Category Archives: Poems

Elizabeth Hands, “A Poem, on the Supposition of an Advertisement Appearing in a Morning Paper, of the Publication of a Volume of Poems, by a Servant-Maid”

ELIZABETH HANDS

 “A Poem, on the Supposition of an Advertisement Appearing in a Morning Paper, of the Publication of a Volume of Poems, by a Servant-Maid”

 

The tea-kettle bubbled, the tea things were set,
The candles were lighted, the ladies were met;
The how d’ye’s were over, and entering bustle,
The company seated, and silks ceas’d to rustle:
The great Mrs. Consequence open’d her fan;                                                         5
And thus the discourse in an instant began:
(All affected reserve, and formality scorning,)
I suppose you all saw in the paper this morning,
A volume of Poems advertis’d—’tis said
They’re produced by the pen of a poor Servant Maid.                                         10
A servant write verses! says Madam Du Bloom;
Pray what is the subject—a Mop, or a Broom?
He, he, he, —says Miss Flounce; I suppose we shall see
An Ode on a Dishclout—what else can it be?
Says Miss Coquettilla, why ladies so tart?                                                                15
Perhaps Tom the Footman has fired her heart;
And she’ll tell us how charming he looks in new clothes,
And how nimble his hand moves in brushing the shoes;
Or how the last time that he went to May-Fair,
He bought her some sweethearts of ginger-bread ware.                                      20
For my part I think, says old lady Marr-joy,
A servant might find herself other employ:
Was she mine I’d employ her as long as ’twas light,
And send her to bed without candle at night.
Why so? says Miss Rhymer, displeas’d; I protest                                                      25
’Tis pity a genius should be so deprest!
What ideas can such low-bred creatures conceive,
Says Mrs. Noworthy, and laught in her sleeve.
Says old Miss Prudella, if servants can tell
How to write to their mothers, to say they are well,                                                30
And read of a Sunday the Duty of Man;
Which is more I believe than one half of them can;
I think ’tis much properer they should rest there,
Than be reaching at things so much out of their sphere.
Says old Mrs. Candour, I’ve now got a maid                                                              35
That’s the plague of my life—a young gossiping jade;
There’s no end of the people that after her come,
And whenever I’m out, she is never at home;
I’d rather ten times she would sit down and write,
Than gossip all over the town ev’ry night.                                                                  40
Some whimsical trollop most like, says Miss Prim,
Has been scribbling of nonsense, just out of a whim,
And conscious it neither is witty or pretty,
Conceals her true name, and ascribes it to Betty.
I once had a servant myself, says Miss Pines,                                                            45
That wrote on a Wedding, some very good lines:
Says Mrs. Domestic, and when they were done,
I can’t see for my part what use they were on;
Had she wrote a receipt, to’ve instructed you how
To warm a cold breast of veal, like a ragou,                                                              50
Or to make a cowslip wine, that would pass for Champaign;
It might have been useful, again and again.
On the sofa was old lady Pedigree plac’d,
She own’d that for poetry she had no taste,
That the study of heraldry was more in fashion,                                                     55
And boasted she knew all the crests in the nation.
Says Mrs. Routella, —Tom, take out the urn,
And stir up the fire, you see it don’t burn.
The tea-things remov’d, and the tea-table gone,
The card-tables brought, and the cards laid thereon,                                            60
The ladies ambitious for each others crown,
Like courtiers contending for honours sat down.

NOTES:

Title Supposition “Position laid down;…imagination yet unproved” (Johnson).

13 Flounce “To express displeasure or ill-temper by agitated movements” (OED).

14 Dishclout Dishcloth.

15 Coquettilla A play on the word “coquette,” “a girl who endeavors to attract notice” (Johnson).

19 May-Fair A district in London, “Mayfair was developed from the mid-17th century, and its proximity to St. James’s Palace made it a fashionable neighborhood” (Encyclopedia Britannica). Mayfair, with its growing “aristocratic village[s],” attracted buyers and sellers to popular “modish shopping centre[s],” such as Regents Park and Bond Street, which were places known for “carriage folk” (Richardson, “Shops and Shopkeeping Throughout the Ages,” p. 616).

