Tag Archives: verse epistle

Matthew Prior, “The Wandering Pilgrim”


“The Wandering Pilgrim, or, Will Piggot’s Merry Petition to be Sir Thomas Frankland’s Porter”

Humbly address’d to Sir THOMAS FRANKLAND, Bart. Post-Master, and Pay-Master-General to Queen ANNE.


WILL PIGGOT must to Coxwould go,
To live, alas! in Want,
Unless Sir THOMAS say No, no,
Th’ Allowance is too scant.

The gracious Knight full well does weet,                  5
Ten Farthings ne’er will do
To keep a Man each Day in Meat,
Some Bread to Meat is due.

A Rechabite poor WILL must live,
And drink of ADAM’s Ale,                                      10
Pure Element, no Life can give,
Or mortal Soul regale.

Spare Diet, and Spring-water clear,
Physicians hold are good;
Who diets thus need never fear                                 15
A Fever in the Blood.

Gra’mercy, Sirs, y’ are in the right,
Prescriptions All can sell,
But he that does not eat can’t sh***
Or piss, if good Drink fail.                                       20

But pass —— The AEsculapian Crew,
Who eat and quaff the best,
They seldom miss to bake and brew,
Or lin to break their Fast.

Cou’d Yorkshire-Tyke but do the same,                         25
Then He like Them might thrive;
To starve Thou do’st Him drive.

In WILL’s Old Master’s plenteous Days,
His Mem’ry e’er be blest;                                          30
What need of speaking in his Praise?
His Goodness stands confest.

At his fame’d Gate stood Charity,
In lovely sweet Array;
CERES, and Hospitality,                                                    35
Dwelt there both Night and Day.

But to conclude, and be concise,
Truth must WILL’s Voucher be;
Truth never yet went in Disguise,
For naked still is She.                                                 40

There is but One, but One alone,
Can set the PILGRIM free,
And make him cease to pine and moan;

Oh! save him from a dreary Way,                                     45
To Coxwould he must hye,
Bereft of thee he wends astray,
At Coxwould he must die.

Oh! let him in thy Hall but stand,
And wear a Porter’s Gown,                                           50
Duteous to what Thou may’st command,
Thus WILLIAM’s Wishes crown.


Subtitle Porter “A gatekeeper or doorkeeper,” in this case for the building which houses the Postmaster General’s offices.

Dedication Sir Thomas Frankland  2nd Baronet (1665-1726), politician, served as joint Postmaster General from 1691-1715; Queen Anne Reigned 1702-1714.

1 Will Piggot “This merry Petition was written by Mr. Prior, for Will Piggot to obtain the Porter’s Place” [Author’s Note]; Coxwould Coxwold, “Twelve Miles, North, beyond the City of York” [Author’s Note].

4 scant “Existing or available in inadequate or barely sufficient amount, quantity, or degree; stinted in measure, not abundant” (OED).

5 weet “To know, to know of something” (OED).

6 Farthing “The quarter of a penny” (OED).

9 Rechabite “According to the Old Testament and Hebrew scriptures:  A member of an Israelite family descended from Rehab, which refused to drink wine, live in houses or cultivate fields and vineyards (see Jeremiah 35)” (OED).

10 ADAM’s Ale “Water, (as a drink)” (OED).

17 Gra’mercyThe salutation ‘thanks’ or ‘thank you.’ Hence in phrases, as worth gramercy, worth giving thanks for, of some value or importance” (OED).

21 Aesculapian “Relating to medicine or doctors” (OED).

22 quaff  “To drink (a liquid) copiously or in a large draught” (OED).

24 lin “To cease, leave off” (OED).

25 Yorkshire-Tyke “A person from Yorkshire (OED).

27 FORTUNE “Chance, hap, or luck, regarded as a cause of events and changes in men’s affairs. Often…personified as a goddess, ‘the power supposed to distribute the lots of life according to her own humour’ (Johnson)” (OED).

35 CERES Roman Goddess of agriculture.

43 pine “Physical pain, discomfort, or suffering” (OED).

46 hye “Go quickly” (OED).

47 Bereft “Deprived of” (OED); wends “To go, proceed…in an unhurried manner or by indirect route” (OED).

SOURCE:  Poems on Several Occasions, Volume the Second, Fourth Edition (London 1742), pp. 95-97.  [Google Books]

Edited by Belinda Ortiz

Charlotte Lennox, “To Moneses Singing”


