Tag Archives: alternating rhyme

John Hoy, Junior, “Delia’s Farewel, An Elegy”

JOHN HOY, JUNIOR

“DELIA’s FAREWEL, An Elegy”

 

Once more, O Muses! ere you leave this grove,
Awake the strain, but sing in accents new:
DELIA no more attends the tale of love,
Such love as flows from DAMON or from you.

But tune to nobler themes the heav’nly lyre,                                        5
And, unreprov’d, the darling strain prolong;
Swell the big note with Friendship’s sacred fire,
Or sound in DELIA’s ear the moral song.

Alas! alas! Love’s subtle lurking flame,
Which feeble Reason never can control,                                       10
Kindles anew at DELIA’s long lov’d name,
And fills again, and warms my raptur’d soul.

In ev’ry tender tie to Friendship known,
In all the kind endearments Love affords,
How many years together we have grown,                                          15
Ye Muses know, and still your song records.

My song was DELIA’s praise when first I lov’d,
And DELIA listen’d to the tender strain;
Yes, DELIA listen’d! and my song approv’d,
Nor scorn’d the passion of a simple swain.                                   20

‘Twas DELIA’s love inspir’d the early song,
And kindled rapture in my infant breast:–
Alas! why could I not the strain prolong?
Ah! why has Heav’n forbid me to be blest?

Fond wish! I hop’d to call young DELIA mine;                                         25
But, ah! can wishes thwart eternal fate?
Would mortals regulate the deep design
Of Heav’n, presiding wisely o’er our state?

Now DELIA’s gone! and each dejected muse,
In sullen sounds, the absent nymph deplores:                                30
The sad remembrance of my loss renews,
Where ev’ry scene her memory restores.

Methinks I see her still in virgin charms —
Such as no more these faded eyes shall view;
Such as no more shall raise the soft alarms,                                            35
And Love’s sweet passion in my breast renew.

Can I forget those soft enchanting smiles?
Those cordial looks beam’d from the inmost soul?
Those gentle offices, and friendly toils,
With which she strove my sorrows to control?                                 40

How oft, O DELIA! has thy tender care
Giv’n to my sense of pain a kind relief?
How oft thy sympathy repress’d despair,
And wip’d the drops from my pale cheek of grief?

(Thy pity still I claim, for still ’tis dear,                                                         45
And Pity, sure, is due to misery!
Ah! shall one sigh, or shall one tender tear,
Be deem’d too much to DAMON’s memory?)

Oft as I watch’d the lonely midnight hour,
Each black idea fled when thou wast nigh :                                        50
No more I languish’d for the balmy pow’r;
And Night’s dull wheels roll’d swifter o’er the sky.

But now, alas! the melancholy scene
(How chang’d!) presents me with a dreary waste,
Save where my absent friend, by fancy seen,                                            55
Augments the horrors of my tortur’d breast.

I blame not DELIA:– DELIA’s soul was kind: —
‘Twas envious Fortune tore my love away: —
But still thou’rt here, and from my sadden’d mind
My DELIA’s image never shall decay.                                                   60

I saw what anguish swell’d her gentle breast,
What horrors shook her when she slow withdrew;
What load of grief her fainting voice supprest,
When Fate oblig’d her to pronounce,–Adieu !

Thrice o’er her face the waving crimson spread,                                        65
And thrice her visage chang’d to deadly pale;
Her speech forsook her when she wou’d have said,
“Farewel, ye groves! and, DAMON, O farewel!”

Ah! then, what anguish tore my bursting heart!
Scarce could my breast its tide of grief control,                                   70
When, beam’d tremendous, like a mortal dart,
Her parting look transfix’d me to the soul.

Less cruel pangs had pierc’d my wounded breast,
Had Fate’s dread mandate stopt thy vital breath;
Less had I griev’d to see my DELIA drest                                                       75
In all the sad and awful pomp of death.

