Tag Archives: mythology

John Ogilvie, “Jupiter and the Clown. A Fable”

JOHN OGILVIE

“Jupiter and the Clown. A Fable”

 

Envy! thou Fiend, whose venomed sting
Still points to Fame’s aspiring wing;
Whose breath, blue sulphur’s blasting steam,
Whose eye the basilisk’s lightning-gleam;
Say, through the dun ile’s solemn round,                                    5
Where Death’s dread foot-step prints the ground,
Lovest thou to haunt the yawning tomb,
And crush fallen Grandeur’s dusty plume?
Or, where the wild Hyaena’s yell
Rings thro’ the hermit’s cavern’d cell,                                            10
Moves thy black wing its devious flight?
(The wing that bloats the cheek of Night)
There oft beneath some hoary wall
Thy stings are dipt in scorpion’s gall;
Thence whizzing springs the forky dart,                                        15
And spreads its poison to the heart.

Hence all th’ unnumber’d cares of life,
Hence malice, fury, rapine, strife;
Hence all exclaim on partial fate;
Hence pale Revenge, and stern Debate;                                       20
Hence man (to every passion prone)
Sees much, loves all;—but hates his own.

Now, Delia, should the chance to know
Some trifling fool, —perhaps—a beau,
The fair at once implores the skies,                                                25
With glowing cheeks and sparkling eyes;
O, hear your Votary’s earnest prayer,
Ye guardian angels of the fair!
Make but this charming creature prove
A victim to the power of love:                                                           30
‘Tis this, Ye Gods, I would implore!
And grant but this;— I ask no more.

The prayer is heard (what power delays
To grant her suit when Delia prays!)
The beau is caught, he swears, and bows,                                     35
Protests, and snuffs, and sweats, and vows
By all the oaths the fool can swear,
That never creature was so fair:
Then adds a thousand more, to tell
That never mortal loved so well.                                                      40

The prize is gain’d—the pleasure o’er;
Lace, bag, and snuff-box charm no more:
No bosom feels the killing smart,
No side-long glance betrays the heart,
No fan conceals a rival’s fears,                                                         45
No cheek is stain’d with spiteful tears.
On new delights her passions fix,
A court perhaps, or coach and six,
She wants a ball, and justly vain,
Admires a title,—or a cane.                                                               50

But ere our reader’s patience fail,
‘Tis time we now begin our tale.

An honest Farmer, old and sage,
(Sure wisdom still attends on age)
One morning rose, when all was fair,                                             55
And joyous breathed the scented air.
Waked by the Zephyr’s tepid wing,
Aurora, fragrant as the Spring,
Rose from her couch, the busy Hours
Stole from their crimson-curtain’d bowers;                                  60
Loose was her robe of saffron hue,
Her locks diffused ambrosial dew;
The sky’s broad gates at once unfold,
The light cloud flames with cinctured gold;
The woodland gleams, the silver stream                                       65
Waves to the broad sun’s fluttering beam;
The feather’d people sing their love,
And music rings along the grove.

Elate, the happy clown surveyed
The field wide-opening thro’ the shade;                                         70
The green ears rustling to the gale
Shot thro’ to thin night’s ruffled veil;
Slow rose to sight the new-born day,
Slow crept the lingering shades away,
‘Till o’er the broad hill’s summit dun                                                75
Obliquely glanc’d the mounting sun;
And all-illumed with rushing light,
The swelling landskip burst to sight.

As the fond Mother’s panting breast
Throbs o’er her infant hush’d to rest,                                              80
Warm in his little hut, the boy
Flutters elate with rising joy;
As by her gentle pressure sway’d,
Swings soft and slow the sleepy bed;
Wild Fancy whispers in her ear,                                                        85
She whirls away the rolling year!
Youth, manhood comes! she marks afar
A robe, a mitre, or a f—r!
Her heart leaps quick! elate with pride!
Each prude’s insulting dress outvyed!                                            90
Each neighbour’s booby son, unseen,
Gnaws the pale lip with fruitless spleen!
Sudden she starts! some rival dress’d,
Swims in the loosely-floating vest,
Her bosom heaves a sullen groan:—-                                            95
Ah! was that charming suit my own!

