Tag Archives: women

Priscilla Pointon, “Address to a Bachelor, On a delicate Occasion”


“Address to a Bachelor, On a delicate Occasion”

Inserted by Desire.

You bid me write, Sir, I comply,
Since I my grave airs can’t deny.
But say, how can my Muse declare
The situation of the Fair,
That full six hours had sat, or more,                                       5
And never once been out of door?
Tea, wine, and punch, Sir, to be free,
Excellent diuretics be:
I made it so appear, it’s true,
When at your House, last night, with you:                            10
Blushing, I own, to you I said,
“I should be glad you’d call a maid.”
“The girls,” you answer’d “are from home,
Nor can I guess when they’ll return.”
Then in contempt you came to me,                                        15
And sneering cry’d, “Dear Miss, make free;
“Let me conduct you—don’t be nice—
Or if a bason is your choice,
To fetch you one I’ll instant fly.”
I blush’d, but could not make reply;                                       20
Confus’d, to find myself the joke,
I silent sat till TRUEWORTH spoke:
“To go with me, Miss, don’t refuse,
Your loss this freedom will excuse.”
To him my hand reluctant gave,                                              25
And out he led me very grave;
Whilst you and CHATFREE laugh’d aloud,
As if to dash a Maid seem’d proud.
But I the silly jest despise,
Since well I know each man that’s wise;                                30
All affectation does disdain,
Since it in Prudes and Coxcombs reign:
So I repent not what I’ve done;
Adieu—enjoy your empty fun.


diuretics “Having the quality of exciting (excessive) excretion or discharge of urine” (OED).

17 nice “Precise or particular in matters of reputation or conduct” (OED).

18 bason Variation of “basin,” “a circular vessel of greater width than depth, with sloping or curving sides, used for holding water and other liquids, especially for washing purposes” (OED).

22 TRUEWORTH An allusion to Mr. Trueworth, a character in Eliza Haywood’s novel The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless (1751) who represents the ideal gentleman.

27 CHATFREE An allusion to Mr. Chatfree, a character in the same novel who represents a less-than-ideal gentlemanly figure.

28 dash “To destroy, ruin, confound, bring to nothing, frustrate, spoil” (OED).

32 Coxcombs “A vain, conceited, or pretentious man; a man of ostentatiously affected mannerisms or appearance; a fop. In later use usually in form coxcomb” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (1770), pp. 31-34. [Google Books]

Edited by Michelle Yu

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, “Farewell to Bath”


 “Farewell to Bath” 


To all you ladies now at Bath,
And eke, ye beaus, to you,
With aching heart, and watry eyes,
I bid my last adieu.

Farewell, ye nymphs, who waters sip                               5
Hot reeking from the pumps,
While music lends her friendly aid,
To cheer you from the dumps.

Farewell ye wits who prating stand,
And criticise the fair;                                                    10
Yourselves the joke of men of sense,
Who hate a coxcomb’s air.

Farewell to Deard’s, and all her toys,
Which glitter in her shop,
Deluding traps to girls and boys,                                        15
The warehouse of the fop.

Lindsay’s and Hayes’s both farewell,
Where in the spacious hall;
With bounding steps, and sprightly air,
I’ve led up many a ball.                                                 20

Where Somerville of courteous mien,
Was partner in the dance,
With swimming Haws, and Brownlow blithe,
And Britton pink of France.

Poor Nash, farewell! may fortune smile,                              25
Thy drooping soul revive,
My heart is full, I can no more—
John, bid the Coachman drive.


Author First attributed to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu in The Poetical Works of the Right Honourable Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, published in 1768.  It was subsequently included in a miscellany, Water Poetry:  A Collection of Verses Written at Several Public Places (London, 1771) also under Montagu’s name.  Recent scholarship has challenged this attribution.  See Robert Halsband and Isobel Grundy, eds., Lady Mary Wortley Montagu:  Essays and Poems and Simplicity, a Comedy (Oxford:  Clarendon Press, 1993), p. 173.

Title The poem first appeared in The Gentleman’s Magazine in July, 1731, as “Lady M. M—‘s Farewel [sic] to Bath.”  Halsband and Grundy note that “Lady Mary’s name was extremely unlikely to be formulated this way” and “the designation fits at least two other ladies” at that time (p. 173).

eke “Also, too, moreover” (OED); beaus Attendant or suitor of a lady (OED).

