Tag Archives: politics

Mary Barber, “To a Gentleman, who had abus’d Waller”


“To a Gentleman, who had abus’d Waller”

I Grieve to think that WALLER’S blam’d,
WALLER , so long, so justly, fam’d.
Then own your Verses writ in Haste,
Or I shall say, you’ve lost your Taste.

Perhaps your loyal Heart disdains                                                   5
A Poet, who could take such Pains,
To tune his sweet, immortal Lays
To an usurping Tyrant’s Praise:
And, where you hate the Man, I see,
You never like his Poetry.                                                                    10
The Truth of this your Verse discovers;
So you abus’d the Conscious Lovers.

Tho’ in your Principles you glory,
The Muses are nor Whig nor Tory:
So from your Sentence they appeal,                                                  15
Nor will be judg’d by Party Zeal.
Whene’er a Poet’s to be try’d,
Let Pope hereafter be your Guide.
“Survey the Whole, nor seek slight Faults to find,
Where Nature moves, and Rapture warms the Mind.”                    20


Title Waller Edmund Waller (1606-1687), poet and politician. Waller’s “adoption of smooth regular versification prepared the way for the heroic couplet’s emergence by the end of the century as the dominant form of poetic expression” (Britannica).

1 Waller’s blam’d As a member of Parliament during the political turmoil of the 1640s, Waller famously switched sides, “first actively supporting the opposition to the monarchy” but then becoming “an active member of the Royalist cause” by 1643 (Britannica).

7-8 To tune…usurping Tyrant’s Praise In 1655, Waller celebrated his distant cousin, Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), Lord Protector of the Commonwealth from 1653, with his “Panegyrick to my Lord Protector” (Britannica).

12 Conscious Lovers A popular sentimental comedy by Richard Steele (c. 1671-1729). It was first staged on 7 November 1722 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

14 Muses The nine goddesses of literature, science, and the arts in Greek mythology (OED); Whig nor Tory References the two political parties that dominated British politics in the late seventeenth century.

18 Pope Alexander Pope (1688-1744), poet, translator, and satirist.

19-20 “Essay on Criticism” [Author’s note].  Barber quotes lines 235-236 from Part II here (Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism: Part II [London, 1711]).

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1735), pp. 80-81. [Google Books]

Edited by Shivangi Ghissing


Mary Alcock, “Instructions, Supposed to be Written in Paris, for the Mob in England”


“Instructions, Supposed to be Written in Paris, for the Mob in England”

Of Liberty, Reform, and Rights I sing,
Freedom I mean, without or Church or King;
Freedom to seize and keep whate’er I can,
And boldly claim my right–The Rights of Man:
Such is the blessed liberty in vogue,                                                  5
The envied liberty to be a rogue;
The right to pay no taxes, tithes, or dues;
The liberty to do whate’er I chuse;
The right to take by violence and strife
My neighbour’s goods, and, if I please, his life;                                10
The liberty to raise a mob or riot,
For spoil and plunder ne’er were got by quiet;
The right to level and reform the great;
The liberty to overturn the state;
The right to break through all the nation’s laws,                             15
And boldly dare to take rebellion’s cause:
Let all be equal, every man my brother;
Why one have property, and not another?
Why suffer titles to give awe and fear?
There shall not long remain one British peer;                                  20
Nor shall the criminal appalled stand
Before the mighty judges of the land;
Nor judge, nor jury shall there longer be,
Nor any jail, but every pris’ner free;
All law abolish’d, and with sword in hand                                          25
We’ll seize the property of all the land,
Then hail to Liberty, Reform, and Riot!
Adieu Contentment, Safety, Peace, and Quiet!


1 Liberty Article 4 of “The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen” defined “liberté” as “being able to do anything that does not harm others;” Reform “The action or process of making changes in an institution, organization, or aspect of social or political life, so as to remove errors, abuses, or other hindrances to proper performance” (OED).