21 Marr “To hamper or hinder” (OED).

26 deprest “To humble; to deject; to sink” (Johnson); “to lower in station, fortune, or influence” (OED).

27 low-bred “Of humble origin or social statue; not respectable of welcome in good society” (OED).

31 Duty of Man Short title for The Whole Duty of Man: Laid Down in a Plain and Familiar Way for the Use of All but Especially the Meanest Reader, “first published anonymously in 1658 and variously attributed to Lady Dorothy Pakington, Archbishop Richard Sterne, Bishop John Fell, Humphrey Henchman and others, although now generally attributed to Richard Allestree” (ESTC); “the dominant book of religious instruction throughout the eighteenth century” (Lehmberg, Cathedrals Under Siege, p. 115)

34 sphere “A standard of comparison to denote a great difference in rank, intelligence, etc.” (OED).

35 Candour “Sweetness of temper; purity of mind; openness; ingenuity; kindness” (Johnson).

36 jade “A term of reprobation applied to a woman” (OED).

41 trollop “An untidy or slovenly woman; a slut; a morally loose woman” (OED).

50 ragou Alternate spelling of “ragout,” “a highly seasoned dish, usually consisting of meat cut into small pieces and stewed with vegetables” (OED).

51 cowslip wine A wine made from cowslip-blossoms,“a well-known wild plant in pastures… with drooping fragrant yellow flowers” (OED).

53 Pedigree “The system of social rank based on genealogy” (OED).

55 heraldry “Heraldic title, rank, or precedence” (OED).

56 crests “The ornament of the helmet in heraldry” (Johnson), “also used separately, as a cognizance, upon articles of personal property, as a seal, plate, note-paper, etc.” (OED).

57 Routella The root word, “rout,” means“to cry; to roar; to bellow; to shout” (OED).

SOURCE: The Death of Amnon: A Poem. With an Appendix: Containing Pastorals, and Other Poetical Pieces (Coventry, 1789), pp. 47-50. [Google Books]

Edited by Katarina Wagner

 

John Davidson, “A Scots Poetical Shop Bill”

[JOHN DAVIDSON]

“A Scots Poetical Shop Bill”

 