To MONESES Singing


 Be hush’d as Death, Moneses sings,
Moneses strikes the sounding Strings;
Let sacred Silence dwell around,
And nought disturb the Magick Sound;
Let not the softly whisp’ring Breeze                                             5
Sob amidst the rustling Trees;
Murmur, ye plaintive Streams, no more,
But glide in Silence to the Shore:
Even Philomel thy Note suspend,
And to a sweeter Song attend;                                                      10
Ah! soft, ah! dang’rous, pow’rful Charm,
An Angel’s Voice, an Angel’s Form;
Attentive to the heav’nly Lay,
I hear and gaze my Soul away;
Now tender Wishes, melting Fires,                                                15
Infant Pains, and young Desires,
Steal into my softned Soul,
And bend it to the sweet Controul;
Yet, let me fly, e’er ‘tis too late,
The sweet Disease, and shun my Fate.                                          20
But ah! that softly, dying Strain
Arrests my Steps, I strive in vain.
Again I to the Syren turn,
Again with gentle Fires I burn;
Cease lovely Youth th’ inchanting Sound,                                       25
Too deep already is the Wound;
Thro’ all my Veins the Poison steals,
My Heart the dear Infection feels:
I faint, I die, by love opprest,
The Sigh scarce heaves my panting Breast;                                     30
Before my View dim Shadows rise,
And hides Thee from my ravish’d Eyes:
Thy Voice, like distant Sounds, I hear,
It dies in murmurs on my Ear:
In the too pow’rful Transport tost,                                                      35
Ev’n Thought, and ev’ry Sense is lost.


Title MONESES A made up pastoral name for an unidentified addressee.

7 plaintive “Mournful, sad” (OED).

9 Philomel “A poetic or literary name for the nightingale,” known for its sweet song (OED).

23 Syren “One who, or that which, sings sweetly, charms, allures, or deceives like the Sirens” (OED).

SOURCE:  Poems on Several Occasions. Written by a Young Lady (London, 1747), pp. 23-25. [Google Books]

Edited by Tomas E. Raudales-Beleche





Sarah Fyge Egerton, “To Mr. Norris, on his Idea of Happiness”


To Mr. Norris, on his Idea of Happiness



If Pythagorick notions would agree,
With sublimated Christianity;
What mighty Soul, shall I allow,
Informs thy Body now;
For when did such appear,                                                       5
Sure the belov’d Disciple’s Soul is here.
Not us’d since then, but kept above,
And taught a more extatick Love;
The Understanding more inlarg’d and free,
Each generous Faculty                                                           10
Refin’d, Improv’d, made more compleat,
In the seraphick Seat.
The brightest warmest of th’ exalted Quire,
Flaming with Rays of beatifick Fire;
Such seems thy elevated Soul to be,                                           15
And not the usual sort gave to Mortality.


The great, the Eternal God of Love,
Took Pity on us from above;
He could no longer see,
Our Souls wrapt in Obscurity:                                                       20
But sent thee like, a bright celestial Ray,
To clear our Sight, and to direct the Way;
To the Etherial Courts of Bliss,
The only great, and lasting Happiness.
The active native Principle of Love,                                              25
We found did move
By an internal Influence,
But ‘twas toward some object of the Sense:
Effects and Causes were not understood,
We only knew we wisht for Good,                                                30
And would with Joy each glimpse pursue,
Resolve to fasten there, and think ‘twas true.
In vain we thought our Love was fixt,
For all those Joys were intermixt
With Disappointments and Deceit,                                              35
Our strugling Souls themselves did cheat:
Still they desir’d and lov’d, but were not blest,
Nor found they Rest,
Till thy bright Pen markt out the happy Prize,
Taught us at once to love and to be wise.                                   40


Thou dost dissect our weak distemper’d Soul,
Discover’st the Disease and mak’st us whole;
Prescrib’st such Methods, which if we obey,
We shall no longer doat on Clay,
Which long our vitiated Souls have fed,                                      45
But shall have Appetite to Celestial Bread.
We shall no longer fondly play,
With Trifles on the way,
But climb the Hill with a delightful hast,
And feast our Souls at thy divine Repast.                                    50
But lest, like doubtful or unthankful Guest,
We should neglect the Royal Feast;
Thou, to incourage our appearance there,
Hast kindly given us a Bill of Fare.


By powerful Energy of Thoughts divine,                                    55
Thou didst thy Soul raise and refine,
With strong Impulse it did upward move,
Mounting on eager Wings of Love;
Through all th’ inferior Courts it made its way,
To the bright Spring of everlasting day;                                        60
Did all the amazing Glories see,
And what it shou’d hereafter be,
Saluted by the soft Seraphick Quire,
Who’s Anthems all its Faculties inspire,
But flasht to might Rays of sacred Fire.                                          65
For the refulgent Glories were too great,
It could not bear such Raptures yet,
Till Immortality had made it more compleat:
It could no longer stay, no longer view,
Then down again it flew,                                                           70
Did with Angelick Radiance shine,
Inspir’d with Sapience divine.
It doth its bright Etherial Voyage tell,
And in what Bliss departed Souls do dwell:
All this in pure and pregnant Elegance we hear,                           75
Plain as Corporeal Organs can declare,
That when we read thy Lines we almost think we’re there.


 Title The reference is to John Norris (1657-1711), Anglican priest and philosopher and his poem titled “An Idea of Happiness, in a Letter to a Friend enquiring wherein the Greatest Happiness attainable by Man in this Life does consist” (1684) (Britannica).

1 Pythagorick “Of, relating to, or characteristic of Pythagoras, his followers, or their philosophy” (OED).

12 seraphick Seat This appears to be a reference to heaven, where seraphim “hover above the throne of God” (OED).

13 Quire “Figurative of angels” (OED).

45 vitiated “Corrupted, spoiled” (OED).

