Praise for Mercies Spiritual and Temporal
WHENE’ER I take my walks abroad,
How many poor I see!
What shall I render to my God
For all his gifts to me?
Not more than others I deserve,
Yet Got hath given me more;
For I have food, while others starve,
Or beg from door to door.
How many children in the street
Half-naked I behold?
While I am clothed from head to feet,
And covered from the cold.
While some poor wretches scarce can tell
Where they may lay their head,
I have a home wherein to dwell,
And rest upon my bed.
While others early learn to swear,
And curse and lie and steal,
Lord, I am tought thy name to fear,
And do thy holy will.
Are these thy favours day by day
To me above the rest?
Then let me love thee more than they,
And try to serve thee best.
1715 Isaac Watts
To Miss Charlotte Pulteney
in her Mother’s Arms
TIMELY blossom, infant fair,
Fondling of a happy pair,
Every morn and every night,
Their solicitous delight,
Sleeping, waking, still at ease,
Pleasing, without skill to please,
Little gossip, blithe and hale,
Tattling many a broken tale,
Singing many a tuneless song,
Lavish of a heedless tongue,
Simple maiden, void of art,
Babbling out the very heart,
Yet abandonesto thy will,
Yet imagining no ill,
Yet too innocent to blush,
Like the linlet in the bush,
To the mother-linnet’s note
Moduling her slender throat,
Chirping forth thy petty joys,
Wanton in the change of toys,
Like the linnet green in May,
Flitting to each bloomy spray,
Wearied then, and glad of rest,
Like the linlet in the nest.
This thy present happy lot,
This, in time, will be forgot:
Other pleasures, other cares,
Ever-busy time prepares;
And thou shalt in thy daughter see
This pucture, once, resembled thee.
1725 Ambrose Philips
To a Young Lady With Some Lampreys
WITH lovers ‘twas of old the fashion
By presents to convey their passion:
No matter waht the gift they sent,
The lady saw that love was meant.
Fair Atalanta, as a favour,
Took the boar’s head her hero gave her;
Nor could the bristly thing affront her,
‘Twas a fit present from a hunter.
When squires send woodcocks to the dame,
It serves to show their absent flame:
Some by a snip of woven hair
In posied lockets bribe the fair;
How many mercenary matches
Have sprung from di’mont-rings and watches!
But hold-a ring, a watch, a locket,
Would drain at once a poet’s pocket;
He should send songs that cost him nought,
Nor ev’n be prodigal of thought.
Why then send lampreys? fie, for shame!
‘Twill set a virgin’s blood on flame.
This to fifteen a proper gift!
It might lend sixty-five a lift.
I know your maiden aunt will scold,
And think my present somewhat bold.
I see her lift her hands and eyes:
‘What, eat it, niece? eat Spanish flies!
Lamprey’s a most immodest diet:
You’ll neither wake nor sleep in quiet.
Should I tonight eat sago-cream,
‘Twould make me blush to tell my dream;
If I eat lobster, ‘tis so warming
That ev’ry man I see looks charming;
Wherefore had not the filthy fellow
I vow and swear, I think the present
Had been as modest and as decent.
‘Who has her virtue in her power?
Each day has its unguarded hour;
Always in danger of undoing,
A prawn, a shrimp may prove our ruin!
‘The shepherdess, who lives on salad,
To cool hery youth controls her palate;
Should Dian’s maids turn liqu’rish livers,
And of huge lampreys rob the rivers,
Then all beside each glade and visto,
You’d see nymphs lying like Calisto.
‘The man who meant to heat your blood,
Needs not himself such vicious food-’
In this, I own, your aunt is clear,
I sent you what I well might spare:
For when I see you (without joking),
Your eyes, lips, breasts are so provoking,
They set my heart mor cock-a-hoop
Than could whole seas of craw-fish soup.
1720 John Gay
My Own Epitaph
LIFE is a jest, and all things show it;
I thought so once, but now I know it.
1720 John Gay
Roger and Dolly
Young Roger came tapping at Dolly’s window,
Tumpaty, Tumpaty, tump.
He begged for admittance, she answered him, No,
Glumpaty, glumpaty, glump.
