Tag Archives: Jane Cave

Jane Cave, “Written by Desire of a Lady, on an angry, petulant Kitchen-Maid”


“Written by Desire of a Lady, on an angry, petulant Kitchen-Maid”


Good Mistress Dishclout, what’s the matter?
Why here—the spoon, and there—the platter?
What demon causes all this low’ring,
Black as the pot you oft are scow’ring?
Hot as the fire you daily light,                                                                                    5
Your speech with low invectives blight,
While rage impregnates ev’ry vein,
And dies the face one crimson stain.
Sure some one has a word misplac’d,
Or look’d not equal to your taste,                                                                              10
Or, is this just the time you’ve chose,
Your great acquirements to disclose,
Display the graces of your tongue,
Shew with what eloquence ‘tis hung,
As dog, rogue, scoundrel, scrub, what not,                                                               15
And twenty more, I’ve quite forgot;
Which prove to a demonstration
You’ve had a lib’ral education;
Such titles must enchant the ear,
And make the bounteous donor dear;                                                                       20
But while these bounties are dispensing,
I wish I’d learn’d the art of fencing,
Least while at John you aim to throw,
My nob should chance to catch the blow;
Then I should get a broken pate,                                                                                  25
And marks of violence I hate.
Good Mistress Dishclout condescend
To hear the counsel of a friend;
When next you are dispos’d to brawl,
Pray let the scull’ry hear it all,                                                                                        30
And learn to know, your fittest place
Is with the dishes and the grease,
And when you are inclin’d to battle,
Engage the skimmer, spit, or kettle,
Or any other kitchen guest,                                                                                            35
Which you in wisdom might think best.


1  Mistress Dishclout  Proverbial for a kitchen-maid; a dishclout is a  “cloth used for washing dishes” (OED).

3  low’ring  “Frowning, scowling, sullenness” (OED).

6  invectives  “A violent attack in words” (OED).

14  Shew  Show.  Johnson notes that the word is “frequently written shew; but since it is always pronounced and often written show…[he has] adjusted the orthography to the pronunciation” (Johnson).

15  rogue  “A dishonest, unprincipled person” (OED);  scrub Of low birth, base, “a mean fellow” (Johnson).

 20  dear  “Beloved” (OED).

24  nob  Colloquially, “the head” (OED).

25  pate  “The head. Now commonly used in contempt or ridicule” (Johnson).

30  scull’ry  “The place where common utensils, as kettles or dishes, are cleaned and kept” (Johnson).

34  skimmer  “A shallow vessel with which the scum is taken off” (Johnson);  spit  “Long prong on which meat is driven to be turned before the fire” (Johnson);  kettle  “A pot or caldron” (OED).

SOURCE:  Poems on Various Subjects, Entertaining, Elegiac, and Religious, (Winchester, 1783), pp. 49-51.  [Hathi Trust]  

Edited by Kristine Van Dusen

Jane Cave, “On the Marriage of a Lady, to whom the Author was Bride-Maid”


“On the Marriage of a LADY, to whom the Author was Bride-Maid”


As the light bark on the tempestuous sea,
Toss’d to and fro, from dangers never free;
Dismay’d with fear, and mov’d with ev’ry blast,
Till in a port her anchor’s firmly cast;
So oft is mov’d Man’s fluctuating mind,                                          5
Till it in wedlock a safe anchor find;
Here, if the soul but meets her destin’d mate,
Her joys are full, her happiness compleat.

Be this your happy lot, my lovely friend,
Whose nuptial rites I this glad morn attend;                                  10
Whose humble, gentle mind for peace was born,
Whom virtue, love, and innocence adorn.
Celestial graces dignify thy soul,
While pure religion all thy ways controul.
These noble virtues, which in thee abound,                                   15
Are haply in thy lov’d PHILANDER found.
His heart sincere, his temper soft and mild,
Nor torn by anger, nor with art beguil’d.
Such gentle hearts alone should join their hands,
And find that Hymen’s chains are silken bands.                             20
Their emulation’s not who’ll reign supreme,
But who shall love the most, —be most serene.
Remote from vanity and worldly toys,
Each seeks with each for more substantial joys.
Tranquillity shall in their borders dwell,                                           25
Nor discord once approach their peaceful cell,
But mutually each other’s grief they’ll bear,
As mutually each other’s joys will share.

Thus, thus, my friend, may you for ever prove,
The soft delight of harmony and love;                                              30
May ev’ry blessing you can ask of Heav’n,
To constitute your happiness be giv’n.
If Heav’n bestows, with joy receive the prize,
If Heav’n withholds, ’tis best what Heav’n denies.
Thus sweetly may you pass your future life,                                    35
Nor once repent that you became a wife;
That you declin’d the pleasing name of B——M,
And that alone preferr’d of H—RAG—M.


16 PHILANDER Pastoral name for a male lover.

20 Hymen “In Greek and Roman mythology: The god of marriage, represented as a young man carrying a torch and veil” (OED).

37-38 B—M…H—RAG—M Identified in a later edition as “Bloom” and “Harragoom” respectively (Poems on Various Subjects, Entertaining, Elegiac, and Religious, fourth edition [Bristol, 1794], p. 21). Neither name appears in the lengthy list of subscribers included with the 1783 first edition.

Source: Poems on Various Subjects: Entertaining, Elegiac, and Religious (Winchester, 1783), pp. 21-24.  [Google Books]

Edited by Audry Hernandez

Jane Cave, “Written by Desire of a Mother, on the Death of an Only Child”


 “Written by Desire of a Mother, on the Death of an Only Child”


As with delight we view the op’ning rose
Expand, and all her fragrant sweets disclose,
So did MATERNA view her lovely maid,
In all the charms of innocence array’d;
Oft had her little all, her only child,                                               5
The tedious hour with pleasing chat beguil’d,
But Heav’n, all-good, and infinitely wise,
Remov’d this darling idol to the skies,
Ere her young heart had been obdur’d by sin,
Or guilt, tormenting fiend, could brood therein,                         10
Ere she arriv’d at years that might destroy,
By one false step, a tender mother’s joy.

Behold she soars to yon celestial fields,
Where ev’ry plant aethereal odour yields;
With pitying eye, methinks she looks below,                                 15
Commis’rates a tender mother’s woe,
Bids her dejected heart from earth retire,
And all her future thoughts to Heav’n aspire;
Prepare, she cries,—prepare to meet the blest,
And join your SALLY in eternal rest.                                                 20


3 maid In this context, “a female infant” (OED).

4 charms “Fascinating quality; charmingness, attractiveness” (OED).

9 obdur’d “To harden in wickedness, or against moral influence” (OED).

13 celestial “Of or pertaining to the sky or material heavens” (OED).

14 aethereal “Of or relating to heaven, God, or the gods; heavenly, celestial” (OED).

Source: Poems on Various Subjects: Entertaining, Elegiac, and Religious (Bristol, 1786), pp. 49-50. [Google Books]

Edited by Marivic Victoria