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Hence sprung the fatal plague that thinn'd thy His numerous lowing herd; his herds he sold,
Thy cursed incest! and thy children slain!
Hence wert thou doom'd in endless night to stray
Thro' Theban streets, and cheerless grope thy way.
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 color'd oil,
And spot indelible thy pocket soil.
Has not wise Nature strung the legs and feet
With firmest nerves, design'd to walk the street?
Has she not given us hands to grope aright,
Amidst the frequent dangers of the night?
And think'st thou not the double nostril meant,
To warn from oily woes by previous scent?
Who can the various city frauds* recite,
With all the petty rapines of the night?
Who now the guinea-dropper's bait regards,
Trick'd by the sharper's dice, or juggler's cards?
Why should I warn thee ne'er to join the fray,
Where the sham quarrel interrupts the way?
Lives there in these our days so soft a clown,
Brav'd by the bully's oaths, or threatening frown?
I need not strict enjoin the pocket's care,
When from the crowded play thou lead'st the fair;
Who has not here or watch or snuff-box lost,
Or handkerchiefs that India's shuttle boast?
O may thy virtue guard thee through the roads
Of Drury's mazy courts, and dark abodes!
The harlots' guileful paths, who nightly stand
Where Catharine-street descends into the Strand!
Say, vagrant Muse, their wiles and subtle arts,
To lure the strangers' unsuspecting hearts:
So shall our youth on healthful sinews tread,
And city cheeks grow warm with rural red.
"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
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 profane, 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,
* Various cheats formerly in practice.
And his deep leathern'd 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.
Thence thro' the streets he reels from post to post,
Valiant with wine, nor knows his treasure lost.
The vagrant wretch th' assembled watchmen spies
He waves his hanger, and their poles defies ;
Deep in the round-house pent, all night he snores,
And the next morn in vain his fate deplores.
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 lothesome kiss disdain,
And wholesome neighbors from thy mug refrain.
Yet there are watchmen, who with friendly light
Will teach thy recling 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.
Thus, would you gain some favorite courtier's word,
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, died.
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 gulf 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
And who would choose the rattling wheel for speed?
* Gentlemen who delighted to break windows with half-pence.
But hark! Distress, with screaming voice, draws nigher,
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;
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;
A leathern casque his venturous head defends,
Boldly he climbs where thickest smoke ascends;
Mov'd by the mother's streaming eyes and prayers,
The helpless infant through the flame he bears,
With no less virtue, than through hostile fire
The Dardan hero bore his aged sire.
See, forceful engines spout their levell'd streams,
To quench the blaze that runs along the beams;
The grappling hook plucks rafters from the walls,
And heaps on heaps the smoky ruin falls;
Blown by strong winds, the fiery tempest roars,
Bears down new walls, and pours along the floors;
'The Heavens are all a-blaze, the face of Night
Is cover'd with a sanguine dreadful light.
"Twas such a light involv'd thy towers, O Rome!
The dire presage of mighty Cæsar's doom,
When the Sun veil'd in rust his mourning head,
And frightful prodigies the skies o'erspread.
Hark! the drum thunders! far, ye crowds, retire:
Behold! the ready match is tipt with fire,
The nitrous store is laid, the smutty train,
With running blaze, awakes the barrel'd grain;
Flames sudden wrap the walls; with sullen sound
The shatter'd pile sinks on the smoky ground.
So, when the years shall have revolv'd the date,
Th' inevitable hour of Naples' fate,
Her sapp'd foundations shall with thunders shake,
And heave and toss upon the sulphurous lake;
Earth's womb at once the fiery flood shall rend;
And in th' abyss her plunging towers descend.
Consider, reader, what fatigues I've known,
The toils, the perils, of the wintery town;
What riots seen, what bustling crowds I bore,
How oft I cross'd where carts and coaches roar;
Yet shall I bless my labors, if mankind
Their future safety from my dangers find.
Thus the bold traveller (inur'd to toil,
Whose steps have printed Asia's desert soil,
The barbarous Arabs' haunt; or shivering crost
Dark Greenland's mountains of eternal frost;
Whom Providence, in length of years, restores
To the wish'd harbor of his native shores)
Sets forth his journals to the public view,
To caution, by his woes, the wandering crew.
And now complete my generous labors lie,
Finish'd, and ripe for immortality.
Death shall entomb in dust this mouldering frame,
But never reach th' eternal part, my fame.
When W- and G-, mighty names!* are dead;
Or but at Chelsea under custards read;
When critics crazy bandboxes repair;
And tragedies, turn'd rockets, bounce in air;
High rais'd on Fleet-street posts, consign'd to Fame,
This work shall shine, and walkers bless my name.
