Tag Archives: laboring class

John Bennet, “The Fortune-Teller”

JOHN BENNET

“The Fortune-Teller”

 

One Whitsuntide, when merry glee
Proclaim’d each blooming rustic free;
When nymphs and swains, in circling bands,
At sound of tabor join’d their hands
In nimble dance, with sprightly mien,                                                                                    5
Beneath the bower on the green:
Methought the golden age reviv’d,
So harmless were the sports contriv’d.

But ah! how soon the scene was chang’d,
When from these rural joys they rang’d.                                                                               10
For at the place th’ Egyptian crew
Came for lucrative interview;
Among the tribe a buxom lass,
Who daily wonders brought to pass.
Yet pedling first was their pretence,                                                                                       15
To learn if any had the sense
Their hocus pocus to elude,
If not to tell the multitude;
One of their tribe, both deaf and dumb,
Reveal’d past, present, and to come.                                                                                      20

The scheme succeeds; such numbers flock,
Made Christian-Faith a laughing stock!
Made it appear that Satan hath
His eye fix’d on implicit faith.
Now to his oracle they press,                                                                                                   25
And hope in vain for happiness.

The Sybil seated in grimace,
Her vot’ries come with anxious-face;
They write the sum of their demand,
And wishing at her alter stand.                                                                                                30
One for a husband gives her fee,
Who’s soon to be the happy she;
Not so another can be blest,
Till two long years have broke her rest;
But still a second fee retains,                                                                                                   35
And years to months a change regains:
She threatens some and some collogues,
And proves too many w—s and r—s.

She to the matrimonial slate
In order reads their certain fate;                                                                                              40
Bids the dull husband straight provide
For th’ issue of his teeming bride:
Assures the barren of success,
That children shall their ages bless.

A brother seeks a brother lost,                                                                                         45
In prison strong confin’d and crost;
But tho’ he roams on foreign strand,
He soon shall see his native land.

Another offers at her shrine,
Who’s promis’d treasures from the mine:                                                                              50
Could but his partner have such bliss,
Her pilfer’d goods she would not miss.

A mother ardently requires
An answer kind to her desires:
A long-lost daughter was the theme,                                                                                       55
And she receives a golden dream.

Good God! that mortals e’er should strive
In hidden secrets thus to dive:
Would they regard thy sacred text,
Impostors could not have pretext                                                                                            60
Unwary people to delude,
Or on thy attributes intrude.

They still kept on their impious trade,
And ev’ry day fresh vot’ries made;
Till vengeance bid Astrea rise:                                                                                                   65
Despair then seiz’d their baleful eyes.
Their utmost skill now at the stake,
The deaf and dumb could hear and speak,
And from her shrine in haste withdrew;
Shame and confusion with her flew.                                                                                        70

Demetrius found his gains were gone;
Diana fled; her witchcrafts done.
He then betray’d one of the crew,
The darling pelf yet still his view.
Virtue rejoic’d to see the stroke,                                                                                               75
That vice itself the charm had broke:
Astrea’s orders were obey’d,
And th’ hag to prison was convey’d.

Th’ infernal tribe now sad distrest,
Detractor’s council was a jest;                                                                                                   80
Who finding that fair virtue’s cause
Was well defended by just laws;
To give such vile adherents play,
His canker’d heart no more could say;
Thus added to lost reason, loss of pay.                                                                                   85

NOTES:

1 Whitsuntide “The church season of Pentecost,” a festival occurring on the seventh Sunday after Easter in the Christian tradition (OED).

2 rustic “A person living in the countryside; a peasant” (OED).

3 nymph “A beautiful young woman” (OED); swain “A country gallant or lover” (OED).

4 tabor A drum (OED).

5 mien “The look … manner, or conduct of a person, as showing character, mood, etc.” (OED).

6 bower “A place closed in or overarched with branches of trees, shrubs, or other plants (OED).

11 place “Woodstock” [Author’s Note].

