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Thence thro' the street he reels from post to post,
Contemplate, mortal, on thy fleeting years; See, with black train the funeral pomp appears! Whether some heir attends in sable state, And mourns, with outward grief, a parent's fate; Or the fair virgin, nipt in beauty's bloom, A crowd of lovers follow to her tomb: Why is the hearse with 'scutcheons blazon'd round, And with the nodding plume of ostrich crown'd? No: the dead know it not, nor profit gain; It only serves to prove the living vain. How short is life! how frail is human trust! Is all this pomp for laying dust to dust?
Where the nail'd hoop defends the painted stall, Brush not thy sweeping skirt too near the wall: Thy heedless sleeve will drink the colour'd oil, And spot indelible thy pocket soil.
Has not wise Nature strung the legs and feet
Who can the various city frauds * recite,
'Tis she who nightly strolls with sauntering pace, No stubborn stays her yielding shape embrace; Beneath the lamp her tawdry ribbons glare, The new-scour'd manteau, and the slattern air; High-draggled petticoats her travels show, And hollow cheeks with artful blushes glow; With flattering sounds she soothes the credulous ear, "My noble captain! charmer! love! my dear!" In riding-hood near tavern-doors she plies, Or muffled pinners hide her livid eyes. With empty bandbox she delights to range, And feigns a distant errand from the 'Change: Nay, she will oft the quaker's hood prophane, And trudge demure the rounds of Drury-lane. She darts from sarcenet ambush wily leers, Twitches thy sleeve, or with familiar airs Her fan will pat thy cheek; these snares disdain, Nor gaze behind thee, when she turns again. I knew a yeoman, who, for thirst of gain, To the great city drove, from Devon's plain, His numerous lowing herd; his herds he sold, And his deep leathern pocket bagg'd with gold. Drawn by a fraudful nymph, he gaz'd, he sigh'd: Unmindful of his home, and distant bride, She leads the willing victim to his doom, Through winding alleys, to her cobweb room.
⚫ Various cheats formerly in practice.
Ah, hapless swain! unus'd to pains and ills! Canst thou forego roast-beef for nauseous pills? How wilt thou lift to Heaven thy eyes and hands, When the long scroll the surgeon's fees demands! Or else (ye gods, avert that worst disgrace!) Thy ruin'd nose falls level with thy face! Then shall thy wife thy loathsome kiss disdain, And wholesome neighbours from thy mug refrain. Yet there are watchmen, who with friendly light Will teach thy reeling steps to tread aright; For sixpence will support thy helpless arm, And home conduct thee, safe from nightly harm. But, if they shake their lanterns, from afar To call their brethren to confederate war, When rakes resist their power; if hapless you Should chance to wander with the scouring crew; Though Fortune yield thee captive, ne'er despair, But seek the constable's considerate ear; He will reverse the watchman's harsh decree, Mov'd by the rhetoric of a silver fee. [word, Thus, would you gain some favourite courtier's Fee not the petty clerks, but bribe my lord.
Now is the time that rakes their revels keep; Kindlers of riot, enemies of sleep.......... His scatter'd pence the flying nicker* flings, And with the copper shower the casement rings. Who has not heard the scourer's midnight fame? Who has not trembled at the Mohock's name? Was there a watchman took his hourly rounds, Safe from their blows, or new-invented wounds? I pass their desperate deeds, and mischiefs done, Where from Snow-hill black steepy torrents run; How matrons, hoop'd within the hogshead's womb, Were tumbled furious thence; the rolling tomb O'er the stones thunders, bounds from side to side; So Regulus, to save his country, dy'd.
Where a dim gleam the paly lantern throws O'er the mid pavement, heapy rubbish grows; Or arched vaults their gaping jaws extend, Or the dark caves to common shores descend, Oft by the winds extinct the signal lies, Or smother'd in the glimmering socket dies, Ere Night has half roll'd round her ebon throne; In the wide gulph the shatter'd coach, o'erthrown, Sinks with the snorting steeds; the reins are broke, And from the crackling axle flies the spoke. So, when fam'd Eddystone's far-shooting ray, That led the sailor through the stormy way, Was from its rocky roots by billows torn, And the high turret in the whirlwind borne ; Fleets bulg'd their sides against the craggy land, And pitchy ruins blacken'd all the strand.
Who then through night would hire the harness'd steed?
