Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

70

The soldier flew, the sailor too,

And scar'd almost to death, sir, Wore out their shoes, to spread the news,

And ran till out of breath, sir.

The fish below swam to and fro,

Attack'd from ev'ry quarter; Why sure, thought they, the devil's to pay,

'Mongst folks above the water. The kegs, 'tis said, tho' strongly made,

Of rebel staves and hoops, sir, Could not oppose their powerful foes,

The conqu’ring British troops, sir.

Now up and down throughout the town,

Most frantic scenes were acted; And some ran here, and others there,

Like men almost distracted.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

Sir William he, snug as a flee,

Lay all this time a snoring, Nor dream'd of harm as he lay warm, In bed with Mrs. L

-g.

Now in a fright, he starts upright,

Awak'd by such a clatter; He rubs both eyes, and boldly cries,

For God's sake, what's the matter?

From morn to night these men of might

Display'd amazing courage;
And when the sun was fairly down,

Retir'd to sup their porrage.
An hundred men with each a pen,

Or more upon my word, sir.
It is most true would be too few,

Their valor to record, sir.
Such feats did they perform that day,

Against these wick'd kegs, sir, That years to come, if they get home, They'll make their boasts and brags, sir.

Pennsylvania Packet, Mar. 4, 1778. This ballad was occasioned by a real incident. Certain machines, in the form of kegs, charg'd with gun powder, were sent down the river to annoy the British shipping then at Philadelphia. The danger of these machines being discovered, the British manned the wharfs and shipping, and discharged their small arms and cannons at everything they saw floating in the river during the ebb tide. (Note in 1792 edition.)

40

[blocks in formation]

THE BIRDS, THE BEASTS, AND THE BAT

A fable A War broke out in former days, If all is true that Æsop says, Between the birds that haunt the grove, And beasts that wild forests rove: Of fowl that swim in waters clear, Of birds that mount aloft in air; From ev'ry tribe vast numbers came, To fight for freedom, as for fame: The beasts from dens and caverns deep, From valleys low and mountains steep; 10 In motly ranks determin'd stood, And dreadful howlings shook the wood. The bat, half bird, half beast was there, Nor would for this or that declare; Waiting till conquest should decide, Which was the strongest, safest side: Depending on this doubtful form, To screen him from th' impending storm.

With sharpen'd beaks and talons long, With horny spurs and pinions strong,

60

The cannons roar from shore to shore,

The small arms make a rattle; Since wars began I'm sure no man

E'er saw so strange a battle.

The rebel dales, the rebel vales,

With rebel tree surrounded; The distant wood, the hills and floods,

With rebel echoes sounded.

20

70

The birds in fierce assault, 'tis said,
Amongst the foe such havoc made,
That panic struck, the beasts retreat
Amaz'd, and victory seem'd complete.
Th' observant bat, with squeaking tone,
Cries, Bravo, birds the day's our own;
For now I'm proud to claim a place
Amongst your bold aspiring race;
With leathern wings I skim the air,
And am a bird tho clad in hair."

In your success, and come to claim
My share of conquest and of fame.”
The birds the faithless wretch despise;
Hence, traitor, hence the eagle cries;
No more, as you just vengeance fear,
Amongst our honour'd ranks appear.
The bat, disown'd in some old shed,
Now seeks to hide his exil'd head;
Nor dares his leathern wings display,
From rising morn to setting day:
But when the gloomy shades of night,
Screens his vile form from every sight,
Despis'd, unnotic'd, Aits about;
Then to his dreary cell returns,

80 And his just fate in silence mourns.

1778(?).

30

But now the beasts ashamed of Aight, With rallied force renew the fight, With threatening teeth, uplifted paws, Projecting horns and spreading claws, Enrag'd advance-push on the fray, And claim the honours at the day.

The bat still hov'ring to and fro, Observ'd how things were like to go, Concludes those best who best can fight, And thinks the strongest party right; 40 “Push on, quoth he, our's is the day We'll chase these rebel birds away, And reign supreme-for who but we Of earth and air the Lords should be; That I'm a beast I can make out, By reasons strong beyond a doubt, With teeth and fur 'twould be absurd, To call a thing like me a bird: Each son and daughter of my house; Is stil'd at least a flying mouse."

