Stephen Duck, “On Two Young Ladies leaving the Country”

STEPHEN DUCK
“On Two Young Ladies leaving the Country”

 

SAY, lovely Nymphs! who fly from rural Sweets,
To noisy Crowds, thick Air, and smoaky Streets,
Do Balls, or Plays, your graceful Steps invite?
Can Balls, or Plays, like Richmond Groves, delight?
No tuneful PHILOMEL, in Town, complains,                                                            5
To charm your list’ning Ear with vary’d Strains;
No fragrant Gales refresh the sick’ning Fields,
No chearful flow’ry Scenes the City yields:
But Mists, and lambent Fogs, where-e’er you pass,
Shall cloud the Graces, that adorn your Face;                                                         10
While those bright Eyes, like sully’d Gems, appear,
Or Stars, just glimm’ring thro’ the dusky Air.

NOR will you only Change of Beauty find;
Illusive Scenes will mock your pensive Mind:
In cloudless Mornings, when you’ve drank your Tea,                                             15
And read a Page in SHERLOCK, or in —– GAY;
Perhaps your Thoughts, transported, here may rove,
And, to your Mind, present the blissful Grove:
You’ll think to walk by silver Thames’s Shore;
Or trace the verdant Mead, as heretofore:                                                               20
When at the Door, the rural Vision flies,
Smoak, Coaches, Fops, and Carmen meets your Eyes:
Straight back you’ll turn, vex’d with the fruitless Search;
Bid ROBERT call a Chair, and go to Church.

NOTES:

4 Richmond Groves In the early eighteenth century, Richmond upon Thames was still considered a rural retreat from London, offering open spaces, groves of trees, and prospects from Richmond Hill.

5 PHILOMEL “A poetic or literary name for the nightingale (in allusion to the myth of the maiden Philomela’s transformation into that bird)” (OED).

9 lambent “Playing lightly upon or gliding over a surface” (OED).

16 SHERLOCK William Sherlock (c. 1641-1707), Anglican clergyman and religious writer, his A Practical Discourse Concerning Death (1689) went to many editions in the eighteenth century; GAY John Gay (1685-1732), poet and dramatist.

20 verdant Green-hued (OED).

22 Fops Foolish and vain persons, typically applied to men (OED); Carmen “Member of a Company of the City of London concerned with transportation” (OED).

24 ROBERT The Footman [Author’s note]; Chair “An enclosed chair or covered vehicle for one person, carried on poles by two men; a sedan” (OED).

SourcePoems on Several Occasions (London, 1736)pp. 158-59.  [Google Books]

Edited by Clementine Johnson

Susanna Blamire, “Hope”

SUSANNA BLAMIRE
 “Hope”

 

SEE, from yonder hill descending,
Hope, with all her train attending!
“Quips, and cranks, and wanton wiles,
Nods, and becks, and wreathed smiles;”
Fancies light that tread on air,                                                                          5
Building fairy castles there;
Aeolus his harp new stringing,
Tuning to the breezes singing;
Zeph’rus sweeping softest chords;
Fancy setting airs to words;                                                                              10
Words that seem another sound,
And lighter than a breath are found.
Here Morpheus comes, a wandering guest,
By plaintive murmurs lull’d to rest;
Round him painted vapours stream,                                                              15
Weaving soft the chequer’d dream,
Which on silken wings they spread,
Shaking o’er his drowsy head;
Subtile fumes waft round the brain,
And fan these joys so light and vain,                                                               20
Which soft slumber loves to dress
In long robes of happiness.
See where come the dancing Hours,
Sprinkling Hope’s gay path with flowers;
“Thyme that loves the brown hill’s side,”                                                        25
Heath in lasting colours dyed;
Feathery sprays that softly blow,
And load the sweet gales as they go
Unheeded,—though the scented air
Fragrance steals we know not where.                                                             30
Sweet Hope! lightly dost thou tread,
Bending not the weak flower’s head;
Watching every changeful scene,
Sliding gilded shows between
Where new prospects open still,                                                                     35
Rising fair behind the hill.
‘Tis true stern Reason scorns thy sway,
Nor basks beneath thy sunny ray;
Nor hears thy accents clear and sweet,
Where sprightly airs and softness meet,                                                        40
Mixing with harmonic chords,
Pouring melody on words.
Nor will his fix’d eye deign to glance
On the mirthful mazy dance,
When the Hours, all hand in hand,                                                                  45
Link with thee, a jocund band;
When thy white robes float on air,
Catching rays that tremble there,
Tinted with the varying beam,
Ending in prismatic stream.                                                                              50
On thy head a wreath of flowers
Nods in time to dancing Hours,
Feathery-footed, trim, and light,
Flitting round from morn till night;
From morn till night, thou gaily leads                                                              55
Through dark green woods and painted meads,
With rose-ting’d cheeks, and clear blue eye
Looking through another sky,
Till we reach th’ enamell’d lawn
Round which a river journeys on,                                                                    60
Where many a bridge is taught to please
Gothic eyes, or gay Chinese,
Thrown in every point of view
Arch can add a beauty to,
While here and there an ashling weaves                                                        65
Verdant knots of summer leaves.
Now we reach thy mansion high,
Spiral turrets climb the sky,
Gilding clouds of varied light,
Changing underneath the sight.                                                                       70
See what crowds surround the gate,
See what Expectations wait;
And, running out, surround their queen,
Ask all at once where she has been ;
And if the promis’d Hours were found                                                           75
With Elysian garlands crown’d;
Or if yet she’d leave to tell
Where true Happiness would dwell;
Or yet had seen the promis’d Day
When Expectation, grave or gay,                                                                     80
In happy, blissful bands should be
United into Certainty.
She sweetly smil’d, and wav’d her hand,
At which a specious flattering band
(Quick through the ear their credence reaches)                                            85
Bow’d round, —and, full of soothing speeches
Declar’d the Hours would soon appear;
Then, whispering softly in the ear,
Taught smiles along the cheek to glow,
As if those Hours they well did know.                                                              90
Ye Promises! ye Flatterers vain!
That dress out Hope and varnish Pain,
And make the dullest things appear
Of shining surface, smooth and clear;
Handing the cup to Hope’s sweet lip,                                                               95
Of which we guests so fondly sip,
While seeing all the bottom shine,
Ne’er think there’s poison in the wine:—
Dark Lethe’s cup each grief subdues,
That used on former joys to muse;                                                                  100
For to Hope’s enchanted dome
Dreaded Ills dare never come;
Not one mask’d Sorrow can you see
In all her court of revelry: —
What though ye pull the careless sleeve,                                                       105
And would tempt us to believe
These noon-joys are waning fast,
Form’d only for an hour to last;
Hence, miscreants!—let me, while I may,
Enjoy the gewgaws of my day.                                                                         110
Descend, sweet Hope, from thy bright throne
Glittering with each precious stone,—
Rubies red, and sapphires blue,
Amethysts of purple hue,
Topazes of sun-like blaze,                                                                                 115
And diamonds with their thousand rays;
Descend! and mount yon hill with me,
There let me opening prospects see,
Which, step by step, shall fairer grow
The while as fades this scene below.                                                               120
Forests of immortal oak;
Rocks by tumbling torrents broke;
“Shallow brooks, and rivers wide,
Verdant meads, with daisies pied;”
Distant cities, large and proud;                                                                         125
Mountains dim, that seem a cloud;
Castles high, that live on hills;
Little cots, that seek the rills;
Upland grounds, where flocks are seen
Mixing white with darkest green;                                                                     130
What! though painted on the air,
Still they look serene and fair.
Though my foot be left to tread
Barren heaths with brambles spread,
Yet if thou check one falling tear,                                                                     135
Or bathe the eye till it grow clear,
I’ll freely pardon all thy wiles,
And fancy good in all thy smiles;
Still pleas’d to find the ills we dread
Thy fairy wing can overspread;                                                                        140
And though thy promises deceive,
Bless my kind stars that I believe;
Thy cranks and wiles who would not see!
For happy they who doubt not thee.

