Tag Archives: patronage

Mary Masters, “To the Sun, in a cold dry Season”


“To the Sun, in a cold dry Season”


PARENT of Light, whose ever-shining Ray,
Quickens the Globe, and kindles up the Day:
Collect thy Force, the Ardors all prepare,
To mitigate and warm the frigid Air:
Send forth, bright Prince, a more extensive Glow,                                      5
And let us feel thy chearing Pow’rs below.
Let humid Vapours leave their native Streams,
Exhal’d from thence by thy attracting Beams;
In rising Mists our Ev’ning Walks attend,
And kindly on the soft’ning Earth descend.                                                  10
Or else, invisibly expanding, rise
Mix into Clouds, and float along the Skies;
There all the Day in bright Suspension stay’d,
And beautiful by thy Reflection made;
Border’d with Gold, or ting’d with purple Hue,                                            15
Like rich Embossings on a Ground of Blue,
To the pleas’d Eye present a gaudy Scene,
Whilst the pure AEther heav’nly looks between.
Let nightly Show’rs refresh the thirsty Earth,
And daily Fervors give her Plants a Birth:                                                       20
Beneath our Feet the flow’ry Buds shall spring,
And on each side the wing’d Musicians sing:
Th’ indulgent Skies shall bless the Peasant’s Toil,
Call forth rich Crops, and make all Nature smile.

Then shall MECENAS grace his rural Seat,                                                     25
Healthful and happy in a warm Retreat:
The neighbouring Towns by his dear Presence blest,
Shall hail and welcome the illustrious Guest:
MARIA too the general Joy will share,
Applaud his Merit, and divide his Care:                                                         30
For like thy Beams, his gen’rous Virtues spread,
And shine benignant on the humble Head.


3 Ardors “Fierce or burning heat” (OED).

16 Embossings “To adorn with figures or other ornamentation in relief” (OED).

18 AEther “The clear sky; the upper regions of space beyond the clouds” (OED).

20 Fervors “Glowing condition, intense heat” (OED).

25 MECENAS Gaius Cilnius Maecenas (c.70 BC-c. 8 BC), Roman politician, counselor to the emperor Augustus, and wealthy patron of such poets as Virgil and Horace. His name became synonymous with ideal literary patronage by the eighteenth century (Encyclopedia Britannica).

29 MARIA Masters’s poetic name for herself.

32 benignant “Cherishing or exhibiting kindly feeling towards inferiors or dependants; gracious, benevolent (with some suggestion of condescension or patronage)” (OED).

 Source:  Poems on Several Occasions, (London 1733), pp. 52-54.  [Hathi Trust]

 Edited by Veronica Jardeleza

James Woodhouse, “Benevolence, An Ode”



Inscribed to my Friends


Let others boast Palladian skill
The sculptur’d dome to raise;
To scoop the vale, to swell the hill,
Or lead the smooth, meand’ring rill
In ever-varying maze;                                                                   5
To strike the lyre
With Homer’s fire,
Or Sappho’s tender art;
Or Handel’s notes with sweeter strains inspire,
O’er Phidia’s chissel to preside,                                                  10
Or Titian’s glowing pencil guide
Through ev’ry living part.

Ah! what avails it thus to shine,
By ev’ry art refin’d;
Except BENEVOLENCE combine                                                  15
To humanize the mind!
The Parian floor,
Or vivid cieling, fresco’d o’er,
With glaring charms the gazing eye may fire;
Yet may their lords, like statues cold,                                        20
Devoid of sympathy, behold
Fair worth with want repine,
Or indigence, expire;
Nor ever know the noblest use of gold.

‘Tis yours, with sympathetic breast,                                           25
To stop the rising sigh,
And wipe the tearful eye,
Nor let repining merit sue unblest;
This is a more applausive taste
Than spending wealth                                                            30
In gorgeous waste,
Or with dire luxury destroying health;
It sweetens life with ev’ry virtuous joy,
And wings the conscious hours with gladness as they fly.


Subtitle “His first two elegies being seen by some gentlemen and ladies in London in manuscript, they made a small subscription for him; and these were the friends he speaks of” [Author’s Note].

