Tag Archives: heroic couplets

Stephen Duck, “On Two Young Ladies leaving the Country”

STEPHEN DUCK

“On Two Young Ladies leaving the Country”

 

SAY, lovely Nymphs! who fly from rural Sweets,
To noisy Crowds, thick Air, and smoaky Streets,
Do Balls, or Plays, your graceful Steps invite?
Can Balls, or Plays, like Richmond Groves, delight?
No tuneful PHILOMEL, in Town, complains,                                                            5
To charm your list’ning Ear with vary’d Strains;
No fragrant Gales refresh the sick’ning Fields,
No chearful flow’ry Scenes the City yields:
But Mists, and lambent Fogs, where-e’er you pass,
Shall cloud the Graces, that adorn your Face;                                                         10
While those bright Eyes, like sully’d Gems, appear,
Or Stars, just glimm’ring thro’ the dusky Air.

NOR will you only Change of Beauty find;
Illusive Scenes will mock your pensive Mind:
In cloudless Mornings, when you’ve drank your Tea,                                             15
And read a Page in SHERLOCK, or in —– GAY;
Perhaps your Thoughts, transported, here may rove,
And, to your Mind, present the blissful Grove:
You’ll think to walk by silver Thames’s Shore;
Or trace the verdant Mead, as heretofore:                                                               20
When at the Door, the rural Vision flies,
Smoak, Coaches, Fops, and Carmen meets your Eyes:
Straight back you’ll turn, vex’d with the fruitless Search;
Bid ROBERT call a Chair, and go to Church.

NOTES:

4 Richmond Groves In the early eighteenth century, Richmond upon Thames was still considered a rural retreat from London, offering open spaces, groves of trees, and prospects from Richmond Hill.

5 PHILOMEL “A poetic or literary name for the nightingale (in allusion to the myth of the maiden Philomela’s transformation into that bird)” (OED).

9 lambent “Playing lightly upon or gliding over a surface” (OED).

16 SHERLOCK William Sherlock (c. 1641-1707), Anglican clergyman and religious writer, his A Practical Discourse Concerning Death (1689) went to many editions in the eighteenth century; GAY John Gay (1685-1732), poet and dramatist.

20 verdant Green-hued (OED).

22 Fops Foolish and vain persons, typically applied to men (OED); Carmen “Member of a Company of the City of London concerned with transportation” (OED).

24 ROBERT The Footman [Author’s note]; Chair “An enclosed chair or covered vehicle for one person, carried on poles by two men; a sedan” (OED).

SourcePoems on Several Occasions (London, 1736)pp. 158-59.  [Google Books]

Edited by Clementine Johnson

Anonymous, “Verses occasion’d by a Horse’s biting a Lady’s Breast”

ANONYMOUS

“Verses occasion’d by a Horse’s biting a Lady’s Breast”

 

See how unlimited is Beauty’s Sway!
An Ass once spoke (as antient Records say)
Charm’d with an Angel offer’d to his View,
The Story’s strange, but we must swear ‘tis true—
—I deal in Wonders of a merrier Kind,                                                   5
Not done by Angels, but by Woman-kind.
Nothing unnatural shall here accrue,
The Story’s strange, but not more strange than true,
—A Horse (descended from a long-told Race
Of well-bred Hunters, whom no Vice disgrace)                                     10
For Beauty fam’d, in Speed out strip’d by none,
A Creature fit to mount a Goddess on;
This Horse a mighty Favourite became
To a most Noble, Puissant, Princely Dame,
Illustrious for her Titles, Beauty, Fame;                                                      15
Pleas’d oft she’d tell his well-descended Race,
Smooth his fine Neck, his Main in Ringlets trace,
Nor lies the Muse who sings she kiss’d his Face.
He by those dear repeated Favours fir’d,
By the warm Stroaks of her soft Hand inspir’d,                                      20
Conceiv’d (strange of a Horse to tell) a Flame
For his fond Lady—and who dare him blame,
Or who so kindly us’d, but must have had the same
—His Love unable longer to suppress,
He furiously the charming D——s press’d,                                              25
And mark’d his Kisses on her bleeding breast—
—She frighten’d at the Creature’s rude Embrace,
Scream’d out for Aid, and fled the dangerous Place—
Away the disappointed Horse was led,
He neigh’d aloud, and wanton turn’d his Head—                                  30
—The D——s sigh’d, and went alone to Bed—
Which Tale’s most nat’ral, which most hits your Taste,
Which does in Beauty, which in Sense surpass,
B————d the Angel, or the Horse the Ass?