NOTES:

3 Quips, and cranks “A sharp, sarcastic, or cutting remark, esp. one cleverly or wittily phrased” (OED).

3-4 A quotation from John Milton’s “L’Allegro,” ll. 27-28.

7 Aeolus  Greek keeper of the winds, and king of the island of Aeolia.  His musical instrument was a harp played by the winds instead of human hands (OED).

9 Zeph’rus Greek god of the West Wind (OED).

13 Morpheus Greek god associated with sleep and dreams; in Ovid’s Metamorphosis he is the son of Sleep (OED).

19 Subtile Variant spelling of “subtle” (OED).

25 A variant quotation from John Langhorne’s “Owen of Carron:” “With thyme that loves the brown hill’s breast,” l. 105 (The Poetical Works of J. Langhorne, D. D. with the Life of the Author [London, (1789?) ], p. 104).

44 mazy “Giddy, dizzy, confused” (OED).

46 jocund “Feeling, expressing, or communicating mirth or cheerfulness” (OED).

50 prismatic “Brightly colored, colorful, brilliant” (OED).

56 painted meads Meadows, bright and picturesque (OED).

62 Gothic “Belonging to, or characteristic of, the Middle Ages; mediæval, ‘romantic’, as opposed to classical. A style of architecture”; Chinese From Chinoiserie, “a Western decorative style, popular in the 18th century, that drew from Chinese forms, motifs and sometimes techniques,” and which was part of a trend of Orientalist architecture (OED).

65 ashling A young ash tree (OED).

76 Elysian “Relating to Elysium, an imagined, idyllic place often identified with Pastoral poetry; indicates Pastoral qualities” (OED).

99 Dark Lethe’s cup  “In Greek mythology Lethe is a river within Hades, whose water, when drunk, produces forgetfulness” (OED).

110 gewgaws  “A gaudy trifle, plaything, or ornament, a pretty thing of little value, a toy or bauble” (OED).

118 prospects “The view (of a landscape, etc.) afforded by a particular location or position; a vista; an extensive or commanding range of sight” (OED).

123-124 A quotation from John Milton’s “L’Allegro,” ll. 75-76.

124 with daisies pied Daisies multiplied.

128 Little cots A small house, a little cottage, now chiefly poetical, and connoting smallness and humbleness; rills A small stream, a rivulet, or a brook (OED).

SOURCE: The Poetical Works of Miss Susanna Blamire (Edinburgh, 1842), pp. 148-153. [HathiTrust]

Edited by Emily Nicol

Anonymous, “Verses occasion’d by a Horse’s biting a Lady’s Breast”

ANONYMOUS
“Verses occasion’d by a Horse’s biting a Lady’s Breast”

 

See how unlimited is Beauty’s Sway!
An Ass once spoke (as antient Records say)
Charm’d with an Angel offer’d to his View,
The Story’s strange, but we must swear ‘tis true—
—I deal in Wonders of a merrier Kind,                                                   5
Not done by Angels, but by Woman-kind.
Nothing unnatural shall here accrue,
The Story’s strange, but not more strange than true,
—A Horse (descended from a long-told Race
Of well-bred Hunters, whom no Vice disgrace)                                     10
For Beauty fam’d, in Speed out strip’d by none,
A Creature fit to mount a Goddess on;
This Horse a mighty Favourite became
To a most Noble, Puissant, Princely Dame,
Illustrious for her Titles, Beauty, Fame;                                                      15
Pleas’d oft she’d tell his well-descended Race,
Smooth his fine Neck, his Main in Ringlets trace,
Nor lies the Muse who sings she kiss’d his Face.
He by those dear repeated Favours fir’d,
By the warm Stroaks of her soft Hand inspir’d,                                      20
Conceiv’d (strange of a Horse to tell) a Flame
For his fond Lady—and who dare him blame,
Or who so kindly us’d, but must have had the same
—His Love unable longer to suppress,
He furiously the charming D——s press’d,                                              25
And mark’d his Kisses on her bleeding breast—
—She frighten’d at the Creature’s rude Embrace,
Scream’d out for Aid, and fled the dangerous Place—
Away the disappointed Horse was led,
He neigh’d aloud, and wanton turn’d his Head—                                  30
—The D——s sigh’d, and went alone to Bed—
Which Tale’s most nat’ral, which most hits your Taste,
Which does in Beauty, which in Sense surpass,
B————d the Angel, or the Horse the Ass?

NOTES:

2-3 An Ass once spoke . . . View  These lines allude to a portion of a biblical story in Numbers 22. Balaam, riding his donkey, is blocked three times by an angel as he tries to follow the princes of Moab. Balaam cannot see the angel, and beats his donkey when she balks. Finally, she is given the ability to speak and asks what she has done to deserve the three beatings. He threatens to kill her, but the angel reveals himself, and rebukes Balaam (Numbers 22: 21-34).

10 Hunters  Horses trained to be used for foxhunting.

14 Puissant  “Possessed of or wielding power; having great authority or influence” (OED).

17 Main  Variant spelling of “mane”: the hair flowing from a horse’s crest, or top of the neck.

25 D——s  Probably “Duchess” (see note to line 34 below).

34 B——–d  Possibly a reference to Diana Russell (nee Spencer) (1710-1735).  She was known for her beauty in this period, but did not become Duchess of Bedford until October 1732.  The poet may be taking the liberty of referring to her future title knowing that her husband was the sole heir to the Bedford dukedom (Massey, The First Lady Diana).