Such joy ( soon check’d with killing smart)
Shot thro’ the swain’s exulting heart;
He hears the reaper’s sprightly song:
The rustling sickle sweeps along;                                                  100
His barns with swelling sheaves are stored,
Gay Plenty crowns the festive board;
He cries in triumph, with a smile,
“For hopes like these who would not toil,
That neither flatter, nor beguile?”                                                 105
Just as he spoke the word,—behold
A gaudy thing, o’erlaid with gold,
Came fluttering by!—so nicely clad,
With powder’d wig, and laced brocade;
So gay, so rich (though strange to tell!)                                       110
No butterfly look’d half so well.

Struck with the glittering vest he wore,
The clown’s rude eye-ball stared him o’er;
Sly Envy mark’d the secret snare,
The pick’d a chosen dart with care;                                              115
Of power to edge the quickest pain;—-
Then plunged it reeking in his brain.
Inflamed with fury and surprize,
Red Anger flashes from his eyes
“Must I (he cryed and scratch’d his head)                                   120
Supply this prattling thing with bread?
Must Farmers sweat, and wear their cloaths,
To furnish equipage for beaux?
We, Drudges doom’d to ceaseless toil,
For others tear the stubborn soil,                                                125
Our thoughts suspense and fears inflame,
Wretched and curs’d beyond a name;
While these amid’ the balmy bower,
Spend in soft ease the fleeting hour;—-
How fine they look! what charms they show,                            130
Ah! would to heav’n I was a Beau!”

Soft Pity touch’d th’ Almighty Sire:
Jove heard, and granted his desire.
At once his furrow’d brow was smooth,
In all the blooming pride of youth;                                              135
His hair in wavy ringlets flow’d,
His cheek with fine vermilion glow’d;
Not like our modern pigmy race,
With wither’d limbs, and meagre face,
But plump and pruce he’d match’d a score;                              140
Such were the Beaux in days of yore.
Gay pleasure danc’d in every limb,
He skimm’d along with airy swim;
The God, propitious to his prayer,
Gave the soft look, and graceful air;                                           145
But wrapt in his dreams of bliss, the Fool
Forgot his pocket, and his soul.

When thus transform’d, our glittering Beau
Surveyed himself from top to toe,
Stuck at the change with vast surprize,                                     150
He stares, and scarce believed his eyes.
But when he found that all was sure,
He cock’d his hat, and frown’d, and swore;
Applauded by the wondering throng,
The sullen Heroe strode along:                                                   155
And while the swains in rude amaze
Mark his high port with stupid gaze,
Like Jove with solemn pace he trod,
And deign’d—, yet scarcely deign’d,—to nod.

But now to town he takes his way,                                      160
And sees the court, the park, the play;
Attends the Fair, admir’d by all,
Leads the gay dance, and rules the ball.
“Heav’ns! what a shape! fair Daphne cries,
How fine his mien! how bright his eyes!”                                   165
Thus all admire the charms they see,
His cane that dangled at his knee,
His box and hat they view together,—
Some prais’d the paint, and some the feather;
No english taylor’s clumsy fist                                                      170
E’er match’d the sleeve that graced his wrist;
The lace,—from Brussels last;— by chance
He pick’d the brilliant up in France.
His coat so trim! so neat his shoe!
His limbs so shaped to strut, or— bow!                                      175
Fashion, you’d swear, to show her power,
Had left dear Paris half an hour.

But, ah! with grief the muse proceeds:
What power can mend the vulgar’s deeds!
One night a coachman set him down,                                        180
Then rudely ask’d him— half a crown.

He search’d his pocket;—what a curse?
His pocket held—an empty purse!
What should he do!—all aid withdrawn!
Cane, box, and watch, were sent to pawn;                                185
His brilliant too (‘t had vex’d a saint)
Gained a few crowns—and cent per cent!
No friend his money can afford:
He gamed,—a sharper swept the board.

Then scorn’d by all,—in deep despair,                                 190
To Jove once more he made his prayer,
And begg’d the God to ease his pain,
And give him back his plough again.

NOTES:

 Title  Jupiter  “The supreme deity of the ancient Romans” (OED); Clown  “A countryman, rustic” (OED).

4  basilisk  “A fabulous reptile;…ancient authors stated that its hissing drove away all other serpents, and that its breath, and even its look, was fatal” (OED).

