William Dunkin M.A., “Hymen’s Triumph, a Poem”


“Hymen’s Triumph, a Poem”
On the Marriage of Rev. Mr Richard Beauchamp to Miss Juliana Keatinge, Dublin, May 5, 1743

Once, Hymen, abus’d for the matches he made,
(Since beauty was barter’d, and wedlock a trade)
By Pallas instructed to pitch on a pair,
Joyn’d Dick the facetious to Julia the fair.
So true was his passion, so decent her carriage,                                                     5
Not even Diana could censure the marriage.
Apollo was charm’d with her mind, and his parts,
And tun’d the soft notes of his lute by their hearts:
The muses in chorus obey’d his command,
And hymn’d to graces, who danc’d hand in hand.                                                        10
The birds of the grove from the branches above
Sang spousal, and chatter’d the tydings of love.
To gather a garland, the nymphs and the fauns
Dismantled the meadows, the vallies and lawns:
The gay, living colours by Flora were wreath’d,                                                              15
And Zephyr cool-sigh’d to the odour she breath’d.
Vertumnus was present in garment of green,
And thus gayly spoke to the bloom-bearing queen.
‘Now the nymphs and the fauns may lavishly bring
The paintings of nature, and pride of the spring,                                                           20
Fair emblems of beauty! Vertumnus employs
The season, to ripen more delicate joys,
Rich omens of issue! with blossoms you suit
The virgin; but I shall adorn her with fruit.’
Then Mercury said, as he look’d on the bride                                                                  25
With an envious eye, calling Venus aside,
‘Alas, idle maid! what a part hath she acted,
To wed with a parson? –it makes me distracted:
My measures are broken, my purposes crost:
I meant her a lord—- but her market is lost.                                                                    30
Her sisters are like her: She gives us a sample,
And copies exactly her mother’s example:
It flows from the fountain: Her blood must inherit
This oddness of chusing out men for their merit.
Well, since she rejected the baits of my store                                                                   35
Adieu to the pleasures of Sweet Nora more
Quoth Venus, ‘You have little cause to repine,
The chief disappointment and anguish are mine,
You meant her a title of honour and pence,
I meant her a beau — but she truckled to sense.                                                              40
I long since might know, she would baffle my sport,
For, brother, I never could bring her to court.
Yet Cupid, to whom I committed her beauty,
Was blindly defective in doing his duty.’
‘Arraign not thy Cupid,’ glad Hymen replies,                                                                        45
‘For once he hath shewn, that his godship has eyes.’


1 Hymen Greek God of marriage (Britannica).

3 Pallas Another name for the Greek goddess, Athena, deity of war (Britannica).

6 Diana “In Roman religion, goddess of wild animals and the hunt, identified with the Greek goddess Artemis” (Britannica).

7 Apollo Though Apollo is formally known from different sources as god of several ideas (poetry, music, song, dance, sun, light, reason, etc.) here he is referred to as the deity of reason and music (Britannica).

13 fauns “In Roman mythology, a creature that is part human and part goat” (Britannica).

15 Flora Roman goddess of flowering plants (Britannica).

16 Zephyr A gentle breeze, shortened from Zephyrus the greek god of the west wind.

17 Vertumnus Roman god of metamorphoses in nature and life (Britannica).

25 Mercury Roman god of shopkeepers and merchants (Britannica).

26 Venus Roman goddess of love and fertility (Britannica).

28 parson A “beneficed member of the clergy of the Church of England” (OED).

29 crost Variation of crossed (OED).

36 pleasures of Sweet Nora Possibly a reference to the ancient Italian town of Nora that was well known for its fine theater and baths (Britannica).

40 beau Male companion (OED); truckled “Submit” (OED).

43 Cupid Roman god of love; often depicted as blind or blindfolded (Britannica).

45 Arraign “To find fault with” (OED).

46 shewn Variation of shown (OED).

 SOURCE: The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 13 (May 1743), p. 268. [Google Books]

 Edited by Mina Raeisi

Frances Greville, “A Prayer for Indifference”


“A Prayer for Indifference”


Oft I’ve implor’d the Gods in vain,
And pray’d till I’ve been weary;
For once I’ll try my wish to gain
Of Oberon the fairy.

Sweet airy being, wanton sprite,                                                   5
That lurk’st in woods unseen;
And oft by Cynthia’s silver light
Tripst gaily o’er the green!

If e’er thy pitying heart was mov’d,
As ancient stories tell,                                                             10
And for th’ Athenian maid, who lov’d,
Thou sought’st a wondrous spell;

Oh! deign once more t’ exert thy power;
Haply some herb or tree,
Sov’reign as juice of western flower,                                             15
Conceals a balm for me.