27 Sybil “A prophetess; a fortune-teller, a witch” (OED).

28 vot’ries “A devout worshipper” (OED).

37 collogues “To prevail upon or influence … to coax” (OED).

38 w–s and r–s Likely to be understood as “whores and rogues.”

42 teeming “Child-bearing” (OED).

46 crost “Thwarted” (OED).

52 pilfer’d “Stolen” (OED).

65 Astrea Astraea, Greek goddess of justice (Dixon-Kennedy, Encyclopedia of Greco-Roman Mythology, 52).

66 baleful “Unhappy … miserable” (OED).

71 Demetrius A biblical figure who falsely worshipped the Roman goddess Diana, causing him to incite a riot against the Apostle Paul (OCB).

72 Diana Roman goddess of hunting, wilderness, and animals (Dixon-Kennedy, Encyclopedia of Greco-Roman Mythology, 52).

74 pelf “Stolen good[s]” (OED).

84 canker’d “Infected with evil; corrupt, depraved (OED).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1774), pp. 17-22. [Google Books]

Edited by Alex Pittel

 

Mary Leapor, “The Beauties of the Spring”

MARY LEAPOR

“The Beauties of the Spring”

 

Hail happy Shades, and hail thou cheerful Plain,
Where Peace and Pleasure unmolested reign;
And the cool Rivers murmur as they flow:
See yellow Crowfoots deck the gaudy Hills,                          5
While the faint Primrose loves the purling Rills:
Sagacious Bees their Labours now renew,
Hum round the Blossoms, and extract their Dew:
In their Liv’ries the green Woods appear,
And smiling Nature decks the Infant Year;                             10
See yon proud Elm that shines in borrow’d Charms,
While the curl’d Woodbines deck her aged Arms.

When the streak’d East receives a lighter Gray,
And Larks prepare to meet the early Day;
Through the glad bowers the shrill Anthems run,                   15
While the Groves glitter to the rising Sun:
Then Phillis hastens to her darling Cow,
Whose shining Tresses wanton on her Brow,
While to her Cheek enliv’ning Colours fly,
And Health and Pleasure sparkle in her Eye.                          20
Unspoil’d by Riches, nor with Knowledge vain,
Contented Cymon whistles o’er the Plain;
His Flock dismisses from the nightly Fold,
Observes their Health, and fees their Number told.
Pleas’d with its Being, see the nimble Fawn                           25
Sports in the Grove, or wantons o’er the Lawn,
While the pleas’d Coursers frolick out the Day,
And the dull Ox affects unwieldy Play.

Then haste, my Friend, to yonder Sylvan Bowers,
Where Peace and Silence crown the blissful Hours;               30
In those still Groves no martial Clamours sound;
No streaming Purple stains the guiltless Ground;
But fairer Scenes our ravish’d Eyes employ,
Give a soft Pleasure, and quiet Joy;
Grief flies from hence, and wasting Cares subside,                35
While wing’d with Mirth the laughing Minutes glide.
See, my fair Friend, the painted Shrubs are gay,
And round thy Head ambrosial Odours play;
At Sight of thee the swelling Buds expand,
And op’ning Roses seem to court thy Hand;                          40
Hark, the shrill Linnet charms the distant Plain,
And Philomel replies with softer Strain;
See those bright Lilies shine with milky Hue,
And those Fair Cowslips drop with balmy Dew;
To thee, my fair, the cheerful Linnet sings,                             45
And Philomela warbles o’er the Springs;
For thee those Lilies paint the fertile Ground,
And those fair Cowslips are with Nectar crown’d;
Here let us rest to shun the scorching Ray,
While curling Zephyrs in the Branches play.                           50
In these calm Shades no ghastly Woe appears,
No Cries of Wretches stun our frighted Ears;
Here no gloss’d Hate, no sainted Wolves are seen,
Nor busy Faces throng the peaceful Green;
But Fear and Sorrow leave the careful Breast,                        55
And the glad Soul sinks happily to Rest.