5  dun ile’s  [Unable to trace.]

18  rapine  “The act or practice of seizing and taking away by force the property of others; plunder” (OED).

27  Votary  “A person who has dedicated himself or herself to religious service by taking vows; a monk or nun” (OED).

35  beau  “Suitor of a lady,” but also “a man who gives particular, or excessive, attention to dress” (OED).

57  Zephyr  “A gentle, mild wind or breeze” (OED).

58  Aurora  “The (Roman) goddess of dawn, represented as rising with rosy fingers from the saffron-coloured bed of Tithonus” (OED).

64  cinctured  “Girdled” (OED).

88  mitre  “The headdress of a priest” (OED); f–r  Likely “fur,” “worn as a mark of office or state” (OED).

123  equipage for beaux  Articles of dress and ornament for young men (OED).

133  Jove  “A poetical equivalent of Jupiter…the highest deity of the ancient Romans” (OED)

143  swim  “The smooth gliding movement of the body” (OED).

147  pocket  “Any small bag or pouch worn on the person” (OED).

173  brilliant  “A diamond of the finest cut” (OED).

187  cent per cent  “Profit” (OED).

189  sharper  “A fraudulent gamester, a cheat” (OED).

SOURCE:  A Collection of Poems on Several Subjects (London, 1762), pp. 120-28.  [Google Books]

Edited by Jordan Young

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Gay, “Panthea. An Elegy”

JOHN GAY

“Panthea. An Elegy”

 

Long had Panthea felt Love’s secret smart,
And hope and fear alternate rul’d her heart;
Consenting glances had her flame confest.
(In woman’s eyes her very soul’s exprest)
Perjur’d Alexis saw the blushing maid,                                             5
He saw, he swore, he conquer’d and betray’d:
Another love now calls him from her arms,
His fickle heart another beauty warms;
Those oaths oft’whisper’d in Panthea’s ears,
He now again to Galatea swears.                                                     10
Beneath a beech th’ abandon’d virgin laid,
In grateful solitude enjoys the shade;
There with faint voice she breath’d these moving strains,
While sighing Zephyrs shar’d her am’rous pains.

Pale settled sorrow hangs on upon my brow,                       15
Dead are my charms; Alexis, breaks his vow!
Think, think, dear shepherd, on the days you knew,
When I was happy, when my swain was true;
Think how thy looks and tongue are form’d to move,
And think yet more—that all my fault was love.                           20
Ah, could you view me in this wretched state!
You might not love me, but you could not hate.
Could you behold me in this conscious shade,
Where first thy vows, where first my love was paid,
Worn out with watching, sullen with despair,                              25
And see each eye swell with a gushing tear?
Could you behold me on this mossy bed,
From my pale cheek the lively crimson fled,
Which in my softer hours you oft’ have sworn,
With rosie beauty far out-blush’d the morn;                                30
Could you untouch’d this wretched object bear,
And would not lost Panthea claim a tear?
You could not sure—tears from your eyes would steal,
And unawares thy tender soul reveal.
Ah, no!—thy soul with cruelty is fraught,                                      35
No tenderness disturbs thy savage thought;
Sooner shall tigers spare the trembling lambs,
And wolves with pity hear with their bleating dams;
Sooner shall vultures from their quarry fly,
Than false Alexis for Panthea sigh.                                                  40
Thy bosom ne’er a tender thought confest,
Sure stubborn flint had arm’d thy cruel breast;
But hardest flints are worn by frequent rains,
And the soft drops dissolve their solid veins;
While thy relentless heart more hard appears,                            45
And is not soften’d by a flood of tears.

Ah, what is love! Panthea’s joys are gone,
Her liberty, her peace, her reason flown!
And when I view me in the watry glass,
I find Panthea now, not what she was.                                           50
As northern winds the new-blown roses blast,
And on the ground their fading ruins cast;
As sudden blights corrupts the ripen’d grain,
And of its verdure spoil the mournful plain;
So hapless love on blooming features preys,                               55
So hapless love destroys our peaceful days.