SOURCE:  Gentleman’s Magazine (vol. 2, March 1732), p. 672.  [Google Books]

Edited by Elizabeth Eckert

Priscilla Pointon, “A Valentine”

PRISCILLA POINTON
“A Valentine”

 

Pardon me, Sir, nor think the maid too bold,
That sends you this, the custom being old:
This day our sex does oft by VALENTINE
Chuse those they like, so I have chose you mine.
Antient’s the custom, as I name above,                                                          5
Mine is but friendship, others may be love;
With me, ye Pow’rs! let friendship ever reign,
I ask no more, nor let me ask in vain:
For shou’d I love, and meet with no return,
How wou’d my bosom, like to Sappho, burn!                                               10
Pity on me, perhaps, they might bestow,
But pity cannot ease the pangs of woe.
The very thought alarms my soul, ‘tis true,
Tho’ Love’s soft passion never yet I knew:
Thus may my heart from love be ever free,                                                   15
And still a vot’ress to DIANA be.
In single state we ev’ry beauty wear,
Wise as MINERVA, and as VENUS fair;
But when once wed, we find it, to our cost,
That in the wife the goddess soon is lost:                                                       20
No more you sigh, no more in transport view,
For strait we’re mortals, and mere husbands you.
Nay, dare to tell us in provoking strain,
That over woman, man was born to reign;
Him to obey should be her chiefest care:                                                        25
Adieu— P.P. such dire thoughts can’t bear.

NOTES:

1-4  Pardon me, Sir… I have chose you mine  The celebration of Valentine’s Day dates back to the Roman fertility festival, Lupercalia (Encyclopedia Britannica)By the mid eighteenth century in England, it was common for lovers or friends to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes.

9-10  For shou’d I love…like to Sappho burn Pointon is referencing a well-known story about the Greek lyric poet Sappho (c. 630-570 BCE) that was popularized by Joseph Addison in Spectator no. 223 (15 November 1711).  Addison provides a translation (by Ambrose Phillips) of the only known complete poem by Sappho, “An Hymn to Venus,” written after pursuing an “inconstant lover,” the sailor Phaon, to Sicily.  Addison notes that “her Hymn was ineffectual for the procuring that happiness which she prayed for in it.”  According to this tradition, Sappho died because of her unrequited love for Phaon by leaping from a cliff that was supposed to cure her passion (p. 204).

16  vot’ress to DIANA  Pointon is claiming herself devoted to Diana, “an ancient Italian female divinity, the moon-goddess, patroness of virginity and of hunting” and, thus, committed to remaining chaste (OED).

18  MINERVA  A Roman goddess, regarded as the patron of handicrafts and the arts, and later also of wisdom and prowess in war (OED); VENUS  “The ancient Roman goddess of beauty and love,” notably “sensual love” (OED). 

26  P.P.  An abbreviation of the author’s own name which appears in several of her direct addresses in Poems on Several Occasions.

Source: Poems on Several Occasions. By Miss Priscilla Pointon, of Lichfield (Birmingham, 1770), pp. 24-25.  [Google Books]

Edited by Lee Hammel

Mary Leapor, “The Charms of Anthony”

MARY LEAPOR
“The Charms of Anthony”

 

YE Swains, attend; let ev’ry Nymph be near;
Be still, ye Rivers, that the Swains may hear:
Ye Winds, be calm, and brush with softer Wing,
We mean the Charms of Anthony to sing;
See all around the list’ning Shepherds throng;                                      5
O help, ye Sisters of immortal song.

LUCY.

Sing, Phebe, sing what Shepherd rules the Plain,
Young Colin‘s Envy, and Aminda‘s Pain:
Whom none can rival when he mows the Field,
And to whose Flute the Nightingale must yield.                                    10

PHEBE.

‘Tis Anthony — ’tis he deserves the Lay,
As mild as Ev’ning, and as Morning gay;
Not the fresh Blooms on yonder Codling-tree,
Not the white Hawthorn half so fair as he;
Nor the young Daisy dress’d in Morning Dew;                                     15
Nor the Pea Blossom wears a brighter Hue.

LUCY.

None knows like him to strew the wheaten Grain,
Or drive the Plough-share o’er the fertile Plain;
To raise the Sheaves, or reap the waving Corn,
Or mow brown Stubble in the early Morn.                                             20

PHEBE.

How mild the Youth, when on a sultry Day
In yonder Vale we turn’d the fragrant Hay:
How on his Voice the list’ning Shepherds hung,
Not tuneful Stella half so sweetly sung.

LUCY.

Whether he binds the Sheaf in twisted Band,                                25
Or turns the Pitch-fork on his nimble Hand;
He’s sure to win a Glance from ev’ry Eye,
While clumsy Colin stands neglected by.

PHEBE.

His curling Locks by far more lovely shew,
Than the white Wig on Squire Fopling‘s Brow;                                      30
And when the Shepherd on a rainy Day,
Weaves for his Hat a Wisp of flow’ry Hay,
The scarlet Feather not so gay appears,
Which on his Crown Sir Ambrose Fino wears.

LUCY.

For Anthony Meriah leaves her Cow,                                               35
And stands to gape at him upon the Mow:
While he (for who but must that Wench despise?)
Throws Straws and Cobwebs on her staring Eyes.

PHEBE.

To the Back-door I saw proud Lydia hie,
To see the Team with Anthony go by;                                                     40
He slily laugh’d, and turn’d him from the Door,
I thought the Damsel would have spoke no more.

LUCY.

Me once he met, ’twas when from yonder Vale,
Each Morn I brought the heavy milking Pail:
He took it from my Head, and with a Smile                                           45
Reach’d out his Hand, and help’d me o’er the Stile.

PHEBE.

As I was dancing late amongst the Crew,
A yellow Pippin o’er my Head he threw:
Sue bit her Lips, and Barbaretta frown’d;
And Phillis look’d as tho’ she wou’d have swoon’d.                               50

Thus sung the Maids till Colinet came by,
And Rodrigo from weeding of the Rye;
Each took his Lass, and sped ’em to the Town,
To drink cool Cider at the Hare and Hound:
The Damsels simper like the sparkling Beer,                                         55
And Colin shines till Anthony is near.

NOTES:

1 Swain  “A country or farm labourer, frequently a shepherd; a country lover”; Nymph  “Spirits… taking the form of a maiden inhabiting the sea, rivers, mountains, woods, trees, etc.; a beautiful young woman” (OED).