• Probably Ward and Gildon.-N.
SWEET WILLIAM'S FAREWELL TO
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: The cord slides swiftly through his glowing hands, And (quick as lightning) on the deck he stands.
So the sweet lark, high pois'd in air,
Shuts close his pinions to his breast, (If chance his mate's shrill call he hear) And drops at once into her nest.
The noblest captain in the British fleet Might envy William's lip those kisses sweet.
"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.
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,
And nine long tedious days;
Why didst thou, venturous lover,
Why didst thou trust the seas?
Cease, cease, thou cruel Ocean,
And let my lover rest:
Ah! what's thy troubled motion
To that within my breast?
"The merchant, robb'd of pleasure,
Sees tempests in despair;
But what's the loss of treasure,
To losing of my dear?
Sould you some coast be laid on,
Where gold and diamonds grow,
You'd find a richer maiden,
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; Repaid each blast with sighing,
Each billow with a tear; When o'er the white wave stooping,
His floating corpse she spied;
Then, like a lily drooping,
She bow'd her head, and died.
THE GOAT WITHOUT A BEARD. "Tis certain that the modish passions Descend among the crowd like fashions. Excuse me, then, if pride, conceit (The manners of the fair and great) I give to monkeys, asses, dogs,
Fleas, owls, goats, butterflies, and hogs. I say that these are proud: what then! I never said they equal men.
A Goat (as vain as Goat can be)
Whene'er a thymy bank he found,
He roll'd upon the fragrant ground,
And then with fond attention stood,
Fix'd o'er his image in the flood.
"I hate my frowzy beard," he cries,
My youth is lost in this disguise.
Did not the females know my vigor,
Well might they lothe this reverend figure."
Resolv'd to smooth his shaggy face,
He sought the barber of the place.
A flippant monkey, spruce and smart,
Hard by, profess'd the dapper art:
His pole with pewter-basons hung,
Black rotten teeth in order strung,
Rang'd cups, that in the window stood,
Lin'd with red rags to look like blood,
Did well his threefold trade explain,
Who shav'd, drew teeth, and breath'd a vein.
The Goat he welcomes with an air,
And seats him in his wooden chair:
Mouth, nose, and cheek, the lather hides:
Light, smooth, and swift, the razor glides.
"I hope your custom, sir," says Pug.
"Sure never face was half so smug!"
The Goat, impatient for applause,
Swift to the neighboring 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,
With every vice his youth had cool'd;
Disease his tainted blood assails;
His spirits droop, his vigor fails:
With secret ills at home he pines,
And, like infirm old age, declines.
As, twing'd with pain, he pensive sits,
And raves, and prays, and swears, by fits,
A ghastly Phantom, lean and wan,
Before him rose, and thus began:
"My name, perhaps, hath reach'd your ear; Attend, and be advis'd by Care.
Nor love, nor honor, wealth, nor power,
Can give the heart a cheerful hour,
When health is lost. Be timely wise:
With health all taste of pleasure flies."
Thus said, the Phantom disappears.
The wary counsel wak'd his fears.
He now from all excess abstains,
With physic purifies his veins;
And, to procure a sober life,
Resolves to venture on a wife.
But now again the Sprite ascends,
Where'er he walks, his ear attends,
Insinuates that beauty's frail,
That perseverance must prevail,
With jealousies his brain inflames,
And whispers all her lovers' names.
In other hours she represents
His household charge, his annual rents,
Increasing debts, perplexing duns, And nothing for his younger sons.
Straight all his thought to gain he turns,
And with the thirst of lucre burns.
But, when possess'd of Fortune's store,
The Spectre haunts him more and more;
Sets want and misery in view,
Bold thieves, and all the murdering crew;
Alarms him with eternal frights,
Infests his dreams, or wakes his nights.
How shall he chase this hideous guest?
Power may, perhaps, protect his rest.
To power he rose. Again the Sprite
Besets him morning, noon, and night;
Talks of Ambition's tottering seat,
How Envy persecutes the great;
Of rival hate, of treacherous friends,
And what disgrace his fall attends.
The court he quits, to fly from Care,
And seeks the peace of rural air;
His groves, his fields, amus'd his hours;
He prun'd his trees, he rais'd his flowers;
But Care again his steps pursues,
Warns him of blasts, of blighting dews,
Of plundering insects, snails, and rains,
And droughts that starv'd the labor'd plains.
Abroad, at home, the Spectre's there;
In vain we seek to fly from Care.
At length he thus the Ghost addrest:
"Since thou must be my constant guest,
Be kind, and follow me no more;
For Care, by right, should go before."
