Tag Archives: Love

Edward Lovibond, “To a Young Lady, a Very Good Actress”

EDWARD LOVIBOND

 “To a Young Lady, a Very Good Actress

 

Powerful is Beauty, when to mortal seats
From Heaven descends the heaven-created good,
When Fancy’s glance the fairy phantom meets,
Nymph of the shade, or Naiad of the flood.

So blooms CELENA, daughter of the skies,                                                                5
Queen of the joys romantic rapture dreams,
Her cheeks are summer’s damask rose, her eyes
Steal their quick lustre from the morning’s beams,

Her airy neck the shining tresses shade;
In every wanton curl a Cupid dwells:                                                                  10
To these, distrusting in the Graces’ aid,
She joins the mighty charms of magic spells.

Man, hapless man in vain destruction flies,
With wily arts th’ enchantress nymph pursues;
To varying forms, as varying lovers rise,                                                                    15
Shifts the bright IRIS of a thousand hues.

Behold the’ austere Divine, oppress by years,
Colics, and bulk, and tithes ingend’red care
The sound of woman grates his aching ears,
Of other woman than a scripture Fair.                                                                20

Sudden she comes a DEBORAH bright in arms,
Or wears the pastoral RACHEL’S ancient mien;
And now, as glow gay-flushing eastern charms,
He sighs like DAVID’S son for SHEBA’S Queen.

To CHANGE the China trader speeds his pace,                                                          25
Nor heeds the chilly North’s unripening dames;
‘Tis her’s with twinkling eyes, and lengthen’d face,
And pigmy foot, to wake forgotten flames.

She oft, in likeness of th’ EGYPTIAN Crone,
Too well inform’d, relates to wond’ring swains                                                 30
Their amorous plaints preferr’d to her alone:
Her own relentless breast too well explains.

See, at the manor’s hospitable board
Enters a Sire, by infant age rever’d;
From shorten’d tube exhaling fumes afford                                                              35
The incense bland that clouds his forky beard.

Conundrums quaint, and puns of jocund kind,
With rural ditties, warm th’ elated ‘Squire,
Yet oft sensations quicken in his mind,
Other than ale and jocund puns inspire.                                                            40

The forms where bloated Dropsy holds her seat
He views, unconscious of magicians’ guiles,
Nor deems a jaundic’d visage lov’d retreat
Of graces, young desires, and dimpled smiles.

Now o’er the portal of an antique hall                                                                        45
A Grecian form the raptur’d patriot awes,
The hoary bust and brow severe recal
LYCURGUS, founder of majestic laws.

Awhile entranc’d, he dreams of old Renown,
And Freedom’s triumph in PLATEAN fields,                                                       50
Then turns – relaxing sees the furrow’d frown,
To melting airs the soften’d marble yields.

I see the lips as breathing life, he cries,
On icy cheeks carnation blooms display’d,
The pensive orbs are pleasure-beaming eyes                                                            55
And SPARTA’S lawgiver a blushing maid.

There, at the curtains of the shudd’ring youth,
Stiff, melancholy, pale, a spectre stands,
Some love-lorn virgin’s shade – O! injur’d truth,
Deserted phantom, and ye plighted hands,                                                        60

He scarce had utter’d – from his frantic gaze
The vision fades – succeeds a flood of light.
O friendly shadows, veil him, as the blaze
Of Beauty’s sun emerging from the night.

Here end thy triumphs, nymphs of potent charms,                                                   65
The laurel’d Bard is Heaven’s immortal care;
Him nor Illusion’s spell nor philter harms,
Nor music floating on the magic air.

The myrtle wand his arm imperial bears,
Reluctant ghosts and stubborn elves obey:                                                         70
Its virtuous touch the midnight fairy fears,
And shapes the wanton in AURORA’S ray.

I ceas’d; the virgin came in native grace,
With native smiles that strengthen Beauty’s chain:
O vain the confidence of mortal race!                                                                           75
My laurel’d head and myrtle wand are vain.

Again wild raptures, kindling passions rise,
As once in ANDOVER’S autumnal grove,
When looks that spoke, and eloquence of sighs,
Told the soft mandate of another’s love.                                                               80

NOTES:

4 Nymph “Any of a class of semi-divine spirits; imagined as taking the form of a maiden” (OED); Naiad of the flood “a nymph of fresh water” (OED).

 5 Celena Or Selene, the Greek goddess of the moon.

10 Cupid “In Roman Mythology, the god of love” (OED).

 16 Iris “The goddess who acted as the messenger of the gods, and was held to display as her sign, or appear as, the rainbow” (OED).

18 Colics “A name given to severe…gripping pains in the belly” (OED); bulk “A heap, cargo” (OED); tithes “A favor” (OED).

21 Deborah A prophet and only female judge from the Bible (Judges 4).

22 Rachel Figure from the Bible, the favorite of Jacob’s two wives (Genesis 30).

24 David’s son for Sheba’s queen An allusion to the enigmatic biblical story of King David’s son, Solomon, and the unnamed Queen of Sheba who visited Jerusalem to test his wisdom (1 Kings 10).

25 Change “A place where merchants or bankers conduct business” (OED).

26 unripening dames Young women.