NOTES:

2-3 An Ass once spoke . . . View  These lines allude to a portion of a biblical story in Numbers 22. Balaam, riding his donkey, is blocked three times by an angel as he tries to follow the princes of Moab. Balaam cannot see the angel, and beats his donkey when she balks. Finally, she is given the ability to speak and asks what she has done to deserve the three beatings. He threatens to kill her, but the angel reveals himself, and rebukes Balaam (Numbers 22: 21-34).

10 Hunters  Horses trained to be used for foxhunting.

14 Puissant  “Possessed of or wielding power; having great authority or influence” (OED).

17 Main  Variant spelling of “mane”: the hair flowing from a horse’s crest, or top of the neck.

25 D——s  Probably “Duchess” (see note to line 34 below).

34 B——–d  Possibly a reference to Diana Russell (nee Spencer) (1710-1735).  She was known for her beauty in this period, but did not become Duchess of Bedford until October 1732.  The poet may be taking the liberty of referring to her future title knowing that her husband was the sole heir to the Bedford dukedom (Massey, The First Lady Diana).

SOURCE:  Gentleman’s Magazine (vol. 2, March 1732), p. 672.  [Google Books]

Edited by Elizabeth Eckert

Priscilla Pointon, “A Valentine”

PRISCILLA POINTON

“A Valentine”

 

Pardon me, Sir, nor think the maid too bold,
That sends you this, the custom being old:
This day our sex does oft by VALENTINE
Chuse those they like, so I have chose you mine.
Antient’s the custom, as I name above,                                                          5
Mine is but friendship, others may be love;
With me, ye Pow’rs! let friendship ever reign,
I ask no more, nor let me ask in vain:
For shou’d I love, and meet with no return,
How wou’d my bosom, like to Sappho, burn!                                               10
Pity on me, perhaps, they might bestow,
But pity cannot ease the pangs of woe.
The very thought alarms my soul, ‘tis true,
Tho’ Love’s soft passion never yet I knew:
Thus may my heart from love be ever free,                                                   15
And still a vot’ress to DIANA be.
In single state we ev’ry beauty wear,
Wise as MINERVA, and as VENUS fair;
But when once wed, we find it, to our cost,
That in the wife the goddess soon is lost:                                                       20
No more you sigh, no more in transport view,
For strait we’re mortals, and mere husbands you.
Nay, dare to tell us in provoking strain,
That over woman, man was born to reign;
Him to obey should be her chiefest care:                                                        25
Adieu— P.P. such dire thoughts can’t bear.

NOTES:

1-4  Pardon me, Sir… I have chose you mine  The celebration of Valentine’s Day dates back to the Roman fertility festival, Lupercalia (Encyclopedia Britannica)By the mid eighteenth century in England, it was common for lovers or friends to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes.

9-10  For shou’d I love…like to Sappho burn Pointon is referencing a well-known story about the Greek lyric poet Sappho (c. 630-570 BCE) that was popularized by Joseph Addison in Spectator no. 223 (15 November 1711).  Addison provides a translation (by Ambrose Phillips) of the only known complete poem by Sappho, “An Hymn to Venus,” written after pursuing an “inconstant lover,” the sailor Phaon, to Sicily.  Addison notes that “her Hymn was ineffectual for the procuring that happiness which she prayed for in it.”  According to this tradition, Sappho died because of her unrequited love for Phaon by leaping from a cliff that was supposed to cure her passion (p. 204).

16  vot’ress to DIANA  Pointon is claiming herself devoted to Diana, “an ancient Italian female divinity, the moon-goddess, patroness of virginity and of hunting” and, thus, committed to remaining chaste (OED).