6 Sisters of immortal song The Muses of Greek mythology: “Each of the nine goddesses regarded as presiding over and inspiring learning and the arts” (OED).

7 Phebe This and other names used in the poem are stereotypical names used in pastoral verse.

10 Nightingale In poetry, a symbol of “melodious song” (OED).

13 Codling-tree A kind of apple tree.

18 Plough-share “The large pointed blade of a plough” (OED).

19 Sheaves “Large bundles in which it is usual to bind cereal plants after reaping” (OED).

30 Fopling Variation of “fop,” “a foolish person; one who is foolishly attentive to and vain of his appearance, dress, or manners” (OED).

36 Mow “A heap of grain or hay in a barn” (OED).

39 hie “Haste, speed” (OED).

46 Stile Steps or rungs allowing “passage over or through a fence, while forming a barrier to the passage of sheep or cattle” (OED).

48 A yellow Pippin o’er my Head he threw  A variation on the custom in ancient Greece in which “apples were presented to sweethearts as a proffer or declaration of love…oftentimes apples were tossed or thrown” in this context (McCartney, “How the Apple Became the Token of Love,” p. 70).

54 Hare and Hound A tavern or pub, possibly alluding to a passage in Ovid’s Metamorphoses in which Phoebus and Daphne are figured as hound and hare respectively (Book I, ll. 521-525).

55 simper “To glimmer, shimmer, twinkle” (OED).

Source:  Poems Upon Several Occasions (London, 1748), pp. 249-252.  [Google Books]

Edited by Angel Johnson

George Campbell, “Lunardi’s Balloon, An Elegy”

GEORGE CAMPBELL
“Lunardi’s Balloon, An Elegy”

 

Low sunk the sun, departing from the day,
His latest beams had ting’d the western clouds,
Ev’ning advanced, clad in sober grey,
And Night fast follow’d with her dusky shrouds.

Tir’d with its hurry and its bustling noise,                                                         5
I left the town, and, wand’ring thro’ the fields,
I taste the silent Ev’ning’s sober joys,
And all the pleasures which retirement yields.

The mournful Echoes rais’d their loudest voice,
And answer’d plaintive to the lover’s sigh:                                                10
Prophet of ills, the Owl, with horrid noise,
Scream’d at a distance in the gloomy sky.

The post-horn, sounding, echoes thro’ the air
At intervals I hear the horse’s tread:
His near approach, the growing sounds declare;                                             15
Far off I see him thro’ the dubious shade.

The rising Moon shot forth a glimm’ring ray,
And gave the nightly rider to the view;
Pensive and sad he pass’d along the way,
And all his horn was hung with sable hue.                                                 20

Stop! stop! I cri’d, and tell thy cause of wo,
Thou ne’er wast wont to shed the briny tear!
What now can make the copious torrents flow!
What sad, what mournful tidings dost thou bear?

Is HASTINGS now from accusation freed?                                                         25
Will we no more hear of his barb’rous rage?
Or PIT and FOX for ever now agreed?
Will their debates no longer fill the page?

Have Prussian wits exhausted all the store
Of anecdotes about their fav’rite king?                                                       30
Or, are the Dutch divisions now no more?
Will Birth-days not their annual tributes bring?

No, these, he said, are not the cause of grief;
‘Tis not for these I make such heavy moan:
O, what shall soothe my pain or bring relief?                                                    35
LUNARDI’S fam’d BALLOON, alas! is gone!

I heard him speak, and struck with sad surprise,
Declare, I said, how the mishap befel:
Afresh the torrents bursting from his eyes,
He, with a sigh, began the mournful tale!                                                  40

‘Twas where the TYNE rolls down in all his pride,
His limpid waters by NEWCASTLE flow,
Whose stately Turrets rise upon its side,
The fam’d BALLOON receiv’d a fatal blow!

‘Twas there the great LUNARDI, fam’d afar                                                      45
For airy journeys in the middle sky,
Perpar’d again to mount the floating Car,
And thro’ the clouds in upper regions fly.

The day approach’d, what multitudes attend!
They crowd the mountains and they fill the plain,                                  50
In hopes to see the wondrous man ascend;
But ah! they look, they wish, they hope in vain!

And now the great BALLOON began to fill;
Her buoyant sides rose bellowing in the air:
Th’ intrepid hero us’d his utmost skill;                                                              55
His hopes were rais’d on high and great his care.

Ah! silly mortals! what small hope of joy
Elates our heart, and swells our little mind!
How can a moment this fond hope destroy,
And leave a real, lasting grief behind?                                                       60

We truly thought he would have gone so far
As Earth’s attractions had not brought him down;
There got intelligence from ev’ry star,
And been our correspondent in the moon:

For now She, rising, floats about the ground,                                                   65
The cords are loos’d and all prepar’d for flight:
The Crowds, at awful distance, stand around,
And view the scene with wonder and delight.

But ah! what numbers can describe the shock!
Or how can language paint the sad surprise,                                            70
When from the vitriol sudden fire brake,
And the blue flame met the beholders eyes!

Water! they cri’d; but water there was none;
She, like an arrow, mounts, and cleaves the air:
LUNARDI saw his fam’d BALLOON was gone;                                                   75
Wild were his looks and frantic with despair!

Sure! sure! he cri’d, the elements are join’d
In close concert, to work my overthrow!
I float in water, and I’m toss’d with wind:
But the flame has struck the last, the fatal blow!                                      80

O fire! how fatal to BALLOON exploits!
Tytler may tell, LUNARDI too has known,
Who brav’d the greatest dangers in his flight;
But now his hopes of future glory’s gone.

He saw her rise, but could not bring her back;                                                  85
He saw her burst, ah! never to return!
The very heav’ns were mantl’d o’er with black,
And Nature seem’d the mighty loss to mourn!

NEWCASTLE rais’d her voice in loud lament;
When Kelso heard, she echo’d back the strain;                                          90
Edina join’d in the same sad complaint;
And Glasgow mourn’d, but mourn’d, alas! in vain!

When thus he said, he spurr’d his weary steed,
Adieu! adieu! I must no longer stay!
Then took the road, and with redoubled speed,                                                95
Leaving me sad, he pass’d along the way.

NOTES:

Title  Lunardi  Vincenzo (Vincent) Lunardi (1754-1806), Italian diplomat and celebrated balloon aeronaut, active in Britain 1784-1787.

9  Echoes  The repetition of sound personified here by reference to the Greek myth of Echo and Narcissus found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Book III, ll. 339-358).

13  post-horn  A valveless brass horn used by a post rider, messenger, or the guard of a mail coach “to announce arrival” (OED).

20  horn  A reference to the rider’s head.