29 Egyptian Crone Nephthys, an Egyptian goddess of old age, death.

31 amorous plaints “Audible expressions of sorrow” (OED).

 37 jocund “Feeling, expressing, or communicating mirth or cheerfulness” (OED).

43 jaundic’d “To affect with envy or jealousy” (OED).

 41 Dropsy “A morbid condition characterized by the accumulation of watery fluid, or an insatiable thirst or craving” (OED).

45 portal An entrance.

48 Lycurgus A lawgiver of Sparta.

56 Sparta Prominent city-state in ancient Greece.

58 spectre “An apparition, phantom, or ghost” (OED).

 67 philter “A potion, drug, or (occasionally) charm supposed to be capable of exciting sexual attraction or love” (OED).

69 myrtle wand A magic wand, as used by pagans.

 72 Aurora A Roman goddess who personifies dawn.

78 Andover A market town in Hampshire, England.

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1785), pp. 102-107. [Google Books]

Edited by Rachel Rosenthal

Charlotte Lennox, “The Rival Nymphs. A Tale”

[CHARLOTTE LENNOX]

 “The Rival Nymphs. A Tale.”

 

Clarissa blest with ev’ry Grace,
A Shape divine, and charming Face,
Had triumph’d long o’er many a Swain,
And oft’ been woo’d, but woo’d in vain;
Not so Amanda, blooming Youth,                                                  5
Soft Innocence, and artless Truth,
Were all the Beauties she cou’d boast,
Not form’d by Nature for a Toast;
Yet some there were, who in her Mind
A thousand nameless Charms cou’d find:                                    10
She lov’d not Visits, Park, or Play,
But mop’d, and read her Time away;
Insensible to a Degree,
Her Heart was all her own, and free;
Yet oft of Love’s soft pleasing Pains,                                             15
The Nymph wou’d write in melting Strains.
The lambent Flame that warm’d her Breast,
Each tender flowing Line confess’d;
Moneses, whose enchanting Form
Was one continu’d endless Charm:                                               20
To whom indulgent Heav’n had join’d,
All that cou’d beautify a Mind;
Had often own’d bright Beauty’s Power,
Had sigh’d and lov’d — for half an Hour.
But yet the lovely Youth confess’d,                                               25
Whoe’er could wound his destin’d Breast,
Her Charms must over Time prevail,
Her Wit must please when Beauty fail’d;
Yet since he cou’d not hope to find,
One blest with all those Charms of Mind;                                    30
He thought Clarissa worth his Care,
And all the Hours he had to spare;
Soft Vows, and tender speaking Eyes,
Pleading Looks, and melting Sighs;
Make the believing Maid approve                                                  35
His false, but well dissembled Love.
But while Clarissa’s Charms he own’d,
He with a secret Passion burn’d.
Amanda found the Way to win
His Heart, and let her Image in;                                                      40
His Pain the lovely Youth conceals,
All but what his Eyes reveals:
His Eyes, that all his Passion tell,
And speak the Love he felt so well.

Amanda heard the Youth complain,                                        45
She heard and felt an equal Flame;
But still with native Shyness arm’d,
She shuns the lovely Swain she charm’d;
His Looks, his Sighs, his Actions move,
And in soft Language plead for Love.                                             50

Clarissa still exults, and cries,
He’s yet a Victim to my Eyes;
He neither will, nor can be free;
Me he still loves, and only Me:
Ah! cease to claim my charming Prize;                                            55
Amanda, to the Fair replies,
Cou’d I, Clarissa, cou’d I boast,
The Hearts that to thy Charms are lost,
With Joy I wou’d them all resign,
To keep my lov’d Moneses mine.                                                        60

In vain the Nymph declares her Flame,
Clarissa still asserts her Claim;
And ‘till the lov’d Moneses owns,
The conqu’ring Maid for whom he burns;
‘Till he’ll the happy Fair unfold,                                                           65
The Sequel must remain untold.

NOTES:

 Title Nymphs “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).

3 Swain In pastoral poetry, synonymous with a young shepherd.

 17 lambent “Of a flame (fire, light): playing lightly upon or gliding over a surface without burning it, like a ‘tongue of fire’; shining with a soft clear light and without fierce heat” (OED).

 19 Moneses Here a masculine pastoral name, the object of Amanda and Clarissa’s desire.

35 Maid A virgin (OED).

54 loves Corrected from “love’s,” a printer’s error.

Source: Poems on Several Occasions. Written by a Young Lady (London, 1747), pp. 7-11. [Google Books]

 Edited by Sydney Brunner

Charlotte Lennox, “To Aurelia, on her attempting to write Verses”

CHARLOTTE LENNOX

“To Aurelia, on her attempting to write Verses.”