I then a pleasing melancholy joy
Had felt, to wander near my DELIA’s tomb;
To press the turf where her dear dust should lie,
And tell my woes to Night’s surrounding gloom.                                 80

Quick Fancy, fir’d, should mount th’ etherial height,
And view the lovely maid, my DELIA there,
Array’d in robes for mortal eyes too bright,
Alive, immortal, more divinely fair!

But now I see the idol of my soul                                                                  85
For ever ravish’d from my longing arms,
Another’s joy to share, his griefs control; —
–Another’s raptures kindle at her charms!

My deep distresses all relief refuse:
Ev’n gentle STREPHON’s friendship is in vain,                                     90
Tho’ to his aid he call th’ inspiring muse,
And cheer his DAMON with the rural strain.

In vain, to soothe the troubles of my breast,
Fair Science opens all her copious store ;
Soft magic song no more can give me rest,                                                  95
And wit and genius charm my soul no more.

No more bold MILTON, on the car of morn,
Whirls my rapt soul above th’ etherial sphere,
Where fiery seraphs fierce for combat burn,
While front to front the shadowy hosts draw near.                            100

In vain great SHAKESPEARE, taught of Heav’n alone,
Unfolds the scene of Nature to my view: —
Fly! magic pictures! and, with DELIA gone,
Farewel the ecstasy which once I knew!

Perhaps the lenient hand of Time may ease                                               105
The lively sense of grief which now I feel,
That peace restore which makes ev’n sorrow please,
And wipes the gall from keen affliction’s steel.

If not, — should ev’ry other refuge fail,
O Death! thou still remain’st to give relief: —                                        110
In vain thy all-composing pow’rs assail
The frowns of Fortune, and the stings of grief.

To thee, O melancholy pow’r! I call;
To thee, with hasty steps, impatient fly: —
O grant a shelter in thy dusky hall,                                                                 115
To me the child of pain and misery!

NOTES:

1 Muses “In greek mythology each of the nine goddesses regarded as presiding over and inspiring learning and the arts, esp. poetry and music” (OED).

20 swain “A country gallant or lover” (OED).

51 balmy “Deliciously soft and soothing” (OED).

65 crimson “Of or relating to blood; sanguinary” (OED).

76 pomp “Splendid display or celebration; magnificent show or ceremony” (OED).

94 Science “Knowledge or understanding acquired by study; acquaintance with or mastery of any branch of learning” (OED).

97 No “Mo” emended to “No” (printer’s error); MILTON John Milton (1608–1674), poet and polemicist; the following lines in this stanza appear to reference Paradise Lost (1667).

99 seraphs Angels.

101 SHAKESPEARE, taught of Heav’n alone Shakespeare was considered a “natural genius” in this period, a notion popularized by Joseph Addison in Spectator no. 160 (1711).

SOURCE:  Poems on Various Subjects (Edinburgh, 1781), pp. 52-57. [Google Books]

Edited by Yesenia Rodriguez

George Campbell, “Lunardi’s Balloon, An Elegy”

GEORGE CAMPBELL

“Lunardi’s Balloon, An Elegy”

 

Low sunk the sun, departing from the day,
His latest beams had ting’d the western clouds,
Ev’ning advanced, clad in sober grey,
And Night fast follow’d with her dusky shrouds.

Tir’d with its hurry and its bustling noise,                                                         5
I left the town, and, wand’ring thro’ the fields,
I taste the silent Ev’ning’s sober joys,
And all the pleasures which retirement yields.

The mournful Echoes rais’d their loudest voice,
And answer’d plaintive to the lover’s sigh:                                                10
Prophet of ills, the Owl, with horrid noise,
Scream’d at a distance in the gloomy sky.

The post-horn, sounding, echoes thro’ the air
At intervals I hear the horse’s tread:
His near approach, the growing sounds declare;                                             15
Far off I see him thro’ the dubious shade.