18  MINERVA  A Roman goddess, regarded as the patron of handicrafts and the arts, and later also of wisdom and prowess in war (OED); VENUS  “The ancient Roman goddess of beauty and love,” notably “sensual love” (OED). 

26  P.P.  An abbreviation of the author’s own name which appears in several of her direct addresses in Poems on Several Occasions.

Source: Poems on Several Occasions. By Miss Priscilla Pointon, of Lichfield (Birmingham, 1770), pp. 24-25.  [Google Books]

Edited by Lee Hammel

Mary Leapor, “The Charms of Anthony”

MARY LEAPOR

“The Charms of Anthony”

 

YE Swains, attend; let ev’ry Nymph be near;
Be still, ye Rivers, that the Swains may hear:
Ye Winds, be calm, and brush with softer Wing,
We mean the Charms of Anthony to sing;
See all around the list’ning Shepherds throng;                                      5
O help, ye Sisters of immortal song.

LUCY.

Sing, Phebe, sing what Shepherd rules the Plain,
Young Colin‘s Envy, and Aminda‘s Pain:
Whom none can rival when he mows the Field,
And to whose Flute the Nightingale must yield.                                    10

PHEBE.

‘Tis Anthony — ’tis he deserves the Lay,
As mild as Ev’ning, and as Morning gay;
Not the fresh Blooms on yonder Codling-tree,
Not the white Hawthorn half so fair as he;
Nor the young Daisy dress’d in Morning Dew;                                     15
Nor the Pea Blossom wears a brighter Hue.

LUCY.

None knows like him to strew the wheaten Grain,
Or drive the Plough-share o’er the fertile Plain;
To raise the Sheaves, or reap the waving Corn,
Or mow brown Stubble in the early Morn.                                             20

PHEBE.

How mild the Youth, when on a sultry Day
In yonder Vale we turn’d the fragrant Hay:
How on his Voice the list’ning Shepherds hung,
Not tuneful Stella half so sweetly sung.

LUCY.

Whether he binds the Sheaf in twisted Band,                                25
Or turns the Pitch-fork on his nimble Hand;
He’s sure to win a Glance from ev’ry Eye,
While clumsy Colin stands neglected by.

PHEBE.

His curling Locks by far more lovely shew,
Than the white Wig on Squire Fopling‘s Brow;                                      30
And when the Shepherd on a rainy Day,
Weaves for his Hat a Wisp of flow’ry Hay,
The scarlet Feather not so gay appears,
Which on his Crown Sir Ambrose Fino wears.

LUCY.

For Anthony Meriah leaves her Cow,                                               35
And stands to gape at him upon the Mow:
While he (for who but must that Wench despise?)
Throws Straws and Cobwebs on her staring Eyes.

PHEBE.

To the Back-door I saw proud Lydia hie,
To see the Team with Anthony go by;                                                     40
He slily laugh’d, and turn’d him from the Door,
I thought the Damsel would have spoke no more.

LUCY.

Me once he met, ’twas when from yonder Vale,
Each Morn I brought the heavy milking Pail:
He took it from my Head, and with a Smile                                           45
Reach’d out his Hand, and help’d me o’er the Stile.

PHEBE.

As I was dancing late amongst the Crew,
A yellow Pippin o’er my Head he threw:
Sue bit her Lips, and Barbaretta frown’d;
And Phillis look’d as tho’ she wou’d have swoon’d.                               50

Thus sung the Maids till Colinet came by,
And Rodrigo from weeding of the Rye;
Each took his Lass, and sped ’em to the Town,
To drink cool Cider at the Hare and Hound:
The Damsels simper like the sparkling Beer,                                         55
And Colin shines till Anthony is near.

NOTES:

1 Swain  “A country or farm labourer, frequently a shepherd; a country lover”; Nymph  “Spirits… taking the form of a maiden inhabiting the sea, rivers, mountains, woods, trees, etc.; a beautiful young woman” (OED).

6 Sisters of immortal song The Muses of Greek mythology: “Each of the nine goddesses regarded as presiding over and inspiring learning and the arts” (OED).