 

Long had Aurelia vainly stove
To write in melting strains of Love;
Ambitious of a Poet’s Name,
She wept, she sigh’d, she long’d for Fame;
While of the great Design possest                                            5
She thus the Delian God addrest:
Brightest of heavenly Powers above,
Immortal Son of thund’ring Jove;
Oh glorious Deity impart
To me the soft poetic Art;                                                          10
Vouchsafe to me thy sacred Fire,
And with thyself my Soul inspire.
She Spake — the God indulgent hears
The beauteous Maid, and grants her Prayers.
On Clio turns his radiant Eyes,                                                  15
And to the tuneful Goddess cries,
Fly hence to fair Aurelia’s Aid,
In heavenly Strains instruct the Maid:
The Muse obeys the God’s Commands
With Joy, and swift as Thought descends,                                20
And at Aurelia’s Side attends.
Conscious of her new Power, the Maid
With Thanks the glorious Gift repay’d:
Now Waller’s Sweetness, Granville’s fire,
At once her tuneful Breast inspire:                                            25
No more she vainly strives to please,
The ready Numbers flow with ease:
All soft, harmonious and divine;
Apollo shines in every Line.
The Delian God with Rapture fill’d                                              30
Upon his lovely Pupil smil’d.
Daphne, his once-lov’d charming Care,
Appear’d to him not half so fair:
For the lost Nymph he mourns no more;
Nor in his Songs her Loss deplore;                                            35
But from the slighted Tree he tears
It’s Leaves, to deck Aurelia’s Hairs.
A Poet now by all she’s own’d,
And with immortal Honour crown’d.

NOTES:

6 Delian God Apollo.

8 Jove Jupiter, also known as Jove, is the god of the sky and thunder and king of the gods in Ancient Roman religion and mythology. He is also remembered as Zeus, his name among the Greeks (New World Encyclopedia).

11 Vouchsafe “To give or grant something to someone in a gracious or condescending manner” (OED).

15 Clio The muse of history.

24 Waller’s Sweetness Edmund Waller (1606-1687), poet and politician, known in the period for his panegyric verse and “sweet” lyric poetry (Britannica); Granville’s fire  George Granville, Baron Lansdowne (1666-1735), poet, playwright, and politician, a poetic imitator of Waller, but also known for his fiery political speeches (Britannica).

29 Apollo In this context, the god of song and poetry.

30 Rapture “A state, condition or fit of intense delight or enthusiasm” (OED).

32 Daphne In Greek mythology, to escape Apollo’s pursuit, Daphne was turned into a bay laurel tree, whose leaves formed into a garland symbolize poetic excellence (Brittanica).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1747), pp. 28-30. [Google Books]

Edited by Astrid Regalado Sibrian

Elizabeth Tollet, “To a Gentleman in Love”

ELIZABETH TOLLET

“To a Gentleman in Love.”

Say, in what gentle Sounds, what healing Strain,
The friendly Muse shall sooth the wounded Swain?
Thy self, the Muses Servant, best may know
To mourn in moving Verse the latent Woe:                                            5
Such Verse where Fear and humble Passion speak,
Where crowding Thoughts in soft Confusion break,
With falt’ring Eloquence the Fair might move,
Tho’ cold as Northern Snows to mutual Love.
Tho’ that perhaps thou hast in vain essay’d:                                          10
The Muse, at best, is but a faithless Aid;
So Princes by Auxiliars are betray’d.
Lonely tho wander’st where the founding Stones
Of Balliol’s Walls return thy hollow Groans;
Or where Severus’ Work describes the Bound                                       15
Of Roman Conquests on the British Ground.
The ruin’d Pile stood threatening o’er the Waste;
Prodigious Monument of Greatness past!
Hither perhaps the pensive Lover goes,
To shun his chearful Friends, and Speak his Woes.                              20
How art thou chang’d? Thou! who wert always known,
With modest Wit our temp’rate Mirth to crown.
What? Cannot Politicks and deep Debate
What menaces the Church, or shakes the State,
How great Eugenius clouds the waning Moon,                                       25
What Spain intends, or they who drink the Rhone,
From thy unquiet Breast these Cares remove?
This ‘tis, unhappy Youth! to be in Love.

Or when thy jocund Friends the Board surround,
With rural Stores and native Liquors crown’d,                                      30
Such as the British Swains, industrious, drain,
From blushing Apples, or the bearded Grain;
The love-sick Youth discovers his Suprize,
By faded Cheeks and unregarding Eyes:
By rising Sighs which heave his struggling Breast,                               35
And wand’ring Speech with sudden Pause supprest.
All Smile; and some with friendly Anger chide,
Some pity thy Distress, but most deride:
While you sit by, with careless Head reclin’d;
The only Fair employs your absent Mind.                                               40
We by your Doctrines may perhaps improve
For we, alas! are Hereticks in Love:
We may wish Vows of Constancy make bold;
But you de Jure love—–to have and hold.

Amantem languor & silentium                

Arguit, & latere

Petitus imo spiritus.

Hor. Epod.

NOTES:

2 Swain “A country gallant or lover” (OED).

12 Auxiliars Subordinates.

14 Balliol A college of Oxford University, founded before 1268.

15 Severus’ Work The Wall of Severus, also known as “Hadrian’s Wall;” built to defend the northwestern frontier of the Roman empire. Emperor Septimius Severus (reigned 193–211 AD) is said to have fortified Hadrian’s original turf wall with stone around 208 AD (Encyclopedia Britannica).

25 Eugenius Probably a reference to Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736), Austrian general and statesman who figured prominently as an ally of England in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14) and the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35).

26 they who drink the Rhone The French, who were known for a “wine made from grapes grown in the Rhône valley, esp. in the region between Lyons and Avignon France” (OED).