1 Palladian A reference to the neoclassical architectural movement inspired by the Italian Renaissance architect, Andrea Palladio (1508-1580). Palladian style was strongly based on symmetry and clarity and remained popular through the mid eighteenth century (Britannica).

7 Homer Greek poet, famously known for his epics The Iliad and The Odyssey.

8 Sappho “Greek lyric poet (c. 610-570 BCE) greatly admired in all ages for the beauty of her writing style” (Britannica).

9 Handel George Frideric Handel (1685-1759), “German-born English composer of the late Baroque era. He wrote the most famous of all oratorios, Messiah (1741)” (Britannica).

10 Phidia Greek sculptor (fl. c. 490-430 BCE), “artistic director of the Parthenon” and renowned for his colossal statues of Athena and Zeus (Britannica).

11 Titian Tiziano Vecellio (or Vecelli) (1488/90-1576) “The greatest Italian Renaissance painter of the Venetian school” (Britannica).

17 Parian floor The Greek island of Paros was known for its “fine white marble, prized in antiquity by sculptors” (OED).

18 cieling Alternate spelling of “ceiling,” noted in Johnson’s Dictionary; fresco’d “A kind of painting executed in water-colour on a wall, ceiling, etc. of which the mortar or plaster is not quite dry, so that the colours sink in and become more durable” (OED).

28 sue “To make one’s petition or appeal” (OED).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions, second edition (London, 1766), pp. 24-26.  [Google Books]

 Edited by Natalie Nunez

Mary Barber, “A True Tale”


“A True TALE”

A Mother, who vast Pleasure finds
In modelling her Childrens Minds;
With whom, in exquisite Delight,
She passes many a Winter Night;
Mingles in ev’ry Play, to find                                              5
What Byas Nature gave the Mind;
Resolving thence to take her Aim,
To guide them to the Realms of Fame;
And wisely make those Realms their Way
To Regions of eternal Day;                                                 10
Each boist’rous Passion to controul,
And early humanize the Soul;
In simple Tales, beside the Fire,
The noblest Notions would inspire:
Her Children, conscious of her Care,                                15
Transported, hung around her Chair.

OF Scripture-Heroes she would tell,
Whose Names they lisp’d, ere they could spell:
The Mother then, delighted, smiles;
And shews the Story on the Tiles.                                      20

AT other Times, her Themes would be
The Sages of Antiquity;
Who left immortal Names behind,
By proving Blessings to their Kind.
Again, she takes another Scope,                                         25
And tells of A​DDISON,​ and P​OPE.

STUDIOUS to let her Children know
The various Turns of Things below; —-
How Virtue here was oft oppres’d,
To shine more glorious with the Bless’d;                          30
Told T​ULLY​’s​ ​and the G​RACCHI’​s​ D​oom,
The Patriots, and the Pride of ​Rome.
Then bless’d the ​Drapier’​s happier Fate,
Who ​sav’d, a​nd lives to ​guard​ the State.

SOME Comedies gave great Delight,                          35
And entertain’d them many a Night:
Others could no Admittance find,
Forbid, as Poison to the Mind:
Those Authors Wit and Sense, said she,
But heighten their Impiety.                                                   40

THIS ​happy Mother met, one Day,
The Book of Fables, writ by GAY;
And told her Children, Here’s a Treasure,
A Fund of Wisdom, and of Pleasure!
Such Morals, and so finely writ;                                           45
Such Decency, good Sense, and Wit!
Well has the Poet found the Art,
To raise the Mind, and mend the Heart.

HER fav’rite Son the Volume seiz’d;
And, as he read, seem’d highly pleas’d;                               50
Made such Reflections ev’ry Page;
The Mother thought above his Age;
Delighted read, but scarce was able
To finish the concluding Fable.

WHAT ​ails my Child? the Mother cries:                          55
Whose Sorrows now have fill’d your Eyes?
O dear Mamma, can he want Friends,
Who writes for such exalted Ends?
Oh base, degen’rate human Kind!
Had I a Fortune to my Mind,                                                    60
Should G​AY ​complain? But now, alas!
Thro’ what a World am I to pass?
Where Friendship is an empty Name,
And Merit scarcely paid in Fame?