The rising Moon shot forth a glimm’ring ray,
And gave the nightly rider to the view;
Pensive and sad he pass’d along the way,
And all his horn was hung with sable hue.                                                 20

Stop! stop! I cri’d, and tell thy cause of wo,
Thou ne’er wast wont to shed the briny tear!
What now can make the copious torrents flow!
What sad, what mournful tidings dost thou bear?

Is HASTINGS now from accusation freed?                                                         25
Will we no more hear of his barb’rous rage?
Or PIT and FOX for ever now agreed?
Will their debates no longer fill the page?

Have Prussian wits exhausted all the store
Of anecdotes about their fav’rite king?                                                       30
Or, are the Dutch divisions now no more?
Will Birth-days not their annual tributes bring?

No, these, he said, are not the cause of grief;
‘Tis not for these I make such heavy moan:
O, what shall soothe my pain or bring relief?                                                    35
LUNARDI’S fam’d BALLOON, alas! is gone!

I heard him speak, and struck with sad surprise,
Declare, I said, how the mishap befel:
Afresh the torrents bursting from his eyes,
He, with a sigh, began the mournful tale!                                                  40

‘Twas where the TYNE rolls down in all his pride,
His limpid waters by NEWCASTLE flow,
Whose stately Turrets rise upon its side,
The fam’d BALLOON receiv’d a fatal blow!

‘Twas there the great LUNARDI, fam’d afar                                                      45
For airy journeys in the middle sky,
Perpar’d again to mount the floating Car,
And thro’ the clouds in upper regions fly.

The day approach’d, what multitudes attend!
They crowd the mountains and they fill the plain,                                  50
In hopes to see the wondrous man ascend;
But ah! they look, they wish, they hope in vain!

And now the great BALLOON began to fill;
Her buoyant sides rose bellowing in the air:
Th’ intrepid hero us’d his utmost skill;                                                              55
His hopes were rais’d on high and great his care.

Ah! silly mortals! what small hope of joy
Elates our heart, and swells our little mind!
How can a moment this fond hope destroy,
And leave a real, lasting grief behind?                                                       60

We truly thought he would have gone so far
As Earth’s attractions had not brought him down;
There got intelligence from ev’ry star,
And been our correspondent in the moon:

For now She, rising, floats about the ground,                                                   65
The cords are loos’d and all prepar’d for flight:
The Crowds, at awful distance, stand around,
And view the scene with wonder and delight.

But ah! what numbers can describe the shock!
Or how can language paint the sad surprise,                                            70
When from the vitriol sudden fire brake,
And the blue flame met the beholders eyes!

Water! they cri’d; but water there was none;
She, like an arrow, mounts, and cleaves the air:
LUNARDI saw his fam’d BALLOON was gone;                                                   75
Wild were his looks and frantic with despair!

Sure! sure! he cri’d, the elements are join’d
In close concert, to work my overthrow!
I float in water, and I’m toss’d with wind:
But the flame has struck the last, the fatal blow!                                      80

O fire! how fatal to BALLOON exploits!
Tytler may tell, LUNARDI too has known,
Who brav’d the greatest dangers in his flight;
But now his hopes of future glory’s gone.

He saw her rise, but could not bring her back;                                                  85
He saw her burst, ah! never to return!
The very heav’ns were mantl’d o’er with black,
And Nature seem’d the mighty loss to mourn!

NEWCASTLE rais’d her voice in loud lament;
When Kelso heard, she echo’d back the strain;                                          90
Edina join’d in the same sad complaint;
And Glasgow mourn’d, but mourn’d, alas! in vain!

When thus he said, he spurr’d his weary steed,
Adieu! adieu! I must no longer stay!
Then took the road, and with redoubled speed,                                                95
Leaving me sad, he pass’d along the way.

NOTES:

Title  Lunardi  Vincenzo (Vincent) Lunardi (1754-1806), Italian diplomat and celebrated balloon aeronaut, active in Britain 1784-1787.