NOTES:

5  Crowfoot  “A name for various species of Ranunculus or Buttercup” (OED).

6  Primrose  “An early flowering European primula” (OED).

11  yon  “A demonstrative word used in concord with a noun to indicate a person or thing” (OED).

12  Woodbines  Name for a climbing plant.

14  Larks  “A name generally used for any bird in the family of alaudidae” (OED).

18  Tresses  Braids on a woman.

22  Cymon  A swain, or young man.

 25  nimble  Quick.

27 Coursers  Horses.

29  Sylvan  “Consisting of or formed by woods or trees” (OED).

32 Purple A reference to blood.

42  Philomel  “A poetic/literary name for the nightingale” (OED).

50  Zephyrs  God of the west wind.

Source: Poems Upon Several Occasions (London, 1748), p. 15. [Google Books]

 Edited by Samantha Yankiling

Stephen Duck, “To His Royal Highness The Duke of Cumberland, on His Birth-Day”

STEPHEN DUCK

 “To His Royal Highness The Duke of CUMBERLAND, on His Birth-Day”

 

Twelve times hath SOL his annual Race begun,
Since JOVE descended from his radiant Throne:
Around the pendent Globe, the God pursu’d
His circling March, and human Actions view’d;
But griev’d that Virtue droop’d her languid Head,                                                     5
While Vice from Clime to Clime contagious spread;
Back, to his native Seat, he sternly flies;
And sends and Edict thro’ the spacious Skies,
To call th’ Ethereal Pow’rs: Swift flew his Word;
Th’ Ethereal Pow’rs, as swift, attend their Lord.                                                        10
Upon Olympus’ Top the Synod met,
Where, high inthron’d the thund’ring Monarch sat;
And, with a Nod, that shook the Spheres, he swore,
The Minor Gods should visit Earth no more.                                                                                    What, must your earthly Sons, MINERVA cry’d,                                                         15
Explore their doubtful Way without a Guide?
If PALLAS must no more to Mortals go,
Let PALLAS beg a Substitute below,
Worthy to rule the World, whose noble Mind
May copy out the Gods to human Kind.                                                                      20
She lowly bow’d; and JOVE, consenting, smil’d;
Go, form, said he, this new-imagin’d Child:
Collect the best Materials, where you will;
And let us see, for once, MINERVA’S Skill.
He said; she hastens o’er the bright Abodes,                                                              25
Selecting each Perfection of the Gods:
From Mars she warlike Strength and Courage took;
But soften’d them with VENUS’ graceful Look:
To these she added HERMES’ Eloquence,                                                                                                   And crown’d it with her own superior Sense:                                                               30
Some of Apollo’s piercing Rays she stole;
And while the MUSES play’d, she she form’d a Soul.
When thus compos’d the bright Ingredients lay,
She nobly drest them in Eternal Clay;
Jove touch’d the Mass with enliv’ning Hand,                                                                 35
And vital Warmth inspir’d a CUMBERLAND.

 NOTES:

Title Duke of CUMBERLAND Prince William Augustus (1726-1765), third son of King George II, appointed as Duke in 1726. At an early age he became known for his astute physical courage and ability. He would later lead the decisive Battle of Culloden against the Jacobite rebels in January, 1746 (Encyclopedia Britannica).

1 SOL “The sun (personified)” (OED).

2 JOVE Latin name for Jupiter, the highest god of the ancient Romans; the equivalent of Zeus in the Greek tradition (Encyclopedia Britannica).

11 Olympus’ Top Known as Mount Olympus. The home of gods and goddesses in ancient mythology (Encyclopedia Britannica); Synod “An assembly, convention, or council of any kind” (OED).

15 MINERVA “A Roman goddess, regarded as the patron of handicrafts and the arts, and later also of wisdom and prowess in war, identified from an early period with the Greek Athene” (OED).

17 PALLAS An epithet for Athena, the goddess of war, handicraft, and practical reason. “Pallas” refers to her warrior side; according to legend, Pallas was a friend and sparring partner accidentally killed by Athena.