RESOLV’D ​to lull his Woes to Rest,                                   65
She tells him, He should hope the best:
This has been yet G​AY’​s Case, I own;
But now his Merit’s amply known.
Content that tender Heart of thine:
He’ll be the Care of C​AROLINE.                                                 70
Who thus instructs the royal Race,
Must have a Pension, or a Place.

MAMMA, ​if you were Q​UEEN, ​says he,
And such a Book were writ for me,
I find ‘tis so much to your Taste,                                               75
That G​AY​ would keep his Coach at least.

MY ​Son, what you suppose, is true:
I see its Excellence in you.
Poets who write to mend the Mind,
A royal Recompence should find.                                             80
But I am barr’d by Fortune’s Frowns,
From the best Privilege of Crowns;
The glorious, godlike Pow’r to bless,
And raise up Merit in Distress.

BUT, dear Mamma, I long to know,                                    85
Were you the Q​UEEN​, what you’d bestow.

WHAT I’d bestow, says she, my Dear?
At least, ​a thousand Pounds a Year.


​26​ADDISON Joseph Addison (​1672-1719​), popular periodical essayist, poet, and dramatist; ​POPE Alexander Pope (1688-1744), poet, satirist, and translator of Homer (Encyclopaedia Britannica).

31TULLY Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC-43 BC)​, a Roman orator who was executed by his political enemies; the GRACCHI’s Doom Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, (169-164? BC-133 BC), “Roman tribune who sponsored agrarian reforms to restore the class of independent farmers and who was assassinated in a riot sparked by his senatorial opponents”, and his brother, Gaius Sempronius Gracchus ​(160-153 BC?-121BC), “Roman tribune who reenacted the agrarian reforms of his brother” and who committed suicide before his political enemies could execute him (Encyclopaedia Britannica).

33 ​​the Drapier’s happy fate A reference to Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), who published a series of seven pamphlets known as Drapier’s Letters (1724-1725) that was “part of a successful campaign to prevent the imposition of a new, and debased, coinage on Ireland” (Encyclopedia Britannica).

42The Book of Fables writ by GAY John Gay (​1685-1735)​, English poet and dramatist, whose ​Fables​ was published in 1727 and dedicated to William, Duke of Cumberland, the six-year-old son of the newly-crowned King George II (1683-1760) and Queen Caroline.

54​ the concluding Fable “Fable L: The Hare and many Friends” was the last of the 50 poems that make up Gay’s Fables.

70 He’ll be the care of CAROLINE ​In dedicating Fables to Prince William, Gay was hoping to court favor with the Prince’s mother, Queen Caroline (1683-1737), known to be a patron of the arts. In the end, he was offered the post of Gentleman Usher to Princess Louisa, then two years old.  Feeling snubbed, Gay declined the position.

Source:  Poems on Several Occasions​ (London, 1735), pp. 7-12.   [Google Books]

Edited by Autumn Goldstein Harris

Phillis Wheatley, “To Maecenas”


“To Maecenas”


MAECENAS, you, beneath the myrtle shade,
Read o’er what poets sung, and shepherds played.
What felt those poets but you feel the same?
Does not your soul possess the sacred flame?
Their noble strains your equal genius shares                                          5
In softer language, and diviner airs.
While Homer paints lo! circumfus’d in air,
Celestial Gods in mortal forms appear;
Swift as they move hear each recess rebound,
Heaven quakes, earth trembles, and the shores resound.                    10
Great Sire of verse, before my mortal eyes,
The lightnings blaze across the vaulted skies;
And, as the thunder shakes the heav’nly plains,
A deep-felt horror thrills thro’ all my veins.
When gentler strains demand thy graceful song,                                    15
The length’ning line moves languishing along.
When great Patroclus courts Achilles’ aid,
The grateful tribute of my tears is paid;
Prone on the shore he feels the pangs of love,
And stern Pelides tenderest passions move.                                            20

Great Maro’s strain in heav’nly numbers flows,
The Nine inspire, and all the bosom glows.
O, could I rival thine and Virgil’s page,
Or claim the Muses with the Mantuan Sage;
Soon the same beauties should my mind adorn,                                    25
And the same ardors in my soul should burn:
Then should my song in bolder notes arise,
And all my numbers pleasingly surprise;
But here I sit and mourn a grov’ling mind,
That fain would mount, and ride upon the wind.                                     30

Not you, my friend, these plaintive strains become,
Not you, whose bosom is the Muses home;
When they from tow’ring Helicon retire,
They fan in you the bright immortal fire,
But I, less happy, cannot raise the song,                                                    35
The falt’ring music dies upon my tongue.