3 watry Archaic spelling of “watery.”

6 pumps Refers to the Pump Rooms that were built adjacent to the communal Roman Baths. They initially operated as changing areas for those going swimming; however, due to how dirty the bathing water became, drinking the water directly from the pumps became the preferred and more accessible way of taking the water. Thus, they became centers of social activity at Bath (“History: The Bath Assembly,” The Bath Magazine [August, 2021]).

9 prating “To talk or chatter; to speak foolishly, boastfully, or to great length, especially to little purpose” (OED).

12 coxcomb “A vain conceited, or pretentious man; a man of ostentatiously affected mannerisms or appearance” (OED).

13 Deard’s Mrs. Deard was an eminent toy shop owner in Bath (Trevor Fawcett, Eighteenth-Century Shops and the Luxury Trade, p. 67)

16 fop See “coxcomb” above.

17 Lindsey’s and Hayes’s Popular assembly rooms in Bath; Lindsey’s was built by John Wood the Elder in 1730 (“History: The Bath Assembly,” The Bath Magazine [August, 2021]).

21 Somerville Possibly a reference to William Somerville (1675-1742) British writer and, later in life, lawyer and country gentleman (Britannica); mien “Air, look, manner” (Johnson).

23 swimming “(Of dancing) to glide along with a smooth or dizzy motion (Johnson); Haws Probably Lady Frances Vane (née Hawes) (1715-1788), who was unmarried in 1731; Brownlow Possibly Eleanor Brownlow, later Viscountess Tyrconnel (1691-1730), who had been in Bath in the early months of 1730 recovering from an illness, but died later that year in September (see Stanley V. Makower, Richard Savage, A Mystery in Biogaphy, p. 193); blithe “Joyous, gladsome, cheerful” (OED).

24 Britton pink of France Unable to trace.

25 Nash Richard “Beau” Nash (1674-1762), “celebrated dandy and leader of fashion in eighteenth-century Britain” (National Portrait Gallery); largely credited for boosting the social and tourist landscape of Bath in the early 1700s (“History: The Bath Assembly,” The Bath Magazine [August, 2021]).

SOURCE: Letters of the Right Honourable L–y M–y W—–y M—–u, vol. II (London, 1784), pp. 268-269.  [Google Books]

Edited by Chloe Caneday

Elizabeth Moody, “A Dialogue between Beauty and Time”


“A Dialogue between Beauty and Time”


As BEAUTY somewhat in decay
Was loit’ring tedious hours away;
Reflecting on her faded charms
That now no Lover’s heart alarms;
On Time her pensive thought was bent,                          5
Till rising spleen enforced a vent.

O TIME ! rapacious thief, she cry’d,
Why dost thou pillage thus our pride?
Encroaching still from day to day,
Some fav’rite charm thou steal’st away;                            10
O what a booty hast thou got!
Of hair, teeth, skin, and God knows what!
Detested plunderer ! —could but we
Retaliate thefts and rifle thee!
What bands of females would arise                                  15
In quest of ringlets, lips and eyes!
But thou tenacious of thy store,
Will’t keep possession evermore;
Nor ever restitution make
Of any treasure thou dost take.                                          20
How artful thy insidious paces
Assailing by degrees our faces!
A tiny wrinkle first appears,
A sallower hue complexion wears;
A tooth perchance shall pass away,                                   25
An auburn lock be ting’d with grey;
A blotch displays a patch of red,
And here and there a pimple’s head.
Thus by a progress dimly seen,
Thou mak’st a wreck of Beauty’s mien.                              30

“TIME, who was mowing on his way,
Attentive to his daily prey,
Hearing his name aloud repeated,
And with respect so little treated,
Started and made a sudden stand,                                      35
His scythe suspended in his hand,
While thus he spoke,—Thou silly fair!
Thy froward petulance forbear!
For know, that those who thus complain,
Who thus indulge the peevish strain,                                   40
Do but accelerate my power,
And uglier grow through every hour.
Go to thy glass, and that will show
From storms of rage that wrinkes flow.
Good-nature Beauty keeps alive,                                           45
Her dying charms it bids revive;
Still o’er herself a conquest gains,
And binds all others in her chains.
What though the skin be furrow’d o’er.
And hardness grows on every pore!                                     50
What though the eyes of beams bereft,
Have scarce a glimmering sparkle left;
Her sex its softness still retains
The angel temper still remains;
Still glows with every virtuous sense,                                   55
Its latest dream—benevolence.