9  Echoes  The repetition of sound personified here by reference to the Greek myth of Echo and Narcissus found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Book III, ll. 339-358).

13  post-horn  A valveless brass horn used by a post rider, messenger, or the guard of a mail coach “to announce arrival” (OED).

20  horn  A reference to the rider’s head.

25  HASTINGS  Warren Hastings (1732-1818), English statesman, served as Governor General of India from 1773-1784.  Facing increased scrutiny of his policies and conduct, and lack of political support at home, Hastings resigned his position and returned to England in June 1785.  He was arrested in May 1787 and charges against him were read in Parliament; these included his role in the judicial execution of Maharaja Nandakumar in 1775, and his martial efforts to control British interests in the territories of Bengal and Mysore (ODNB).

27  PIT and FOX  William Pitt the Younger (1759-1806), Tory politician and statesman, served as Prime Minister of England from 1783-1801, and Charles James Fox (1749-1806), Whig politician and statesman, were arch political rivals.  Their frequent clashes in Parliament were a news staple of this period.

29-30  Prussian wits…their fav’rite king  A reference to the outpouring of praise and panegyric for Frederick the Great (1712-1786, King of Prussia from 1740) following his death on August 17, 1786.

31  Dutch divisions  A reference to the Patriot Revolt that caused a period of political instability in the Netherlands from 1780-1787.

41  TYNE  A major river in northeast England that divides the city of Newcastle from Gateshead.

43  stately Turrets  Probably a reference to the battlements of the Castle Keep, a medieval fortification on the River Tyne in Newcastle.

49  what multitudes attend  Contemporary accounts often mention the huge crowds drawn to Lunardi’s balloon launches.

67 awful  “Profoundly respectful or reverential” (OED).

69  numbers  Poetry.

71  vitriol  Sulfuric acid.

79  I float in water  Lunardi’s flight from Edinburgh on December 20, 1785 ended with a forced landing in the North Sea, where he was lucky to be rescued by a passing fishing boat (Lunardi, An Account of Five Aerial Voyages in Scotland [London, 1786], p. 101).

82  Tytler  James Tytler (1745-1804), a Scottish chemist and aeronaut, became the first person in Great Britain to ascend in a balloon on August 25, 1784, preceding Lunardi’s first flight in England by several weeks.

85-86  He saw her rise…never to return!  Lunardi’s attempted ascent from Newcastle on September 19, 1786 went horribly wrong.  Campbell’s description of the balloon’s loss matches the most detailed contemporary account published in The Yorkshire Magazine (vol. I, September 1786, pp. 287-88).  Curiously, however, Campbell chooses not to mention that one of the local men assisting Lunardi that day, “Mr. Ralph Heron,” became tangled in the ropes and was swept several hundred feet in the air.  He fell and subsequently died of his injuries.  It was this tragic accident (rather than the loss of his balloon) that effectively ended Lunardi’s career as an aeronaut in Britain.

87  heav’ns were mantl’d o’er with black  The hydrogen gas produced by the chemical reaction between sulfuric acid and iron shavings was dark in color and, when released from the balloon due to tearing or accident, would create a black cloud.

90  Kelso  A market town in Scotland near the English border.  Lunardi made a successful ascent from Kelso on October 22, 1785 (Kay’s Edinburgh Portraits, vol. I, ed. Maidment [London and Glasgow, 1885], p. 65).

91  Edina  Edinburgh.  Lunardi made a total of three ascents from Edinburgh on October 5, 1785, December 20, 1785, and July 31, 1786.

92  Glasgow  Lunardi made two ascents from Glasgow on November 23 and December 5, 1785.

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (Kilmarnock, 1787), pp. 114-118. [ECCO]

Edited by Bill Christmas

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

Samuel Johnson, “Autumn. An Ode”

SAMUEL JOHNSON

 “Autumn. An Ode”

 

Alas! with swift and silent pace,
Impatient time rolls on the year;
The seasons change, and nature’s face
Now sweetly smiles, now frowns severe.

