Tag Archives: satire

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

Elizabeth Hands, “A Poem, on the Supposition of an Advertisement Appearing in a Morning Paper, of the Publication of a Volume of Poems, by a Servant-Maid”

ELIZABETH HANDS

 “A Poem, on the Supposition of an Advertisement Appearing in a Morning Paper, of the Publication of a Volume of Poems, by a Servant-Maid”

 

The tea-kettle bubbled, the tea things were set,
The candles were lighted, the ladies were met;
The how d’ye’s were over, and entering bustle,
The company seated, and silks ceas’d to rustle:
The great Mrs. Consequence open’d her fan;                                                         5
And thus the discourse in an instant began:
(All affected reserve, and formality scorning,)
I suppose you all saw in the paper this morning,
A volume of Poems advertis’d—’tis said
They’re produced by the pen of a poor Servant Maid.                                         10
A servant write verses! says Madam Du Bloom;
Pray what is the subject—a Mop, or a Broom?
He, he, he, —says Miss Flounce; I suppose we shall see
An Ode on a Dishclout—what else can it be?
Says Miss Coquettilla, why ladies so tart?                                                                15
Perhaps Tom the Footman has fired her heart;
And she’ll tell us how charming he looks in new clothes,
And how nimble his hand moves in brushing the shoes;
Or how the last time that he went to May-Fair,
He bought her some sweethearts of ginger-bread ware.                                      20
For my part I think, says old lady Marr-joy,
A servant might find herself other employ:
Was she mine I’d employ her as long as ’twas light,
And send her to bed without candle at night.
Why so? says Miss Rhymer, displeas’d; I protest                                                      25
’Tis pity a genius should be so deprest!
What ideas can such low-bred creatures conceive,
Says Mrs. Noworthy, and laught in her sleeve.
Says old Miss Prudella, if servants can tell
How to write to their mothers, to say they are well,                                                30
And read of a Sunday the Duty of Man;
Which is more I believe than one half of them can;
I think ’tis much properer they should rest there,
Than be reaching at things so much out of their sphere.
Says old Mrs. Candour, I’ve now got a maid                                                              35
That’s the plague of my life—a young gossiping jade;
There’s no end of the people that after her come,
And whenever I’m out, she is never at home;
I’d rather ten times she would sit down and write,
Than gossip all over the town ev’ry night.                                                                  40
Some whimsical trollop most like, says Miss Prim,
Has been scribbling of nonsense, just out of a whim,
And conscious it neither is witty or pretty,
Conceals her true name, and ascribes it to Betty.
I once had a servant myself, says Miss Pines,                                                            45
That wrote on a Wedding, some very good lines:
Says Mrs. Domestic, and when they were done,
I can’t see for my part what use they were on;
Had she wrote a receipt, to’ve instructed you how
To warm a cold breast of veal, like a ragou,                                                              50
Or to make a cowslip wine, that would pass for Champaign;
It might have been useful, again and again.
On the sofa was old lady Pedigree plac’d,
She own’d that for poetry she had no taste,
That the study of heraldry was more in fashion,                                                     55
And boasted she knew all the crests in the nation.
Says Mrs. Routella, —Tom, take out the urn,
And stir up the fire, you see it don’t burn.
The tea-things remov’d, and the tea-table gone,
The card-tables brought, and the cards laid thereon,                                            60
The ladies ambitious for each others crown,
Like courtiers contending for honours sat down.

NOTES:

Title Supposition “Position laid down;…imagination yet unproved” (Johnson).

13 Flounce “To express displeasure or ill-temper by agitated movements” (OED).

14 Dishclout Dishcloth.

15 Coquettilla A play on the word “coquette,” “a girl who endeavors to attract notice” (Johnson).

19 May-Fair A district in London, “Mayfair was developed from the mid-17th century, and its proximity to St. James’s Palace made it a fashionable neighborhood” (Encyclopedia Britannica). Mayfair, with its growing “aristocratic village[s],” attracted buyers and sellers to popular “modish shopping centre[s],” such as Regents Park and Bond Street, which were places known for “carriage folk” (Richardson, “Shops and Shopkeeping Throughout the Ages,” p. 616).

21 Marr “To hamper or hinder” (OED).

26 deprest “To humble; to deject; to sink” (Johnson); “to lower in station, fortune, or influence” (OED).

27 low-bred “Of humble origin or social statue; not respectable of welcome in good society” (OED).