And who would choose the rattling wheel for speed? But hark! Distress, with screaming voice, draws
And wakes the slumbering street with cries of fire. At first a glowing red enwraps the skies,
And, borne by winds, the scattering sparks arise;
Gentlemen who delighted to break windows with halfpence.
From beam to beam the fierce contagion spreads The spiry flames now lift aloft their heads; Through the burst sash a blazing deluge pours,|| And splitting tiles descend in rattling showers. Now with thick crowds th' enlighten'd pavement
The fireman sweats beneath his crooked arms;
See, forceful engines spout their levell'd streams,
Her sapp'd foundations shall with thunders shake,
Consider, reader, what fatigues I've known,
Death shall entomb in dust this mouldering frame,
• Probably Ward and Gildon. N.
SWEET WILLIAM'S FAREWELL TO BLACK-EYED SUSAN.
ALL in the Downs the fleet was moor'd,
The streamers waving in the wind, When Black-ey'd Susan came aboard.
"Oh! where shall I my true-love find? Tell me, ye jovial sailors, tell me true, If my sweet William sails among the crew."
William, who high upon the yard
Rock'd with the billow to and fro, Soon as her well-known voice he heard,
He sigh'd, and cast his eyes below:
So the sweet lark, high pois'd in air,
"O Susan, Susan, lovely dear,
My vows shall ever true remain ; Let me kiss off that falling tear;
We only part to meet again. Change, as ye list, ye winds; my heart shall be The faithful compass that still points to thee.
"Believe not what the landmen say
Who tempt with doubts thy constant mind. They'll tell thee, sailors, when away, In every port a mistress find: Yes, yes, believe them when they tell thee so, For thou art present wheresoe'er I go.
"If to fair India's coast we sail,
Thy eyes are seen in diamonds bright; Thy breath is Afric's spicy gale,
Thy skin is ivory so white. Thus every beauteous object that I view, Wakes in my soul some charm of lovely Sue.
"Though battle call me from thy arms,
Let not my pretty Susan mourn;
Love turns aside the balls that round me fly,
The boatswain gave the dreadful word,
The sails their swelling bosom spread ;
They kiss'd, she sigh'd, he hung his head. Her lessening boat unwilling rows to land: "Adieu!" she cries; and wav'd her lily hand.
FROM THE WHAT-D'YE-CALL-IT. "Twas when the seas were roaring With hollow blasts of wind;
A damsel lay deploring,
All on a rock reclin'd.
Wide o'er the foaming billows
She cast a wistful look; Her head was crown'd with willows, That trembled o'er the brook.
"Twelve months are gone and over,
"The merchant, robb'd of pleasure,
But none that loves you so.
"How can they say that Nature Has nothing made in vain ; Why then beneath the water
Should hideous rocks remain? No eyes the rocks discover,
That lurk beneath the deep, To wreck the wandering lover, And leave the maid to weep."
All melancholy lying,
Thus wail'd she for her dear; Repay'd each blast with sighing, Each billow with a tear; When o'er the white wave stooping, His floating corpse she spy'd ; Then, like a lily drooping,
She bow'd her head, and dy'd.
THE GOAT WITHOUT A BEARD.
'Tis certain that the modish passions
A Goat (as vain as Goat can be)
"I hate my frowzy beard," he cries,
Rang'd cups, that in the window stood,
"I hope your custom, sir," says Pug. "Sure never face was half so smug!"
The Goat, impatient for applause, Swift to the neighbouring hill withdraws. The shaggy people grinn'd and star'd. "Heigh-day! what's here? without a beard! Say, brother, whence the dire disgrace? What envious hand hath robb'd your face?" When thus the fop, with smiles of scorn, "Are beards by civil nations worn? Ev'n Muscovites have mow'd their chins. Shall we, like formal Capuchins, Stubborn in pride, retain the mode, And bear about the hairy load? Whene'er we through the village stray, Are we not mock'd along the way, Insulted with loud shouts of scorn, By boys our beards disgrac'd and torn?" "Were you no more with Goats to dwell, Brother, I grant you reason well," Replies a bearded chief. Beside, If boys can mortify thy pride, How wilt thou stand the ridicule Of our whole flock? Affected fool!" Coxcombs, distinguish'd from the rest, To all but coxcombs are a jest.
THE UNIVERSAL APPARITION
A RAKE, by every passion rul'd,
As, twing'd with pain, he pensive sits,
"My name, perhaps, hath reach'd your ear;
Thus said, the Phantom disappears.