My customers, of different ranks,
To you I do return my thanks
For all your former favours granted;
A grateful sense I never wanted.
That you may be better suited,                                                             5
I’ve bought my goods the last imported;
And what I sell, that you may know,
Is noted in the bill below:
Here’s lint and tow, both white and blue,
All sorts of cards, both old and new;                                                 10
Powder-sugar, starch, and soap,
Garden seeds of last year’s crop;
Fine pearl ashes, corks, and spice,
Sugarcandy, cards, and dice;
White iron mugs, to hold your drink,                                                 15
Writing-paper, pens, and ink.
Barley here, instead of grotts,
Honey-canes, and chamber-pots;
Napkins, made at Aberdeen,
Ginger too, both white and green;                                                     20
English wool, and factory backs;
Wafers, also sticks of wax.
Brimstone, and the flour of such,
With other things to cure the itch.
Tar and iron, salt and lead,                                                                  25
Raisins, allum, gingerbread;
Rock-indigo, that’s good and true,
Brazil, and verdigrease, for blue;
Snuff-boxes, bibles, Carlisle hooks,
New testaments, and good prayer-books;                                        30
Fine Epsom here, and Glauber salts,
With other physic, free from faults.
Senna for children, rhubarb, pills,
Rosin, birse, and timber heels;
Oxycrotion, wax of bees,                                                                       35
Empty casks, and dry-ware trees;
Garters, tapes, bone combs and horn,
Fine tobacco, twist or shorn;
Story books, of unco’ stuff,
And I sell John Cushnie’s snuff.                                                             40
New English hops, none better grows,
Fine pick’d ropes, and other tows.
Here’s good salt butter in whole kitts,
Horses girths and sniffle bits.
Turpentine oil, and fine sweet sack,                                                     45
Burgundy pitch, and good lampblack:
Metal pots, both great and sma’;
And Carron hoops, just fit to ca’;
Train oil I have, and also green
Spectacles to fit your een;                                                                       50
Sleeve Buttons, needles, pins, and awls,
Copperas, and Aleppo galls;
Molasses, cinnamon, and glue,
Saddle-tacks, and saffron too;
Black beer, vinegar, and honey;                                                              55
Goods for trust, or ready money;
Fresh rye grass, and clover seed,
Buckram, cords, and colour’d thread;
Metal buttons, hair and horn,
All sorts that’s in the country worn;                                                        60
Earthen plates, and small brown mugs,
White iron mills, and bigger jugs;
White soap, gunpowder, flints, and shot,
And timber cats, they’re but a groat;
Dram glasses, vials, wheeling wire,                                                          65
Tobacco-pipes, and other geer:
Fine white thread, and cambric knitting,
Good cheque to sell, that’s fit for metting;
A foreign herb, they often drink it,
Wi’ many other useful trinket;                                                                  70
All sorts of gun-stones here enew,
White iron cakes, and button blue;
Of liquorish I have a share,
And weavers brushes, several pair;
Leather points of good sheeps hides,                                                     75
With twenty other things besides;
All sorts of nails and stobs I keep,
Wi’ gude woo’ sheers to clip your sheep;
Most kind of stone ware here you’ll see,
Wi’ cups and saucers fit for tea;                                                                80
Large white bowls, and quart decanters,
Tea-pots too for those who’re wanters;
Gimblets here of any size.
Of chamber-pots I’ll tell you twice;
You’ll may be think I do’t for sport,                                                           85
But I can shew you any sort;
Glasgow napkins, great and small,
Button molds and vitriol;
Nutmegs and sugar, allo’ grease,
Fine ground mustard and Scots cheese;                                                  90
For want of good if you should fret,
I sell at any time dry skate;
The best wheel-bands I e’er did handle,
Wi’ mustard boxes, and white candle;
I’ve finest flour, of English make,                                                              95
And, if you please, the same I’ll bake;
That is a branch I still pursue;
Here’s loaves and biscuits always new;
Likewise your meal, bear, rye, or oat,
I bake a firlot for a groat:                                                                          100
I keep an oven always warm,
But with your meal pray send me barm:
And wives and lasses far and near,
For you I’ve other sorts of geer;
And I may swear, and not be cheated,                                                   105
That a’ the parish could no’ beat it;
It’s factory lint from Gordon’s mills,
Whose character the mearns fills;
And my advice I give you a’,
Come take it e’er the prices fa’.                                                               110
Quick-silver, different kinds of saw,
Amang the rest, one for the claw;
Brazilicon, dipalme, hemp,
Harvest gloves for those that kemp;
More usefu’ things I might advise;                                                          115
Troth, here’s gude ointment for the eyes!
Now, if you’ll be so very gude
As come to me, (I think you should)
If you’ve but little for to spend,
I’ll thank you kindly, come or send;                                                         120
And, though I have some things forgot,
What goods I have are a’ new bought;
I’m at a word, I like nae prigging,
My name’s John Davidson, at Newbigging.

NOTES:

9 lint and tow, both white and blue A coarse linen cloth made from flax that was typically bleached or dyed.

11 Powder-sugar A refined form of sugar that, throughout the eighteenth century, was made by hand.

13 Fine pearl ashes Pearl ash (potassium carbonate) was an early chemical leavener used in baking from about 1780 to 1840.