31 Duty of Man Short title for The Whole Duty of Man: Laid Down in a Plain and Familiar Way for the Use of All but Especially the Meanest Reader, “first published anonymously in 1658 and variously attributed to Lady Dorothy Pakington, Archbishop Richard Sterne, Bishop John Fell, Humphrey Henchman and others, although now generally attributed to Richard Allestree” (ESTC); “the dominant book of religious instruction throughout the eighteenth century” (Lehmberg, Cathedrals Under Siege, p. 115)

34 sphere “A standard of comparison to denote a great difference in rank, intelligence, etc.” (OED).

35 Candour “Sweetness of temper; purity of mind; openness; ingenuity; kindness” (Johnson).

36 jade “A term of reprobation applied to a woman” (OED).

41 trollop “An untidy or slovenly woman; a slut; a morally loose woman” (OED).

50 ragou Alternate spelling of “ragout,” “a highly seasoned dish, usually consisting of meat cut into small pieces and stewed with vegetables” (OED).

51 cowslip wine A wine made from cowslip-blossoms,“a well-known wild plant in pastures… with drooping fragrant yellow flowers” (OED).

53 Pedigree “The system of social rank based on genealogy” (OED).

55 heraldry “Heraldic title, rank, or precedence” (OED).

56 crests “The ornament of the helmet in heraldry” (Johnson), “also used separately, as a cognizance, upon articles of personal property, as a seal, plate, note-paper, etc.” (OED).

57 Routella The root word, “rout,” means“to cry; to roar; to bellow; to shout” (OED).

SOURCE: The Death of Amnon: A Poem. With an Appendix: Containing Pastorals, and Other Poetical Pieces (Coventry, 1789), pp. 47-50. [Google Books]

Edited by Katarina Wagner

 

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

JONATHAN SWIFT

 “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.

NOTES:

 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

Mary Barber, “The Prodigy. A Letter to a Friend in the Country”

[MARY BARBER]

“The Prodigy. A Letter to a Friend in the Country”

 

THO’ Rhyme serves the Thoughts of great Poets to fetter,
It sets off the Sense of small Poets the better.
When I’ve written in Prose, I often have found,
That my Sense, in a Jumble of Words, was quite drown’d.
In Verse, as in Armies, that march o’er the Plain,                                                                  5
The least Man among them is seen without Pain.
This they owe to good Order, it must be allow’d;
Else Men that are little, are lost in a Croud.

So much for Simile: Now, to be brief,
The following Lines come to tell you my Grief.                                                                     10
’Tis well I can write; for I scarcely can speak,
I’m so plagu’d with my Teeth, which eternally ake.
When the Wind’s in the Point which opposes the South,
For Fear of the Cold, I can’t open my Mouth:
And you know, to the Sex it must be a Heart-breaking,                                                       15
To have any Distemper, that keeps them from speaking.

When first I was silent a Day and a Night,
The Women were all in a terrible Fright.
Supplications to JOVE, in an Instant, they make—
“Avert the Portent—a Woman not speak!                                                                              20
Since Poets are Prophets, and often have sung,
The last Thing that dies in a Woman’s her Tongue;
O JOVE, for what Crime is Sapphira thus curst?
’Tis plain by her Breathing, her Tongue has dy’d first.
Ye Powers celestial, tell Mortals, what Cause                                                                        25
Occasions Dame Nature to break her own Laws?
Did the Preacher live now, from his text he must run;
And own there was something new under the Sun.
O JOVE, for the future this Punishment spare;
And all other Evils we’ll willingly bear.”                                                                                    30

Then they throng to my House, and my Maid they beseech,
To say, if her Mistress had quite lost her Speech.
Nell readily own’d, what they heard was too true;
That To-day I was dumb, give the Devil his Due:
And frankly confess’d, were it always the Case,                                                                     35
No Servant could e’er have a happier Place.

When they found it was Fact, they began all to fear me;
And, dreading Infection, would scarcely come near me:
Till a Neighbour of mine, who was famous for Speeching,
Bid them be of good Cheer, the Disease was not catching;                                                  40
And offer’d to prove, from Authors good Store,
That the like Case with this never happen’d before;
And if Ages to come should resemble the past,
As ’twas the first Instance, it would be the last.
Yet against this Disorder we all ought to strive:                                                                     45
Were I in her Case, I’d been bury’d alive.
Were I one Moment silent, except in my Bed,
My good natur’d Husband would swear I was dead.

