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John Pomfret, “A Pastoral Essay on the Death of Queen Mary, Anno, 1694″

JOHN POMFRET

 “A Pastoral Essay on the Death of Queen Mary, Anno, 1694”

 

As gentle STREPHON to his Fold convey’d
A wand’ring Lamb, which from the Flocks had stray’d
Beneath a mournful Cypress Shade, he found
COSMELIA weeping on the dewy Ground.
Amaz’d with eager Haste, he ran to know                                               5
The fatal Cause of her intemp’rate Woe;
And clasping her to his impatient Breast,
In these soft Words his tender Care exprest

STREPHON.

Why mourns my dear COSMELIA, why appears
My Life, my Soul, dissolv’d in briny Tears?                                               10
Has some fierce Tyger thy lov’d Heifer slain,
While I was wand’ring on the neighb’ring Plain?
Or has some greedy Wolf devour’d thy Sheep?
What sad Misfortune makes COSMELIA weep?
Speak, that I may prevent thy Grief’s Increase;                                       15
Partake thy Sorrows, or restore thy Peace.

COSMELIA.

Do you not hear from far that mournful Bell?
‘Tis for —– I cannot the sad Tydings tell.
O, whither are my fainting Spirits fled!
‘Tis for CAELESTIA—STREPHON, O, —she’s dead!                                    20
The brightest Nymph, the Princess of the Plain,
By an untimely Dart, untimely slain.

STREPHON.

Dead! ‘tis impossible. She cannot die,
She’s too Divine, too much a Deity:
‘Tis a false Rumour some ill Swains have spread,                                     25
Who wish perhaps the good CAELESTIA dead.

COSMELIA.

Ah! No, the Truth in ev’ry Face appears,
For ev’ry Face you meet’s o’erflow’d with Tears.
Trembling, and pale, I ran thro’ all the Plain,
From Flock to Flock, and ask’d of ev’ry Swain;                                            30
But each, scarce lifting his dejected Head,
Cry’d O, COSMELIA! O, CAELESTIA dead!

STREPHON.

Something was meant by that ill-boading Croak
Of the prophetick Raven from the Oak,
Which strait by Lightning was in Shivers broke:                                          35
But we our Mischief feel, before we see,
Seiz’d and o’erwhelm’d at once with Misery.

COSMELIA.

Since then we have no Trophies to bestow,
No pompous Things to make a glorious Show,
(For all the Tribute a poor Swain can bring,                                                  40
In Rural Numbers, is to mourn and sing;)
Let us beneath the gloomy Shade rehearse
CAELESTIA’s sacred Praise in no less sacred Verse.

STREPHON.

CAELESTIA dead! then ‘tis in vain to live:
What’s all the Comfort that these Plains can give                                        45
Since she, by whose bright Influence alone
Our Flocks increas’d, and we rejoic’d, is gone.
Since she, who round such Beams of Goodness spread
As gave new Life to ev’ry Swain, is dead.

COSMELIA.

In vain we wish for the delightful Spring.                                                 50
What Joys can flow’ry May, or April bring,
When she, for whom spacious Plains were spread
With early Flow’rs, and cheerful Greens, is dead?
In vain did courtly DAMON warm the Earth,
To give to Summer Fruits a Winter Birth.                                                        55
In vain we Autumn wait, which crowns the Fields
With wealthy Crops, and various Plenty yields:
Since that fair Nymph, for whom the boundless Store
Of Nature was preserv’d, is now no more.

STREPHON.

Farewel for ever then to all that’s gay:                                                       60
You will forget to sing, and I to play.
No more with cheerful Songs in cooling Bow’rs
Shall we consume the pleasurable Hours.
All Joys are banish’d, all Delights are fled,
Ne’er to return, now fair CAELESTIA’s dead.                                                     65

COSMELIA.