‘Twas Spring, ’twas Summer, all was gay,                                                                              5
Now Autumn bends a cloudy brow;
The flowers of Spring are swept away,
And Summer fruits desert the bough.

The verdant leaves that play’d on high,
And wanton’d on the western breeze,                                                                           10
Now trod in dust neglected lie,
As Boreas strips the bending trees.

The fields that wav’d with golden grain,
As russet heaths are wild and bare;
Not moist with dew, but drench’d in rain,                                                                             15
Nor health, nor pleasure wanders there.

No more while thro the midnight shade,
Beneath the moon’s pale orb I stray,
Soft pleasing woes my heart invade,
As Progne pours the melting lay.                                                                                      20

From this capricious clime she soars,
O! would some god but wings supply!
To where each morn the Spring restores,
Companion of her flight I’d fly.

Vain wish! me fate compels to bear                                                                                          25
The downward season’s iron reign,
Compels to breathe polluted air,
And shiver on a blasted plain.

What bliss to life can Autumn yield,
If glooms, and showers, and storms prevail;                                                                    30
And Ceres flies the naked field,
And flowers, and fruits, and Phoebus fail?

Oh! what remains, what lingers yet,
To cheer me in the darkening hour?
The grape remains! the friend of wit,                                                                                        35
In love, and mirth, of mighty power.

Haste – press the clusters, fill the bowl;
Apollo! shoot thy parting ray:
This gives the sunshine of the soul,
This god of health, and verse, and day.                                                                              40

Still – still the jocund strain shall flow,
The pulse with vigorous rapture beat;
My Stella with new charms shall glow,
And every bliss in wine shall meet.

NOTES:

8 bough “One of the larger limbs or offshoots of a tree, a main branch; but also applied to a smaller branch” (OED).

10 wanton’d “To move nimbly, and irregularly” (Johnson).

11 trod “Tread, footprint, track, trace” (OED).

12 Boreas “The north-wind” (OED).

 14 russett “A subdued reddish-brown colour; a shade of this” (OED).

 20 Progne “ (A name for) the swallow (frequently treated poetically as a variety of songbird)” (OED).

31 Ceres In Roman religion, goddess of agriculture and goddess of the growth of food plants (Encyclopædia Britannica).

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

36 mirth “Often used of religious joy and heavenly bliss” (OED).

 38 Apollo Olympian god of prophecy and oracles, music, song and poetry, archery, healing, plague and disease, and the protection of the young.

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

 Source: The Poetical Works Of Samuel Johnson (London, 1789), pp. 158-160. [Google Books]

 Edited by Robert Mezian

 

 

 

John Jones, “To the Unfortunate Miss Poynton, of Lichfield”

JOHN JONES

“To the Unfortunate Miss Poynton, of Lichfield”

No longer let my humble Muse complain,
Or deem severe my various chequer’d lot;
Priscilla, whilst I read thy melting strain,
And weigh thy griefs, be all my own forgot.

Me, though an orphan from my infant state,                                                   5
And robb’d in childhood of my native right!
Compar’d to thy tenebr’ous, joyless fate,
My trifling ills must gratitude excite.

Not hapless Blacklock, the fam’d Scottish bard,
Whose polish’d numbers oft with sighs I view,                                      10
Can claim, like thee, the tribute of regard;
His infant loss, tho’ great, he never knew.

But thou, indulg’d twelve childish years to see
Nature’s fair face, and wanton in her smiles,
Now wrapp’d in endless night and misery,                                                    15
Each lovely object thy fond wish beguiles.

Ah! direful change! on thy scald eyes no more
Yon orb refulgent darts his cheerful ray!
Guideless, methinks, I see thee now explore,
With trembling steps, thy dark and devious way.                                  20

Yet, sure it cannot be! what fell despite
Can let thee wander guideless and forlorn!
Or, unconcern’d, survey thy doleful plight!
Or mark thy anguish with an eye of scorn!