Come, gentle sleep, relieve these weary’d eyes,
All sorrow in thy soft embraces dies:
There, spite of all thy perjur’d vows, I find
Faithless Alexis languishingly kind;                                                 60
Sometimes he leads me by the mazy stream,
And pleasingly deludes me in my dream;
Sometimes he guides me to the secret grove,
Where all our looks, and all our talk is love.
Oh, could I thus consume each tedious day,                               65
And in sweet slumbers dream my life away;
But sleep, which now no more relieves these eyes,
To my sad soul the dear deceit denies.

Why does the sun dart forth his cheerful rays?
Why do the woods resound with warbling lays?                          70
Why does the rose her grateful fragrance yield,
And the yellow cowslips paint the smiling field?
Why do the streams with murm’ring musick flow,
And why do groves their friendly shade bestow?
Let sable clouds the cheerful sun deface,                                    75
Let mournful silence seize the feather’d race;
No more, ye roses, grateful fragrance yield,
Droop, droop, ye cowslips, in the blasted field;
No more, ye streams, with murm’ring musick flow,
And let not groves a friendly shade bestow:                                80
With sympathizing grief let nature mourn,
And never know the youthful spring’s return;
And shall I never more Alexis see?
Then what is spring, or grove or stream to me?

Why sport the skipping lambs on yonder plain?                  85
Why do the birds their tuneful voice strain?
Why frisk those heifers in cooling grove?
Their happier life is ignorant of love.

Oh! lead me to some melancholy cave,
To lull my sorrow in a living grave;                                                90
From the dark rock where dashing waters fall,
And creeping ivy hangs the craggy wall,
Where I may waste in tears my hours away,
And never know the seasons or the day.
Die, die, Panthea—fly in this hateful grove,                                 95
For what is life without the Swain I love?

NOTES:

Title  Panthea  This name means “of all gods” in Greek.

1  smart  “Mental suffering, sorrow” (OED).

10  Galatea  “In Greek mythology, a Nereid who was loved by the Cyclops Polyphemus. Galatea, however, loved the youth Acis” (Britannica).

14  Zephyrs  Greek god of gentle winds.

18  swain  “Lover” (OED).

39  quarry  Here a reference to the vulture’s “prey” or carrion (OED).

42  flint  “Hard stone” (OED).

45  hard  “Unyielding” (OED).

49  watry glass  Water serving as a mirror.

51  northern winds  Refers to Boreas, Greek god of the cold northern winds.

61  mazy  “Twisting” (OED).

70  warbling  “Singing with sweet quavering notes” (OED).

72  cowslips  “Well-known plant in pastures and grassy banks, blossoming in spring” (OED).

87  heifers  “Young cows” (OED).

92  craggy  “Hard and rough” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions: Volume 2 (London, 1737), pp. 109-113. [Google Books]

Edited by Joanna Tran

 

 

 

 

Robert Luck, “The Dry Joke”

ROBERT LUCK

“The Dry Joke”

 

God Bacchus well warm’d,
With Beauty was charm’d;
And Cupid’s bright Mother addrest.
She cry’d, you are silly ——
I hate you — nor will I                                          5
Be thus by a Toper carest.

Thus slighted the God,
With an angry Nod,
Said , Adieu to you, Madam — in vain
You’ll try to allure me:                                          10
Your Pride shall secure me,
From Courting coy Beauty again.

What Bacchus then spoke,
She hop’d was in joke:
And again Wine and Love wou’d agree.                    15
But he, as malicious
As she was capricious,
Her Error soon made her to see.

For Nymphs sweet as May,
All met at a Play;                                                     20
Where each was as fine as a Queen.
In each lovely Creature,
Art yielded to Nature;
Tho’ deck’d all in Jewels are seen.

Apollo was there,                                                    25
To charm e’ery ear;
But (what a mild Dove wou’d provoke.)
The Beaus who appear’d on
The Stage, slily lear’d on;
And left the fair Circle to choke.                                  30

Now Venus in vain,
Does to Bacchus complain,
That Beauty was dying with thirst.
The God reply’d, smiling,
Her Coyness reviling ——                                     35
Why did you provoke me then first?

O ye Ladies, beware,
Be as kind as you’re fair;
Nor requite your fond Slaves with disdain.
A Lover defeated,                                                   40
With vengeance is hated;
And Mischief still runs in his Brain.