The happier Terence all the choir inspired,
His soul replenish’d, and his bosom fir’d;
But say, ye Muses, why this partial grace,
To one alone of Afric’s sable race;                                                                40
From age to age, transmitting thus his name
With the first glory in the rolls of fame?

Thy virtues, great Maecenas! shall be sung
In praise of him, from whom those virtues sprung:
While blooming wreaths around thy temples spread,                              45
I’ll snatch a laurel from thine honour’d head,
While you indulgent smile upon the deed.

As long as Thames in streams majestic flows,
Or Naiads in their oozy beds repose,
While Phoebus reigns above the starry train,                                              50
While bright Aurora purples o’er the main,
So long, great Sir, the muse thy praise shall sing,
So long thy praise shall make Parnassus ring:
Then grant, Maecenas, thy paternal rays,
Hear me propitious and defend my lays.                                                    55


Title  Maecenas  Gaius Cilnius Maecenas (c.70 BC-c. 8 BC), Roman politician, counselor to the emperor Augustus, and wealthy patron of such poets as Virgil and Horace. His name became synonymous with ideal literary patronage by the eighteenth century (Encyclopedia Britannica). Likely a reference to Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon (1707-1791), to whom Wheatley dedicated her 1773 volume of poems (Vincent Carretta, Phillis Wheatley: Biography of a Genius in Bondage, p. 106).

1  Myrtle  “An evergreen shrub” (OED).

7  Homer  Greek poet, famous for epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey.

17  Patroclus  Beloved friend of Achilles; Achilles  The hero and main subject of the epic poem The Iliad. Wheatley is alluding to Book 16, ll. 40-45, in which Patroclus asks Achilles to lend him his armour to lead the Myrmidons into battle with the Trojans (OCD).

20  Pelides  Another name for Achilles.

21  Maro  Publius Vergilius Maro (70 BC – 19 BC), ancient Roman poet, more commonly known as “Virgil.”

22  the Nine The Muses, nine Greek goddesses who ruled over the arts and sciences.

24  Mantuan Sage  Virgil was born in Andes, a village near Mantua in northern Italy (OCD).

33  Helicon  Mountain sacred to the Muses, “hence used allusively in reference to poetic inspiration” (OED).

37  Terence  “An African by Birth” [Author’s Note], Publius Terentius (c.190 BC – c.159 BC), ancient Roman playwright of North African descent (OCD).

46 Laurel  “Leaves woven into a wreath worn on the head, given to poets as a reward for excellence” (OED).

48  Thames  The river that flows through London.  Wheatley traveled to London with Nathaniel Wheatley in 1773 to support the publication of her poems.

49  Naiads  Water nymphs “thought to inhabit rivers, springs, etc.” (OED).

51  Aurora  Roman goddess of the dawn (OED).

53  Parnassus  A mountain in central Greece, home of the Muses.

Source: Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (London, 1773), pp. 9-11 [Google Books] 

Edited by Chrisangel Colon

Stephen Duck, “To His Royal Highness The Duke of Cumberland, on His Birth-Day”


 “To His Royal Highness The Duke of CUMBERLAND, on His Birth-Day”


