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I mark'd what prompter near her took his place,
And, whispering, saved the virgin from disgrace;
Much is the youth belied, and much the maid,
Or more than words the whisper soft convey'd.
Think not I blush to own so bright a flame,
Even boys for her assume the lover's name;
*As far as alleys beyond taws we prize,
Or venison pasty ranks above school pies;
As much as peaches beyond apples please,
Or Parmesan excels a Suffolk cheese';
Or P***** donkeys lag behind a steed,
So far do Anna's charms all other charms etceed.
Tell, if thou canst, where is that creature bred,
Whose wide stretch'd mouth is larger than its head;
+ Guess, and my great Apollo thou shalt be,
And cake and ship shall both remain with thee.
Explain thou first, what portent late was seen,
With strides impetuous, posting o'er the green :
Three heads, like Cerberus, the monster bore,
And one was sidelong fix'd, and two before ;
Eight legs, dependent from his ample sides,
Each well built flank unequally divides ;
For five on this, on that side three are found,
Four swiftly move, and four not touch the ground.
Long time the moving prodigy I view'd,
By gazing men, and barking dogs pursued.
* Lenta salix quantum pallenti cedit olivæ.
+ Dic quibus in terris, et eris mibi magnus Apollo.
HENRY. Cease! cease your carols both! for lo the bell With jarring notes, has rung out pleasure's knell. Your startled comrades, ere the game be done, Quit their unfinish'd sports, and trembling run. Haste to your forms before the master call! With thoughtful step he paces o'er the hall, Does with stern looks each playful loiterer greet, Counts with his eye, and marks each vacant seat; Intense, the buzzing murmur grows around, Loud through the dome the usher's strokes reSneak off, and to your places slily steal, [sound. Before the prowess of his arm you feel.
A Town Eclogue. In that sad season when the hapless belle With steps reluctant bids the town farewell; When surly husbands doom the' unwilling fair To quit Saint James's for a purer air, And, deaf to pity, from their much loved town, Relentless bear the beauteous exiles down To dismal shades, through lonely groves to stray, And sigh the summer livelong months away; With all the bloom of youth and beauty graced, One morn Dorinda, at her toilet placed, With looks intent, and pensive air, survey'd The various charms her faithful glass display'd : Eyes, that might warm the frozen breast of age, Or melt to tenderness the tyrant's rage ;
Smiles, that enchanting with resistless art,
Stole, unperceived, the heedless gazer's heart;
Dimples, where love conceald in ambush lay,
To aim his arrows at the destined prey;
And lips, that promised in each balmy kiss,
Luxurious harvest of ambrosial bliss.
Musing she sat, and watch'd each rising grace
That shed its lustre o'er her heavenly face,
Till labouring grief her anxious silence broke,
And sighing thus the lovely mourner spokem
Were charms like these by erring nature meant
For sober solitude and calm content?
Must eyes so bright be doom'd to waste their fires
On hungry parsons and unfeeling squires ?
Heaven, whose decrees (if true what priests have
Are framed by justice, and with wisdom fraught,
Sure ne'er created such a form as this,
For the dull purpose of domestic bliss.
Ah! no, these eyes were given in courts to shine;
Shall impious man, then, thwart the wise design?
A shortlived sway of some few years at most
Is all, alas! the brightest belle can boast;
Ere yet the hand of all devouring time
Lay waste her graces and destroy her prime,
By slow degrees she feels her power decay,
And younger beauties bear the palm away,
Whilst envious fate thus hastens to destroy
The fleeting period of all female joy,
Shall barbarous husbands (whose tyrannic rage
Nor prayers can mitigate, nor tears assuage)
E'en in those years,whilst youth and beauty bloom,
To exile half her precious moments doom?
She goes like some neglected flower to fade,
And waste her sweetness in the lonely shade,
Till winter (so the pitying gods decree)
Returning, sets the’ impatient captive free;
Then, swift emerging from the dull retreat,
To town she flies, admiring crowds to meet;
Her happy hours glide on from morn to night,
One ceaseless round of exquisite delight:
Balls, operas, concerts, Almack's, and Soho,
By turns attended, various joys bestow;
E'en crowded routs, where dulness ever dwells,
Can yield delight to fashionable belles.
Old maids and prudes each night, to feed their
There, seeking whom they may devour, are seen,
And still repining that they must be chaste,
Would mar those pleasures they're forbid to taste;
With envious eyes the brilliant nymph they view,
Whilst eager crowds, where'er she moves, pursue.
If to the playhouse she by chance repair
(Not oft frequented by the well bred fair),
When through the house a solemn silence reigns,
Each bosom feeling what the actor feigns,
E'en in the midst of some affecting part
That wakes each soft emotion of the heart,
The doors fly open, whilst the pit beneath
Their discontent in sullen murmurs breathe :
Forward she steps with graceful air, and spreads
A blaze of beauty o'er their wondering heads :
Pit, boxes, galleries, all at once concur,
Forget the play, and fix their eyes on her.
Scarce to the stage she turns her high plumed head,
Or seems to mark one syllable that's said :
But careless sits, and on her arm reclined
Hears civil speeches from the beaux behind;
Or gently listens while some well dress’d youth
In whisper'd accents vows eternal truth.
Obedient still to pleasure's sprightly call
She quits the play and seeks the livelier ball :
Each white-gloved beau with haste his suit prefers,
Presents his hand, and humbly begs for hers.
Well pleased she hears the suppliant crowd en-
And feels the triumph of her charms complete.
Should some bless'd youth be to the rest preferr’d,
Whose vows in private are with favour heard,
As through the dance with graceful ease she moves,
Their meeting hands express their conscious loves.
Malicious eyes the lover's looks restrain,
And cold discretion seals his lips in vain :
The faithful hand can unobserved impart
The secret feelings of a tender heart:
And, O! what bliss, when each alike is pleased,
The hand that squeezes, and the hand that's
squeezed! But whither, whither does my fancy roam? Ah! let me call the idle wanderer home. Already Phoebus, with unwelcome ray, Has chased, alas! the winter's fogs away; Through the sad town, at each deserted door, Less frequent now the footman's thunders roar; And waggons, loading in the dusty street, Forebode the horrors of a long retreat. Ye sister sufferers, who must, soon or late, All share my sorrows and partake my fate; Who, when condemn’d these bless'd abodes to quit, Like me may weep, but must like me submit; When overcome by man's superior force, Revenge is still the injured fair's resource : Revenge at least may make our sufferings less, A husband's anguish soothes a wife's distress.