42 Hereticks Those “who maintains theological or religious opinions at variance with the ‘catholic’ or orthodox doctrine of the Christian Church” (OED).

43 Constancy “Steadfastness of attachment to a person or cause; faithfulness, fidelity” (OED).

44 De Jure Archaic spelling of the French phrase “du jour,” which means “of the day” (OED).

Postscript Where my listlessness, my silences, and the sighs/ That were drawn from the depths of my heart, proved my love-sick state” (from Epode 11, ll. 9-10, by Quintus Horatius Flaccus [65-8 BC], published in 30 BC).

 Source: Poems on Several Occasions. With Anne Boleyn to King Henry VIII: An Epistle (London, 1755), pp. 28-30. [Google Books]

Edited by Taylor Albert

Charlotte Lennox, “A Pastoral, from the Song of Solomon”

CHARLOTTE LENNOX

“A Pastoral, from the Song of Solomon”

 

OH! tell me, thou who all my Soul inspires,
Source of my Joys, and Partner of my Fires,
By what clear Stream, or nigh what flow’ry Mead
Thy tender Flocks with wanton Pleasure feed:
Where does my Dear, my lovely Wand’rer stray;                                       5
Tell me, and guide my weary Steps that Way.

In vain I trace the Plains, each winding Grove;
No Swain directs me to my absent Love:
Close in the Covert of some Shade he lyes;
Some envious Shade conceals him from my Eyes:                                    10
Bear then my soft Complainings to his Ear;
Ye whis’pring Winds, let him my Accents hear;
The well-known Sounds will wake the lingering Swain,
And bring him panting to my Arms again.

Alas! not yet my cruel Love returns:                                                        15
I rave; my Breast with jealous Fury burns:
Cold Tremblings seize on ev’ry vital Part;
The Blood runs freezing to my panting Heart;
Dim Shadows swim before my closing Sight,
And my griev’d Soul prepares to take its Flight.                                            20

Hark; what sweet Accents breaks the ambient Air;
Sure ’tis my Love’s melodious Voice I hear:
Now to my Arms my charming Shepherd flies;
Heaven to my Arms, and Transport to my Eyes,
Oh! on thy panting Breast let me recline,                                                      25
And let thy folding Arms around me twine;
With Vows of Love my anxious Fears controul,
And whisper Ease to my distracted Soul.

Arise, my Love, the Enslaver cries,
My beauteous Maid, my lovely Fair, arise;                                                     30
For lo, the Rain is o’er, the Winter’s past,
And balmy Sweets perfume the southern Blast,
Like thee, all Nature smiles; the Fields around,
Are with a new returning Verdure crown’d:
Hark what sweet Musick fills the vocal Grove;                                               35
Each feather’d Songster tunes its Notes to Love:
What Odours do these op’ning Buds exhale,
Yet cannot o’er thy greater Sweets prevail,
Or their enchanting Beauties thine excell.
That Lilly shines but with a borrow’d Grace,                                                  40
And Roses blush to emulate thy Face;
Nor can the Violet’s admired Dye
Match the bright Azure of thy shining Eye;
See where you tread, fresh blooming Flowers arise,
New Charms appear where’er you turn your Eyes;                                       45
For thee the Streams in softer Murmurs flow;
For thee sweet Airs the whisp’ring Zephirs blow;
For thee the Cedars form a grateful Shade,
And brighter Colours paint th’ enamell’d Mead:
Oh! come then thro’ these sweet Meanders stray;                                         50
Arise, my Love; my fair One, come away.

Yes, dearest Object of my soft Desire,
Thou sweet Inspirer of my endless Fire;
With thee I’ll trace the Groves, each winding Mead,
And follow where thy charming Footsteps lead:                                            55
Yet let me view thee; on that lovely Face
Let me with fond extatic Rapture gaze;
Let thy Voice charm me with its Magick Sound,
And my fond Soul with thrilling Pleasure wound;
For sweet’s thy Beauties to my ravish’d Sight,                                                60
And thy dear Voice my list’ning Ears delight.

See on that Couch, with Nature’s Bounties spread,
At Ease reclin’d, my lovely Shepherd’s laid:
What Beauties in that smiling Form appear;
How soft, how mild, how more than heavenly fair.                                        65
Ye tender Virgins, awful Silence keep;
Ye sighing Gales prolong his balmy Sleep:
Thou sleep’st, my Love; but still thy waking Heart
Bears in my soft Inquietudes a Part.
My Image every present with thee seems,                                                        70
Haunts all thy Slumbers, and informs thy Dreams,
In ev’ry Wish, in ev’ry Thought I’m thine;
And oh! be thou for ever, ever mine.

Behold, he wakes, and here with Transport flies;
What streaming Glories sparkle from his Eyes:                                                75
Oh, turn them from me, hide their beauteous Beams;
The Sun with less refulgent Brightness gleams:
Do not such sweet, such magick Rays dispence,
Like pow’rful Sweets they overcome my Sense;
Oh, set me, as a Seal upon thy Heart,                                                                80
Mark’d for my own, I claim the smallest Part;
Shou’dst Thou (but sure the wounding Thought is vain)
For any other lovely Maid complain;
Take from me, Heav’n, the fleeting Breath you gave,
For Love’s as strong as Death, and pow’rful as the Grave.                              85

NOTES:

Title Song of Solomon A Biblical reference; “This book has no theology — it is devoted instead to a single subject, the love and passion between woman and man” (Carl W. Ernest, Interpreting the Songs of Songs: The Paradox of Spiritual and Sensual Love,” UNC Chapel Hill (http://www.unc.edu/%7Ecernst/sosintro.htm).