4 Rights of Man The guiding document of the French Revolution was “The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen” (1789).  Alcock may also be thinking of Thomas Paine’s two-part book, The Rights of Man (1791/2), written in support of the French Revolution.

5  vogue “Popularity; general acceptance or currency” (OED).

6  rogue “A dishonest, unprincipled person” (OED).

7  tithes “A tenth of annual produce or earnings, taken as a tax (originally in kind) for the support of the church and clergy;…now chiefly historical” (OED).

12 plunder “The action of plundering or taking something as spoil in time of war or civil disorder” (OED).

17 equal Article 6 of “The Declaration” stipulated that “all citizens were equal before the law and were to have the right to participate in legislation directly or indirectly” (Britannica).

20 peer “A member of a rank of hereditary nobility in Britain” (OED).

SOURCE:  Poems, & c. &c. By the Late Mrs. Mary Alcock (London, 1799), pp. 48-49. [Google Books]

Edited by Nadine French

Soame Jenyns, “The Modern Fine Gentleman”


 “The Modern Fine Gentleman”

Written in the Year 1746

Quale Portentum neque militaris
Daunia in latis alit esculetis,
Ned Jube tellus generat, leonum
Arida nutrix.


JUST broke from school, pert, impudent, and raw,
Expert in Latin, more expert in taw,
His Honour posts o’er Italy and France,
Measures St. Peter’s dome, and learns to dance.
Thence, having quick thro’ various countries flown,                                5
Glean’d all their follies and expos’d his own,
He back returns, a thing so strange all o’er,
As never ages past produc’d before:
A monster of such complicated worth,
As no one single clime could e’er bring forth;                                         10
Half atheist, papist, gamester, bubble, rook,
Half fidler, coachman, dancer, groom and cook.
Next, because bus’ness is now all the vogue,
And who’d be quite polite must be a rogue,
In parliament he purchases a seat,                                                         15
To make th’ accomplish’d gentleman compleat.
There safe in self-sufficient impudence,
Without experience, honesty, or sense,
Unknowing in her int’rest, trade, or laws,
He vainly undertakes his country’s cause:                                              20
Forth from his lips, prepar’d at all to rail,
Torrents of nonsense burst, like bottled ale,
Tho’ shallow, muddy; brisk, tho’ mighty dull;
Fierce without strength; o’erflowing, tho’ not full.
Now quite a Frenchman in his garb and air,                                    25
His neck yok’d down with bag and solitaire,
The liberties of Britain he supports,
And storms at place-men, ministers, and courts;
Now in cropt greasy hair, and leather breeches,
He loudly bellows out his patriot speeches;                                            30
Kings, lords, and commons ventures to abuse,
Yet dares to shew those ears, he ought to lose.
From hence to White’s our virtuous Cato flies
There sits with countenance erect and wise,
And talks of games of whist, and pig-tail pies;                                        35
Plays all the night, nor doubts each law to break,
Himself unknowingly has help’d to make;
Trembling and anxious, stakes his utmost groat,
Peeps o’er his cards and looks as if he thought:
Next morn disowns the losses of the night,                                            40
Because the fool would fain be thought a bite.
Devoted thus to politics, and cards,
Nor mirth, nor wine, nor women he regards,
So far is ev’ry virtue from his heart,
That not a gen’rous vice can claim a part;                                               45
Nay, lest one human passion e’er should move
His soul to friendship, tenderness, or love,
To Figg and Broughton he commits his breast,
To steel it to the fashionable test.
Thus poor in wealth, he labours to no end,                                      50
Wretched alone, in crowds without a friend;
Insensible to all that’s good and kind,
Deaf to all merit, to all beauty blind;
For love too busy, and for wit too grave,
A harden’d, sober, proud, luxurious knave;                                               55
By little actions striving to be great,
And proud to be, and to be thought a cheat.
And yet in this so bad is his success,
That as his fame improves, his rents grow less;
On parchment wings his acres take their flight,                                        60
And his unpeopled groves admit the light;
With his estate his int’rest too is gone,
His honest borough seeks a warmer sun;
For him now, cash and liquor flows no more,
His independent voters cease to roar:                                                        65
And Britain soon must want the great defence
Of all his honesty, and eloquence,
But that his gen’rous youth, more anxious grown
For public liberty than for his own,
Marries some jointur’d antiquated crone:                                                   70
And boldly, when his country is at stake,
Braves deep yawning gulph, like Curtius, for its sake.
Quickly again distress’d for want of coin,
He digs no longer in th’ exhausted mine,
But seeks preferment, as the last resort,                                                    75
Cringes each morn at levées, bows at court,
And, from the hand he hates, implores support:
The minister, well pleas’d at small expence
To silence so much rude impertinence,
With squeeze and whisper yields to his demands,                                     80
And on the venal list enroll’d he stands;
A ribband and a pension buy the slave,
This bribes the fool about him, that the knave.
And now arrived at his meridian glory,
He sinks apace, despis’d by Whig and Tory;                                                 85
Of independence now he talks no more,
Nor shakes the senate with his patriot roar,
But silent votes, and, with court-trappings hung,
Eyes his own glitt’ring star, and holds his tongue.
In craft a political a bankrupt made,                                                              90
He sticks to gaming, as the surer trade;
Turns downright sharper, lives by sucking blood,
And grows, in short, the very thing he wou’d:
Hunts out young heirs, who have their fortunes spent,
And lends them ready cash at cent per cent,                                               95
Lays wagers on his own, and others lives,
Fights uncles, fathers, grandmothers, and wives,
Till death at length, indignant to be made
The daily subject of his sport and trade,
Veils with his sable hand the wretch’s eyes,                                                  100
And, groaning for the betts he loses by’t, he dies.