7 Phebe This and other names used in the poem are stereotypical names used in pastoral verse.

10 Nightingale In poetry, a symbol of “melodious song” (OED).

13 Codling-tree A kind of apple tree.

18 Plough-share “The large pointed blade of a plough” (OED).

19 Sheaves “Large bundles in which it is usual to bind cereal plants after reaping” (OED).

30 Fopling Variation of “fop,” “a foolish person; one who is foolishly attentive to and vain of his appearance, dress, or manners” (OED).

36 Mow “A heap of grain or hay in a barn” (OED).

39 hie “Haste, speed” (OED).

46 Stile Steps or rungs allowing “passage over or through a fence, while forming a barrier to the passage of sheep or cattle” (OED).

48 A yellow Pippin o’er my Head he threw  A variation on the custom in ancient Greece in which “apples were presented to sweethearts as a proffer or declaration of love…oftentimes apples were tossed or thrown” in this context (McCartney, “How the Apple Became the Token of Love,” p. 70).

54 Hare and Hound A tavern or pub, possibly alluding to a passage in Ovid’s Metamorphoses in which Phoebus and Daphne are figured as hound and hare respectively (Book I, ll. 521-525).

55 simper “To glimmer, shimmer, twinkle” (OED).

Source:  Poems Upon Several Occasions (London, 1748), pp. 249-252.  [Google Books]

Edited by Angel Johnson

[Anne Wharton], “The Retirement”

[ANNE WHARTON]

“The Retirement”

 

All flie th’ unhappy, and I all wou’d flie,
Knew I but where to go, or how to die.
A Tomb of Sorrow is a dreadful Sight,
No wonder that a moving Grave shou’d fright.
Abandon’d, helpless, and alone I came                                                            5
From nothing to this World; from Ease to Pain
My infant Sighs did the small Fabric shake,
As Winds Pent in when from the Earth they Break,
Which Mortal Men for dismal Omens take.
‘Twas then alas! by certain Instinct taught,                                                      10
As if inspir’d by some prophetic Thought,
My Parents fled that World, to which this Wretch they brought.
They fear’d to see what I was Born to prove,
They fled from Youth, from Beauty, and from Love,
But ‘twas to meet again in Groves above.                                                        15
An Assignation justly tim’d, and kept,
The last undaunted went, and boldly leapt
That Gulph of Death her dearer half had past,
Desire of Liberty her Hopes encreas’d;
Love lent her Wings and added to her Hast                                                     20
But all too Slow, too late she was releas’d.
Too late for me, for had she sooner fled,
She with her own, had burst my twisted Thred;
That Thred, which since the Sisters Wove so Strong
As if they meant to prove their Force was young.                                           25
As in the Worlds bright dawn, when sprightly Life
Was Proof against Diseases, Age, and Grief.
Then Men cou’d live in Spight of every dart
That Death cou’d fling, nor fear’d a broken Heart.
But I, who had observ’d their Force Decay,                                                      30
And that each Chance cou’d clear to Death the Way;
From Grief expected long that mournful Ease,
And learn’t to smile at every Pains Encrease.
But now alas! those Fatal Hopes decay,
Inspite of Sorrow I must longer Stay;                                                                35
My Pilgrimage is hard and long the Way.
Too long the Way thro’ which I still must grieve,
Ah! for what Crime am I condemn’d to live?
“Else thro’ th’ Abyss I’d Steer my airy Race,
And view the Secrets of the boundless Space.                                                 40
Survey those glittering Particles of Light,
That with dissembled Day supply the Night.
Thence to the Source of Day direct my wondrous Flight.
The Hidden Cause of things unknown discrie,
The Strange Vicissitudes of Earth, of Air, and Skye.                                         45
Why some so prone to change, to some again
Such firm, and Stedfast, constant Rules Remain
I wou’d go on but that the towring flight,
Makes me grow giddy, with the dreadful hight,
Yes I wou’d forward, and my Voice I’d raise,                                                    50
Join with the Spheres in my Creator’s Praise,
In Songs Eternal, and no mortal Lays.
As ‘tis his Will; but who that will can see
Involv’d in such dark Clouds of Mistery.”
We know not what his will commands us here,                                              55
Less can we tell our future duty there.
Yes, here I’m lost, for none of all the dead,
Return to tell what a Soul is when fled.
Of what we there will do, we here may boast,
But there for ought we know All thought is lost.                                            60
To live, or Die why should I not submit?
Or why delay My death, or hasten it?
Since all is guided by his boundless Will,
For sure the Soul his Wisdom made, his Pow’r continues Still.