NOTES:

1  Bacchus  “The god of wine” (OED).

3  Cupid  “In Roman Mythology, the god of love, son of Mercury and Venus” (OED).

6  Toper  “One who topes or drinks a great deal; a drunkard” (OED).

25  Apollo  Greek god of sun, light, music and poetry.

28  Beaus  “A man who gives particular, or excessive, attention to dress, mien, and social etiquette; a dandy” (OED).

31  Venus  The ancient Roman goddess of beauty and love.

SOURCE:  A Miscellany of new Poems, on Several Occasions (London, 1736), pp. 56-58.  [Google Books]

Edited by Ivan Li

William Broome, “Courage in Love”

WILLIAM BROOME

“Courage in Love”

 

My Eyes with Floods of Tears o’erflow,
My Bosom heaves with constant Woe;
Those Eyes, which thy Unkindess swells,
That Bosom, where thy Image dwells!

How could I hope so weak a Flame                                     5
Could ever warm that matchless Dame,
When none Elysium must behold,
Without a radiant Bough of Gold?
‘Tis hers, in Spheres to shine,
At distance to admire, is mine:                                                    10
Doom’d, like th’ enamour’d Youth, to groan
For a new Goddess form’d of Stone.

While thus I spoke, Love’s gentle Pow’r
Descended from th’ Aethereal Bow’r;
A Quiver at his Shoulder hung,                                                    15
A Shaft he grasp’d, and Bow unstrung.
All Nature own’d and genial God,
And the Spring flourish’d where he trod:
My Heart, no Stranger to the Guest,
Flutter’d, and labour’d in my Breast;                                           20
When with a Smile that kindles Joy
Ev’n in the Gods, began the Boy:

How vain these Tears? is Man decreed,
By being abject, to succeed?
Hop’st thou by meagre Looks to move?                                      25
Are Women frighten’d into Love?
He most prevails who nobly dares;
In Love an Hero, as in Wars:
Ev’n Venus may be known to yield,
But ‘tis when Mars disputes the Field:                                         30
Sent from a daring Hand my Dart
Strikes deep into the Fair-one’s Heart:
To Winds and Waves thy Cares bequeath,
A Sign, is but a waste of Breath:
What tho’ gay Youth, and every Grace                                         35
That Beauty boasts, adorn her Face,
Yet Goddesses have deign’d to wed,
And take a Mortal to their Bed:
And Heav’n, when Gifts of Incense rise,
Accepts it, tho’ it cloud their Skies.                                                40

Mark! how this Marygold conceals
Her Beauty, and her Bosom veils,
How from the dull Embrace she flies
Of Phoebus, when his Beams arise;
But when his Glory he displays,                                                      45
And darts around his fiercer Rays,
Her Charms she opens, and receives
The vigorous God into her Leaves.

NOTES:

7  Elysium  “The supposed state or abode of the blessed after death in Greek mythology” (OED).

11  Youth  “Polyderus, who pined to death for the Love of a beautiful Statue” [Author’s note].

13  Love’s gentle Pow’r  Cupid.

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

29  Venus  “Roman goddess of beauty and love” (OED).

30  Mars  “The god of war of the ancient Romans” (OED).

41  Marygold  “A plant with golden or yellow flowers” (OED).

44  Phoebus  “Apollo as the god of light or of the sun; the sun personified” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions, Second Edition (London, 1739), pp. 226-229.  [Google Books]

Edited by Charlie May

 

 

Anonymous, “Galetea to Triton. On Jealousie”

ANONYMOUS

“Galatea to Triton. On Jealousie
Written by a Lady.

Love is the Land of Hope and Fear,
Of Pleasure mix’d with Pain,
Where, o’er the Heart, soft Joy, and Care,
Alternate Empire gain.
Possest of all we can desire,                                                  5
Fear mingles with our Joy,
The Source of all our tender Fire
Does still our Bliss destroy.
For Triton’s Charms, that wound my Heart,
My jealous Mind alarm.                                                   10
I fear, alas! th’unerring Dart,
Some other Breast shou’d warm.
I dread the Force of other Eyes
His am’rous Soul shou’d move;
My Happiness my Fear supplies,                                           15
Convinc’d that he can love.
My Hopes and his dear Tongue agree,
To flatter my Desire;
But then, alas! warm Jealousie
Makes all my Hopes expire.                                             20
Forgive me, Triton, if my Heart
These anxious Pangs possess;
Less shou’d I feel th’ uneasie Smart,
Cou’d I but love you less.
Excess of Love augments my Pains,                                       25
Which when you’re by decline:
To end them quite still here remain,
So long I’m sure you’re mine.