I ask no kind return of love,
No tempting charm to please:
Far from the heart those gifts remove,
That sighs for peace and ease.                                                20

Nor peace nor ease the heart can know,
Which, like the needle true,
Turns at the touch of joy or woe,
But, turning, trembles too.

Far as distress the soul can wound,                                                 25
‘Tis pain in each degree:
’Tis bliss but to a certain bound;
Beyond is agony.

Take then this treacherous sense of mine,
Which dooms me still to smart;                                                30
Which pleasure can to pain refine,
To pain new pangs impart.

O, haste to shed the sacred balm!
My shatter’d nerves new-string;
And for my guest, serenely calm,                                                     35
The nymph, Indifference, bring.

At her approach, see Hope, see Fear,
See Expectation fly;
And Disappointment in the rear,
That blasts the promis’d joy.                                                      40

The tear, which pity taught to flow,
The eye shall then disown:
The heart that melts for other’s woe,
Shall then scarce feel its own.

The wounds which now each moment bleed,                                45
Each moment then shall close,
And tranquil days shall still succeed
To nights of calm repose.

O, fairy elf! but grant me this,
This one kind comfort send;                                                       50
And so may never-fading bliss
Thy flow’ry paths attend!

So may the glow-worm’s glimm’ring light
Thy tiny footsteps lead
To some new region of delight,                                                           55
Unknown to mortal tread.

And be thy acorn goblet fill’d
With heav’n’s ambrosial dew;
From sweetest, freshest flow’rs distill’d
That shed fresh sweets for you.                                                   60

And what of life remains for me,
I’ll pass in sober ease;
Half-pleas’d, contented will I be,
Content but half to please.


4 Oberon A mythological figure, referenced here as the king of fairies in William Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Sources indicate that Oberon has appeared in texts as a literary and mythological figure since at least the 13th century, including in the French medieval poem “Huon de Bordeaux” (Britannica).

5 wanton “Of a person: playful; unrestrained in merriment, jovial; inclined to joking; carefree” (OED).

7 Cynthia “A poetic name for the Moon personified as a goddess” (OED).

11 Athenian maid Presumably, Helena, of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In Act II of the play, Oberon witnesses a fight between Demetrius and the maid Helena, who loves him. He then instructs a sprite, Puck, to anoint the man in “Athenian garments,” intending him to place a magical spell on Demetrius to ensure that he falls in love with the first person he sees (2.1.268-272).

15 western flower The magical, love-inducing flower referred to in A Midsummer Night’s Dream: “Yet marked I where the bolt of Cupid fell. / It fell upon a little western flower, / Before, milk-white, now purple with love’s wound, / And maidens call it ‘love-in-idleness’” (2.1.172-174).

30 smart “To feel sharp pain or distress (esp. with a stinging pain); to suffer acutely or severely” (OED).

SOURCE: A Collection of the Most esteemed Pieces of Poetry, That have appeared for several Years (London, 1770), pp. 87-89. [Sutro Library]

 Edited by Leila Kalliel


Anne Finch, “Man’s Injustice towards Providence”


“Man’s Injustice towards Providence”

A Thriving Merchant, who no Loss sustain’d,
In little time a mighty Fortune gain’d.
No Pyrate seiz’d his still returning Freight;
Nor foundring Vessel sunk with its own Weight:
No Ruin enter’d through dissever’d Planks;                                                                         5
No Wreck at Sea, nor in the Publick Banks.
Aloft he sails, above the Reach of Chance,
And do’s in Pride, as fast as Wealth, advance.
His Wife too, had her Town and Country-Seat,
And rich in Purse, concludes her Person Great.                                                               10
A Duchess wears not so much Gold and Lace;
Then ’tis with Her an undisputed Case,
The finest Petticoat must take the Place.
Her Rooms, anew at ev’ry Christ’ning drest,
Put down the Court, and vex the City-Guest.                                                                    15
Grinning Malottos in true Ermin stare;
The best Japan, and clearest China Ware
Are but as common Delft and English Laquar there.
No Luxury’s by either unenjoy’d,
Or cost withheld, tho’ awkwardly employ’d.                                                                      20
How comes this Wealth? a Country Friend demands,
Who scarce cou’d live on Product of his Lands.
How is it that, when Trading is so bad
That some are Broke, and some with Fears run Mad,
You can in better State yourself maintain,                                                                         25
And your Effects still unimpair’d remain!
My Industry, he cries, is all the Cause;
Sometimes I interlope, and slight the Laws:
I wiser Measures, than my Neighbours, take,
And better speed, who better Bargains make.                                                                 30
I knew, the Smyrna-Fleet wou’d fall a Prey,
And therefore sent no Vessel out that way:
My busy Factors prudently I chuse,
And in streight Bonds their Friends and Kindred noose:
At Home, I to the Publick Sums advance,                                                                          35
Whilst, under-hand in Fee with hostile France,
I care not for your Tourvills, or Du-Barts,
No more than for the Rocks, and Shelves in Charts:
My own sufficiency creates my Gain,
Rais’d, and secur’d by this unfailing Brain.                                                                         40
This idle Vaunt had scarcely past his Lips,
When Tydings came, his ill-provided Ships
Some thro’ the want of Skill, and some of Care,
Were lost, or back return’d without their Fare.
From bad to worse, each Day his State declin’d,                                                               45
’Till leaving Town, and Wife, and Debts behind,
To his Acquaintance at the Rural Seat
He Sculks, and humbly sues for a Retreat.
Whence comes this Change, has Wisdom left that Head,
(His Friend demands) where such right Schemes were bred?                                          50
What Phrenzy, what Delirium mars the Scull,
Which fill’d the Chests, and was it self so full?
Here interrupting, sadly he Reply’d,
In Me’s no Change, but Fate must all Things guide;
To Providence I attribute my Loss.                                                                                           55

