Tag Archives: extempore verse

Priscilla Pointon, “Enigma, Extempore”


“Enigma, Extempore”

Ladies, with these you’ll find out my name,
Tho’ I from subterraneous dwellings came;
When ADAM he existed here on earth,
Aspiring Man attempted not my birth,
In peaceful shades my infant days I past,                                     5
‘Till MAN, destructive MAN, found me at last;
Transported raised me from my silent bed,
And strait my fame thro’ all the world was spread.
Without my aid no nation can be won,
And it is true, I hundreds have undone,                                        10
For with me now no monarch sure can vie,
Or justly boast so many slaves as I;
Poets have sung in soft melodious strain,
To gain my smiles, but oft have sung in vain.
To me, ye Fair, your charms are frequent due,                            15
To me you are oblig’d for lovers too;
Tho’ Nature’s form’d you like VENUS fair,
And in your mind you every virtue wear,
Without me these are seldom known to do,
It is for me they mostly sigh and woo.                                            20
Such matchless charms does in my person center,
That me to gain, their lives will thousands venture.

Ladies, by this, no doubt, my name you guess,
And sighing, wish my power on earth was less;
But sighs and tears will ineffectual prove,                                      25
There’s nought like me the heart of man can move.


3 ADAM “The first human in the biblical account of the creation of the world” (OED).

11 vie “To display, advance, practise, etc., in competition or rivalry with another person or thing; to contend or strive” (OED).

17 VENUS “The ancient Roman goddess of beauty and love (esp. sensual love)” (OED).

Source:  Poems on Several Occasions. By Miss Priscilla Pointon, of Lichfield, (Birmingham, 1770), pp. 5-6. [Google Books]

Edited by Skylar DeAnda-Grey

“C.S.,” Written in a Fit of Sickness, On Shipboard”


“Written in a Fit of Sickness, On Shipboard”

As tender plants in parching days, are seen
Withering to droop, forgetful to be green;
So droops my soul, so waste my limbs away;
So fade my cheeks, and so my pow’rs decay.
Some wrathful Angel sure infests the skies,                                       5
And scatters poison’d arrows as he flies;
He smites my head, the organs of my breath
Confess the baleful influence of Death.
Relentless Pow’r! why dost thou blast my bloom?
My age is yet unworthy of the tomb;                                                  10
Too early dost thou come, this youthful breast
Is fitter to receive a softer guest:
To hoary heads, and bosoms cold repair,
More proper is thy reign, and grateful there.
Relentless Pow’r! remonstrances are vain,                                          15
His vengeful weapons rankle in my brain;
Where’er the circling life a channel knows,
His arrows gall me, and his venom flows.

Ah me! no tender parent here is by,
No sympathizing kind companion nigh;                                              20
Nor one kind matron to attend my bed,
Living to cherish, or enshroud me dead.

With Heav’n’s just vengeance I can be content,
But why should men my miseries augment?
Me here they keep, where things in all degrees,                                  25
Are foes to health, and enemies to ease;
With stench the smell, with noise the ear’s annoy’d:
A place, of ev’ry consolation void.

For this, may Heav’n avenging fix their doom,
With sorrow to descend into the tomb.                                                30
In their distress be no fond parent by,
Nor one of all their friends, or blood be nigh;
Nor one kind matron to attend their bed,
Living to cherish, or enshroud them dead.


8  baleful  “Full of malign, deadly, or noxious influence; pernicious, destructive” (OED).

9  bloom  “The blossom or flower of a plant” (OED).

13  hoary heads  Old people.

15  remonstrances  “An appeal, a request” (OED).

16  rankle  “A festering sore; the fact or condition of festering” (OED).

17  channel  “A tube or tubular passage, natural or artificial, usually for liquids or fluids” (OED).

18  gall  “The secretion of the liver, bile. With reference to the bitterness of gall, ‘to dip one’s pen in gall’, to write with virulence and rancor” (OED).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1768), pp.19-21. [Google Books]

Edited by Geordie Stock