NOTES:

Title  Galatea  A Nereid (sea nymph); daughter of the sea god Nereus in Greek mythology (Britannica); Triton  “Greek god of the sea, son of Poseidon” (OED).

11  Dart  Figurative for Cupid’s arrow, the dart of love.

22  Pangs  “A sudden sharp spasm of pain which grips the body or a part of it” (OED).

23  Smart  “Sharp, often intense, physical pain” (OED).

SOURCE:  The Muses Mercury: or The Monthly Miscellany (March) (London, 1707), pp. 65-66.  [Google  Books]

Edited by Mimi Hopper

Lady Mary Chudleigh, “Icarus”

LADY MARY CHUDLEIGH

“Icarus” 

Whilst ​Icarus​ his Wings prepar’d
His trembling Father for him fear’d:
And thus to him sighing said,
O let paternal Love persuade :
With me, my dearest Son, comply,                                         5
And do not proudly soar too high:
For near,​ Apollo’s ​scorching Heat,
Will on thy Wings too fiercely beat :
And soon dissolve the waxen Ties.
Nor loiter in the lower Skies,                                                    10
Least Steams should from the Land arise,
And damp thy Plumes, and check thy Flight.
And plunge thee into gloomy Night.

Th’ ambitious Youth led on by Pride,
Did all this good Advice deride;                                                15
And smiling, rashly soar’d on high;
Too near the Source of Light did fly;
A while, well pleas’d, he wanton’d there,
Rejoicing breath’d AEthereal Air:
But ah! the Pleasure soon was past,                                        20
The Transport was too great to last:
His Wings dropt off, and down he came
Into that Sea which keeps his Name.

His grieving Father saw him drown’d,
And sent loud moving Crys around:                                          25
Ah! wretched Youth, he weeping said,
Thou’rt now a dire Example made,
Of those who with ungovern’d Heat
Aspire to be supremely great;
Who from obscure Beginnings rise,                                           30
And swoln with Pride, Advice despise;
Mount up with hast above their Sphere,
And no superior Pow’rs revere.

O may thy Fall be useful made,
May it to humbler Thoughts persuade :                                   35
To Men th’ avoidless Danger Show
Of those who fly too high, or low;
Who from the Paths of Virtue stray,
And keep not in the middle Way :
Who singe their Wings with heav’nly Fire;                                 40
Amidst their glorious Hopes expire:
Or with a base and groveling Mind
Are to the Clods of Earth confin’d.

NOTES:

Title​ ​Icarus ​The son of ​Daedalus, who escaped from Crete using wings made by his father but was killed when he flew too near the sun and the wax attaching his wings melted (​OCD).

7Apollo ​Greek god of the sun.

12Plumes “​ Feathers collectively” (OED).

19 ​AEthereal “Of or relating to the highest regions of the atmosphere” (OED).

23​ Sea which keeps his Name T​his is the Icarian Sea, located just north of the island of Ikaria.

Source: ​Poems on Several Occasions (​ London, 1703), pp. 70-72.  [Google Books]

Edited by Natalie Fregoso

Phillis Wheatley, “Ode to Neptune. On Mrs. W–‘s Voyage to England”

PHILLIS WHEATLEY

“ODE to NEPTUNE. On Mrs. W—’s Voyage to England”

 

I.

WHILE raging tempests shake the shore,
While Aelus’ thunders round us roar,
And sweep impetuous o’er the plain,
Be still, O tyrant of the main;
Nor let thy brow contracted frowns betray,                             5
While my Susannah skims the wat’ry way.

II.

The Pow’r propitious hears the lay,
The blue-ey’d daughters of the sea
With sweeter cadence glide along,
And Thames responsive joins the song.                                     10
Pleas’d with their notes Sol sheds benign his ray,
And double radiance decks the face of day.

III.