17 grotts Oats, considered a less refined grain than barley at the time.

18 Honey-canes Raw sugar cane.

19 Napkins, made at Aberdeen Aberdeen was known for its fine linen products, including handkerchiefs, in this period.

20 Ginger too, both white and green Ginger root in its natural state was known as “green ginger,” while ginger root “from which the skin was removed prior to drying or preserving” was known as “white ginger” (OED).

21 backs “A large shallow vessel; a tub, trough, vat, cistern,” probably in the context of wool dyeing here (OED).

22 Wafers Small discs made of flour, gum, and a coloring agent; largely used to seal letters in the period (OED).

23 Brimstone “Vernacular name for sulphur” (OED); flour of such Fine sulphur powder, known as “flowers of sulphur” in the period, and used medicinally for a wide range of maladies, including itchy skin infections (Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820).

26 allum “An astringent mineral salt;” used in the eighteenth century as a dye fixative and in various medicinal applications (OED).

27 Rock-indigo A corruption of “rich indigo,” a term that indicates the high quality of the blue dye (Eastaugh, et al, Pigment Compendium, p. 200).

28 Brazil A red dye derived from brazilwood (Eastaugh, et al, p. 66); verdigrease Variation of “verdigris,” a blue-green pigment derived from the corrosion products formed when copper is exposed to various organic acids (Eastaugh, et al, 391).

29 Carlisle hooks Popular light wire fishing hooks made in Carlisle, Cumbria.

31 Epsom…and Glauber salts Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate, was discovered in a spring in the town of Epsom, Surrey, in the early seventeenth century; its medicinal properties quickly turned Epsom into a spa town. Glauber salt, or sodium sulphate, was first discovered by the seventeenth-century chemist and apothecary Johann Rudolf Glauber (1604-1670); it was primarily used in dyeing and as a laxative in the eighteenth century (Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820).

32 physic Medicine.

33 Senna…rhubarb Both plants were widely available purgatives in the eighteenth century.

34 Rosin “A kind of resin, a solid form obtained as a residue after the distillation of oil of turpentine from crude turpentine” (OED), used for waterproofing boats, an ingredient in soaps, and, as an ingredient in ointments, for treating coughs, arthritis, and wounds; birse Bristles (typically from a hog or boar) (Dictionary of the Scots Language); timber heels Wooden heels used in shoemaking.

35 Oxycrotion Variant spelling of oxycroceum, a preparation “which [is] composed of bees wax, black pitch, myrrh and olibanum,” and applied as a remedy for colds “by being spread on leather and used as a plaster for the chest” (Scottish Notes and Queries, June 1888, p. 16).

36 dry-ware trees Barrels for packing goods that were commonly transported by sea (Dictionary of the Scots Language).

37 tapes Woven textile strips that were essential components of clothing (e.g. providing ties or binding for pockets) and upholstery in the period; horn Horn combs were made from ox or cow horns and were cheaper than bone combs (Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820).

38 twist A length of tobacco that has been made into a “thick cord” (OED); shorn Tobacco leaves cut into fine threads for smoking.

39 unco’ “Unknown, strange, unusual” (OED).

40 John Cushnie’s snuff Probably snuff imported or made by John Cushnie, an active merchant of Montrose in the late eighteenth century. The port of Montrose was located on the northeast coast of Scotland, half way between Aberdeen and Dundee.

42 tows “A rope, cord, length of strong twine, string” (Dictionary of the Scots Language).

43 kitts Circular wooden vessels, used for carrying or holding a variety of commodities, including butter (OED).

44 girths “A belt or band of leather or cloth, placed round the body of a horse or other beasts of burden” (OED); sniffle bits Scottish variation of snaffle-bit, “A simple form of bridle-bit, having less restraining power than one provided with a curb” (OED).

45 Turpentine oil “A volatile oil…prepared by distilling crude turpentine,” typically sourced from fir trees; frequently listed as a drug in this period from which many other products were derived (Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1800); sweet sack “A kind of sweet wine, now bought chiefly from the Canaries” (Johnson).