48 Trifles Insignificant things (OED).

50 Repast “Figurative, as the type of something providing nourishment for the spirit, intellect, etc.” (OED).

54 Bill of Fare “Menu; a programme” (OED).

66 refulgent “Illustrious” (OED).

72 Sapience “Spiritual wisdom, knowledge of divine things” (OED).

76 Corporeal “Of the nature of the animal body as opposed to the spirit; physical; bodily; mortal” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions, Together with a Pastoral, By Mrs. S. F. (London, [1703]), pp. 27-31. [Google Books]

 Edited by Madison Maraspini



Elizabeth Tollet, “To my Brother at St. John’s College in Cambridge”


To my Brother at St. John’s College in Cambridge”


Blest be the Man, who first the Method found
In Absence to discourse, and paint a Sound!
This Praise old Greece to Tyrian Cadmus gives;
And still the Author by th’ Invention lives:
Still may he live, and justly famous be,                                                          5
Whose Art assists me to converse with thee!
All Day I pensive sit, but not alone;
And have the best Companions when I’ve none:
I read great Tully’s Page, and wond’ring find
The heav’nly Doctrine of th’ immortal Mind;                                               10
An Axiom first by Parent Nature taught,
An inborn Truth, which proves itself by Thought.
But when the Sun declines the Task I change,
And round the Walls and antick Turrets range;
From hence a vary’d Scene delights the Eyes,                                             15
See ! here Augusta’s massive Temples rise,
There Meads extend, and Hills support the Skies;
See ! there the Ships, an anchor’d Forest ride,
And either India’s Wealth enrich the Tide.

Thrice happy you, in Learning’s other Seat!                                           20
No noisy Guards disturb your blest Retreat:
Where, to your Cell retir’d, you know to choose
The wisest Author, or the sweetest Muse.
Let useful Toil employ the busy Light,
And steal a restless Portion from the Night;                                                  25
With Thirst of Knowledge wake before the Day,
Prevent the Sun, and chide his tardy Ray:
When chearful Larks their early Anthem sing,
And op’ning Winds refreshing Odours bring;
When from the Hills you see the Morning rise,                                             30
As fresh as Lansdown’s Cheeks, and bright as Windham’s Eyes.

But when you leave your Books, as all must find
Some Ease requir’d t’indulge the lab’ring Mind;
With such Companions mix, such Friendships make,
As not to choose what you must soon forsake:                                             35
Mark well thy Choice; let Modesty, and Truth,
And constant Industry adorn the Youth.
In Books good Subjects for Discourse are found;
Such be thy Talk when friendly Tea goes round:
Mirth more than Wine the drooping Spirits chears,                                      40
Revives our Hopes, and dissipates our Fears;
From Circe’s Cup, immeasur’d Wine, refrain,
Start backward, and reject th’ untasted Bane.

Perhaps to neighb’ring Shades you now repair,
To look abroad and taste the scented Air:                                                      45
Survey the useful Labours of the Swain,
The tedded Grass, and Sheaves of ripen’d Grain;
The loaded Trees with blushing Apples grac’d,
Or hardy Pears, which scorn the wintry Blast.
Or see the sturdy Hinds from Harvest come,                                                  50
To waste the setting Suns in rural Mirth at Home.
Now on the Banks of silver Cam you stray;
While thro’ the twisted Boughs the Sun-Beams play,
And the clear Stream reflects the trembling Ray.

Think, when you tread the venerable Shade,                                           55
Here Cowley sung, and tuneful Prior play’d.
O! would the Muse thy youthful Breast inspire
With charming Raptures and Poetick Fire!
Then thou might’st sing, (who better claims thy Lays?)
A tributary Strain to Oxford’s Praise:                                                                  60
Thy humble Verse from him shall Fame derive,
And grac’d with Harley’s Name for ever live.
First sing the Man in constant Temper found,
Unmov’d when Fortune smil’d, undaunted when she frown’d.
A Mind above Rewards, serenely great,                                                             65
And equal to the Province of the State:
Thence let thy Muse to private Life descend,
Nor in the Patriot’s Labours lose the Friend.


3 Tyrian Cadmus Greek mythological figure who founded the city of Thebes.  According to the Greek historian Herodotus, Cadmus was also responsible for introducing the Phoenician alphabet to the Greeks. Tollet follows the tradition that Cadmus came from Tyre (Britannica).

9 Tully Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BCE), Roman statesman and philosopher. Tollet appears to reference Cicero’s Tusculan Disputations, Book I of which addresses the immortality of the soul.

11 Axiom “A proposition that commends itself to general acceptance” (OED).

14 antick “Grotesque or fantastic ornamental representation of a person, animal, or thing” (OED).

16 Augusta Ancient Roman name for London.

17 Meads Meadows.

31 Lansdown Mary Granville (nee Villiers) (c. 1668-1735), married George Granville, Baron Lansdowne (1666-1735) in 1711; Windham Probably Elizabeth Grenville, (nee Wyndham) (1719-1769), artist and writer, married George Grenville (1712-1770) in 1749.