25  HASTINGS  Warren Hastings (1732-1818), English statesman, served as Governor General of India from 1773-1784.  Facing increased scrutiny of his policies and conduct, and lack of political support at home, Hastings resigned his position and returned to England in June 1785.  He was arrested in May 1787 and charges against him were read in Parliament; these included his role in the judicial execution of Maharaja Nandakumar in 1775, and his martial efforts to control British interests in the territories of Bengal and Mysore (ODNB).

27  PIT and FOX  William Pitt the Younger (1759-1806), Tory politician and statesman, served as Prime Minister of England from 1783-1801, and Charles James Fox (1749-1806), Whig politician and statesman, were arch political rivals.  Their frequent clashes in Parliament were a news staple of this period.

29-30  Prussian wits…their fav’rite king  A reference to the outpouring of praise and panegyric for Frederick the Great (1712-1786, King of Prussia from 1740) following his death on August 17, 1786.

31  Dutch divisions  A reference to the Patriot Revolt that caused a period of political instability in the Netherlands from 1780-1787.

41  TYNE  A major river in northeast England that divides the city of Newcastle from Gateshead.

43  stately Turrets  Probably a reference to the battlements of the Castle Keep, a medieval fortification on the River Tyne in Newcastle.

49  what multitudes attend  Contemporary accounts often mention the huge crowds drawn to Lunardi’s balloon launches.

67 awful  “Profoundly respectful or reverential” (OED).

69  numbers  Poetry.

71  vitriol  Sulfuric acid.

79  I float in water  Lunardi’s flight from Edinburgh on December 20, 1785 ended with a forced landing in the North Sea, where he was lucky to be rescued by a passing fishing boat (Lunardi, An Account of Five Aerial Voyages in Scotland [London, 1786], p. 101).

82  Tytler  James Tytler (1745-1804), a Scottish chemist and aeronaut, became the first person in Great Britain to ascend in a balloon on August 25, 1784, preceding Lunardi’s first flight in England by several weeks.

85-86  He saw her rise…never to return!  Lunardi’s attempted ascent from Newcastle on September 19, 1786 went horribly wrong.  Campbell’s description of the balloon’s loss matches the most detailed contemporary account published in The Yorkshire Magazine (vol. I, September 1786, pp. 287-88).  Curiously, however, Campbell chooses not to mention that one of the local men assisting Lunardi that day, “Mr. Ralph Heron,” became tangled in the ropes and was swept several hundred feet in the air.  He fell and subsequently died of his injuries.  It was this tragic accident (rather than the loss of his balloon) that effectively ended Lunardi’s career as an aeronaut in Britain.

87  heav’ns were mantl’d o’er with black  The hydrogen gas produced by the chemical reaction between sulfuric acid and iron shavings was dark in color and, when released from the balloon due to tearing or accident, would create a black cloud.

90  Kelso  A market town in Scotland near the English border.  Lunardi made a successful ascent from Kelso on October 22, 1785 (Kay’s Edinburgh Portraits, vol. I, ed. Maidment [London and Glasgow, 1885], p. 65).

91  Edina  Edinburgh.  Lunardi made a total of three ascents from Edinburgh on October 5, 1785, December 20, 1785, and July 31, 1786.

92  Glasgow  Lunardi made two ascents from Glasgow on November 23 and December 5, 1785.

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (Kilmarnock, 1787), pp. 114-118. [ECCO]

Edited by Bill Christmas

[Anne Wharton], “The Retirement”

[ANNE WHARTON]
“The Retirement”

 

All flie th’ unhappy, and I all wou’d flie,
Knew I but where to go, or how to die.
A Tomb of Sorrow is a dreadful Sight,
No wonder that a moving Grave shou’d fright.
Abandon’d, helpless, and alone I came                                                            5
From nothing to this World; from Ease to Pain
My infant Sighs did the small Fabric shake,
As Winds Pent in when from the Earth they Break,
Which Mortal Men for dismal Omens take.
‘Twas then alas! by certain Instinct taught,                                                      10
As if inspir’d by some prophetic Thought,
My Parents fled that World, to which this Wretch they brought.
They fear’d to see what I was Born to prove,
They fled from Youth, from Beauty, and from Love,
But ‘twas to meet again in Groves above.                                                        15
An Assignation justly tim’d, and kept,
The last undaunted went, and boldly leapt
That Gulph of Death her dearer half had past,
Desire of Liberty her Hopes encreas’d;
Love lent her Wings and added to her Hast                                                     20
But all too Slow, too late she was releas’d.
Too late for me, for had she sooner fled,
She with her own, had burst my twisted Thred;
That Thred, which since the Sisters Wove so Strong
As if they meant to prove their Force was young.                                           25
As in the Worlds bright dawn, when sprightly Life
Was Proof against Diseases, Age, and Grief.
Then Men cou’d live in Spight of every dart
That Death cou’d fling, nor fear’d a broken Heart.
But I, who had observ’d their Force Decay,                                                      30
And that each Chance cou’d clear to Death the Way;
From Grief expected long that mournful Ease,
And learn’t to smile at every Pains Encrease.
But now alas! those Fatal Hopes decay,
Inspite of Sorrow I must longer Stay;                                                                35
My Pilgrimage is hard and long the Way.
Too long the Way thro’ which I still must grieve,
Ah! for what Crime am I condemn’d to live?
“Else thro’ th’ Abyss I’d Steer my airy Race,
And view the Secrets of the boundless Space.                                                 40
Survey those glittering Particles of Light,
That with dissembled Day supply the Night.
Thence to the Source of Day direct my wondrous Flight.
The Hidden Cause of things unknown discrie,
The Strange Vicissitudes of Earth, of Air, and Skye.                                         45
Why some so prone to change, to some again
Such firm, and Stedfast, constant Rules Remain
I wou’d go on but that the towring flight,
Makes me grow giddy, with the dreadful hight,
Yes I wou’d forward, and my Voice I’d raise,                                                    50
Join with the Sphere’s in my Creators Praise,
In Songs Eternal, and no mortal Lays.
As ‘tis his Will; but who that will can see
Involv’d in such dark Clouds of Mistery.”
We know not what his will commands us here,                                              55
Less can we tell our future duty there.
Yes, here I’m lost, for none of all the dead,
Return to tell what a Soul is when fled.
Of what we there will do, we here may boast,
But there for ought we know All thought is lost.                                            60
To live, or Die why should I not submit?
Or why delay My death, or hasten it?
Since all is guided by his boundless Will,
For sure the Soul his Wisdom made, his Pow’r continues Still.