‘My Dolly, my dear, your true love is her’,
Dumpaty, dumpaty, dump.
‘No, Roger, no, as you came you may go’,
Clumpaty, clumpaty, clump.
‘O what is the reason, dear Dolly, ‘he cried,
Pumpaty, pumpaty, pump.
‘That thus I’m cast off and unkindly denied?’
Frumpaty, frumpaty, frump.
‘Some rival more dear I guess has been here’,
Crumpaty, crumpaty, crump.
‘Suppose ther’s been two; pray, sir, what’s that to you?’
Numpaty, numpaty, nump.
O then with a sigh a sad farewell he took,
Lumpaty, lumpaty, lump.
And all in despair he leaped into the brook,
Flumpaty, flumpaty, flump.
His courage it colled, he found himself fooled,
Trumpaty, trumpaty, trump.
He swam to the shore and saw Dolly no more,
Rumpaty, rumpaty, rump.
And then she recalled and recalled him again,
Humpaty, humpaty, hump.
But he like a madman ran over the plain,
Stumpaty, stumpaty, stump.
Determined to find a damsel more kind,
Plumpaty, plumpaty, plump.
While Dolly’s afraid she shall die an old maid,
Mumpaty, mumpaty, mump.
1737 Henry Carey
Ask me no more, my truth to prove,
What I would suffer for my love.
With thee I would in exile go
To regions of eternal snow,
O’er floods by solid ice confined,
Through forest bare with northern wind:
While all around my eyes I cast,
Where all is wild and all is waste.
If there the tim’rous stag you chase,
Or rouse to fight a fiercer race,
Undaunted I thy arms would bear,
And give thy hand the hunter’s spear.
When the low sun withdraws his light,
And menaces an half-year’s night,
The conscious moon and stars above
Shall guide me with my wand’ring love.
Beneath the mountain’s hollow brow,
Or in its rocky cells below,
Thy rural feast I would provide,
Nor envy palaces their pride.
The softest moss should dress thy bed,
With savage spoils about the spread:
While faithful love the watch should keep,
To banish danger from thy sleep.
1755 Elizabeth Tollet
Woman! thoughtless, giddy creature,
Laughing, idle, flutt’ring thing:
Most uncertain work of nature,
Still, like fancy, on the wing.
Slave to ev’ry changing passion,
Loving, hating, in extreme:
Fond of ev’ry foolish fashion,
And, at best, a pleasing dream.
Man’s chief glory and confusion,
Of all vanity most vain!
Thus, deriding beauty’s power,
Bevil called it all a cheat;
But in less than half an hour
Kneeled and whines at Celia’s feet.
1726 Henry Baker
Verses of Jonathan Richardson
On My Late Dear Wife
Adieu, dear life! here am I left alone;
The world is strangely changed since thou art gone.
Compose thyself to rest, all will be well;
I’ll come to bed ‘as fast as possible’.
January 18., 1726
Slumb’ring disturbed, appeared the well-known face,
Lovely, engaging, as she ever was;
I kissed and cought the phantom in my arms,
I knew it such, but such a shade hath charms!
Devout, I thanked kind heaven that, with a wife,
Had brightened up my choicest years of life;
But now, alas! ‘tis thus!-She sighed-Poor heart!
A melancholy phantom as thou art,
From thee more happiness I thus receive
Than all the living woman-kind can give.
This as I was about to say,
But scrupling, is my heart yet fee?
It is, as on our wedding day,
for she was all the sex to me.
I waked, and fount it was a shade indeed.
She and her future sighs, or smiles, were fled;
I now am sighing in my widowed bed.
Really dreamed, July 14-15., 1726
I know not where, but gloomy was the place,
Methought I saw a gloomy phantom pass;
‘Twas she, the much-loved form! nor spoke, nor stayed,
No motion of her eyes, or hand, or head,
But, gliding on, I lost her in the shade.
All solemn was, no argument of love
Appeared her inward sentiment to prove;
Confused and grieved, I stood; then spoke my heart:
Who could have thought such lovers thus would part!
Dreamed, September 10.-11., 1726
Written, September 16., 1726
On My Dreaming of My Wife
As waked from sleep, methought I heard the voice
Of one that mourned; I lestened to the noise.
