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SATURDAY; OR, THE FLIGHTS.
For owls, as swains observe, detest the light,
And only sing and seek their prey by night.
How turnips hide their swelling heads below:
And how the closing coleworts upwards grow;
How Will-o-wisp misleads night-faring clowns
O'er hills, and sinking bogs, and pathless downs.
Of stars he told, that shoot with shining trail,
And of the glow-worm's light that gilds his tail. 60
He sung where woodcocks in the Summer feed,
And in what climates they renew their breed,
(Some think to northern coasts their flight they tend,
Or to the Moon in midnight hours ascend);
Where swallows in the Winter's season keep,
And how the drowsy bat and dormouse sleep;
How Nature does the puppy's eyelid close
Till the bright Sun has nine times set and rose;
(For huntsmen by their long experience find,
That puppies still nine rolling suns are blind.) 70
Now he goes on, and sings of fairs and shows,
For still new fairs before his eyes arose.
How pedlars' stalls with glittering toys are laid,
The various fairings of the country maid.
Long silken laces hang upon the twine,
20 How the tight lass knives, combs, and scissors spies,
And rows of pins and amber bracelets shine;
And looks on thimbles with desiring eyes.
SUBLIMER strains, O rustic Muse! prepare;
Forget awhile the barn and dairy's care;
Thy homely voice to loftier numbers raise,
The drunkard's flights require sonorous lays;
With Bowzybeus' songs exalt thy verse,
While rocks and woods the various notes rehearse.
"Twas in the season when the reapers' toil
Of the ripe harvest 'gan to rid the soil;
Wide through the field was seen a goodly rout,
Clean damsels bound the gather'd sheaves about; 10
The lads, with sharpen'd hook and sweating brow,
Cut down the labors of the winter plow.
To the near hedge young Susan steps aside,
She feign'd her coat or garter was untied;
Whate'er she did, she stoop'd adown unseen,
And merry reapers what they list will ween.
Soon she rose up, and cried with voice so shrill,
That Echo answer'd from the distant hill;
The youths and damsels ran to Susan's aid,
Who thought some adder had the lass dismay'd.
When fast asleep they Bowzybeus spied,
His hat and oaken staff lay close beside;
That Bowzybeus who could sweetly sing,
Or with the rosin'd bow torment the string;
That Bowzybeus who, with fingers speed,
Of lotteries next with tuneful note he told,
Where silver spoons are won, and rings of gold. 80
The lads and lasses trudge the street along,
And all the fair is crowded in his song.
Could call soft warblings from the breathing reed; The mountebank now treads the stage, and sells
That Bowzybeus who, with jocund tongue,
Ballads and roundelays and catches sung:
They loudly laugh to see the damsel's fright,
And in disport surround the drunken wight.
Ah, Bowzybee, why didst thou stay so long? The mugs were large, the drink was wond'rous strong!
Thou shouldst have left the fair before 'twas night;
But thou sat'st toping till the morning light."
Cicely, brisk maid, steps forth before the rout,
And kiss'd with smacking lip the snoring lout:
(For custom says, "Whoe'er this venture proves,
For such a kiss demands a pair of gloves.")
By her example Dorcas bolder grows,
And plays a tickling straw within his nose.
He rubs his nostril, and in wonted joke
The sneering swains with stammering speech be-
"To you, my lads, I'll sing my carols o'er,
As for the maids-I've something else in store."
No sooner 'gan he raise his tuneful song,
But lads and lasses round about him throng.
Not ballad-singer plac'd above the crowd
Sings with a note so shrilling sweet and loud;
Nor parish-clerk, who calls the psalm so clear,
Like Bowzybeus soothes th' attentive ear.
Of Nature's laws his carols first begun,
Why the grave owl can never face the Sun.
Serta procul tantum capiti delapsa jacebant. Virg.
Sanguineis frontem moris et tempora pingit. Virg.
Carmina, quæ vultis, cognoscite! carmina vobis;
Huic aliud mercedis erit.
His pills, his balsams, and his ague-spells;
Now o'er and o'er the nimble tumbler springs,
And on the rope the venturous maiden swings;
Jack Pudding in his party-color'd jacket
Tosses the glove, and jokes at every packet.