Always uncertain is the fate, Of war and enterprises great: The beasts exulting push'd too far Their late advantage in the war; Sure of success, insult the foe, Despise their strength and careless grow; The birds not vanquish'd, but dismay'd, Collect their force, new pow'rs display'd; Their chief, the eagle, leads them on, And with fierce rage the war's begun. 60 Now in their turn the beasts must yield, The bloody laurels of the field; Routed they fly, disperse, divide, And in their native caverns hide.

My GENEROUS HEART DISDAINS

1 My generous heart disdains

The slave of love to be; I scorn his servile chains, And boast my liberty.

This whining

And pining And wasting with care, Are not to my taste, be she ever so fair.

50

10

2 Shall a girl's capricious frown Sink my noble spirits down? Shall a face of white and red Make me droop my silly head? Shall I set me down and sigh For an eyebrow or an eye? For a braided lock of hair, Curse my fortune and dispair? My generous heart disdains, etc.

3 Still uncertain is tomorrow, Not quite certain is to-dayShall I waste my time in sorrow? Shall I languish life away? All because a cruel maid Hath not love with love repaid?

My generous heart disdains, etc.

20

Once more the bat with courtly voice, "Hail, noble birds! much I rejoice

JOHN TRUMBULL

(1750-1831)

40

50

10

60

(The text and notes are from "The Poetical Why need she learn to write, or spell? Works of John Trumbull" in two volumes, 1820.)

A pothook scrawl is just as well; THE PROGRESS OF DULNESS1

Might rank her with the better sort,

For 'tis the reigning mode at court.
PART III

And why should girls be learn'd or wise?

Books only serve to spoil their eyes.
OR THE ADVENTURES OF

The studious eye but faintly twinkles,
Miss HARRIET SIMPER

And reading paves the way to wrinkles.

In vain may learning fill the head full; "Come hither, HARRIET, pretty Miss, 'Tis beauty that's the one thing needful; Come hither; give your aunt a kiss.

Beauty, our sex's sole pretence, What, blushing? fye, hold up your head, The best receipt for female sense, Full six years old and yet afraid !

The charm that turns all words to witty, With such a form, an air, a grace, And makes the silliest speeches pretty. You're not ashamed to show your face! Ev'n folly borrows killing graces Look like a lady-bold-my child! From ruby lips and roseate faces. Why ma'am, your HARRIET will be spoil'd. Give airs and beauty to your daughter, What pity 'tis, a girl so sprightly

And sense and wit will follow after." Should hang her head so unpolitely?

Thus round the infant Miss in state And sure there's nothing worth a rush in The council of the ladies meet, That odd, unnatural trick of blushing; And gay in modern style and fashion It marks one ungenteelly bred,

Prescribe their rules of education. And shows there's mischief in her head.

The mother once herself a toast, I've heard Dick Hairbrain prove from Prays for her child the self-same post; Paul,

The father hates the toil and pother, Eve never blush'd before the fall.

And leaves his daughters to their mother; 'Tis said indeed, in latter days,

From whom her faults, that never vary, It gain'd our grandmothers some praise; May come by right hereditary, Perhaps it suited well enough

Follies be multiplied with quickness, With hoop and farthingale and ruff; And whims keep up the family likeness. But this politer generation

Ye parents, shall those forms so fair, Holds ruffs and blushes out of fashion.

The graces might be proud to wear, "And what can mean that gown so odd? The charms those speaking eyes display, You ought to dress her in the mode, Where passion sits in ev'ry ray, To teach her how to make a figure; Th' expressive glance, the air refined, Or she'll be awkward when she's bigger, That sweet vivacity of mind, And look as queer as Joan of Nokes, Be doom'd for life to folly's sway, And never rig like other folks ;

By trifles lur'd, to fops a prey? Her clothes will trail, all fashion lost, Say, can ye think that forms so fine As if she hung them on a post,

Were made for nothing but to shine, And sit as awkwardly as Eve's

With lips of rose and cheeks of cherry, First pea-green petticoat of leaves.

Outgo the works of statuary, "And what can mean your simple whim And gain the prize of show, as victors, here

O'er busts and effigies and pictures? To keep her poring on her primer? Can female sense no trophies raise, 'Tis quite enough for giris to know, Are dress and beauty all their praise, If she can read a billet-doux,

And does no lover hope to find Or write a line you'd understand

An angel in his charmer's mind ? Without a cypher of the hand.