46 Burgandy pitch “The resinous juice of the spruce fir;” lampblack “A pigment consisting of almost pure carbon made by collecting the soot produced by burning oil…used primarily to make printer’s ink” (Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1800).

48 Carron hoops Metal hoops used in the construction of hoop petticoats, or panniers, that extended sideways in the fashion of the day to exaggerate a woman’s hips. The hoops Davidson is hawking were apparently produced by the Carron Ironworks, established in 1759 and located near Falkirk, Stirlingshire, on the banks of the river Carron.

49 Train oil “Oil extracted from the carcasses of sea animals, esp. that obtained by boiling the blubber of the right whale” (OED).

50 een Eyes.

52 Copperas “A name given from early times to the protosulphates of copper, iron, and zinc (distinguished as blue, green, and white copperas respectively)” used in a wide variety of applications and products in this period (OED); Aleppo galls “A hard nut-like gall that forms on any of several oaks…in response to the developing larva of the gall wasp;” highly sought after in this period for dying textiles and making inks (OED).

54 Saddle tacks “A small nail of iron or brass, usually characterised by a large, flat head;” saffron “The most expensive drug in the early-modern period…used in medicine as a cordial and sudorific” (Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1800).

55 Black beer “A dark and syrupy beer, traditionally made using the leaves and branches of the spruce tree” (OED).

56 Goods for trust That is, goods provided on credit, without immediate payment.

58 Buckram By the eighteenth century, buckram invariably indicated cheap, coarse linen or cotton cloth, sometimes stiffened with gum or paste (Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1800); cords Various forms of twine or rope.

59 hair and horn In this context, probably a reference to the raw materials for making wigs and combs of various kinds.

62 White iron mills Snuff boxes made from tin plate (iron coated with tin), commonly known as “white iron” in Scotland, in which dried tobacco leaves could be ground and stored.

63 White soap “This soap is made with one part of the Lees of Spanish Pot-ash and Quick-lime, to two parts of Oil of Olives or Oil of Almonds” (The Toilet of Flora [London, 1779], p. 199). A common soap in the period used for laundry, personal hygiene, and medicinal purposes because it could be safely ingested.

64 timber cats [Unable to trace]; groat Originally a fourpenny piece whose circulation was suspended in 1662; likely taken to mean “a very small sum” here (OED).

65 Dram glasses Small glasses used for taking medicines, cordials, or spirits (OED); wheeling wire Fine wire used in eighteenth-century needlework and embroidery (OED, Encyclopedia Britannica).

66 geer Moveable goods; specifically something like “odds and ends lying about” in this context (Dictionary of the Scots Language).

67 cambric knitting Cotton tape (see note for line 37 above).

68 cheque By the eighteenth century, the term “check” likely referred to more complex patterned fabric like “plaid” or “tartan” (Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1800); metting That is, measuring or apportioning (Dictionary of the Scots Language).

69 A foreign herb Probably a reference to tea.

71 gun-stones Bullets (OED); enew “Sufficient in number or quantity” (Dictionary of the Scots Language).

74 weavers brushes A tool used, esp. in linen weaving, to pack the weft firmly in place (more commonly known as a weaving comb).

77 stobs Probably a reference to wooden pegs or stakes.

78 gude Good, as in “of good quality.”

83 Gimblets A gimlet was “a kind of boring-tool” (OED).

87 Glasgow napkins Glasgow was known for its extensive handkerchief and neckerchief manufacture in this period (Dictionary of the Scots Language).

88 Button molds “A small disc which is covered in fabric, thread, etc., to make a button” (OED), or, possibly a reference to a hand tool used for making metal buttons in the period; vitriol Sulphuric acid.

89 allo’ grease That is, tallow grease, animal fat used for making candles, soap, and other products.

