Tag Archives: marriage

William Dunkin M.A., “Hymen’s Triumph, a Poem”


“Hymen’s Triumph, a Poem”
On the Marriage of Rev. Mr Richard Beauchamp to Miss Juliana Keatinge, Dublin, May 5, 1743

Once, Hymen, abus’d for the matches he made,
(Since beauty was barter’d, and wedlock a trade)
By Pallas instructed to pitch on a pair,
Joyn’d Dick the facetious to Julia the fair.
So true was his passion, so decent her carriage,                                                     5
Not even Diana could censure the marriage.
Apollo was charm’d with her mind, and his parts,
And tun’d the soft notes of his lute by their hearts:
The muses in chorus obey’d his command,
And hymn’d to graces, who danc’d hand in hand.                                                        10
The birds of the grove from the branches above
Sang spousal, and chatter’d the tydings of love.
To gather a garland, the nymphs and the fauns
Dismantled the meadows, the vallies and lawns:
The gay, living colours by Flora were wreath’d,                                                              15
And Zephyr cool-sigh’d to the odour she breath’d.
Vertumnus was present in garment of green,
And thus gayly spoke to the bloom-bearing queen.
‘Now the nymphs and the fauns may lavishly bring
The paintings of nature, and pride of the spring,                                                           20
Fair emblems of beauty! Vertumnus employs
The season, to ripen more delicate joys,
Rich omens of issue! with blossoms you suit
The virgin; but I shall adorn her with fruit.’
Then Mercury said, as he look’d on the bride                                                                  25
With an envious eye, calling Venus aside,
‘Alas, idle maid! what a part hath she acted,
To wed with a parson? –it makes me distracted:
My measures are broken, my purposes crost:
I meant her a lord—- but her market is lost.                                                                    30
Her sisters are like her: She gives us a sample,
And copies exactly her mother’s example:
It flows from the fountain: Her blood must inherit
This oddness of chusing out men for their merit.
Well, since she rejected the baits of my store                                                                   35
Adieu to the pleasures of Sweet Nora more
Quoth Venus, ‘You have little cause to repine,
The chief disappointment and anguish are mine,
You meant her a title of honour and pence,
I meant her a beau — but she truckled to sense.                                                              40
I long since might know, she would baffle my sport,
For, brother, I never could bring her to court.
Yet Cupid, to whom I committed her beauty,
Was blindly defective in doing his duty.’
‘Arraign not thy Cupid,’ glad Hymen replies,                                                                        45
‘For once he hath shewn, that his godship has eyes.’


1 Hymen Greek God of marriage (Britannica).

3 Pallas Another name for the Greek goddess, Athena, deity of war (Britannica).

6 Diana “In Roman religion, goddess of wild animals and the hunt, identified with the Greek goddess Artemis” (Britannica).

7 Apollo Though Apollo is formally known from different sources as god of several ideas (poetry, music, song, dance, sun, light, reason, etc.) here he is referred to as the deity of reason and music (Britannica).

13 fauns “In Roman mythology, a creature that is part human and part goat” (Britannica).

15 Flora Roman goddess of flowering plants (Britannica).

16 Zephyr A gentle breeze, shortened from Zephyrus the greek god of the west wind.

17 Vertumnus Roman god of metamorphoses in nature and life (Britannica).

25 Mercury Roman god of shopkeepers and merchants (Britannica).

26 Venus Roman goddess of love and fertility (Britannica).

28 parson A “beneficed member of the clergy of the Church of England” (OED).

29 crost Variation of crossed (OED).

36 pleasures of Sweet Nora Possibly a reference to the ancient Italian town of Nora that was well known for its fine theater and baths (Britannica).

40 beau Male companion (OED); truckled “Submit” (OED).

43 Cupid Roman god of love; often depicted as blind or blindfolded (Britannica).

45 Arraign “To find fault with” (OED).

46 shewn Variation of shown (OED).

 SOURCE: The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 13 (May 1743), p. 268. [Google Books]

 Edited by Mina Raeisi

Thomas Blacklock, “An Irregular Ode”



 Sent to a LADY on her Marriage-Day.