If e’er I sing, they shall be mournful Lays
Of great CAELESTIA’s Name, CAELESTIA’s Praise:
How good she was, how generous, how wise!
How beautiful her Shape, how bright her Eyes!
How charming all, how she was ador’d,                                                             70
Alive; when dead, how much her loss deplor’d!
A noble Theme, and able to inspire
The humblest Muse with the sublimest Fire.
And since we do of such a Princess sing,
Let ours ascend upon a stronger Wing;                                                             75
And while we do the lofty Numbers join,
Her Name will make their Harmony Divine.
Raise then thy tuneful Voice, and be the Song
Sweet as her Temper, as her Virtue strong.

STREPHON.

When her great Lord to foreign Wars was gone,                                       80
And left CAELESTIA here to rule alone,
With how serene a Brow, how void of Fear
When Storms arose, did she the Vessel steer?
And, when the Raging of the Waves did cease,
How gentle was her Sway in times of Peace?                                                     85
Justice and Mercy did their Beams unite,
And round her Temples spread a glorious Light.
So quick she eas’d the Wrongs of ev’ry Swain,
She hardly gave them Leisure to complain.
Impatient to reward, but slow to draw                                                                 90
Th’ avenging Sword of necessary Law:
Like Heav’n, she took no pleasure to destroy:
With Grief she punish’d, and she sav’d with Joy.

COSMELIA.

When God-like BELLEGER from War’s Alarms
Return’d in Triumph to CAELESTIA’s Arms,                                                         95
She met her Hero with a full Desire,
But chaste as Light, and vigorous as Fire:
Such mutual Flames, so equally Divine,
Did in each Breast with such a Lustre shine,
His could not seem the greater, her’s the less:                                                  100
Both were immense, for both were in Excess.

STREPHON.

O, God-like Princess! O, thrice-happy Swains!
While she presided o’er the fruitful Plains;
While she for ever ravish’d from our Eyes,
To mingle with her Kindred of the skies,                                                             105
Did for your Peace her constant Thoughts employ;
The Nymph’s good Angel, and the Shepherd’s Joy.

COSMELIA.

All that was Noble beautify’d her Mind;
There Wisdom sat, with solid Reason join’d;
There too did Piety, and Greatness wait,                                                            110
Meekness on Grandeur, Modesty on State:
Humble amidst the Splendors of a Throne;
Plac’d above all, and yet despising none.
And when a Crown was forc’d on her by Fate,
She with some pain submitted to be Great.                                                       115

STREPHON.

Her pious Soul with Emulation strove
To gain the mighty PAN’s important Love:
To whose mysterious Rites she always came,
With such an active, so intense a Flame,
The Duties of Religion seem’d to be                                                                     120
Not more her Care, than her Felicity.

COSMELIA.

Virtue unmixt, without the least Allay,
Pure as the Light of a Celestial Ray,
Commanded all the Motions of the Soul,
With such a soft, but absolute Controul,                                                             125
That as she knew what best great PAN would please,
She still perform’d it with the greatest Ease.
Him for her high Exemplar she design’d,
Like him, benevolent to all Mankind.
Her Foes she pity’d, not desir’d their Blood,                                                       130
And to revenge their Crimes, she did them good:
Nay, all Affronts, so unconcern’d she bore,
(Maugre that violent Temptation, Pow’r,)
As if she thought it vulgar to resent,
Or wish’d Forgiveness their worst Punishment.                                                135

STREPHON.

Next mighty PAN, was her illustrious Lord,
His high Vicegerent, sacredly ador’d:
Him with such Piety and Zeal she lov’d,
The noble Passion ev’ry Hour improv’d.
Till it ascended to that glorious Height,                                                              140
‘Twas next, (if only next) to infinite.
This made her so entire a Duty pay,
She grew at last impatient to obey,
And met his Wishes with as prompt a Zeal,
As an Archangel his Creator’s Will.                                                                       145

COSMELIA.

Mature for Heav’n, the fatal Mandate came,
With it, a Chariot of Etherial Flame,
In which, Elijah like, she pass’d the Spheres;
Brought Joy to Heav’n, but left the World in Tears.

STREPHON.

Methinks I see her on the Plains of Light,                                                     150
All Glorious, all incomparably Bright!
While the immortal Minds around her gaze
On the excessive Splendour of her Rays,
And scarce believe a human Soul could be
Endow’d with such a stupendous Majesty.                                                           155

COSMELIA.