92 dry skate A kind of flatfish that, when cured and dried, was a common foodstuff in (and export from) Scotland in this period.

93 wheel-bands “A band or strap that goes round a wheel;” for example as the driving band of a spinning-wheel (OED).

99 bear “A kind of barley hardier than the ordinary kind but of inferior quality,” common in Scotland (Dictionary of the Scots Language).

100 firlot “A measure of capacity for grain” or meal, “the amount varying in different districts for different commodities” (Dictionary of the Scots Language).

102 barm Yeast (Dictionary of the Scots Language).

107 factory lint Flax; Gordon’s mills A textile mill was at this location in Aberdeen by 1703.

108 mearns The Mearns is another name for Kincardineshire, an historic county on the northeast coast of Scotland, north of Dundee and south of Aberdeen.

111 Quick-silver Liquid mercury; saw Ointment (Dictionary of the Scots Language).

112 claw As a verb, “to claw” meant “to scratch”(Dictionary of the Scots Language). By turning this word into a noun, Davidson appears to mean “an itch.”

113 Brazilicon A misspelling of “basilicon,” “name given to several ointments supposed to possess ‘sovereign’ virtues” (OED); dipalme Alternate spelling of diapalma, a medicinal plaster “composed originally of palm oil, litharge [white or red lead], and sulphate of zinc” (OED).

114 kemp “To contend or strive in doing a piece of work” (OED).

123 nae prigging No haggling (Dictionary of the Scots Language).

124 Newbigging A village located two miles north-east of Dundee. It appears that as Davidson’s business grew, he became associated with the larger town of Dundee. Notice of the dissolution of “John Davidson and Company” appeared in The Edinburgh Gazette (20 December 1831) naming his son, “Robert Davidson,” as the successor to a “John Davidson, Clothier and Iron Merchant in Dundee.” According to this source, John Davidson died on 19 July 1831 (p. 345).

Source: “A Scots Poetical Shop Bill” [single sheet], (c. 1790?) [ECCO]

Edited by Bill Christmas

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

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

JANE CAVE

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

 

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

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

NOTES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edited by Marivic Victoria

John Bennet, “The Brewer and the Rat”

JOHN BENNET

 “The BREWER and the RAT”

 

‘Twas on a time a rat did stray
In search of food, and in his way,
By chance he met with sweet regale,
From dregs of Bowley’s new-brewn ale;
But not content with this good fare,                                      5
He search’d for something yet more rare:
He search’d, and found, he thought, a prize,
And straitway to his ruin flies.
Descends with ease the dreary vat,
And gladden’d much at this retreat,                                       10
Nor thought of danger till too late.
For in the midst of all his joys,
His fears were waken’d at the noise
Of Bowley with attendants twain,
Who for their fresh-fill’d vessel came.                                   15

The Rat now saw the danger great,
And earnest strove to shun his fate:
Oft round the fatal vat he run,
But by that found himself undone;
Because the efforts made in vain,                                          20
His once dear freedom to regain,
Soon drew the injur’d Brewer there,
To see the cause of noise so near.
Then did the Rat his error find,
Yet, not to prove the Fates unkind,                                         25
When dying to the Brewer spoke,
My discontent deserves this stroke.
Had not I been to prudence blind,
And all to thievery inclin’d;
I still had liv’d in pleasure free,                                                30
Nor lost my life with infamy.

The moral bids vain mortals to beware,
Lest they too soon do meet the Rat’s just fare;
Bids them not gratify their vicious will,
Which so productive is of future ill.                                         35

NOTES:

3  regale  “A sumptuous meal” (OED).

dregs  “The sediment of liquors” (OED); Bowley’s new-brewn ale  A reference to a Quaker brewer by the name of Bowley whose business was centered in Cirencester, about 35 miles from Bennet’s hometown of Woodstock (Mathias, The Brewing Industry in England, p. 299).  Bennet also includes a poem titled “Bowley’s Ale” in this volume (pp. 127-28)

fare  “Food” (OED).