With all your wings, ye moments, fly,
And drive the tardy sun along;
Till that glad morn shall paint the sky,
Which wakes the muse, and claims the
raptur’d song.                                                                    5


See nature with our wishes join,
To aid the dear, the blest design;
See Time precipitate his way,
To bring th’ expected happy day;
See, the wish’d for dawn appears,                                                10
A more than wonted glow she wears:
Hark! Hymeneals sound;
Each muse awakes her softest lyre;
Each airy warbler swells the choir;
‘Tis music all around.                                                                15


Awake, ye nymphs,  the blushing bride,
T’eclipse Aurora’s rosy pride;
While virgin shame retards her way,
And Love, half-angry, chides her stay:
While hopes and fears alternate reign,                                           20
Intermingling bliss and pain;
O’er all her charms diffuse peculiar grace,
Pant in her shiv’ring heart, and vary in her face.


At length consent, reluctant fair,
To bless thy long-expecting lover’s eyes!                                 25
Too long his sighs are lost in air,
At length resign the bliss for which he dies:
The muses, prescient of your future joys,
Dilate my soul, and prompt the chearful lay;
While they, thro’ coming times, with glad surprize,                         30
The long successive brightning scenes survey.


Lo! to your sight a blooming offspring rise,
And add new ardour to the nuptial ties;
While in each form you both united shine;
Fresh honours wait your temples to adorn:                                      35
For you glad CERES fills the flowing horn,
And heav’n and fate to bless your days combine.


While life gives pleasure, life shall still remain,
Till death, with gentle hand, shall shut the pleasing
scene:                                                                                           40
Safe, sable guide to that celestial shore,
Where pleasure knows no end, and change is fear’d
no more!


8 precipitate “Relating to haste or speed” (OED).

12 Hymeneals Wedding hymns  (OED).

14 airy warbler A song bird (OED).

17 Aurora “Roman goddess of the dawn” (OED).

19 chides  “To compel”  (OED).

28 prescient “Having knowledge of the future” (OED).

33 ardour “Enthusiasm” (OED).

36 CERES “Roman goddess of the growth of food plants” (Britannica).

SOURCE:  Poems on Several Occasions (Edinburgh, 1754), pp. 51-53. [Google Books]

Edited by Kamaiya Brown-Simsisulu

“L.R.,” “Ode to Venus”


“Ode to Venus”

On seeing the Estate of Gretna-Green advertised for Sale in the News-papers of the Day.


When Horace pray’d thee, Queen of Love,
To quit in haste thy Cyprian grove,
And seek his Fair-one’s roof,
The paltry smoke her incense threw,
And message trite to all thy crew,                                          5
Had kept thee well aloof.

A juster plea, a menac’d wrong,
Unvarnish’d by the Poet’s song,
Demands thy instant aid;
Quick let the doves their wings prepare,                              10
Cupid alone attend thy car,
And speed to Gretna’s shade.

To Gretna speed; your strongest hold
Plutus attacks with arms of gold,
And thinks the fortress won;                                            15
But Hymen your approach will meet,
For only there he’s wont to meet
The Mother and her Son.

Fear not yon dotard’s sooty face,
His blacken’d hands, his hobbling pace,                                 20
‘Tis not thy spouse, sweet dame!
From nets of steel our smith abstains;
Fetters of silk, and rosy chains,
His gentler labours frame.

But Christie lifts his hammer high;                                            25
Oh!  swiftly, swiftly, Goddess, fly,
And vindicate your claim!
So Gretna’s priest shall chaunt your praise,
And frequent pairs enraptur’d raise
A column to your fame.                                                        30


Title Venus Roman goddess of beauty and love (OED).

Subtitle Gretna Green  A Scottish village that became a popular destination for English couples looking to elope after Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act (1753) was brought into force in England. The Newcastle Courant, for example, carried an advertisement for the “Sale of Gretna” by auction (No. 6354, 21 July 1798).

1 Horace Roman lyric poet (65-8 BCE), whose ode addressed to Venus (Odes, IV.1) is being paraphrased in this stanza.

2 Cyprian Of Cyprus, “an island in the eastern Mediterranean, famous in ancient times for the worship of Aphrodite or Venus” (OED).

4 paltry “Very small or meagre” (OED).

5 trite “Worn out by constant use or repetition” (OED).

7 juster “Well-founded; justifiable” (OED); menac’d “Threatened” (OED).

8 Unvarnish’d  “Not covered” (OED).

11 Cupid Roman god of love, son of Mercury and Venus (OED).

14 Plutus Greek God of abundance or wealth (Britannica).

16 Hymen God of marriage in Greek and Roman mythology (OED).

19 dotard “An old person” (OED); sooty face “At Gretna Green the marriage ceremony was usually  performed by the blacksmith” (Britannica).