Ten thousand plagues torment his impious tongue,                                     25
Who dares, with sport infernal, mock thy pain;
Around his guilty haunt pale spectres throng,
Implore relief, and wish for death in vain.

The boon of heav’n, (nor greater heav’n can grant)
The sacred text, must thou in vain unfold?                                             30
And shall thy thirsty soul for knowledge pant,
Yet never wisdom’s sacred fane behold?

It must be so–yet GOD corrects in love;
Nor ought vain Man to let one murmur fall,
Lest he in wrath his arrogance reprove;                                                          35
Soon the great teacher DEATH unravels all.

But who, with stoic fortitude, could bear
Thy pond’rous sorrow! thy acute distress!
What bosom but by sympathy must share
The poignant evils which thy life oppress!                                              40

Thou, with becoming sorrow, dost complain,
And warble forth thy complicated woe;
And who that hears thee can from tears refrain?
Ah! who but must his friendly mite bestow.

Yet think not Fate on thy devoted head                                                         45
Pours forth life’s nauseous dregs with ill design;
By sacred heaven-born Contemplation led
From vice and folly, see thy soul refine.

Long may thy modest, meek, instructive Muse,
(For such I hope thy ev’ry theme to find)                                               50
The balm of comfort o’er thy life diffuse,
And joys celestial cheer thy pensive mind.
KIDDERMINSTER, SEPT. 12, 1768.

NOTES:

Author In her response to this poem (which immediately follows in the volume), Poynton identifies the author as “Mr. Jones of Kidderminster.” This is probably the same John Jones that published An Elegy on Winter, and other poems (Birmingham, 1779). He’s described on the title page as “school-master, in Kidderminster,” and “the author of Poems on Several Subjects.” Poynton also mentions that Jones was the author of a volume of the same title (4), though no copies appear to have survived. Kidderminster is located approximately seventeen miles southwest of Birmingham.

Title Miss Poynton “This Poem was occasioned by seeing Miss Poynton’s advertisement, requesting a subscription for her poems, (see Birmingham Gazette for Sept. 12, 1768,) the Author till then not having the least knowledge even of her name” [Text note]. Priscilla Poynton (1750-1801) was known as “the blind poetess of Lichfield,” a cathedral city located in Staffordshire.

7 Tenebr’ous “Full of darkness” (OED).

9 Blacklock Thomas Blacklock (1721-1791), a Scottish poet who contracted smallpox at six months old and was left completely blind.

14 Wanton “Undisciplined, ungoverned, unmanageable, rebellious” (OED).

16 Beguiles “Deception” (OED).

18 Refulgent “Shining with, or reflecting a brilliant light” (OED).

26 Thy Pain Refers to the pain and disability of being blind that Priscilla Poynton, the subject of the poem, constantly endured because disabilities in the 18th century were often ignored.

27 Spectres “Ghost or other apparition” (OED). ; Throng “Oppression, distress, trouble, woe, or affliction” (OED).

29 Boon “A prayer” (OED).

32 Fane “Mode of proceeding, bearing, demeanor; appearance, aspect” (OED).

42 And warble forth thy complicated woe “Alluding to a few poetical lines inserted with her advertisement” [Text note].

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (Birmingham, 1770), pp. 1-4. [Google Books]

Edited by Taylor Albert

Elizabeth Tollet, “In Memory of the Countess of Winchelsea”

ELIZABETH TOLLET

In Memory of the Countess of Winchelsea”

 —Effugiunt avidos carmina sola rogos.  Ovid.

Sad Cypress and the Muses Tree
Shall shade Ardelia’s sacred Urn:
These with her Fame and Fate agree,
And ever live, and ever mourn.

While ev’ry Muse with vocal Breath                                           5
In moving Strains recites her Praise:
And there assumes the Cypress Wreath,
And on her Tomb resigns the Bays.