Of raree-shows he sung, and Punch's feats,
Of pockets pick'd in crowds, and various cheats. 90
Then sad he sung the Children in the Wood:
(Ah, barbarous uncle, stain'd with infant blood!)
How blackberries they pluck'd in deserts wild,
And fearless at the glittering falchion smil'd;
Their little corpse the robin-red-breasts found,
And strow'd with pious bill the leaves around.
(Ah, gentle birds! if this verse lasts so long,
Your names shall live for ever in my song.)
For Buxom Joan he sung the doubtful strife,
How the sly sailor made the maid a wife.
To louder strains he rais'd his voice, to tell
What woful wars in Chevy-chace befell,
When Percy drove the deer with hound and horn,
Wars to be wept by children yet unborn!
Ah, Witherington! more years thy life had crown'd.
If thou hadst never heard the horn or hound!
Yet shall the 'squire, who fought on bloody stumps,
By future bards be wail'd in doleful dumps.
All in the land of Essex next he chants,
How to sleek mares starch Quakers turn gallants:
Ver. 51. Our swain had possibly read Tusser, from whence he might have collected these philosophical ob servations:
Namque canebat, uti magnum per inane coacta, &c.
Fortunati ambo, si quid mea carmina possunt,
Nulla dies unquam memori vos eximet ævo. Virg.
Ver. 99. A song in the comedy of Love for Love, be
ginning "A soldier and a sailor," &c.
Nec tantum Phobo gandet Parnassia rupes:
Nec tantum Rhodope mirantur et Ismarus Orphea.
When, starting from her silver dream,
Thus far and wide was heard her scream.
"That Raven on yon left-hand oak
(Curse on his ill-betiding croak!)
Bodes me no good." No more she said,
When poor blind Ball, with stumbling tread,
Fell prone; o'erturn'd the pannier lay,
And her mash'd eggs bestrow'd the way.
She, sprawling in the yellow road,
Rail'd, swore, and curs'd: "Thou croaking toad,
A murrain take thy whoreson throat!
I knew misfortune in the note."
"Dame," quoth the Raven," spare your oaths, Unclench your fist, and wipe your clothes. But why on me those curses thrown? Goody, the fault was all your own; For, had you laid this brittle ware On Dun, the old sure-footed mare, Though all the Ravens of the hundred With croaking had your tongue out-thunder'd, Sure-footed Dun had kept her legs, And you, good woman, sav'd your eggs."
THE FARMER'S WIFE AND THE RAVEN.
"WHY are those tears? why droops your head? Is then your other husband dead? Or does a worse disgrace betide? Hath no one since his death applied?" "Alas! you know the cause too well; The salt is spilt, to me it fell; Then, to contribute to my loss, My knife and fork were laid across; On Friday too! the day I dread! Would I were safe at home in bed! Last night (I vow to Heaven 'tis true) Bounce from the fire a coffin flew. Next post some fatal news shall tell: God send my Cornish friends be well!"
THE TURKEY AND THE ANT.
IN other men we faults can spy,
And blame the mote that dims their eye,
Each little speck and blemish find;
To our own stronger errors blind.
A Turkey, tir'd of common food,
Forsook the barn, and sought the wood;
Behind her ran an infant train,
Collecting here and there a grain.
"Draw near, my birds! the mother cries, This hill delicious fare supplies; Behold the busy negro race,
See millions blacken all the place!
Fear not; like me, with freedom eat;
An Ant is most delightful meat.
How bless'd, how envied, were our life,
Could we but 'scape the poulterer's knife;
But man, curs'd man, on Turkeys preys,
And Christmas shortens all our days.
Sometimes with oysters we combine,
Sometimes assist the savory chine;
From the low peasant to the lord,
The Turkey smokes on every board.
Sure men for gluttony are curs'd,
Of the seven deadly sins the worst."
An Ant, who climb'd beyond his reach, Thus answer'd from the neighboring beech: Ere you remark another's sin,
Nor for a breakfast nations kill."