Epigraph “Dire monster! in her broad oak woods/Fierce Daunia fosters none such other,/Nor Juba’s land, of lion broods/The thirsty mother” (Horace, Odes, Book 1.22, ll. 13-16).

1 pert “Sharp; clever; quick-witted” (OED).

2 expert in taw In this context, a reference to playing marbles.

4 St. Peter’s dome Church located in the Vatican City, named after St. Peter the Apostle (Britannica).

11 papist “A Roman Catholic” (OED).

23-24 “Parody on the lines by Sir John Denham: ‘Tho’ deep, yet clear, tho’ gentle yet not dull,/Strong without rage, without o’erflowing full’” [Author’s note]. These are lines 191-192 of Denham’s poem “Cooper’s Hill,” second version, first published in 1655.

25 garb “Fashion of dress” (OED).

28 place-men “A person who is appointed (or aspires) to a position, esp. in government service, for personal profit and as a reward for political support” (OED).

33 White’s Originally founded in 1693 as a chocolate house, it was later transformed into a notorious gambling house and gentlemen’s club. Frequent visitors were known as “the gamesters of White’s” (Grivetti and Shapiro, Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage, p. 584); Cato Marcus Porcius Cato or “Cato the Censor” (234-149 BCE) was a dominant political and cultural figure in Rome (OCD).

43 mirth “Merriment, hilarity” (OED).

48 Figg and Broughton James Figg (c. 1695-1734) and his protégé Jack Broughton (c. 1704-1789) were famous English bare-knuckle boxers in the eighteenth century (Britannica).

70 crone “A withered old woman” (OED).

72 Braves deep yawning gulph, like Curtius According to Roman myth, Marcus Curtius saved Rome by throwing himself into a deep chasm that opened in the Forum because of an earthquake (Britannica).

76 levées “A morning assembly held by a prince or person of distinction” (OED).

82 ribband “To award or honour (a person) with a ribbon” (OED).

85 Whig and Tory “Two opposing political parties or factions in England, particularly during the eighteenth century” (Britannica).

91 gaming Gambling.

92 sharper “A fraudulent gamester” (OED).