Who can lament too much? O, who can mourn
Enough o’er beautiful CAELESTIA’s Urn!
So great a Loss as this deserves Excess
Of Sorrow; all’s too little, that is less.
But to supply the Universal Woe,                                                                           160
Tears from all Eyes, without Cessation flow:
All that have pow’r to weep, or voice to groan,
With throbbing Breast CAELESTIA’s fate bemoan:
While Marble Rocks the common Griefs partake,
And eccho back those Cries they cannot make.                                                   165

STREPHON.

Weep then (once fruitful) Vales, and spring with Yew;
Ye thirsty barren Mountains, weep with Dew.
Let ev’ry Flow’r on this extended Plain
Not droop, but shrink into its Womb again,
Ne’er to receive anew its yearly Birth;                                                                     170
Let ev’ry thing that’s grateful, leave the Earth:
Let mournful Cypress, with each noxious Weed,
And baneful Venoms in their place succeed.
Ye purling quer’lous Brooks, o’ercharg’d with Grief
Haste swiftly to the Sea for more Relief;
Then tiding back, each to his sacred Head,                                                            175
Tell your astonish’d Springs, CAELESTIA’s dead:

COSMELIA.

Well have you sung, in an exalted Strain,
The fairest Nymph e’er grac’d the British Plain.
Who knows but some officious Angel may
Your grateful Numbers to her Ears convey:                                                           180
That she may smile upon us, from above,
And bless our mournful Plains with Peace and Love.

STREPHON.

But see, our Flocks do to their Folds repair,
For Night with sable Clouds obscures the Air,
Cold Damps descend from the unwholesome Sky,                                              185
And Safety bids us to our Cottage fly.
Tho’ with each Morn our Sorrows will return,
Each Ev’n, like Nightingales, we’ll sing and mourn,
Till Death conveys Us to the peaceful Urn.

NOTES:

Strephon Stock pastoral name for a shepherd; Fold “A pen or enclosure for domestic animals, esp. sheep” (OED).

3 Cypress “A well-known coniferous tree…often regarded as symbolic of mourning” (OED).

4   Cosmelia Pastoral name for a woman.

20 Caelestia Pomfret’s poetical name for Queen Mary II, from “Caelestis” which means sky or heavenly (A Latin Dictionary).

20-22 “she’s dead!…untimely slain” Queen Mary II died on 28 December 1694 from smallpox.

25 Swains “Countrymen” (OED).

41 Rural Numbers That is, rural poetry.

54 Damon Stock pastoral name.

80 to foreign Wars was gone William III, Mary’s husband, was often gone handling affairs on the continent and left Mary to rule alone (Encyclopedia Britannica).

94 Belleger Pomfret’s poetical name for William III; in modern Dutch the word translates as “investor;” from War’s Alarms William III fought and squashed a Jacobite rebellion on the continent, and participated in the Nine Years’ War (1688-1697) against Louis XIV of France (Encyclopedia Britannica).

114-15 when a Crown was forced on her…submitted to be Great The Glorious Revolution of 1688 deposed James II, Mary’s father. As a result of her supporting her husband William invading England, Mary and her father were estranged (Encyclopedia Britannica).

117 Pan The god of nature.

121 Felicity Happiness (OED).

133 Maugre “To defy, oppose” (OED).

137 Vicegerent “A person appointed by a king or other ruler to act in his place or exercise certain of his administrative functions” (OED).

145 Archangel “An angel of the highest rank” (OED).

148 Elijah A prophet who defended the worship of the Jewish God; in 2 Kings 2:1-11, Elijah is transported to heaven by a whirlwind.

166 Yew An ancient tree common in England; often planted in churchyards and symbolic of funerary and death.

Source: Poems upon Several Occasions, 7th edition (London, 1727), p. 48. [Hathi Trust]

Edited by Ceneca Jackson

 

 

 

 

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

Anonymous, “Scattered Thoughts, by a Lady”

ANONYMOUS

“Scattered Thoughts, by a Lady”
Written in a long and painful Illness, after a disturbed and restless night.