27 Mars “The god of war of the ancient Romans, ranking in importance next to Jupiter, and identified from an early period with the Greek god Ares” (OED).

28 VENUS Roman goddess of love and beauty (Encyclopedia Britannica).

29 HERMES “A deity, the son of Zeus and Maia, represented as the messenger of the gods, the god of science, commerce, eloquence, and many of the arts of life” (OED).

31 Apollo Roman god of beauty, music, and poetry (Encyclopedia Britannica).

 Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1738), pp. 97-98. [Google Books]

Edited by Christian Ferrey

Ann Yearsley, “To a Friend, on Valentine’s Day”

ANN YEARSLEY

“To a Friend, on Valentine’s Day”

 

Tho’ blooming shepherds hail this day
With love, the subject of each lay,
Yet friendship tunes my artless song,
To thee the grateful themes belong.

STREPHON, I never will repine,                                                5
Tho’ desin’d not thy Valentine;
O’er friendship’s nobler heights we’ll rove,
Nor heed the soft’ning voice of love.

Strangers to Passion’s tyrant reign,
Careless, we’ll range the happier plain,                                  10
Where all those calmer joys we’ll prove,
Which wait sublime platonic love.

Yet I’ll allow a future day,
When friendship must at last give way;
When thou, forgetful, shalt resign                                             15
The maid who wrote this Valentine.

Think not, my friend, I dream of love ,
That with some happier maid thou’lt prove;
Friendship alone is my design
In this officious Valentine.                                                            20

Yet, when that victor God shall reign,
And conquer’d Friendship quits the plain,
This gentle whisperer captive take,
‘T will all they former kindness wake.

But if its pleadings you deny,                                                        25
And fain wou’d have remembrance die,
Then to devouring flames consign
My too ill-fated Valentine.

NOTES:

1 blooming “In the bloom of health and beauty, in the prime of youth” (OED).

5 STREPHON A typical male name used in pastoral poetry (Oxford Reference); repine “To feel or express discontent or dissatisfaction; to grumble, complain” (OED).

12 sublime “ perfect, consummate; supreme” (OED); platonic “ Of love, affection, or friendship: intimate and affectionate but not sexual; spiritual rather than physical” (OED).

26 fain “Gladly, willingly, with pleasure” (OED).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1786), p. 21.  [Google Books]

Edited by Katherine Lowden

William Hamilton, A Day Labourer, “Address to Humanity”

WILLIAM HAMILTON, A  DAY LABOURER

“Address to Humanity”

 

What discordant strains I hear,
Rudely bursting on my ear!
Sure they speak the God of War,
Rolling in his iron car.
Thrills the sound in every vein;                                    5
Language pregnant, big with pain.
All the grief that mortals know,
All the anguish, all the woe,
Each deluded subject feels,
Echoes to his thundering wheels.                               10
Fairest daughter of the sky,
Dove-ey’d, soft HUMANITY!
Sweetest of celestial race,
Tears shall veil thy beauteous face;
Grief shall heave thy snowy breast,                            15
Grief that cannot be exprest:
Vain thy soft, persuasive power
In the passion-clouded hour.

Hear, ah hear the clarion’s note,
Louder through expansion float;                                 20
This declares the coming God;
Desolation marks his road;
Fury drives his foaming steeds,
Where the glowing battle bleeds,
Panting with disorder’d breath,                                    25
Breathing anguish, breathing death.

See the din and clank of arms
Wide diffuse the dread alarms;
Now they rally, now they fly;
Here they languish, there they die.                             30
Wider still the victor’s hand
Spreads destruction o’er the land.
Driven from their long-lov’d home,
See the wretched wanderers roam,
Despairing, o’er the ravag’d plains;                              35
Gleams the town behind in flames.
Night increasing horrors sheds,
Tempests rattle o’er their heads.
Now forlorn, expos’d they lie
Spent, in vain they wish to die.                                    40
Orphans importune for bread;
Rous’d at this, the waste they tread;
Long in vain till friendly Death
Seals their gladly-yielded breath.
Lo! the wretches that remain,                                      45
Still reserv’d for future pain;
Mangled limbs and fractur’d bones
Waste the tedious hours in groans.
Drop the veil—enough—no more—
Pity bleeds at every pore.                                             50

Goddess of the melting eye,
Cease the deep, heart-rending sigh;
See, Reflection lends her aid,
Wing’d with thought, in white array’d:
From her lily hand behold                                            55
Waves the sacred key of gold.
Truth proclaims, ’tis only this
Mortals bring to lasting bliss.