What Pow’r shall aid the Virgin Choir
To make her Worth and Virtue known?                          10
Who shall the Sculptor’s Art inspire
To write them on the lasting Stone?

The honour’d Streams of ancient Blood,
And Titles, are by Fortune giv’n:
But to be virtuous, wise, and good,                                        15
Derives a kindred Claim from Heav’n.

Virtue, and Wit in Courts admir’d,
The shining Pattern shall diffuse:
Nor, tho’ to private Life retir’d,
Are lost, but flourish with her Muse.                               20

Of those the Sister-Nine shall sing,
Yet with their Voice their Verse shall pass:
And Time shall sure Destruction bring
To wounded Stone, or molten Brass.

Tho’ Titles grace the stately Tomb,                                           25
Vain Monument of mortal Pride!
The Ruins of the mould’ring Dome
Its undistinguish’d Heap shall hide.

Wit, which outlasts the firmest Stone,
Shall, Phoenix-like, its life prolong;                                    30
No Verse can speak her but her own,
The Spleen must be her fun’ral Song.

NOTES:

Title Countess of Winchelsea The poet Anne Finch (1661-1720); she gained her title in 1712 when her husband, Heneage Finch, became the 5th Earl of Winchilsea.

Epigraph Effugiunt avidos carmina sola rogos “Only songs escape the greedy funeral pyres.” From Ovid’s “Elegy on the death of Tibullus,” Amores iii.9.

1 Cypress In ancient Greece, the cypress tree was associated with sorrow, and was often planted near graves to ward off evil spirits; Muses Tree The laurel tree, associated in ancient Greece with Apollo and the muses.

2 Ardelia Literary name or pseudonym used by Anne Finch; Sacred Urn Used to hold ashes.

21 Sister-Nine The nine muses. Goddesses of science, literature, and art.

27 mouldering Dome That is, the decaying tomb, or monument, that marks Finch’s grave.

30 Phoenix Mythological bird with the ability to resurrect. After the phoenix dies in a self-made fire, it is reborn and rises from its own ashes.

32 The Spleen An ode written by Anne Finch, first published in 1701.

 Source: Poems on Several Occasions. With Anne Boleyn to King Henry VIII. An Epistle (London, 1755), pp. 49-50. [Google Books]

 Edited by Talia Uribe

 

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

[SAMUEL BOYSE]

 “Wine the Cure of Love. A Ballad”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NOTES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Edited by Cai En Chia

Anonymous, “Second Thoughts are Best”

ANONYMOUS

 “Second Thoughts are Best”

Sung by Mrs. WRIGHTEN at VAUXHALL.
Composed by Mr. Hook.

Come list to me, ye gay and free,
And ye whom cares molest,
War, Wine, and Love, but tend to prove,
That second Thoughts are best!
The Queen of Charms, the God of Arms,                                            5
Gay Bacchus and the rest,
When ask’d ne’er flounce, but all pronounce
That second Thoughts are best!

The jealous boy, if Daphne’s coy,
‘Gainst Cupid will protest;                                                              10
His nymph disdain, then think again;
For second Thoughts are best!
The fair-one too, unus’d to woo,
Drives Henry from her breast,
Then seeks the elf, makes love herself,                                               15
For second Thoughts are best!

And Mars, who doats on scarlet coats,
I’m sure will stand the test,
Nor frowns on her, who dares aver,
That second Thoughts are best!                                                        20
E’en Neptune too, our fleet in view,
Kept Gallia’s fleet in Brest,
They meant to fight, he put them right—
Their second Thoughts are best!

Again but mark the tippling spark,                                                          25
When feated as a guest,
At first resign his darling wine,
But second Thoughts are best!
And you, I see, will side with me,
Some, louder than the rest,                                                               30
Will cry, no more, and then encore,
But second Thoughts are best!