 Source: Charles Nalson Cole, ed., The Works of Soame Jenyns, esq. …including several pieces never before published. To which are prefixed, short sketches of the history of the author’s family, and also of his life (Dublin, 1791), vol. 1,  pp. 53-56.  [Hathi Trust]

 Edited by Russelle Gatmen

Jonathan Swift, “The Furniture of a Woman’s Mind”


 “The Furniture of a Woman’s Mind.

 Written in the Year 1727


A Set of Phrases learn’d by Rote;
A Passion for a Scarlet-Coat;
When at a Play to laugh, or cry,
Yet cannot tell the Reason why:
Never to hold her Tongue a Minute;                                    5
While all she prates has nothing in it.
Whole Hours can with a Coxcomb sit,
And take his Nonsense all for Wit;
Her Learning mounts to read a Song;
But, half the Words pronouncing wrong;                             10
Has ev’ry Rapartee in Store,
She spoke ten Thousand Times before,
Can ready Compliments supply
On all Occasions, cut and dry.
Such Hatred to a Parson’s Gown,                                           15
The Sight will put her in a Swoon.
For Conversation well endu’d;
She calls it witty to be rude;
And, placing Raillery in Railing;
Will tell aloud your greatest Failing;                                        20
Nor makes a Scruple to expose
Your bandy Leg, or crooked Nose.
Can at her Morning Tea, run o’er
The Scandal of the Day before,
Improving hourly in her Skill,                                                    25
To cheat and wrangle at Quadrille.

In chusing Lace a Critick nice,
Knows to a Groat the lowest Price;
Can in her Female Clubs dispute
What Lining best the Silk will suit;                                            30
What Colours each Complexion match,
And where with Art to place a Patch.

If chance a Mouse creeps in her Sight,
Can finely counterfeit a Fright;
So, sweetly screams if it comes near her,                               35
She ravishes all Hearts to hear her.
Can dext’rously her Husband teize,
By taking Fits whene’er she please:
By frequent Practice learns the Trick
At proper Seasons to be sick;                                                    40
Thinks nothing gives one Airs so pretty;
At once creating Love and Pity.
If Molly happens to be careless,
And but neglects to warm her Hair-Lace,
She gets a Cold as sure as Death;                                             45
And vows she scarce can fetch her Breath:
Admires how modest Women can
Be so robustious like a Man.

In Party, furious to her Power:
A bitter Whig, or Tory sow’r.                                                       50
Her arguments directly tend
Against the Side she would defend:
Will prove herself a Tory plain,
From Principles the Whigs maintain;
And, to defend the Whiggish Cause,                                          55
Her Topicks from the Tories draws.

O yes! If any Man can find
More Virtues in a Woman’s Mind,
Let them be sent to Mrs. Harding,
She’ll pay the Charges to a Farthing:                                         60
Take Notice, she has my Commission
To add them to the next Edition:
They may out-sell a better Thing;
So, Halloo Boys! God save the King.


 2 Scarlet-Coat  A reference to a soldier in the British army; from the seventeenth century onwards known as “redcoats” (OED).

 6 prates To “speak foolishly” or with “little purpose” (OED).

 7 Coxcomb  A “fool” or “simpleton” (OED).

 11 Rapartee  “A witty or sharp reply” (OED).

15 Parson’s Clergyman of the Anglican Church of England (OED).

 19 Raillery  “Abusive, unpleasant or unkind criticism” (OED).

 26 Quadrille  “A trick-taking card game for four players using forty cards” (OED).

 28 Groat  An English coin worth four pence that “ceased to be issued for circulation in 1662” (OED).

32 Patch  “A small piece of black material, typically silk or velvet, cut into a decorative shape and worn on the face, either for adornment or to conceal a blemish, esp. in the 17th and 18th centuries” (OED).

 37 teize Tease; to “worry”, “vex” or “annoy” (OED).