Twelve times hath SOL his annual Race begun,
Since JOVE descended from his radiant Throne:
Around the pendent Globe, the God pursu’d
His circling March, and human Actions view’d;
But griev’d that Virtue droop’d her languid Head,                                                     5
While Vice from Clime to Clime contagious spread;
Back, to his native Seat, he sternly flies;
And sends and Edict thro’ the spacious Skies,
To call th’ Ethereal Pow’rs: Swift flew his Word;
Th’ Ethereal Pow’rs, as swift, attend their Lord.                                                        10
Upon Olympus’ Top the Synod met,
Where, high inthron’d the thund’ring Monarch sat;
And, with a Nod, that shook the Spheres, he swore,
The Minor Gods should visit Earth no more.                                                                                    What, must your earthly Sons, MINERVA cry’d,                                                         15
Explore their doubtful Way without a Guide?
If PALLAS must no more to Mortals go,
Let PALLAS beg a Substitute below,
Worthy to rule the World, whose noble Mind
May copy out the Gods to human Kind.                                                                      20
She lowly bow’d; and JOVE, consenting, smil’d;
Go, form, said he, this new-imagin’d Child:
Collect the best Materials, where you will;
And let us see, for once, MINERVA’S Skill.
He said; she hastens o’er the bright Abodes,                                                              25
Selecting each Perfection of the Gods:
From Mars she warlike Strength and Courage took;
But soften’d them with VENUS’ graceful Look:
To these she added HERMES’ Eloquence,                                                                                                   And crown’d it with her own superior Sense:                                                               30
Some of Apollo’s piercing Rays she stole;
And while the MUSES play’d, she she form’d a Soul.
When thus compos’d the bright Ingredients lay,
She nobly drest them in Eternal Clay;
Jove touch’d the Mass with enliv’ning Hand,                                                                 35
And vital Warmth inspir’d a CUMBERLAND.


Title Duke of CUMBERLAND Prince William Augustus (1726-1765), third son of King George II, appointed as Duke in 1726. At an early age he became known for his astute physical courage and ability. He would later lead the decisive Battle of Culloden against the Jacobite rebels in January, 1746 (Encyclopedia Britannica).

1 SOL “The sun (personified)” (OED).

2 JOVE Latin name for Jupiter, the highest god of the ancient Romans; the equivalent of Zeus in the Greek tradition (Encyclopedia Britannica).

11 Olympus’ Top Known as Mount Olympus. The home of gods and goddesses in ancient mythology (Encyclopedia Britannica); Synod “An assembly, convention, or council of any kind” (OED).

15 MINERVA “A Roman goddess, regarded as the patron of handicrafts and the arts, and later also of wisdom and prowess in war, identified from an early period with the Greek Athene” (OED).

17 PALLAS An epithet for Athena, the goddess of war, handicraft, and practical reason. “Pallas” refers to her warrior side; according to legend, Pallas was a friend and sparring partner accidentally killed by Athena.

27 Mars “The god of war of the ancient Romans, ranking in importance next to Jupiter, and identified from an early period with the Greek god Ares” (OED).

28 VENUS Roman goddess of love and beauty (Encyclopedia Britannica).

29 HERMES “A deity, the son of Zeus and Maia, represented as the messenger of the gods, the god of science, commerce, eloquence, and many of the arts of life” (OED).

31 Apollo Roman god of beauty, music, and poetry (Encyclopedia Britannica).

 Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1738), pp. 97-98. [Google Books]

Edited by Christian Ferrey

John Gay, “Epistle to a Lady. Occasioned by the Arrival of Her Royal Highness”


 EPISTLE TO A LADY. Occasioned by the Arrival of HER ROYAL HIGHNESS”

 MADAM, to all your censures I submit,
And frankly own I should long since have writ:
You told me, silence would be thought a crime,
And kindly strove to ease me into rhyme:
No more let trifling themes your Muse employ,                                            5
Nor lavish verse to paint a female toy:
No more on plains with rural damsels sport,
But sing the glories of the British court.

By your commands and inclination sway’d,
I call’d th’ unwilling Muses to my aid;                                                              10
Resolv’d to write, the noble theme I chose,
And to the Princess thus the Poem rose.

Aid me bright Phoebus; aid, ye sacred Nine;
Exalt my Genius, and my verse refine.
My strains with Carolina’s name I grace,                                                          15
The lovely parent of our royal race.
Breathe soft, ye winds, ye waves in silence sleep;
Let prosp’rous breezes wanton o’er the deep,
Swell the white sails, and with the streamers play,
To waft her gently o’er the watry way.                                                               20

Here I to Neptune form’d a pompous pray’r,
To rein the winds, and guard the royal Fair;
Bid the blue Tritons sound their twisted shells,
And call the Nereids from their pearly cells.