While, child of sorrow, on my couch I lie,
And court sweet Sleep to seal my wakeful eye,
Still keenest anguish rankles at my heart,
And pains unceasing pierce each vital part.
I hear the joyless bird of omen sing,                                                          5
And at my casement flap his blacken’d wing;
While nightly spirits hover round my head,
Haunting with horrid thoughts my widow’d bed.
Oh, come, thou kindest nurse! come, gentle Sleep!
Seal with thy wings those eyes which wake to weep.                                10
Distill thy poppies on my unclos’d lid,
And on my pillow thy mild opiates shed.
Through night’s dark gloom I count the measur’d time,
And hear the knell of Death incessant chime:
The spider, spinning in some lonely notch,                                              15
Echoes the knell, and keeps th’ ill-omen’d watch.
My pensive pillow views my early life,
When in youth’s bloom I took the name of wife;
Scarce sixteen suns had dawn’d upon my years,
When I awoke to all a mother’s cares;                                                         20
While, at my breast, the tender blossom hung,
Ere the soft accent loos’d the lisping tongue,
Grief’s sharpest arrows pierc’d my gentle heart,
And wounded Nature felt her festering dart;
No love congenial to my own I found,                                                         25
But joyless pass’d night’s solitary round.
If lost in momentary sleep I lie,
What hideous forms appear to fancy’s eye!
With phantoms of a woe-worn feverish brain
I trembling start,—and wake to keener pain;                                            30
The spectres of delusion still in view,
And the night bag, my waking sense pursue.
My shorten’d sighs quick breathe around my room,
Where horrid darkness sheds a total gloom ;
Save one pale taper of a glimmering light,                                                  35
Which dimly twinkles through the shades of night,
Like a true friend, such silent sorrow shows,
And “waxeth pale”—through sympathy of woes.
Sweet Sympathy! in whate’er form you dwell,
Welcome! thrice welcome! to my tear-wash’d cell.                                   40
Ev’n when I hear the nightly shrill owl scream,
Some friend I think is near—some hope unseen.
Hope! did I say? thou joyful, blessed sound!
Where beams thy ray? where art thou to be found?
Long have I sought thy visionary hand;                                                      45
Lead me, dear phantom! to that blissful land!
That heaven of sure rest! that promis’d shore!
Where Peace shall dwell—and I shall weep no more!
Then strike, grim spectre! strike this yielding heart!
Strike down my sorrows with thy welcome dart.                                       50
And, when this “mortal coil” is laid in earth,
Then may my soul awake to Heaven’s new birth!
Then, like a pilgrim, view this rocky shore,
And rest—where thorns shall pierce my soul NO MORE!

NOTES:

14 knell “To ring (a bell); to ring slowly and solemnly, as for a death or at a funeral, to                       toll” (OED) ; chime Living near the church” [Author’s note].

32 night bag “A travelling bag used to carry things needed for the night” (OED).

35 pale taper A wax candle, in early times used chiefly for devotional or penitential   purposes” (OED).

51 mortal coil The bustle or turmoil of this mortal life” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (October 1787), pp. 914-15.

Edited by Arianna Ordonez

Mary Masters, “On Marinda’s Marriage”

MARY MASTERS

“On Marinda’s Marriage”

The Day is come, the mystick Knot is ty’d,
And HYMEN laughs upon the beaut’ous Bride.
Amidst her Maids, see gay MARINDA shine,
Newly conducted from the Sacred Shrine:
Great Heav’n, the wise Disposer of her Charms,                                  5
Consigns them to a happy Lover’s Arms:
Happiest among the Happy here below,
On whom th’ indulging Fates such Gifts bestow.