23 Fetters Figuratively, a restraint (OED).

25 Christie James Christie (1730-1803), a Scottish auctioneer who founded the auction house Christie’s in London, England.

28 chaunt “A repeated rhythmic phrase” (OED).

SOURCE: The Gentleman’s Magazine (August 1798), p. 707. [J. Paul Leonard Library]

Edited by Jhadeeja Shahida Vaz




Elizabeth Thomas, “Epistle to Clemena”



Epistle to Clemena

Occasioned by an Argument she had
maintain’d against the AUTHOR.


Tho’ you my Resolution still accuse,
And for Misanthropy condemn the Muse;
Still finding Fault with what I most commend,
And lose good Humour in the Name of Friend:
Yet if these pettish Heats you lay aside,
And by calm Reason let the Cause be try’d.                                     5
I make no Question, but it would appear,
You had no Cause to boast, nor I to fear.

For when two bind themselves in Marriage Bands,
Fidelity in each, the Church commands;                                           10
Equal’s the Contract, equal are the Vows,
Yet Custom, diff’rent Licences allows:
The Man may range from his unhappy Wife,
But Woman’s made a Property for Life.
To no dear Friend the Grief may be reveal’d,                                   15
No, she poor Soul, must keep her Shame conceal’d:
And, to the Height of doating Folly grown,
Believe her Husband’s Character her own.

So I have seen a lovely beauteous Maid,
By Duty forc’d, by Interest betray’d,                                                  20
Resign her self into Nefario’s Arms,
And make the sordid Wretch sole Master of her Charms.
With seeming Transport he the Bliss receives,
With seeming Gratitude, rich Presents gives:
The finest Brillants thro’ the Town are sought,                               25
The costliest Liv’ries for her Servants bought;
The richest Tissues for her self to wear,
And nothing that she lik’d could purchas’d be too dear.
But ‘ere the Sun his annual Course had run,
Or thrice three Moons with borrow’d Lustre shone;                     30
The Libertine resum’d his brutal Life:
Oh! then how nauseous grew the Name of Wife.
Her Conversation, and her Charms were stale,
Nor Wit and Beauty, longer could prevail:
The Night he turn’d to Day, the Day to Night,                                 35
Yet still uneasy in Aminta’s Sight.

At two, perhaps, he condescends to rise,
Fetches a Yawn or two, and rubs his Eyes:
Run, run, cries he, to Captain Hackum’s straight,
And tell the Rakes, I for their Coming wait;                                    40
Be sure you bring the Dogs, and heark, d’ye hear,
Bid Tom, the Butler, in my Sight appear.

The hungry Bravo’s to their Patron run,
And wonder that his Levee is so soon:
Bless me, says one, how well you look to Day!                             45
T’other replies, ay, he may well look Gay,
When Wine, and Women, pass his Time away.
While Bus’ness other Mortals Peace destroys,
He gives his Soul a nobler Loose to Joys.
Enough, Nefario cries, sit down my Friends,                                  50
See where the sparkling Burgundy attends.
This Wine was sent from France but t’other Day,
And never yet in Vinter’s Cellar lay.

Set in for Drinking thus, they each recite
The wonderful Atchievement of the Night.                                    55
One tells how he did Phillis serenade,
Fought with the Watch, and made them run afraid:
While t’other shrugging cries, I chang’d my Bed,
And was in Triumph to the Counter led.
But if the Town does Canes enough afford,                                   60
I’ll drub that Rascal where I bought my Sword.

Sated at last with fulsome Lies and Wine,
Nefario swears aloud, ‘Tis Dinner Time.
Aminta’s call’d, and calmly down they sit,
But she not one poor Word or Look can get.                                 65
This Meat’s too salt, t’other’s too fresh, he cries,
And from the Table in a Passion flies:
Not, that his Cook is faulty in the least,
But ‘tis the Wife that palls his squeamish Taste.

Well, after having ransack’d Park and Play,                               70
He with some hackney Vizor sneaks away,
To fam’d Pontack’s, or noted Monsieur Locket’s,
Where Mrs. Jilt, as fairly picks his Pockets.
‘Thus bubbled, in Revenge, he walks his Round,
From Loft three Stories high, to Cellar under Ground:                    75
Scow’rs all the Streets, some Brother Rake doth fight,
And with a broken Pate concludes the Night.
Or in some Tavern with the gaming Crew,
He drinks, and swears, and plays, ‘till Day doth Night pursue.