37 Industry “Intelligent or clever working; skill, ingenuity, or cleverness in the execution of anything” (OED).

42 Circe’s Cup “In Greek and Latin mythology the name of an enchantress who dwelt in the island of Aea, and transformed all who drank of her cup into swine; often used allusively” (OED).

44 repair “To return to or from a specified place” (OED).

46 Swain A shepherd figure in pastoral poetry.

50 Hinds “Agricultural labourers” (OED).

52 Cam The town of Cambridge lies on the River Cam (Britannica).

56 Cowley Abraham Cowley, (1618-1667), poet and essayist “who wrote poetry of a fanciful, decorous nature,”; Prior Matthew Prior, 1664–1721, English poet and diplomat (Britannica). Cowley and Prior attended Cambridge colleges, St. John’s and Trinity College respectively.

60, 62 Oxford…Harley Both references are to Robert Harley, 1st earl of Oxford, (1661-1724, London), “British statesman who headed the Tory ministry from 1710 to 1714” (Britannica).

SOURCE: Poems On Several Occasions with Anne Boleyn to King Henry VIII An Epistle, Second Edition (London, 1760), pp. 25-27. [Google Books]

 Edited by Gabriela Torres

Mary Darwall, “An Epistle to a Friend”


“An Epistle to a Friend”


Let us, Monimia, from our bosoms chace
Each sorrow, that afflicts the human race;
And, cheer’d by friendship’s genial warmth, survey
The source whence issues its enliv’ning ray : —
Far hence the lover’s wish, the poet’s dream,                                          5
And female friendship be the pleasing theme.

Why does vain man accuse our gentle kind
Of pride, and weak inconstancy of mind?
Why should he deem the female breast the seat
Of rankling envy, and of dark deceit?                                                         10
As tyrant kings their subjects’ rights invade,
As trembling kids to lions yield the shade,
So are we robb’d of friendship’s sacred name,
Because too timid to defend our claim.
What, tho’ no Greek or Latian bard of old                                                  15
Has female friends in deathless strains enroll’d,
Who, like Euryalus and Nisus, dar’d
Whatever fate their heart’s lov’d partner shar’d;
Yet equal faith and fortitude combin’d,
They own, have oft adorn’d the female mind.                                             20

Say, what is love, but friendship’s brightest ray,
Which softens woe, and cheers fate’s darkest day?
What, but this gentle, this exalted flame,
Glow’d in the breast of the Dulichian dame,
When her lov’d lord was sever’d from her arms,                                         25
Whilst twenty vernal suns beheld her charms?
Hopeless of his return, by numbers woo’d,
By ev’ry art, love could devise, pursu’d,
Firm in affection his chaste consort prov’d,
His image cherish’d, and his mem’ry lov’d;                                                    30
‘Till heav’n, to bless her constancy, restor’d
To her despairing arms her long-lost lord.
Cou’d vulgar love, or low desires have made
Alcestis’ hand her tender breast invade?
Dauntless she died; blest, with her life to save                                              35
Her dear Admetus from the threat’ning grave.

But rove not thus, my muse, to distant climes,
Nor think fair faith confin’d to heathen times.
Our isle can boast her Eleanor’s name,
Whose living virtues grace the book of fame.                                                  40
Yes, glorious queen! for Edward’s dearer life
Thy own was stak’d; —heav’n saw the gen’rous strife, —
Preserv’d the heroine, — to her fervent pray’r
Gave her heart’s lord, and crown’d her pious care.
Nor have our noblest bards invidious prov’d,                                                 45
Well have they sung the virtuous flame they lov’d.
In Thompson’s scenes fair Eleanora’s tale
Shall charm each heart, till taste and nature fail.
And well has Shakespeare (ever honour’d name)
To female friendship giv’n immortal fame.                                                      50
So dear was Rosalind to Celia’s breast,
When, by her father’s tyrant power oppress’d,
The fair was banish’d, destitute, to roam,
Celia with her forsook her splendid home,
Left a fond father, bade a court adieu,                                                              55
And with her friend to lonely woods withdrew;
Trod the brown desert, and the forest wild,
And at distress and changeful fortune smil’d.
All-righteous heav’n the gen’rous act approv’d,
And to a crown restor’d the friend she lov’d.                                                     60

And thou, Monimia! (cou’d these humble lays
Transmit thy merit to succeeding days)
In fame’s unfading page shou’d’st be enroll’d,
And all thy virtues fair shou’d there be told.
Thy faithful bosom scorns th’ignoble thought,                                                 65
That love or friendship can with gold be bought.
Pure as the vestal’s holy fire must burn
The flame, that merits such a heart’s return.
Avaunt! ye frail, inconstant, faithless race!
Nor with your lips these noble names disgrace.                                              70
If, with the veering wind of fortune’s change,
Your tutor’d hearts from breast to breast can range,
Fond love’s or friendship’s pow’r you ne’er have try’d,
But devious, rov’d with folly for your guide.
Henceforth her shrine adore, nor dare pretend                                              75
T’assume the name of lover or of friend: —
The heart that to one pow’r has prov’d untrue,
Can never pay the other homage due.
To fair Monimia and her Myra leave
These pleasing passions, nor yourselves deceive :                                          80
Their long try’d hearts no change has pow’r to move,
Alike they beat to friendship and to love.
In each one object has the heart posses’d,
And death alone can tear it from each breast.


