Tag Archives: allegory

Mary Leapor, “The Temple of Love”


“The Temple of Love”


 When lonely Night compos’d the drowsy Mind,
And hush’d the Bosom of the weary Hind,
Pleas’d with plain Nature and with simple Life,
I read the Scenes of Shore’s deluded Wife,
Till my faint Spirits sought a silent Bed,                                            5
And on its Pillow drop’d my aking Head;
Then Fancy ever to her Mira kind,
Prepar’d her Phantoms for the roving Mind.

Behold a Fabrick rising from the Ground,
To the soft Timbrel and the Cittern’s Sound:                                   10
Corinthian Pillars the vast Building hold,
Of polish’d Silver and Peruvian Gold;
In four broad Arches spread the shining Doors,
The blazing Roofs enlighten all the Floors:
Beneath a sparkling Canopy that shone                                           15
With Persian Jewels, like a Morning Sun
Wrap’d in a Robe of purest Tyrian Dye,
Cythera’s Image met the ravish’d Eye,
Whose glowing Features wou’d in Paint beguile:
So well the Artist drew her mimick Smile;                                        20
Her shining Eyes confess’d a sprightly Joy;
Upon her Knees reclin’d her wanton Boy;
On the bright Walls, around her and above,
Were drawn the Statutes and the Arts of Love:
These taught the silent Language of the Eye,                                   25
The broken Whisper and amusing Lye;
The careless Glance peculiar to the Fair,
And Vows for Lovers, that dissolve in Air;
The graceful Anger, and the rolling Eyes;
The practis’d Blush and counterfeit Surprise,                                   30
The Language proper for pretending Swains;
And fine Description for imagin’d Pains;
The friendly Caution and designing Ease,
And all the Arts that ruin while they please.

Now entred, follow’d by a splendid Train,                                   35
A blooming Damsel and a wealthy Swain;
The gaudy Youth in shining Robes array’d,
Behind him follow’d the unthinking Maid:
Youth in her Cheek like op’ning Roses sprung,
Her careless Tresses on her Shoulders hung.                                    40
Her Smiles were chearful as enliv’ning May;
Her Dress was careless, and her Eyes were gay;
Then to soft Voices and melodious Sound
The Board was spread, the sparkling Glasses crown’d:
The sprightly Virgin in a Moment shines                                              45
In the gay Entrails of the eastern Mines;
Then Pride comes in with Patches for the Fair,
And spicy Odours for her curling Hair:
Rude Riot in a crimson Vest array’d,
With smooth-fac’d Flatt’ry like a Chamber-maid:                                50
Soft Pomp and Pleasure at her Elbow stand,
And Folly shakes the Rattles in her Hand.

But now her feeble Structure seem’d to shake,
Its Basis trembl’d and its Pillars quake;
Then rush’d Suspicion through the lofty Gate,                                   55
With heart-fick Loathing led by ghastly Hate;
And foaming Rage, to close the horrid Band,
With a drawn Poniard in her shaking Hand.
Now like an Earthquake shook the reeling Frame,
The Lamps extinguish in a purple Flame:                                            60
One universal Groan was heard, and then
The Cries of Women and the Voice of Men:
Some roar out Vengeance, some for Mercy call;
And Shrieks and Tumult fill the dreadful Hall.

At length the Spectres vanish’d from my Sight,                            65
Again the Lamps resum’d a feeble Light;
But chang’d the Place: No Splendor there was shown,
But gloomy Walls that Mirth had never known;
For the gay Dome where Pleasure us’d to dwell,
Appear’d an Abbey and a doleful Cell;                                                    70
And here the sad, the ruin’d Nymph was found,
Her Robe disorder’d and her Locks unbound,
While from her Eyes the pearly Drops of Woe,
Wash’d her pale Cheek where Roses us’d to blow:
Her blue and trembling Lips prepar’d to breathe                                 75
The Sighs that made her swelling Bosom heave;
Thus stupid with her Grief she sat and prest
Her lily Hands across her pensive Breast;
A Group of ghastly Phantoms stood behind,
Whose Task it is to wreck the guilty Mind:                                              80
Wide-mouth’d Reproach with Visage rude and thin,
And hissing Scandal made a hideous Din;
Remorse that darted from her deadly Wings,
Invenom’d Arrows and a thousand Stings:
Then with pale Cheeks and with a ghastly Stare,                                   85
Peep’d o’er her Shoulder hollow-ey’d Despair;
Whose Hand extended bore a bleeding Heart,
And Death behind her shook his threat’ning Dart:
These Forms with Horror fill’d my aking Breast,
And from my Eye-lids drove the Balm of Rest;                                        90
I woke and found old Night her Course had run,
And left her Empire to the rising Sun.