To court thee to Brittannia’s arms
Serene the climes and mild the sky,
Her region boasts unnumber’d charms,                                    15
Thy welcome smiles in ev’ry eye.
Thy promise Neptune keep, record my pray’r,
Nor give my wishes to the empty air.

Boston, October 10, 1772.

NOTES:

 Title Mrs. W—’s  The poem suggests this might be Wheatley’s mistress, Susanna Wheatley (see line 6); however, there is no surviving evidence that she ever traveled to England.  For a discussion of this issue, see Julian D. Mason, ed., The Poems of Phillis Wheatley, p. 84.

Aelus’  Greek god of the winds.

8  blue-ey’d daughters of the sea  The Nereids, sea nymphs of Greek mythology.

10  Thames  Father Thames; god of the river Thames flowing through southern England.

11  Sol  Roman god of the sun.

13  Brittannia’s  “Britain personified as a woman” (OED).

14  climes  “Atmosphere” (OED).

17  Neptune  Roman god of water and, because of his identification with Poseidon, the sea (OCD).

Source: Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (Albany, 1793), p. 55. [Google Books]

Edited by Marco Varni

Mary Darwall, “To my Garden”

[MARY DARWALL]

“To my Garden”

Fair Abode of Rural Ease,
Scene of Beauty, and of Peace!
When with anxious Care opprest,
Charm, O! charm my Soul to rest!
In thy Walks I musing trace                                               5
Youthful Flora’s various Race;
In thy fragrant Shades reclin’d,
Soothe with Song my vacant Mind.
When the God of Verse and Day,
Lends the Western World his Ray;                                   10
While the Virgin Queen of Night,
Sheds around her Silver Light;
While Favonius breathes a Gale,
Sweet as o’er Sabea’s Vale;
Here retir’d, in artless Lays,                                              15
Nature’s Daughter sings her Praise.
While the blushing Rose-bud vies
With the fring’d Carnation’s Dyes;
While chaste Daphne’s Branches twine
With the balmy Eglantine;                                                 20
Beauty’s Pow’rs my Mind inspire,
Bolder now I strike the Lyre.
But the trembling Strings rebound,
“Sweet Philander!” Darling Sound!
Not the friendly Western Gales                                         25
Dancing o’er the verdant Vales,
Nor the Black-bird’s Evening Strains,
Soothe the Breast where Cupid reigns.
Flora’s Charms no more I view;
No more the Heav’n’s etherial Blue;                                  30
Unheeded Philomel complains;
In vain fair Cynthia gilds the Plains:
Beauty fades, and Pleasure’s flown—
My Mind contemplates him alone.

NOTES:

6  Flora  The Roman “goddess of the flowering of plants” (Encyclopedia Britannica).

9  God of Verse and Day  Apollo, god of the sun and poetry (Encyclopedia Britannica).

11  Virgin Queen of Night  Diana, Roman goddess of wild animals, the hunt, and later the moon after connections were made between her and the Greek goddess Artemis (Encyclopedia Britannica).

13  Favonius  Roman god of the west wind, also known as Zephyrus in the Greek tradition, who kissed a nymph named Chloris and turned her into Flora (Encyclopedia Britannica).

14  Sabea  Pre-Islamic Southwestern Arabia (Encyclopedia Britannica).

16  Nature’s Daughter  Persephone, queen of the underworld and daughter of Demeter, Greek goddess of agriculture (Encyclopedia Britannica).

19  Daphne’s Branches A reference to a laurel tree; according to Greek mythology, Daphne asked her father to turn her into a laurel tree in order to escape Apollo’s advances (Penguin Dictionary of Classical Mythology).

20  Eglantine  Small, prickly wild rose with fragrant foliage and numerous small pink flowers (Encyclopedia Britannica).

28  Cupid  The Roman god of “love in all its varieties” (Encyclopedia Britannica).

30  etherial  Archaic spelling of “ethereal,” “heavenly, celestial” (OED).

31  Philomel  Also known as “Philomela;” here the mythological personification of the nightingale.

32  Cynthia  “A poetic name for the Moon personified as a goddess” (OED).

Source: Original Poems on Several Occasions.  By Miss Whateley (London 1764), pp. 98-99. [Google Books]

Edited by Jordie Palmer