Have I not told thee I would make
Some recompense for what I take?
Have I not told thee thou should’st find
Amendment in thy better mind;                                            60
Have I not promis’d to dispense
Prudence, philosophy and sense?
And that when Beauty wither’d lies,
Virtue from her dead flowers shall rise;
Learn then submission—be resign’d:                                    65
Meet me with smiles, and find me kind,
Yield to me calmly all I ask,—
Resisting Time’s a bootless task.

Submission? ——scornful BEAUTY cries,
What—give thee both my radiant eyes,                                70
My hair, my neck, my arms, my skin,
And not one murmur pass within?
No wish indulg’d one charm to save
A little longer from thy grave?
Time’s spoils his wisdom ill supplies,                                      75
Inadequate the compromise.

What canst thou give for Beauty’s face;
For Beauty’s freshness, vigour, grace?
What give in lieu of happy youth,
Her native innocence and truth?                                            80
What—for her open generous heart?
But cold reserve in folds of art?
What—for her unsuspecting trust?
But caution’s fear, and doubt unjust.
What for the converse youth bestows?                                85
Thought that reciprocally flows.
Gay intercourse that TIME derides,
“With Laughter holding both her sides.”
When Mirth’s allow’d to be in season,
Nor stands control’d by crabbed Reason.                            90
For this—say what dost thou engage?
The dull garrulity of Age.
The tedious half-remember’d stories,
Of cocks and bulls, and Whigs and Tories.
Remnants of tales of ancient courts,                                    95
Of vicious Monarchs and their sports;
Of Statesmen and their various tricks,
And furious jars of Politicks.
With tribes of legendary themes,
Prophetic visions, ghosts and dreams.                                 100

That prudence too, experience, sense,
Which thou so boastest to dispense:
What form they, but a case of steel,
That aged bosoms may not feel?
And thy Philosophy, O say!                                                     105
Will it drive racking Gout away?
Or for its pangs such ease prepare,
As flannel and an elbow chair?
Then wherefore barter Time, with thee,
On no Exchange shall we agree.                                           110

Time frown’d and scowling fierce reply’d,
Is this my proffer’d grace deny’d?
Go then—retain thy abject mind!
Such as thou view’st me thou shalt find.
For thee no wisdom I’ll prepare,                                           115
No solace for thy age’s care,
No veil I’ll spread thy faults to hide,
Replete with ignorance and pride,
Long as the glass my motion shows,
Through which life’s sandy current flows;                           120
Thou slave of Folly shalt be seen,
The same at sixty, as sixteen.


6 spleen “Excessive dejection or depression of spirits” (OED).

7 rapacious “Inordiately given to grasping or taking” (OED).

24 sallower hue “Sickly; yellow” (Johnson).

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

38 froward “Ungovernable; angry” (Johnson).

88 With Laughter holding both her sides A variation of line 32 from John Milton’s L’Allegro (1645), “And Laughter holding both his sides.”

89 Mirth “Joy, happiness” (OED).

92 garrulity “The quality of talking too much; talkativeness” (Johnson).

94 Whigs and Tories The two main British political parties from the 1680s to the mid 1800s.

106 Gout “A disease that causes painful swelling of the joints especially the toes” (Britannica).

SOURCE: Poetic Trifles (London, 1798) pp. 13-18. [Google Books]

Edited by Luke Bushey

Mary Leapor, “An Essay on Woman”


An Essay on Woman”


Woman—a pleasing, but a short-liv’d Flow’r,
Too soft for Business, and too weak for Pow’r:
A Wife in Bondage, or neglected Maid;
Despis’d, if ugly; if she’s fair—betray’d.
‘Tis Wealth alone inspires ev’ry Grace,                                                   5
And calls the Raptures to her plenteous Face.
What Numbers for those charming Features pine,
If blooming Acres round her Temples twine?
Her Lip the Strawberry; and her Eyes more bright
Than sparkling Venus in a frosty Night.                                                  10
Pale Lilies fade; and when the Fair appears,
Snow turns a Negro, and dissolves in Tears.
And where the Charmer treads her magic Toe,
On English Ground Arabian Odours grow;
Till mighty Hymen lists his sceptred Rod,                                               15
And sinks her Glories with a fatal Nod;
Dissolves her Triumphs; sweeps her Charms away,
And turns the Goddess to her native Clay.