NOTES:

 Author “The Retirement” first appeared in print (unattributed) in Charles Gildon’s A New Miscellany of Original Poems, On Several Occasions (1701). However, in her The Surviving Works on Anne Wharton (1997), Germaine Greer attributes “The Retirement” to Anne Wharton through an earlier, undated manuscript version of the poem, titled “Thoughts occasioned by her retirement into the Countrey,” which Greer uses as her copy-text. The two versions differ substantially in word/spelling variation, but most notably in length, as the MS poem contains 89 lines (25 more than the 1701 text). Greer attributes these textual variations to the “editorial principles” of Gildon–someone who was known for both pirating and editing other poets’ work.

1 flie Fly “To leave;…to pass away” (Johnson).

4 fright. Punctuation added to the end of this line (printer’s error).

7 Fabric The OED definition references a “frame” or “structure,” which here is the infant’s small body.

8 Pent Emended from “Pen’t” in the copy text (printer’s error).

9 dismal “Boding or bringing misfortune; sinister” (OED).

12 fled “Pass away quickly and suddenly” (OED).

16 Assignation “An appointment to meet; used generally of love appointments” (Johnson).

20 Hast Archaic spelling of “haste.”

24 Sisters Wove A reference to the Three Fates in Greek mythology, who are often personified as women “who spin the thread of human destiny” (Encyclopedia Britannica).

25 Force “Power to influence, affect, or control” (OED).

28 Spight Alternative spelling of “spite.”

38 Crime Emended from “Crime;” in the copy text (printer’s error).

39 airy “Celestial; immaterial” (OED).

44 discrie Alternative spelling of “descry,” “To catch sight of, observe, discover” (OED).

45 Skye Emended from “Siye” in the copy text (printer’s error).

54 Mistery Alternative spelling of “mystery.”

59 here Emended from “hear” in the copy text (printer’s error).

 SOURCE: A New Miscellany of Original Poems, on Several Occasions (London, 1701), pp. 288-292.

Edited by Katarina Wagner

John Hawes, “On Seeing an Infant Boy Seven Years of Age learning to write”

JOHN HAWES

“On Seeing an Infant Boy of Seven Years of Age learning to write”

 

HIS Infant Fingers, scarce could grasp the Quill
And yet with Ardour, he pursu’d his Skill;
Attention fix’d his Mind, and fill’d his Brain,
His Copy in Perfection to explain;
His Eye pursu’d each Stroke so superfine,                                         5
And strove to improve, each Character and Line;
So far before the common Time of Youth.
Did Art appear in Innocence, and Truth;
He forc’d these Lines, to vindicate his Praise,
And in my Mind did these Ideas raise.                                               10

But when I found Apollo fir’d his Soul,
To Musick’s Charms, and saw his Fingers roll,
I found his Frame with Heavenly Gifts endow’d,
‘Bove vulgar Mortals, blest by mighty Jove.
He joins the sounding Lyre with Infant Voice,                                  15
“By Inclination led, and fix’d by Choice;”
Points full Perfection, in his Time to come,
If Manhood crowns Him, in Time’s fickle Womb

Thus when Pygmalion strove to carve his Maid,
Each stroke with curious View, his Mind survey’d;                          20
He still pursu’d the chissel, and improv’d
Each Touch Divine, to gain the Art he lov’d.
In Innocence, by his own Skill betray’d,
The Goddess Venus, bless him in his Maid;
Gave Life to Ivory, for his matchless Strife,                                       25
Made his own Genius to become his Wife.

NOTES:

1 Quill  A pen made from the hollow shaft of a bird’s feather (OED).

2 Ardour  Burning with ferocity and intensity (OED).

6 Character  The letters of the alphabet (OED).

9 vindicate  “To clear from censure, criticism, suspicion, or doubt, by means of demonstration; to justify or uphold by evidence or argument” (OED).

11 Apollo  A Greek God of music and poetry, among many things, and known for his youthfulness (OED).

11 fir’d  An archaic contraction of the word “fired”; to ignite (OED).

14 Jove  Refers to Jupiter, the Roman equivalent of Zeus (OED).

15 sounding Lyre  The instrument of Apollo, Greek God of Music (OED).

 16 “By Inclination led, and fix’d by Choice”  Quoted From William Congreve’s “Epistle to the Right Honourable Charles Lord Halifax” (Line 4).

19 Pygmalion A sculptor from Cyprus who fell in love with the sculpture that he carved (Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book X, ll. 243-297).

24 Venus  The Roman goddess of love, beauty, and desire grants Pygmalion his wish for his sculpture to come to life (Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book X, ll. 243-297).

SOURCE:  Poems, Moral and Divine (Norwich, 1754), pp. 21-22. [Google Books]

Edited by Paul Madariaga

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

ELIZABETH HANDS

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

 

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

NOTES:

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

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

14 Dishclout Dishcloth.

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

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

21 Marr “To hamper or hinder” (OED).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edited by Katarina Wagner

 

John Davidson, “A Scots Poetical Shop Bill”

[JOHN DAVIDSON]

“A Scots Poetical Shop Bill”

 