 4  Scenes of Shore’s deluded Wife  A reference to The Tragedy of Jane Shore (1714), a play by Nicholas Rowe (1674-1718) based on the life an intrigues of Elizabeth (“Jane”) Shore (c. 1445-c. 1557), a mistress of King Edward IV.

9  Fabrick  “A building” (OED).

10  Timbrel  “An instrument of the percussion family” (OED); Cittern “An instrument of the lute family” (OED).

11 Corinthian Pillars  “The name of one of the three Grecian [architectural] orders (Doric, Ionic, Corinthian), of which it is the lightest and most ornate” (OED).

17  Tyrian Dye  Alludes to “the purple or crimson dye anciently made at Tyre from certain molluscs” (OED).

18  Cythera  A reference to Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love who, according to legend, was born on the island of Cythera.

19  beguile  “Deceive” (OED).

22  wanton Boy  Cupid.

64  Tumult  “Commotion leading to a riot” (OED).

69  Dome  “A stately building” (OED).

70  doleful  “Sorrowful” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems Upon Several Occasions (London, 1748), pp. 162-66.  [Google Books]

 Edited by Angela Vu



Alexander Pennecuik, “The Trial of the Muir-Cock”


 “The Trial of the Muir-Cock”


Judges, of old, amongst the feather’d flock,
A diet held to try this mad muir-cock,
Who stood indicted by a learn’d gormaw,
The eagle’s advocate and flisk of law:
His crimes were very great and very gross,                                         5
Enough to sink the muir, and blast the moss,


Muir-Cock, you stand accus’d of being a cheat,
Using bad means to purchase drink and meat;
Though you was early consecrate a priest,                                          10
Sham’d godly birds, and turn’d a drunken beast.
Deny’d the eagle’s title to the crown;
And from two rich well feather’d nests pull’d down;
Was stigmatiz’d before the high sanhedrim,
But their correction made you grow more slim.                                 15
Of late you laid a most pernicious plot,
For liquor to your all devouring throat;
By hellish arts your purpose brought about,
Marry’d a simple bird to your suspected pout:
Though she were virtuous, still it would be said,                                 20
She had a pimping, though a preaching dad:
Which being prov’d by verdict of assize,
The pannel’s either banished or dies.
The jury gave a formidable stroke,
And sentence thus went out against the cock.                                     25


Muir-cock, for this high aggravated crime,
We banish you into a foreign clime.
Gled, take him to the peak of Teneriff,
There nail his foot; and to augment his grief,                                        30
Set drink at distance from him for a mock,
Till vultures wonder and devour the COCK.


 diet  “A day fixed for a particular meeting or assembly (Scottish)” (OED).

3  gormaw  “The cormorant” (Dictionaries of the Scots Language).

22  assize  “The jury (Scottish)” (OED).

23  pannel  “The accused” (Dictionaries of the Scots Language).

29  Gled  “The common kite” (Dictionaries of the Scots Language); the peak of Teneriff  Mt. Teide, a volcano on Tenerife, the largest island of Spain’s Canary Islands.

SOURCE: A Collection of Scots Poems on Several Occasions (Edinburgh, 1769), pp. 48-49.  [Google Books]

Edited by Daisy Downie

Alexander Pennecuik, “A Tale of a Muir-Cock”


“A Tale of a Muir-Cock”