But, Artemisia, let your Servant sing
What small Advantage Wealth and Beauties bring.                              20
Who would be wise, that knew Pamphilia’s Fate?
Or who be fair, and join’d to Sylvia’s Mate?
Sylvia, whose Cheeks are fresh as early Day;
As Ev’ning mild, and sweet as spicy May:
And yet That Face her partial Husband tires,                                         25
And those bright Eyes, that all the World admires.
Pamphilia’s Wit who does not strive to shun,
Like Death’s Infection, or a Dog-Day’s Sun?
The Damsels view her with malignant Eyes:
The Men are vex’d to find a Nymph so wise:                                          30
And Wisdom only serves to make her know
The keen Sensation of superior Woe.
The secret Whisper, and the list’ning Ear,
The scornful Eyebrow, and the hated Sneer;
The giddy Censures of her babbling Kind,                                              35
With thousand Ills that grate a gentle Mind,
By her are tasted in the first Degree,
Tho’ overlook’d by Simplicus, and me.
Does Thirst of Gold a Virgin’s Heart inspire,
Instill’d by Nature, or a careful Sire?                                                         40
Then let her quit Extravagance and Play;
The brisk Companion; and expensive Tea;
To feast with Cordia in her filthy Sty
On stew’d Potatoes, or on mouldy Pye;
Whose eager Eyes stare ghastly at the Poor,                                          45
And fright the Beggars from her hated Door:
In greasy Clouts she wraps her smoky Chin,
And holds, that Pride’s a never-pardon’d Sin.

If this be Wealth, no matter where it falls;
But save, ye Muses, save your Mira’s Walls:                                             50
Still give me pleasing Indolence, and Ease;
A Fire to warm me, and a Friend to please.

Since, whether sunk in Avarice, or Pride;
A wanton Virgin, or a starving Bride;
Or, wond’ring Crouds attend her charming Tongue;                             55
Or deem’d an Idiot, ever speaks the Wrong:
Tho’ Nature arm’d us for the growing Ill,
With fraudful Cunning, and a headstrong Will;
Yet, with ten thousand Follies to her Charge,
Unhappy Woman’s but a Slave at large.                                                   60


6 Raptures “A state, condition, or fit of intense delight or enthusiasm” (OED).

10 Venus Here a reference to the evening star.

12 Negro “A member of a dark-skinned group of peoples originally native to sub-Saharan Africa; a person of black African origin or descent. Early use also applied to other dark-skinned peoples” (OED).

15 Hymen The God of marriage in Greek myth.

18 Clay That is, her original human form.

19 Artemisia A pseudonym for Leapor’s friend and patron, Bridget Freemantle.

28 Dog-Day’s “The hottest part of the summer” (OED).

32 Woe “A state or condition of misery, suffering, or emotional distress; misfortune, trouble” (OED).

35 Censures “Expression of disapproval or condemnation” (OED).

36 grate “To affect painfully,…irritate” (OED).

38 Simplicus Conventional name for a rustic or simple man.

43 Sty “A human habitation…no better than a pigsty” (OED).

50 Mira Leapor’s poetic name for herself; Walls Defenses (OED).

53 Avarice “Inordinate desire of acquiring and hoarding wealth” (OED).

54 wanton “Lustful; not chaste, sexually promiscuous” (OED).

59 Follies Foolish actions, ideas, practices (OED).

SOURCE: Poems Upon Several Occasions (London, 1751), pp. 64-67. [Internet Archive]

Edited by Alexis Kleinberg


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



Mary Leapor, “The Temple of Love”


“The Temple of Love”


 When lonely Night compos’d the drowsy Mind,
And hush’d the Bosom of the weary Hind,
Pleas’d with plain Nature and with simple Life,
I read the Scenes of Shore’s deluded Wife,
Till my faint Spirits sought a silent Bed,                                            5
And on its Pillow drop’d my aking Head;
Then Fancy ever to her Mira kind,
Prepar’d her Phantoms for the roving Mind.