My customers, of different ranks,
To you I do return my thanks
For all your former favours granted;
A grateful sense I never wanted.
That you may be better suited,                                                             5
I’ve bought my goods the last imported;
And what I sell, that you may know,
Is noted in the bill below:
Here’s lint and tow, both white and blue,
All sorts of cards, both old and new;                                                 10
Powder-sugar, starch, and soap,
Garden seeds of last year’s crop;
Fine pearl ashes, corks, and spice,
Sugarcandy, cards, and dice;
White iron mugs, to hold your drink,                                                 15
Writing-paper, pens, and ink.
Barley here, instead of grotts,
Honey-canes, and chamber-pots;
Napkins, made at Aberdeen,
Ginger too, both white and green;                                                     20
English wool, and factory backs;
Wafers, also sticks of wax.
Brimstone, and the flour of such,
With other things to cure the itch.
Tar and iron, salt and lead,                                                                  25
Raisins, allum, gingerbread;
Rock-indigo, that’s good and true,
Brazil, and verdigrease, for blue;
Snuff-boxes, bibles, Carlisle hooks,
New testaments, and good prayer-books;                                        30
Fine Epsom here, and Glauber salts,
With other physic, free from faults.
Senna for children, rhubarb, pills,
Rosin, birse, and timber heels;
Oxycrotion, wax of bees,                                                                       35
Empty casks, and dry-ware trees;
Garters, tapes, bone combs and horn,
Fine tobacco, twist or shorn;
Story books, of unco’ stuff,
And I sell John Cushnie’s snuff.                                                             40
New English hops, none better grows,
Fine pick’d ropes, and other tows.
Here’s good salt butter in whole kitts,
Horses girths and sniffle bits.
Turpentine oil, and fine sweet sack,                                                     45
Burgundy pitch, and good lampblack:
Metal pots, both great and sma’;
And Carron hoops, just fit to ca’;
Train oil I have, and also green
Spectacles to fit your een;                                                                       50
Sleeve Buttons, needles, pins, and awls,
Copperas, and Aleppo galls;
Molasses, cinnamon, and glue,
Saddle-tacks, and saffron too;
Black beer, vinegar, and honey;                                                              55
Goods for trust, or ready money;
Fresh rye grass, and clover seed,
Buckram, cords, and colour’d thread;
Metal buttons, hair and horn,
All sorts that’s in the country worn;                                                        60
Earthen plates, and small brown mugs,
White iron mills, and bigger jugs;
White soap, gunpowder, flints, and shot,
And timber cats, they’re but a groat;
Dram glasses, vials, wheeling wire,                                                          65
Tobacco-pipes, and other geer:
Fine white thread, and cambric knitting,
Good cheque to sell, that’s fit for metting;
A foreign herb, they often drink it,
Wi’ many other useful trinket;                                                                  70
All sorts of gun-stones here enew,
White iron cakes, and button blue;
Of liquorish I have a share,
And weavers brushes, several pair;
Leather points of good sheeps hides,                                                     75
With twenty other things besides;
All sorts of nails and stobs I keep,
Wi’ gude woo’ sheers to clip your sheep;
Most kind of stone ware here you’ll see,
Wi’ cups and saucers fit for tea;                                                                80
Large white bowls, and quart decanters,
Tea-pots too for those who’re wanters;
Gimblets here of any size.
Of chamber-pots I’ll tell you twice;
You’ll may be think I do’t for sport,                                                           85
But I can shew you any sort;
Glasgow napkins, great and small,
Button molds and vitriol;
Nutmegs and sugar, allo’ grease,
Fine ground mustard and Scots cheese;                                                  90
For want of good if you should fret,
I sell at any time dry skate;
The best wheel-bands I e’er did handle,
Wi’ mustard boxes, and white candle;
I’ve finest flour, of English make,                                                              95
And, if you please, the same I’ll bake;
That is a branch I still pursue;
Here’s loaves and biscuits always new;
Likewise your meal, bear, rye, or oat,
I bake a firlot for a groat:                                                                          100
I keep an oven always warm,
But with your meal pray send me barm:
And wives and lasses far and near,
For you I’ve other sorts of geer;
And I may swear, and not be cheated,                                                   105
That a’ the parish could no’ beat it;
It’s factory lint from Gordon’s mills,
Whose character the mearns fills;
And my advice I give you a’,
Come take it e’er the prices fa’.                                                               110
Quick-silver, different kinds of saw,
Amang the rest, one for the claw;
Brazilicon, dipalme, hemp,
Harvest gloves for those that kemp;
More usefu’ things I might advise;                                                          115
Troth, here’s gude ointment for the eyes!
Now, if you’ll be so very gude
As come to me, (I think you should)
If you’ve but little for to spend,
I’ll thank you kindly, come or send;                                                         120
And, though I have some things forgot,
What goods I have are a’ new bought;
I’m at a word, I like nae prigging,
My name’s John Davidson, at Newbigging.

NOTES:

9 lint and tow, both white and blue A coarse linen cloth made from flax that was typically bleached or dyed.

11 Powder-sugar A refined form of sugar that, throughout the eighteenth century, was made by hand.

13 Fine pearl ashes Pearl ash (potassium carbonate) was an early chemical leavener used in baking from about 1780 to 1840.

17 grotts Oats, considered a less refined grain than barley at the time.

18 Honey-canes Raw sugar cane.

19 Napkins, made at Aberdeen Aberdeen was known for its fine linen products, including handkerchiefs, in this period.

20 Ginger too, both white and green Ginger root in its natural state was known as “green ginger,” while ginger root “from which the skin was removed prior to drying or preserving” was known as “white ginger” (OED).

21 backs “A large shallow vessel; a tub, trough, vat, cistern,” probably in the context of wool dyeing here (OED).

22 Wafers Small discs made of flour, gum, and a coloring agent; largely used to seal letters in the period (OED).

23 Brimstone “Vernacular name for sulphur” (OED); flour of such Fine sulphur powder, known as “flowers of sulphur” in the period, and used medicinally for a wide range of maladies, including itchy skin infections (Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820).

26 allum “An astringent mineral salt;” used in the eighteenth century as a dye fixative and in various medicinal applications (OED).

27 Rock-indigo A corruption of “rich indigo,” a term that indicates the high quality of the blue dye (Eastaugh, et al, Pigment Compendium, p. 200).

28 Brazil A red dye derived from brazilwood (Eastaugh, et al, p. 66); verdigrease Variation of “verdigris,” a blue-green pigment derived from the corrosion products formed when copper is exposed to various organic acids (Eastaugh, et al, 391).

29 Carlisle hooks Popular light wire fishing hooks made in Carlisle, Cumbria.

31 Epsom…and Glauber salts Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate, was discovered in a spring in the town of Epsom, Surrey, in the early seventeenth century; its medicinal properties quickly turned Epsom into a spa town. Glauber salt, or sodium sulphate, was first discovered by the seventeenth-century chemist and apothecary Johann Rudolf Glauber (1604-1670); it was primarily used in dyeing and as a laxative in the eighteenth century (Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820).

32 physic Medicine.

33 Senna…rhubarb Both plants were widely available purgatives in the eighteenth century.

34 Rosin “A kind of resin, a solid form obtained as a residue after the distillation of oil of turpentine from crude turpentine” (OED), used for waterproofing boats, an ingredient in soaps, and, as an ingredient in ointments, for treating coughs, arthritis, and wounds; birse Bristles (typically from a hog or boar) (Dictionary of the Scots Language); timber heels Wooden heels used in shoemaking.

35 Oxycrotion Variant spelling of oxycroceum, a preparation “which [is] composed of bees wax, black pitch, myrrh and olibanum,” and applied as a remedy for colds “by being spread on leather and used as a plaster for the chest” (Scottish Notes and Queries, June 1888, p. 16).

36 dry-ware trees Barrels for packing goods that were commonly transported by sea (Dictionary of the Scots Language).

37 tapes Woven textile strips that were essential components of clothing (e.g. providing ties or binding for pockets) and upholstery in the period; horn Horn combs were made from ox or cow horns and were cheaper than bone combs (Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820).

38 twist A length of tobacco that has been made into a “thick cord” (OED); shorn Tobacco leaves cut into fine threads for smoking.

