« EelmineJätka »
Told it à snipe, who told a steer,
Who told it those who told it her.
One day a linnet and a lark
Had met me strolling in the dark;
The next, a woodcock and an owl,
Quick-sighted, grave, and sober fowl,
Would on their corporal oath allege
I kiss'd a hen behind the hedge.
Well, Madam Turtle; to be brief,
(Repeating but renews our grief)
As once she watch'd me from a rail,
Poor soul! her footing chanced to fail,
And down she fell and broke her hip;
The fever came, and then the pip:
Death did the only cure apply;
She was at quiet, so was I.
T. Could Love unmoved these changes view? His sorrows, as his joys, are true.
S. My dearest Dove, one wise man says,
Alluding to our present case,
We're here to-day, and gone to-morrow;'
Then what avails superfluous sorrow?
Another, full as wise as he,
Adds, that' a married man may see
Two happy hours;' and which are they?
The first and last, perhaps you'll say:
'Tis true, when blithe she goes to bed,
And when she peaceably lies dead;
• Women 'twixt sheets are best,' 'tis said,
Be they of holland or of lead.
Now cured of Hymen's hopes and fears,
And sliding down the veil of years,
I hoped to fix
future rest, And took a widow to my nest,
Ah, Turtle! had she been like thee,
Sober, yet gentle; wise, yet free;
But she was peevish, noisy, bold;
A witch ingrafted on a scold.
Jove in Pandora's box confined
A hundred ills to vex mankind;
To vex one bird, in her bandore
He hid at least a hundred more:
And soon as time that veil withdrew,
The plagues o'er all the parish flew :
Her stock of borrow'd tears grew dry,
And native tempests arm’d her
Black clouds around her forehead hung,
And thunder rattled on her tongue.
We, young or old, or cock or hen,
All lived in qolus's den;
The nearer her the more accursed,
Ill-fared her friends, her husband worst;
But Jove amidst his anger spares,
Remarks our faults, but hears our prayers.
In short she died. Why, then she's dead,
(Quoth I) and once again I'll wed.'
Would Heaven this mourning year were pass’d,
have better luck at last. Matters at worst are sure to mend, The devil's wife was but a fiend.
T. Thy tale has raised a Turtle's spleen;
Uxorious inmate! bird obscene!
Darest thou defile these sacred groves,
These silent seats of faithful loves?
Begone; with flagging wings sit down
On some old penthouse near the Town;
In brewers' stables peck thy grain,
Then wash it down with puddled rain,
And hear thy dirty offspring squall
From bottles on a suburb-wall.
Where thou hast been, return again,
Vile bird ! thou hast conversed with men;
Notions like these from men are given,
Those vilest creatures under heaven.
To cities and to courts repair,
Flattery and falsehood flourish there ;
There all thy wretched arts employ,
Where riches triumph over joy;
Where passions do with interest barter,
And Hymen holds by Mammon's charter;
Where truth by point of law is parried,
And knaves and prudes are six times married.
APPLICATION. O dearest daughter' of two dearest friends! To thee my Muse this little Tale commends : Loving and loved, regard thy future mate, Long love his person, though deplore his fate; Seem young men old in thy dear husband's arms, For constant virtue has immortal charms; And when I lie low sepulchred in earth, And the glad year returns thy day of birth, Vouchsafe to say, ' Ere I could write or spell, The Bard, who from my cradle wish'd me well, Told me I should the prating Sparrow blame, And bad me imitate the Turtle's flame.'
Lady Margaret Cavendish Harley, afterwards Dachess of Portland.
The Sceptics think ’twas long ago
Since gods came down incognito,
To see who were their friends or foes,
And how our actions fell or rose;
That since they gave things their beginning,
And set this whirligig a-spinning,
Supine they in their heaven remain,
Exempt from passion and from pain,
And frankly leave us human elves
To cut and shuffle for ourselves;
To stand or walk, to rise or tumble,
As matter and as motion jumble.
The poets now, and painters, hold
This thesis both absurd and bold,
And your good-natured gods, they say,
Descend some twice or thrice a-day;
Else all these things we toil so hard in,
Would not avail one single farthing ;
For when the hero we rehearse,
his actions and our verse,
'Tis not by dint of human thought
That to his Latium he is brought;
Iris descends by Fate's commands,
To guide his steps through foreign lands,
And Amphitritè clears his way
From rocks and quicksands in the sea.
And if you see him in a sketch, (Though drawn by Paulo or Carache)
He shows not half his force and strength,
Strutting in armour and at length;
That he may make his proper figure,
The piece must yet be four yards bigger :
The nymphs conduct him to the field,
One holds his sword, and one his shield;
Mars, standing by, asserts his quarrel,
And Fame flies after with a laurel.
These points, I say, of speculation,
(As 'twere to save or sink the nation)
Men, idly learned, will dispute,
Assert, object, confirm, refute:
Each mighty angry, mighty right,
With equal arms sustains the fight,
Till now no umpire can agree them,
So both draw off, and sing Te Deum.
Is it in equilibrio
If deities descend or no?
Then let the’ affirmative prevail,
As requisite to form my Tale;
For by all parties ’tis confess'd
That those opinions are the best,
Which in their nature most conduce
To present ends and private use.
Two gods came, therefore, from above,
One Mercury, the other Jove;
The humour was, it seems, to know,
If all the favours they bestow,
Could from our own perverseness ease us,
And if our wish enjoy'd would please us.
Discoursing largely on this theme,
O’er hills and dales their godships came,
Till well-nigh tired at almost night,
They thought it proper to alight.