Behold a Fabrick rising from the Ground,
To the soft Timbrel and the Cittern’s Sound:                                   10
Corinthian Pillars the vast Building hold,
Of polish’d Silver and Peruvian Gold;
In four broad Arches spread the shining Doors,
The blazing Roofs enlighten all the Floors:
Beneath a sparkling Canopy that shone                                           15
With Persian Jewels, like a Morning Sun
Wrap’d in a Robe of purest Tyrian Dye,
Cythera’s Image met the ravish’d Eye,
Whose glowing Features wou’d in Paint beguile:
So well the Artist drew her mimick Smile;                                        20
Her shining Eyes confess’d a sprightly Joy;
Upon her Knees reclin’d her wanton Boy;
On the bright Walls, around her and above,
Were drawn the Statutes and the Arts of Love:
These taught the silent Language of the Eye,                                   25
The broken Whisper and amusing Lye;
The careless Glance peculiar to the Fair,
And Vows for Lovers, that dissolve in Air;
The graceful Anger, and the rolling Eyes;
The practis’d Blush and counterfeit Surprise,                                   30
The Language proper for pretending Swains;
And fine Description for imagin’d Pains;
The friendly Caution and designing Ease,
And all the Arts that ruin while they please.

Now entred, follow’d by a splendid Train,                                   35
A blooming Damsel and a wealthy Swain;
The gaudy Youth in shining Robes array’d,
Behind him follow’d the unthinking Maid:
Youth in her Cheek like op’ning Roses sprung,
Her careless Tresses on her Shoulders hung.                                    40
Her Smiles were chearful as enliv’ning May;
Her Dress was careless, and her Eyes were gay;
Then to soft Voices and melodious Sound
The Board was spread, the sparkling Glasses crown’d:
The sprightly Virgin in a Moment shines                                              45
In the gay Entrails of the eastern Mines;
Then Pride comes in with Patches for the Fair,
And spicy Odours for her curling Hair:
Rude Riot in a crimson Vest array’d,
With smooth-fac’d Flatt’ry like a Chamber-maid:                                50
Soft Pomp and Pleasure at her Elbow stand,
And Folly shakes the Rattles in her Hand.

But now her feeble Structure seem’d to shake,
Its Basis trembl’d and its Pillars quake;
Then rush’d Suspicion through the lofty Gate,                                   55
With heart-fick Loathing led by ghastly Hate;
And foaming Rage, to close the horrid Band,
With a drawn Poniard in her shaking Hand.
Now like an Earthquake shook the reeling Frame,
The Lamps extinguish in a purple Flame:                                            60
One universal Groan was heard, and then
The Cries of Women and the Voice of Men:
Some roar out Vengeance, some for Mercy call;
And Shrieks and Tumult fill the dreadful Hall.

At length the Spectres vanish’d from my Sight,                            65
Again the Lamps resum’d a feeble Light;
But chang’d the Place: No Splendor there was shown,
But gloomy Walls that Mirth had never known;
For the gay Dome where Pleasure us’d to dwell,
Appear’d an Abbey and a doleful Cell;                                                    70
And here the sad, the ruin’d Nymph was found,
Her Robe disorder’d and her Locks unbound,
While from her Eyes the pearly Drops of Woe,
Wash’d her pale Cheek where Roses us’d to blow:
Her blue and trembling Lips prepar’d to breathe                                 75
The Sighs that made her swelling Bosom heave;
Thus stupid with her Grief she sat and prest
Her lily Hands across her pensive Breast;
A Group of ghastly Phantoms stood behind,
Whose Task it is to wreck the guilty Mind:                                              80
Wide-mouth’d Reproach with Visage rude and thin,
And hissing Scandal made a hideous Din;
Remorse that darted from her deadly Wings,
Invenom’d Arrows and a thousand Stings:
Then with pale Cheeks and with a ghastly Stare,                                   85
Peep’d o’er her Shoulder hollow-ey’d Despair;
Whose Hand extended bore a bleeding Heart,
And Death behind her shook his threat’ning Dart:
These Forms with Horror fill’d my aking Breast,
And from my Eye-lids drove the Balm of Rest;                                        90
I woke and found old Night her Course had run,
And left her Empire to the rising Sun.