39 unco’ “Unknown, strange, unusual” (OED).

40 John Cushnie’s snuff Probably snuff imported or made by John Cushnie, an active merchant of Montrose in the late eighteenth century. The port of Montrose was located on the northeast coast of Scotland, half way between Aberdeen and Dundee.

42 tows “A rope, cord, length of strong twine, string” (Dictionary of the Scots Language).

43 kitts Circular wooden vessels, used for carrying or holding a variety of commodities, including butter (OED).

44 girths “A belt or band of leather or cloth, placed round the body of a horse or other beasts of burden” (OED); sniffle bits Scottish variation of snaffle-bit, “A simple form of bridle-bit, having less restraining power than one provided with a curb” (OED).

45 Turpentine oil “A volatile oil…prepared by distilling crude turpentine,” typically sourced from fir trees; frequently listed as a drug in this period from which many other products were derived (Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1800); sweet sack “A kind of sweet wine, now bought chiefly from the Canaries” (Johnson).

46 Burgandy pitch “The resinous juice of the spruce fir;” lampblack “A pigment consisting of almost pure carbon made by collecting the soot produced by burning oil…used primarily to make printer’s ink” (Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1800).

48 Carron hoops Metal hoops used in the construction of hoop petticoats, or panniers, that extended sideways in the fashion of the day to exaggerate a woman’s hips. The hoops Davidson is hawking were apparently produced by the Carron Ironworks, established in 1759 and located near Falkirk, Stirlingshire, on the banks of the river Carron.

49 Train oil “Oil extracted from the carcasses of sea animals, esp. that obtained by boiling the blubber of the right whale” (OED).

50 een Eyes.

52 Copperas “A name given from early times to the protosulphates of copper, iron, and zinc (distinguished as blue, green, and white copperas respectively)” used in a wide variety of applications and products in this period (OED); Aleppo galls “A hard nut-like gall that forms on any of several oaks…in response to the developing larva of the gall wasp;” highly sought after in this period for dying textiles and making inks (OED).

54 Saddle tacks “A small nail of iron or brass, usually characterised by a large, flat head;” saffron “The most expensive drug in the early-modern period…used in medicine as a cordial and sudorific” (Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1800).

55 Black beer “A dark and syrupy beer, traditionally made using the leaves and branches of the spruce tree” (OED).

56 Goods for trust That is, goods provided on credit, without immediate payment.

58 Buckram By the eighteenth century, buckram invariably indicated cheap, coarse linen or cotton cloth, sometimes stiffened with gum or paste (Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1800); cords Various forms of twine or rope.

59 hair and horn In this context, probably a reference to the raw materials for making wigs and combs of various kinds.

62 White iron mills Snuff boxes made from tin plate (iron coated with tin), commonly known as “white iron” in Scotland, in which dried tobacco leaves could be ground and stored.

63 White soap “This soap is made with one part of the Lees of Spanish Pot-ash and Quick-lime, to two parts of Oil of Olives or Oil of Almonds” (The Toilet of Flora [London, 1779], p. 199). A common soap in the period used for laundry, personal hygiene, and medicinal purposes because it could be safely ingested.

64 timber cats [Unable to trace]; groat Originally a fourpenny piece whose circulation was suspended in 1662; likely taken to mean “a very small sum” here (OED).

65 Dram glasses Small glasses used for taking medicines, cordials, or spirits (OED); wheeling wire Fine wire used in eighteenth-century needlework and embroidery (OED, Encyclopedia Britannica).

66 geer Moveable goods; specifically something like “odds and ends lying about” in this context (Dictionary of the Scots Language).

67 cambric knitting Cotton tape (see note for line 37 above).

68 cheque By the eighteenth century, the term “check” likely referred to more complex patterned fabric like “plaid” or “tartan” (Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1800); metting That is, measuring or apportioning (Dictionary of the Scots Language).

69 A foreign herb Probably a reference to tea.

71 gun-stones Bullets (OED); enew “Sufficient in number or quantity” (Dictionary of the Scots Language).

74 weavers brushes A tool used, esp. in linen weaving, to pack the weft firmly in place (more commonly known as a weaving comb).

77 stobs Probably a reference to wooden pegs or stakes.

78 gude Good, as in “of good quality.”

83 Gimblets A gimlet was “a kind of boring-tool” (OED).

87 Glasgow napkins Glasgow was known for its extensive handkerchief and neckerchief manufacture in this period (Dictionary of the Scots Language).

88 Button molds “A small disc which is covered in fabric, thread, etc., to make a button” (OED), or, possibly a reference to a hand tool used for making metal buttons in the period; vitriol Sulphuric acid.

89 allo’ grease That is, tallow grease, animal fat used for making candles, soap, and other products.

92 dry skate A kind of flatfish that, when cured and dried, was a common foodstuff in (and export from) Scotland in this period.

93 wheel-bands “A band or strap that goes round a wheel;” for example as the driving band of a spinning-wheel (OED).

99 bear “A kind of barley hardier than the ordinary kind but of inferior quality,” common in Scotland (Dictionary of the Scots Language).

100 firlot “A measure of capacity for grain” or meal, “the amount varying in different districts for different commodities” (Dictionary of the Scots Language).

102 barm Yeast (Dictionary of the Scots Language).

107 factory lint Flax; Gordon’s mills A textile mill was at this location in Aberdeen by 1703.

108 mearns The Mearns is another name for Kincardineshire, an historic county on the northeast coast of Scotland, north of Dundee and south of Aberdeen.

111 Quick-silver Liquid mercury; saw Ointment (Dictionary of the Scots Language).

112 claw As a verb, “to claw” meant “to scratch”(Dictionary of the Scots Language). By turning this word into a noun, Davidson appears to mean “an itch.”

113 Brazilicon A misspelling of “basilicon,” “name given to several ointments supposed to possess ‘sovereign’ virtues” (OED); dipalme Alternate spelling of diapalma, a medicinal plaster “composed originally of palm oil, litharge [white or red lead], and sulphate of zinc” (OED).

114 kemp “To contend or strive in doing a piece of work” (OED).

123 nae prigging No haggling (Dictionary of the Scots Language).

124 Newbigging A village located two miles north-east of Dundee. It appears that as Davidson’s business grew, he became associated with the larger town of Dundee. Notice of the dissolution of “John Davidson and Company” appeared in The Edinburgh Gazette (20 December 1831) naming his son, “Robert Davidson,” as the successor to a “John Davidson, Clothier and Iron Merchant in Dundee.” According to this source, John Davidson died on 19 July 1831 (p. 345).

Source: “A Scots Poetical Shop Bill” [single sheet], (c. 1790?) [ECCO]

Edited by Bill Christmas