4 wanton Undisciplined, ungoverned; unmanageable, rebellious” (OED).

8 Swain “A country gallant or lover; a lover, wooer, sweetheart, esp. in pastoral poetry” (OED).

21 Hark “To give ear or listen to; to hearken to, hear with active attention” (OED).

34 Verdure “The fresh green colour characteristic of flourishing vegetation; greenness, viridity” (OED).

47 Zephirs “A soft mild gentle wind or breeze” (OED).

49 Meanders “To follow a winding course” (OED).

57 Rapture “A state, condition, or fit of intense delight or enthusiasm” (OED).

67 Gales “A gentle breeze” (OED).

69 Inquietudes “The fact or condition of being inquieted or having one’s quiet disturbed; disturbance” (OED).

77 refulgent “Shining with, or reflecting, a brilliant light; radiant, resplendent; gleaming, lustrous” (OED).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions. Written by a Young Lady (London, 1747), pp.1-6. [Google Books]

Edited by Sydney Brunner

John Gay, “The Shepherd’s Week IV. Thursday; or, the Spell”

JOHN GAY

 “The Shepherd’s Week IV. Thursday; or, the Spell

 

Hobnelia, seated in a dreary vale,
In pensive mood rehears’d her piteous tale,
Her piteous tale the winds in sighs bemoan,
And pining echo answers groan for groan.
I rue the day, a rueful day I trow,                                                                  5
The woful day, a day indeed of woe!
When Lubberkin to town his cattle drove,
A maiden fine bedight he hapt to love;
The maiden fine bedight his love retains,
And for the village he forsakes the plains.                                                    10
Return, my Lubberkin, these ditties hear;
Spells will I try, and spells shall ease my care.
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,
And turn me thrice around, around, around.
When first the year, I heard the cuckow sing,                                              15
And call with welcome note the budding spring,
I straitway set a running with such haste,
Deb’rah that won the smock scarce ran so fast.
‘Till spent for lack of breath, quite weary grown,
Upon a rising bank I sat adown,                                                                     20
Then doff’d my shoe, and by my troth, I swear,
There I spy’d this yellow frizled hair,
As like to Lubberkin’s in curl and hue,
As if upon his comely pate it grew.
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,                                         25
And turn me thrice around, around, around.
At eve last Midsummer no sleep I sought,
But to the field a bag of hemp-seed brought,
I scatter’d round the seed on ev’ry side,
And three times in a trembling accent cry’d,                                                  30
This hemp-seed with my virgin hand I sow,
Who shall my true-love be, the crop shall mow.
I strait look’d back, and if my eyes speak truth,
With his keen scythe behind me came the youth.
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,                                          35
And turn me thrice around, around, around.
Last Valentine, the day when birds of kind.
Their paramours with mutual chirpings find;
I rearly rose, just at the break of the day,
Before the sun had chas’d the stars away;                                                     40
A-field I went, amid the morning dew
To milk my kine (for so should huswives do)
Thee first I spy’d, and the first swain we see,
In spite of fortune shall our true-love be;
See, Lubberkin, each bird his partner take,                                                     45
And canst thou then thy sweetheart dear forsake?
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,
And turn me thrice around, around, around.
Last May-day fair I search’d to find a snail
That might my secret lover’s name reveal;                                                     50
Upon a gooseberry-bush a snail I found,
For always snails near sweetest fruit abound.
I seiz’d the vermine, home I quickly sped,
And on the hearth the milk-white embers spread.
Slow crawl’d the snail, and if I right can spell,                                                 55
In the soft ashes mark’d a curious L:
Oh, may this wondrous omen lucky prove!
For L is found in Lubberkin and Love.
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,
And turn me thrice around, around, around.                                                      60
Two hazel-nuts I threw into the flame,
And to each nut I gave a sweet-heart’s name.
This with the loudest bounce me sore amaz’d,
That in a flame of brightest colour blaz’d.
As blaz’d the nut so may thy passion grow,                                                      65
For ‘twas thy nut that did so brightly glow.
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,
And turn me thrice around, around, around.
As peascods once I pluck’d, I chanc’d to see
One that was closely fill’d with three times three,                                          70
Which when I crop’d I safely home convey’d,
And o’er the door the spell in secret laid,
My wheel I turn’d, and sung a ballad new,
While from the spindle I the fleeces drew;
The latch mov’d up, when who shou’d first come in,                                     75
But in his proper person,--Lubberkin.
I broke my yarn surpriz’d the sight to see,
Sure sign that he would break his word with me.
Eftsoons I join’d it with my wonted slight,
So may again his love with mine unite!                                                             80
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground
And turn me thrice around, around, around.
This Lady-fly I take from off the grass,
Whose spotted back might scarlet red surpass.
Fly, Lady-Bird, North, South, or East or West,                                                      85
Fly where the Man is found that I love best.
He leaves my hand, see to the West he’s flown,
To call my true-love from the faithless town.
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,
And turn me thrice around, around, around.                                                       90
This mellow pippin, which I pare around,
My shepherd’s name shall flourish on the ground.
I fling th’unbroken paring o’er my head,
Upon the grass a perfect L is read;
Yet on my heart a fairer L is seen                                                                       95
Than what the paring marks upon the green.
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,
And turn me thrice around, around, around.
This pippin shall another tryal make,
See from the core two kernels brown I take;                                                    100
This on my check for Lubberkin is worn,
And Boobyclod on t’other side is born.
But Boobyclod soon drops upon the ground,
A certain token that his love’s unsound,
While Lubberkin sticks firmly to the last                                                             105
Oh were his Lips to mine but join’d so fast!
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,
And turn me thrice around, around, around.
As Lubberkin once slept beneath a Tree
I twitch’d his dangling garter from his knee;                                                     110
He wist not when the hempen string I drew,
Now mine I quickly doff of inkle blue;
Together fast I tye the garters twain,
And while I knit the knot repeat his strain.
Three times a true-love’s knot I tye secure,                                                            115
Firm be the knot, firm may his love endure.
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,
And turn me thrice around, around, around.
As I was wont, I trudg’d last market-day
To town, with new-laid eggs preserv’d in hay.                                                   120
I made my market long before ‘twas night,
My purse grew heavy and my basket light.
Strait to the ‘pothecary’s shop I went,
And in love-powder all my mony spent;
Behap what will, next Sunday after prayers,                                                       125
When to the ale-house Lubberkin repairs,
These golden flies into his mug I’ll throw,
And soon the swain with fervent love shall glow.
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,
And turn me thrice around, around, around.                                                         130
But hold–our Light-foot barks, and cocks his ears,
O’er yonder stile see Lubberkin appears.
He comes, he comes, Hobnelia’s not bewray’d,
Nor shall she crown’d with willow die a maid.
He vows, he swears, he’ll give me a green gown,                                              135
Oh dear! I fall adown, adown, adown!