Vain-glorious Man do’s thus the Praise engross,
When Prosp’rous Days around him spread their Beams:
But, if revolv’d to opposite Extreams,
Still his own Sence he fondly will prefer,
And Providence, not He, in his Affairs must Err!                                                                         60


6 Publick Banks The Bank of England was founded in 1694 primarily to fund England’s war with France.  “The original Royal Charter of 1694, granted by King William and Queen Mary, explained that the Bank was founded to ‘promote the public Good and Benefit of our People’” (www.bankofengland.co.uk).

16 Malottos Variation of “mulattoes;” persons “of mixed black and white ancestry” (OED); Ermin Garment or accessory made from the fur of a stoat (OED).

17 Japan “A varnish of exceptional hardness, which originally came from Japan” (OED); China Ware Dishes, tableware, or other goods of Chinese origin (OED).

18 Delft Pottery glazed with tin, “decorated with blue designs on a white background…primarily produced in Delft, Holland” (OED).

31 Smyrna-Fleet Refers to France’s ambush of the Smyrna convoy in 1693 during War of the Grand Alliance, or Nine Years’ War, resulting in the loss of many merchant ships; or possibly to the English attack in 1672 on a Dutch fleet in the same region, instigating the third Anglo-Dutch war (Britannica; Maritime Stepping Stones).

33 Factors “An agent who buys and sells, or transacts other business, on behalf of another person or company” (OED).

34 noose Here a verb, “to bind or constrain” (OED).

37 Tourvills Anne-Hilarion de Contentin, Comte de Tourville (1642-1701), a French admiral under King Louis XIV. He commanded many battles in France’s wars against the Dutch, English, and other allied nations, including the attack on the Smyrna convoy (Britannica); Du-Barts Jean Bart (1650-1702), a French privateer and naval officer under Louis XIV. He served as a lieutenant in the War of the Grand Alliance and was made a member of the nobility in 1696 (Britannica).

38 charts A shortening of “sea-chart,” a map used by ship navigators (OED).

41 Vaunt “A boasting statement or brag” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1714), pp. 208-211. [HathiTrust]

Edited by Sabrina George

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edited by Shivangi Ghissing


Anonymous, “To the Cottagers”


 “To the Cottagers”

Will you, ladies, think us rude,
If ourselves we thus intrude?
Will you pardon what is sent
With a friendly good intent?
Tho’ we own the mode is new,                                       5
Nor deny a selfish view.
Mop’d and starv’d with wintry weather,
Round the fire we crowd together;
To the window then we run,
Hoping still to see the Sun;                                                      10
But yon’ tow’ring mast and fane
Tell us still ‘twill blow and rain.
This the plea for pen that labours
For a peep at cottage neighbours.
Tell us, ladies, have you seen                                            15
Two fair nymphs, of gentle mien,
Tripping lightly o’er the green?
They frequent your usual way:
Did you see ‘em bathe to-day,
And emerge from Ribble’s arms,                                        20
Dripping, like the Grecian charms?
For they brought the Graces with ‘em,
Lately come to stay at Lytham!
If you know ’em, tell us true,
Own it, ladies,—are they you?                                             25
On one sad day, in luckless hour,
Of stormy wind, and pelting show’r,
We saw two scudding o’er the heath,
With flutt’ring lawn and panting breath;
We saw and griev’d, no cloak was there,                                    30
Nor broad umbrella had we near;
But, whilst we wail’d this sad disaster,
Wind, hail, and rain, descending faster,
We saw the witches take to flight,
And vanish sudden from our sight!                                              35
Had one sage author seen the deed,
How gladly he’d have chang’d his creed!
If you know ‘em, tell us true,
Own it, ladies,—were they you?
Lastly, ladies, should intrusion                                                      40
Not throw all parties in confusion,
’Twould make us proud to cross the gap,
And give your door a friendly rap;
Thrice happy should we deem our lot
To greet you in our humble cot;                                                     45
We then might saunter miles by dozens,
Or sit and chat of Yorkshire cousins.
And should you, kindly, so befriend us
As pardon, freely, soon to send us,
’Twould make the grateful hearts right glad                                 50
Of Frances, Charles, and Hugo Chad.