The next said, her Tongue was so much in her Pow’r,
She was sullenly silent almost—half an Hour:                                                                        50
That, to vex her good Man, she took this Way to teaze him;
But soon left it off, when she found it would please him:
And vow’d, for the future, she’d make the House ring;
For when she was dumb, he did nothing but sing.

Quite tir’d with their Talking, I held down my Head:                                                      55
So she who sat next me, cry’d out, I was dead.
They call’d for cold Water to throw in my Face:
Give her Air, give her Air—and cut open her Lace.
Says good Neighbour Nevil, You’re out of your Wits;
She oft, to my Knowledge, has these sullen Fits:                                                                   60
Let her Husband come in, and make one Step that’s wrong,
My Life for’t, the Woman will soon find her Tongue.
You’ll soon be convinc’d—O’ my Conscience, he’s here—
Why what’s all this Rout?—Are you sullen, my Dear?

This struck them all silent; which gave me some Ease,                                               65
And made them imagine they’d got my Disease.
So they hasted away in a terrible Fright;
And left me, in Silence, to pass the long Night.

Not the Women alone were fear’d at my Fate;
’Twas reckon’d of dreadful Portent to the State.                                                                   70
When the Governors heard it, they greatly were troubled;
And, whilst I was silent, the Guards were all doubled:
The Militia Drums beat a perpetual Alarm,
To rouze up the Sons of the City to arm.
A Story was rumour’d about from Lambey,                                                                            75
Of a powerful Fleet, that was seen off at Sea.
With Horror all list to the terrible Tale;
The Barristers tremble, the Judges grow pale;
To the Castle the frighted Nobility fly;
And the Council were summon’d, they could not tell why;                                                  80
The Clergy in Crouds to the Churches repair;
And Armies, embattled, were seen in the Air.

Why they were in this Fright, I have lately been told,
It seems, it was sung by a Druid of old,
That the HANOVER Race to Great-Britain should come;                                                        85
And sit on the Throne, till a Woman grew dumb.

As soon as this Prophecy reach’d the Pretender,
He cry’d out, My Claim to the Crown I surrender.

 

NOTES:

fetter  “A restraint or check on someone’s freedom to act” (OED).

12  plagu’d  Plagued; “tormented” (OED);  ake  Ache.

16  Distemper  Ailment.

19  JOVE  Another name for Jupiter, Zeus’s counterpart in Roman mythology (New World Encyclopedia).

20  Avert  “Prevent or ward off” (OED);  Portent  “A sign or warning that a momentous or calamitous event is likely to happen” (OED).

23  Sapphira  Biblical reference to the wife of Ananias, “(Acts 5: 1–11); both died from shock when confronted by Peter about a case of fraud” (Oxford Reference).

26  Dame  “An elderly or mature woman” (OED).

27  Preacher Jesus.

 28  there was something new under the Sun  An inversion of  the biblical passage, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

31  beseech  “Ask (someone) urgently and fervently to do something” (OED).

34  give the Devil his Due  An idiom; “If someone or something generally considered bad or undeserving has any redeeming features these should be acknowledged” (OED).

36  Place  Position or place of work.

54  dumb  “Temporarily unable or unwilling to speak” (OED).

58  Lace  The cord or ribbon that laces up a woman’s corset.

64  Rout  “A disorderly or tumultuous crowd of people” (OED);  Sullen  “Bad-tempered and sulky” (OED).

75  Lambey  Lambay Island in the Irish Sea near Dublin.

77  list  Listen.

78  Barristers  Lawyers.

81  repair  “Go to (a place)” (OED).

84  Druid  “A priest, magician, or soothsayer in the ancient Celtic religion” (OED).

85  HANOVER Race  The British Royal house of Hanover (1714-1901) (Britannica).

87  the Pretender  “The Old Pretender,” James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales (1688-1766), son of King James II of England who reigned from 1685 to 1688 (Brittanica).

88  My Claim to the Crown I surrender  The Glorious Revolution (1688-89) saw James II deposed, replaced by William III and Mary II, and exiled to France. His son James, “The Old Pretender,” made several attempts to reclaim the British throne, but never succeeded (Brittanica).

Source:  Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1735), pp. 22–27. [Google Books]

 Edited by Laura Hannibal

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