Thus my warm zeal had drawn the Muse along,                                   25
Yet knew no method to conduct her song:
I then resolv’d some model to pursue,
Perus’d French Criticks, and began anew.
Long open panegyrick drags at best,
And praise is only praise when well address’d.                                            30

Strait Horace for some lucky Ode I sought:
And all along I trac’d him thought by thought:
This new performance to a friend I show’d;
For shame, says he, what, imitate an Ode!
I’d rather ballads write, and Grubstreet lays,                                                35
Than pillage Casar for my patron’s praise:
One common fate all imitators share,
To save mince-pies, and cap the grocer’s ware.
Vex’d at the charge, I to the flames commit
Rhymes, similies, Lords names, and ends of wit;                                         40
In blotted stanzas scraps of Odes expire,
And fustian mounts in Pyramids of fire.

Ladies, to you I next inscrib’d my lay,
And writ a letter in familiar way:
For still impatient till the Princess came,                                                       45
You from description wish’d to know the dame.
Each day my pleasing labour larger grew,
For still new graces open’d to my view.
Twelve lines ran on to introduce the theme,
And then I thus pursu’d the growing scheme.                                              50

Beauty and wit were sure by nature join’d,
And charms are emanations of the mind;
The soul transpiercing through the shining frame,
Forms all the graces of the Princely Dame:
Benevolence her conversation guides,                                                              55
Smiles on her cheek, and in her eye resides.
Such harmony upon her tongue is found,
As softens English to Italian sound:
Yet in those sounds such sentiments appear,
As charm the Judgment, while they sooth the ear.                                            60

Religion’s chearful flame her bosom warms,
Calms all her hours, and brightens all her charms.
Henceforth, ye Fair, at chappel mind your pray’rs,
Nor catch your lover’s eyes with artful airs;
Restrain your looks, kneel more, and whisper less,                                          65
Nor most devoutly criticize on dress.

From her form all your characters of life,
The tender mother, and the faithful wife.
Oft have I seen her little infant train,
The lovely promise of a future reign;                                                                 70
Observ’d with pleasure ev’ry dawning grace,
And all the mother op’ning in their face,
The son shall add new honours to the line,
And early with paternal virtues shine;
When he the tale of Audenard repeats,                                                            75
His little heart with emulation beats;
With conquests yet to come, his bosom glows,
He dreams of triumphs and of vanquish’d foes.
Each year with arts shall store his rip’ning brain,
And from his Grandsire he shall learn to reign.                                               80

Thus far I’d gone: Propitious rising gales
Now bid the sailor hoist the swelling sails.
Fair Carolina lands; the canons roar,
White Albion’s cliffs resound from shore to shore,
Behold the bright original appear,                                                                 85
All praise is faint when Carolina’s near.
Thus to the nation’s joy, but Poet’s cost,
The Princess came, and my new plan was lost.

Since all my schemes were baulk’d, my last resort,
I left the Muses to frequent the Court;                                                          90
Pensive each night, from room to room I walk’d,
To one I bow’d, and with another talk’d;
Enquir’d what news, or such a Lady’s name,
And did the next day, and the next, the same.
Places, I found, were daily given away,                                                          95
And yet no friendly Gazette mention’d Gay.
I ask’d a friend what method to pursue;
He cry’d, I want a place as well as you.
Another ask’d me, why I had not writ;
A Poet owes his fortune to his wit.                                                                 100
Strait I reply’d, with a courtly grace,
Flows easy verse from him that has a place!
Had Virgil ne’er at court improv’d his strains,
He still had sung of flocks and homely swains;
And had not Horace sweet preferment found,                                             105
The Roman lyre had never learnt to sound.

Once Ladies fair in homely guise I sung,
And with their names wild woods and mountains rung.
Oh, teach me now to strike a softer strain!
The Court refines the language of the plain.                                                 110

You must, cries one, the Ministry rehearse,
And with each Patriot’s name prolong your verse.
But sure this truth to Poets should be known,
That praising all alike, is praising none.

Another told me, if I wish’d success,                                                        115
To some distinguish’d Lord I must address;
One whose high virtues speak his noble blood,
One always zealous for his country’s good;
Where valour and strong eloquence unite,
In council cautious, resolute in fight;                                                             120
Whose gen’rous temper prompts him to defend,
And patronize the man that wants a friend.
You have, ‘tis true, the noble Patron shown,
But I, alas! Am to Argyle unknown.