I looked, and quickly fount it was my dear;
Dead as she was, I little thought her there.
I questioned her with tenderness, while she
Sighed only, but would else still silent be.
I waked indeed; the loverly mourner’s gone,
She sighs no more, ‘tis I that sigh alone.
Musing on her, I slept again, but where
I went I know not, but I found her there.
Her loverly eyes she kindly fixed on me,
‘Let Mister not be nangry then, ‘said she,
A language love hat taught, and love alone
Could teach; we prattled as we oft had done,
But she, I know not how, was quickly gone.
With her imaginary presence blessed,
My slumbers are emphatically rest;
I of my waking thoughts can little boast,
They always sadly tell me she is lost.
Much of our happiness we always owe
To error, better to believe than know!
Return, delusion sweet, and oft return!
I joy, mistaken; undeceived, I mourn;
But all my sighs and griefs are fully paid,
When I but see the shadow of her shade.
July 15., 1728 Jonathan Richardson
Cloe, blooming sweet as May,
We must tempt Mama away;
Still the jealous dame destroys
All our schemes of future joys:
All the projects we have tried
Vainly yet have been applied.
At my bait she now must bite,
If I guess her temper right:
She shall have her lover too.
Trust me, Cloe, this will do.
1735 Hildebrand Jacob
What is’t, good prying friend, you say?
A hair or thwo just turning grey!
Quick, boy! for the next barber send:
This sight my Cloe may offend;
I’ll pass for twenty-five no more,
Though I have seen seven lustrums o’er.
Go, tap the oldest cask of wine;
Invite those merry blades to dine;
Bid Arrigoni bring his lute;
And brush my best embroidered suit!
This mighty hurry, friend, forgive;
‘Tis time to be in haste, to live!
1735 Hildebrand Jacob
In Cloe’s chamber, she and I
Together sat, no creature nigh:
The time and place conspired to move
A longing for the joys of love.
I sighed and kissed, and pressed her hand;
Did all-to make her understand.
She, pretty, tender-hearted creature,
Obeyed the dictates of good-nature,
As far as modest would let her.
A melting virgin seldom speaks
But with her breasts, and eyes, anc cheeks:
Nor was it hard from these to find
That Clow had-almost a mind.
Thus far ‘twas well; but to proceed,
What should I do?- Grow bold. -I did.-
At last she faltered, ‘What would’st have?’-
‘Your love,’ said I, ‘or else my grave.’-
‘Suppose it were the first,’ quoth she,
‘Could you forever constant be?’
‘Forever? Cloe, by those eyes,
Those bubbies, which so fall and rise,
By all that’s soft, and all that’s fair,
By your whole sacred self, I swear,
Your fondest wishes ne’er shall crave
so constant, so complete a slave!’
‘Damon, you know too well the art,’
She sighing said, ‘to reach my heart!
Yet oh! I can’t, I won’t comply.-
Why will you press? Dear Damon why?’
For Cloe coming inone day,
As on my desk the copy lay,
‘What means this rhyming fool?’ she cries:
‘Why some folks may believe these lies!’
So on the fire she threw the sheet.
I burned my hand-to save this bit.
1733 John Bancks
Whenever, Chloe, I begin
Your heart, like mine, to move,
You tell me of the crying sin
Of unchste lawless love.
How can that passion be a sin,
Which gave to Chloe birth?
How can those joys but be divine,
Which make a heaven on earth?
to wed, mankind the priests trepanned
By some sly fallacy,
And disobeyed God’s great command,
Increase and multiply.
You say that love’s a crime; content:
Yet this allow you must,
More joy’s in heav’n if one repent,
Than over ninety just.
Sin then, dear girl, fo heaven’s sake,
Repent and be forgiven;
Bless me, and by repentance make
A holy day in heaven.
1748 Philip Dormer Stanhope,
The Woman’s Labour.
An Epistle to Mr. Stephen Duck
When bright Orion glitters in the skies
In winter nights, then early we must rise;
The weather ne’er so bad, wind, rain or snow,
Our work appointed, we must rise and go,
While you on easy beds may lie and sleep,
Till light does through your chamber-windows peep.