8  straitway  “Immediately” (OED).

vat  “A cask, tun, or other vessel used for holding or storing water, beer, or other liquid” (OED).

14  twain  “In concord with” (OED).

25  Fates  “In later Greek and Roman mythology, the three goddesses supposed to determine the course of human life” (OED).

28  prudence  “The ability to recognize and follow the most suitable or sensible course of action” (OED).

31  infamy  “Evil fame or reputation” (OED).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1774), p. 117-19.  [Google Books]

Edited by Nicole Breazeale

James Beattie, “The Hermit”

JAMES BEATTIE

“The HERMIT”

At the close of the day, when the hamlet is still,
And mortals the sweets of forgetfulness prove,
When nought but the torrent is heard on the hill,
And nought but the nightingale’s song in the grove:
’Twas then, by the cave of the mountain afar,                                               5
A Hermit his song of the night thus began;
No more with himself or with nature at war,
He thought as a Sage, while he felt as a Man.

“Ah, why thus abandon’d to darkness and woe,
Why thus, lonely Philomel, flows thy sad strain?                                            10
For Spring shall return, and a lover bestow,
And thy bosom no trace of misfortune retain.
Yet, if pity inspire thee, ah cease not thy lay!
Mourn, sweetest Complainer, Man calls thee to mourn:
O soothe him, whose pleasures like thine pass away—                               15
Full quickly they pass,—but they never return.

Now gliding remote, on the verge of the sky,
The Moon half extinguish’d her crescent displays:
But lately I mark’d, when majestie on high
She shone, and the planets were lost in her blaze.                                        20
Roll on, thou fair orb, and with gladness pursue
The path that conducts thee to splendour again.—
But Man’s faded glory no change shall renew.
Ah fool! to exult in a glory so vain!

‘Tis night, and the landscape is lovely no more;                                              25
I mourn, but, ye woodlands, I mourn not for you;
For morn is approaching, your charms to restore,
Perfumed with fresh fragrance, and glittering with dew.
Nor yet for the ravage of winter I mourn;
Kind Nature the embryo blossom will save.—                                                 30
But when shall Spring visit the mouldering urn!
O when shall it dawn on the night of the grave!”

“‘Twas thus, by the glare of false Science betray’d,
That leads, to bewilder; and dazzles, to blind,
My thoughts wont to roam, from shade onward to shade,                           35
Destruction before me, and sorrow behind.’
“O pity, great Father of light,” then I cry’d,
“Thy creature who fain would not wander from Thee!
Lo, humbled in dust, I relinquish my pride:
From doubt and from darkness thou only canst free.”                                   40

‘And darkness and doubt are now flying away.
No longer I roam in conjecture forlorn.
So breaks on the traveller, faint, and astray,
The bright and the balmy effulgence of morn.
See Truth, Love and Mercy, in triumph descending,                                         45
And Nature all glowing in Eden’s first bloom!
On the cold cheek of Death smiles and roses are blending,
And Beauty Immortal awakes from the tomb.’

NOTES:

Title Hermit “A solitary; an anchoret; one who retires from society to contemplation and devotion” (Johnson).

8 Sage “A philosopher; a man of gravity and wisdom” (Johnson).

10 Philomel Also known as Philomela. Sister of Procne. She was raped by Procne’s husband Tereus. In his attempt to silence her Tereus cut out her tongue. She weaved the crime into a tapestry and sent it to her sister Procne who, as an act of revenge, killed her own son Itys and fed his remains to Tereus. Furious, Tereus chased the two women, but were turned into birds with Philomel becoming a nightingale (OCD).

31 mouldering “To decay; to rust; to crumble” (OED); urn “Earthenware or metal vessel used to preserve the ashes of the dead” (OED).