Oh, improve the happy hour,
Discord then shall feel thy power,                               60
And with thunder’s mimic sound
Cease to shake the vaulted ground;
Cease the wild alarm to keep,
Cease to feed the yawning deep;
Cease to stain with human gore                                   65
Where the roses blush’d before.
All shall own thy blissful sway,
And ev’n Bellona thy behests obey

NOTES:

3 God of war…iron car A reference to the Roman god Mars, often depicted as riding in a chariot.

 19 clarion “A shrill-sounding trumpet with a narrow tube, formerly much used as a signal in war” (OED).

27 din “A loud noise; particularly a continued confused or resonant sound, which stuns or distresses the ear” (OED).

38 tempest “A violent storm of wind, usually accompanied by a downfall of rain, hail, or snow, or by thunder” (OED).

41 importune “To ask or request something of (a person) persistently or pressingly; to accost with questions or requests; to beg, beseech” (OED).

51 Goddess of the melting eye That is, “Humanity”; see lines 9-15 above.

 55 Lily hand White hand.

69 Bellona “Bellona, original name Duellona, in Roman religion, goddess of war…Sometimes known as the sister or wife of Mars, she has also been identified with his female cult partner Nerio. Her temple at Rome stood in the Campus Martius, outside the city’s gates near the Circus Flaminius and the temple of Apollo. There the Senate met to discuss generals’ claims to triumphs and to receive foreign ambassadors. In front of it was the columna bellica, where the ceremony of declaring war by the fetiales (a group of priestly officials) took place(Encyclopedia Britannica).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (July 1786), p. 601.

Edited by Juliet Paulson

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

Mary Masters, “To Lucinda”

MARY MASTERS

To Lucinda”

 LUCINDA, you in vain disswade
Two Hearts from mutual Love.
What am’rous Youth, or tender Maid
Could e’er their Flames remove?

What, if the Charms in him I see                                      5
Only exist in Thought:
Yet CUPID’S like the Medes Decree,
Is firm and changeth not.

Seek not to know my Passion’s spring,
The Reason to discover:                                            10
For Reason is an useless Thing,
When we’ve commenc’d the Lover.

Should Lovers quarrel with their Fate,
And ask the Reason why,
They are condemn’d to doat on That,                              15
Or for This Object die?

They must not hope for a Reply,
And this is all they know;
They sigh, and weep, and rave, and die,
Because it must be so.                                                20

LOVE is a mighty God you know,
That rules with potent Sway:
And, when he draws his awful Bow,
We Mortals must obey.

Since you the fatal Strife endur’d,                                     25
And yielded to his Dart:
How can I hope to be secur’d,
And guard a weaker Heart?

NOTES:

1 disswade Variation of dissuade “to give advice against” (OED).

7 CUPID’S The Roman God of love, son of Venus; often appears as an infant with wings carrying a bow, and arrows that have the power to inspire love in those they pierce (Encyclopædia Britannica); Medes Decree Refers to the laws of the Medes and Persians, “Medes” being an ancient Indo-European people whose empire encompassed most of Persia; in the Bible, “laws of the Medes” is a proverbial phrase meaning, “something that is unalterable” (OED).

21 LOVE The God of love, Cupid.

22 Sway “Power” (OED).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London: T. Browne, 1733), pp. 151-53.  [Hathi Trust]

Edited by Brittany Kirn

Stephen Duck, “On Music”

STEPHEN DUCK

 “On MUSIC

 I.

