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Sing, heavenly Muse!
“ Things unattempted yet, in prose or rhyme,"
A shilling, breeches, and chimeras dire.
"APPY the man, who, void of cares and frife,
In filken or in leathern purse retains
A Splendid Shilling: he nor hears with pain
New oysters cry'd, nor sighs for chearful ale;
But with his friends, when nightly mists arise,
To Juniper's Magpye, or Town-Hall * repairs :
Where, mindful of the nymph, whose wanton eye
Transfix'd his soul, and kindled amorous flames,
Cloe, or Phillis, he each circling glass
Wisheth her health, and joy, and equal love.
Meanwhile, he smokes, and laughs at merry tale,
Or pun ambiguous, or conundrum quaint.
But I, whom griping penury surrounds,
And hunger, sure attendant upon want,
With scanty offals, and finall acid tiff
(Wretched repast !) iny meagre corpse sustain :
Then solitary walk, or doze at home
In garret vile, and with a warming puff
* Two noted alehouses in Oxford, 1700.
Regale chillid fingers; or from tube as black
As winter-chimney, or well-polith'd jet,
Exhale mundungus, ill-perfuming fcent:
Not blacker tube, nor of a shorter size,
Smokes Cambro-Briton (vers’d in pedigree,
Sprung from Cadwalador and Arthur, kings
Full famous in romantic tale) when he
O‘er many a craggy hill and barren cliff,
Upon a cargo of fam'd Ceftrian cheese,
High over-shadowing rides, with a design
To vend his wares, or at th'. Arvonian mart,
Or Maridunum, or the ancient town
Yclip'd Brechinia, or where Vaga's stream
Encircles Ariconium, fruitful foil !
Whence flow nectareous wines, that well may vie.
With Maffic, Setin, or renown'd Falern.
Thus, while my joyless minutes tedious flow,
With looks demure, and silent pace, a Dun,..
Horrible monster! hated by gods and men,
To my aërial citadel ascends,
With vocal heel thrice thundering at my gates
With hideous accent thrice he calls ; I know
The voice ill-boding, and the folemn found.
What should I do?' or whither turn ? Amaz’d,.,
Confounded, to the dark recess I Ay
Of wood-hole; strait my bristling hairs erect
Through sudden fear; a chilly sweat bedews,
My shuddering limbs, and (wonderful to tell!)
My tongue forgets her faculty of speech;
So horrible he seems ! His faded brow
Entrench'd with many a frown, and conic beard,
And spreading band, admir'd by modern saints,
Disastrous acts forebode; in his right hand
Long scrolls of paper solemnly he waves,
With characters and figures dire inscribid,
Grievous to mortal cyes ; (ye gods, avert
Such plagues from righteous men!) Behind him ftalks
Another monster, not unlike himself,
Sullen of aspect, by the vulgar called
A Catchpole, whose polluted hands the gods
With force incredible, and magic charms,
First have endued: if he his ample palm
Should haply on ill-fated shoulder lay
Of debtor, strait his body, to the touch
Obsequious (as whilom knights were wont)
To fome inchanted castle is convey'd,
Where gates impregnable, and coercive chains,
In durance ftri&t detain him, till, in form
Of money, Pallas fets the captive free.
Beware, ye debtors ! when ye walk, beware,
Be circumspect; oft with insidious ken
The caitiff eyes your steps aloof, and ofc
Lies perdue in a nook or gloomy cave,
Prompt to inchant some inadvertent wretch
With his uphallow'd touch. So (poets ling)
Grimalkin, to domestic vermin sworn
An everlasting foe, with watchful eye
Lies nightly brooding o’er a chinky gap,
Protending her fell claws, to thoughtless mice
Sure ruin. So her disembowel'd web
Arachne, in a hall or kitchen, spreads
Obvious to vagrant flies : she secret stands
Within her woven cell; the humming prey,
Regardless of their fate, rush on the toils
Inextricable, nor will aught avail
Their arts, or arins, or shapes of lovely hue;
The wasp insidious, and the buzzing drone,
And butterfly proud of expanded wings
Distinct with gold, intangled in her snares,
Useless resistance make : with
strides, She towering flies to her expected spoils; Then, with envenom'd jaws, the vital blood Drinks of reluctant foes, and to her cave Their bulky carcases triumphant drags.
So pass my days. But, when nocturnal shades This world invelop, and th’inclement air Persuades men to repel benumming frosts With pleasant wines, and crackling blaze of wood; Me, lonely sitting, nor the glimmering light Of make-weight candle, nor the joyous talk Of loving friend, delights; distress'd, forlern, Amidst the horrors of the tedious night, Darkling I figh, and feed with dismal thoughts My anxious mind; or sometimes mournful verse Indite, and sing of groves and myrtle shades, Or desperate lady near a purling stream, Or lover pendent on a willow-tree. Meanwhile I labour with eternal drought, And restless wish, and rave ; my parched throat Finds no relief, nor heavy eyes repose ;
But if a sumber haply does invade
My weary limbs, my fancy's still awake,
Thoughtful of drink, and eager, in a dream,
Tipples imaginary pots of ale,
In vain ; awake I find the settled thirst
Still gnawing, and the pleasant phantom curse.
Thus do I live, from pleafure quite debarr'd,
Nor taste the fruits that the fun's genial rays
Mature, john-apple, nor the downy peach,
Nor walnut in rough-furrow'd coat secure,
Nor medlar fruit delicious in decay :
Amictions great! yet greater still remain :
My Galligarkins, that have long withstood
The winter's fury, and encroaching frosts,
By time subdued (what will not time subdue !)
An horrid chafm disclos'd with orifice
Wide, discontinuous; at which the winds
Eurus and Auster, and the dreadful force
Of Boreas, that congeals the Cronian waves,
Tumultuous enter with dire chilling blasts,
Portending agues. Thus a well-fraught hip,
Long fail'd secure, or through th' Ægean deep,
Or the Ionian, till cruising near
The Lilybean shore, with hideous crush
On Scylla, or Charybdis (dangerous rocks!)
She strikes rebounding ; whence the latter'd oak, .
So fierce a shock unable to withstand,
Admits the fea; in at the gaping side
The crowding waves gush with impetuous rage,