When to the house we come where we should go,
How to get in, alas! we do not know:
The maid quite tired with work the day before,
O’ercome with sleep; we standing at the door,
Oppressed with cold, and often call in vain,
Ere to our work we can admittance gain.
But when from wind an weather we get in,
Briskly with courage we our work begin;
Heaps of fine linen we before us view,
Whereon to lay our strength and patience too;
Cambrics and muslins, which our ladies wear,
Laces and edgings, costly, fine and rare,
Which must be washed with utmost skill and care;
With holland shirts, ruffles and fringes too,
Fashions which our forefathers never knew.
For several hours here we work and slave,
Before we can one glimps of daylight have;
We labour hard before the morning’s past,
Because we fear the time runs on too fast.
At length bright Sol illuminates the skies,
And summons drowsy mortals to arise;
Then comes our mistress to us without fail,
And in her hand, perhaps, a mug of ale
to cheer our hearts, and also to inform
Herself what work is done that very morn;
Lays her commands upon us, that we mind
Her linen well, nor leave the dirt behind.
Not this alone, but also to take care
We don’t her cambrics nor her ruffles tear;
And these most strictly does of us require,
To save her soag and sparing be of fire;
Tells us her charge is great, nay furthermore,
Her clothes are fewer than the time before.
Now we drive on, resolved our strength to try,
And what we can we do most willingly;
Until with heat and work, ‘tis often known,
Not only sweat but blood runs trickling down
Our wrists and fingers: still our work demands
The constant action of our lab’ring hands.
Now night comes on, from whence you have relief,
But that, alas! does but increase our grief.
With heavy herts we often view the sun,
Fearing he’ll set before our work is done;
For, either in the morning or at night,
We piece the summer’s day with canlelight.
Though we all day with care our work attend,
Such is our fate, we know not when ‘twill end.
When evenig’s come, you homeward take your way;
We, till our work is done, are forced to stay,
And, after all our toil and labour past,
Sixpence or eightpence pays us off at last;
For all our pains, no prospect can we see
Attend us, but old age and poverty.
1739 Mary Collier
The Mystery of Life
So many years I’ve seen the sun,
And called these eyes and hands my own,
A thousand little acts I’ve done,
And childhood have and manhood known:
O what is life? and this dull round
To tread, why was a spirit bound?
So many airy draughts and lines,
And warm excursions of the mind,
Have filled my soul with great designs,
While practice grovelled far behind:
O what is thought? and where withdraw
The glories which my fancy saw?
So many tender joys and woes
Have on my quivering soul had power;
Plain life with height’ning passions rose,
The boast or burden of their hour:
O what is all we feel? why fled
Those pain and pleasures o’er my head?
So many human souls divine,
So at one interview displayed,
Some oft and freely mixed with mine,
In lasting bonds my heart have laid:
O what is friendship? why impressed
On my weak, wretched, dying breast?
So many wondrous gleams of light,
And gentle ardours from above,
Have made me sit, like seaph bright,
Some moments on a throne of love:
O what is virtue? why had I,
Who am so low, a taste so high?
Ere long, when sovereighn Wisdom wills,
My soul an unknown path shall tread,
And strangely leave, who strangely fills
This frame, and waft me to the dead:
O what is death? ‘tis life’s last shore,
Where vanities are vain no more;
Where all pursuits their goal obtain,
And life is all retouched again;
Where in their bright result shall rise
Thoughts, virtues, freindships, griefs and joys.
1739 John Gambold
Christ, whose glory fills the skies,
Christ, the true, the only light,
Sun of righteousness, arise,
Triumph o’er the shades of night:
Day-spring from on high, be near:
Day-star in my heart appear.
Dark and cheerless is the morn
Unaccompanied by thee,
Joyless is the day’s return,
Till thy mercy’s beams I see;
Till they inward light impart,
Glad my eyes, and warm my heart.
Visit then this soul of mine,
Pierce the gloom of sin and grief,
Fill me, radiancy divine,
Scatter all my unbelief,
More and more thyself display,
Shining to the perfect day.
1740 Charles Wesley
An Essay on Woman
Woman, a pleasing but a short-lived flow’r,
Too soft for business and too weak for pow’r:
A wife in bondage, or neglected maid;
Despised, if ugly; if she’s fair, betrayed.