Mean while Aminta for his Stay doth mourn,                            80
And sends up pious Vows for his Return:
Fears some Mishap, looks out at ev’ry Noise,
And thinks each Breath of Wind, her dear Nefario’s Voice.
At last the Clock strikes Five, and Home he comes,
And kicks the spaniel Servants thro’ the Rooms;                             85
‘Till he the lovely pensive Fair doth spy,
Nor can she ‘scape the sordid Tyranny:
A thousand brutish Names to her he gives,
Which she poor Lady patiently receives:
A thousand Imprecations doth bestow,                                             90
And scarcely can refrain to give th’ impending Blow.
‘Till tir’d with Rage, and overcome with Wine,
Dead drunk he falls, and snoring lies supine.

Wretched Nefario! no Repentance shows,
But mocks those ills Aminta undergoes:                                            95
Ruin’d by him, with Pain she draws her Breath,
And still survives an Evil worse than Death.

Ah Friend! in these deprav’d unhappy Times,
When Vice walks barefac’d, Virtues pass for Crimes:
Many Nefario’s must we think to find,                                              100
Tho’ not so bad as this, yet Villains in their Kind.
Hard is that Venture where our All we lose;
But harder yet an honest Man to choose.


23  Transport  “Vehement emotion…mental exaltation, rapture, ecstasy” (OED)

26  Liv’ries  “The uniform or insignia worn by a household’s servants” (OED)

31  Libertine “A person (typically a man) who is not restrained by morality, esp. with regard to sexual relations; a person of dissolute or promiscuous habits” (OED); also called “rakes.”

43  Bravo’s  In this context, fellow rakes.

44  Levee  “A reception of visitors on rising from bed; a morning assembly held by a prince or person of distinction” (OED).

57  Watch  Watchman, “appointed to keep watch and ward in all towns from sunset to sunrise” (OED).

59  Counter  “Prison” (OED).

70  Park and Play  References to St. James’s Park and the theatre, both known haunts for rakish men and prostitutes in the period.

71  hackney Vizor  “A prostitute” (OED).

 72  Pontack’s  A popular London tavern located on Abchurch Lane; Monsieur Locket’s  Another “fashionable tavern where the young and gay met to dine,” located in Gerard street, Soho (John Timbs, Clubs and Club Life in London(London, [1875]), pp. 379-80, 322).

74  bubbled  “Deluded, duped, or cheated” (OED).

77  Pate  “The head, the skull” (OED).

85  spaniel  “Submissive or cringing” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions. By a Lady (London, 1726), pp. 174-79.  [Google Books]

 Edited by Will Hinds

Rev. Tipping Silvester, “Venus’s Girdle; or Advice to a Wife”


“Venus’s Girdle; or Advice to a Wife”


–LET nothing your unsully’d beauties cloud;
Be always chearful, but be never loud.
Ev’n Juno’s self set deities at odds,
And oft made uproars in the blest abodes:
For, if we may believe what poets sung,                                      5
Imperial Jove was pester’d with a tongue.
Where pets prevail, sweet concord’s broken soon;
The string, which jars, is always out of tune.
LET no distrusts your settled peace disturb;
Which irritate the mind, but seldom cure:                                  10
So the cold humour, which on lime we pour,
Inflames those parts, which quiet were before
Reproaches seldom cure our loose desires,
But leave a stink, and raise domestick fires.
MAY no surmises lie conceal’d below;                                    15
A rankling breast create a sullen brow:
The sulphur rages most in caverns pent,
And shocks that earth, which cannot give it vent.
JUST wit to furnish the politer Joke;
A spirit, just enough not to provoke:                                              20
Genteel demeanour, and superior sense,
And ease at just remove from indolence:
Oeconomy, which nought superfluous spends;
And is least frugal, when we have our friends:
These be your aim: the something further still,                             25
Which hits the good mens humours, when they’re ill;
There goes to feed a hymeneal flame,
Th’ engaging somewhat, which still wants a name:
The wiser wife alone this Secret knows;
This is the girdle beauty’s queen bestows.                                      30


Title  This is an extract from Silvester’s poem of the same title which first appeared in his volume, Original Poems and Translations (London, 1733), pp. 55-56.

3  Juno  Roman goddess and “female counterpart to Jupiter; [she] was connected with all aspects of the life of women, most particularly married life” (Britannica).