1 Monimia Darwall’s poetic name for her friend for whom the poem is written. The name is likely derived from Monimiaceae, an evergreen shrub and a member of the Laurales (Laurel) order (Britannica).

10 rankling “To fester to a degree that causes pain” (OED).

17 Euryalus and Nisus In Greek and Roman mythology, friends and soldiers who fled together after battling in the Trojan War (Britannica).

24 Dulichian dame Penelope, wife of Odysseus.  In the Homeric tradition, Dulichium was an island near Ithaca thought to be under the control of Odysseus.  Over the next several lines, Darwall rehearses the story of Penelope’s love and devotion to her husband during his three-year absence from home (Britannica).

34-36 Alcestis…Admetus In Greek legend, the beautiful daughter of Pelia, king of Iolcos and heroine of the eponymous play by the dramatist Euripides (c. 484–406 BCE). According to legend, the god Apollo helped Admetus, son of the king of Pherae, to win Alcestis’s hand. When Apollo learned that Admetus had not long to live, he persuaded the Fates to prolong his life. The Fates imposed the condition that someone else die in Admetus’s stead, which Alcestis, a loyal wife, consented to do. The warrior Heracles rescued Alcestis by wrestling at her grave with Death (Britannica).

39 Eleanor Eleanor of Castile (1241-1290), queen of England and wife to Edward I (1239-1307). According to English legend, while accompanying him on a crusade (1270-73) Eleanor saved Edward’s life by sucking poison from a dagger wound he had sustained (referenced in line 41) (Britannica).

45 invidious Viewing with displeasure or ill feeling (OED).

47 Thompson James Thomson (1700-1748), Scottish poet and playwright who wrote the tragic play Edward and Eleanora (1739) based on the lives of Edward I and Eleanor of Castile.

51 Rosalind to Celia Principal characters in the Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It (1623) who, in Act II, flee together from the court of Celia’s father.

65 ignoble “Not honourable” (OED).

67 vestal Pertaining to, characteristics of, a vestal virgin…marked by purity or chastity (OED).

79 Myra Mary Darwall’s poetic name for herself, an anagram of ‘Mary.’

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (London 1794), pp. 19-25.  [Google Books]

 Edited by Poppy Scales



Elizabeth Gooch, “To a Friend”


“To a Friend”


To lose my visionary life
Has been my dearest wish of late;
Tir’d of the world’s eternal strife,
I bow beneath the storms of Fate.

Condemn’d to misery and pain,                                                 5
Long have I wander’d, long suppress’d
The chilling marks of cold disdain
From those in whom I once was blest!

But, ah! the rankling wound can ne’er
Within my bosom’s core be heal’d;                                    10
Those pangs are always most severe
That in the heart remain conceal’d.

Retirement’s haunts at length invite
To promis’d scenes of future peace;
There, if I cannot hope delight,                                                  15
Oppressive tumults yet may cease.

Ah ! strive not then by tender care
To lure me from my fix’d abode,
On Earth my fate is fell despair—
In Heav’n—my Judge will be my God!                                20


9 rankling “To fester, esp. to a degree that causes pain” (OED).

13 Retirement “A secluded or private place; a retreat” (OED).

16 tumults “Great disturbance of mind or feeling” (OED).

19 fell “Intensely painful or destructive” (OED).

SOURCE:  Poems on Various Subjects (London, 1793), pp. 10-11. [Google Books]

Edited by Halsey Williamson

Eliza Haywood, “An Irregular Ode”


“An Irregular Ode”

To Mr. WALTER BOWMAN, Professor of the Mathematics. Occasion’d by his objecting against my giving the Name of HILLARIUS to Aaron Hill Esq.


I Own the Name, which to my Muse owes Birth,
Is far beneath the mighty Wearer’s worth:
But say, what Means can tortur’d Wit invent,
Charms to describe which in Idea pain?
Can Reading show a Word of such extent,                                                          5
To grasp a Glory Thought can scarce contain?
To me, impossible it seems:
But Thou! alas! art far remov’d from Me by vast Extreams.
Unskill’d in Science, in rude Ign’rance bred,
Unhappy that I am,                                                                                         10
(For mine is not the Blame)
Learning’s sweet Paths I ne’er was taught to tread.

But if such Force in well-plac’d Letters dwells
Which can all Heaven Epitomize,
Contract Immensity to narrow Space,                                                                15
Wide different Beauties in one Round comprize,
And blend their Lustre in a mix’d Embrace;
Thine is the Art, great Bard! and thine pow’rful Spells.

Thou! who canst travel Nature’s Secrets o’er,
And all Philosophy’s dark Depths explore!                                                        20
Thou! who to Worlds unknown canst point the way,
And to benighted Reason lend a Ray,
To guide the Wand’rer led too long astray,
Do Thou exert thy oft’-try’d Skill!
And what might thousand Volumes fill                                                           25
(Yet Language seem unable to discharge)
In one all-meaning Fiat speak at large.
By thy inspective Power,
Descry some lucky Hour,
When the sloth-shedding Sway of Saturn yields                                              30
To Mercury’s inspiring Reign,
When vigorous Planets rule the Azure Fields,
And warmly actuate Man’s inventive Brain;
Study can know no nobler Aim,
Than to find out some comprehensive Name                                                  35
For Him, whom to admire, is the best Plea for Fame.