MUSIC the coldest Heart can warm,
The hardest melt, the fiercest charm;
Disarm the Savage of his Rage,
Dispel our Cares, and Pains assuage;
With Joy it can our Souls inspire,                                                  5
And tune our Tempers to the Lyre;
Our Passions, like the Notes, agree,
And stand subdu’d by Harmony.
This found the melancholy King,
When David tun’d the trembling String:                                     10
Sweet Music chas’d the fullen Spleen away,
And made his clouded Soul serenely gay.

II.

WHILE Music breathes in martial Airs,
The Coward dares forget his Fears;
Or, if the Notes to Pity sound,                                                     15
Revenge and Envy cease to wound:
The Pow’r of MUSIC has been known,
To raise or tumble Cities down:
Thus Theban Turrets, Authors say,
Were rais’d by MUSIC’s Magick Lay;                                            20
And antient Jericho’s Heav’n-hated Wall,
To sacred MUSIC, ow’d its destin’d Fall.

III.

NOR Mortals only MUSIC love;
It chears celestial Saints above:
Sweet Hallelujahs Angels sing                                                      25
Around their great Ethereal King;
CeaslessCeasless they sound the FATHER’S Praise,
The FATHER too approves their Lays;
For HE (as all Things) MUSIC made,
And SERAPHIMS before Him play’d:                                            30
When over Horeb’s Mount He came,
Array’d in Majesty and Flame;
After the sounding Trump, sublime, He rode;
The sounding Trump proclaim’d the’ approaching GOD.

IV.

MUSIC had Being, long before                                                     35
The solemn Organ learnt to roar:
When MICHAEL, o’er the heav’nly Plain,
Advanc’d, to fight the rebel Train;
Loud Trumpets did his Wrath declare,
In MUSIC, terrible to hear:                                                             40
And when the Universe was made,
On golden Harps the Angels play’d:
And when it falls, (as fall it must)
MUSIC shall penetrate the Dust;
The Trump shall sound with the Archangel’s Breath;                       45
And, sweetly dreadful! wake the Dead from Death.

NOTES:

6 Lyre “A stringed instrument of the harp kind, used by the Greeks for accompanying song and recitation” (OED).

9 melancholy King An allusion to King Saul in the Bible.

10 David tun’d the trembling String In the first book of Samuel, David would play the lyre to calm Saul when the evil spirit of God was upon him (1 Samuel 16:23).

11 Spleen “Excessive dejection or depression of spirits; gloominess and irritability.” (OED).

19 Theban Turrets A structure or tower belonging to Thebes, ancient capital of Boeotia in Greece.

20 Lay “A short lyric or narrative poem intended to be sung” (OED).

21 Jericho’s Heav’n-hated Wall In the Bible Joshua is instructed to sound trumpets before taking over the city of Jericho (Joshua 6:20).

30 Seraphims Biblical angels.

31 Horeb’s Mount The mountain where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God.

32 Majesty and Flame Allusion to the Burning bush that the Lord appeared as to give Moses the Ten Commandments.

37 MICHAEL, o’er the heav’nly Plain Michael was an archangel who fought the Devil in heaven.

45 The Trump shall sound with the Archangel’s Breath An allusion to the archangel Michael sounding his triumph after defeating the Devil in heaven (Jude 1:9 and Revelation 12:7-9).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions, (3rd Edition) (London, 1753), pp. 49-51. [Google Books]

 Edited by Noelle Gallagher

Mary Masters, “The Female Triumph”

MARY MASTERS

“The Female Triumph”

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

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

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

NOTES:

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

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

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

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

32 Tuneful Nine The Greek muses.

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

Edited by Taryn Osborne

Thomas Poynton, “A Ballad written by Thomas Poynton, a Pauper…after he had read Drummond of Hawthornden’s History of Scotland”

THOMAS POYNTON

“A Ballad written by THOMAS POYNTON, a Pauper… after he had read Drummond of Hawthornden’s History of Scotland”