NOTES:

 Author “The Retirement” first appeared in print (unattributed) in Charles Gildon’s A New Miscellany of Original Poems, On Several Occasions (1701). However, in her The Surviving Works on Anne Wharton (1997), Germaine Greer attributes “The Retirement” to Anne Wharton through an earlier, undated manuscript version of the poem, titled “Thoughts occasioned by her retirement into the Countrey,” which Greer uses as her copy-text. The two versions differ substantially in word/spelling variation, but most notably in length, as the MS poem contains 89 lines (25 more than the 1701 text). Greer attributes these textual variations to the “editorial principles” of Gildon, who was known for both pirating and editing other poets’ work.

1 flie Fly “To leave;…to pass away” (Johnson).

4 fright. Punctuation added to the end of this line (printer’s error).

7 Fabric The OED definition references a “frame” or “structure,” which here is the infant’s small body.

8 Pent Emended from “Pen’t” in the copy text (printer’s error).

9 dismal “Boding or bringing misfortune; sinister” (OED).

12 fled “Pass away quickly and suddenly” (OED).

16 Assignation “An appointment to meet; used generally of love appointments” (Johnson).

20 Hast Archaic spelling of “haste.”

24 Sisters Wove A reference to the Three Fates in Greek mythology, who are often personified as women “who spin the thread of human destiny” (Encyclopedia Britannica).

25 Force “Power to influence, affect, or control” (OED).

28 Spight Alternative spelling of “spite.”

38 Crime Emended from “Crime;” (printer’s error).

39 airy “Celestial; immaterial” (OED).

44 discrie Alternative spelling of “descry,” “To catch sight of, observe, discover” (OED).

45 Skye Emended from “Siye” (printer’s error).

51 Spheres Emended from “Sphere’s” (printer’s error); Creator’s Emended from “Creators” (printer’s error)

54 Mistery Alternative spelling of “mystery.”

59 here Emended from “hear” (printer’s error).

 SOURCE: A New Miscellany of Original Poems, on Several Occasions (London, 1701), pp. 288-292.

Edited by Katarina Wagner

John Hawes, “On Seeing an Infant Boy Seven Years of Age learning to write”

JOHN HAWES

“On Seeing an Infant Boy of Seven Years of Age learning to write”

 

HIS Infant Fingers, scarce could grasp the Quill
And yet with Ardour, he pursu’d his Skill;
Attention fix’d his Mind, and fill’d his Brain,
His Copy in Perfection to explain;
His Eye pursu’d each Stroke so superfine,                                         5
And strove to improve, each Character and Line;
So far before the common Time of Youth.
Did Art appear in Innocence, and Truth;
He forc’d these Lines, to vindicate his Praise,
And in my Mind did these Ideas raise.                                               10

But when I found Apollo fir’d his Soul,
To Musick’s Charms, and saw his Fingers roll,
I found his Frame with Heavenly Gifts endow’d,
‘Bove vulgar Mortals, blest by mighty Jove.
He joins the sounding Lyre with Infant Voice,                                  15
“By Inclination led, and fix’d by Choice;”
Points full Perfection, in his Time to come,
If Manhood crowns Him, in Time’s fickle Womb.

Thus when Pygmalion strove to carve his Maid,
Each stroke with curious View, his Mind survey’d;                          20
He still pursu’d the chissel, and improv’d
Each Touch Divine, to gain the Art he lov’d.
In Innocence, by his own Skill betray’d,
The Goddess Venus, bless him in his Maid;
Gave Life to Ivory, for his matchless Strife,                                       25
Made his own Genius to become his Wife.