11 fane “A temple” (OED).

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

20 Ribble “River rising in Yorkshire. It flows through Settle, Clitheroe Ribchester and Preston, before emptying into the Irish Sea between Lytham St. Annes and Southport, a length of 75 miles” (Settle Hydro).

21 Grecian charms In the sense of “persons or lives: fortified, protected, rendered invulnerable, etc., by a spell or charm” (OED).

22 Graces The “number of Graces varied in different myths, but usually there were three: Aglaia (Brightness), Euphrosyne (Joyfulness), and Thalia (Bloom). Frequently, the Graces were taken as goddesses of charm or beauty in general and hence were associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love” (Britannica).

23 Lytham Seaside town in the Borough of Fylde in Lancashire, England.

34 witches “The trials of the Pendle Hill witches in Lancashire in 1612 are among the most famous witch trials in English history. The twelve accused lived in the area surrounding Pendle Hill in Lancashire and were charged with the murders of ten people using witchcraft” (J. T. Swain, The Lancashire Witch Trials of 1612 and 1634 and the Economics of Witchcraft).

36 “Description of Blackpool, p. 40; where the Lancashire witches are spoken of a “leetle” irreverently” [Author’s Note].  The reference is to a book by William Hutton titled A Description of Blackpool in Lancashire (1789). The cited passage reads: “He may safely carry his heart in and through the country, and find the witches perfectly harmless. He will be in no more danger than Don Quixote with the lovely Altisidora. Perhaps he would find a more hazardous passage through the little town of Ashbourn in the Peak, than the whole county of Lancaster. Though beauties, at a cursory view, may seem to abound, as in other places, yet the careful observer, upon a fair examination, will think with me, they are a “leetle” below mediocrity” (40).

51 Frances, Charles, and Hugo Chad Unable to trace.

SOURCE: The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 68, part II (October 1798), p. 884. [J. Paul Leonard Library]

Edited by Gabriela Pires

“Ambrosia,” “Pluto’s Triumph”