Still ev’ry one I met in this agreed,                                                           125
That writing was my method to succeed;
But not preferments so possess’d my brain,
That scarce I could produce a single strain:
Indeed I sometimes hammer’d out a line,
Without connection as without design.                                                          130
One morn upon the Princess this I writ,
An Epigram that boasts more truth than wit

The pomp of titles easy faith might shake,
She scorn’d an empire for religion’s sake:
For this, on earth, the British crown is giv’n,                                                      135
And an immortal crown decreed in heav’n.

Again, while GEORGE’s virtues rais’d my thought,
The following lines prophetick fancy wrought.

Methinks I see some Bard, whose heav’nly rage,
Shall rise in song, and warm a future age;                                                          140
Look back through time, and, rapt in wonder, trace
The glorious series of the Brunswick race.

 From the first George these godlike kings descend,
A line which only with the world shall end.
The next a genr’ous Prince renown’d in arms,                                                    145
And bless’d, long bless’d in Carolina’s charms;
From these the rest. ‘Tis thus secure in peace,
We plow the fields, and reap the year’s increase:
Now Commerce, wealthy Goddess, rears her head,
And bids Britannia’s fleets their canvas spread;                                                 150
Unnumber’d ships the peopled ocean hide,
And wealth returns with each revolving tide.

Here paus’d the sullen Muse, in haste I dress’d,
And through the croud of needy courtiers press’d;
Though unsuccessful, happy whilst I see,                                                        155
Those eyes that glad a nation, shine on me.


 Title First published in 1714, this is Gay’s revised version; Her Royal Highness Caroline of Ansbach (1683 – 1737). She married George Augustus of Great Britain in 1705, and became Princess of Wales in 1714, and Queen in 1727.

13 Phoebus “Greek God Apollo: God of music, poetry, sun, and light” (OED); Sacred Nine The nine Muses: Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Erato (lyric poetry), Euterpe (music), Melpomene (tragedy), Polyhymnia (religious music), Terpsichore (dance), Thalia (comedy), and Urania (astronomy).

15 Carolina Caroline, Princess of Wales in 1714. She became the first woman to receive the title at the same time her husband received his.

21 Neptune Roman god of the sea.

23 Triton Greek sea deity, son of Poseidon.

24 Nereids Sea nymphs.

29 Panegyrick Public speech or text delivered in high praise of a person or thing. (OED).

31 Horace Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65 BC – 8 BC) Latin lyric poet and satirist under the emperor Augustus. Known for his odes.

35 Grubstreet “Used for the tribe of mean and needy authors, or literary hacks” (OED).

36 Casar Augustus Caesar (63 BC – 14 AD), founder of the Roman Empire and its first Emperor. Horace’s second ode, “To Augustus Caesar,” celebrated its addressee as savior of the Empire.

42 Fustian “Coarse cloth made of cotton or flax” (OED).

75 Audenard Battle of Oudenarde July 11, 1708. The Grand Alliance (Great Britain, the Dutch Republic, and the Holy Empire) held victory over the French.

81 Propitious “Of God, the fates” (OED).

84 Albion “The island of Britain” (OED).

96 Gazette Newspaper.

103 Virgil Publius Vergilius Maro (70 BC – 19 BC), Roman court poet.

124 Argyle John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyle (1680-1743). A noted commander in the British Army during the War of the Spanish Succession, and also known to be a patron of the arts.

132 Epigram A short, witty poem.

134 She scorn’d…religion’s sake Caroline rejected the suit of Archduke Charles of Austria (who would later become King of Spain) on religious grounds.

137 George George Augustus (1683-1760), Prince of Wales in 1714.

139 Bard An ancient Celtic poet whose primary function was to compose and sing (usually to the harp) verses celebrating the achievements of chiefs and warriors.

142 Brunswick A reference to the Duchy state of Brunswick and Lüneberg, in Northern Germany, from which the Hanoverian kings came.

143 first George King George I of Great Britain (1660-1727), reigned from 1714.

145 Prince George Augustus, Prince of Wales, later King George II of Great Britain, reigned from 1727-1760.

Source: Poems on Several Occasions, Volume 2 (London, 1731), pp. 3-11. [Google Books]

 Edited by Jennifer Fong