 43 Molly  “A girl, a woman, esp. a lower-class one” (OED).

 44 Hair-Lace  “A string or tie for binding the hair; a fillet, headband” (OED).

 50 Whig  “One faction of two opposing political parties in England, particularly during the 18th century. ‘Whigs’ was applied to those who claimed the power of excluding the heir from the throne” (Encyclopaedia Britannica); Tory  “One faction of two opposing political parties in England. ‘Tory’ applied to those who supported the hereditary right of James, duke of York, despite his Roman Catholic faith” (Encyclopaedia Britannica); sow’r  Variant of sour: “having a harsh, morose, or peevish disposition” (OED).

59 Mrs. Harding  Sarah Harding, widow of Dublin printer John Harding who was prosecuted for publishing Swift’s Drapier’s Letters in 1724.  At her husband’s death in 1725, Sarah took over the business and, despite being taken into custody briefly in 1725 herself, she continued to publish politically controversial work by Swift (James Woolley, “Sarah Harding as Swift’s Printer,” in Walking Naboth’s Vineyard: New Studies of Swift, pp. 164-77).

 60 Farthing “The quarter of a penny; the coin representing this value” (OED).

SOURCE: The Works of Jonathan Swift, vol. 2 (Dublin, 1751), pp. 248-50. [HathiTrust]

 Edited by Alejandra Pereda

George Woodward, “On the Death of a Monkey”


“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.


 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



“E. B.,” “Some additional Lines, which were recited at the Caractacan Meeting…”

“E. B.”

“Some additional Lines, which were recited at the CARACTACAN Meeting, at Longnor, in Shropshire, in July, 1776.”

So sung the bard, who, in Silurian groves
Sequester’d, chaunted his prophetic strain.
Far other scenes, beyond the vast Atlantic,
Horrid with arms, and stain’d with civil blood,
The Muse with grief beholds, and with soft Pity’s                          5
Mournful eye deplores, weeping the dire ills
Of lawless Faction, blasting the fair fruits
Which Freedom and true Liberty bestow’d,
In happiest climes, on those her fav’rite sons.
Instead of regal sway, for gen’ral good,                                         10
Fierce democratic rage usurps the seat
Of Empire, spurning with rebellious pride
The hand parental, which has rais’d and nurtur’d
Their infant weakness up to the strength and power.
Yet, ‘midst the conflict of th’ impurpled field,                               15
If Victory should crown our warriors brows,
O yet may Britons, in whose gen’rous breasts
Firm Valour is with gentlest Mercy join’d,
(Noblest distinction of the brave and good!)
Learn to forgive e’en blind deluded zeal                                       20
For what was rashly deem’d their Country’s Cause.
Each real grievance, ev’ry public wound,
By Wisdom’s mild and lenient councils heal’d,
May smiling Peace, and ev’ry lib’ral art,
Return again to bless Columbia’s shores;                                     25
Commerce with swelling sails waft o’er the Main
The various bounties of each distant clime:
May Albion’s wide-extended Empire’s bounds,
In closest union link’d, defy her foes,
And kindred nations hail one Patriot King!                                  30


Title  CARACTACAN An originally Welsh society honoring Caractacus, the Briton king who led the war against Rome’s invasion of England (National Library of Wales); Longnor Village near the Welsh border.

1  Silurian “[O]f ancient southeastern Wales” (OED).

2  chaunted Chanted.

15  impurpled field A field made purple by the spilling of much blood.

25  Columbia America.

26  Main The Atlantic Ocean.

28  Albion “A poetic or literary term for Britain or England” (OED).

30  Patriot King King George III, who reigned from 1760 to 1820, but possibly also a reference to Henry St. John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke’s 1740 treatise, The Idea of a Patriot King, which claimed that England needed an outside-of-politics king to take power and save the country from the factional and corrupt party politics that plagued England’s government under Robert Walpole in the 1720 and 1730s.  Before he became King, George was said to have been an admirer of Bolingbroke’s tract.

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine, Vol. 46 (September 1776), p. 427.

Edited by George Griffith