 4  Scenes of Shore’s deluded Wife  A reference to The Tragedy of Jane Shore (1714), a play by Nicholas Rowe (1674-1718) based on the life an intrigues of Elizabeth (“Jane”) Shore (c. 1445-c. 1557), a mistress of King Edward IV.

9  Fabrick  “A building” (OED).

10  Timbrel  “An instrument of the percussion family” (OED); Cittern “An instrument of the lute family” (OED).

11 Corinthian Pillars  “The name of one of the three Grecian [architectural] orders (Doric, Ionic, Corinthian), of which it is the lightest and most ornate” (OED).

17  Tyrian Dye  Alludes to “the purple or crimson dye anciently made at Tyre from certain molluscs” (OED).

18  Cythera  A reference to Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love who, according to legend, was born on the island of Cythera.

19  beguile  “Deceive” (OED).

22  wanton Boy  Cupid.

64  Tumult  “Commotion leading to a riot” (OED).

69  Dome  “A stately building” (OED).

70  doleful  “Sorrowful” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems Upon Several Occasions (London, 1748), pp. 162-66.  [Google Books]

 Edited by Angela Vu



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

Jonathan Swift, “Apollo Outwitted”


“Apollo Outwitted”

To the Honourable Mrs. FINCH, under her Name of Ardelia.
Written, 1709.

PHOEBUS now shortning every Shade,
Up to the Northern Tropick came,
And thence Beheld a Lovely Maid
Attending on a Royal Dame.

THE God laid down his Feeble Rays,                                                  5
Then lighted from his Glitt’ring Coach,
But fenc’d his Head with his own Bays
Before he durst the Nymph approach.

UNDER those Sacred Leaves, Secure
From common Lightning of the Skies,                                        10
He fondly thought he might endure
The Flashes of Ardelia’s Eyes.

THE Nymph who oft had read in Books,
Of that Bright God whom Bards invoke,
Soon knew Apollo by his looks,                                                             15
And Guest his Business e’er he Spoke.

HE in the old Celestial Cant,
Confest his Flame, and Swore by Styx,
What e’er she would desire, to Grant,
But Wise Ardelia knew his Tricks.                                                    20

OVID had warn’d her to beware,
Of Stroling Gods, whose usual Trade is,
Under pretence of Taking Air,
To Pick up Sublunary Ladies.

HOWE’ER she gave no flat Denial,                                                            25
As having Malice in her Heart,
And was resolv’d upon a Tryal,
To Cheat the God in his own Art.

HEAR my Request the Virgin said
Let which I please of all the Nine                                                       30
Attend when e’er I want their Aid,
Obey my Call, and only mine.

BY Vow Oblig’d, By Passion led,
The God could not refuse her Prayer;
He wav’d his Wreath Thrice o’er her Head,                                               35
Thrice mutter’d something to the Air.

AND now he thought to Seize his due,
But she the Charm already try’d,
Thalia heard the Call and Flew
To wait at Bright Ardelia’s Side.                                                             40

ON sight of this Celestial Prude,
Apollo thought it vain to stay,
Nor in her Presence durst be Rude,
But made his Leg and went away.

HE hop’d to find some lucky Hour,                                                               45
When on their Queen the Muses wait;
But Pallas owns Ardelia’s Power,
For Vows Divine are kept by Fate.

THEN full of Rage Apollo Spoke,
Deceitful Nymph I see thy Art,                                                               50
And tho’ I can’t my gift revoke,
I’ll disappoint its Nobler Part.

LET Stubborn Pride Possess thee long,
And be thou Negligent of Fame,
With ev’ry Muse to Grace thy Song,                                                               55
May’st thou despise a Poets Name.

OF Modest Poets thou be first,
To silent Shades repeat thy Verse,
Till Fame and Eccho almost burst,
Yet hardly dare one Line Rehearse.                                                        60

AND last, my Vengeance to Compleat,
May you Descend to take Renown,
Prevail’d on by the Thing you hate,
A [Whig] and one that wears a Gown.


Dedication  Ardelia  Anne Finch’s poetical name for herself.