Bid thy own conscience look within; Control thy more voracious bill,
MATTHEW GREEN, a truly original poet, was born, is further attested, that he was a man of great probably at London, in 1696. His parents were re- probity and sweetness of disposition, and that his spectable Dissenters, who brought him up within conversation abounded with wit, but of the most inthe limits of the sect. His learning was confined to offensive kind. He seems to have been subject to a little Latin; but, from the frequency of his clas- low-spirits, as a relief from which he composed his sical allusions, it may be concluded that what he principal poem, The Spleen." He passed his read when young, he did not forget. The austerity life in celibacy, and died in 1737, at the early age in which he was educated had the effect of inspiring of forty-one, in lodgings in Gracechurch-street. him with settled disgust; and he fled from the The poems of Green, which were not made pubgloom of dissenting worship when he was no longer lic till after his death, consist of "The Spleen;" compelled to attend it. Thus set loose from the "The Grotto;" "Verses on Barclay's Apology;" opinions of his youth, he speculated very freely "The Seeker," and some smaller pieces, all comon religious topics, and at length adopted the sys-prised in a small volume. In manner and subject tem of outward compliance with established forms, they are some of the most original in our language. and inward laxity of belief. He seems at one time to have been much inclined to the principles of Quakerism; but he found that its practice would not agree with one who lived "by pulling off the hat." We find that he had obtained a place in the Custom-house, the duties of which he is said to have discharged with great diligence and fidelity. It
They rank among the easy and familiar, but are replete with uncommon thoughts, new and striking images, and those associations of remote ideas by some unexpected similitudes, in which wit principally consists. Few poems will bear more repeated perusals; and, with those who can fully enter into them, they do not fail to become favorites.
AN EPISTLE TO MR. CUTHBERT JACKSON.
THIS motley piece to you I send,
Who always were a faithful friend;
Who, if disputes should happen hence,
Can best explain the author's sense;
And, anxious for the public weal,
Do, what I sing, so often feel.
The want of method pray excuse,
Allowing for a vapor'd Muse:
Nor to a narrow path confin'd,
Hedge in by rules a roving mind.
The child is genuine, you may trace
Throughout the sire's transmitted face.
Nothing is stol'n: my Muse, though mean,
Draws from the spring she finds within;
Nor vainly buys what Gildont sells,
Poetic buckets for dry wells.
*"In this poem," Mr. Melmoth says, "there are more original thoughts thrown together than he had ever read in the same compass of lines."
† Gildon's Art of Poetry.
School-helps I want, to climb on high,
Where all the ancient treasures lie,
And there unseen commit a theft
On wealth in Greek exchequers left.
Then where? from whom? what can I steal,
Who only with the moderns deal?
This were attempting to put on
Raiment from naked bodies won t
They safely sing before a thief,
They cannot give who want relief;
Some few excepted, names well known,
And justly laurel'd with renown,
Whose stamps of genius mark their ware,
And theft detects: of theft beware;
From More so lash'd, example fit,
Shun petty larceny in wit.
First know, my friend, I do not mean
To write a treatise on the spleen;
† A painted vest Prince Vortiger had on,
Which from a naked Pict his grandsire won.
HOWARD'S British Princes
§ James More Smith, Esq. See Dunciad, B. ii. 1. 50. and FITZOSBORNE'S Letters, p. 114. the notes, where the circumstances of the transaction here alluded to are very fully explained.
Nor to prescribe when nerves convulse;
Nor mend th' alarum-watch, your pulse.
If I am right, your question lay,
What course I take to drive away
The day-mare, Spleen, by whose false pleas
Men prove mere suicides in ease;
And how I do myself demean
In stormy world to live serene.
When by its magic-lantern Spleen
With frightful figures spreads life's scene,
And threat'ning prospects urg'd my fears,
A stranger to the luck of heirs;
Reason, some quiet to restore,
Show'd part was substance, shadow more;
With Spleen's dead weight though heavy grown,
In life's rough tide I sunk not down,
But swam, till Fortune threw a rope,
Buoyant on bladders fill'd with hope.
I always choose the plainest food
To mend viscidity of blood.
Hail! water-gruel, healing power,
Of easy access to the poor;
Thy help love's confessors implore,
And doctors secretly adore;
To thee I fly, by thee dilute
Through veins my blood doth quicker shoot,
And by swift current throws.off clean
Prolific particles of Spleen.
I never sick by drinking grow,
Nor keep myself a cup too low,
And seldom Chloe's lodgings haunt,
Thrifty of spirits, which I want.
Hunting I reckon very good,
To brace the nerves, and stir the blood:
But after no field-honors itch,
Achiev'd by leaping hedge and ditch.