From antient nest did spring a droll muir-cock,
Who gravely preach’d to all the feathr’d flock;
Though he was known to be no bird of brains,
By lusty lungs he pick’d up wholesome grains.
The ideot birds did round their pastor throng,                                              5
And listen’d to his heather-blitter song.
Two nests he had, from whence he’d weekly preach,
By law secur’d, and out of danger’s reach.
Had not he said, that title to the crown
The eagle had, was just as bad’s his own;                                                      10
Which being join’d with an excessive drouth,
The sanhedrim of birds shut up his mouth.
Such was his drouth, he could have drunk the sea,
Though birds of grace should always sober be.
He never preach’d save at a river’s brink,                                                      15
Daub’d in his beak, and guzled down the drink.
He lost his text when on a naked rock,
But liquor put fresh spirits in the cock.
So lost his stipends, almost lost his breath,
For he lay hungry on the naked heath:                                                           20
But driving wedlock with a sly muir-hen,
Who cunning had amongst the most of men;
She was related to the birds of grandeur,
And beensh’d and peensh’d, to each bush did wander;
And cry’d and ly’d, till her rich friends did give                                               25
Fund for herself, and cock and pout to live:
Whilst he through want and infamy was cross’d,
Still thinking on the happy nests he lost;
Sending addresses to the sacred train,
That they’d repone him to these nests again,                                               30
Which they rejected with a cold disdain.
At last he plots with resolution stout
A way to get rich a husband to the pout;
Intic’d a witless, young well feather’d bird,
With many a silken and a sugar’d word,                                                        35
Till fuddl’d with intoxicated streams,
His head’s a-float with airy am’rous dreams;
Feeding and feasting on the pout’s fair face,
Said, reverend cock, pronounce the rights of grace;
Who, like a grave and venerable cock,                                                           40
Did say the grace, and made them married folk;
Blest the young birds, and all the drunken gossips:
Fistula dulce canit, volucrem decipit auceps.


Title  Muir-Cock  “The male of the red grouse” (Dictionaries of the Scots Language).

1  droll  “Intentionally facetious, amusing, comical” (OED).

heather-blitter  Heather-bleater; a kind of songbird (OED).

11  drouth  “The condition or quality of being dry” (OED).

12  sanhedrim  “The name applied to the highest court of justice and supreme council at Jerusalem, and in a wider sense also to lower courts of justice” (OED).

16  Daub’d  “To peck” (Dictionaries of the Scots Language).

19  stipends  In this context, a reference to a minister’s salary.

 24  beensh’d  Scots phonetic of “banished;” peensh’d  Scots phonetic of “penalised.”

26  pout  “A young fowl” (Dictionaries of the Scots Language).

30  repone  “To restore to office, or to rights formerly held, to reinstate (Dictionary of the Scots Language).

43  Fistula dulce canit, volucrem decipit auceps  “The fowlers flute sings sweetly to deceive the bird” (Distichs of Cato, 1.27). Translation mine.

SOURCE: A Collection of Scots Poems on Several Occasions (Edinburgh, 1769), pp. 47-48.  [Google Books]

Edited by Daisy Downie

Mary Leapor, “Nature undone by Art”


“NATURE undone by ART”


WHEN first Alexis bless’d our wond’ring Eyes,
Like some young De’ty of the pregnant Skies;
His blooming Form by Nature richly dress’d;
Nor purple Crime had stain’d his iv’ry Breast:
His pleasing Voice diffus’d a gen’ral Joy,                                                5
And list’ning Virgins bless’d the charming Boy.
His just Reflections, while they taught, allur’d;
His Smiles were harmless, and his Language pure:
He learn’d with Pleasure, and he taught with Ease:
Whate’er Alexis did, was sure to please.                                                10
Gorgonian Malice found a soothing Charm;
No envious Tongue could wish Alexis Harm:
For thrifty Nature, like a partial Mother,
To form one lovely Image, strips another;
And makes the beauteous Darling of her Breast                                  15
Perfection only, while she starves the rest.
On this gay Youth she lavish’d all her Pride,
Till he, ingrateful, wander’d from her Side:
Then polish’d Art, with her affected Train
Of glitt’ring Shadows, won the cheated Swain;                                      20
Dissimulation roll’d her leering Eyes,
With courteous Knavery, and well-bred Lyes;
Affectation, Pride; a motly Throng;
And smiling Flatt’ry, with her silver Tongue:
These taught those once engaging Eyes to roll,                                     25
And cast Pollution on his tainted Soul.
In his dark Breast tumultuous Passions rise,
Where guilty Flame and smother’d Hatred lies.
Now the chang’d Idiot can his Rhet’ric spend
To praise a Coxcomb, or deceive his Friend.                                          30
His Heart, whence Truths eternal us’d to spring,
Where Honour reign’d as undisputed King,
Is now a Dungeon for the Dregs of Sin.
Deceit, Ingratitude, and Av’rice, now
Have stain’d the Whiteness of his alter’d Brow:                                     35
Not worth our Pity, and below Disdain;
We look with Loathing, and we hear with Pain.