1  PHOEBUS  “[Ancient Greek name of Apollo] god of light, poetry and music” (OED).

2  Northern Tropick  “Tropic of Cancer,” which includes Britain (Britannica).

4  Royal Dame  Finch was appointed Maid of Honour to Mary of Modena in 1682.  Mary became queen in 1685 when her husband ascended the throne as James II, though Finch had resigned her court position in 1684 after marrying.

7  Bays  “Leaves or sprigs of this tree, esp. as woven into a wreath or garland to reward a conqueror or poet; hence figurative the fame and repute attained by these” (OED).

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

18  Styx  “A river of the lower world or Hades, over which the shades of the departed were ferried by Charon, and by which the gods swore their most solemn oaths” (OED).

21  OVID  Roman poet (43BC-17AD), famous for Metamorphoses.

30  all the Nine  The muses.

39  Thalia  “The eighth of the muses, presiding over comedy and idyllic poetry” (OED).

47  Pallas  Epithet for Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and war.

64  [Whig]  “A person who supported the exclusion of James, Duke of York (later James II), from the succession to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland on account of his Roman Catholicism during the late 1670s and 1680s” (OED); added in later printings of the poem; one that wears a Gown  Swift himself.

SOURCE:  Miscellanies in Prose and Verse (London, 1711), pp. 399–403.  [Google Books]

Edited by Jake Araiza


Phillis Wheatley, “To the Right Honourable William, Earl of Dartmouth”


“To the Right Honourable WILLIAM, Earl of DARTMOUTH, His Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for North-America, &c.”


Hail, happy day, when, smiling like the morn,
Fair Freedom rose New-England to adorn:
The northern clime beneath her genial ray,
Dartmouth, congratulates thy blissful sway:
Elate with hope her race no longer mourns,                                                              5
Each soul expands, each grateful bosom burns,
While in thine hand with pleasure we behold
The silken reins, and Freedom’s charms unfold.
Long lost to realms beneath the northern skies
She shines supreme, while hated faction dies:                                                           10
Soon as appear’d the Goddess long desir’d,
Sick at the view, she languish’d and expir’d;
Thus from the splendors of the morning light
The owl in sadness seeks the caves of night.

No more, America, in mournful strain                                                                    15
Of wrongs, and grievance unredress’d complain,
No longer shall thou dread the iron chain,
Which wanton Tyranny with lawless hand
Had made, and with it meant t’ enslave the land.

Should you, my lord, while you peruse my song,                                                 20
Wonder from whence my love of Freedom sprung,
Whence flow these wishes for the common good,
By feeling hearts alone best understood,
I, young in life, by seeming cruel fate
Was snatch’d from Afric’s fancy’d happy seat:                                                                25
What pangs excruciating must molest,
What sorrows labour in my parent’s breast?
Steel’d was that soul and by no misery mov’d
That from a father seiz’d his babe belov’d:
Such, such my case. And can I then but pray                                                                 30
Others may never feel tyrannic sway?

For favours past, great Sir, our thanks are due,
And thee we ask thy favours to renew,
Since in thy pow’r, as in thy will before,
To sooth the griefs, which thou did’st once deplore.                                                     35
May heav’nly grace the sacred sanction give
To all thy works, and thou for ever live
Not only on the wings of fleeting Fame,
Though praise immortal crowns the patriot’s name,
But to conduct to heav’ns refulgent fane,                                                                         40
May fiery coursers sweep th’ ethereal plain,
And bear thee upwards to that blest abode,
Where, like the prophet, thou shalt find thy God.


 Title  Right Honourable WILLIAM, Earl of DARTMOUTH William Legge, 2nd earl of Dartmouth (1731-1801), played a significant role in the events leading to the American Revolution by opposing the Stamp Act (which imposed direct taxation on the colonies). As Secretary of State for North America (1772-1775) he initially took a conciliatory approach, but following the Boston Tea Party in December 1773 he attempted to regain control of the colonies, eventually calling for overwhelming use of force to quell the rebellion. However, he was against calling for an all-out war and resigned in 1775 (Britannica).

2 Freedom  Allusion to the goddess “Libertas, in Roman religion, female personification of liberty and personal freedom” (Britannica); New-England In this period New England comprised four colonies: Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, Providence, and Connecticut (World History Encyclopedia).

15 America  Colonial America or the thirteen colonies of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia (Britannica).

