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The other amazon* kind heaven

Had arm'd with spirit, wit, and satire; But Cobham had the polish given,

And tipp'd her arrows with good nature.

To celebrate her eyes, her air

Coarse panegyrics would but tease her,
Melissa is her 66
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. Purtt,

(By this time all the parish know it) 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, Dried up the cows, and lamed the deer, And suck'd the eggs, and kill'd the pheasants.

*Miss Harriet Speed, Lady C.'s relation, afterwards married to the Count de Viry, Sardinian Envoy at the Court of London.

The Rev. Mr. Purt, tutor to the Duke of Bridgewater, then at Eton school.

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,

Through lanes unknown, o'er stiles they

Rapp'd at the door, nor stayed to ask,
But bounce into the parlour entered.

The trembling family they daunt,

They flirt, they sing, they laugh, they tattle, Rummage his mother, pinch his aunt, And upstairs in a whirlwind rattle: Each hole and cupboard they explore, Each creek and cranny of his chamber, Run hurry skurry round the floor,

And o'er the bed and tester clamber;

*Henry the Fourth, in the fourth year of his reign, issued out the following commission against this species of vermin:-"And it is enacted, that no master-rimer, minstrel, or other vagabond, be in anywise sustained in the land of Wales, to make commoiths, or gatherings upon the people there."

The walk from Stoke old mansion, to the house occupied by the poet's family, is peculiarly retired. The house is the property of Captain Salter, and it has belonged to his family for many generations. It is a charming spot for a summer residence, but has undergone great alterations and improvements since Gray gave it up in 1758.


Into the drawers and china pry,
Papers and books, a huge imbroglio!
Under a tea-cup he might lie*,

Or, creased, like dog's-ears, in a folio.
On the first marching of the troops,

The Muses, hopeless of his pardon,
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 ajar,
Where safe and laughing in his sleeve,
He heard the distant din of war.

*There is a very great similarity between the style of part of this poem, and Prior's Tale of the 'Dove :' as for instance in the following stanzas, which Gray must have had in his mind at the time.

"With one great peal they rap the door, Like footmen on a visiting day; Folks at her house at such an hour,

Lord! what will all the neighbours say?







"Her keys he takes, her door unlocks,

Through wardrobe and through closet bounces, Peeps into every chest and box,

Turns all her furbelows and flounces.







"I marvel much, she smiling said, Your poultry cannot yet be found: Lies he in yonder slipper dead,

Or may be in the teapot drown'd."

Short was his joy. He little knew
The power of magic was no fable;
Out of the window, whisk, they flew,
But left a spell upon the table*.
The words too eager to unriddle,

The poet felt a strange disorder;
Transparent bird-lime form'd the middle,
And chains invisible the border.

So cunning was the apparatus,

The powerful pot-hooks did so move him That will he, nill he, 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 Phœbus 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 was sat, the culprit there,

Forth from their gloomy mansions creeping. The lady Janes and Joans repair, 'And from the gallery† stand peeping:

*The note which the ladies left upon the table. + The music-gallery which overlooked the hall.

Such as in silence of the night

Come (sweep) along some winding entry, (Tyacke* has often seen the sight)

Ör at the chapel door stood sentryt:

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

The peeress comes.
The audience stare,
And doff their hats with due submission:
She curtsies, as she takes her chair,
To all the people of condition.

The bard, with many an artful fib,
Had in imagination fenced him,
Disproved the arguments of Squib‡

And all that Groom‡ could urge against him.

*The housekeeper. Her name, which has hitherto, in ALL editions of Gray's Poems, been written Styack, is corrected from her grave-stone in the church-yard, and the accounts of contemporary persons in the parish. Housekeepers are usually styled Mrs.; the final s, doubtless, caused the name to be misapprehended and mispelt.

The old chapel, the door of which was at the opposite extremity of the hall.

The former has hitherto been styled groom of the chamber, and the latter steward, but the legend on a grave-stone, close to Tyacke's, is to the memory of William Groom, and appears to offer evidence that

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