While Spleen lies soft relax'd in bed,
Or o'er coal fires inclines the head,
Hygeia's sons with hound and horn,
And jovial cry, awake the Morn.
These see her from the dusky plight,
Smear'd by th' embraces of the Night,
With roral wash redeem her face,
And prove herself of Titan's race,
And, mounting in loose robes the skies,
Shed light and fragrance as she flies.
Then horse and hound fierce joy display,
Exulting at the hark-away,
And in pursuit o'er tainted ground,
From lungs robust field-notes resound.
Then, as St. George the dragon slew,
Spleen pierc'd, trod down, and dying view;
While all their spirits are on wing,
And woods, and hills, and valleys ring.
To cure the mind's wrong bias, Spleen,
Some recommend the bowling-green;
Some, hilly walks; all, exercise;
Fling but a stone, the giant dies;
Laugh and be well. Monkeys have been
Extreme good doctors for the Spleen;
And kitten, if the humor hit,
Has harlequin'd away the fit.
Since mirth is good in this behalf,
At some partic'lars let us laugh.
Witlings, brisk fools, curst with half sense,
That stimulates their impotence;
Who buzz in rhyme, and, like blind flies,
Err with their wings for want of eyes.
Poor authors worshipping a calf,
Deep tragedies that make us laugh,
A strict dissenter saying grace,
A lect'rer preaching for a place,
Folks, things prophetic to dispense,
Making the past the future tense,
The popish dubbing of a priest,
Fine epitaphs on knaves deceas'd,
Green-apron'd Pythonissa's rage,
Great Esculapius on his stage,
A miser starving to be rich,
The prior of Newgate's dying speech,
A jointur'd widow's ritual state,
Two Jews disputing tête-à-tête,
New almanacs compos'd by seers,
Experiments on felons' ears,
Disdainful prudes, who ceaseless ply
The superb muscle of the eye,
A coquet's April-weather face,
A Queenb'rough mayor behind his mace, And fops in military show,
Are sov'reign for the case in view.
If spleen-fogs rise at close of day,
I clear my ev'ning with a play,
Or to some concert take my way,
The company, the shine of lights,
The scenes of humor, music's flights,
Adjust and set the soul to rights.
Life's moving pictures, well-wrought plays,
To others' grief attention raise :
Here, while the tragic fictions glow,
We borrow joy by pitying woe;
There gaily comic scenes delight,
And hold true mirrors to our sight.
Virtue, in charming dress array'd,
Calling the passions to her aid,
When moral scenes just actions join,
Takes shape, and shows her face divine.
Music has charms, we all may find,
Ingratiate deeply with the mind.
When art does sound's high pow'r advance,
To music's pipe the passions dance;
Motions unwill'd its pow'rs have shown,
Tarantulated by a tune.
Many have held the soul to be
Nearly allied to harmony.
Her have I known indulging grief,
And shunning company's relief,
Unveil her face, and, looking round,
Own, by neglecting sorrow's wound,
The consanguinity of sound.
In rainy days keep double guard,
Or Spleen will surely be too hard;
Which, like those fish by sailors met,
Fly highest, while their wings are wet.
In such dull weather, so unfit
To enterprise a work of wit,
When clouds one yard of azure sky,
That's fit for simile, deny,
I dress my face with studious looks,
And shorten tedious hours with books.
But if dull fogs invade the head,
That mem'ry minds not what is read,
I sit in window dry as ark,
And on the drowning world remark:
Or to some coffee-house I stray
For news, the manna of a day,
And from the hipp'd discourses gather,
That politics go by the weather:
Then seek good-humor'd tavern chums,
And play at cards, but for small sums;
Or with the merry fellows quaff,
And laugh aloud with them that laugh;
Or drink a joco-serious cup
With souls who've took their freedom up,
And let my mind, beguil'd by talk,
In Epicurus' garden walk,
Who thought it Heav'n to be serene;
Pain, Hell, and Purgatory, Spleen.
Sometimes I dress, with women sit,
And chat away the gloomy fit;
Quit the stiff garb of serious sense,
And wear a gay impertinence,
Nor think nor speak with any pains,
But lay on Fancy's neck the reins;
Talk of unusual swell of waist
In maid of honor loosely lac'd,
And beauty borr'wing Spanish red,
And loving pair with sep'rate bed,
And jewels pawn'd for loss of game,
And then redeem'd by loss of fame;
Of Kitty (aunt left in the lurch
By grave pretence to go to church)
Perceiv'd in hack with lover fine,
Like Will and Mary on the coin:
And thus in modish manner we,
In aid of sugar, sweeten tea.