In fair MARINDA’s Person is exprest,
All that can most delight the Human Breast.                                       10
Motion its Charms in full Perfection spreads,
Where with a graceful Negligence she treads,
And Innocence, which might the First-born Pair
Adorn, displays itself in ev’ry Air.
Yet tho’ her Form has various Beauties join’d,                                     15
It yields in Beauty to her brighter Mind:
Amidst the Virgin Trains the first is nam’d,
For Wit, for Eloquence, and Virtue, fam’d,
When-e’er she speaks, who strives not to be near?
See warm’d Attention bend the list’ning Ear!                                        20
With still Surprise, see the fond Hearers gaze!
While ev’ry Heart beats Measure to her Praise:
Experienc’d Age may by her Youth be taught,
So sage Her Maxims, so sublime her Thought.

But lo! the happy Bridegroom now draws nigh,                           25
His Soul’s in Triumph and his Heart beats high:
A livelier Red inflames his am’rous Cheek,
And in his Voice the tend’rest Accents break:
With Looks erect, and with manly Air
He meets the softer Beauties of the Fair                                               30
The dedicated Nymph each Thought employs,
See from his Eyes the emanating Joys!
He seats himself with Pleasure by her side,
And looks transported on his blushing Bride.

Hail, wedded Pair! O may your Union prove                                  35
The brightest Pattern of Connubial Love!
And may this Day, select by smiling Fate,
Parent of Blessings in your Nuptial State,
Revolving often with the rolling Years,
Ne’er bring less Joy than what the present wears.                               40
Nor melancholy Cares, nor stormy Strife,
Trouble the Tenour of your future Life.

And when the tender Pledges of your Love
In Years to come MARINDA’S Form improve.
New Charmers (yet unborn) shall fire the Muse,                                 45
And endless Beauties endless Verse diffuse.

NOTES:

 2 HYMEN God of marriage.

13 First-born Pair Adam and Eve.

36 Connubial “Of or relating to marriage or a married couple”(OED).

Source: Mary Masters, Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1733), pp.17-20. [Google Books]

Edited by Donna Hang

Anonymous, “Reasons against deifying the Fair Sex”

 

ANONYMOUS

 “Reasons against deifying the Fair Sex.”
By another Hand.

Madam, I own I was so smit
What with your Beauty and your Wit,
That I began, which very odd is,
To think of making you a Goddess;
I talk’d of building you a Temple,                                       5
And off’ring up for an Ensample,
My own dear Heart in low Prostration,
With all the Cant of Adoration.
But thinking closely on the Matter,
I’ve since concluded, ‘twoud be better                            10
You’d be above such Vanity,
And keep to your Humanity.

For first, if you a Goddess be,
What will become of Mortal Me?
Cloath’d in your Majesty Divine,                                       15
I tremble to approach your Shrine.
At awful distance, lo ! I stand
With quiv’ring Lip and shaking Hand;
Or beg, on bended Knee, to greet
With humble Kiss your heav’nly Feet.                              20
For VENUS can’t descend to any
So low as romping like—Miss NANNY.

Again, consider, shou’d you rise
To the high rank of Deities;
You cannot long support your Reign,                                25
Nor long your Goddess-ship maintain:
For you must know, Deification
Is brought to pass by Incantation;
By Words of elevating Sound,
From Lips of Lover on the Ground                                     30
Utter’d in Raptures; Flames and Darts,
Altars, Worship, bleeding Hearts,
Sun, Venus, Quintessence of Worth,
Extasies, Heav’n, and so forth.
Now when you condescend to wed,                                  35
And take the Mortal to your Bed,
One Moon has scarce her Period crown’d;
Ere the rude Creature turns him round,
And with familiar Airs of Spouse,
(Reverse of what he wont to use)                                        40
Treats you like one of this our Earth:
You, conscious of Your heav’nly Birth,
Th’ irreverent Liberty disdain,
And tell the Wretch “He turns prophane;
At this th’ audacious Thing grows hot,                                45
Calls you Chit, Woman, and what not?
Mumbling, in direful retribution,
Some other Forms of Diminution
Malign; your Glories vanish quick,
Olympus turns to house of Brick.                                          50
Instead of Cupids and the Graces,
Plain earthly Betty takes their places:
Your Altars (which who won’t recoil at?)
Change to Tea-table or a Toilet:
The Goddess sinks to Flesh and Blood;                               55
While Husband in the cooing Mood,
Gives you a Buss, nor cares who sees it,
And fondly cries, “My Dear how is it?