NOTES:

4 pining “The infliction or undergoing of physical or emotional pain” (OED).

5 trow “Belief; faith, trust” (OED).

8 bedight “To equip” (OED).

18 won the smock “Based on a superstition in eighteenth-century England that states if a young woman were to head into the fields early in the morning, she might hear the notes of a cuckoo. If a young woman were to succeed in hearing the notes of a cuckoo, she’s to take off her boot and look inside and find a hair the colour of the man they were to marry” (Charles Dickens, All The Year Round, 88).

21 doff’d   “To put off or take off from the body” (OED).

24 comely pate Beautiful head.

27 Midsummer “The day of the summer solstice (21 or 22 June), or the period around this” (OED).

28 hemp-seed   “The seed of an annual herbaceous plant” (OED).

43 swain “A country or farm labourer, frequently a shepherd” (OED).

49 May-day fair “May Day ushers in the fifth month of the modern calendar year, the month of May. May Day celebrations and festivities were once the highlight of the year in every town and village through Britain” (The Learn English Network).

69 peascodsThe pod or legume of the pea plant” (OED).

79 EftsoonsA second time, again” (OED).

91 pippin “A seed or pip of any of various fleshy fruits” (OED).

111 wist Knew (OED).

123 ‘pothecary’s shop A contraction of “apothecary” meaning “a store or shop of non-perishable commodities, spices, drugs, comfits, preserves” (OED).

134 crown’d with willow “Taken as a symbol of grief for unrequited love or the loss of a mate” (OED). The use of willow as a symbol of grief appears in Psalm 137 and influenced the custom of wearing a cap or crown made of willow twigs to communicate the grief suffered by forsaken lovers in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. (Paul Kendall, Trees for Life, 1).

135 green gown The Bride in Jan Van Eyck’s fifteenth-century painting, “Giovanni Arnolfini and His Bride,” wears green as a symbol of her fertility while slouching in imitation of pregnancy, indicating her willingness to bear children. A green gown was the best choice for a bride’s gown because of its early symbolism (John Gage, Color and Culture, 1993).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1720), pp. 101-108.

 Edited by Imani Muhammad

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

John Gay, “Fable I: The Lion, the Tiger, and the Traveller”

JOHN GAY

“Fable I:  The Lion, the Tiger, and the Traveller

 

Accept, young PRINCE, the moral lay,
And in these tales mankind survey;
With early virtues plant your breast,
The specious arts of vice detest.
Princes, like Beauties, from their youth,                           5
Are strangers to the voice of truth:
Learn to contemn all praise betimes;
For flattery’s the nurse of crimes;
Friendship by sweet reproof is shewn,
(A virtue never near a throne;)                                           10
In courts such freedom must offend,
There none presumes to be a friend,
To those of your exalted station
Each courtier is a dedication;
Must I too flatter like the rest,                                              15
And turn my morals to a jest?
The muse disdains to steal from those,
Who thrive in courts by fulsome prose.
But shall I hide your real praise,
Or tell you what a nation says?                                             20
They in your infant bosom trace
The virtues of your Royal race,
In the fair dawning of your mind,
Discern you gen’rous, mild and kind,
They see you grieve and hear distress,                                 25
And pant already to redress.
Go on, the height of good attain,
Nor let a nation hope in vain.
For hence we justly may presage
The virtues of a riper age.                                                        30
True courage shall your bosom fire,
And future Actions own your Sire.
Cowards are cruel; but the brave
Love mercy, and delight to save.
A Tiger, roaming for his prey,                                                  35
Sprung on a Trav’ler in the way;
The prostrate game a Lion spies,
And on the greedy tyrant flies:
With mingle roar resounds the wood,
Their teeth, their claws distill with blood,                               40
Till, vanquish’d by the Lion’s strength,
The spotted foe extends his length.
The Man besought the shaggy lord,
And on his knees for life implor’d;
His life the gen’rous hero gave.                                                45
Together walking to his Cave,
The Lion thus bespoke his guest.