Pluto’s Triumph


‘Tis said a story never loses,
Which to rehearse no one refuses;
Or when (says Pope) from north to south,
It propagates from mouth to mouth;
For as it goes-–it always varies,                                                5
And from th’ original miscarries:
For instance now—the fate of Dido,
Of Daphne too—and Pastor Fido;
The angry moods of jealous Juno,
The loves of Proserpine and Pluto;                                         10
The amours of the mighty Jove,
With Juno, Calisto, above,
Asteria, Antiope below,
Are just what fables please to show:
They show how this one gain’d a lover,                                  15
And how that Goddess lost another;
How Venus from the waters sprung,
How musical a Syren’s tongue;
How Jupiter—(as they depute)
To win Europa turn’d a brute;                                                   20
AEgina, Danae, Leda won,
By strange disguises putting on;
In short, describe the forms of Heav’n,
To which and which most pow’r was given.
Such stories then if you believe,                                               25
And all the Poets do conceive,
You may believe—(that’s if you please)
Juno a justice and the moon a cheese.
However for romance’s glory,
I’ll tell you—what?—I’ll tell a story.                                            30
A story should (says Sancho Panza)
Begin with some old Latin stanza,
Or saying of the censor Cato,
Demosthenes, Cicero, or Plato;
Now such as this—“He that seeks evil,”                                     35
(So Sancho says)—“May meet the Devil.”
But this, and all their scraps of Greek,
To me appears but self-conceit;
Mere vanity;—an outward show,
Of what they would be thought to know:                                 40
However it appears like learning,
To those who are not so discerning,
And raises in the public eye,
A name of no small prodigy;
A good device—for those that can’t                                          45
Derive the requisites they want;
So by such authors as they quote,
They hope to gain a name of note:
For sure that man which takes from Ovid
A line or two,—can be no blockhead;                                        50
Certainly no;——(preserve my patience)
We say that man knows all the ancients;
And all who Greek or Latin uses,
We say are favoured by the muses;
And in right form the sentence places,                                      55
We say that man has all the graces.—
‘Tis so these seeming wise ones raise
A name of learning and of praise.
On others fame they build their own,
And live on vanity alone.——                                                       60
But to proceed—I’ll tell my story
In plainer terms than those before me,
Yet like a fabulist of yore be.
I mean by this expression,—you
Must (like the suppositious crew,)                                               65
Believe my fable to be true.
You’ll say that’s wrong,—’tis why I quote it,
Because I thought so when I wrote it;
‘Tis rather foolish—and I know it,
But my excuse is——I’m a poet:                                                  70
For poets have a prior claim,
To many faults that I could name;
Which are alleged by some to be
Superior taste in poetry;
Invention, fancy and the plot—-——                                          75
But this as poet I’ve forgot;
For ‘stead of telling Pluto’s tale,
I’ve written quite satyrical.
I say no more—the proem’s ended,
And if I’ve gave offence—’twas not intended.                          80
When Pluto from the dark abodes,
Ascended to his brother Gods,
He sought among the heav’nly race,
A Goddess worthy his embrace:
And as he wish’d to meet success,                                             85
(That nought should make his merit less)
To all he made a handsome present,
To this a peacock, that a pheasant,
And manag’d matters pretty decent.
But yet (oh strange !) he was neglected,                                    90
And by (which little he expected)
Celestial Goddesses rejected.——
Stung to the heart with this reproach,
He order’d instantly his coach.
“Here drive me to the Enna fields,                                             95
I’ll try (quoth he) what Enna yields;
A bachelor to rove and range,
Is as ridiculous as strange.”
Sated of Heav’n away was drove,
And gained at Enna, Proserpine his love.                                 100


Title Pluto The Roman equivalent of Hades. Pluto is the King of the Underworld.

3 Pope Alexander Pope (1688-1744), English poet and satirist. The lines alluded to are from The Temple of Fame (1715), ll. 473-74.

7 Dido In Greek mythology, Dido was the former Queen of Tyre, and the founder and Queen of Carthage. After she was forced to flee Tyre by her authoritarian brother, Pygmalion, she married Aeneas, a Trojan warrior on a heroic journey. Aeneas was, ultimately, prompted by the gods to leave Dido and continue on his quest, which led to Dido’s suicide (World History Encyclopedia).

8 Daphne Daphne was highly coveted by many men, including the god Apollo, whom she rejected. She prayed to be rescued, and was turned into a laurel tree (Britannica); Pastor Fido Probably a reference to Mirtillo, the faithful shepherd character in Giovanni Battista Guarini’s pastoral tragicomedy, Il pastor fido (1590). He takes the place of his lover, Amarilli, to be sacrificed, but is saved at the end of the play (Britannica).

9 Juno In Roman mythology, “she is the female counterpart to Jupiter….Ovid relates that Juno was jealous of Jupiter for giving birth to Minerva from his own head” (Britannica).

10 Proserpine The Roman equivalent of Persephone. Proserpine, or Proserpina, is the goddess of springtime and became Queen of the Underworld after her marriage to Pluto.

11 Jove Another name for Jupiter, “the chief ancient Roman and Italian god;” the equivalent of Zeus in the Greek tradition (Britannica).

12 Calisto A nymph in Greek myth, Callisto was one of Artemis’s huntresses who had sworn herself to celibacy. She had an affair with Zeus and, to punish her, she was turned into a “she-bear” and consequently killed by Artemis, who mistook her for a real bear (Britannica).

13 Asteria A Titan in Greek myth; “Asteria was loved by Zeus” and, to escape him, “she transformed herself into a quail, threw herself into the sea, and ultimately became the island of Delos” (Mythopedia); Antiope According to Greek legend, “her beauty attracted Zeus, who, assuming the form of a satyr, took her by force” (Britannica).

17 Venus Venus is the Roman goddess of beauty, love, and fertility.

18 Syren In Greek mythology, a syren (or siren), was a half-bird, half-woman creature who lured sailors to their demise through their seductive songs (Britannica).

20 Jupiter The Roman equivalent of Zeus and the counterpart of Juno (Britannica); Europa Europa was the princess of Phoenicia and so beautiful that Zeus abducted her, disguised as a white bull (Britannica).