4 purple “Of the colour of blood; bloody” (OED).

11 Gorgonian Malice “Of or pertaining to the malevolence of the three mythical female personages, with snakes for hair, whose look turned the beholder into stone” (OED).

21 Dissimulation “Concealment of what really is, under a feigned semblance of something different; feigning, hypocrisy” (OED).

24 silver Tongue “A tendency to be eloquent and persuasive in speaking” (OED).

30 Coxcomb “A vain, conceited, or pretentious man; a man of ostentatiously affected
mannerisms or appearance; a fop” (OED).

33 Dregs “Residue” (OED).

Source:  Poems Upon Several Occasions (London, 1751), pp. 98-100.  [Hathi Trust]

Edited by Beck Serna

Susanna Blamire, “Hope”




SEE, from yonder hill descending,
Hope, with all her train attending!
“Quips, and cranks, and wanton wiles,
Nods, and becks, and wreathed smiles;”
Fancies light that tread on air,                                                                          5
Building fairy castles there;
Aeolus his harp new stringing,
Tuning to the breezes singing;
Zeph’rus sweeping softest chords;
Fancy setting airs to words;                                                                              10
Words that seem another sound,
And lighter than a breath are found.
Here Morpheus comes, a wandering guest,
By plaintive murmurs lull’d to rest;
Round him painted vapours stream,                                                              15
Weaving soft the chequer’d dream,
Which on silken wings they spread,
Shaking o’er his drowsy head;
Subtile fumes waft round the brain,
And fan these joys so light and vain,                                                               20
Which soft slumber loves to dress
In long robes of happiness.
See where come the dancing Hours,
Sprinkling Hope’s gay path with flowers;
“Thyme that loves the brown hill’s side,”                                                        25
Heath in lasting colours dyed;
Feathery sprays that softly blow,
And load the sweet gales as they go
Unheeded,—though the scented air
Fragrance steals we know not where.                                                             30
Sweet Hope! lightly dost thou tread,
Bending not the weak flower’s head;
Watching every changeful scene,
Sliding gilded shows between
Where new prospects open still,                                                                     35
Rising fair behind the hill.
‘Tis true stern Reason scorns thy sway,
Nor basks beneath thy sunny ray;
Nor hears thy accents clear and sweet,
Where sprightly airs and softness meet,                                                        40
Mixing with harmonic chords,
Pouring melody on words.
Nor will his fix’d eye deign to glance
On the mirthful mazy dance,
When the Hours, all hand in hand,                                                                  45
Link with thee, a jocund band;
When thy white robes float on air,
Catching rays that tremble there,
Tinted with the varying beam,
Ending in prismatic stream.                                                                              50
On thy head a wreath of flowers
Nods in time to dancing Hours,
Feathery-footed, trim, and light,
Flitting round from morn till night;
From morn till night, thou gaily leads                                                              55
Through dark green woods and painted meads,
With rose-ting’d cheeks, and clear blue eye
Looking through another sky,
Till we reach th’ enamell’d lawn
Round which a river journeys on,                                                                    60
Where many a bridge is taught to please
Gothic eyes, or gay Chinese,
Thrown in every point of view
Arch can add a beauty to,
While here and there an ashling weaves                                                        65
Verdant knots of summer leaves.
Now we reach thy mansion high,
Spiral turrets climb the sky,
Gilding clouds of varied light,
Changing underneath the sight.                                                                       70
See what crowds surround the gate,
See what Expectations wait;
And, running out, surround their queen,
Ask all at once where she has been ;
And if the promis’d Hours were found                                                           75
With Elysian garlands crown’d;
Or if yet she’d leave to tell
Where true Happiness would dwell;
Or yet had seen the promis’d Day
When Expectation, grave or gay,                                                                     80
In happy, blissful bands should be
United into Certainty.
She sweetly smil’d, and wav’d her hand,
At which a specious flattering band
(Quick through the ear their credence reaches)                                            85
Bow’d round, —and, full of soothing speeches
Declar’d the Hours would soon appear;
Then, whispering softly in the ear,
Taught smiles along the cheek to glow,
As if those Hours they well did know.                                                              90
Ye Promises! ye Flatterers vain!
That dress out Hope and varnish Pain,
And make the dullest things appear
Of shining surface, smooth and clear;
Handing the cup to Hope’s sweet lip,                                                               95
Of which we guests so fondly sip,
While seeing all the bottom shine,
Ne’er think there’s poison in the wine:—
Dark Lethe’s cup each grief subdues,
That used on former joys to muse;                                                                  100
For to Hope’s enchanted dome
Dreaded Ills dare never come;
Not one mask’d Sorrow can you see
In all her court of revelry: —
What though ye pull the careless sleeve,                                                       105
And would tempt us to believe
These noon-joys are waning fast,
Form’d only for an hour to last;
Hence, miscreants!—let me, while I may,
Enjoy the gewgaws of my day.                                                                         110
Descend, sweet Hope, from thy bright throne
Glittering with each precious stone,—
Rubies red, and sapphires blue,
Amethysts of purple hue,
Topazes of sun-like blaze,                                                                                 115
And diamonds with their thousand rays;
Descend! and mount yon hill with me,
There let me opening prospects see,
Which, step by step, shall fairer grow
The while as fades this scene below.                                                               120
Forests of immortal oak;
Rocks by tumbling torrents broke;
“Shallow brooks, and rivers wide,
Verdant meads, with daisies pied;”
Distant cities, large and proud;                                                                         125
Mountains dim, that seem a cloud;
Castles high, that live on hills;
Little cots, that seek the rills;
Upland grounds, where flocks are seen
Mixing white with darkest green;                                                                     130
What! though painted on the air,
Still they look serene and fair.
Though my foot be left to tread
Barren heaths with brambles spread,
Yet if thou check one falling tear,                                                                     135
Or bathe the eye till it grow clear,
I’ll freely pardon all thy wiles,
And fancy good in all thy smiles;
Still pleas’d to find the ills we dread
Thy fairy wing can overspread;                                                                        140
And though thy promises deceive,
Bless my kind stars that I believe;
Thy cranks and wiles who would not see!
For happy they who doubt not thee.