A Name it must be, which implies,
At once the Wonders of his Soul and Eyes!
Cherubial Sweetness! Godlike Majesty!
Numberless Myriads of Divinities,                                                                      40
Which, sparkling, in his Looks, his Words, his Works, we see:
Harmonious let it be in Sound,
Yet with Solemnity abound;
With Heaven-tun’d Notes adorn the nervous Sense,
Soft as his Voice, but lofty as his Mien:                                                              45
Each thrilling Syllable pleas’d-Awe impart,
Which thro’ the Ear, may strike the Heart
With rapt’rous Tremblings; touch the Strings of Life,
Make Extasy within it self at strife
‘Twixt Tenderness and Reverence:                                                                 50
To the Mind’s Eye make every Glory seen,
And the wrapt Soul feel all his Force, tho’ Worlds should rush between:

But if thou seekst what Learning cannot show,
For all in vain, I fear, is human Art,
To the great Source of perfect Knowledge go;
Shake off Mortality, and on a Beam                                                                  55
Of tow’ring Thought, swift thro’ the AEther dart,
Where blazing Galaxies of Light,
Strike the aw’d Eye, and dazzle vulgar Sight;
Nor, till thou reach the Throne of the Supreme,
Let meaner Views retard th’ advent’rous Flight.                                              60
There, MOSES! DAVID! GIDEON! and the rest
Of the immortal Blest,
Who by his deathless Lays more glorious Shine,
Will hail thy glad Approach in shouting Throngs,
And bid thee welcome to the Realms divine;                                                  65
Both Saints and Angels forward thy Request.
(Angels are his Admirers too,
And copy Hallelujahs from his Songs)
Nor shall thy Wishes vainly sue;
Th’ Almighty’s Self will smile with pleas’d regard,                                           70
And give thy daring Genius this reward:
Of all who Tribute paid,
Of Thee it shall be said,
Heaven’s darling Care stands all to thee confest,
Thou know’st Him most, and can’st describe Him best.                                 75

But till that Day, my boastful Pride shall live!
A Pride, so vast, as Empire could not give!
Far as Creation reaches, shall the Name
Eliza chose, tune the whole Voice of Fame;
The wafting Air shall bear the Accents round,                                                80
And all the wide Expanse echo the rapt’rous Sound:
Thro’ every Orb, HILLARIUS shall be heard,
And Altars to his shining Virtues rear’d;
HILLARIUS there, as here, be understood,
By all the Wise, the Brave, the Great, and Good.                                           85


Subtitle  Hillarius  A reference to Aaron Hill (1685-1750), dramatist and poet who, in the early 1720s, developed “a literary coterie dubbed the ‘Hillarian circle’ after the name bestowed on him by one of his fervent admirers, the novelist and dramatist Eliza Haywood” (Christine Gerrard, Aaron Hill: The Muses’ Projector, 1685-1750, pp. 61-2); WALTER BOWMAN (1699-1782), a tutor and antiquary who, in 1717, was considered for the position of “Chair of Mathematics in the Marischal College of Aberdeen University” (Tweedie, “A Study of the Life and Writings of Colin MacLaurin,” p. 134).  Bowman’s connection to Aaron Hill and the Hillarian circle remains obscure.

1  Muse  “The inspiring goddess of a particular poet; [hence] a poet’s particular genius, the character of a particular poet’s style” (OED).

17  Lustre  “Luminosity, brilliancy, bright light; luminous splendor” (OED).

18  Bard  “A lyric or epic poet, a ‘singer’; a poet generally” (OED).

30  sloth-shedding Sway of Saturn.  In astrological terms, Saturn was associated with industriousness and determination.

31  Mercury’s inspiring Reign  In astrological terms, Mercury was associated with reason and wit.

32  Azure Fields  Figurative phrase alluding to the skies or heavens.

39 Cherubial  “Angelic” (OED).

40  Myriads  “Countless numbers” (OED).

45  Mien  “The look, bearing, manner, or conduct of a person, as showing character, mood” (OED).

61  Moses  “A Hebrew prophet and lawgiver…[who] was inspired by God on Mount Sinai to write down the Ten Commandments” (OCB); David  “One of the best-known biblical characters” serves as follower and chosen hero of God in bible (OCB); Gideon  A military leader of the Israelites who won an important battle over a Midianite army despite being outnumbered, a story recounted in Judges 6-8 (OCB).

79  Eliza  A self-reference.

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (London, [1724]), pp. 1-4.  [Google Books]

Edited by Kaitlyn Faherty



Edward Cobden, “A Letter to a Friend, on the Death of his Cow”


“A Letter to a Friend, on the Death of his Cow”


Tu semper urges flebilibus modis
Raptam Juvencam, nec tibi vespere
Surgente decedunt amores,
Nec rapidum fugiente solem.       Hor[ace].