NOTES:

1 Quill  A pen made from the hollow shaft of a bird’s feather (OED).

2 Ardour  Burning with ferocity and intensity (OED).

6 Character  The letters of the alphabet (OED).

9 vindicate  “To clear from censure, criticism, suspicion, or doubt, by means of demonstration; to justify or uphold by evidence or argument” (OED).

11 Apollo  A Greek God of music and poetry, among many things, and known for his youthfulness (OED).

11 fir’d  An archaic contraction of the word “fired”; to ignite (OED).

14 Jove  Refers to Jupiter, the Roman equivalent of Zeus (OED).

15 sounding Lyre  The instrument of Apollo, Greek God of Music (OED).

 16 “By Inclination led, and fix’d by Choice”  Quoted From William Congreve’s “Epistle to the Right Honourable Charles Lord Halifax” (Line 4).

19 Pygmalion A sculptor from Cyprus who fell in love with the sculpture that he carved (Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book X, ll. 243-297).

24 Venus  The Roman goddess of love, beauty, and desire grants Pygmalion his wish for his sculpture to come to life (Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book X, ll. 243-297).

SOURCE:  Poems, Moral and Divine (Norwich, 1754), pp. 21-22. [Google Books]

Edited by Paul Madariaga

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

Mary Masters, “To my Self”

MARY MASTERS

“To my Self”

Maria, now, leave all that thou hast lov’d,
And be, no more, by outward objects mov’d.
Quit the vain World, and its alluring Toys,
Its airy Pleasures, and fictitious Joys.
False are the Colours, high is the Deceit,                                                  5
And that, which fairest seems, the greatest Cheat.
Turn then, fond Maid, from the Delusion fly,
And guide thy future Aims by Reason’s Eye.
No more let Sense the radiant Queen depose,
Or the fair Monarch her just Sceptre lose.                                                10
Let Her mild Dictates bend thy stubborn Will,
And keep thy wild impetuous Passions still:
Let gentle Prudence her soft Pow’r exert,
And curb the Transports of thy foolish Heart.
Tempestuous Anger, and tumultuous Joy,                                               15
Both are uncomely, both the Health destroy.
These, and all others of the ardent Kind,
Are prejudicial to a peaceful Mind,
Then, shun extremes, and calmly bear thy Fate,
Not too dejected, nor too much elate.                                                       20
If thy kind Lord a prosp’rous Lot has giv’n,
Bless the Indulgence of all-bounteous Heav’n.
Or, if he fixes a severer Doom,
And should think fit to call his Favours home;
Humbly submit to the divine Decree,                                                        25
None but himself his wise designs can see.

NOTES:

 1 Maria Mary Masters’s poetic name for herself.

3 Toys “Matter of no importance; thing of no value” (Johnson).

12 impetuous “Violent; forcible” (Johnson).

13 Prudence “Wisdom applied to practice” (Johnson).

15 Tempestuous “Strong conflicting emotions” (OED); tumultuous “Violent commotion; irregularly and confusedly agitated” (Johnson).

17 ardent “Fiery; fierce” (Johnson).

20 dejected “Low spirited” (Johnson); elate “To heighten” (Johnson).

21 kind Lord Likely a reference to the Christian God

23 Doom Death.

 25 Decree “A law” (Johnson).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1733), pp. 169-171.

 Edited by Kaili Ferreira

Elizabeth Tollet, “To a Gentleman in Love”

ELIZABETH TOLLET

“To a Gentleman in Love.”

Say, in what gentle Sounds, what healing Strain,
The friendly Muse shall sooth the wounded Swain?
Thy self, the Muses Servant, best may know
To mourn in moving Verse the latent Woe:                                            5
Such Verse where Fear and humble Passion speak,
Where crowding Thoughts in soft Confusion break,
With falt’ring Eloquence the Fair might move,
Tho’ cold as Northern Snows to mutual Love.
Tho’ that perhaps thou hast in vain essay’d:                                          10
The Muse, at best, is but a faithless Aid;
So Princes by Auxiliars are betray’d.
Lonely tho wander’st where the founding Stones
Of Balliol’s Walls return thy hollow Groans;
Or where Severus’ Work describes the Bound                                       15
Of Roman Conquests on the British Ground.
The ruin’d Pile stood threatening o’er the Waste;
Prodigious Monument of Greatness past!
Hither perhaps the pensive Lover goes,
To shun his chearful Friends, and Speak his Woes.                              20
How art thou chang’d? Thou! who wert always known,
With modest Wit our temp’rate Mirth to crown.
What? Cannot Politicks and deep Debate
What menaces the Church, or shakes the State,
How great Eugenius clouds the waning Moon,                                       25
What Spain intends, or they who drink the Rhone,
From thy unquiet Breast these Cares remove?
This ‘tis, unhappy Youth! to be in Love.