3 Quips, and cranks “A sharp, sarcastic, or cutting remark, esp. one cleverly or wittily phrased” (OED).

3-4 A quotation from John Milton’s “L’Allegro,” ll. 27-28.

7 Aeolus  Greek keeper of the winds, and king of the island of Aeolia.  His musical instrument was a harp played by the winds instead of human hands (OED).

9 Zeph’rus Greek god of the West Wind (OED).

13 Morpheus Greek god associated with sleep and dreams; in Ovid’s Metamorphosis he is the son of Sleep (OED).

19 Subtile Variant spelling of “subtle” (OED).

25 A variant quotation from John Langhorne’s “Owen of Carron:” “With thyme that loves the brown hill’s breast,” l. 105 (The Poetical Works of J. Langhorne, D. D. with the Life of the Author [London, (1789?) ], p. 104).

44 mazy “Giddy, dizzy, confused” (OED).

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

50 prismatic “Brightly colored, colorful, brilliant” (OED).

56 painted meads Meadows, bright and picturesque (OED).

62 Gothic “Belonging to, or characteristic of, the Middle Ages; mediæval, ‘romantic’, as opposed to classical. A style of architecture”; Chinese From Chinoiserie, “a Western decorative style, popular in the 18th century, that drew from Chinese forms, motifs and sometimes techniques,” and which was part of a trend of Orientalist architecture (OED).

65 ashling A young ash tree (OED).

76 Elysian “Relating to Elysium, an imagined, idyllic place often identified with Pastoral poetry; indicates Pastoral qualities” (OED).

99 Dark Lethe’s cup  “In Greek mythology Lethe is a river within Hades, whose water, when drunk, produces forgetfulness” (OED).

110 gewgaws  “A gaudy trifle, plaything, or ornament, a pretty thing of little value, a toy or bauble” (OED).

118 prospects “The view (of a landscape, etc.) afforded by a particular location or position; a vista; an extensive or commanding range of sight” (OED).

123-124 A quotation from John Milton’s “L’Allegro,” ll. 75-76.

124 with daisies pied Daisies multiplied.

128 Little cots A small house, a little cottage, now chiefly poetical, and connoting smallness and humbleness; rills A small stream, a rivulet, or a brook (OED).

SOURCE: The Poetical Works of Miss Susanna Blamire (Edinburgh, 1842), pp. 148-153. [HathiTrust]

Edited by Emily Nicol