21 AEgina A nymph in Greek myth; Zeus fell in love with her and, in the shape of a flame, carried her off to the island of Oenone (World History Encyclopedia); Danae According to Greek myth, an oracle prophesied that Danae’s son would one day kill her father, so she was confined to “a bronze tower.” Zeus, still, was entranced by her beauty and impregnated her under the guise of “a shower of gold” (Encyclopedia); Leda A figure in Greek myth who was seduced by Zeus when he took the form of a magnificent swan (World History Encyclopedia).

31-36 Sancho Panza…May meet the Devil Sancho is the fictional squire in Cervantes’s Don Quixote (1605/1615). In Tobias Smolett’s 1755 translation, Sancho tells Quixote, “‘…the beginning of ancient tales, is not just what came into the head of the teller: no, they have always began with some saying of Cato the censor of Rome, like this of He that seeks evil, may he meet with the devil.'” (Book 3, Chapt. 6, p. 133).

33 Cato Marcus Porcius Cato (234 BCE-149 BCE), or Cato the Elder, “a Roman statesman, orator” and historian (Britannica).

34 Demosthenes (384 BCE-322 BCE) An ancient Greek statesman, who was widely known as one of the greatest orators of ancient Athens (Britannica); Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BCE-43 BCE) was a Roman “statesman, lawyer, and scholar” and is credited with being one of the best orators in ancient Rome (Britannica); Plato (c. 429 BCE-347 BCE) A prominent ancient Greek philosopher, best known for his teachings on the physical and metaphysical worlds, as well as his incredulous influence on modern Western philosophy (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).

49 Ovid (43 BCE-17 CE) A Roman poet famous for his interpretations of classical myths and his technical influence on the development of Latin language and poetry (Britannica).

63 fabulist “One who relates fables or legends; a composer of apologues” (OED).

79 proem “A preface, preamble” (OED).

95 Enna Fields, “The Enna Fields was a beautiful place in the middle of the Island of Sicily, therefore called Umbilicus Siciliae: Here Pluto first alighted after his rejection in Heaven, where seeing a company of beautiful virgins gathering flowers, Proserpine, who was one, pleased him so much above the rest, as she excelled them in beauty, that he carried her away with him, and made her his wife” [Author’s Note].

SOURCE: The London Magazine, or Gentleman’s Monthly Intelligencer (London, 1776), pp. 608-9. [HathiTrust]

Edited by Madison Mc Elheney

Sarah Fyge Egerton, “The Emulation”


“The Emulation”

Say Tyrant Custom, why must we obey,
The impositions of thy haughty Sway;
From the first dawn of Life, unto the Grave,
Poor Womankind’s in every State, a Slave.
The Nurse, the Mistress, Parent and the Swain,                                                        5
For Love she must, there’s none escape that Pain;
Then comes the last, the fatal Slavery,
The Husband with insulting Tyranny
Can have ill Manners justify’d by Law;
For Men all join to keep the Wife in awe.                                                                   10
Moses who first our Freedom did rebuke,
Was Marry’d when he writ the Pentateuch;
They’re Wise to keep us Slaves, for well they know,
If we were loose, we soon should make them, so.
We yield like vanquish’d Kings whom Fetters bind,                                                  15
When chance of War is to Usurpers kind;
Submit in Form; but they’d our Thoughts controul,
And lay restraints on the impassive Soul:
They fear we should excel their sluggish Parts,
Should we attempt the Sciences and Arts.                                                                  20
Pretend they were design’d for them alone,
So keep us Fools to raise their own Renown;
Thus Priests of old their Graudeur to maintain,
Cry’d vulgar Eyes would sacred Laws Prophane.
So kept the Mysteries behind a Screen,                                                                        25
There Homage and the Name were lost had they been seen:
But in this blessed Age, such Freedom’s given,
That every Man explains the Will of Heaven;
And shall we Women now sit tamely by,
Make no excursions in Philosophy,                                                                                 30
Or grace our Thoughts in tuneful Poetry?
We will our Rights in Learning’s World maintain,
Wits Empire, now, shall know a Female Reign;
Come all ye Fair, the great Attempt improve,
Divinely imitate the Realms above:                                                                                  35
There’s ten celestial Females govern Wit,
And but two Gods that dare pretend to it;
And shall these finite Males reverse their Rules,
No, we’ll be Wits, and then Men must be Fools.


1 Custom “Established practice, tradition, or habit” (OED); often personified as a tyrant by women writers in the long eighteenth century.

5 Swain A young lover or suitor; typically masculine.

11-12 Moses…Pentateuch Moses is the Biblical figure traditionally thought to have authored the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) (OED). The Pentateuch contains the Mosaic Laws, multiple of which relate to marriage; see Exodus 22:16: “If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife.”