What hardy beast shall dare contest
My matchless strength? You saw the fight,
And must attest my pow’r and right.                                      50
Forc’d to forego their native home
My starving slaves at distance roam,
Within these woods I reign alone,
The boundless forest is my own;
Bears, wolves, and all the savage brood                                55
Have dy’d the regal den with blood;
These carcases on either hand,
Those bones that whiten all the land
My former deeds and triumphs tell,
Beneath these jaws what number fell.                                   60
True, says the Man, the strength I saw
Might well the brutal nation awe;
But shall a monarch, brave like you,
Place glory in so false a view?
Robbers invade their neighbor’s right.                                   65
Be lov’d. Let justice bound your might.
Mean are ambitious heroes boasts
Of wasted lands and slaughter’d hosts;
Pirates their power by murders gain,
Wise kings by love and mercy reign;                                      70
To me your clemency hath shewn
The virtue worthy of a throne;
Heav’n gives you power above the rest,
Like Heav’n to succour the distrest.
The case is plain, the Monarch said;                                      75
False glory hath my youth mis-led,
For beasts of prey, a servile train,
Have been the flatt’rers of my reign.
You reason well. Yet tell me, friend,
Did ever you in courts attend?                                                 80
For all my fawning rogues agree
That human heroes rule like me.

NOTES:

1 lay “The way, position, or direction in which something is laid or lies (esp. said of country); disposition or arrangement with respect to something” (OED).

4 specious “Apparent, as opposed to real” (OED); vice “Depravity or corruption of morals; evil, immoral, or wicked habits or conduct; indulgence in degrading pleasures or practices“ (OED); detest “To feel abhorrence of; to hate or dislike intensely; to abhor, abominate” (OED).

7 contemn “To treat as of small value, treat or view with contempt; to despise, disdain, scorn, slight” (OED).

9 reproof “A second or further proof (in various senses)” (OED).

13 exalted “Raised or set up on high; elevated” (OED).

17 muse One of the many goddesses of poetry, art, and philosophy that are depended on by humans for the creation of their work (Oxford Classical Dictionary).

18 fulsome “Offensive or objectionable owing to excess or lack of moderation; esp. excessively effusive or complimentary; too lavish, overdone” (OED).

29 presage “An indication or foreshadowing of a future event” (OED).

32 sire “One who exercises dominion or rule; a lord, master, or sovereign“ (OED).

37 prostrate “Of a person: lying with the face to the ground, in token of submission or humility, as in adoration, worship, or supplication” (OED).

50 attest “Evidence, testimony, witness” (OED).

71 clemency “Mercy, leniency” (OED).

74 succour “Aid, help, assistance” (OED).

77 servile “Of a person: that behaves like a slave” (OED).

81 rogue “Chiefly depreciative. A servant“ (OED).

Source: Fables, volume 1 (London, 1727), pp. 20-25. [Google Books]

Edited by Helen Moy

 

George Lord Lyttelton, “A Prayer to Venus in her Temple at Stowe”

[ GEORGE LORD LYTTELTON]

“A Prayer to VENUS in her Temple at STOWE”
To the Same.

I.
Fair Venus, whose delightful shrine surveys
ItsIts front reflected in the silver lake,
These humble off’rings, which thy servant pays,
Fresh flowers, and myrtle wreaths, propitious take.

II.
If less my love exceeds all other love,                                                          5
Than Lucy’s charms all other charms excel,
Far from my breast each soothing hope remove,
And there let sad despair for ever dwell.

III.
But if my soul is fill’d with her alone,
No other wish, nor other object knows,                                             10
Oh! make her, Goddess make her all my own,
And give my trembling heart secure repose.

IV.
No watchful spies I ask to guard her charms,
No walls of brass, no steel-defended door;
Place her but once within my circling arms,                                               15
Love’s surest fort, and I will doubt no more.

NOTES:

Title Venus The goddess of love and beauty; Temple The Temple of Venus, a Palladian building designed by landscape architect William Kent (c. 1685-1748); Stowe The Buckinghamshire estate of Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham (1675-1749), renowned for its extensive gardens (Wikipedia).

Subtitle To the Same Lyttelton’s first wife, Lucy Fortescue, who died January 19, 1747.

2 silver lake Kent Located the Temple of Venus in the southwest corner of the gardens on the far side of a large lake (Wikipedia).

4 myrtle A type of flower that was anciently held sacred to Venus and used as an emblem of love.