18 Tyranny  “Oppressive or unjustly severe government” (OED).

25 Afric  Archaic or obsolete name for Africa (OED). Wheatley was born in West Africa and at the age of seven was kidnapped and transported to Boston aboard the slave ship The Phillis (Jeffers, Age of Phillis, p. 41).

38 Fame  Frequently figured as a winged goddess, “Fama, Greek Pheme, in Greco-Roman mythology, the personification of popular rumour” (Britannica).

40 refulgent  “Bright; shining; glittering; splendid” (Johnson); fane “A temple; a place consecrated to religion” (Johnson).

41 coursers  “A swift horse; a war horse: a word not used in prose” (Johnson).

43 the prophet  Lines 41-43 allude to the prophet Elijah who in 2 Kings “went up by a whirlwind into  heaven” by “chariot of fire and horses of fire” (2 Kings 2:11).

 Source: Poems on Various Subjects Religious and Moral, (London, 1773), pp. 73-75. [Hathi Trust]

 Edited by Kristine Van Dusen



Elizabeth Carter, “On the DEATH of Mrs. Rowe”


“On the DEATH of Mrs. Rowe”


Oft’ did Intrigue its guilty Arts unite,
To blacken the Records of female Wit:
The tuneful Song lost ev’ry modest Grace,
And lawless Freedoms triumph’d in their Place:
The Muse, for Vices not her own accus’d,                                             5
With Blushes view’d her sacred Gifts abus’d;
Those Gifts for nobler Purposes assign’d,
To raise the Thoughts, and moralize the Mind;
The chaste Delights of Virtue to inspire,
And warm the Bosom with seraphic Fire;                                              10
Sublime the Passions, lend Devotion Wings,
And celebrate the first great CAUSE of Things.

These glorious Tasks were Philomela’s Part,
Who charms the Fancy, and who mends the Heart.
In her was ev’ry bright Distinction join’d,                                                15
Whate’er adorns, or dignifies the Mind:
Hers ev’ry happy Elegance of Thought,
Refin’d by Virtue, as by Genius wrought.
Each low-born Care her pow’rful Strains controul,
And wake the nobler Motions of the Soul.                                              20
When to the vocal Wood or winding Stream,
She hymn’d th’ Almighty AUTHOR of its Frame,
Transported Echoes bore the Sounds along,
And all Creation listen’d to the Song:
Full, as when raptur’d Seraphs strike the Lyre;                                       25
Chaste, as the Vestal’s consecrated Fire;
Soft as balmy Airs, that gently play
In the calm Sun-set of a vernal Day;
Sublime as Virtue; elegant as Wit;
As Fancy various; and as Beauty sweet.                                                   30
Applauding Angels with Attention hung,
To learn the heav’nly Accents from her Tongue:
They, in the midnight Hour, beheld her rise
Beyond the Verge of sublunary Skies;
Where, rapt in Joys to mortal Sense unknown,                                       35
She felt a Flame as extatic as their own.

O while distinguish’d in the Realms above,
The blest Abode of Harmony and Love,
Thy happy Spirit joins the heav’nly Throng,
Glows with their Transports, and partakes their Song,                            40
Fixt on my Soul shall thy Example grow,
And be my Genius and my Guide below;
To this I’ll point my first, my noblest Views,
Thy spotless Verse shall regulate my Muse.
And O forgive, tho’ faint the Transcript be,                                                45
That copies an Original like thee:
My justest Pride, my best Attempt for Fame,
That joins my own to Philomela’s Name.


Title Mrs. Rowe Elizabeth Singer Rowe (1674-1737), respected poet, essayist, and fiction writer.

10 seraphic Fire “Rapturous; ecstatically devout” (OED).

13 Philomela Rowe’s pseudonym early in her career. In Greek mythology, Philomela became associated with the nightingale’s song, symbolic of pure poetry.

14 Fancy Imagination.

25 Seraphs “Supernatural beings associated with the presence of God” (OCB).

26 Vestal’s A reference to the vestal virgins “who had charge of the sacred fire in the temple of Vesta at Rome” (OED).

28 vernal Summer.

35 rapt “To carry away in spirit; to enrapture, transport” (OED). The copy text reads “rap’d,” a printer’s error that was corrected to “rapt” only in the fourth edition of 1789.

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions. The Second Edition (London,1766), pp. 10-12. [Google Books]

Edited by Sally Mejia