‘Tis wealth alone inspires ev’ry grace,
And calls the raptures to her plenteous face.
What numbers for those charming features pine,
If blooming acres round her temples twine!
Her lip the strawberry, and her eyes more bright
Than sparkling Venus in a frosty night;
Pale lilies fade and, when the fair appears,
Snow turns a negro and dissolves in tears,
An, where the charmer treads her magic toe,
On English ground Arabian odours grow;
Till mighty Hymen lifts his sceptred rod,
And sinks her glories with a fatal nod,
dissolves her triumphs, sweeps her charms away,
And turns the goddess to her native clay.
But, Artemisia, let your servant sing
What small advantage wealth and beauties bring.
Who would be wise, that knew Pamphilia’s fate?
Or who be fair, and joined to Sylvia’s mate?
Sylvia, whose cheeks are fresh as early day,
As ev’ning mild, and sweet as spicy May:
And yet that face her partial husband tires,
And those bright eyes, that all the world admires.
Pamphilia’s wit who does not strive, to shun,
Like death’s infection or a dog-day’s sun?
The damsels view her with malignant eyes,
The men are vexed to find a nymph so wise:
And wisdom only serves to make her know
The keen sensation of superior woe.
The secret whisper and the list’ning ear,
The scornful eyebrow and the hated sneer,
The giddy censures of her babbling kind,
With thousand ills that grate a gentle mind,
By her are tasted in the first degree,
Though overlooked by Simplicus and me.
Does thirst of gold a virgin’s heart inspire,
Instilled by nature or a careful sire?
Then let her quit extravagance and play,
The brisk companion and expensive tea,
To feast with Cordia in her filthy sty
On stewed potatoes or on mouldy pie;
Whose eager eyes stare ghastly at the poor,
And fright the beggars from her hated door;
In greasy clouts she wraps her smoky chin,
And holds that pride’s a never-pardoned sin.
If this be wealth, no matter where it falls;
But save, ye Muses, save your Mira’s walls:
Still give me pleasing indolence and ease,
A fire to warm me and a friend to please.
Since, whether sunk in avarice or pride,
A wanton virgin or a starfing bride;
Or wond’ring crowds attend her charming tongue,
Or, deemed an idiot, ever speaks the wrong;
Though nature armed us for the growing ill
With fraudful cunning and a headstrong will;
Yet, with ten thousand follies to her charge,
Unhappy woman’s but a slave at large.
1746 Mary Leapor
Now’s the time for mirth and play,
Saturday’s an holiday;
Praise to heav’n unceasing yield,
I’ve found a lark’s nest in the field.
A lark’s nest, then your playmate begs
You’d spare herself and speckled eggs;
Soon she shall ascend and sing
Your praises to th’ eternal King.
1770 Christopher Smart
Pray Remember the Poor
I just came by the prison door,
I gave a penny to the poor:
Papa did this good act approve,
And poor Mamma cried our for love.
Whene’er the poor comes to my gate,
Relief I will communicate;
And tell my sire his sons shall be
As charitably great as he.
1770 Christopher Smart
In her own isle’s remotest grove
Stands Venus’ loverly shrine,
Sacred to beauty, joy and love,
And built by hands divine.
The polshed structure, fair and bright
As her own ivory skin,
Without is alabster white,
And ruby all within.
Above, a cupola charms the view
White as unsullied snow;
Two columns of the same fair hue
Support the dome below.
Its walls a trickling fountain laves,
In which such virtue reigns
That, bathed in its balsamic waves,
No lover feels his pains.
Befor th’ unfolding gates there spreads
A fragrant spicy grove,
That with its curling branches shades
The labyrinths of love.
Bright Beauty there her captives holds,
Who kiss their easy chains,
And in the softest, closest folds,
Her willing slaves detains.
Would’st thou, who ne’er these seas hast tried,
Find where this island lies,
Let pilot Love the rudder guide,
And steer by Chloe’s eyes.
1752 Soame Jenyns
I at my window sit, and see
Autumn his russet fingers lay
On ev’ry leaf of ev’ry tree.
