So Minerva for you shall with Cupid agree,                                                       55
And preserve your chaste flame from the smoke of Ennui.                 

NOTES:

 5 Ithuriel’s bright spear From John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667). The Angel Ithuriel touches Satan (disguised as a toad) with his spear “which ‘no falsehood can endure,'” and his true form thus revealed, Satan is cast out of the Garden of Eden (Oxford Dictionary of Reference and Allusion).

7 esprit Spirit.

17 sposo Spouse.

18 Jupiter Roman god of sky and thunder. Leader of the Roman gods.

23 pauvre mari Poor husband. (Oxford French-English Dictionary).

27 duette Duet.

40 gaol Jail.

52 Hymen Greek god of marriage.

55 Minerva Roman goddess of wisdom.

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 53 (April 1783), pp. 693-94.

 Edited by Megan Kwong

“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