 The beauties I sing of my Jane,
No damsel her charms can outvie;
At wake, rural feast, or beltein,
She eclipses all others when by.
Thus when Phoebus his glory displays,                                             5
The lustre of stars quickly fade,
O’erwhelm’d in the glittering blaze,
To shine they must wait the dun shade.
At the quern, luaghahb, or the wheel,
Her music enraptures my ear;                                                            10
What emotions my bosom must feel,
When with transport her sweet voice I hear!
The deeds of the mighty Fingal
‘Tis pleasure to hear her repeat;
But Crimera and Connald’s sad fall                                                    15
To hear her lament is more sweet.
T’other day as she work’d at her wheel,
She sang of fair Eleanor’s fate,
Who fell by stern jealousy’s steel,
As on Kirtle’s smooth margin she sate.                                              20
Her lover to shield from the dart,
Most eagerly she interpos’d;
The arrow transpierc’d her fond heart,
The fair in his arms her eyes clos’d.
O, Fleming! how wretched thy doom,                                                25
Thy love to see wounded to death;
No wonder that, stretch’d on her tomb,
In grief thou surrender’st thy breath.
Yet one consolation was thine,
To soften fate’s rigid decree,                                                               30
Thy mistress her life did resign,
A martyr to love and to thee.
Would Jenny, should I haply die
A victim to love in youth’s bloom,
Heave o’er my remains a soft sigh,                                                     35
And shed a fond tear on my tomb?
Would she at my Coranick weep,
Transported I’d yield up my breath,
Contented I surely should sleep,
Delighted and happy in death,                                                           40
If my bones they were earth’d in cold clay,
And my spirit in heavenly bowers,
Delighted I’d look down each day,
To see Jenny my grave shew with flowers.
Inthron’d ‘midst immortals above,                                                     45
Transported I’d lift from my sphere,
To hear from the lips of my love,
“The dust of my Jammie lies here.”

NOTES:

Title Drummond of Hawthornden’s History of Scotland The Scottish poet and book collector William Drummond of Hawthornden (1585-1649) whose prose work, The History of Scotland, from the year 1423 until the Year 1542, was first published in 1655.  The text was republished several times in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

2 outvie “To outdo in a context or in rivalry; to compete successfully against” (OED).

3 beltein Alternative spelling of “beltane,” the Gaelic May Day festival, widely observed in both Scotland and Ireland.

5 Phoebus Another name for Apollo, the Greek God of the Sun (Encyclopedia Britannica).

8 dun “Of a dull or dingy brown color, esp. dull grayish brown” (OED).

9 quern “A simple, typically hand-operated, device for grinding corn, etc., consisting of two stones, the upper of which is rotated or rubbed on the lower” (OED); luaghahb [Unable to trace]

13 Fingal A Celtic warrior famous for uniting different clans to defend Scotland against invaders, widely popularized by James MacPherson’s book The Works of Ossian, Son of Fingal (1796).

15 Crimera and Connald’s [Unable to trace]

18 fair Eleanor’s fate A reference to the story of Ellen who, according to Scottish balladry, chose between two suitors only to sacrifice herself to save her lover when her spurned suitor sought revenge. The story may be grounded in historical fact, though the nature of those facts was much in dispute in the late eighteenth century (see, for example, letters sent to the GM in 1797 (vol. 81, pp. 202, 293). Drummond’s text does not appear to be a source for this story.

20 Kirtle  A small river in the historical county of Dumfriesshire, Scotland. The tragedy is said to have unfolded at Kirkconnell Chapel, located on the bank of the Kirtle, where the lovers were supposedly buried.

23 Transpierced “To pierce through from side to side” (OED).

26 Fleming A reference to Ellen’s chosen lover, who appears as “William” or “Adam” in various ballads. He is said to have returned from successful military feats on the Continent and died on Ellen’s grave at Kirkconnell Chapel.

37 Coranick [Unable to trace]

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (July 1783), p. 607.

Edited by: Karinna Seward