Or when thy jocund Friends the Board surround,
With rural Stores and native Liquors crown’d,                                      30
Such as the British Swains, industrious, drain,
From blushing Apples, or the bearded Grain;
The love-sick Youth discovers his Suprize,
By faded Cheeks and unregarding Eyes:
By rising Sighs which heave his struggling Breast,                               35
And wand’ring Speech with sudden Pause supprest.
All Smile; and some with friendly Anger chide,
Some pity thy Distress, but most deride:
While you sit by, with careless Head reclin’d;
The only Fair employs your absent Mind.                                               40
We by your Doctrines may perhaps improve
For we, alas! are Hereticks in Love:
We may wish Vows of Constancy make bold;
But you de Jure love—–to have and hold.

Amantem languor & silentium                

Arguit, & latere

Petitus imo spiritus.

Hor. Epod.

NOTES:

2 Swain “A country gallant or lover” (OED).

12 Auxiliars Subordinates.

14 Balliol A college of Oxford University, founded before 1268.

15 Severus’ Work The Wall of Severus, also known as “Hadrian’s Wall;” built to defend the northwestern frontier of the Roman empire. Emperor Septimius Severus (reigned 193–211 AD) is said to have fortified Hadrian’s original turf wall with stone around 208 AD (Encyclopedia Britannica).

25 Eugenius Probably a reference to Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736), Austrian general and statesman who figured prominently as an ally of England in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14) and the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35).

26 they who drink the Rhone The French, who were known for a “wine made from grapes grown in the Rhône valley, esp. in the region between Lyons and Avignon France” (OED).

42 Hereticks Those “who maintains theological or religious opinions at variance with the ‘catholic’ or orthodox doctrine of the Christian Church” (OED).

43 Constancy “Steadfastness of attachment to a person or cause; faithfulness, fidelity” (OED).

44 De Jure Archaic spelling of the French phrase “du jour,” which means “of the day” (OED).

Postscript Where my listlessness, my silences, and the sighs/ That were drawn from the depths of my heart, proved my love-sick state” (from Epode 11, ll. 9-10, by Quintus Horatius Flaccus [65-8 BC], published in 30 BC).

 Source: Poems on Several Occasions. With Anne Boleyn to King Henry VIII: An Epistle (London, 1755), pp. 28-30. [Google Books]

Edited by Taylor Albert

George Woodward, “On the Death of a Monkey”

GEORGE WOODWARD

“On the Death of a Monkey”

 

Poor Pug is dead! the briskest Thing on Earth,
Harmless and kind, but wanton from his Birth:
Grave was his Look, and Politick his Mien,
Easy and Gay, a Stranger to the Spleen!
No State-Affairs disturb’d his downy Rest,                               5
Nor Party-Zeal rais’d Tumults in his Breast:
Perhaps, he griev’d Himself to Death to see
So many Brother-Apes preferr’d, and He
Left here behind, in such a low Degree.

NOTES:

 1 Pug “A monkey, an ape” (OED).

2 wanton “Undisciplined, ungoverned; rebellious” (OED).

3 Mien “The bearing, character, appearance, or instinct of an animal” (OED).

4 spleen “Excessive dejection or depression of spirits” (OED).

5 downy Rest Sleep.

6 Party-Zeal Partisan political passion; or strong feeling toward a particular political stance (OED); Tumults “Great disturbance or agitation of mind or feeling” (OED).

9 Degree “A stage or position in the scale of dignity or rank” (OED).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (Oxford, 1730), p. 130. [Google Books]

 Edited by Estrellita Ruiz