Permit, ye fair, your idol form,
Which e'en the coldest heart can warm,
May with its beauties grace my line,
While I bow down before its shrine,
And your throng'd altars with my lays
Perfume, and get by giving praise.
With speech so sweet, so sweet a mien
You excommunicate the Spleen,
Which, fiend-like, flies the magic ring
You form with sound, when pleas'd to sing;
Whate'er you say, howe'er you move,
We look, we listen, and approve.
Your touch, which gives to feeling bliss,
Our nerves officious throng to kiss;
By Celia's pat, on their report,
The grave-air'd soul, inclin'd to sport,
Renounces wisdom's sullen pomp,
And loves the floral game, to romp.
But who can view the pointed rays,
That from black eyes scintillant blaze?
Love on his throne of glory seems
Encompass'd with satellite beams.
But when blue eyes, more softly bright,
Diffuse benignly humid light,
We gaze, and see the smiling loves,
And Cytherea's gentle doves,
And raptur'd fix in such a face
Love's mercy-seat, and throne of grace.
Shine but on age, you melt its snow;
Again fires long-extinguish'd glow,
And, charm'd by witchery of eyes,
Blood long congealed liquefies!
True miracle, and fairly done
By heads which are ador'd while on.
But oh, what pity 'tis to find
Such beauties both of form and mind,
By modern breeding much debas'd,
In half the female world at least!
Hence I with care such lott'ries shun,
Where, a prize miss'd, I'm quite undone;
And han't, by vent'ring on a wife,
Yet run the greatest risk in life.
Mothers, and guardian aunts, forbear
Your impious pains to form the fair,
Nor lay out so much cost and art,
But to deflow'r the virgin heart;
Of every folly-fost'ring bed
By quick'ning heat of custom bred.
Rather than by your culture spoil'd,
Desist, and give us nature wild,
Delighted with a hoyden soul,
Which truth and innocence control.
Coquets, leave off affected arts,
Gay fowlers at a flock of hearts;
Woodcocks to shun your snares have skill,
You show so plain, you strive to kill.
In love the artless catch the game,
And they scarce miss who never aim.
The world's great Author did create
The sex to fit the nuptial state,
And meant a blessing in a wife
To solace the fatigues of life;
And old inspired times display,
How wives could love, and yet obey.
Then truth, and patience of control,
And housewife arts, adorn'd the soul;
And charms, the gift of Nature, shone;
And jealousy, a thing unknown:
Veils were the only masks they wore;
Novels (receipts to make a whore)
Nor ombre, nor quadrille, they knew,
Nor Pam's puissance felt at loo.
Wise men did not, to be thought gay,
Then compliment their pow'r away:
But lest, by frail desires misled,
The girls forbidden paths should tread,
Of ign'rance rais'd the safe high wall;
We sink haw-haws, that show them all.
Thus we at once solicit sense,
And charge them not to break the fence.
Now, if untir'd, consider, friend,
What I avoid to gain my end.
I never am at meeting seen,
Meeting, that region of the Spleen;
The broken heart, the busy fiend,
The inward call, on Spleen depend.
Law, licens'd breaking of the peace,
To which vocation is disease:
A gipsy diction scarce known well
By th' magi, who law-fortunes tell,
I shun; nor let it breed within
Anxiety, and that the Spleen;
Law, grown a forest, where perplex
The mazes, and the brambles vex;
Where its twelve verd'rers every day
Are changing still the public way:
Yet, if we miss our path and err,
We grievous penalties incur ;
And wand'rers tire, and tear their skin,
And then get out where they went in.
I never game, and rarely bet,
Am loth to lend, or run in debt.
No compter-writs me agitate;
Who moralizing pass the gate,
And there mine eyes on spendthrifts turn,
Who vainly o'er their bondage mourn.
Wisdom, before beneath their care,
Pays her upbraiding visits there,
And forces folly through the grate,
Her panegyric to repeat.
This view, profusely when inclin'd,
Enters a caveat in the mind:
Experience join'd with common sense,
To mortals is a providence.