15 Fetters “Anything that confines, impedes, or restrains” (OED).

36 ten celestial Females The goddess of memory, Mnemosyne, and her daughters, the nine Muses.

37 two Gods Probably the Greek gods Apollo and Mercury.

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions, together with a pastoral (London, 1706), pp. 108-109. [Google Books]

 Edited by Ramiro Elizondo

Anonymous, “Sylvia on her Lover’s making the Campaign in Flanders” and “Dorothy,” “Sylvia Seconded”


“SYLVIA on her LOVER’s making the Campaign in Flanders”


Since honur call my love away,
Shall I inglorious cort his stay?
No—I am charm’d the yuth I love,
Ha’now the lot himself to prove,
A soldier stout, humane and free,                               5
Firm in the cause of liburty;
And heav’n furbid, thro’ me his fame
Be blasted with a coward’s name.
Chearful he leave the rural sports,
And honur’s mart, the camp, he corts;                        10
Wheer William, George his marshial son,
Do all the soldier’s danger run,
And base that Brittun sure mun be,
Who fears to face the enemy,
Led by so brafe a prince as he.                                     15
Although the world my Dicky range
His love is too sinsere to change;
Nor shall his absence make me stray,
No happier man shall find the way
To Sylvia’s hart; for he alone                                           20
Is monarc ther, and ther’s his throne.
Ye kindly pow’rs surround and shield
My champion in the hostil field.
Purtect him wher the bullets fly,
And place his gardian angel nye;                                   25
And when his country’s cause no more
Demands his sword, to Britain’s shore
Return my lover free from harms,
And bless me in his fathful arms.


Title the Campaign in Flanders Refers to England’s involvement in the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748) (Britannica).

11 William, George his marshial son Prince William, later Duke of Cumberland (1721-1765) was the youngest son of George II (c. 1683-1760), reigned from 1727.  William became a major-general in 1742 and was known for his martial exploits in several battles during the War of the Austrian Succession (Britannica).

16 Dicky Nickname derived from Richard.

20 Sylvia Derived from the Latin “silva,” meaning “a wood, forest, woodland” (OED).

SOURCE: The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. XV (August, 1745), p. 439.

Edited by Zoe Crowe


“SYLVIA Seconded

Shame to the lass whose fatal beauty
Retains her lover from his duty.
An honest country girl am I,
Untaught to patch, or paint—or lye;
I never led assembly dance,                                                5
Nor ap’d the monkey-modes of France;
Nor ever fainted at a ball,
These are no tricks for artless Doll.
Yet, chearful, with the ruddy dawn,
I sing along the russet lawn;                                              10
I milk the cows in yonder dale,
And home I bring the smoaking pail;
Each has her charge, of sisters three,
And the sweet dairy falls to me.
Yet tho’ I tend my rural care,                                      15
Our shepherds tell me I am fair;
And Will, I fear, has found the art
To steal a corner in my heart;
Yet, if he should refuse his hand,
Now, when his country does demand,                              20
I’d scorn the man I lov’d before,
Nor ever own his courtship more.
Would maidens but of high degree
Submit to be advis’d by me,
They would employ each grace and charm,                       25
For freedom ev’ry breast to warm;
No courtier at their feet should sigh,
Who for his king refus’d to die;
No lover meet their kind applause,
His sword undrawn in Britain’s cause.                                   30
Now—all that’s dear is lay’d at stake,
Ye fair, your fond admirers wake!
Bid them draw forth th’ avenging steel,
Till rebel foes their rashness feel.
Then—when the glorious task is o’er,                                    35
And peace restor’d to Albion’s shore,
Inform them your consenting smile
Shall meet their vows—and crown their toil.


Title (See p. 439).  [Editor’s note]

4 patch, or paint Makeup and patches, or beauty spots (la mouches), were popularized by French court circles in the mid-eighteenth century (Gardiner Museum).

6 monkey-modes of France “Modes,” here likely meaning “a prevailing fashion, custom, practice, or style, esp. one characteristic of a particular place or period” (OED). In the eighteenth century, France was considered the predominant pioneer in European fashion and popularized lavish styles of formal dress, such as the grand habit, which stood in stark contrast with trends within England that favored “egalitarian styles and fabrics” (Textile History).

23 degree “A stage or position in the scale of dignity or rank; relative social or official rank” (OED).

30 Britain’s cause Britain entered the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748) to prevent the French from capturing the Austrian Netherlands and to protect its territory in Hanover (National Army Museum).

36 Albion’s shore “Originally: the island of Britain. Later: the nation of Britain or England, often with reference to past times, or to a romanticized concept of the nation” (OED).