But now again the Sprite ascends,
His household charge, his annual rents,
Increasing debts, perplexing duns,
Straight all his thought to gain he turns,
Bold thieves, and all the murdering crew;
At length he thus the Ghost addrest :
A JUGGLER long through all the town
Vice heard his fame, she read his bill;
"Is this then he so fam'd for sleight?
Provok'd, the Juggler cry'd, "Tis done;
Thus said, the cups and balls he play'd;
His little boxes change the grain :
Next, to a senator addressing,
"See this bank-note; observe the blessing. Breathe on the bill. Heigh, pass! 'Tis gone." Upon his lips a padlock shown.
A second puff the magic broke;
She bids Ambition hold a wand;
A box of charity she shows. "Blow here ;" and a church-warden blows. 'Tis vanish'd with conveyance neat, And on the table smokes a treat.
She shakes the dice, the board she knocks,
She next a meagre rake addrest.
A guinea with her touch you see
"Can I such matchless sleight withstand!
THE HARE AND MANY FRIENDS.
FRIENDSHIP, like love, is but a name, Unless to one you stint the flame. The child, whom many fathers share, Hath seldom known a father's care. 'Tis thus in friendships; who depend On many, rarely find a friend.
A Hare who, in a civil way, Comply'd with every thing, like Gay, Was known by all the bestial train Who haunt the wood, or graze the plain; Her care was never to offend; And every creature was her friend.
As forth she went at early dawn, To taste the dew-besprinkled lawn, Behind she hears the hunter's cries, And from the deep-mouth'd thunder flies. She starts, she stops, she pants for breath; She hears the near advance of death; She doubles, to mislead the hound, And measures back her mazy round; Till, fainting in the public way, Half-dead with fear she gasping lay.
What transport in her bosom grew,
She next the stately Bull implor'd;
The Goat remark'd, her pulse was high,
The Sheep was feeble, and complain'd,
"Shall I," says he, "of tender age,
"That queen," he said, " to whom we owe
At this, in tears was Cicely seen,
For me, when as I heard that Death Had snatch'd queen Anne to Elizabeth, I broke my reed, and, sighing, swore, I'd weep for Blouzelind no more.
While thus we stood as in a stound, And wet with tears, like dew, the ground, Full soon by bonfire and by bell We learnt our liege was passing well. A skilful leach (so God him speed) They said, had wrought this blessed deed. This leach Arbuthnot was yclept, Who many a night not once had slept; But watch'd our gracious sovereign still; For who could rest when she was ill? Oh, may'st thou henceforth sweetly sleep! Sheer, swains, oh! sheer your softest sheep, To swell his couch; for, well I ween, He sav'd the realm, who sav'd the queen.
Quoth I, "Please God, I'll hye with glee To court, this Arbuthnot to see. I sold my sheep, and lambkins too, For silver loops and garment blue; My boxen hautboy, sweet of sound, For lace that edg'd mine hat around; For Lightfoot, and my scrip, I got A gorgeous sword, and eke a knot.
So forth I far'd to court with speed, Of soldier's drum withouten dreed; For peace allays the shepherd's fear Of wearing cap of grenadier.
There saw I ladies all a-row, Before their queen' in seemly show. No more I'll sing Buxoma brown, Like Goldfinch in her Sunday gown; Nor Clumsilis, nor Marian bright, Nor damsel that Hobnelia hight. But Lansdowne, fresh as flower of May, And Berkeley, lady blithe and gay; And Anglesea, whose speech exceeds The voice of pipe, or oaten reeds; And blooming Hyde, with eyes so rare; And Montague beyond compare: Such ladies fair would I depaint, In roundelay or sonnet quaint.
There many a worthy wight I've seen, In ribbon blue and ribbon green: As Oxford, who a wand doth bear, Like Moses, in our Bibles fair; Who for our traffic forms designs, And gives to Britain Indian mines. Now, shepherds, clip your fleecy care; Ye maids, your spinning-wheels prepare; Ye weavers, all your shuttles throw, And bid broad-cloths and serges grow; For trading free shall thrive again, Nor leasings lewd affright the swain.
There saw I St. John, sweet of mien Full steadfast both to church and queen; With whose fair name I'll deck my strain; St. John, right courteous to the swain. For thus he told me on a day, "Trim are thy sonnets, gentle Gay;