 “You, with incessant Wails, deplore,
That gentle Mully is no more:
Ev’ning and Morn bring no Relief,
No Milking to assuage your Grief.”

This Moment, Brother, I receiv’d
The News, at which I’m much aggriev’d,
That she, your Favourite of late,
Dear Mully, has resign’d to Fate:
Mully, from whose indulgent Side                                 5
You were so lavishly supply’d
With what might decently afford
A Dish successive on the Board.

When Pudding enters, all are pleas’d,
Their Bowels seem already eas’d;                                10
And if the Butter richly flow,
Glibly the luscious Morsels go.

Happy’s the Table then partakes
Of tender Custards, frail Cheese-cakes,
Or Syllabub, by Artists beat                                           15
To an obliging, empty Cheat.
Too like the Kisses of the Fair,
So light, you almost nothing share;
So tempting, that you can’t forebear.

The Dinner with perfuming Cheese                      20
Is nobly crown’d. Now each of these,
All understanding Housewives know,
Their Essence to a Dairy owe.

A thousand Pleasures, inter Meals,
The Monarch of a Dairy feels:                                        25
With purest Cream now softens Tea,
Now calls for Posset-Drink, and Whey:
Commands Variety of Good,
Either for Physic, or for Food.
With friendly Visits always pleas’d,                               30
He unprovided can’t be seiz’d:
A hearty Welcome ne’er refuses,
Nor gives, instead of that, Excuses.

If, when the Day declines, by Hap
Some unexpected Guests should rap,                        35
And tarry, till the Heifer roars
For Susan, to unload her Stores;
His open Soul, dispos’d to treat
With Dainties exquisitely sweet
A Portion small of gen’rous Wines                               40
With grated Spice and Sugar joins,
Then summons Sue to stream upon’t
Milk smoking from the native Font:
Forwith ambrosial Curds arise,
Beneath while flowing Nectar lies.                              45
They lade or suck (there’s little Odds)
Immortal Medley, fit for Gods!

I might, in counting Blessings, tire;
All which in Mully now expire.

But here imprudently I dwell                                50
On what you recollect too well,
Not suffer’d by your grateful Mind
To lye in this Account behind.
Severe’s your Fate, must be allow’d!
Stupid the Mortal is, that wou’d                                   55
Be unconcern’d in such a Case:
Yet that you gently screw your Face,
Nor take this over-much to Heart,
Resistless Reasons I’ll impart.

Consider, willingly, or no,                                        60
You must endure th’ uneasy Blow.
Then why disconsolately grieve
At what no Conduct can retrieve?
Then lodge this Truth within your Breast,
All Things are order’d for the best.                                 65
Misfortunes from the Stars are sent
In Kindness, more than Punishment.

You say, You had not valu’d half
So much the Loss, but from a Calf
Up the fond Simpleton you brought,                              70
And sucking with your Finger taught:
That long Acquaintance with each Feature
Had much endear’d you to the Creature.

This makes the Affirmation plain,
Which I endeavour’d to maintain,                                   75
That you too warmly lov’d the Brute,
And often stole a sly Salute:
Pretending, with a cunning Fetch,
The Flavour of her Breath to catch.
If so, the Fates have this design’d                                    80
To raise and elevate your Mind
This World’s Uncertainty to show,
And wean you from Concerns below.

This, or whatever be the Reason,
Assure yourself, she dy’d in Season.                               85
Beside, had I this Loss sustain’d,
I had with Justice more complain’d,
Who have, except my Mully, little
For Conversation, or for Vittle.
But, though you are of her bereft,                                  90
Unnumber’d Blessings still are left.
The Charms of an engaging Spouse,
And Plenty smiling round your House.
Your Tulips in the Spring appear,
And Children blooming all the Year.                               95
Then comfort up a fleeting Life;
Since Mully’s gone, e’en kiss your Wife.
This, your Affliction to relieve,
Is what Advice a Friend can give.

If, deaf to Admonition, still                                         100
Your Thoughts lye brooding o’er the Ill;
Rather than endless you repine
Your Fav’rite lost, I’ll lend you mine;
Who, tho’ her usual Bounty, now
She’s near her Time, refuse to flow,                                 105
(She keeping in a leathern Bottle
Her Liquor for the groaning Twattle)
And will your Expectations bilk,
If much they hanker after Milk,
Yet is her Company as good                                              110
As when a Virgin she was woo’d:
And with her Sister, in my Eye,
She might for Wit and Beauty vie:
You’ll hardly one in Thousands find
More suited to relieve your Mind.                                    115
’Twill probably assist your Case,
Oft to survey her comely Face.
And when her rival Lowings ring,
It may some Consolation bring.

Such kindly Visit she shall pay,                                    120
While this Vexation wears away.
But if her young one’s troublesome,
When she’s deliver’d, send them home.
And should you, when (or quickly after)
I lend my Jewel, spare your Daughter,                               125
In harmless Waggery and Play
Engag’d, we’d cheat the sultry Day,
And banish Sorrow far away.
And in this sweet Exchange, tho’ short,
I’ll pawn my Gown and Cassock for’t,                                 130
The lovely Patty shan’t be hurt.
The smiling Charge I’ll safe resign
Again, when Mully shall be mine.