Thus, Madam, not to keep you longer,
(For I can urge no Reasons stronger)                                    60
You plainly see, it is not fitting,
That you among the stars be sitting.
Wherefore, I think, you won’t desire
To leave our Species for a higher.
But be content, with what’s your due,                                   65
And what your Rivals think so too;
That, for soft Charms and Sense refin’d,
You shine the Pride of Woman kind.

NOTES:

Subtitle Unable to trace.

1 smit a poetic construction for “smitten”.

6 Ensample “An illustrative instance” (OED).

8 Cant “The special phraseology of a particular class of persons, or belonging to a particular subject; professional or technical jargon (Always depreciative or contemptuous)” (OED).

21 VENUS “The ancient Roman goddess of beauty and love (esp. sensual love), or the corresponding Greek goddess Aphrodite” (OED).

46 Chit “A person considered as no better than a child. ‘Generally used of young persons in contempt’ (Johnson); now, mostly of a girl or young woman” (OED).

50 Olympus “More fully Mount Olympus. The home of the greater gods and goddesses in ancient Greek mythology, traditionally identified with a mountain in northern Thessaly at the eastern end of the range dividing the Greek regions of Thessaly and Macedonia. Also in extended use: the home of the gods; heaven” (OED).

51 Cupids “Cupid, ancient Roman god of love in all its varieties, the counterpart of the Greek god Eros and the equivalent of Amor in Latin poetry”; Graces “Frequently the Graces were taken as goddesses of charm or beauty in general and hence were associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love” (Encyclopedia Britannica).

52 Betty “A female pet name or familiar name, once fashionable (as in Lady Betty), but now chiefly rustic or homely” (OED).

57 Buss “A kiss, esp. a loud or vigorous one” (OED).

Source: Mary Masters, Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1733), pp. 206-10. [Google Books]

Edited by Lauren Cirina

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

[Charlotte Lennox], “A Song”

                                 [CHARLOTTE LENNOX]

                                         “A Song”

I.

In Vain I strive with Female Art,
To hide the Motions of my Heart;
My Eyes my secret Flame declare,
And Damon reads his Triumph there.

II.

When from his fond, his ardent Gaze,                             5
With Frowns I turn aside my Face;
My Cheeks with conscious Blushes glow,
And all my Soul’s Disorder show.

III.

Or when with seeming Scorn I hear
The Youth his tender vows prefer;                                    10
From my fond Breast reluctant steals
A sign, and all the Truth reveal.

IV.

Oh, Love, all-powerful  o’er the Mind,
Art thou, to rigid rules confin’d?
And must the heart that owns thy sway,                          15
That Tyrant Customs Laws obey?

V.

Oh! let me break the cruel Chain,
And freely own my tender Pain:
By harsh Restraint no longer sway’d,
Confirm whate’er my Eyes have said.                                 20

NOTES:

 1 Female Art Artifice; “the action of an artificer; the making of something by art or skill (OED).

4 Damon A male figure from Greek mythology that represents a good friend, mate, or cherub (Johnson).

16 Tyrant Customs Laws Laws that are based on traditional, or customary practice; habitual behavior. Often personified by women poets in this period as a “tyrant” because oppressive to women generally.

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1747), pp. 56-60. [Google Books]

Edited by Larica Fantasia Jacko

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

Anonymous, “On seeing Saphira in a Riding Habit”

ANONYMOUS

 On seeing SAPHIRA in a Riding Habit

 WHEN Sapphira, in her sex’s garb we see,
The queen of beauty then she seems to be:
Now, fair Adonis, in this male disguise,
Or Cupid, killing with his mother’s eyes:
No stile of empire’s chang’d by this remove,                                                       5
Who seem’d the goddess, seems the god of love.

NOTES:

Title Riding Habit “A garment or outfit worn for horse riding; (in later use) a riding dress worn by women or girls, consisting of a long skirt and tight-fitting, double-breasted jacket” (OED).

3 Adonis In classical myth, a beautiful youth loved by both Aphrodite and Persephone. In extended usage, an Adonis is an extremely handsome young man (OCD).