33 Science “Knowledge” (Johnson)

37 Father of light Referring to God “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (ESV Bible, James 1.17)

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

42 conjecture “Guess; imperfect knowledge; preponderation of opinion without proof” (Johnson); forlorn “Deserted; destitute; forsaken; wretched; helpless; solitary” (Johnson).

44 effulgence “Lustre; brightness; clarity; splendor” (Johnson).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions, 4th edition (London, 1780), pp. 77-78. [Google Books]

Edited by Noruel Manalili

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

Anonymous, “Sickness. An Ode”

ANONYMOUS

“SICKNESS. An ODE”

From the GRUBSTREET JOURNAL.

 

At midnight when the fever rag’d,
By physic’s art still unasswag’d,
And totur’d me with pain:
When most it scorch’d my acking head,
Like sulph’rous fire, or liquid lead,                                        5
And hiss’d through every vein:

With silent steps approaching nigh,
Pale death stood trembling in my eye,
And shook th’ up-lifted dart:
My mind did various thoughts debate                                 10
Of this, and of an after state,
Which terrify’d my heart.

I thought ‘twas hard, in youthful age,
To quit this fine delightful stage,
No more to view the day;                                                15
Nor e’er again the night to spend
In social converse with a friend,
Ingenious, learn’d, and gay.

No more in curious books to read
The wisdom of th’ illustrious dead;                                        20
All that is dear to leave,
Relations, friends, and MIRA too,
Without one kiss, one dear adieu,
To moulder in the grave.

Incircled with congenial clay,                                                  25
To worms and creeping things a prey,
To waste, dissolve, and rot:
To lie wrapp’d cold within a shroud,
Mingled amongst the vilest crowd,
Unnoted, and forgot.                                                        30

Oh horror by this train of thought
My mind was to distraction brought,
Impossible to tell:
The fever rag’d still more without,
Whilst dark despair, or dismal doubt,                                    35
Made all within my hell.

At length, with grave, yet cheerful air
Repentance came, serenely fair,
As summer’s evening sun;
At sight of whom extatic joy                                                     40
Did all that horrid scene destroy;
And every fear was gone.

If join’d in consort, with one voice,
Angels at such a change rejoice;
I heard their joy exprest.                                                   45
If there be music in the spheres,
That music struck my ravish’d ears,
And charm’d my soul to rest.

NOTES:

Title The Grubstreet Journal (January 1730-1738) was a critical and satirical newspaper published weekly in London (The Library of Congress).

2 unasswag’d An archaic spelling of unassuaged; “not soothed or relieved” (Oxford Dictionaries [no definition given in OED]).

24 moulder “To decay to dust; to rot; to crumble” (OED).

25 congenial “Suited to the nature of” (OED).

43 consort “To keep company with; to escort or attend” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (January 1733), p. 42.

 Edited by Valerie Pedroche

Anonymous, “The Picture”

ANONYMOUS

 “The Picture”

 

The rising front, by grandeur form’d,
The graceful brow serene,
The cheeks, by health and nature warm’d,
The lips of Cypria’s queen.

The more than sweetly dimpled chin,                                     5
The neck of polish high,
The arm of grace, the purple vein,
The lustre-darting eye.

The wavy ringlets of her hair,
In jetty blackness fine,                                                        10
Her skin most exquisitely fair,
Her nose the Aquiline.

The heaving softness of her breast,
Which trembling courts the touch,
I strive to paint,– but here I rest,                                              15
Lest I should paint too much.

NOTES:

1 front “Forehead, face” (OED); grandeur “The quality of being grand or imposing as an object of contemplation; majesty of appearance; sublimity, magnificence” (OED).

4 Cypria’s queen Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love; she came from the island of Cyprus, also known as Cypria during this period.

12 Aquiline “Eagle-like; esp. of the nose or features: Curved like an eagle’s beak, hooked” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (January 1766), p. 89.

Edited by Rhea Segismundo

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