I call, but Summer will not stay.
She flies, the boasting goddess flies,
And, pointing where th’ espaliers shoot,
‘Deserve my parting gift,’ she cries,
‘I take the leaves but not the fruit.’
Let me the parting gift improve,
And emulate the just reply,
As life’s short seasons swift remove,
Ere ficed in Winter’s frost I lie.
Health, beauty, vigour now decline,
The pride of Summer’s splendid day,
Leaves, which the stem must now resign,
The mournful prelude of decay.
But let fair Virtue’s fruit remain,
Though Summer with my leaves be fled;
Then, not despised, I’ll not complain,
But cherish Autumn in her stead.
The Pluralist and Old Soldier
A soldier maimed and in the beggars’ list
Did thus address a well-fed pluralist:
Soldier At Guadaloupe my leg and thig I lost,
No pension have I, though its right I boast;
Your reverence, please some charity bestow,
Heav’n will pay double-when you’re there, you know.
Pluralist Heav’n pay me double! Vagrant-know that I
Ne’er give to strollers, they’re so apt to lie:
Your parish and some work would you become,
So haste away-or constable’s your doom.
Soldier May’t please your reverence, hear my case, and then
You’ll say I’m poorer than the most of men:
When Marlbro siegèd Lisle, I first drew breath,
And there my father met untimely death;
My mother followed, of a broken heart,
So I’ve no friend or parish, for my part.
Pluralist I say, begone.
-With that, he loudly knocks,
And Timber-toe begins to smell the stocks.
Away he stumps-but, in a rood or two,
He cleared his weasand and his thoughts broke through:
Soldier This ‘tis to beg of those who sometimes preach
Calm charity, and ev’ry virtue teach;
But their disguise to common sense is thin:
A pocket buttoned-hypocrite within.
Send me, kind heav’n, the well-tanned captain’s face,
Who gives me twelvepence and a curse, with grace;
But let me not, in house or lane or street,
These treble-pensioned parsons ever meet;
And when I die, may I still numbered be
With the rough soldier, to eternity.
1763 John Collier
An Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog
Good people all, of every sort,
Give ear unto my song;
And if you find it vond’rous short,
It cannot hold you long.
In Islington there was a man,
Of whom the world might say
That still a godly race he ran,
Whene’er he went to pray.
A kind an gentle heart he had,
To comfort friends and foes;
The naked every day he clad,
When he put on his clothes.
And in tht town a dog was found,
As many dogs there be,
Both mogrel, puppy, whelp and hound,
And curs of low degree.
This dog and man at first were friends;
But when a pique began,
The dog, to gain some private ends,
Went mad and bit the man.
Around from all the neighbouring streets
The wondering neighbours ran,
And swore the dog had lost his wits,
To bite so good a man.
The wound it seemed both sore and sad
To every Christian eye;
And while they swore the dog was mad,
They swore the man would die.
But soon a wonder came to light,
That showed the rogues they lied:
The man recovered of the bite,
The dog it was that died.
1766 Oliver Goldsmith
When lovely woman stoops to folly,
And finds too late that men betray,
What charm can soothe her melancholy,
What art can wash her guilt away?
The only art her guilt to cover,
To hide her shame from every eye,
To give repentance to her lover,
And wring his bosom-is to die
1766 Oliver Goldsmith
Sir Dilberry Diddle, Captain of Militia.
An Excellent New Song
Of all the brave captains that ever were seen,
Appointed to fight by a king or a queen,
By a queen or a king appointed to fight,
Sure never a captain was like this brave knight.
He pulled off his slippers and wrapper of silk,
And foaming as furious-as whisk-pared milk-
Says he to his lady, ‘My lady, I’ll go.
My company calls me; you must not say no.’
With eyes all in tears, says my lady, says she,
‘O cruel Sir Dilberry, do not kill me!
For I never will leave thee, but cling round thy middle,
And die in the arms of Sir Dilberry Diddle.’
Says Diddle again to his lady, ‘My dear!’
(And with a white handkerchief wiped off a tear)
‘The hottest of actions will only be farce,
For sure thou art Venus!’ Says she, ‘Thou art Mars!’