39 Staffordshire Ceremonial county in the English West Midlands.

SOURCE: The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. XV (October, 1745), p. 551.

Edited by Zoe Crowe

Phillis Wheatley, “Isaiah lxiii. 1–8”


Isaiah lxiii. 1–8

Say, heav’nly muse, what king, or mighty God,
That moves sublime from Idumea’s road?
In Bozrah’s dies, with martial glories join’d,
His purple vesture waves upon the wind.
Why thus enrob’d delights he to appear                                                   5
In the dread image of the Pow’r of war?

Compress’d in wrath the swelling wine-press groan’d,
It bled, and pour’d the gushing purple round.

“Mine was the act,” th’ Almighty Saviour said,
And shook the dazzling glories of his head,                                            10
“When all forsook I trod the press alone,
And conquer’d by omnipotence my own;
For man’s release sustain’d the pond’rous load,
For man the wrath of an immortal God:
To execute th’ Eternal’s dread command                                                 15
My soul I sacrific’d with willing hand;
Sinless I stood before the avenging frown,
Atoning thus for vices not my own.”

His eye the ample field of battle round
Survey’d, but no created succours found;                                                20
His own omnipotence sustain’d the fight,
His vengeance sunk the haughty foes in night;
Beneath his feet the prostrate troops were spread,
And round him lay the dying, and the dead.

Great God, what light’ning flashes from thine eyes?                        25
What pow’r withstands if thou indignant rise?

Against thy Zion though her foes may rage,
And all their cunning, all their strength engage,
Yet she serenely on thy bosom lies,
Smiles at their arts, and all their force defies.                                          30


Title Isaiah First prophet in the Hebrew Bible.

2-3 Idumea’s road…Bozrah “Idumea” is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word “Edom,” an area of modern-day Jordan settled by the Edomites; Bozrah is the capital of Edom, situated along the King’s Highway, an “ancient thoroughfare” that traverses Jordan (Britannica).

4 purple vesture Mourning clothes (OED).

20 succours “Aid, help, assistance” (OED).

27 Zion “The biblical land of Israel” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems of Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (London, 1773), pp. 60-61. [Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History].

Edited by Olivia Veveiros

Mary Jones, “After the Small Pox”


“After the Small Pox”


When skillful traders first set up,
To draw the people to their shop,
They strait hang out some gaudy sign,
Expressive of the goods within.
The Vintner has his boy and grapes,                                      5
The Haberdasher thread and tapes,
The Shoemaker exposes boots,
And Monmouth Street old tatter’d suits.

So fares it with the nymph divine;
For what is Beauty but a Sign?                                                10
A face hung out, thro’ which is seen
The nature of the goods within.

Thus the coquet her beau ensnares
With study’d smiles, and forward airs:
The graver prude hangs out a frown                                      15
To strike th’ audacious gazer down;
But she alone, whose temp’rate wit
Each nicer medium can hit,
Is still adorn’d with ev’ry grace,
And wears a sample in her face.                                              20

What tho’ some envious folks have said,
That Stella now must hide her head,
That all her stock of beauty’s gone,
And ev’n the very sign took down:
Yet grieve not at the fatal blow;                                               25
For if you break a while, we know,
‘Tis bankrupt like, more rich to grow.
A fairer sign you’ll soon hang up,
And with fresh credit open shop:
For nature’s pencil soon shall trace,                                        30
And once more finish off your face,
Which all your neighbours shall out-shine,
And of your Mind remain the Sign.


 Title Small Pox A virulent disease. In eighteenth-century Europe, 400,000 people died annually of smallpox, and one third of the survivors went blind. Most survivors were left with disfiguring scars (Barquet, Nicolau, and Pere Domingo, “Smallpox: The Triumph over the Most Terrible of the Ministers of Death,” pp. 635-642).

6 Haberdasher “A dealer in small articles appertaining to dress, as thread, tape, ribbons, etc.” (OED).

8 Monmouth Street old tatter’d suits Monmouth Street was famous for its old clothes shops (Weinreb, et al, The London Encyclopaedia, 3rd edition,  p. 557).

9 nymph divine “Any of a class of semi-divine spirits, imagined as taking the form of a maiden inhabiting the sea, rivers, mountains” (OED).

13 coquet “A woman who trifles with men’s affections; a woman given to flirting or coquetry” (OED).

22 Stella Name used by Jones to refer to her friend, Charlot Clayton, in several of her poems (Kennedy, Poetic Sisters, p. 170).

Source: Miscellanies in Prose and Verse (Oxford, 1750), pp. 79-80. [Google Books]

Edited by Elizabeth Holt