Should Mully’s Issue prove a Nancy,
And, with her Looks, attract your Fancy,                            135
Return the Mother home for Food,
Keep Nan, in Patty’s place, for good.
Thrice happy both! when thus supply’d,
You with a Heifer, I, a Bride.

If, Neighbour, you shall be requir’d                              140
To dignify the Brute expir’d,
And rear some monumental Stones,
Where dying she bequeath’d her Bones;
Which near the Crib we may suppose,
The Work let this Inscription close.                                      145

The Epitaph.

Here, where she oft was stroak’d and fed,
All that remains of Mully’s laid;
Enclos’d within this narrow Bound,
That rang’d the whole Enclosure round.
Her Fate, with Sorrow, is deplor’d,                                       150
Who gave us Pleasure when she roar’d.
Her welcome Plaints kept me alive;
O could she now by mine survive!


 Epigraph  The source is Horace’s Odes, Book 2.9, lines 9-12.  However, Cobden has replaced the phrase “Mysten Ademptum” at line 10, with “Raptam Juvencam” (“raped heifer”).  Cobden’s rather loose translation follows.

15  Syllabub  “A drink or dish made of milk (frequently as drawn from the cow) or cream, curdled by the admixture of wine, cider, or other acid, and often sweetened and flavoured” (OED).

27  Posset-Drink  “A drink made from hot milk curdled with ale, wine, or other liquor, flavoured with sugar, herbs, spices, etc.” (OED).

78  Fetch  “A contrivance, stratagem” (OED).

89  Vittle  “Food or provisions of any kind” (OED).

94  Your Tulips  “The Clergyman was a Florist” [Author’s note].

107  Twattle  “Idle talk, chatter, babble” (OED).

118  Lowings  “The deep resonant vocal sound characteristically made by a cow” (OED).

126  Waggery  “The action or disposition of a wag; drollery, jocularity; in early use chiefly, mischievous drollery, practical joking” (OED).

130  Cassock  “A long close-fitting frock or tunic worn by Anglican clergymen, originally along with and under the gown” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1748), pp. 87-95.  [Google Books]

Edited by Josiah Taylor

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

Mary Darwall, “Hymn to Plutus”




PLUTUS! to thee I bow, to thee alone,
And, prostrate, worship at thy splendid throne.
To thee, great god of ocean, earth and air,
My heart ascends, and thus prefers its pray’r.

O! grant thy vot’ry wealth, howe’er ‘tis gain’d,                                       5
By murders blotted, by corruption stain’d,
By grov’lling arts, which virtuous fools despise,
Who wish for wealth, yet scorn the ways to rise:
Still let them court that empty bubble, fame,
Be self-applause their riches, peace their claim.                                          10
Such rebels to thy sway my soul disdains,
Theirs be the glory, Plutus! mine the gains.
For me let Phoebus, with intenser ray,
Pour o’er Peruvian mines the blazing day;
Tho’ Pan’s fair flocks bestrew the high parch’d plains,                                 15
Brown Ceres droop, and breathless faint the swains,
Tho’ sable slaves in countless myriads die,
Beneath the influence of the fervid sky,
What is’t to me, who, in this temp’rate isle,
At southern heat, and Greenland winters smile?                                          20
To me propitious is the scorching beam,
Tho’ sick’ning nature gasp beneath the gleam;
Since to this kind, prolific warmth I owe
The diamond’s blaze, and ruby’s heighten’d glow:
This to all-pow’rful gold matures the ore,                                                       25
For which the suppliant crowd thy shrine adore.
Do I forget, or break a promise made,—
Must I be tied to servile rules of trade?
No:—Liberty from ample fortune springs
To spurn beneath my foot such trivial things.                                                 30

Shou’d the small number, who on honor doat,
And feast on virtue in a thread-bare coat,
Say, I by falsehood and collusion gain’d
The darling end, for which each nerve was strain’d;
Whilst I enjoy the permanent delight                                                                35
Of solid gold, I’ll swear THEIR BLACK IS WHITE.
Tho’ tongue-tied truth may blame the bold design,
The world will honor me, whilst wealth is mine:
Then, PLUTUS, grant me wealth; to thee I bend,
And my devotion but with life shall end.                                                          40


Title  PLUTUS  “Greek God of Wealth, rewards the just with wealth and reduces the unjust to penury” (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters).

vot’ry  “A person who has dedicated himself or herself to religious service by taking vows; a monk or nun” (OED).

13  Phoebus  “Greek God of the sun; the sun personified” (OED).

15  Pan  “Greek God of flocks and herds” (OED).

16  Ceres  “In Roman religion, goddess of the growth of food plants” (Britannica).

17  myriads  “Multitudes” (OED).

36  I’ll swear THEIR BLACK IS WHITE  Proverbial for vigorously maintaining something in order to get what one wants.

SOURCE:  Poems on Several Occasions, vol. 1 (Walsall, 1794), pp. 41-44.  [Google Books]

Edited by Lauryn Orozco