Awhile they stood simp’ring, like master and miss,
And Cupid thought he would have given one kiss;
‘Twas what she expected, admits no dispute,
But he touched his own finger, and blew a salute.
By a place I can’t mention, not knowing its name,
At the head of his company Dilberry came,
And the drums to the window call every eye,
To see the defence of the nation pass by.
Old bible-faced women, through spectacles dim,
With hemming an coughing, cried, ‘Lord! it is him!’
While boys and the girls, who more clearly could see,
Cried, ‘Yonder’s Sir Dilberry Diddle, that’s he.’
Of all the fair ladies that came to the show,
Sir Diddle’s fair lady stood first in the row;
‘O charmin,’ says she, ‘how he looks, all in red;
How he turns out his toes! how he holds up his head!
‘Do but see his cockade, and behold his dear gun,
Which shines like a looking-glass held in the sun;
O! see thyself now, thou’rt so martially smart,
And look as you looked when you conquered my heart!’
The sweet-sounding notes of Sir Dilberry Diddle
More ravished his ears than the sound of a fiddle,
And as it grew faint, that he heard it no more,
He softened the word of command to-encore.
The battle now over without any blows,
The heroes unarm and strip off their clothes;
The captain, refreshed with a sip of rosewater,
Hands his dear to the coach, bows, and then steps in after.
John’s orders were special, to drive very slow,
For fevers oft follow fatigue, we all know;
but prudently cautious, in Venus’s lap,
His head under her apron, brave Mars took a nap.
He dreamed, Fame reports, that he cut all the throats
Of the French, as they landed in flat-bottomed boats:
In his sleep if such dreadful destruction he makes,
What havoc, ye gods, shall we have when he wakes?
Ode: To the Cuckoo
Hail, beauteous stranger of the wood,
Attendant on the spring!
Now heav’n repairs thy rural seat,
And woods thy welcome sing.
Soon as the daisy decks the green,
Thy certain voice we hear:
Hast thou a star to guide thy path,
Or mark the rolling year?
Delightful visitant! with thee
I hail the time of flow’rs,
When heav’n is filled with music sweet
Of birds among the bow’rs.
The schoolboy, wand’ring in the wood
To pull the flow’rs so gay,
Starts, thy curious voice to hear,
And imitates thy lay.
Soon as the pea puts on the bloom,
Thou fly’st thy vocal vale,
An annual guest in other lands,
Another spring to hail.
Sweet bird! thy bow’r is ever green,
Thy sky is eber clear;
Thou hast no sorrow in thy song,
No winter in thy year!
O could I fly, I’d fly with thee:
We’d make, with social wing,
Our annual visit o’er the globe,
Companions of the spring.
1767 Michael Bruce
The Naturalist’s Summer-Evening Walk
When day declining sheds a milder gleam,
What time the may-fly haunts the pool or stream;
When the still owl skims round the grassy mead,
What time the timorous hare limps forth to feed;
Then be the time to steal adown the vale,
And listen to the vagrant cuckoo’s tale;
To hear the clamorous curlew call his mate,
Or the soft quail his tender pain relate;
To see the swallow sweep the dark’ning plain
Belated, to support her infant train;
To mark the swift in rapid giddy ring
Dash round the steeple, unsubdued of wing:
Amusive birds!- say where your hid retreat
When the frost rages and the tempests beat;
Whence your return, by such nice instinct led,
When spring, soft season, lifts her bloomy head?
Such baffled searches mock man’s prying pride,
The God of Nature is your secret guide!
While deep’ning shades obscure the face of day,
To yonder bench leaf-sheltered let us stray,
Till blended objects fail the swimming sight,
And all the fading landscape sinks in night;
To hear the drowsy dor come brushing by
With buzzing wing, or the shrill cricket cry;
To see the feeding bat glance through the wood;
To catch the distant falling of the flood;
While o’er the cliff th’awakened churn-owl hung
Through the still gloom protracts his chattering song;
While high in air, and poised upon his wings,
Unseen, the soft, enamoured woodlark sings:
These, Nature’s works, the curious mind employ,
Inspire a soothing melancholy joy:
As fancy warms, a pleasing kind of pain
Steals o’er the cheek, and thrills the creeping vein!