 NOTES:

 Subtitle Mrs. Wrighten Mary Ann Wrighten (1751-1796) English singer, actress, and composer in the eighteenth century (Wikipedia); Vauxhall Eighteenth-century London pleasure garden, located on the south bank of the River Thames, that hosted many forms of entertainment such as art, poetry and music (“Vauxhall Gardens” Wikipedia); Mr. Hook James Hook (1746-1827), English composer and organist who performed regularly at Vauxhall Gardens for forty-six years (Wikipedia).

 6 Bacchus The god of wine; “hence, wine, intoxicating liquor” (OED).

 9 Cupid God of love.

 17 Mars God of war.

 21 Neptune God of freshwater and the sea.

 22 Gallia’s fleet The French navy; Gaul is the ancient name for the region which today includes France, Belgium, and Luxenbourg.

25 Tippling Habitual alcohol use (OED).

Source: The Gentlemen’s Magazine (July, 1781) p. 334.

Edited by Fernando Mendoza

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

“Posthumus,” “The Partridges: an elegy”

“Posthumus”

 “The Partridges: an elegy. Written on the 31st of August, 1788”

 Ill-Fated birds, for whom I raise the strain,
To tell my lively sorrow for your fates;
Ye little know, ere morn shall gild the plain,
What drear destruction all your race awaits.

While innocently basking in the ray,                                                          5
That throws the lengthen’d shadows o’er the lawn,
Unconscious you behold the parting day,
Nor feel a fear to meet the morrow’s dawn.

Could man like you thus wait the ills of life,
Nor e’er anticipate misfortune’s blow,                                              10
He’d shun a complicated load of strife,
Greater than real evils can bestow.

Ev’n now the sportsman, anxious for his fame,
Prepares the tube so fatal to your race;
He pants already for the glorious game,                                                  15
And checks the lingering hours’ tardy pace.

Raptur’d he’ll hie him, at the dawn of day,
With treacherous caution tread your haunts around,
Exulting rout his poor defenceless prey,
Then bring the fluttering victims to the ground.                             20

Yes! while he gives the meditated blow,
And sees around the struggling covey bleed,
His iron heart a barbarous joy shall know,
And plume itself upon the bloody deed.

For shame! Can men who boast a polish’d mind,                                  25
And feelings too, these savage pastimes court?
In such inhuman acts a pleasure find,
And call the cruel desolation—sport?

Thousands that graze the fields must daily bleed,
Necessity compels—for man they die                                             30
But no excuse necessity can plead,
To kill those harmless tenants of the sky.

By heaven privileg’d they build the nest,
They take the common bounty nature yields,
No property with vicious force molest,                                                   35
But pick the refuse of the open fields.

Then why, if God this privilege has given,
Should we pervert great nature’s bounteous plan?
For happiness is sure the end of heaven,
As well to bird and insect as to man.                                               40

Like us they move within their narrow sphere,
Each various passion of the mind confess;
And joy and sorrow, love and hope and fear,
Alternate pain them, and alternate bless.

Yes! they can pine in grief—with rapture glow                                       45
Their little hearts, to every feeling true:
Like us conceive affection, and the blow
That kills the offspring, wounds the mother too.

Then bid your breasts for nobler pastimes burn!
Let not such cruelty your actions stain!                                           50
Humanity should teach mankind to spurn
The pleasures purchas’d by another’s pain.

 NOTES:

 Author   “POSTHUMUS” appears at the conclusion of the poem followed by “Canterbury.” “POSTHUMUS” is most likely the author’s pseudonym, while “Canterbury” is most likely where the author had lived.

 1   raise the strain Here the phrase means something like “write this poem.” Possibly also an allusion to the hymn “Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain” by St. John Damascus.

 17 hie “To cause to hasten; to hasten, urge on, bring quickly” (OED).

 19 rout “Of a person: to cry out; to roar, bellow, to shout” (OED).

22 covey “A brood or hatch of partridges; a family of partridges keeping together during the first season” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 63 (February 1788), p. 824.

 Edited by Amanda Boyer