A JUGGLER long through all the town
Had rais'd his fortune and renown;
You'd think (so far his art transcends)
The devil at his fingers' ends.
Vice heard his fame, she read his bill;
Convinc'd of his inferior skill,
She sought his booth, and from the crowd
Defied the man of art aloud.
"Is this then he so fam'd for sleight?
Can this slow bungler cheat your sight?
Dares he with me dispute the prize?
I leave it to impartial eyes."
Provok'd, the Juggler cried, ""Tis done;
In science I submit to none."
Thus said, the cups and balls he play'd;
By turns this here, that there, convey'd.
The cards, obedient to his words,
Are by a fillip turn'd to birds.
His little boxes change the grain :
Trick after trick deludes the train.
He shakes his bag, he shows all fair;
His fingers spread, and nothing there;
Then bids it rain with showers of gold;
And now his ivory eggs are told;
But, when from thence the hen he draws,
Amaz'd spectators hum applause.
Vice now stept forth, and took the place,
With all the forms of his grimace.
"This magic looking-glass," she cries, "(There, hand it round) will charm your eyes." Each eager eye the sight desir'd, And every man himself admir'd.
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;
The padlock vanish'd, and he spoke.
Twelve bottles rang'd upon the board,
All full, with heady liquor stor❜d,
By clean conveyance disappear,
And now two bloody swords are there.
A purse she to a thief expos'd;
At once his ready fingers clos'd.
He opes his fist, the treasure's fled:
He sees a halter in its stead.
She bids Ambition hold a wand;
He grasps a hatchet in his hand.
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, And from all pockets fills her box.
She next a meagre rake addrest.
"This picture see; her shape, her breast!
What youth, and what inviting eyes!
Hold her, and have her." With surprise,
His hand expos'd a box of pills,
And a loud laugh proclaim'd his ills.
A counter, in a miser's hand,
Grew twenty guineas at command.
She bids his heir the sum retain,
And 'tis a counter now again.
A guinea with her touch you see,
Take every shape but Charity;
And not one thing you saw, or drew,
But chang'd from what was first in view.
The Juggler now, in grief of heart,
With this submission own'd her art.
Can I such matchless sleight withstand? How practice hath improv'd your hand! But now and then I cheat the throng; You every day, and all day long."
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 friendship; who depend On many, rarely find a friend.
A Hare who, in a civil way, Complied 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, When first the Horse appear'd in view! "Let me," says she, "your back ascend, And owe my safety to a friend. You know my feet betray my flight: To friendship every burthen's light." The Horse replied, "Poor honest Puss, It grieves my heart to see thee thus: Be comforted, relief is near, For all your friends are in the rear."
She next the stately Bull implor'd;
And thus replied the mighty lord:
Since every beast alive can tell
That I sincerely wish you well,
I may, without offence, pretend
To take the freedom of a friend.
Love calls me hence; a favorite cow
Expects me near yon barley-mow;
And, when a lady's in the case,
You know, all other things give place.
To leave you thus might seem unkind;
But, see, the Goat is just behind."
The Goat remark'd, her pulse was high, Her languid head, her heavy eye:
'My back," says he, "may do you harm; The Sheep's at hand, and wool is warm."
The Sheep was feeble, and complain'd, His sides a load of wool sustain'd; Said he was slow, confess'd his fears; For Hounds eat Sheep as well as Hares. She now the trotting Calf address'd, To save from Death a friend distress'd. "Shall I," says he, "of tender age, In this important care engage? Older and abler pass'd you by ; How strong are those! how weak am I! Should I presume to bear you hence, Those friends of mine may take offence. Excuse me, then; you know my heart; But dearest friends, alas! must part. How shall we all lament! Adieu; For, see, the Hounds are just in view."
-Libeat mihi sordida rura, Atque humiles habitare casas.-Virg.
PROLOGUE, TO THE RIGHT HON.
THE LORD VISCOUNT BOLINGBROKE.
Lo, I, who erst beneath a tree
Sung Bumkinet and Bowzybee,
And Blouzelind and Marian bright,
In apron blue, or apron white,
Now write my sonnets in a book,
For my good lord of Bolingbroke.
As lads and lasses stood around
To hear my boxen hautboy sound,
Our clerk came posting o'er the green
With doleful tidings of the queen ;
"That queen," he said, "to whom we owe
Sweet peace, that maketh riches flow;
That queen, who eas'd our tax of late,
Was dead, alas!-and lay in state."
At this, in tears was Cicely seen,
Buxoma tore her pinners clean,
In doleful dumps stood every clown,
The parson rent his band and gown.
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! Shear, swains, oh! shear 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 hie 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 stedfast 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 Gav;