First from the dust our sex began, 1 Part 1 of the Progress of Dulness is en.

But woman was refined from man;
titled “On the Adventures of Tom Brainless"; Received again, with softer air,
Part II, "On the Life and Character of Dick

The great Creator's forming care.
Hairbrain." Both of these characters appear in
Part III. These appeared, Part I, Aug., 1772;

And shall it no attention claim
Part II, Jan., 1773; Part III, July, 1773.

Their beauteous infant souls to frame?

20

70

30

[ocr errors]

90

100

[ocr errors]

170

I 20

Shall half your precepts tend the while
Fair nature's lovely work to spoil,
The native innocence deface,
The glowing blush, the modest grace,
On follies fix their young desire,
To trifles bid their souls aspire,
Fill their gay heads with whims of

fashion,
And slight all other cultivation,
Let every useless, barren weed
Of foolish fancy run to seed,
And make their minds the receptacle
Of every thing that's false and fickle;
Where gay caprice with wanton air,
And vanity keep constant fair,
Where ribbons, laces, patches, puffs,
Caps, jewels, ruffles, tippets, muffs,
With gaudy whims of vain parade,
Croud each apartment of the head;
Where stands, display'd with costly pains,
The toyshop of coquettish brains,
And high-crown'd caps hang out the sign,
And beaux as customers throng in;
Whence sense is banish'd in disgrace,
Where wisdom dares not show her face;
Where the light head and vacant brain
Spoil all ideas they contain,
As th' air-pump kills in half a minute
Each living thing you put within it?

It must be so; by ancient rule The fair are nursed in folly's school, And all their education done Is none at all, or worse than none; Whence still proceed in maid or wife, The follies and the ills, of life. Learning is call'd our mental diet, That serves the hungry mind to quiet, That gives the genius fresh supplies, Till souls grow up to common size: But here, despising sense refined, Gay trifles feed the youthful mind. Chameleons thus, whose colours airy As often as coquettes can vary, Despise all dishes rich and rare, And diet wholly on the air; Think fogs blest eating, nothing finer, And can on whirlwinds make a dinner; And thronging all to feast together, Fare daintily in blust'ring weather.

Here to the fair alone remain Long years of action spent in vain; Perhaps she learns (what can she less ?) The arts of dancing and of dress. But dress and dancing are to women, Their education's' mint and cummin; These lighter graces should be taught, And weightier matters not forgot. For there, where only these are shown, The soul will fix on these alone.

Then most the fineries of dress,
Her thoughts, her wish and time possess;
She values only to be gay,
And works to rig herself for play;
Weaves scores of caps with diff'rent

spires,
And all varieties of wires;
Gay ruffles varying just as flow'd
The tides and ebbings of the mode;
Bright flow'rs, and topknots waving high,
That float, like streamers in the sky; 160
Work'd catgut handkerchiefs, whose flaws
Display the neck, as well as gauze;
Or network aprons somewhat thinnish,
That cost but six weeks time to finish,
And yet so neat, as you must own
You could not buy for half a crown.
Perhaps in youth (for country fashion
Prescribed that mode of education,)
She wastes long months in still more

tawdry, And useless labours of embroid'ry; With toil weaves up for chairs together, Six buttons, quite as good as leather; A set of curtains tapestry-work, The figures frowning like the Turk; A tentstitch picture, work of folly, With portraits wrought of Dick and

Dolly; A coat of arms, that mark'd her house, Three owls rampant, the crest a goose; Or shows in waxwork goodman Adam, And serpent gay, gallanting madam,

180 A woful mimickry of Eden, With fruit, that needs not be forbidden; All useless works, that fill for beauties Of time and sense their vast vacuities; Of sense, which reading might bestow, And time, whose worth they never know.

Now to some pop'lous city sent, She comes back prouder than she went; Few months in vain parade she spares, Nor learns, but apes, politer airs; So formal acts, with such a set air, That country manners far were better. This springs from want of just discerning, As pedantry from want of learning; And proves this maxim true to sight, The half-genteel are least polite.

Yet still that active spark, the mind Employment constantly will find, And when on trifles most 'tis bent, Is always found most diligent; For weighty works men show most sloth in, But labour hard at doing nothing, A trade, that needs no deep concern, Or long apprenticeship to learn, To which mankind at first apply As naturally as to cry,

130

190

140

200

150

« PreviousContinue »