Source: A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes, Volume 2 (London, 1782), p. 67. [Google Books]

Edited by Alexandra Cuervo

Samuel Boyse, “Wine the Cure of Love. A Ballad”

[SAMUEL BOYSE]

 “Wine the Cure of Love. A Ballad”

As lovesick Apollo by Daphne disdain’d,
In Tempe sat whining beneath an old oak;
Bacchus happen’d to hear as he sadly complain’d,
And shaking with laughter, thus jestingly spoke.

“What wounded by Cupid? now shame on thy skill,                                  5
To sit fretting thy Heart at the foot of a tree;
Can th’ invincible God, who a Python did kill,
Now whimper and sob for the sting of a Bee?

I protest, cozen Phoebus, thy fortune is hard.
That nor music, nor verse can diminish thy Grief;                           10
Can no herb be discovered, no potion prepared,
To give the great master of science relief?

Come, take Heart, -and be counsell’d, -and lift up thy head!
I am the best Doctor when such fevers assail;
Quick, empty this goblet, no more need to be said:                                 15
I never once knew my catholicon fail!”

Phoebus topp’d off the Wine, ‘twas old malmsey of Crete,
His Heart in an instant grew light as a feather!
“Hang Cupid (says he) I believe he’s a cheat,
So here let us drink his confusion together.                                       20

A cheat! (Bacchus cried) he’s a son of a whore!
He has often endeavour’d to shew me his tricks;
But I bid him Defiance, —a fig for his pow’r,
I keep to the shield of my bottle, by Styx!

Were coz Hermes present you would laugh till you burst,                         25
To hear how he rook’d him at Play of his darts;
What a noise Venus made, and the little elf curs’d,
For the pitiful pins which he sticks in men’s hearts.

Entre nous (reply’d Phoebus) the boy’s spoilt with pride,
Sine Jove in all quarrels espouses his part:                                           30
Who frequently wants him to pimp on his side,
And that makes the youngster so saucy and smart.”

Thus they rail’d at poor Love, —as the bowl flew about
Till Apollo was perfectly cur’d of his woe:
And Bacchus grown mellow, began to give out,                                            35
For night coming on gave each warning to go.

To Delphos gay Phoebus immediately flew,
And from his old grotto this oracle made,
Good Wine was the noblest specific he knew,
For the pains of the heart, or the cares of the head.”                            40

NOTES:

 1 Apollo An Olympian god of manly youth and beauty, poetry and music, and wisdom of the oracles (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 10); Daphne A nymph that was pursued by Apollo but escaped his advances by being transformed into a laurel tree by Zeus (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 32).

2 Tempe Celebrated by Greek poets as the favorite haunt of Apollo and the Muses in ancient times (“Vale of Tempe” Wikipedia).

3 Bacchus Roman equivalent of Dionysus, an Olympian god of grape and wine and patron of drama (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 37).

5 Cupid Latin equivalent of Eros, the god of love and son of Venus (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 45).

7 invincible God, who a Python did kill Python was a monstrous serpent that was slain by Apollo in the caves of Mount Parnassus (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 108).

8 sting of a Bee Venus compared Cupid’s arrows of love to the stings of bees when Cupid was stung by the insects while stealing honey from their hives (“Cupid” Wikipedia).

 9 cozen “Used in fond or familiar address, both to relatives and in the wider sense” (OED); Phoebus Another name for Apollo (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 101).

12 master of science Apollo was also regarded as the god of knowledge (“Apollo” Wikipedia).

16 catholicon “An electuary supposed to be capable of evacuating all humours; a universal remedy or prophylactic; panacea” (OED).

17 malmsey “A strong sweet wine, originally the product of the district of Monemvasia (Napoli di Malvasia) in the Peloponnese, Greece, later also from other parts of the Mediterranean, the Azores, the Canaries, Madeira, and elsewhere” (OED); Crete The largest and most populous of the Greek islands. The Paximadia islands were the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo (“Crete” Wikipedia).

23 fig “A contemptuous gesture which consisted in thrusting the thumb between two of the closed fingers or into the mouth” (OED).

24 Styx The principal river of the lower world, had to be crossed in passing to the regions of the dead (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 116).

25 coz “An abbreviation of cousin (cozen)” (OED); Hermes An Olympian god of science and invention, eloquence, cunning, trickery, theft, luck and youth, herald and messenger of the gods (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 58).

26 rook’d “To cheat or swindle” (OED).

27 Venus Roman equivalent of Aphrodite, a Greek goddess of love and beauty (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 9).

29 Entre nous “Between ourselves, in private” (OED).

30 Jove Roman equivalent of Zeus, a Greek god, the chief of the Olympian gods, god of the elements as rain, wind, thunder, and lightning (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 131); espouses “To associate or ally oneself with” (OED).

33 rail’d “To complain persistently or vehemently about” (OED).

37 Delphos The site of a major temple to Phoebus Apollo; the sanctuary of the oracle of Delphi, the Pythia (“Delphi” Wikipedia).

38 grotto “A cave or cavern, esp. one which is picturesque, or which forms an agreeable retreat” (OED).

39 specific “Of remedies…specially or exclusively efficacious for, or acting upon, a particular ailment or part of the body” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (July 1741), p. 383.

 Edited by Cai En Chia