6  Jove  Poetic form of Jupiter, the Roman name for Zeus.

11  cold humour  Likely a reference to phlegm, one of the four humours associated with cold and moisture; lime  “The alkaline earth which is the chief constituent of mortar…it is powerfully caustic and combines readily with water, evolving great heat in the process” (OED).

21  Genteel  “Courteaous, polite; obliging” (OED).

23 Oeconomy  Archaic spelling of “economy.”

27 hymeneal  “Pertaining to marriage” (OED).

SOURCE: The Gentleman’s Magazine, (February 1734), p. 99.  [Google Books]

Edited by Liv Wisely

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

Sarah Dixon, “Aminta’s Dream”


“Aminta’s Dream”


Tir’d with the Disappointments of the Day,
As on her Bed the Fair Aminta lay,
The wild Ideas which her Mind imprest
Still kept their Rounds, and wou’d not let her rest;
Till the sweet Lark, who dedicates the Prime                                             5
To the Disposer of her future Time,
Had prun’d her Wings, and tow’ring thro’ the Air
Call’d drowsie Mortals to their Morning Prayer.
With Cloyster’d Virgins had she Vigils kept,
Aminta now perhaps had sweetly slept;                                                      10
A Stranger been to Love, and all its Cares,
Fallacious Hopes, inseparable Fears.
Just as the Sun lick’d off the pearly Dews,
Her long extended Lids began to close;
Gay Fancy then assum’d to play its Part                                                      15
In every Avenue of Head and Heart;
In various Trim presented every Wish,
And the Unhappy dream’d of Happiness:
A Group of inconsistent Figures first
Address’d her Senses, by her Passions nurst:                                             20
The stubborn Goddess Fortune led the Van,
Smiles in her Face and Trophies in her Hand:
Attractive Riches, dying Lovers Tears,
Obliging Friendships, many happy Years;
Park, Balls, and Operas, and Brussel’s Lace                                                   25
A gilded Chariot and a lasting Face:
Fictitious Joys!  how fleet your Motions haste,
Like flying Shadows just observ’d e’re past;
The hasty Bubbles of a christal Brook,
Rais’d in a Moment, in a Moment broke.                                                        30
Loud Acclamations snapt the pleasing Chain,
And all the Gew-gaws vanish’d from her Brain:
Her Maid in Tears the fatal Tiding brought,
Silvio had all his Vows and Her’s forgot;
That Morning married to her favourite Friend,                                              35
And here, poor Girl, her Expectations end.


Title  Aminta  The male protagonist in a pastoral play written in 1573 by Torquato Tasso; Dixon has switched the gender of her titular character (Britannica).

5  Prime  “The time just before sunrise” (OED).

15  Fancy  Poetical imagination (Johnson).

17  Trim  “Neatly or smartly made, prepared, or arranged; elegantly or finely arrayed” (OED).

21  Goddess Fortune  Roman goddess of fate, chance, or luck; Van  “The foremost portion of, or the foremost position in, a company or train of persons moving, or prepared to move, forwards or onwards” (OED).

25  Brussel’s Lace Delicate, handmade lace from Flanders (Britannica); Operas  Emended from “Opera’s” (a printer’s error).

32  Gew-gaws  In plural, “vanities” (OED).

34  Silvio  Silvia is the female love interest of Aminta in Tasso’s play; Dixon also has switched the gender of this character (Britannica).

 SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (Canterbury, 1740), pp. 29-30.  [Google Books]

Edited by Hallie Stark

Jane Cave, “On the Marriage of a Lady, to whom the Author was Bride-Maid”


“On the Marriage of a LADY, to whom the Author was Bride-Maid”


As the light bark on the tempestuous sea,
Toss’d to and fro, from dangers never free;
Dismay’d with fear, and mov’d with ev’ry blast,
Till in a port her anchor’s firmly cast;
So oft is mov’d Man’s fluctuating mind,                                          5
Till it in wedlock a safe anchor find;
Here, if the soul but meets her destin’d mate,
Her joys are full, her happiness compleat.

Be this your happy lot, my lovely friend,
Whose nuptial rites I this glad morn attend;                                  10
Whose humble, gentle mind for peace was born,
Whom virtue, love, and innocence adorn.
Celestial graces dignify thy soul,
While pure religion all thy ways controul.
These noble virtues, which in thee abound,                                   15
Are haply in thy lov’d PHILANDER found.
His heart sincere, his temper soft and mild,
Nor torn by anger, nor with art beguil’d.
Such gentle hearts alone should join their hands,
And find that Hymen’s chains are silken bands.                             20
Their emulation’s not who’ll reign supreme,
But who shall love the most, —be most serene.
Remote from vanity and worldly toys,
Each seeks with each for more substantial joys.
Tranquillity shall in their borders dwell,                                           25
Nor discord once approach their peaceful cell,
But mutually each other’s grief they’ll bear,
As mutually each other’s joys will share.

