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at such a compliment, returned the visit; and as the beginning of this intercourse bore some appearance of romance, he gave the humorous and lively account of it which the Long Story contains.


Britain's ifle, no matter where,
An ancient pile of building stands;*
The Huntingdons and Hattons there
Employ'd the pow'r of Fairy hands

To raise the ceiling's fretted height,
Each pannel in atchievements clothing,
Rich windows that exclude the light,
And passages that lead to nothing.

Full oft within the spacious walls,
When he had fifty winters o'er him,
My grave Lord-Keeper † led the brawls:
The feal and maces danc'd before him.

His bushy beard and shoe-strings green,
His high-crown'd hat and satin doublet,
Mov'd the stout heart of England's queen,
Tho'Pope and Spaniard could not trouble it.

I 2


• The mansion house at Stoke-Pogeis, then in pofsession of Viscountess Cobham. The style of building which we now call Queen Elizabeth's, is here admirably described, both with regard to it's beauties and defects; and the third and fourth stanzas delineate the fantastic manners of her time with equal truth and humour. The house formerly belonged to the Earls of Huntingdon and the family of Hatton.

+ Sir Christopher Hatton, promoted by Queen Elizabeth for his graceful person and fine dancing.“ Brawls were a sort of a figure-dance then in vogue, and probably deemed as elegant as our modern cotillions, or ftill more modern quadrilles.




What, in the very first beginning
Shame of the versifying tribe!
Your hist'ry whither are you spinning?

you do nothing but defcribe?
A house there is (and that's enough)
From whence one fatal morning issues
A brace of warriors,t not in buff,
But ruftling in their silks and tissues.

The first came cap-à-pée from France,
Her conq'ring destiny fulfilling,
Whom meaner beauties eye asance,
And vainly ape her art of killing.

The other Amazon kind Heav'n
Had arm’d with spirit, wit, and satire;
But Cobham had the polish giv'n,
And tipp'd her arrows with good-nature.

To celebrate her eyes, her air-
Coarse panegyrics would but tease her;
Melissa is her nom de guerre;
Alas! who would not wish to please her!

With bonnet blue and capuchine,
And aprons long, they hid their armour,
And veil'd their weapons bright and keen
In pity to the country farmer.

Fame, in the shape of Mr. P-t,
(By this time all the parish know it)




+ The reader is already apprized who these ladies were; the two defcriptions are prettily contrasted; and nothing can be more happily turned than the compliment to Lady Cobham in the eight stanza.

I have been told that this gentleman, a neighbour and acquaintance of Mr. Gray's in the country, was




Had told that thereabouts there lurk'd
A wicked imp they call a Poet,

Who prowl'd the country far and near,
Bewitch'd the children of the peasants,
Dry'd up the cows and fam'd the deer,
And suck'd the eggs and kill'd the pheasants.

My Lady heard their joint petition
Swore by her coronet and ermine,
She'd issue out her high commission
To rid the manor of such vermin.

The heroines undertook the task ;
Thro' lanes unknown, o'er ftiles they ventur'd,
Rapp'd at the door, nor ftay'd to ask,
But bounce into the parlour enter'd.

The trembling family they daunt,
They flirt, they fing, they laugh, they tattle,
Rummage his mother, pinch his aunt,
And up stairs in a whirlwind rattle.

Each hole and cupboard they explore,
Each creek and cranny of his chamber,
Run hurry fcurry round the floor,
And o'er the bed and tester clamber;

Into the drawers and china pry,
Papers and books, a huge imbroglio!
Under a

a tea-cup he might lie, Or creas'd like dog's ears in a folio.

On the first marching of the troops, The Mufes, hopeless of his pardon,




much displeased at the liberty ere taken with his name, yet surely without any great reason,





Convey'd him underneath their hoops
To a small closet in the garden.

So Rumour says; (who will believe?)
But that they left the door a-jar,
Where safe, and laughing in his sleeve,
He heard the distant din of war.

Short was his joy: he little knew
The pow'r of magic was no fable ;
Out of the window wilk they flew,
But left a spell upon the table.

The words too eager to unriddle,
The Poet felt a strange disorder;
Transparent birdlime form'd the middle,
And chains invisible the border.

So cunning was the apparatus,
The pow'rful pothooks did fo move him,
That will he nill to the great house
He went as if the devil drove him.

Yet on his way (no sign of Grace,
For folks in fear are apt to pray)
To Phæbus he preferr'd his case,
And begg'd his aid that dreadful day,

The godhead would have back'd his quarrel:
But with a blush, on recollection,
Own'd that his quiver and his laurel
'Gainst four such eyes were no protection,

The court waş fat, the culprit there ;
Forth from their glaomy mansions creeping,
The Lady Janes and Joans repair,
And from the gallery stand peeping:

Such as in filence of the night
Come (sweep) along fome winding entry,





(Styack + has often seen the light)
Or at the chapel-door stand sentry ;

In peaked hoods and mantles tarnish'd,
Sout visages enough to scare ye,
High dames of honour once that garnish'd
The drawing-room of fierce Queen Mary! 108

The peeress comes: the audience ftare,
And doff their hats with due submission;
She court'fies, as she takes her chair,
To all the people of condition

The Bard with many an artful fib
Had in imagination fenc'd him,
Disprov'd the arguments of Squib,
And all that Groom $ could urge againit hin. 116

But soon his rhetoric forsook him
When he the folemn hall had seen;
A sudden fit of ague shook him;
He stood as mute as poor Macleane. Il

Yet something he was heard to mutter,
“ How in the park, beneath an old tree,
“(Without design to hurt the butter,
" Or any malice to the poultry,)

124 “ He once or twice had penn'd a sonnet, " Yet hop'd that he might save his bacon; “ Numbers would give their oaths upon it, “ He ne'er was for a conj'rer taken.”

128 The ghostly prudes, with hagged face, Already had condemn'd the finner :

+ The Housekeeper. # The steward. & Groom of the chamber. || A famous highwayman, hanged the week before. Hagged, i. c. the face of a witch or hag. The em

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