Each rural sight, each sound, each smell, combine;
The tinkling sheep-bell, or the breath of kine;
The new-mown hay that scents the swelling breeeze,
Or cottage-chimney smoking through the trees.
The chilling might-dews fall:-away, retire;
For see, the glow-worm lights her amorous fire!
Thus, ere night’s veil had half obscured the sky,
Th’impatient damsel hung her lamp on high:
True to the signal, by love’s meteor led,
Leander hastened to his Hero’s bed.
1769 Gilbert White
How sweet I roamed from field to field
And tasted all the summer’s pride,
Till I the prince of love beheld,
Who in the sunny beams did glide!
He showed me lilies for my hair,
And blushing roses for my brow;
He led me through his gardens fair,
Where all his golden pleasures grow.
With sweet May dews my wings were wet,
And Phoebus fired my vocal rage;
He caught me in his silken net,
And shut mi in his golden cage.
He loves to sit and hear me sing,
Then, laughing, sports and plays with me;
Then stretches out my golden wing,
And mocks my loss of liberty.
1783 William Blake
The Little Black Boy
from SONGS OF INNOCENCE
My mother bore me in the southern wild,
And I am black, but O! my soul is white.
White as an angel is the English child,
But I am black as if bereaved of light.
My mother taught me underneath a tree,
And sitting down before the heat of day
She took me on her lap and kissed me,
And pointing to the east began to say:
‘Look on the rising sun! there god does live
And gives his light and gives his heat away;
And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive
Comfort in morning, joy in the noon day.
‘And we are put on earth a little space,
That we may learn to bear the beams of love,
And these black bodies and this sun-burnt face
Is but a cloud, and like a shady grove.
‘For when our souls have learned the heat to bear
The cloud will vanish, we shall hear his voice,
Sying: “Come out from the grove, my love and care,
And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice.” ‘
thus did my mother say, and kissed me;
And thus I say to little English boy:
When I from black and he from white cloud free
And round the tent of God like lambs we joy,
I’ll shade him from the heat till he can bear
To lean in joy upon our Father’s knee;
And then I’ll stand and stroke his silver hair,
And be like him and he will then love me.
1789 William Blake
In answer to a young lady, who asked the author for his ideas on the subject
‘Tis an act of the priest to give patience a test;
‘Tis a desperate hope, and a serious jest;
‘Tis catching a dolt, when his wit is suspended;
‘Tis a toil, where the labour can never be ended;
‘Tis a leap in the dark, which both parties agree
To perform hand in hand, though they neither can see;
‘Tis walking through mines filled with sulphurous vapour,
Where to find out a path, you must brandish a taper;
‘Tis like Tantalus’ feast, where the good does but seem,
And both ope their eyes, though they’re both in a dream;
‘Tis going to sea, in a black stromy night,
Which reason calls madness, but custom delight:
For Wedlock’s a minx who deceives by her sleekness,
As Craft wove a cloak to envelop her weakness.
‘Tis a comical, tragical, fiery ordeal,
Where the ploughshares are hot, and your faith is not real.
1789 John Williams
The Horse and his Rider
Braced in the sinewy vigour of thy breed,
In pride of gen’rous strengh, thou stately steed,
Thy broad chest to the battle’s front is given,
Thy mane fair floating to the winds of heaven.
Thy champing hoofs the flinty pebbles break;
Graceful the rising of thine archèd neck.
White-churning foam thy chafèd bits enlock;
And from thy nostril bursts the curling smoke.
Thy kindling eyeballs brave the glaring south,
And dreadful is the thunder of thy mouth;
Whilst low to earth thy curving hauches bend,
Thy sweepy tail involved in clouds of sand;
Erect in air thou wear’st thy front of pride,
And ring’st the plated harness on thy side.
But, lo! what creature, goodly to the sight,
Dares thus bestride thee, chafing in thy might,
Of portly stature and determined mien,
Whose dark eye dwells beneath a brow serene,
And forward looks unmoved to fields of death,
And, smiling, gently strokes the in thy wrath,
Whose brandished falchion dreaded gleams afar?
It is a (British) soldier, armed for war!
1790 Joanna Baillie