Thus, thus, my friend, may you for ever prove,
The soft delight of harmony and love;                                              30
May ev’ry blessing you can ask of Heav’n,
To constitute your happiness be giv’n.
If Heav’n bestows, with joy receive the prize,
If Heav’n withholds, ’tis best what Heav’n denies.
Thus sweetly may you pass your future life,                                    35
Nor once repent that you became a wife;
That you declin’d the pleasing name of B——M,
And that alone preferr’d of H—RAG—M.


16 PHILANDER Pastoral name for a male lover.

20 Hymen “In Greek and Roman mythology: The god of marriage, represented as a young man carrying a torch and veil” (OED).

37-38 B—M…H—RAG—M Identified in a later edition as “Bloom” and “Harragoom” respectively (Poems on Various Subjects, Entertaining, Elegiac, and Religious, fourth edition [Bristol, 1794], p. 21). Neither name appears in the lengthy list of subscribers included with the 1783 first edition.

Source: Poems on Various Subjects: Entertaining, Elegiac, and Religious (Winchester, 1783), pp. 21-24.  [Google Books]

Edited by Audry Hernandez

Anne Finch, “The Cautious Lovers”


“The Cautious Lovers”


Silvia, let’s from the Croud retire;
For, What to you and me
(Who but each other do desire)
Is all that here we see?

Apart we’ll live, tho’ not alone;                                                            5
For, who alone can call
Those, who in Desarts live with One,
If in that One they’ve All?

The World a vast Meander is,
Where Hearts confus’dly stray;                                                   10
Where Few do hit, whilst Thousands miss
The happy mutual Way:

Where Hands are by stern Parents ty’d
Who oft, in Cupid’s Scorn,
Do for the widow’d State provide,                                                       15
Before that Love is born:

Where some too soon themselves misplace;
Then in Another find
The only Temper, Wit, or Face,
That cou’d affect their Mind.                                                         20

Others (but oh! avert that Fate!)
A well-chose Object change:
Fly, Silvia, fly, ere ‘tis too late;
Fall’n Nature’s prone to range.

And, tho’ in heat of Love we swear                                                      25
More than perform we can;
No Goddess You, but Woman are,
And I no more than Man.

Th’ impatient Silvia heard thus long;
Then with a Smile reply’d:                                                               30
Those Bands cou’d ne’er be very strong,
Which Accidents divide.

Who e’er was mov’d yet to go down,
By such o’er-cautious Fear;
Or for one Lover left the Town,                                                              35
Who might have Numbers here?

Your Heart, ‘tis true, is worth them all,
And still preferr’d the first;
But since confess’d so apt to fall,
‘Tis good to fear the worst.                                                              40

In ancient History we meet
A flying Nymph betray’d
Who, had she kept in fruitful Crete,
New Conquest might have made.

And sure, as on the Beach she stood,                                                    45
To view the parting Sails;
She curs’d her self, more than the Flood,
Or the conspiring Gales.

False Theseus, since thy Vows are broke,
May following Nymphs beware:                                                      50
Methinks I hear how thus she spoke,
And will not trust too far.

In Love, in Play, in Trade, in War
They best themselves acquit,
Who, tho’ their Int’rests shipwreckt are,                                                     55
Keep unreprov’d their Wit.


9 Meander “A winding course, like a labyrinth” (OED).

42 Nymph Poetical for woman in this context; an allusion to Ariadne, daughter of Minos and princess of Crete (Britannica).

43 Crete The largest island in Greece. Inhabited by the Minoans, a Bronze Age civilization, ruled by King Minos (Britannica).

45 Beach Refers to the shores of Naxos, the island where Ariadne was abandoned by her lover Theseus (Ancient History Encyclopedia).

48 Gales “A wind of considerable strength” (OED).

49 Theseus Athenian hero noteworthy for slaying the minotaur in the Cretan labyrinth with the help of Ariadne, who provided a yarn ball as aid for navigating the labyrinth (Ancient History Encyclopedia).

56 unreprov’d “Uncensured” (OED).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London 1714), pp. 118-122. [Google Books]

 Edited by Roland Shepherd