4 Cupid, killing with his mothers eyes In classical mythology, the god of love and desire. He is often portrayed as the son of Venus, the goddess of love.

5 stile Variant spelling of the word “style.”

Source: The Gentlemans Magazine, vol. 36 (February 1766), p. 89.

Edited by Sierra Moreno

William Whitehead, “A Second Epilogue. Spoken by Mrs. Pritchard”

WILLIAM WHITEHEAD

 “A SECOND EPILOGUE. Spoken by Mrs. PRITCHARD”

 Stay, Ladies– Tho’ I’am almost tir’d to Death
With this long Part– and am so out of Breath-
Yet such a lucky Thought kind Heaven has sent,
That if I die for’t, I must give it Vent.
The Men you know are gone. And now, suppose,                                      5
Before our Lords and Masters are rechose,
We take th’ Advantage of an empty Town,
And chuse a House of Commons of our own.
What think ye, cannot we make Laws?– and then,
Cannot we too unmake them, like the Men?                                                   10
O place us once in good St. Stephen’s Pews,
We’ll shew them Women have their public Use.
Imprimis, they shall marry; not a Man
Past twenty-five, but what shall wear the Chain
Next, we’ll in earnest set about Reclaiming,                                                    15
For, by my Life and Soul, we’ll put down Gaming.
We’ll spoil their deep destructive Midnight Play;
The Laws we make, we’ll force them to obey;
Unless we let them, when their Spirits flag,
Piddle with us, ye know, at Quinze and Brag.                                                20
“I hope, my Dearest” says some well-bred Spouse,
“When such a Bill shall come before your House,
“That you’ll consider Men are Men- at least
“That you’ll not Speak, my Dear”– Not speak?– The Beast!
What, would you wound my Honour?– Wrongs like these-                           25
For this, Sir, I shall bring you on your Knees.
–Or, if we’re quite good-natur’d, tell the Man
We’ll do him all the Service that we can.
Then for ourselves, what Projects, what Designs?
We’ll tax, and double tax their nasty Wines;                                                   30
But Duty-free import our Blonds and Laces,
French Hoops, French Silks, French Cambricks, and- French Faces.
In short, my Scheme is not compleated quite,
But I may tell ye more another Night.
So come again, come all, and let us raise                                                       35
Such glorious Trophies to our Country’s Praise,
That all true Britons shall with one Consent,
Cry out, “Long live the Female Parliament!”
                                                THE END.

NOTES:

Title Mrs. Pritchard The actress Hannah Pritchard (1711-1768), who played the lead role in Creusa.

11  St. Stephen’s Pews The House of Commons sat in the pews of the royal Chapel of St. Stephen’s until 1834, when it was destroyed by fire.

12  Imprimis  First; “in the first place” (OED).

17  Midnight Play  Gambling.

20 Piddle “Depreciative. To work or act in an ineffectual or wasteful way; to mess about or around” (OED).

20  Quinze “A card game resembling pontoon” (OED).

20 Brag “A game at cards, essentially identical with the modern game of ‘poker'” (OED).

31 Blonds and Laces “A silk lace of two threads, twisted and formed in hexagonal meshes; orig. of the colour of raw silk, but now white or black. Now usually written blonde, as always in French” (OED).

32 French Hoops Hoop skirts, a rigid undergarment worn by women to hold their skirts or gowns in a fashionable shape away from the body.

32  French Silks  At this time, France produced some of the finest dress silks in Europe.

32  French Cambricks  “A kind of fine white linen” (OED); by the 1750s, the importation of French cambric cloth had become something of a political issue because of high tariffs.

32 French Faces Garment trimmings; with the available double entendre of French men.

 

Source: CREUSA, Queen of ATHENS. A TRAGEDY. As it is Acted at the Theatre Royal in Drury-lane By His MAJESTY’s Servants. Written By Mr. William Whitehead. (London: Printed for R. and J. Dodsley in Pall-mall; And Sold by M. Cooper in Pater-noster-Row. 1754). [Google Books]

 Edited by Casey Ticsay